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Valerius Maximus

-   Book 8 , chapters 8-15

 

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


Previous chapters (1-7)

VIII.   Of praiseworthy Leisure

Leisure, because it seems to be contrary to toil, but chiefly to diligence, ought to be briefly mentioned - not the kind that extinguishes virtue, but the kind that refreshes it. For the slothful ought to avoid the former, and the brave and steadfast may desire the latter; the former, so that they may not live like drones, and the latter, so that by an appropriate rest from toil, they may be fitter for their labours.

[8.1] L   Scipio and Laelius were a famous pair of friends, united together not only by the bond of love, but by an association of all other virtues; as they performed the journey of an active life with equal steps, so they together relaxed from business. For it is certain, that at Caieta and Laurentum, they used to gather up shells and pebbles upon the shore. And L. Crassus often recalled this, having heard it from the mouth of his father-in-law Scaevola, who was son-in-law to Laelius.     { see also: Cicero DeOr_2.22 }

[8.2] L   As for Scaevola, just as he was the most trustworthy witness of their relaxation, so he himself was a skilful ball player; he used to delight himself in that sort of exercise, when the weight of his business was over. Sometimes he used to spend his time with a gaming-board and counters, after he had spent a long time managing the rights of his citizens, and the rituals of their gods. For he acted as Scaevola in serious things, but he showed himself an ordinary man in his sports and recreations, as one whom Nature will not permit to abide continual labour.     { see also: Quintilian 11.2.38 }

Foreign

[8e.1] L   This was known by Socrates, to whom no part of wisdom was obscure: and therefore he did not blush, when Alcibiades laughed at him for setting a reed between his legs as he played with his little children.     { see also: Aelian VH_12.15 }

[8e.2] L   Homer, a poet of divine wit, seemed to be of the same mind, when he fitted the tuneful harp to the martial fingers of Achilles, in order to ease their military rigour with the soft recreations of peace.     { see also: Homer Il_9.186 }


IX.   Of the force of Eloquence

Although we have already remarked that eloquence has enormous power, it is fitting that we should examine it with some specific examples, so that its strength may be better demonstrated.

[9.1] L   After the kings had been expelled, the plebeians in dissension with the Fathers, had recourse to arms, and camped by the banks of the river Anio, upon the Mons Sacer; so that the state of the commonwealth was not only bad, but in a most miserable condition, the rest of the body being divided from the head. And if Valerius had not come to the rescue with his eloquence, the hopes of so great an empire would have been ruined in its infancy. For by his speech he reduced the people, who were glorying in their new and unaccustomed freedom, to obedience to the senate, and convinced them to take a more sensible point of view, and joined the city to the city. Therefore wrath, confusion and weapons yielded to eloquent words.     { see also: Cicero Brut_54 }

[9.2] L   This also restrained the swords of Marius and Cinna, raging with a reckless desire of shedding civil blood. For certain soldiers, who were sent by their savage leaders to kill M. Antonius, were stupefied by his eloquence, and returned their drawn swords into their scabbards, unstained with blood. When they had gone, P. Annius, who was standing at the entrance and so had not heard the speech of Antonius, carried out the cruel command, barbarously obedient to his masters. How eloquent therefore may we think him to be, whom none of his enemies dared to try to kill, if they let his charming language enter into their ears!     { see also: 87/44 }

[9.3] L   The divine Julius, the perfect pillar of both celestial deity and human genius, aptly demonstrated the force of eloquence, saying in his speech against Cn. Dolabella, whom he was prosecuting, that his excellent case had been wrenched from him by the advocacy of C. Cotta. For then the greatest eloquence complained [about the force of eloquence]. Having made mention of this, because I cannot bring up greater examples at home, we must pass on to foreigners.

Foreign

[9e.1] L   Pisistratus is reported to have prevailed so much by speaking, that the Athenians, persuaded only by his words, permitted him to have royal power; and, what was more, he achieved this when Solon, the greatest of patriots, endeavoured all he could to resist him. But while the speeches of the latter were more wholesome, the speeches of Pisistratus were more eloquent; and so it happened that a state, which otherwise was very prudent, then preferred servitude to liberty.

[9e.2] L   Pericles, together with his happy endowments of Nature, which had been carefully polished and instructed by his master Anaxagoras, placed a yoke of servitude upon the free necks of the Athenians. For he swayed the city, and carried affairs whichever way he pleased. And even when he spoke against the will of the people, his language nevertheless was pleasing and popular, and therefore the scurrilous wit of the Old Comedy, though it would be snarling at his power, yet confessed, that there was an eloquence sweeter than honey that hung upon his lips; and that it left stings in the minds of those who heard it. It is reported that a certain person, when very old, happened to hear the very first speech of Pericles as a young man; the same person had heard Pisistratus then advanced in age, and he could not contain himself from crying out, "Beware of that  citizen, because his speech is very much like the speech of Pisistratus." Neither did this man fail in his judgment of the speech, nor in the prediction of his intentions. For what was the difference between Pisistratus and Pericles, but that the first held the government by force of arms, and the other governed without force?

[9e.3] L   What may we think of the eloquence of Hegesias, the Cyrenaic philosopher? He so represented the miseries of life, that his words took deep root in the hearts of his hearers, and caused many to desire a voluntary death. And therefore he was prevented by king Ptolemy from speaking any further upon that subject.     { see also: Cicero Tusc_1.83 }


X.   Of Delivery, and apt Motion of the Body

The adornments of eloquence consist in apt motion of the body, and proper delivery. When she has furnished herself with these, she assails men three ways; by infiltrating their minds, and delivering up the ears to be charmed by the one, and the eyes by the other.

[10.1] L   To make this clear in famous men: C. Gracchus was more fortunate in his eloquence than his aspirations, because he strove with an ardent spirit to disturb rather than to defend the commonwealth. Whenever he spoke to the people, he had a slave that was skilled in music behind him, who with an ivory pipe regulated the tone of his voice, raising the note when it was too low, and pitching it lower when it was too high and eager; because the heat and passion of action did not permit him to be a true judge of the proper level.     { see also: Cicero DeOr_3.225 }

[10.2] L   Quintus Hortensius thought there was very much to be ascribed to a decent and comely motion of the body, and spent more time in practising that, than in studying eloquence itself; so that it was hard to know, whether the crowds were keener to hear or see him; so mutually did his appearance serve his words, and his words his appearance. And therefore it is certain, that Roscius and Aesopus, two of the most skilful actors, would always be in court when Hortensius pleaded, to transfer his gestures from the forum to the stage. Gellius 1.5.2

[10.3] L   Now as for M. Cicero, he himself has declared, how great a value he set upon both these things, which we have discussed, in his speech for Gallius. He reproached M. Calidius the accuser, because when he affirmed that he would prove by witnesses, documents, and questioning, that the defendant had prepared poison for him, he did it with an unruffled countenance, a quiet voice, and a calm manner of speaking. In this Cicero detected both a fault of the orator, and a proof of his weak case, concluding thus; "Could you act thus, M. Calidius, unless you were merely inventing these things ?"     { see also: Cicero Brut_277 }

Foreign

[10e.1] L   In agreement with this was the judgment of Demosthenes, who being asked what was the most effective part of speaking, replied, "the delivery." Being again and a third time asked the same question, he gave the same answer; confessing that he owed almost everything to it. Therefore was it rightly said by Aeschines, who left Athens because of the judicial disgrace imposed on him, and went to Rhodes. There at the request of the citizens he recited his own speech against Ctesiphon, and the opposing speech of Demosthenes with a loud and pleasing voice, so that all admired the eloquence of both, although they somewhat preferred that of Demosthenes. "What would you have said," he said, "if you had heard the man  himself?" So highly did so great an orator, and also so inveterate an enemy, admire the force and efficacy of his adversary's eloquence; confessing himself not to be a competent declaimer of his works, after having experienced the vigour of his eyes, the power of his expression, and the persuasive motions of his body. And therefore although nothing can be added to his work, yet a great part of Demosthenes is absent, when Demosthenes is read, rather than heard.     { see also: 315/29 }


XI.   Of the remarkable effects of the Arts

The narration of the effects of the arts may also provide something of pleasure. By this it will immediately appear how profitably they were invented. Things worthy of remembrance will be placed in full light; and the labour of bringing them forth, will not lack is reward.

[11.1] L   The great care of Sulpicius Gallus to furnish himself with all manner of learning, was very beneficial to the commonwealth. For when he was legate of L. Paullus, in the war against Perseus, the moon happened to be eclipsed on a clear night, and our army was so terrified by this, looking upon it as some strange prodigy, that they almost lost all their confidence. But Gallus by a skilful description of the order of the heavenly bodies, and the nature of the stars, encouraged them so that they were eager to go into battle. Therefore the liberal arts of Gallus were to some extent the cause of that famous victory of Paullus; for if he had not vanquished our soldiers' fear, the Roman general could not have overcome his enemies.     { see also: Livy 44.37 }

[11.2] L   The knowledge of Spurinna in interpreting the warnings of the gods was more accurate than the city of Rome would have desired. For he foretold to C. Caesar, that he should beware of the deadly aspect of the next thirty days, the last of which was the Ides of March. Upon that day in the morning, when they were both in the house of Calvinus Domitius, Caesar exclaimed to Spurinna, "Do you realise that the Ides of March have now come?" And he replied, "Do you realise, that they have not yet passed? The one had cast off all fear, believing the time of danger was over; though the other did not think even the last minute to be void of danger. Would to heaven the diviner had rather failed in his augury, than that the Parent of our country had been mistaken in his security!     { see also: Plutarch Caes_63 }

Foreign

[11e.1] L   But to examine foreign examples: when the sun was suddenly eclipsed, the Athenians were all alarmed by the unusual darkness, believing their own ruin to be foretold by the celestial portent. Pericles went in front of the crowd, and explained what he had learnt from his teacher Anaxagoras, regarding the courses of the sun and moon; nor did he permit his fellow-citizens to tremble any further with a vain fear.     { see also: Plutarch Per_35 }

[11e.2] L   How great was the honour that Alexander the king gave to art! He would not permit himself to be painted by any other but Apelles, nor to be represented in sculpture by any other than Lysippus.     { see also: 323/24 }

[11e.3] L   The statue of Vulcan, made by the hands of Alcamenes, fixed the eyes of all Athens upon it. For among all the other exceptional marks of careful workmanship, they admired also this, that he stands with one foot, hiding under his garment his disguised lameness: by which the sculptor deftly signified not a deformity, but a certain and proper attribute of the god.     { see also: Cicero ND_1.83 }

[11e.4] L   Praxiteles portrayed the wife of Vulcan in marble in the temple of the Cnidians, as if she were breathing, by reason of his workmanship, so that she was not even safe from lustful embraces. This makes more excusable the error of a stallion, who seeing a painting of a mare, neighed at it: and the barking of dogs, at the sight of a dog painted; and the bull moved to lust, upon sight of the brazen cow in Syracuse, because it was so lifelike. For why should we wonder to see irrational creatures deceived by art, when we find the sacrilegious desire of a man aroused at the sight of a dumb stone?     { see also: Pliny HN_36.20-21 }

[11e.5] L   But Nature as she allows art sometimes to emulate her works, so sometimes she dismisses it, when it is quite exhausted by labouring in vain.  The hands of the famous artist Euphranor experienced this. For when he painted the twelve gods at Athens, he finished the picture of Neptune with the most majestic colours he could invent, intending yet to outdo that in the picture of Jupiter. But all his invention had been used up in the former work, and his later endeavours could not come near to his expectation.

[11e.6] L   What shall we say of that other famous painter, who in representing the doleful sacrifice of Iphigenia, placed about the altar Calchas sad, Ulysses sorrowful, and Menelaus lamenting; then by wrapping up Agamemnon's face did he not confess, that the bitterness of the height of grief could not be expressed by art? Therefore when his picture was moistened with the tears of the soothsayer, the friend and the brother, he left it to imagination to judge the extent of the father's grief.     { see also: Pliny HN_35.73 }

[11e.7] L   And to add one more example of the same art: a famous painter had painted a horse, just after being hard exercised, so remarkably that all that could be said was, that the horse appeared almost alive. But when he came to add the froth to his nostrils, so great an artist spent many days without achieving anything that satisfied him. At length, vexed to see himself failing, he took up a sponge that lay next him bedaubed with all sorts of colours, and started to rub out his own work. But Fortune directed his hand first to the nostrils of the horse, and the sponge produced by chance the effect that the artist had desired; so that what his art could not portray, Fortune completed.     { see also: Pliny HN_35.102-104 }


XII.   That we must yield to the best Masters in their Arts

Now so that we may not doubt that everyone is the best performer and instructor in his own art, let us make it apparent by a few examples.

[12.1] L   Q. Scaevola, a most famous and most skilful interpreter of the law, whenever he was consulted concerning property law, sent his clients to Furius and Cascellius, who were experts in that topic. By this he commended his own moderation, rather than lessened his authority; he confessed that those men were best able to give advice in that matter, whose daily practice it was. Therefore they are the wisest teachers of their art, who have a modest esteem of their own expertise, and a suitable respect for the expertise of others.     { see also: Cicero Balb_45 }

Foreign

[12e.1] L   This opinion was held by the learned breast of Plato. When the contractors came to confer with him about the manner and form of a sacred altar, he sent them to Euclides the geometrician, yielding to his knowledge and indeed to his profession.     { see also: Plutarch Mor_579b-c }

[12e.2] L   Athens glories in its arsenal, and not without cause; for it is a work worthy to be seen for its costliness and elegance. The architect of it, Philon, is said to have given so eloquent an account of his proposal in the theatre, that the most eloquent of people were swayed as much by his eloquence, as by his expertise.     { see also: Cicero DeOr_1.62 }

[12e.3] L   It was well done by the artist, who allowed himself to be corrected by a cobbler, as to the shoes and loops; but when he began to talk about the shin, forbade him to go beyond the foot.     { see also: Pliny HN_35.85  }


XIII.   Of Memorable Old Age

Let old age, prolonged to the extreme, have a place in this work, among the examples of diligence, but with its own heading; so that we may not seem to have forgotten those, to whom the gods were exceptionally indulgent. At the same let us give some supports as it were to the hope for a longer life, relying on which one may become more confident by considering ancient examples of felicity.  And may the tranquility of our own age, than which none was ever more happy, be confirmed by prolonging the welfare of a wise and great princeps, to the longest bounds of human life.

[13.1] L   M. Valerius Corvus completed his hundredth year; and there were forty six years between his first and sixth consulships. And he retained his full strength of body, not only in the highest offices of the commonwealth, but also in the cultivation of his land: a most desirable example of a statesman, and the father of a family.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.157 }

[13.2] L   Metellus equalled his number of years. In the fourth year after his consulship, he was created pontifex maximus when he was already quite old, and oversaw the rituals of religion for twenty-two years. His tongue never tripped in pronouncing the prayers, not did his hand tremble in preparing the sacrifices.     { see also: Cicero Sen_30 }

[13.3] L   Q. Fabius Maximus for sixty-two years held the position of augur, having obtained it when he was already a in the prime of life. Which two times being added together, will easily complete a lifetime of a hundred years.     { see also: Livy 30.26.7 }

[13.4] L   What shall I say of M. Perpenna ? He outlived all those whom he summoned in the senate, when he was consul; and saw only seven remaining of the conscript fathers, whom as censor with L. Philippus he had chosen; so that he lasted longer than the entire honourable order.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.156 }

[13.5] L   I might conclude the life of Appius with his misfortune, because he lived long after he became blind; except that he had four sons and five daughters, and a multitude of clients under his protection, and in that condition most steadfastly guided the commonwealth. At length, weary with living, he caused himself to be carried into the senate-house in a litter, to prevent peace from being made with Pyrthus upon dishonourable terms. Can this man be thought blind, by whom his country, seeing clearly what was honourable, was compelled to open its eyes?     { see also: Cicero Sen_16 }

[13.6] L   Several women have been no less eminent for their long life, whom it shall be sufficient merely to name. For Livia the wife of Rutilius lived for ninety-seven years, Terentia the wife of Cicero a hundred and three years, and Clodia the wife of Ofilius, having outlived fifteen children, a hundred and fifteen years.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.158 }

Foreign

[13e.1] L   To these I will add two kings, whose long life was very advantageous to the people of Rome. The king of Sicily, Hieron, lived for ninety years. Masinissa king of Numidia, lived for even longer; he reigned for sixty years and was superior to all men in vigour of old age. Cicero in his book on Old Age, reports of him, that no rain or cold could compel him to cover his head. He was accustomed also to remain standing in one position for several hours, and would never stir from hard labour, till he had tired the young men. And if it was necessary for him to do anything sitting, he would often for a whole day sit in the same posture, without moving his body for ease, either one way or the other. When he led his army on horseback, he often continued through day and night; and omitted none of those labours, which youth is wont to endure, when he was extremely old. And so vigorous was he in regards to women, that he begot his son Methymnus, when he was eight-six years of age. The country also which he found uncultivated, by perpetual farming he left very fruitful.     { see also: Cicero Sen_34 }

[13e.2] L   Also Gorgias also of Leontini, the teacher of Isocrates and several other great men, by his own account was most fortunate. For when he had lived for a hundred and seven years, being asked why he had lived so long, he relied, "Because I have no complaints to make against my old age." What could be longer or more fortunate than such a span of life? For after entering into the second century of his life, he neither found any cause of complaint in it, nor left any complaint in the previous century.     { see also: Cicero Sen_13 }

[13e.3] L   Xenophilus of Chalcis lived for two years less , but he was not inferior in the enjoyment of health. For Aristoxenus the musician says of him, that free from all the inconveniences of old age, he died in the full splendour of consummate learning.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.168 }

[13e.4] L   Arganthonius of Gades reigned for so long, as would have been sufficient for others to live. For he ruled his kingdom for eighty years, being forty years of age before he came to the throne.  This is attested by most reliable and trustworthy authors. Asinius Pollio, not the least part of Roman eloquence, in the third book of his History, records that he lived for a hundred and thirty years, which is no mean example of bodily vigour.     { see also: Cicero Sen_169 }

[13e.5] L   The Ethiopians render the long life of this king less remarkable. Herodotus writes that they have lived for more than a hundred and twenty years: and Ctesias relates the same the Indians. And Theopompus reports that Epimenides of Cnossus lived for a hundred and fifty-seven years.     { see also: Herodotus 3.23 }

[13e.6] L   Hellanicus also states, that some of the Epii, who [are] a people of Aetolia, lived for two hundred years; with whom Damastes agrees, adding this moreover, that one Litorius among them, of exceedingly great strength and stature, completed three hundred years.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.154 }

[13e.7] L   Alexander, in his book on the region of Illyria, affirms, that one Dando lived for fully five hundred years, without the least complaint of old age. But much more liberal is Xenophon, in his 'Periplus', who assigns to the king of the island of Latmos eight hundred years of life; and so that his father might not be affronted, he allows him six hundred years.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.155 }


XIV.   Of the Desire for Glory

Whence glory arises, or what is its nature, or how it ought to be obtained, and whether it should be neglected by virtue, as unnecessary - I leave these questions for those who contemplate such things, and who are able eloquently to express what they have wisely observed. I in this work am content to match doers with deeds, and deeds with doers; and I shall endeavour to reveal by suitable examples, how great the desire of glory is accustomed to be.

[14.1] L   The elder Africanus wished the effigy of Ennius to be placed among the monuments of the Cornelian family, because he thought that his deeds had been illuminated by the poet's genius. He was aware, that as long as the Roman empire might flourish, and Africa lay captive at the feet of Italy, and the Capitol possessed the peak of the whole world, the memory of his deeds could not be extinguished; but he also thought it important that they were lit up by the rays of learning. He was a man more worthy of praise from Homer, than of a clumsy and unpolished eulogy.     { see also: Suda E.1348 }

[14.2] L   The same was the honorable attitude of D. Brutus, a famous general of his time, toward Accius the poet. Being greatly delighted with his friendship and his ready praise, he adorned the entrances to the temples, which he consecrated from his spoils, with the verses of Accius.     { see also: Cicero Arch_27 }

[14.3] L   Neither was Pompey averse from the pursuit of glory. In an assembly of his soldiers he bestowed citizenship upon Theophanes of Mytilene, who had recorded his deeds in writing. He accompanied this generous gift with a detailed public speech.     { see also: Cicero Arch_24 }

[14.4] L   L. Sulla, though he took no account of any writer, yet so vehemently assumed for himself the glory of bringing Jugurtha from king Bocchus to Marius, that he had that surrender engraved on his seal ring. And as great as he became later, he still cherished even the slightest trace of glory.     { see also: Plutarch Sull_3 }

[14.5] L   And so that I may add to these generals the noble mind of a soldier: when Scipio was granting military awards to those who had acted bravely, T. Labienus advised him to give a golden bracelet to a brave cavalryman. The general refused to do this, in order that the military award might not be degraded by being granted to someone, who had been a slave only a little before. Labienus then himself gave the cavalryman some gold out of the Gallic plunder. Scipio did not endure this in silence. He said to the cavalryman, "You shall have the gift of a rich man." When the man heard this, he threw back the gold at Labienus' feet, and held his head down. But when Scipio said to him, "The general grants you silver bracelets," he went away with a cheerful expression. So there is no humility so deep, that it is not touched with a desire for glory.

[14.6] L   Glory is also sought sometimes out of the lowest things. For what was intended by C. Fabius, that most noble statesman? When he painted the walls of the temple of Salus, which C. Junius Bubulcus had consecrated, he inscribed his name upon them. For this was the only distinction lacking in a family most famous for consulships, priesthoods, and triumphs. And though he stooped to a mercenary art, yet he would not have his labours forgotten, however humble they were. In this he followed the example of Phidias, who included his own face upon the shield of Minerva, in such manner, that if it were removed, the whole work would be quite spoiled.     { see also: Pliny HN_35.19 }

Foreign

[14e.1] L   But he would have done better to imitate Themistocles, if he had been moved by foreign examples. Themistocles is reported to have been so stung by the desire for glory, that he could not sleep at nights; and when he was asked, why he was out  at that time of the night, he replied, that he was kept awake by the trophies of Miltiades. For Marathon roused up his noble mind to embellish Artemisium and Salamis with naval glory. The same person when he was going to the theatre, was asked whose voice would be most pleasing to his ears; he replied, "The one who will proclaim my deeds the best and loudest;" by which he added as it were a glorious sweetness to glory itself.     { see also: Plutarch Them_3 }

[14e.2] L   The breast of Alexander had an insatiable desire for praise. When Anaxarchus his companion, on the authority of Democritus, affirmed that there were innumerable worlds, "How miserable then," said he, "am I, who have not conquered all of one!" The man thought his dominions too confined for his glory, although they were sufficient to be the dwelling-place of the all the gods.     { see also: Plutarch Mor_466D }

[14e.3] L   I will add the thirst of Aristotle for glory, which was as great as that of the young king. For he had given certain books on rhetoric to Theodectes his pupil, to publish in his name: but afterwards he was vexed that he had handed over the book to another, and when he affirmed some things in a book of his own, he added, that he had discussed them more fully in the books of Theodectes. If respect for his great and profuse knowledge did not restrain me, I would say that he was a philosopher, whose character ought to have been delivered for training by a philosopher of a nobler soul. 

But glory is not despised even by those who wish to encourage the contempt of it. For to those very volumes they diligently affix their names, so that what they diminish by argument, they try to attain by leaving a memorial. But this dissimulation of theirs, whatever it is, is more to be endured than the purpose of those, who while they labour for eternal commemoration, strive to become famous by wickedness.

[14e.4] L   Among such men, maybe Pausanias should be first mentioned; for when he had asked Hermocrates how he might suddenly become famous, the other answered, "If you kill some great person, his glory will redound to yourself." Pausanias promptly went and slew Philip. And indeed he got what he desired; for he rendered himself as infamous to posterity for the murder, as Philip was eminent for his virtue.

[14e.5] L   But the following hunger for glory was sacrilegious. For there was a man, who deliberately set fire to the temple of Diana at Ephesus, so that by the destruction of that lovely building, his name might be known to the whole world. This madness was confessed by him when he was put on the rack. Although the Ephesians took care, by a decree, to abolish the memory of this worst of men, yet the eloquent genius of Theopompus included the fact in his History.     { see also: Gellius 2.6.18 }


XV.   What Magnificent Honours have been bestowed on Persons

The magnificent things that have deservedly happened to men, being put on public view, will afford pleasure to inquisitive minds: because the contemplation of the rewards of virtue, and of its works, is equally delightful. Nature affords us a kind of pleasure, when we see honour diligently pursued, and gratefully repaid. But though here the mind is carried immediately to the house of Augustus, that bountiful and most honoured temple, it would be best for it to be restrained. For to him to whom the ascent to heaven is free, honours bestowed on earth, though they be very great, yet are less than what he deserves.

[15.1] L   The consulship was granted to the elder Africanus long before his due time. The army advised the senate by letter that this ought to be done; so that it is hard to know, whether the authority of the conscript fathers, or the advice of the soldiers brought more honour to him. For the toga made Scipio consul against the Carthaginians, but the army requested him. 

What honours were assigned him in his lifetime, it would take too long to relate, because they are many; and it is not necessary, because they have been in part already related. Therefore I will add what is still eminent to this day. He has a statue placed in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, which is fetched from there whenever there is any funeral of the Cornelian family; so that to that statue alone the Capitol is like an atrium.

[15.2] L   Similarly the senate-house itself holds the elder Cato's statue, from where it is brought forth for the same family occasions. The grateful members of the senate desired  that a senator who was so beneficial to the commonwealth should always dwell among them, for he was wealthy in all the gifts of virtue, and great rather by his own merit, than by the favour of Fortune; by his advice Carthage was destroyed, before it was laid waste by the sword of Scipio.

[15.3] L   An outstanding example of glory arises also in Scipio Nasica. For before he was yet a quaestor, it was by his hands, and into his house, that the senate would have the goddess received, when she was summoned from Pessinus by command of Pythian Apollo. The same oracle had ordered that those duties should be performed for the Mother of the Gods by the most pious man. Unfold all the fasti, place all the triumphal chariots together, and you will find nothing more splendid than such a preeminence of character.     { see also: Livy 29.14 }

[15.4] L   The Scipio family often produce their distinctions to be remembered by us. For Aemilianus was made a consul by the people, when he was only a candidate for the aedileship. And when he went into the campus for the election of quaestors, to give his support to Q. Fabius Maximus, the son of his brother, they brought him back as a consul for the second time. To the same person the senate gave a province without drawing lots, firstly Africa, and then Spain. And these things happened to a man who was ambitious neither as a senator nor as a citizen; as the most restrained course of his life, and also his death as a victim of secret treachery, revealed.     { see also: 135/8 }

[15.5] L   As for M. Valerius, the gods as well as his fellow-citizens made him famous for two things. The former by sending a crow for his defence, when he fought hand to hand with the Gaul; the latter by giving him the consulship when he was twenty-three years of age. The former has been used by his ancient and illustrious family, which has assumed the surname of Corvinus. The latter is attached as its greatest ornament, glorying not only in the earliness of the consulship, but also in the others that followed it.     { see also: Livy 7.26 }

[15.6] L   And illustrious was the glory of Q. Scaevola, the colleague of L. Crassus as consul. He obtained Asia, and governed it so steadfastly and so justly, that the senate by their decree proposed Scaevola as a precedent and example for others, who were to go out to the various provinces of the empire.     { see also: 94/6 }

[15.7] L   The seven consulships and two triumphs of C. Marius were embedded in some words of the younger Africanus. For until to his dying day, Marius was fond of recalling, that when he served in the cavalry under that general at Numantia, Scipio was asked at dinner, who could be equally as great a general of the commonwealth as him, if ever anything untoward should befall him.The general looked at  Marius, who was sitting a little below him, and said "Perhaps this man." By which augury it cannot easily be decided, whether his most perfect virtue more certainly recognised a rising virtue, or whether he more effectively inflamed him towards it. That military dinner portended for Marius a most splendid future dinner that occurred throughout the whole city. For when the messenger brought the news, at the beginning of the night, that the Cimbri were defeated, there was not a man who did not, amid the rites of his table, make an libation to Marius as if to the immortal gods.     { see also: Plutarch Mar_3 }

[15.8] L   Now the large and novel honours that were heaped upon Pompey cry out in the written records, partly with the applause of approval, partly with the jeering of envy. Although he was only a Roman knight, he was sent as proconsul against Sertorius in Spain, with equal command to Metellus Pius , the leading man of the city. Before he had stood for any magistracy, he celebrated two triumphs. When he became a magistrate, he began with the chief honour. In his third consulship he governed alone, as decreed by the senate. He triumphed at one and the same time over Mithridates, Tigranes, and several other kings, nations, and cities, as well as the pirates.

[15.9] L   Q. Catulus also was, by the opinion of the Rome people, advanced nearly to the stars. For when they continued to place the whole management of affairs in the hands of Pompey alone, he asked them from the rostra, in whom they could have any hope, if Pompey were taken away by a sudden blow of fortune; they replied with one voice, "In you." That was a remarkable judgment of his reputation, which within the space of two syllables, equalled Catulus to the great Pompey, with all the distinctions that I have related.     { see also: Cicero LegMan_59 }

[15.10] L   The reception of M. Cato, when he arrived at the banks of the Tiber, on his return from Cyprus with the royal treasure, may seem memorable. When he disembarked, the consuls, and other magistrates, the senate and all the people of Rome were there to greet him. They were full of joy not for the vast weight of gold and silver, but for Cato brought back safely by the fleet.     { see also: 56/14 }

[15.11] L   But perhaps the example of the unusual honour granted to L. Marcius is most outstanding. The two armies upon the death of P. and Cn. Scipio, broken and shattered by the victory of Hannibal, chose him as their general, when their hopes of survival were reduced to the last gasp, leaving no place for favouritism.     { see also: Livy 25.37 }

[15.12] L   Sulpicia deserves to be remembered after these men; she was the daughter of Ser. Paterculus, and the wife of Q. Fulvius Flaccus. The senate, after the decemvirs had inspected the Sibylline Books, decreed that a statue of Venus Verticordia should be consecrated, so that the minds of girls and women might be changed from lust to chastity; and out of all the wives a hundred, then out of the hundred ten were chosen by lot, to be judged as to who was the most blameless woman. Sulpicia was preferred above all the rest for her chastity.     { see also: Pliny HN_7.130 }

Foreign

[15e.1] L   Because foreign honours may be related without in any way diminishing our Roman majesty, let us pass on to them. The pupils of Pythagoras venerated him so much, that they reckoned it a crime to question what they had heard from him. When they were asked the reason for something, they merely answered, that He had said it. This was a great honour, but only within his school. However, the same veneration was given to him by cities. The citizens of Croton earnestly asked of him, that their senate, which consisted of a thousand people, might take advice from him. And the opulent city [ of Metapontum ], which had venerated him during his lifetime, after his death turned his house into a shrine of Ceres. And while that city flourished, the goddess was worshipped in remembrance of the man, and the man was worshipped in the religious rites of the goddess.

[15e.2] L   Gorgias of Leontini so far excelled all persons of his age in learning, that he was the first to ask at all assemblies, upon what subject they would like to hear him talk. For that reason all Greece set up a statue of him in solid gold in the temple of Apollo at Delphi; when other men, until that time, had only gilded images.     { see also: Cicero DeOr_3.129 }

[15e.3] L   The same nation by common agreement strove to honour Amphiaraus, by converting the place where he was buried into the form and condition of a temple, and ordering oracles to be there taken. His ashes possess the same honour as the Pythian tripod, Dodona's bronze cauldron, or the fountain of Hammon.     { see also: Cicero Div_1.88 }

[15e.4] L   And it was no ordinary honour granted to Berenice, who alone of all women was permitted to watch the gymnastic contests, when she brought her son Eucles to compete in the Olympic Games. Her father was an Olympic victor, and her brothers, who had won the same prize, stood by her side.     { see also: Aelian VH_10.1 }

Book 9


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