« ZurückWeiter »
snake them hippy, the choice would not be difficult,but I have learnt, that of the various forms of government among the Greeks and Barbarians, there are three which are highly extolled by those who have experienced them; and yet^that no one of these is in all respects perfect, but each of them has some innate and incurable defect. Chuse you, then, in what manner this city (hall be governed. Shall it be by one man ? shall it be by a select number of the wisest among us? or shall the legislative power be in the people? As for me, I shall submit to whatever form of administration you shall please to establish. As I think myself not unworthy to command, so neither am I unwilling to obey. Your having chosen me to be the leader of this colony, and your calling the city after my name, are honours sufficient to content me; honours of which, living or dead, I never can be deprived.
§ 5. The CharaSer »/"sylla.
Sylla died after he had laid down the dictatorship, and restored liberty to the republic, and, with an uncommon greatness of mind, lived many months as a private senator, and with perfect security, in that city where he had exercised the most bloody tyranny : but nothing was thought to be greater in his character, than that, during the three years in which the Marians were masters of Italy, he neither dissembled his resolution of pursuing them by arms, nor neglected the War which he had upon his hands ; but thought it his duty, first to chastise a foreign enemy, before he took his revenge upon citizens. His family was noble and patrician, which yet, through the indolency of his ancestors, had made no figure in therepublic for many generations, and was almost funk into obscurity, till he produced it again into light, by aspiring to the honours of the state. He was a lover and patron of polite letters, having been carefully instituted himself in allthe learning of Greece and Rome; but from a peculiar gaiety of temper, and fondness for the company of mimics and players, was drawn, when young, into a life of luxury and pleasurej so
that when he was sent Quæstor to Marius, in the Jugurthine war, Marius complained, that in so rough and desperate a service chance had given him so soft and delicate a quæstor. But, whither roused by the example, or stung by the reproach of his general> he behaved himself in that charge with. the greatest vigour and courage, suffering no man to outdo him in any part ot military duty or labour, making himself4 equal and familiar even to the lowest of the soldiers, and obliging them all by his good offices and his money; so that he soon acquired the favour of the army, with the character of a brave and skilful commander ; and lived to drive Marius himself, banished aud proscribed, into that very province where he had been contemned by him at first as his quæstor. He had a wonderful faculty of concealing his passions and purposes; and was so different from himself in different circumstances, that he seemed as it were to be two men in one: no man was ever more mild and moderate before victory; none more bloody and cruel after it. In war, he practised the same art that he had seen so successful to Marius, of raising a kind of enthusiasm and contempt of danger in his army, by the forgery of auspices and divine admonitions; for which end, he carried always about with him a little statue of Apollo, taken from the temple of Delphi; and when* ever he had resolved to give battle, used to embrace it in sight of the soldiers, and beg the speedy confirmation of its promises to him. From an uninterrupted course of success and prosperity, he assumed a surname, unknown before to the Romans, of Felix, or the Fortunate; and would have been fortunate indeed, fays Velleius, if his life had ended with his victories. Pliny calls it a wicked title, drawn from the blood and oppression of his country ; for which, posterity would think him more unfortunate, even than those whom he had put to death. He had one felicity, however, pectilhr to himself, of being the only man in history, in whom the odium of the most barb.irous cruelties was extinguished by the glory of his great acts. Cicero, though he had a good opinion of his cause, yet detested
the inhumanity oshis victory, and never speaks of him with respect, nor of his government but as a proper tyranny; calling him, "a master of three most *' pestilent vices, luxury, avarice, cru"elty.' He was the first of his family whose dead body was burns: for, having ordered Marius's remains to be taken out of his grave, and thrown into the river Anio, he was apprehensive of the fame insult upon his own, if left to the usual way of burial. A little before his death, he made his own epitaph, the sum of which was, " that no man "had ever gone beyond him, in doing «« good to his friends, or hurt to his "enemies." Middlcton.
$6. Hannibal to Scipio Aprica
N u s, at their Interview preceding the Battle of Zama.
Since fate has so ordained it, that J, who began the war, and who have been so often on the point of ending it by a compleat conquest, should now come ef my own motion to ask a peace; I am glad that it is of you, Soipio, J have the fortune to ask it. Nor will^ this be among the least of your glories, that Hannibal, victorious over so many Roman generals, submitted at last to vou.
I could wish, that our fathers and we had confined our ambition within the limits which nature seems to have prescribed to it; the shores of Africa, and the shores of Italy. The gods did not give us that mind. On both sides we have been so eager after foreign possessions, as to put our own to the hazard of war. Rome and Carthage have had, each in her turn, the enemy at her gates. But since errors past maybe more easily blamed than corrected, let it now be the work of you and me to put an end, if possible, to the obstinate contention. For my own part, my years, and the experience I have had of the instability of fortune, inclines me to leave nothing to her determination, which reason can decide. But much I fear, Scipio, that your youth, your want of the like experience, your uninterrupted success, may render you averse from the thoughts of peace. He whom fortune has never failed, rarely reflects upon her inconstancy. Yet, without recurring to for*
mer examples, my own may perhaps suffice to teach you moderation. I am that same Hannibal, who, after my victory at Cannæ, became master of the greatest part of your country, and deliberated with myself what fate I should decree to Italy and Rome. And now— see the change! Here, in Africa, I am come to treat with a Roman, for my own preservation and my country's. Such are the sports ef fortune. Is she then to be trusted because she smiles? An advantageous peace is preferable to the hope of victory. The one is in your own power, theotherat thepleasure of the gods. Should you prove victorious, it would add little to your own glory, or the glory of your country; if vanquished, you lose in one hour all the honour and reputation you have been so many years acquiring. But what is
my aim in all this? that you should
content yourself with our cession of Spain, Sicily, Sardinia, and all the iflands between Italy and Africa. A peace on these conditions will, in my opinion, not only secuie the future tranquillity of Carthage, butbe sufficiently glorious for you, and for the Roman name. And do not tell me, that some of our citizens dealt fraudulently with you in the late treaty—it is I, Hannibal, that now ask a peace: I ask it, because I think it expedient for my country; and, thinking it expedient, I will inviolably maintain it. Hooke,
§ 7. Scrpio'r dnsiuer. I knew very well Hannibal, that it was the hope of your return which emboldened the Carthaginians to break the truce with us, and to lay aside all thoughts of a peace, when it was just upon the point of being concluded ; and your present proposal is a proof of it. You retrench from their concessions every thing but what we are, and have been long, possessed of. But as it is your care that your fellow-citizen* should have the obligations to you of being cased from a great part of their burden, so it ought to be mine that they draw no advantage from their perfidiousness. Nobody is more sensible than I am os the weakness of man, and the power of fortune, and that whatever
wo we enterprize is subject to a thousand chances. If, before the Romans passed into Africa, you had of your own accord quitted Italy, and made the offers you now make, I believe they would not have been rejected. But as you have been forced out of Italy, and we are masters here of the open country, the situation of things is much altered. And, what is chiefly to be considered, the Carthaginians, by the late treaty which we entered into at their request, were, over and above what you offer, to have restored to us our prisoners without ransom, delivered up their ships of war, paid us five thousand talents, and to have given hostages for the performance of all. The senate accepted these conditions, but Carthage failed on her part; Carthage deceived us. What then is to be done? Are the Carthaginians to be released from the most important articles of the treaty, as a reward of their breach of faiths No, certainly. If, to the conditions before agreed upon, you had added some new articles to our advantage, there would have been matter of reference to the Roman people ; but when, instead of adding, you retrench, there is no room for deliberation. The Carthaginians therefore must submit to Ds at discretion, or must vanquish us in battle. Hockc.
§ 8. The Character J/pompey.
Pompey had early acquired the surname of the Great, by that sort of merit which, from the constitution of the republic, necessarily made him great;
head, Pompey was flourishing in the height os power and glory: and, by the consent of all parties, placed at the head of the republic. This was the post that his ambition seemed to aim at, to be the first man in Rome; the leader, not the tyrant of his country; for he more than once had it in his power to have made himself the master of it without any rifle, if his virtue, or his phlegm at least, had not restrained him: but he lived in a perpetual expecation of receiving from the gift of the people, what he did not care to seize by force; and, by fomenting the disorders of the city, hoped to drive them to the necessity of creating him dictator. It is an observation os all the historians, that while Cæsar made no difference of power, whether it was conferred or usurped, whether over those who loved, or those who feared him; Pompey seemed to value none but what was offered ; nor to have any desire to govern, but with the good-will of the governed. What leisure he found from his wars, he employed in the study of polite letter1., and especially of eloquence, in which he would have acquired great fame, if his genius had not drawn him to the more dazzling glory of arms; yet he pleaded several causes with applause, in the defence of his friends and clients ; and some of them in conjunction with Cicero. His language was copious and elevated ; his sentiments just ; his voice sweet; his action noble, and full of dignity. But his taients were better formed for arms than the gown; for though in both he observed the fame discipline, a
a fame and success in war, superior to perpetual modesty, temperance,and gra
what Rome had ever known in the most celebrated of her generals. He had triumphed, at three several times, over the three different partsofthe known world, Europe, Asia, Africa ; and by his victories had almost doubled the extent, as well as the revenues, of the Roman dominion ; for, as he declared to the people on his return from the Mithridatic war, he had found the lesser Asia the boundary, but left it the middle of their empire. He was about six years older than Cæsar; and while Cæsar, immersed in pleasures, oppressed with debts, and suspected by all honest men, was hardly able to fliew his
vity of outward behaviour; yet in the licence of camps the example was more rare and striking. His person was extiemely graceful, and imprinting respect ; yet with an air osreserved haughtiness, which became the general better than the citizen. His parts were plausible, rather than great; specious, rather than penetrating ; and his views ofpc'itics but narrow; for his chiesinfirument of governing was dissimulation; yet he had not always the art to conceal his real sentiments. As he was a better soldier than a ii, tesman, so what he gr.ined rn the camp he usually lest in the ciry; and though adored when abroad, was
often esten affronted and mortified at home, till the imprudent opposition of the senate drove him to that alliance with Crassus and Cæsar, which proved fatal both to himself and the republic. He took in these two, not as the partners, but the ministers rather of his power; that by giving them some (hare with him, he might make his own authority uncontrollable : he had no reason to apprehend that they could ever prove his rivals; since neither of them had any credit or character of that kind which alone could raise them above the laws; a superior fame and experience in war, with the militia of the empire at their devotion: all this was purely his own; till, by cherishing Cæsar, and throwing into his hands the only thing which he wanted, arms, and military command, he made him at last too strong for himself, and never began to sear nim till it was too late. Cicero warmly dissuaded both his union and his breach with Cæsar; and after the rupture, as warmly still, the thought of giving him battle: if any of these counsels had been followed, Pompey had preserved his life and honour, and the republic its liberty. But he was urged to his fate by a natural superstition, and attention to those vain auguries, with which he was flattered by all the Haruspices: he had seen the same temper in Marius and Sylla, and observed the happy effects of it: but they assumed it only out of policy, he out of principle: they used it to animate their soldiers, when they had found a probable opportunity of fighting: but he, against all prudence and probability, was encouraged by it to fight to his own ruin. He saw his mistakes at last, when it was out of his power to correct them ; and in his wretched flight from Pharsalia, was forced to confess, that he had trusted too much to his hopes ; and ihat Cicero had judged better, and seen farther into things than he. The resolution of seeking refuge in Egypt finished the sad catastrophe of this great man: the father of the reigning prince had been highly obliged to him for his protection at Rome, and restoration to his kingdom: and the son had sent a considerable fleet to his assistance in the present war: but in this ruin of his fortune*, what grati
tude was there to be expected from a court governed by eunuchs and mercenary Greeks ? all whose politics turned, not on the honour of the king, but the establishment of their own power; which was likely to be eclipsed by the admission of Pompey. How happy had it been for him to have died in that sickness, when all Italy was putting up vows and prayers for his safety! or, if he had fallen by the chance of war, on the plains of Pharsalia, in the defence of his country's liT berty, he had died still glorious, though unfortunate ; but, as if he had been reserved for an example of the instability of human greatness, he, who a few days before commanded kings and consuls, and all the noblest of Rome, was sentenced to die by a council of slaves; murdered by abase deserter; cast out naked and headless on the Egyptian strand; and when the whole earth, as Vclleius fays, had scarce been sufficient for his victories, could not find a spot upon it at last for a grave. His body was burnt on the shore by one of his freed-men, with the planks of an old fishing-boat ; and his ashes, being conveyedto Rome, were deposi ted privately, by his wife Cornelia, in a vault by his Alban villa, The Egyptians however raised a monument to him on the place, and adorned it with figures of brass, which being defaced afterwards by time, and buried almost in sand and rubbish, was sought out, and restored by the emperor Hadrian. Middleton.
\ 9. Submission ; Complaint; Intreating —The Speech «/seneca the Philosopher totimo, complaining of the Envy os his Enemies, and requesting the Emperor to reduce him back to his former narroiu Circumstances, that ht might no longer be an ObjeiJ of their Malignity.
May it please the imperial majesty of Cxsar favourably to accept the humble submissions and grateful acknowledgments of the weak though saithfai guide of his youth.
It is now a great many years since I first had the honour of attending your imperial majesty as preceptor. And your bounty has rewarded my labours with such affluence, as has drawn upon
me, me, what I had reason to expect, the envy of many of those persons, who are always ready to prescribe to their prince where to bellow, and where to withhold his favours. It is well known, that your illustrious ancestor, Augustus, bestowed on his deserving favourites, Agrippa and Maecenas, honours and emoluments, suitable to the dignity of the benefactor, and to the services of the receivers: Nor has his conrluct been blamed. My employment about your imperial majesty has, indeed, been purely domestic : I have neither headed your armies, noraffistedatyourcouncils. But you know, Sir, (though there are some who do not seem to attend to it) that a prince may be served in different ways, some more, others less conspicuous; and that the latter may be to him as valuable as the former.
"Butwhat!" saymyenemies, " shall "a private person, of equestrian rank, "and a provincial by birth, be advanced "to an equality with the patricians r *■ Shall an upstart, of no name nor f.i"mily, rank with those who can, by the "statues which make the ornament of "their palaces, reckon backward a line "of anceilors, long enough to tire out "the fasti *? Shall a philosopher who "has written for others precepts of mo"deration, and contempt of all that is "external, himself live in affluence and "luxury? Shallhepurchase'estates, and "lay out money at interest? Shall he *' build palaces, plant gardens, andad"orn a country at his own expence, and "for his own pleasures"
Cæsar has given royally, as became imperial magnificence. Seneca has re. ceived what his prince bellowed; nor did he ever ask: he is only guilty of— not refusing. Cæsar's rank places him above the reach of invidious malignity. Seneca is not, nor can be, high enough to despise the envious. As the overloaded soldier, or traveller, would be glad to be relieved of his burden, so I, in this last stage of the journey of life, now that I find myself unequal to the lightest cares, beg, that Cæsar would kindly ease me of the trouble of my un
• The fasti, or calendar?, or, if you please, almanacs, of th? ancients, had, as sur al (Tunics, tables oskinjs, consuls, lit.
wieldy wealth. I beseech him to restore to the imperial treasury, frpm whence ft came, what is to me superfluous and cumbrous. The time and the attention, which I am now obliged to bestow upon my villa and my gardens, I shall be glad to apply to the regulation of my mind. Cæsar is in the flower of life: long may he be equal to the toils of government! His goodness will grant to his worn-out servant leave to retire. It will not be derogatory from Cæsar's greatness to have it said, that.he bestowed favours on some, who, so far from being intoxicated with them, (hewed—that they could be happy, when (at their own request) divested of them.
§ 10. S^f«i(/CHARIDEMUS,fl»A.. T H E N IA N Exile, at the Court of D A R I u s, on 6c ing ajked bis Opinion of the warlike Preparations making by that Prince against Alexander.
Perhaps your Majesty may not bear the truth from the mouth ofaGrecian, and an. exile: and iff do not declare it now, I never will,perhaps I may never have another opportunity.—YourMajesty's numerous army, drawn from various nations, and which unpeoples the east, may seem formidable to the neighbouring countries. The gold, the purple, and the splendor of arms, which strike the eyes of beholders, make a (howwhich Airpafsesthe imagination of all who have not seen it. The Macedonian army, with which your Majesty's forces are going to contend, is, on the contrary, grim, and horrid of aspect, and clad in iron. The irresistible phalanx is a body of men who, in the held of battle, fear no onset, being practised to hold together, man to man, shield to shield, and spear to spear; so that a brazen wall might as soon be broke through. In advancing, in wheeling to right or left, in attacking, in. every exercise of arms, they act as one man. They answer the slightest sign from the commander, as if his soul animated the whole army. Every soldier has a knowledge of war sufficient for a general. And this discipline, by which the Macedonian army is become so formidable, was first established, and has been all along kept up, by a fixed contempt