Valerius Maximus

-   Book 5 , chapters 1-3


Adapted from the translation by S. Speed (1678). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section.   

Contents:       I. Of Humanity and Clemency
II. Of Gratitude
III. Of Ingratitude
IV. Of Piety toward Parents
V. {Of Fraternal Benevolence}
VI. Of Patriotism
VII. Of the Love and Indulgence of Fathers to their Children
VIII. Persons severe towards their Children
IX. Of those who acted moderately towards their suspected children
X. Of those who courageously bore the death of their children

Book 4

I.   Of Humanity and Clemency

What better companions could I have found out for liberality, than humanity and clemency? The first of which shows itself in poverty, the second in opportunity, the third in misfortune. Now when we know not which of them to esteem best, yet the commendation of that seems to crave precedence, which takes its name from (?) man himself.

[1.1] L   I will begin with the most humane and merciful acts of the senate. When the ambassadors of the Carthaginians came to the city about the redemption of prisoners, they immediately, without receiving their money, restored to them more than two thousand seven hundred and forty-three young men. I may well think that the ambassadors themselves were amazed to see such an army of enemies set at liberty, so much money spurned, and so many Punic wrongs forgiven, and that they thus said to themselves, "O munificence equal to the favour the gods show to the Romans; and happy our embassy beyond our hopes, for we have received a kindness which we would never have given!"     { see also: Livy 30.43  }

This also was no small testimony of the senate, that when Syphax, formerly a most prosperous king of Numidia, but now their prisoner, died in prison at Tibur, they ordered him to be interred at public expense; so that to whom they had granted life, they might also add the honour of burial.     { see also: Livy 30.45 }

The same clemency they used toward Perseus, when he died at Alba where he was imprisoned; they sent down a quaestor to bury him at public expense, not permitting his royal remains to lie disregarded.     { see also: Plutarch Aem_37 }

These things they performed to enemies and prisoners after their death. The following were their favours shown to their friends in prosperity, while still living. After the end of the Macedonian War, Misacenes, Masinissa's son, was sent back to his father by Paullus, with those horsemen which which he had brought to the assistance of the Romans; but after his fleet was scattered by a tempest, he himself put in sick at Brundisium. As soon as the Senate learnt of this, they sent a quaestor thither, not only to defray the expenses of him and his retinue, but also to take care for the providing all things necessary for the restoration of his health: and so that they might not lack ships to carry them safe and well into Africa, they ordered to be given to each horseman a pound of silver, and five hundred sesterces. This prompt and complete humanity of the conscript fathers, might perhaps have so far prevailed upon Masinissa, that had his son died in the expedition, he would have grieved less for it.     { see also: Livy 45.13-14 }

The same senate, when they heard that Prusias king of Bithynia had come to congratulate them on their victory over Perseus, sent P. Cornelius Scipio, then quaestor, to meet him as far as Capua: and ordered that the best house in Rome should be hired for him; and that he and his retinue should be maintained at public expense. And indeed in the reception of that great king, the whole city seemed to have the appearance of a single complete friend; so that he, who came as a good friend to our city, returned with a double affection for us.     { see also: Livy 45.44 }

Neither was Egypt ignorant of Roman clemency. For king Ptolemy, when he was thrown out of his kingdom by his younger brother, and came to Rome with a small retinue and in humble attire, to crave aid of the senate, took a lodging in the house of an Alexandrian painter. When when the senate realised this, they sent for the young man, and they made a very great apology, for not having sent a quaestor to meet him after the traditional custom, and for not providing maintenance for him; this had not happened through their negligence, but through his sudden and private arrival. After this, accompanying him to a public house, they asked him to lay aside his humble attire, and arrange a day to meet with them. They also took that care that gifts should be sent to him by the quaestor every day; and by these marks of kindness they advanced him from exile to the royal throne, so that he had more hope in the assistance of the Roman people, than fear for his own misfortune.     { see also: Diodorus 31.18 }

[1.2] L   To come now from the conscript fathers in general to particular senators: L. Cornelius the consul in the First Punic War, when he had taken the city of Olbia, after Hanno the general of the Carthaginians had been slain valiantly fighting for its relief, gave Hanno's body a burial, carrying it out from his own tent, and bestowing a noble funeral upon it. Nor was he ashamed to appear at the funeral rites of an enemy, believing that his victory would be the less envied by both gods and men, when there was so much of humanity mixed in with it.

[1.3] L   What shall I say of Quinctius Crispinus, whose gentleness and mild disposition could not be disturbed by the potent passions of anger and glory? He had entertained with great civility Badius of Campania at his house, and with great care revived him from a dangerous illness. After the Campanians had revolted, Badius challenged Crispinus to fight with him in front of the army. Crispinus, who knew himself to be superior to him in both strength and courage, chose rather to give him good counsel than to overcome him. "What are you trying to do, madman?" he said. "Or where are your foolish desires carrying you? Must you not only rage with public impiety, but also fall away from private friendship? Could you find no-one among all the Romans, upon whom to hurl your villainous weapons, but only Quinctius, to whose household-gods you owe a requital  of both honour and safety? The bonds of friendship and our gods of hospitality, with us sacred pledges, though with you of no account, will not permit me to fight with you. Nay, if in the clashing of both armies, I should have perceived you knocked down by the force of my shield-boss, I would have recalled my sword from thy neck. And therefore it is your crime, that you wished to kill a guest-friend; but the death of a guest shall not be mine. And therefore seek out somebody else for the courage of your right hand, for mine has learnt to save."   But heaven gave to both a deserved outcome; for Badius was slain in the battle, and Quinctius valiantly fighting came safe away with honour.     { see also: Livy 25.18 }

[1.4] L   And now the clemency of M. Marcellus: how famous and how memorable an example ought we to reckon it? After he had taken Syracuse, from the citadel he took a view of the city below, which was once flourishing, but now almost miserably ruined. When he beheld the pitiful state of it, he could not refrain from tears. So that if some person who did not know him had seen him, he might have been thought the vanquished, not the victor. This consolation you had in your calamity, fair city, that though it was not right for you to remain safe, yet your downfall was gentle under such a conqueror.     { see also: Plutarch Marc_19 }

[1.5] L   Quintus Metellus, warring in Spain against the Celtiberians, was besieging Centobriga. When the siege engine was in position, and he was just ready to beat down that part of the wall which was most suitable for battering, he preferred clemency rather than an approaching victory. For when the Centobrigenses had exposed the sons of Rhoetogenes, who had fled to him, to all the force of the engine, lest the children should be cruelly killed in order to distress their father (though Rhoetogenes himself told him not to be afraid to go on with his attack regardless) he raised his siege. By this act of clemency, though he did not take that one city, yet he took the hearts of all the Celtiberians, and thereby so far prevailed, as not to need many sieges in order to bring them under the sway of the Romans.

[1.6] L   The humanity of the younger Africanus also appeared splendid. When he had taken the city of Carthage, he sent to all the cities of Sicily, telling them to fetch the ornaments of their temples, which the Carthaginians had taken from them, and to take care to restore them to their proper places. This was a kindness acceptable to both gods and men.     { see also: Cicero Verr_2.2.86-87 }

[1.7] L   Equal to this was the humanity of (?) the same man. His quaestor, who was selling off the prisoners of war, sent him a boy of a most excellent beauty, and well attired. When he learnt that the boy had been left an orphan by his father, and educated under the tuition of his uncle Masinissa, and that without his leave he had recklessly taken arms against the Romans; he not only thought it appropriate to pardon the error of the youth, but to give him that respect which was due to the friendship of a king so deserving of the Roman people. And therefore having bestowed a ring, a gold brooch, a tunic with a broad stripe, a Spanish cloak, and a horse with all its trappings upon him, he sent him to Masinissa with an escort to accompany him. The Romans believed these to be the greatest fruits of victory: to restore to the temples their ornaments, and to kings their kindred.     { see also: Livy 27.19 }

[1.8] L   Nor is the memory of L. Paullus to be forgotten. When he heard that Perseus, now a prisoner, but previously a king, had been brought to him, he went to meet him wearing all the emblems of a Roman magistrate, and with his right hand raised up the king, who was endeavouring to cast himself at his feet, and in the Greek tongue bade him be of good cheer. Bringing him into his tent, he made him to sit next him in the council, and did not think him beneath the honour of his table. Bring into view the battle, in which Perseus was conquered, and the story which I have just related, and it may be doubted which sight would be most delectable. For though it be a renowned thing to overcome an enemy, yet is it no less praiseworthy to have compassion on him in distress.     { see also: 168/41 }

[1.9] L   This humanity of L. Paullus reminds me not to forget the clemency of Cn. Pompeius. When he had defeated Tigranes king of Armenia, who not only fought severe wars against the Romans himself, but also protected Mithridates, a most inveterate enemy of our city, after he had been driven out of Pontus, he would not allow Tigranes to lie prostrate at his feet; but giving him words of comfort, caused him to put the diadem, which he had cast away, upon his head again. And having laid certain commands upon him, he restored him to his former dignity; for he thought it equally fine to conquer kings and to create kings.     { see also: 66/29 }

[1.10] L   How noble an example of clemency bestowed was Cn. Pompeius, but how miserable an example of pity not shown! For he that had crowned the head of Tigranes with regal emblems, his head despoiled of three triumphal crowns, could not find a burial-place in the world, which but recently he owned. But cut from his body, lacking a funeral-pyre, his head was presented as a gift of Egyptian perfidy, lamentable to the very eyes of the victor. For as soon as Caesar beheld it, forgetful of his enmity, he put on the countenance of a father-in-law; and then, as befitted him, he caused the head of Pompeius to be burnt with most precious scents, and paid his tears to the memory of him and his daughter. For if the mind of that divine leader had not been so tender, he that a little before was accounted the pillar of the Roman empire (so Fortune turns the scales of human affairs) would have lain without burial.     { see also: Plutarch Caes_48 }

Caesar also hearing of the death of Cato, was heard to say, that he envied Cato's glory, as Cato had envied his; and he gave Cato's estate safe and whole to his children. And certainly it would have been no small part of Caesar's divine achievements, to have caused the safety of Cato.     { see also: Plutarch CatMin_72 }

[1.11] L   And certainly the soul of Mark Antony could understand equal humanity. For he gave the body of M. Brutus to his own freedman to bury. And so that he might be the more honourably burnt, he caused him to be covered with his general's cloak; believing him as he lay, not an enemy, but a citizen, all hatred now forgotten. And when he learnt that the freeman had taken away the general's cloak, in great anger he commanded him to be punished immediately, speaking first as follows: "Did you not know how great a man he was whose funeral I committed to your charge?" His brave and pious victory at Philippi the gods willingly beheld, nor could they stop their ears at these words of generous indignation.     { see also: Plutarch Ant_22 }


[1e.1] L   From commemorating Roman examples, being led into Macedonia, I am compelled to set forth the character of Alexander. Just as his bravery in war deserved infinite renown, so his clemency merited high respect and love. He, while he passed through all nations with an indefatigable swiftness, being overtaken at a certain place with a storm of snow, observed a Macedonian soldier, decrepit with age, almost numbed with cold, while he himself was sitting in a raised chair near the fire. Therefore considering not the rank, but the age of both, he descended from his seat, and with those hands with which he had crushed the power of Darius, he took the benumbed soldier and led him to his own seat, saying that would be better for him - which would be a capital offence among the Persians - to sit in the king's chair. What wonder then if they thought it a pleasure to serve such a general for so many years, to whom the safety of a common soldier was more dear than the grandeur of his own person?     { see also: Curtius 8.4.15-17 }

The same person also, yielding not to any mortal man but to Nature and Fortune, though faint with the violence of his disease, yet leaning upon his elbow, reached out his right hand to all that would take their leave of him. Who would not run to embrace that hand, which though now oppressed by fate, sufficed to embrace an army, with an humanity as lively as his courage?     { see also: Arrian Anab_7.26 }

[1e.2] L   Humanity is of no robust nature, yet we may proclaim the clemency of Pisistratus, tyrant of Athens. When a young man inflamed with love of his maiden daughter, meeting her in the street, kissed her, and therefore his wife wanted him to punish the man with death, he replied, "If we punish those that love us, what must we do to those that hate us?" It is incongruous to have to add, that this saying came out of the mouth of a tyrant.     { see also: Diodorus 9.37 }

Thus he tolerated the affront offered his daughter; and he tolerated this injury done to himself even more commendably. For being incessantly taunted and reviled by his friend Thrasippus at dinner, he so restrained his anger and his tongue, as if he had been a courtier reviled by the tyrant: and as he went away, thinking he had withdrawn sooner than ordinary for fear, he kindly invited him to stay. Thrasippus being in the heat of his drink, spat full in his face, and yet he could not move him to revenge. Pisistratus pulled away his sons also, who wanted to intervene against the abuses suffered by their father. The next morning when Thrasippus intended to punish himself with a violent death, the tyrant came to him, and giving him his faith that he should still remain in the same degree of favour with him, kept him from the execution of his purpose. Had he done nothing else worthy of honour or memory, yet by these very acts of his he would have sufficiently recommended himself to posterity.     { see also: Seneca Dial_5.11 }

[1e.3] L   Patient and gentle also was the mind of king Pyrrhus. When he heard that some of the Tarentines at a great feast had spoken disparagingly about him, he called for those that were present, and asked them, if they had spoken those things which he had been told. Whereupon one of them made answer, "If our wine had not come to an end, those things which we spoke of you, would have been nothing, compared to what we should have said." This so pleasant excuse of their drunkenness, and simple confession of the truth, turned the king's anger into laughter. By this clemency he so far prevailed, that the sober Tarentines gave him thanks, and those that had been drunk wished him well.     { see also: Quintilian 6.3.10 }

The same height of humanity caused him to send Lycon the Molossian with an escort for the greater safety of the Roman ambassadors, who he heard were coming towards him to ransom their prisoners. And to make their reception more honourable, he himself with a body of cavalry richly attired went out from the camp to meet them. He was not so much corrupted with the success of prosperity, as to hinder all prospect of respect from those with whom he was at greatest enmity.

[1e.4] L   He received the due reward for his mild temper at the last hour of his death. For when he had invaded the city of Argos with most dismal omens, and Alcyoneus the son of king Antigonus had with great joy brought his severed head, as a most happy act of victory to his father, who was labouring in the defence of the city, Antigonus rebuked his son for gloating over the demise of so great a man, forgetful of human calamities. He picked up his head from the ground, and covering it with the broad-rimmed hat wherewith his own head was covered, after the manner of the Macedonians, he caused it, reunited with the body, to be honourably burnt. And when his son Helenus was brought a prisoner to him, he commanded him to bear a royal spirit, and to remain in his regal attire, and moreover gave him the bones of Pyrrhus, enclosed in a golden casket, to carry to his brother Alexander in his country of Epirus.     { see also: Plutarch Pyrrh_34 }

[1e.5] L   The Campanians also, when our army was compelled by the Samnites to pass under the yoke at Caudium, and entered their city not only unarmed but even naked, received them as kindly as if they had entered in triumph, bearing the spoils of their enemies before them. They immediately presented the consul with all the emblems of his honour, and they bestowed upon the soldiers clothes, arms, horses and provisions, by which they took away the neediness and deformity of the Roman defeat. If they had been as constant against Hannibal for the Roman empire, they would not have given any cause for the rage of the cruel axes.     { see also: Livy 9.6 }

[1e.6] L   Having made mention of a most bitter enemy, I shall make an end of the subject in hand, with those actions of kindness which he performed to the Romans. For Hannibal, having sought the body of Aemilius Paullus, who was slain at Cannae, with all diligence, as much as in him lay, would not permit it to lie unburied. He also caused the body of Ti. Gracchus, who fell unfortunately into an ambush of the Lucanians, to be honourably buried, and delivered his bones to our soldiers, to be carried into his own country. When Marcellus was slain in the territory of the Brutii, while with more eagerness than consideration he endeavoured to spy on the actions of the Carthaginians, he sought him out, and laid him upon a funeral-pyre, clad in a Punic cloak, and adorned with a crown of gold. And therefore the sweetness of humanity penetrates into the very breasts of rude barbarians, mollifies the cruel and severe eyes of enemies, and bends the most insolent pride of victory. Nor is it a difficult thing for clemency to find an easy passage through hostile weapons, and swords drawn for combat. It overcomes anger, throws down rage, and mingles hostile blood with hostile tears. It produced that admirable speech of Hannibal, delivering his judgment at the funerals of the Roman generals . . . Therefore Paullus, Marcellus and Gracchus brought him more honour by their funerals, than by their deaths. For he deceived them with his Punic trickery, but honoured them with Roman clemency. And you, brave and pious souls, have enjoyed obsequies not to be repented of; for you fell most desirably in your country, and also more nobly for your country; so you received the honour of that last office due to you, which by misfortune you had lost.

II.   Of Gratitude

Next let us take a view of the grateful and ungrateful effects and actions of the mind, that virtue and vice may receive their due reward, from a due estimate of the value of either. However, because they are distinguished by contrary ends and designs, we also intend to separate them in writing. And therefore let us begin with those things, that rather deserve praise than reprehension.

[2.1] L   And so that we may start with public actions, let us take into consideration Marcius, who invading his own country, and having brought a very great army of the Volsci to the very gates of the city, threatened the utter destruction of the Roman empire. But at the intercession of his mother Veturia, and his wife Volumnia, he was persuaded to abandon his violent enterprise. In memory of this, the senate gave very great privileges to the Roman matrons. For they ordered that men should give way to women in the street, as acknowledging the women's garment to have been a greater safety to their city than their arms. They added also a new distinction of wool bands to the adornments of their ears; they also permitted them to wear purple clothes and gold trimmings; and more then all this, they erected a temple and an altar to Fortune of Women, in the very same place where Coriolanus's wrath was appeased, to testify their grateful acknowledgment of so great a benefit, by their religious respect and reverence that they had of it.     { see also: Livy 2.40 }

The Senate was no less famous for gratitude at the time of the Second Punic War. For when Capua was besieged by Fulvius, there were two women in the town who would by no means be dissuaded from showing eminent signs of goodwill toward the Romans. The one was named Vestia Oppia, a lady of a good family, the other Cluvia Facula, a prostitute; the former sacrificed daily for the success of the Roman army, and the latter regularly supplied provisions to the Roman prisoners. When the town was captured, the senate restored to them both their liberty and their goods; and if they wanted any other reward, bade them freely demand it, for they were willing to give it. It was remarkable that the senate had leisure, in a time of so much celebration, to return thanks to two common women, and moreover that they did it so readily.     { see also: Livy 26.33  }  

[2.2] L   What example could be more commendable than that of the Roman youths, who in the consulship of Nautius and Minucius nominated themselves voluntarily to give assistance to the Tusculans, whose territory had been invaded by the Aequi, because shortly before the  Tusculans had most stoutly defended the Roman empire. This was a novel thing to hear: the whole army enlisting themselves, lest their country should seem to lack a grateful spirit.     { see also: Livy 3.31 }

[2.3] L   A great example of gratitude was that of the people toward Q. Fabius Maximus. When he died after holding five consulships, with great success and advantage to the commonwealth, they strove as to who should contribute the most money to enhance the splendour and magnificence of his funeral. Let us prize the rewards of virtue, when we find brave men to be more happy in their burials, than the slothful in their lives.     { see also: Plutarch Fab_27 }

[2.4] L   With no small glory was gratitude shown to this Fabius, while he was still living. For Minucius, master of the horse, who was made equal in authority with him as dictator, by a decree of the senate - which had never been done before - divided the army and fought separately with Hannibal in Samnium. Yet Minucius, seeing the great defeat he would have suffered by his own rashness, if Fabius had not come promptly to his relief, promptly acknowledged Fabius as his father, and commanded him to be hailed as patron by his own legions. Laying down his entitlement to equality, he submitted his office of master of the horse to the dictatorship of Fabius, as of right it ought to be; and he corrected the impudent error of the populace, by the grateful indication of his feelings.     { see also: Livy 22.29-30 }

[2.5] L   A story to be related upon equally good grounds, is that Q. Terentius Culleo, born of a praetorian family, and of distinguished rank among the senators, should follow as he did the triumphal chariot of the elder Africanus, wearing a cap of liberty, because after being a prisoner of the Carthaginians, he had been recovered by him. And therefore he deservedly paid back, in view of the whole people, his acknowledgment of a benefit received from him, as if from his former master, who was the author of his liberty.     { see also: Livy 30.45 }  

[2.6] L   But when Flamininus triumphed over Philip, there was not only one, but two thousand Roman citizens who followed his chariot wearing caps of liberty. They having been captured in the Punic Wars, and enslaved in Greece, were by his care gathered together and restored to their former freedom. The honour of the general seemed redoubled that day, who at the same time let the people see their enemies defeated by him, and their fellow-citizens preserved by him. Also their preservation was doubly acceptable to all, seeing that so many, and those so grateful persons, had recovered their deserved liberty.     { see also: Plutarch Flam_13 }

[2.7] L   Metellus, as famous for his tears as others for their victories, obtained the name of Pious, for his passionate and constant love of his father in exile. This man being consul, was not ashamed to entreat the people on the behalf of Q. Calidius, candidate for the praetorship, because he as tribune, was author of the law by which his father was recalled. He always afterwards called Calidius the patron of his house and family. Nor did he thereby any way diminish the greatness which he had obtained; seeing that it was not the humility of his spirit, but the gratefulness of his mind, which made him submit the grandeur of his dignity to the great deserts of an inferior person.     { see also: Cicero Planc_69 }

[2.8] L   And therefore the spirit of gratitude of C. Marius was not only eminent, but also powerful. For observing that two cohorts of the Camertes had bravely withstood the fury of the Cimbri, contrary to the terms of the treaty he immediately gave them Roman citizenship. This act of his he both truly and nobly excused, saying that in the noise and bustle of battle, he could not hear the words of the civil law. And indeed that was a time, when there was more need to defend, than to hear the law.     { see also: 101/10 }

[2.9] L   Sulla in the contest for praise every where follows the footsteps of Marius. For being dictator, he not only uncovered his head to Pompey, who was a private person, but also rose from his chair, and alighted from his horse. And in a public assembly he declared that he had done this willingly, remembering that Pompey when he was only eighteen years of age had fought on his side, with his father's army. There were many remarkable things in Pompey, but I know not whether anything happened to him more remarkable than this, that the abundance of his benefactions caused Sulla at length to forget himself.     { see also: Plutarch Pomp_8 }

[2.10] L   And while we talk of men of great splendour, let there be some place for humbler gratitude. For when Cornutus the praetor was commanded by the senate to let out contracts for the funerals of Hirtius and Pansa, they who provided all the necessities for the funerals, belonging to the temple of Libitina, promised the use of their equipment and their attendance without charge; because the two men had been slain fighting for their country. And by their constant and earnest requests they procured, that the funeral arrangements should be assigned to them, at the charge of one sesterce. The terms of the contract rather augmented than extenuated their praise; seeing that they disregarded gain, who lived by no other thing than gain.


Let not their ashes take it ill, if the kings of foreign nations come next in order to be mentioned after this sordid class, which either was not to be mentioned at all, or else to be placed in the last rank of domestic examples. But since honourable acts done by the meanest ought not to slip our memory, while they obtain a distinct and proper place, they neither seem to be added to the one group, nor preferred before the other.

[2e.1] L   Darius, when he was  still a private person, was mightily impressed by a mantle of Syloson the Samian; and by his more curious viewing of it, caused Syloson to give it him freely and gladly. But how great a value Darius put upon that small gift, he soon made known. When he gained control of the empire, he gave to Syloson the whole city and island of the Samians for his possession. Not that he honoured the price, but the opportunity and season of the gift; and rather considered from whom the gift came, than to whom it was given.     { see also: Herodotus 3.139-140 }

[2e.2] L   Magnificently grateful also was King Mithridates, who made an exchange of all his prisoners taken from the enemy, for one Leonicus, a most courageous preserver of his own person from eminent danger, who was taken in a sea-fight by the Rhodians. He reckoned it more noble to give his most bitter enemies an advantage, than to be unmindful of someone who had deserved so well of him.

[2e.3] L   More liberal still were the people of Rome, for they gave all Asia as a gift to king Attalus. But Attalus was not inferior in the justice of his last will and testament, by which he returned it to them all back again. So that the munificence of the one, and the gratitude of the other, cannot be set down in so many words of praise, as the vast cities given in friendship and piously restored.     { see also: 133/14 }

[2e.4] L   But the breast of Masinissa was perhaps outstandingly replete with feelings of gratitude. For when by the generosity of Scipio and the Roman people he was given possession of a very large kingdom, by a most constant and loyal goodwill he continued the memory of that noble gift to the very end of his life, which he enjoyed to a very great age, so that not only all Africa, but all other nations knew him to be more faithful to the family of the Cornelii, and the city of Rome, than to himself. He, though he were very hard put to it by the Carthaginians, and was hardly able to defend his own kingdom, delivered to  Scipio Aemilianus, grandson of the other Scipio, a large part of the Numidian army, to take as reinforcements to the consul Lucullus in Spain; for he thought more of former benefits than of the present danger. And when he was near his end and confined to bed, leaving his kingdom's great resources to his fifty-four sons, he asked M'. Manilius, then proconsul in Africa, to send Scipio Aemilianus, who then was under his command, to him; believing he should die more happy, could he but commit his last words and breath to his embraces. But since his death occurred before Scipio could arrive, he instructed his wife and children to acknowledge but one people in the world, the Romans; and but one family among the Romans, that of the Scipios. They should leave all matters for Aemilianus to decide, giving him the sole power of making a division, and whatever he ordained, they should observe as inviolable, as if he had left it by will. Thus died Masinissa, having prolonged his life through many diverse varieties of change to the hundredth year, with unflagging loyalty.     { see also: Appian Pun_105-107 }

By these and such other examples, is well-doing increased and continued among men. These are the motives, these the incentives, for which we burn with a desire of well-deserving. And certainly these are the greatest and the most splendid sort of riches, to be reckoned opulent in bestowing riches. Since we have so far described the pious regard of gratitude, let us now show how it has been despised, that we may the better know the difference, by our censure.

III.   Of Ingratitude

[3.1] L   The senate was placed by the father of our city in the highest rank of honour, yet miserably tore him in pieces in the senate-house; and thought it no crime to take away his life, who had given life to the Roman empire. The notable piety of posterity cannot dissemble: that rude and fierce generation was contaminated with the blood of their founder.     { see also: Plutarch Rom_27 }

[3.2] L   The following ungrateful error of a faulty spirit shortly afterwards caused sad repentance in our city. Camillus, the most triumphant enlarger and the most certain defender of the Roman power, yet could not preserve himself in his own city, whose safety he had established, increased and enlarged. For being accused by L. Appuleius, tribune of the plebs, of having embezzled the spoils of the Veientes, he was by a hard, and as I may say iron sentence, condemned and sent into exile. And this happened at such a time, when having lost a most hopeful son, he was rather to have been relieved with comfort, than to have been laden with calamities. But his country, unmindful of the extraordinary merits of so great a person, heaped the affliction of exile upon the loss of his son. "But," one might say, "the tribune of the plebs complained that fifteen thousand asses were missing from the treasury." That was an unworthy sum, for the Roman people to deprive themselves of so great a leader.     { see also: Livy 5.32  }

While my previous protest is still shaking, another one rises to follow it.The elder Africanus, when Rome was almost quite broken by the Punic arms, when she was almost bleeding to death, restored her again, and made her mistress of Carthage. In recompense for this, his countrymen confined him to a poor village near a stinking lake, which he seemed to resent until his death, causing this inscription to be put upon his tomb: "Ungrateful country, you do not even have my bones." What could be more unworthy than the necessity of doing this, what more just than his complaint, or more moderate than his revenge? He denied his ashes to a city, which he had preserved from being reduced to ashes. Therefore this revenge was a greater unkindness to ungrateful Rome, than the violence which Coriolanus offered to it. For he only frightened Rome, but Africanus made Rome ashamed: not being willing, such was his piety, to complain of their severity, until after his death.     { see also: Livy 38.53 }

No doubt, it was a kind of comfort to him, that his brother had suffered the same before; who, after he had defeated Antiochus, made Asia subject to the Roman people, and celebrated a most splendid triumph, was by the people accused of diverting public money for his own private use, and thrown into prison.     { see also: 187/12 }

By no means inferior in virtue was the younger Africanus, nor any more fortunate in his end. For after he had utterly destroyed two cities, Numantia and Carthage, both threatening destruction to the Roman empire, he was murdered at home, without anyone to avenge his death in all the forum.     { see also: 129/18 }

Who can be unaware that Scipio Nasica was as famous in the toga, as the other two Scipios were in war? He prevented Ti. Gracchus from strangling the commonwealth with his violent hands; yet, because of the low esteem which the citizens had of his virtue, he went, under the specious pretence of an embassy, into a voluntary exile, as far as Pergamum, and there spent the remainder of his days, without any longing for his ungrateful country.     { see also: Cicero TGrac_21 }

I remain in the same name, not having yet done with the complaints of the Cornelian gens. For P. Lentulus, a most famous citizen and eminently loyal to his country, after he had piously and bravely overthrown C. Gracchus in a pitched battle on the Aventine hill, in which he received serious wounds, as a reward for that victory, whereby he had preserved the laws, peace and liberty of his country, was not permitted to live peacefully in the city, and therefore wearied with envy and slander, he begged the senate for a posting abroad; and having made a set speech, wherein he prayed to the immortal gods that his ungrateful country might never have occasion to use him again, he went into Sicily, and there spent the remainder of his days. So a series of five Cornelii provided five examples of an ungrateful country.

G These men withdrew voluntarily, but Ahala, when as master of the horse he killed Sp. Maelius who was seeking royal power, was punished with exile for preserving the liberty of his fellow-citizens.     { see also: Cicero Dom_86 }

[3.3] L   The spirit of the senate and the people can be moved as if by a sudden storm, and therefore should be pursued with moderate complaints; but the ungrateful deeds of individuals should be criticised with fuller censure. They were capable of reason, with the freedom to consider each course of action, but then chose injustice rather than piety. What cloud or storm of words could be severe enough to express the ingratitude of Sextilius? He was defended and successfully brought off from an accusation of a serious crime by C. Caesar, yet he did hesitate to betray and deliver him up to the cruelty of his enemies, dragging him away from the rites of his treacherous table and from the altars of his shameful household gods, when Caesar came to his house near Tarquinii for shelter in the time of Cinna's proscription - as he could rightly claim because of his past assistance. Had his accuser been forced by public events to implore the same kindness upon his knees, it would have been inhuman to have denied him; for those whom wrongs cause us to hate, misery makes us to pity. But Sextilius betrayed not his accuser, but his protector, to the cut-throat hand of his most inveterate adversary; if he did this for fear of death, it was unworthy of life, if for hope of reward, most worthy of death.

[3.4] L   I will relate another example of the same nature. M. Cicero had defended C. Popillius Laenas, of the territory of Picenum, at the request of M. Caelius, with no less care than eloquence; although the outcome of the case had been very doubtful, he restored him safely to his household gods. This Popillius afterwards, being neither in word or deed harmed by Cicero, of his own accord begged of M. Antonius, that he might be the person to be sent to slay Cicero when he was proscribed. Having obtained that detestable commission, away he ran over-joyed to Caieta; and that very person, I need not say who was the author of his dignity and safety, but also one who ought to have been respected by him to the utmost, that very person did he command patiently to offer his throat to be cut. And thus he cut off the head of Roman eloquence, and the celebrated right hand of peace, in perfect leisure; and he returned with joy to the city bearing them, as if he had brought along with him the spoils of any enemy commander. It did not occur to him, as he carried this wicked load, that he was holding the head that had once pleaded for the safety of his own head. Words are too imperfect to describe this monster, seeing there is not another Cicero living to bewail his unhappy fate.     { see also: Seneca Suas_6.20 }

[3.5] L   What to say of you, Pompey the Great, I do not know, when I consider the vastness of your great fortune and renown, that once spread over the sea as well as the land, and when I recall that your downfall was so great that I cannot attempt to describe it. But even if we were silent, the death of Cn. Carbo, by whom you were protected in your youth, when you were contesting in the forum for your estate, but who was later slain by your command, will still be remembered, not without some censure. By this ungrateful deed, you seemed more to stand in awe of Sulla's power, than to consider your own honour.     { see also: Plutarch Pomp_10 }


[3e.1] L   But lest other states should taunt us, after we have confessed our own weaknesses; we find that the Carthaginians intended to kill or banish Hannibal, when for their honour and for the enlargement of their empire, he had slain so many of our generals, and cut to pieces so many of our armies, that had he slain only so many common soldiers of his enemies, it would have won him sufficient renown.     { see also: 195/1 }

[3e.2] L   Lacedaemon never bred a greater or more useful citizen than Lycurgus. He was a person that Pythian Apollo did not disdain to speak to, when he consulted the oracle, and told him that he knew not whether to account him a man or a god. Yet neither the integrity of his life, nor the constant love which he bore for his country, nor all the wholesome laws which he had made, could preserve him from the hatred of his fellow citizens. For sometimes they threw stones at him in the streets; sometimes they drove him out of the market-place; they put out one of his eyes, and at last utterly banished him from his country. What may we think of other cities, when a city so famous as this for steadfastness, moderation and gravity, proved so ungrateful against a citizen so well deserving?     { see also: Plutarch Lyc_11 }

[3e.3] L   Take Theseus from Athens, and either there would have been no such thing as Athens, or else not half so famous. For he combined his scattered countrymen into one city: and gave the shape and form of a city to people who were wild and rustic before. When he was but a youth, he quelled the cruel tyranny of Minos; he tamed the boundless insolence of the Thebans; he assisted the sons of Hercules; and wherever wickedness was grown headstrong and monstrous, he overcame it by his virtue and his strength. Yet was he banished by the Athenians, and the island of Scyros, too small for the exile, became famous only for his tomb.     { see also: Plutarch Thes_35 }

Also Solon made such wholesome laws, and indeed so famous, that if the Athenians had continued using them, they would still be the masters of great territories; he captured Salamis, a strong fortress that threatened their ruin and was only a little distance from them; he foresaw the tyranny of Pisistratus, and was the first that dared to advise the people to resist him by force of arms; but in his old age he lived an exile in Cyprus. Nor was it his lot to be buried in his own country, of which he had so well deserved.     { see also: Diogenes 1.50-62 }

The Athenians would have done Miltiades a favour if, after the battle of Marathon, in which he defeated the Persians with their three hundred thousand men, they had sent him immediately into exile, and not kept him chained up in prison till he died. But surely after that they thought that they had maltreated this well-deserving man sufficiently? Not so!  They would not suffer his body to be buried, till Cimon his son had surrendered himself into the same prison. Chains and a prison were a sad inheritance for the son of so great a general, who was himself afterwards one of the greatest generals of that age.     { see also: Nepos 5.1 }

Aristides also, who was the measure of justice all over Greece, and the greatest example of moderation that ever was, was commanded to leave his country. Happy Athenians, if they could find anyone who was either a good man, or a patriot, after this man was gone, with whom sanctity itself seemed to depart!     { see also: Plutarch Arist_7 }

Themistocles was a most notable example of those who experienced the ingratitude of their country. When he had brought Athens to safety, and raised it to be the most famous, the most wealthy, the leading city of all Greece, he found his countrymen so incensed against him, that he was forced to flee to the mercy of Xerxes, whom he had ruined before.     { see also: Thucydides 1.135-137 }

Phocion, who was endowed with two qualities which are the best to appease wrath and fury, I mean clemency and liberality, was almost put to torture by the Athenians; and when he was dead, he was not permitted so much as one piece of Athenian earth  to cover his bones. They ordered him to be cast out beyond the borders of the land where he had lived as one of their best citizens.     { see also: Plutarch Phoc_34-37 }

Certainly then it must be looked upon as a piece of public madness, by common consent to punish the greatest virtues as if they were the greatest crimes, and to repay benefactions with insults. This should not be endured anywhere, and ought to have been more especially abominated in Athens; where there is a law against ingratitude - and not without reason, because it diminishes the exchange of doing and receiving benefits, which is the support of human life, by neglecting to return kindness for kindness. How severely therefore are they to be reprehended, who having most just laws, but being very wickedly inclined, rather choose to obey their depraved character, than their laws? So that if it could have happened that those great persons, whose misfortunes I have related, were able to appeal against their country to other states, reciting that law about ingratitude, do you not think they would quickly have silenced those talkative people, however ingenious they were? This is what they would say: "Your disparate hearths and huts separated in villages have been transformed into the pillar of Greece; Marathon glitters with the Persian trophies; Salamis and Artemisium beheld the destruction of Xerxes' fleet; those walls that were pulled down, rose up more glorious from their ruins. But what has become of all those great men that did these great things? You, Athens, should answer for yourself. You have allowed Theseus to be buried on a little rock, Miltiades to die in prison, and Cimon his son to be bound in his father's chains; Themistocles the victor to prostrate himself at the knees of that very person whom he had vanquished; Solon also, with Aristides and Phocion, to leave behind their household-gods. While our ashes are foully and wretchedly scattered, at the same time you give honour to the bones of Oedipus, infamous for the death of his father and for marrying his mother, in the manner of a sacrosanct hero, with an altar between the very hill of Ares - the venerable home of human and divine disputes - and the lofty citadel of Minerva the guardian; and so the wickedness of foreigners is more pleasing to you than the good deeds of your citizens. Therefore read your own law, which you are bound by oath to observe; and since you did not give due reward to virtue, make proper atonement to those you have injured." Their ghosts may be silent, bound by the necessity of fate - but a tongue that is free to speak openly will not fail to condemn the dreadful ingratitude of Athens.

Following chapters (4-10)

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