Valerius Maximus

-   Book 6 , chapters 5-9


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

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V.   Of Justice

It is now time to enter the sacred recesses of Justice, where always respect for just and honest actions is religiously observed; where ambition gives way to modesty, and desire gives way to reason; and there nothing is reputed profitable that is not honourable. Of this our city among all nations is the most certain and principal example.

[5.1] L   When Camillus the consul besieged Falerii, a school-master brought over to the Roman camp several boys, amongst the most noble in the city, under pretence of taking them fo a walk outside. He did not doubt that if they were in the power of the Romans, the Falisci would submit to our general. After consultation, the senate decreed concerning this affair, that the boys should be sent home, flogging their master with rods  along the way, while his hands were tied behind him. This justice of theirs overcame the minds of those, whose walls they were unable to storm. For the Falisci, overcome by their kindness, not by their arms, opened their gates to the Romans.     { see also: Livy 5.27 }

The same city, often rebelling but always broken by adverse fortune, was at length constrained to yield to Q. Lutatius the consul. The Roman people intended to take the extremity of revenge against the city, but when they learnt from Papirius, who by the consul's command had composed the terms of surrender, that the Falisci had surrendered themselves to the faith, not to the power of the Romans, they laid aside all their anger, lest they should be found lacking in justice. They suppressed the force of their hatred, which is not easily overcome; and the pride of victory, which easily begets lawlessness.     { see also: 241/23  }

Another time when P. Claudius, having by a successful campaign captured the Camerini, had sold them into slavery according to custom, though by this means they saw their treasury filled with money, and their empire enlarged; yet because it did not seem to be done according to the rules of honour and justice, they sought the Camerini out diligently, and redeemed them to liberty. They assigned them a place to dwell on the Aventine, and restored their property to them. They also gave them money, not for a senate-house, but for building shrines and making sacrifices; and by their justice they gave these miserable persons a cause to rejoice in their destruction, because they were raised up again in this manner.

What I have related was confined within our own walls and the neighbouring regions. What I shall now relate has spread over all the world. Timochares the Ambracian promised Fabricius the consul, that he would poison Pyrrhus with the assistance of his son, who was his cup-bearer. When the senate was informed of this, they sent ambassadors to inform Pyrrhus about it, warning him to beware of this kind of treachery. They remembered that their city was built by the son of Mars { Romulus }, and that war was to be carried on by arms, and not by poison. However they suppressed Timochares' name; and thus they acted fairly in both respects, because they were unwilling either to get rid of an enemy in a disreputable way, or to betray someone who wished to give them assistance.     { see also: 278/2 }

[5.2] L   Admirable also was the justice of four tribunes of the plebs at the same time. When L. Hortensius their colleague had summoned L. Atratinus ( under whose command they along with the rest of the cavalry had rallied the Roman army, and renewed the battle against the Volsci at Verrugo ) to appear before the people; they swore on the rostra, that it would be a disgrace to them, if their general should be found guilty. For these noble men would not endure, while they were still in office, to behold him as a civilian under threat of death, whose life, in battle, they had defended with their own wounds and blood. This justice of theirs so moved the assembly, that they forced Hortensius to desist.     { see also: Livy 4.42 }

[5.3] L   Nor did they show themselves less noble in that which follows. When Ti. Gracchus and C. Claudius had exasperated the greatest part of the city, by acting so severely in their censorship, P. Popillius the tribune of the plebs accused them before the people of high treason. He was moved to do this not only by the public disquiet, but also by his own private interest, because they had ordered his relative Rutilius to pull down a wall in a public place. In this trial, when many centuries of the first class openly condemned Claudius, but all agreed to acquit Gracchus; Gracchus cried out aloud, that if his colleague was condemned, he would undergo the same punishment of exile as he did. This justice of his diverted the storm from both their heads and fortunes. For the people absolved Claudius, and Popillius withdrew his action against Gracchus.     { see also: 169/19 }

[5.4] L   Another college of tribunes also deserved great praise. For when one of them, L. Cotta by name, under the protection of his sacrosanct authority, refused to pay his creditors, they decreed, that if he would neither pay his debts nor give surety, they would assist the creditors in their appeal. They thought it unjust, that his public authority should be a cover for private misconduct. Thus the justice of the tribunes dragged out Cotta when he was hiding in the sanctuary of his office.     { see also: Lucilius 440-442 }

[5.5] L   In another equally splendid example, Cn. Domitius, a tribune of the plebs, summoned M. Scaurus before the people. Scaurus was then the leading man in the state, and Domitius hoped to ruin him, if he was successful, or at least to damage his reputation by a criminal accusation. While he was thus eagerly thirsting for the blood of Scaurus, a slave of Scaurus came to him by night, and promised to reveal to him many great and heinous crimes, to assist his accusation. As a slave-master and an opponent, he considered and judged the information with very different feelings, but justice overcame his hostility. For immediately he shut his own ears, and the informer's mouth; and he caused the slave to be taken back to Scaurus. He was an accuser, I will not say, to be loved, but rather to be admired by the person accused; and the people, for this as well as for his other virtues, created him consul, censor, and pontifex maximus.     { see also: Cicero Deiot_31 }

[5.6] L   Nor did L. Crassus act differently, in a similar display of justice. He brought an accusation against Cn. Carbo, who was his greatest enemy; and yet when a slave of Carbo brought him a box belonging to his master, containing several documents, which Crassus might have made use of to condemn him, he sent the box back, locked as it was, and the slave in chains, to his master. What justice may we suppose then flourished among friends, when enemies and prosecutors behaved so nobly towards each other!

[5.7] L   Sulla desired not even his own safety, as much as the ruin of Sulpicius Rufus, whose tribunician fury continually vexed him. When Sulpicius was proscribed, Sulla was told that he had been betrayed by his own slave, where he lay hiding in a country house. In order that the fidelity of his decree might be preserved, he freed the informant, but then caused him for his disloyalty to be thrown down from the Tarpeian Rock, with his freedman's cap, which he had purchased by his treachery. Sulla was a most insolent victor at other times, but then most just in his authority.     { see also: Plutarch Sull_10 }


[5e.1] L   So that we may not seem to forget the justice of foreigners: Pittacus of Mitylene was one to whose merits his fellow citizens were either so much indebted, or else had so much confidence in his virtues, that they offered him absolute power over their city; he kept this so long as a war continued with the Athenians about Sigeum. But after he had by a victory secured peace, he presently resigned his authority against the will of the Mitylenians, so that he might not be the lord of his city any longer than the necessity of affairs required. And when by the consent of all the people half of the recovered land was offered to him, he utterly refused the gift; esteeming it below himself, to lessen the glory of his virtue by the greatness of his plunder.     { see also: Diogenes 1.75 }

[5e.2] L   I must now relate the cleverness of one man, so that I may also relate the justice of another. When Themistocles had given the Athenians wholesome advice to withdraw to their ships, and after that Xerxes and his army had been driven out of Greece, he went about restoring the ancient dignity of the city. He increased its resources by secret means in order to raise the city to dominion over all of Greece; and he told the people in public, that he had thought of a plan, whereby if fortune would permit it to be achieved, there could be nothing greater or more for powerful than the Athenian people, but that it was not a thing to be divulged. Therefore he asked them to appoint some person, to whom he might privately reveal it, and Aristides was appointed. When he learnt that Themistocles intended to burn all the Lacedaemonian navy that lay in the harbour of Gytheum, so that when it was destroyed, the dominion of the sea might belong to the Athenians; he returned to his fellow citizens, and told them, that Themistocles was proposing something that was very profitable, but very unjust. Upon this the whole Assembly, when they heard it was unjust, said that it should not be done, and commanded Themistocles to desist from his enterprise.     { see also: Cicero Off_3.49 }

[5e.3] L   Nothing could be more powerful than the following examples of justice. After Zaleucus of Locri had strengthened his city with most profitable and wholesome laws, his son, convicted of adultery, according to the law made by himself, was due to have both his eyes put out. When all the city interceded for the son, out of respect for his father, for some time he obstinately refused; but at length, constrained by the pleas of the people, first putting out one of his own eyes and then one of his son's, he left the use of sight to both of them. Thus he rendered to the law the punishment which it claimed, with a most admirable mixture of justice; dividing himself into a merciful father and a just legislator.     { see also: Aelian VH_13.24 }

[5e.4] L   More severe was the justice of Charondas of Thurii. He had pacified the assemblies of his fellow citizens, which were seditious even as far as blood and violence, by making a law that if any person entered the assembly-place with his sword on, he should be promptly put to death. Some time afterwards, when having been far away in the country he had just come home, an assembly was suddenly summoned, and forgetting himself he entered the assembly with his sword on. Whereupon, being reminded that he had breached his own law, by someone who stood next him; "Well," said he, "the same person shall ratify it;" and immediately drawing his sword, he fell upon it and died. When it was possible for him to have defended or excused his error, he rather chose to make the punishment public, than detract from justice.     { see also: Diodorus 12.19 }

VI.   Of Public Integrity

When her image is set before our eyes, the venerable divinity of Trust stretches out her right hand, which is the most certain pledge of human safety. How it has flourished in our city, all nations have observed, and we shall make evident in a few examples.

[6.1] L   When Ptolemy the king had left the people of Rome to take responsibility for the tuition of his son, the senate appointed M. Aemilius Lepidus, the pontifex maximus, to be guardian of the young boy, and sent him to Alexandria for that purpose. They made use of the sanctity of a famous and most upright person, experienced in public affairs and sacred rites; and required him to make time for a foreign mission, so that the credit and dignity of the city should not in any way be impaired. This became not only the preservation, but the ornament of the royal child, so that when he came of age, he knew not of which he had most to boast, whether in the fortune of his father, or the majesty of his tutor.     { see also: Justin 30.2.8-3.4 }

[6.2] L   Famous also was the following piece of Roman integrity. After a great fleet of the Carthaginians was defeated near the coast of Sicily, the generals of the enemy, quite out of heart, began to think of making some overtures for peace. But when it was discussed who should go, Hamilcar refused, for fear lest the Romans should treat him as the Carthaginians had treated Cornelius Asina the consul, whom they had detained as a prisoner in chains. But Hanno, better understanding Roman trustworthiness, very confidently proffered himself. While he was conferring with the Romans, a military tribune said that he should beware lest he suffer same fate as as the consul Cornelius had; but both the consuls commanded the tribune to be silent: "Hanno," they declared, "from that fear the reputation of our city frees you." It would have made them famous, to seize so great a general of their enemies; but it made them much more famous, that they chose not to do it.

[6.3] L   With regard to the same enemies, the conscript fathers maintained equal fidelity in defending the privileges of ambassadors. For when M. Aemilius Lepidus and L. Flaminius were consuls, M. Claudius the praetor by an order of the senate caused L. Minucius and L. Manlius to be handed over to the Carthaginian ambassadors by the fetiales, because they had laid violent hands upon the ambassadors. The senate regarded more their own honour, than the persons for whose sake they performed justice.     { see also: Livy 38.42 }

[6.4] L   The elder Africanus followed these examples, when he had captured a ship wherein were many persons, and several of the most eminent men among the Carthaginians.  He sent them all away untouched, because they told him that they were sent as ambassadors to him, though he knew it to be an excuse of their own framing, to avoid the present danger. He preferred that the faith of a Roman general might seem to be deceived, rather than entreated in vain.

[6.5] L   Let us not forget a noble act of the senate, by no means to be omitted. Q. Fabius and Cn. Apronius, former aediles, because of a tumult that arose, had assaulted the ambassadors who came from Apollonia to Rome. As soon as the senate were informed of this, they caused the men to be handed over to the ambassadors by the fetiales, and sent a quaestor to escort them to Brundisium, lest they should receive any injury from the relatives of the men during their journey. Could such a senate-house as that be said to be a council of mortal men, and not rather the very temple of Faith?     { see also: 265/3 }


Trustworthiness has been no less resolute in our allies, than it was religiously observed in our city.

[6e.1] L   After the miserable slaughter of the two Scipios in Spain, and the destruction of the two armies of the Roman nation, the Saguntines were restrained within their own walls by the victorious arms of Hannibal. When they could no longer resist the Carthaginian power, they brought forth all their most precious things into the market-place, and kindling a pyre, threw themselves into this common and public fire, so that they might not be accounted false to their alliance with us. I can only believe that Faith herself, surveying human affairs, looked with a sorrowful countenance, beholding such a religious observance of her laws condemned by the verdict of unjust Fortune to such a sad demise.     { see also: Livy 21.14 }

[6e.2] L   By an act of the same nature, the people of Petelia obtained the same measure of praise. When they were besieged by Hannibal, because they would not forsake our alliance, they sent ambassadors to the senate, imploring relief. But the Romans, because of their losses at Cannae, were unable to assist them, and gave them liberty to provide the best they could for their own safety. Therefore they were free to accept terms from the Carthaginians. However, having turned their women and their aged and infirm people out of the city, to enable the armed men to evade starvation for longer, they obstinately defended their walls to the last; so that their whole city expired, before they would lay aside their devotion to the Roman alliance. Hannibal did not capture Petelia, but the sepulchre of Petelian loyalty.     { see also: 215/5 }

VII.   Of the Fidelity of Wives to their Husbands

[7.1] L   We should not omit the fidelity of women in marriage . Aemilia, the wife of the elder Africanus and the mother of Cornelia who was mother of the Gracchi, was so dutiful and patient, that though she knew her husband had an attachment to one of her maidservants, she took no notice of it; because she would not sully the conqueror of Africa with the stain of adultery. And so far she was from revenge, that after her husband's death, she set her maidservant free, and gave her in marriage to a freedman of his.

[7.2] L   When Q. Lucretius was proscribed by the triumvirs, Turia his wife kept him out of harm's way, between the ceiling and the roof of their bedroom, with the aid of a single maidservant, and not without great danger to herself. And so loyal was she to him, that while others who were banished, as he was, wandered about suffering in body and mind, in remote countries amongst enemies, he all the while lay safe in the bosom of his wife.     { see also: Appian BCiv_4.44 }

[7.3] L   Sulpicia was guarded very carefully by her mother Julia, for fear that she would follow her husband Lentulus Cruscellio, who had been proscribed by the triumvirs, into Sicily. Nevertheless she made her escape disguised as a servant, and with only two maidservants and two slaves she came safely to him. She banished herself, that she might not fail in her duty towards her husband.     { see also: Appian BCiv_4.39 }

VIII.   Of the Loyalty of Slaves to their Masters

It remains for us to relate the loyalty of slaves to their masters, which is so much the more praiseworthy because it was least expected from them.

[8.1] L   Marcus Antonius, a most celebrated orator in the days of our ancestors, was accused of incest. His accusers obstinately demanded from the judges that his slave might be examined as a witness; because they claimed that he carried the lantern before him, when he went to commit the crime. The slave was standing in the audience; he was at that time a beardless youth, and saw that he was about to be sent to the rack, but did not run away from it. When he came home, and saw Antonius very much troubled about the business, he earnestly begged of his master, that he might be put to the rack; affirming, that they would not force a word out of his mouth to do Antonius any harm. And with a wonderful endurance he kept his promise. For despite being lashed with many stripes, set upon the rack, and seared with burning plates of iron, he undermined the whole force of his master's accusation, by standing firm to preserve his master. Fortune might be deservedly blamed, for having imprisoned so pious and courageous a soul in the body of a slave.

[8.2] L   The consul C. Marius, who came to such a miserable end at the siege of Praeneste, tried in vain to escape through a little mine under ground. After being slightly wounded by Telesinus, with whom he had intended jointly to die, he was run through and slain by his slave, to save him from the cruelty of Sulla; though the slave could have expected a large reward, if he delivered him up to the victor. The timely assistance of his right hand, in no way seems inferior to the piety of those who have protected their masters in safety; because at that time not life, but death was most beneficial to Marius.     { see also: Livy Per_88 }

[8.3] L   Equally illustrious was the following example. Gaius Gracchus, to avoid falling into the power of his enemies, offered his neck to be cut off by his slave Philocrates. When he had cut it off with a swift blow, he thrust the sword still wet with his master's blood into his own bowels. Others call the slave Euporus: I will not argue about the name, I only admire the bravery of a faithful slave. If the noble youth had imitated his fearlessness, he would have avoided the threatening danger, by the benefit of his own and not his servant's hand. But instead he allowed that the body of Philocrates should lie in more splendour than that of Gracchus his master.     { see also: Plutarch CGrac_17  }

[8.4] L   There follows another sort of fury, and another noble family, but the same example of faithfulness. For Pindarus, the freedman of Cassius, by slaying his master at his command, after he had lost the battle of Philippi, saved him from the insults of his enemies; and then he removed himself from the sight of men by a voluntary death - nor was his body ever found. Which of the gods, avenger of the most heinous crimes of mortals, so benumbed the valour which ventured to destroy the Parent of the empire, that it should so abjectly trembling submit itself at the knees of Pindarus, to avoid punishment for a public parricide, which it deserved from the hands of a most pious victor? You, you it was, most divine Julius, who exacted the revenge due to thy celestial wounds, compelling that proud head, so treacherous towards you, to implore the sordid aid of a freedman, driven to such an extremity of fury, that he neither desired to live, nor dared to die by his own hand.     { see also: Plutarch Brut_43 }

[8.5] L   C. Plotius Plancus, the brother of Munatius Plancus who was both consul and censor, was a sad participant in these calamities. While he was lurking in the territory of Salernum, after he had been proscribed by the triumvirs, he revealed his hiding place by his effeminate way of living, and the odours of his sweet perfumes. For by this means the industrious care of those who search for condemned men smelled out his secret haunts. His slaves were apprehended by them, and long tortured, but denied they knew where their master was. Then Plancus could not endure that his slaves, so faithful and exemplary, should be any longer tormented; but he revealed himself, and offered his throat to the soldiers' swords. This contest of mutual goodwill makes it difficult to decide, whether the master were more worthy, who experienced such resolute loyalty in his servants; or the slaves, who were freed from the severity of the rack by the just compassion of their master.     { see also: Pliny HN_13.25 }

[8.6] L   What shall I say of the slave of Urbinius Panapio, who was so admirable in his loyalty? When he learnt that certain soldiers, having found where his master was, through the treachery of his other slaves, had come to his country house near Reate to kill him, exchanging his garments with him, and putting on his ring, he let his master out through a back door, and himself withdrew into his master's room and into his master's bed, where he patiently allowed himself to be killed instead of Panapio. The act is soon related, but the commendation which it deserves is longer. If one considers the sudden incursion of the soldiers, the breaking of the door locks, their menacing shouts, their savage faces, and the flashing of their weapons, he will make a true estimate of the deed; nor think that in the time it takes to say "he chose to die for another man," the actual deed could be done. However, Panapio showed how much he was beholden to his slave, by building him a large tomb, with a grateful inscription.     { see also: Appian BCiv_4.44 }

[8.7] L   I might be content with these examples; but a remarkable deed compells me to relate one more. Antius Restio, after he was proscribed by the triumvirs, when he saw all his slaves intent upon looting and ransack, on a stormy night fled from his house as secretly as possible. His escape was observed by a slave whom he had kept bound in chains, and whom he had branded on the forehead with demeaning letters. The slave followed in his footsteps benevolently, as he wandered here and there, until he caught up with him, in order to accompany him in his misery. By this most intense and perilous care, he displayed a full measure of most exceptional piety. For while the other slaves, whose condition was better at home, thought of nothing but the ransack of their master's possessions, he considered the safety of that person, who had been so cruel to him, to be the greatest profit he could enjoy. And when it would have been enough to have laid aside his anger, he added affection. Nor did his goodwill end there, but he used a stratagem to save his master. For when he perceived that bloodthirsty soldiers were nearby, he hid his master, and making a funeral pile, he seized a poor old man, whom he slew and threw into the flames. When the soldiers asked him for Antius; pointing to the pyre, he said, "I have thrown him into that pyre, in revenge for his cruelty to me." The soldiers, thinking the story was probable, went on their way; and so Antius had time to make a safe escape.     { see also: Appian BCiv_4.43 }

IX.   Of Changes in Behaviour and Fortune

Consideration of change in the behaviour and fortune of illustrious men can either add much to our hope, or diminish our cares, whether we reflect on our own condition, or the nature of others. For when we perceive some to have risen to greatness from low and contemptible beginnings, why should we not then have better hopes for ourselves? We know that it is a foolish thing to expect nothing but perpetual misfortune, and to exchange hope, which sometimes rightly favours uncertain things, for certain despair.

[9.1] L   Manlius Torquatus, when he was a youth, was considered to have so dull and awkward a disposition, that he was sent into the countryside by his father L. Manlius, a person of great worth, to toil on his farm, as being unfit for either public or private business. Afterwards he pleaded in defence of his father, who was accused of some misdemeanour, and won the case for him. He later cut off his son's head, though he was a victor, because he had fought with the enemy against his command; and with a most splendid triumph, he revived his country, which had been worn out by the Latin War. Thus, his adverse fortune clouded him in his youth, only so that he might shine more gloriously in his mature years.     { see also: Livy 7.4 }

[9.2] L   Scipio Africanus the elder, whom the immortal gods decreed to be born, so that there might be a person in whom virtue might show itself in all its variety, is reported to have led a rather lax life in his younger years. He was far from the crime of luxury, but still too soft and idle for his Punic trophies, or the yoke placed on the conquered Carthaginians.     { see also: Gellius 7.8.5 }

[9.3] L   C. Valerius Flaccus also, at the time of the Second Punic War, began in a dissipated course of life. But he was chosen to be flamen by P. Licinius the pontifex maximus, in order to reclaim him from his vices. Then he applied himself to the care of the sacred things, and the observation of the religious rites, using religion itself as a guide to frugality. Eventually he became as great an example of sobriety and piety, as he he had been before of luxury.     { see also: Livy 27.8 }

[9.4] L   No person led a more debauched life than Q. Fabius Maximus, who afterwards by the great victory which he obtained over the Gauls, earned for himself and his descendants the surname of Allobrogicus. Yet in his later years, he was the chief ornament of our city, and no-one was so renowned as he.

[9.5] L   Who does not how high the authority of Q. Catulus was raised, at that time when there was a crowd of famous men living? In his younger years you will find him to have been guilty of much luxury and idleness. This however did nor prevent him from  becoming the leading man of his country. He had the honour to have his name emblazoned upon the roof of the Capitol; and by his own courage he suppressed a civil war that had been rising up with mighty force.

[9.6] L   L. Sulla, till he became quaestor, led a life that was infamous for his whoring, drinking and gaming. Therefore it was reported, that Marius being engaged in a very serious war in Africa, complained because they had sent him such an effeminate quaestor. But his virtue, having as it were broken down the fences of wickedness, made a shift to bind the hands of Jugurtha, quell Mithridates, withstand the billows of the Social War, break the power of Cinna, and compel the man who had despised him, when he was quaestor in Africa, to flee as a proscribed exile into the same province for safety. By such varied and contrary acts, he would bring anyone carefully considering the matter, to believe that there were two Sullas in one man: a dissipated youth, and the man whom I would have called brave, if he had not himself assumed the title of Fortunate.     { see also: Plutarch Sull_2 }

[9.7] L   And as we have advised those of noble birth to look to themselves with the benefit of repentance, let us add a few examples of those who dared to aim higher from humble beginnings. T. Aufidius, who once had the role of collecting merely a small part of the Asian tribute, afterwards governed all Asia, as proconsul. Nor did our allies disdain to obey the fasces of a man whom they had seen flattering the tribunals of others. For he behaved himself virtuously and nobly: plainly demonstrating, that his former way of living was only the effect of Fortune; but that the present advancement of his dignity was to be attributed to the greatness of his character.

[9.8] L   P. Rupilius was not one of the tax-collectors in Sicily, but only a humble official working for them; he was so miserably poor, that he  depended upon providing services to the allies, to survive. Yet subsequently it was from him, as consul, that all the Sicilians received their laws, after he had freed them from a bitter war against the pirates and runaway slaves. I believe that the very ports themselves, if there be any sense in mute things, would have been astonished by the remarkable change in the status of that man. For the same person that they had seen searching for his daily income, they later saw giving laws and commanding fleets and armies.

[9.9] L   To this increase in dignity I will add a greater one. When Asculum was captured, Cn. Pompeius, the father of Pompey the Great, led before the eyes of the people P. Ventidius, a beardless youth, in the triumph that he celebrated. Yet it was this Ventidius, who afterwards triumphed in Rome over the Parthians, and avenged the death of Crassus, miserably slain in a foreign country. Thus he that as a captive lived in dread of imprisonment, now as a victor crowned the Capitol with his success. And this is further remarkable fact about the same person, that he was made both praetor and consul in one and the same year.     { see also: Gellius 15.4 }

[9.10] L   Now let us consider the variability in men's circumstances. L. Lentulus after his consulship was convicted of extortion under the Caecilian Law, and yet was created censor with L. Censorinus. Thus Fortune shuffled him between honour and disgrace; condemning him after his consulship, and yet honouring him with the office of censor after he was convicted; it neither allowed him to enjoy a lasting happiness, nor long to abide in a miserable condition.

[9.11] L   Fortune showed her power also in Cn. Cornelius Scipio Asina. When he was consul, he was captured by the Carthaginians at Lipara, and by the rules of war lost everything; yet by the favour of Fortune he recovered all, and was again created consul. Who would have thought he could have been brought from the twelve fasces to the fetters of the Carthaginians? Who would have thought again, that from the Punic chains he could have advanced to the highest degrees of honour? Yet he was from a consul made a captive, and from a captive became consul.

[9.12] L   Did not the vastness of Crassus' wealth give him the surname of Rich {Dives} ? Yet poverty afterwards imposed upon him the shameful title of a bankrupt; his goods were sold by his creditors, because he could not pay his debts; and there was also the bitter sarcasm with which everyone who met him, saluted him, calling him still, Crassus the Rich.     { see also: Pliny HN_33.133 }

[9.13] L   Q. Caepio surpassed Crassus in the extent of Fortune' s inconsistency. For he obtained the splendour of the praetorship, the renown of a triumph, the dignity of a consulship, the glory of being pontifex maximus, insomuch that he was called patron of the senate; and yet he died in jail, and his body, tortured and torn by the cruel hand of the executioner on the Gemonian steps, became a spectacle of horror to the whole Roman forum.

[9.14] L   The life of Marius was a strange contest with Fortune; for he withstood all her opposition with steadfastness of mind and body. Being thought unworthy of receiving honours at Arpinum, he ventured to stand for the quaestorship at Rome. And by his patience in bearing rejections, he forced his way, rather than was admitted into the senate. He had the same rejections when he stood in elections for the tribuneship and aedileship. Standing for the praetorship, he gained the lowest rank, which however he obtained with great risk; for being accused of bribing voters, he was barely acquitted by the judges. Yet from that Marius, so meanly born at Arpinum, so despised at Rome, and so detested a candidate, sprang that Marius who subdued Africa and led king Jugurtha before his chariot in triumph, who utterly subdued the armies of the Teutones and Cimbri, whose two trophies are seen in the city, and whose seven consulships were recorded in the annals; who had the luck to be created consul after returning from exile, and to proscribe his proscriber. What could be more mutable or inconsistent than his condition? Among the miserable he was most miserable, and yet among the fortunate he was found most fortunate.     { see also: Plutarch Mar_5 }

[9.15] L   C. Caesar, whose virtues gave him admission into heaven, at the beginning of his youth went to Asia, where he was taken by pirates near the island of Pharmacussa and was forced to redeem himself for fifty talents. For so small a sum as that, Fortune would have sold off the brightest star of the world, in a pirate ship. Why then should we complain of her, when she does not even spare the associates of her divinity? But Caesar's celestial power avenged his own injury: for promptly, after pursuing the slaves and capturing them, he crucified every one of them.     { see also: 74/2 }


[9e.1] L   We have been fervent in relating our own examples, but let us be more relaxed in the narration of some foreign examples. Polemon, a young Athenian man, who was infinitely debauched and gloried in his shame, departed from a banquet, not after sun-set, but after sun-rise.  As he went home, he saw Xenocrates the philosopher's door standing wide open. Drunk as he was, richly perfumed, flimsily clad, and with a garland upon his head, he entered the school, that was full of grave and learned men. Not ashamed of the manner of his entry, he sat down to throw his drunken jests upon the wise words and wholesome precepts that were then being uttered. The company was offended by this, but Xenocrates kept his temper, and began to speak of modesty and temperance. The gravity of his speech caused Polemon to repent; he first threw his garland to the ground, soon afterwards he covered his arms underneath his cloak; shortly after that he abandoned his drunken mirth; and finally, he laid aside all his debauchery. He was cured by the wholesome medicine of one speech, and from an infamous glutton became a famous philosopher. For his mind was only a visitor in wickedness, not an inhabitant.     { see also: 313/9 }

[9e.2] L   It troubles me to remember Themistocles in his youth; whether I consider his father who disinherited him, or his mother who hanged herself, seeing the wicked course of life her son led. But he himself afterwards became the most famous person that ever Greece brought forth; and was the pledge either of hope or despair between Asia and Europe. For the latter had him as the patron of her safety, but the other held him as an assurance of victory.     { see also: Plutarch Them_2 }

[9e.3] L   Cimon in his youth was looked upon as a fool; but the Athenians later found the benefit of his foolish commands. He compelled them to condemn themselves of stupidity, who had accused him of folly.     { see also: Plutarch Cim_4 }

[9e.4] L   Two different Fortunes shared Alcibiades between them. The one assigned him a splendid nobility, vast wealth, incomparable good looks, strength of body, a most penetrating wit, and the passionate love of his compatriots. The other inflicted upon him condemnation, banishment, the sale of his property , poverty, the hatred of his country, and a violent death. Neither the one nor the other held him for long, but only by intermission, like the ebbing and flowing of the sea.     { see also: Nepos 7.1 }

[9e.5] L   Polycrates, the tyrant of Samos, lived in such a prodigality of Fortune's favours, that he was admired even to envy, and not without cause; for his endeavours all prospered; his hopes reaped the fruit of what they desired; and his wishes were no sooner named than granted. To desire, and be able to achieve, was the same thing for him. Once only Fortune changed her aspect, when he threw a ring, which he highly esteemed, into the sea, so that he might not be said to have undergone no misfortune. However he soon recovered the ring, when the fish was caught, which had swallowed it. But he could not always hold this prosperous course of felicity, that swelled his full sails. For Orontes, one of Darius's commanders, captured him and caused him to be crucified upon the highest peak of Mount Mycale. There the city of Samos, long oppressed by his severe tyranny, with the joyful eyes of free men beheld his rotting corpse, his limbs smeared with blood, and that left hand, to whom Neptune had restored the ring by means of the fisherman, now miserably decayed.     { see also: Herodotus 3.41,&3.125 }

[9e.6] L   Dionysius also when he had entered upon the tyranny of Syracuse and almost all of Sicily, which he inherited from his father, was the lord of vast wealth, a general of armies, an admiral of fleets, and powerful in cavalry. Yet he was forced to teach at a school in Corinth, for his livelihood. And at the same time, from a tyrant having now become a school-master, he warned their elders by such a change, how little they were to trust in Fortune.     { see also: Justin 21.5 }

[9e.7] L   Next to him follows king Syphax, who underwent the same extreme change of Fortune. At one and the same time, Rome through Scipio, and Carthage through Hasdrubal, came to him to request his friendship. But although he stood thus courted, so that he seemed to be an arbiter of victory between the greatest and most powerful peoples in the world; shortly afterwards he was brought in chains by Laelius the legate to Scipio the general, and now lay prostrate at the feet of him, whom he had thought it kind enough before, as he sat upon his throne, to take by the hand.     { see also: Livy 28.17  }

Thus merely vain, and fragile, and like the toys children play with, are those renowned things which we call human power and wealth. On a sudden they abound, and vanish just as soon. In no place or person are they fixed upon a stable foundation; but tossed hither and thither by the uncertain state of Fortune, miserably they cast them down into the depths of calamity, when but recently they had exalted them as high as heaven. And therefore they are neither to be esteemed nor accounted as true felicity; because in order to increase the desire of enjoying them, [they are likely to oppress with a heavier weight, those that they blessed before with their most indulgent favours].

Book 7

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