The boys' and girls' Plutarch

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Material Information

Title:
The boys' and girls' Plutarch being parts of the "Lives" of Plutarch
Physical Description:
xv, 468 p. : ill., col. maps ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Plutarch
White, John S ( John Stuart ), 1847-1922 ( Editor )
G.P. Putnam's Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Place of Publication:
New York ;
London
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Emperors -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Luxury -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Death -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Cruelty -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Biography -- Juvenile literature -- Rome   ( lcsh )
Biography -- Juvenile literature -- Greece   ( lcsh )
Biographies -- 1883   ( rbgenr )
Genre:
Biographies   ( rbgenr )
collective biography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
England -- London

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
edited for boys and girls; with an introduction by John S. White ; with forty-five illustrations.
General Note:
Includes index.
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002224583
notis - ALG4849
oclc - 01854630
lccn - 11009133
System ID:
UF00050415:00001

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NORTH FRONT OF THE PARTHENON.













THE



BOYS' AND GIRLS'




PLUTARCH


BEING PARTS OF THE "LIVES" OF PLUTARCH


EDITED FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, WITH AN INTRODUCTION




BY

JOHN S. WHITE, LL.D.
HEAD-MASTER BERKELEY SCHOOL



WITH FORTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS













NEW YORK
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
27 AND 29 WEST 23D STREET
LONDON: 25 HENRIETTA ST., COVENT GARDEN
1883














































COPYRIGHT, 1883,
By G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS.

















CONTENTS.




PAGE
LIFE OF T HESEUS. ... ....... .... ....................................... 3
LIFE OF ROMULUS .................. .. ............ ........... . 28
COMPARISON OF THESEUS AND ROMULUS ........................... 47
LIFE OF LYCURGUS....... ......................... .............. 49
LIFE OF SOLON ............................... .............. 73
LIFE OF THEMISTOCLES ................ ............. ................. 88
LIFE OF CAMILLUS .. .......... .... .................................. 06
LIFE OF PERICLES. ............... ...................... ........ 136
LIFE OF DEMOSTHENES ....................................... ... 168
LIFE OF CICERO ................................................ .. 90
COMPARISON OF DEMOSTHENES AND CICERO ......................... 229
LIFE OF ALCIBIADES...................... .... ............ ... ....... 233
LIFE OF CORIOLANUS ....... ... ........ ... ........... .. ........ 260
COMPARISON OF ALCIBIADES AND CORIOLANUS ................ ..-... 284
LIFE OF ARISTIDES ............................................... 288
LIFE OF CIMON ....................... .... ....................... 306
LIFE OF POMPEY. . .............. ...... ....... . . .. 326
THE ENGINES OF ARCHIMEDES; FROM THE LIFE OF MARCELLUS....... 370
DESCRIPTION OF CLEOPATRA; FROM THE LIFE OF ANTONY. ........... 375
ANECDOTES FROM THE LIFE OF AGESILAUS ................... ...... 380
THE BROTHERS; FROM THE LIFE OF TIMOLEON....................... 383
THE WOUND OF PHILOPCEMEN.......................... ........ ... 386
A ROMAN TRIUMPH; FROM THE LIFE OF PAULUS EMILIUS. .......... 388
THE NOBLE CHARACTER OF CAIUS FABRICIUS; FROM THE LIFE OF
PYRRHUS . ............ . ..... . . ..... .* * **. .. 393
FROM THE LIFE OF QUINTUS FABIUS MAXIUS. ............... ...... 396
THE CRUELTY OF LucIUs CORNELIUS SYLLA.......... ............. 398
THE LUXURY OF LUCULLUS .................... .... .......... ... 401







vi CONTENTS.

PAGE
FROM THE LIFE OF SERTORIUS THE ROMAN, WHO ENDEAVORED TO ESTAB-
LISH A SEPARATE GOVERNMENT FOR HIMSELF IN SPAIN. ............. 406
THE SCROLL ; FROM THE LIFE OF LYSANDER........................ 410
THE CHARACTER OF MARCUS CATO ........................ ... 411
THE SACRED THEBAN BAND ; FROM THE LIFE OF PELOPIDAS.......... 416
FROM THE LIFE OF TITUS FLAMININUS, CONQUEROR OF PHILIP.......... 418
LIFE OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT................................. 420
THE DEATH OF CNESAR ........................................... 446
WEIGHTS, MEASURES, ETC., MENTIONED BY PLUTARCH; FROM THE TA-
BLES OF DR. ARBUTHNOT .................. .... ................ 449
A CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE, FROM DACIER AND OTHER WRITERS........ 450
INDEX FOR REFERENCE AS TO THE PRONUNCIATION OF PROPER NAMES.. 459

















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.




PAGE
NORTH FRONT OF THE PARTHENON .................. Frontispiece.
TEMPLE OF THESEUS AT ATHENS............................... 2
PORTICO OF TEMPLE OF HERCULES AT ATHENS ................. 7
THE ISLAND OF NAXOS ............... ................ ....... 15
GIRL PLAYING AT DICE .... .................................. 62
GIRL OF TANAGRA WEARING THE CHITON ........................ 63
YOUTH WITH CHLAMYS AND HAT............................... 64
YOUTH WITH CHLAMYS AND HAT. .............................. 65
THE GULF OF SALAMIS ..... ....... .... ..... ... ......... ........ 75
MILTIADES ...... ... ... .. .................. ............... 89
THEMISTOCLES. ....... .......................... ... ... ..... 94
THEMISTOCLES RECEIVING THE TROPHY OF VICTORY .............. 98
EXILE OF THEMISTOCLES. ............. .............. ......... ... I00
RESTORATION OF THE WEST END OF THE ACROPOLIS ............. 136
ATHENS FROM MOUNT HYMETTUS .... .......................... 137
ATHENS FROM THE ROAD TO ELEUSIS ... ........................ 146
THE PARTHENON IN THE TIME OF PERICLES....................... 149
TEMPLE OF HERCULES. ..... ... ..... .. ..... ....... .... ....... 150
TEMPLE OF MINERVA AT lEGINA ................................ 163
RUINS OF THE PARTHENON ................................... 167
D EMOSTHENES ................. ........ ...... ................... 170
T HE CAPITOL .............. ............ ......... ...... ....... .217
W IRITING IMPLEMENTS ........... .... ............. .... .. .... 228
A LCIBIADES ..................... ............................. 233
SPHACTERIA AND PYLOS FROM NAVARINO ....................... 241
MOUNTS OLYMPUS AND OSSA FROM THE PLAIN OF THESSALY. .... .305
PLAIN OF MARATHON .... ... ........... .. ..... .. .. ... 308







Viii LIST OF ILL USTRA TONS.
PAGE
GROVES OF THE ACADEMY .............. ..... .. ......... ...... 18
GATE OF LIONS AT 1MYCENE............................ ........ 325
POM PEY. ... ..... .... ..... .. .. ..... ...... .......... ... ....... 327
COIFFURES OF ROMAN LADIES .................................. 348
ARCH OF CONSTANTINE ........................................ 350
HARBOR OF BRUNDUSIUM .................. ..... .............. 353
RIVER PENEUS, LOOKING TOWARD MOUNT PINDUS. ............... 362
LADY OF TANAGRA WITH CHITON AND HAT ................... 376
GREEK WARRIOR. ....... ... ........................... ...... 380
GREEK WARRIOR. ........ .. ...... . ........... .... ... ... 381
W INE JUGS OR OINOCHOI ... .................................. 390
MIXING BOWLS OR KROTERES. .................................. 391
WALL DECORATIONS FROM POMPEII ............................. 402
GATE OF LIONS AT MYCENE (RESTORED). ........................ 417
ALEXANDER THE GREAT ....................................... 423
THERAMENES DRAGGED FROM THE ALTAR BY ORDER OF CRITIAS ...... 428
TEMPLE OF POSEIDON AT PAESTUM ............................... 445
THEATRICAL M ASKS. ................................. ... .'.... 448




MAPS.

ASIA M INOR. ................................ .... ..... ........ 20
G REECE ..................................... . ... ........ .... 88
ROMAN EMPIRE ...................... ............ .......... 388
REGNUM ALEXANDRI MAGNI . . . . . . . . . . . .. .... 420












INTRODUCTION.



WHAT! a book for girls as well as boys ?" Well, is it
not high time, when almost every wholesome book made for
young folks in the score of years just past has been dedicated
to the boys alone ?
I am afraid most of you will say right here-" I always skip
the introduction to a book; it is so stupid !" But if I could
only sketch so boldly for you this sweet and Christ-like pagan
that the picture would afford you a little of the pleasure the
study of his works has brought to me, you would fain read the
last word. Plutarch wrote a hundred books and was never dull.
Most of these have been lost, but the portions which remain
have found, with the exception of Holy Writ, more readers
through eighteen centuries than the works of any other writer
of ancient times. Besides the fifty lives" and about twenty
comparisons which are still extant, we have five large octavo
volumes of essays, conversations, and dialogues, covering a
vast range of topics. Lamprius, who is commonly thought to
have been Plutarch's son, and who was himself something of a
philosopher, has left us a catalogue of his father's writings;
but, as Dryden capitally said, you cannot look upon the list
without the same emotions that a merchant must feel in
perusing a bill of freight after he has lost his vessel." The
writings which no longer exist are these-a marvel in them-
selves of human talent and industry:
The Lives of Hercules, Hesiod, Pindar, Crates, and Dai-
phantus, with a Parallel'; Leonidas, Aristomenes, Scipio Afri-
canus Junior, and Metellus, Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius,






x INTRODUCTION.

Nero, Caligula, Vitellius, Epaminondas and the Elder Scipio,
with a Parallel.
Four Books of Commentaries on Homer.
Four Books of Commentaries on Hesiod.
Four Books to Empedocles, on the Quintessence.
Five Books of Essays.
Three Books of Fables.
Three Books of Rhetoric.
Three Books on the Introduction of the Soul.
Two Books of Extracts from the Philosophers.
Three Books on Sense.
Three Books on the Great Actions of Cities.
Two Books on Politics.
An Essay on Opportunity, to Theophrastus.
Four Books on- the Obsolete Parts of History.
Two Books of Proverbs.
Eight Books on the Topics of Aristotle.
Three Books on Justice, to Chrysippus.
An Essay on Poetry.
A Dissertation on the Difference between the Pyrrhonians
and the Academicians.
A Treatise to prove that there was but one Academy of
Plato.
Plutarch was born about the year 5o, A.D., at Chzeronea,
in Bceotia-a little town, but of good repute, in which he
spent nearly the whole of his three score years and ten, being
loth, as he said, to make it less by the withdrawal of even
one inhabitant." He learned philosophy under Ammonius at
Athens. He traveled much and made many friends. But for
his visit to Egypt we should know little or nothing of the
worship of Isis and Osiris, and the Egyptian mysteries. Twice
he went to Italy, apparently upon public business, and, while
in Rome, lectured in the Greek language and taught philoso-
phy. He appears to have learned the Latin tongue later on
at his own home. We know very little else of his life except







INTR OD AUCTION. xi
that he was married, and was the father of five children, two
of whom survived to manhood. We may judge from his
occasional allusions to his private life that it was supremely
happy; exhibiting," he writes in a letter to his wife, scarcely
an erasure, as in a book well-written." But the pity is that,
like Shakspeare, whom Plutarch greatly resembles in the
universality of his genius, the story of his life was never told.
Four centuries after his death Agathias wrote this memorable
epitaph to be engraved upon a statue erected by the Romans
to his memory :

Chaeronean Plutarch, to thy deathless praise
Does martial Rome this grateful statue raise,
Because both Greece and she thy fame have shared-
Their heroes written, and their lives compared.
But thou thyself.couldst never write thy own;
Their lives have parallels, but thine has none !

It is remarkable that Plutarch never mentions in his writ-
ings the names of his great contemporaries,-Tacitus, Quin-
tilian, Seneca, and both the Plinys, Martial, Suetonius, and
Juvenal, nor, on the other hand, would you discover from
their writings that such a man as Plutarch ever lived. But
the greatest writers through all the years since the second
century have told his praises and drawn at will from his cease-
less fountain of wisdom. Taurus calls him a man of the most
consummate learning; in the language of Sardianus he is the
"divine Plutarch"; and when Theodorus Gaza, a learned
classical scholar three hundred years ago, was asked what
author he would save, if learning must suffer a general ship-
wreck," he replied, Plutarch," because in preserving him he
should secure the best substitute for all other books.
Nobody ever read humah nature with a juster eye, and
weighed character and merit in finer scales than our own
Emerson. He chats most delightfully of Plutarch:-" No
poet could illustrate his thought with more novel or striking






xii INTR OD ACTION.

similes or happier anecdotes. I do not know where to find a
book-to borrow a phrase of Ben Jonson's-' so rammed with
life.' His style is realistic, picturesque, and varied; his sharp
objective eyes seeing everything that moves, shines, or
threatens in nature or art, or thought or dreams. Indeed,
twilights, shadows, omens, and spectres have a charm for him.
He believes in witchcraft and the evil eye, in demons and
ghosts-but prefers, if you please, to talk of these in the
morning. His vivacity and abundance never leave him to
loiter or pound on an incident. I admire his rapid and
crowded style, as if he had such store of anecdotes of his
heroes that he is forced to suppress more than he recounts, in
order to keep up with the hasting history."
The sentiment of Plutarch, like his heart, was always pure.
"Truth," he says, is the greatest good that man can receive,
and the goodliest blessing God can give." He was very plain-
spoken, as were all the Greek and Roman authors, writing
only for men to read. Not until women were educated to
read, and think, and write, did literature become elevated and
refined from impurity of subject and expression. In the selec-
tions from the Lives which I have given you, I have pruned
away whatever seemed indelicate for the young reader, or te-
dious; some of the least interesting biographies I have, for
lack of space, omitted altogether. But the selections .are given
as nearly as possible in Plutarch's own words, following pretty
closely the quaint but generally vivid translation called Dry-
den's," made by many different scholars, corrected and revised
a few years ago by Professor Clough, of London.
In reading the Essays of Plutarch, the wonder constantly
grows that his knowledge could be so extensive, and so sci-
entific. He gives a lucid and correct explanation of the
cause of the rainbow; he discusses the principles of gravita-
tion as a subject of common information, so skilfully that Sir
Isaac Newton must yield the palm of originality as to the dis-
covery that all matter attracts all other matter. His discourse







INTRODUCTION. xiii

" Concerning the face that appeareth in the orb of the moon"
evidences a marvelously profound understanding of astronomy,
beyond which the science of the present day has made little
advance. And Dr. Holmes himself will confess to you that
in this same Plutarch of eighteen hundred years ago you may
discover a veritable "Autocrat of the Breakfast-table." Among
the subjects of which he discourses are: "Brotherly Love,"
"Bashfulness," "Chattering," How to know a Flatterer from a
Friend," "That Brutes make use of Reason," Whether Sleep
or Death appertains to the body or the soul," "On the Cure
for Anger," and a vast number of others touching upon almost
every sphere of human knowledge, and illustrated and adorned
with a wealth of figure and anecdote that admit us uninten-
tionally but surely into the very heart of the ancient home life.
Horace bids the pin-feathered poet study to be unstudied,"
and Plutarch in his sphere deems it the highest object of am-
bition to be a philosopher without seeming to be one. In his
essay "Of Man's Progress in Virtue," he considers it an ar-
gument of a generous and truly brave disposition in a scholar
not to assume the name and character of one, and as some do,
to. put 'philosopher' among his titles; but if any, out of
respect, chance to give him that appellation, to be surprised,
blush, and with a modest smile, answer him in the words of the
poet :
"'You compliment your friend: he whom you commend
Must needs be more than man-far more than I pretend.'" *

Plutarch believes heartily in the reasoning power of brutes.
He loves animals, and his writings are full of tender allusions to
instances of affection and sagacity among them that evidence
the closest acquaintance with their habits and history.
In the Conversation Whether Water or Land Animals are
the more Sagacious," occurs this anecdote:-

Odyssey, X VI. 187.






xiv INTR OD AUCTION

It happened that King Pyrrhus, traveling one day, found
a dog watching over the carcass of a person slain; and hearing
that the dog had been there three days without meat or drink,
yet would not forsake his dead master, he ordered that the man
should be buried, but that the dog should be preserved and
brought to him. A few days after there was a muster of the
soldiers, so that they were forced to march all in order by the
king, with the dog quietly lying by him for a good while.
But when he saw the murderers of his master pass by him, he
flew upon them with a more than ordinary fury, barking and bay-
ing and tearing their throats, and ever and anon turning about
to the king; which did not only rouse the king's suspicion, but
the jealousy of all that stood about him. Upon which the men
were presently apprehended; and though the circumstances
were very slight which otherwise appeared against them, yet
they confessed the fact and were executed."
There is nothing in the extant writings of Plutarch to indi-
cate that he had any knowledge of the Christian religion, al-
though the purity and humility of his life, his fearless cham-
pionship of the right, and his broad humanity peculiarly
adapted him to be a follower of the Great Teacher. His pro-
found faith in divine Providence and in the immortality of the
soul everywhere illuminates his pages, and I cannot give you a
truer key to his heart and a closer acquaintance with the man
himself whose Lives you are about to read than by quoting a
few of the words from his beautiful Letter of consolation
to Apollonius upon the death of a gifted son":
That virtuous men die in the prime of their years by the
kindness of the gods, to whom they are peculiarly dear, I have
already told thee in the former part of my discourse, and will
give a short hint of it now, bearing witness to that which is
so prettily said by Menander,' He whom the gods do love dies
young.' Thy Apollonius died in the beautiful flower of his
years, a youth in all points perfect, who gained the love and
provoked the emulation of all his contemporaries. He was







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INT.R OD AUCTION, xv

dutiful to his father and mother, obliging to his domestics, was
a scholar, and (to comprehend all in a word) he was a lover
of mankind. He had a veneration for the old men that were
his friends as if they had been his parents; he had an affection
for his companions and equals, reverenced his instructors, was
hospitable and mild to guests and strangers, gracious to all and
beloved by all, as well for his attractive countenance as for his
lovely affability. Therefore, being accompanied with the ap-
plauses of thy piety and his. own, he hath only made- a digres-
sion from this mortal life to eternity, as if he had withdrawn
from the entertainment before he grew absurd, and before the
staggering of drunkenness came upon him, which are incident
to a long old age. Now if the sayings of the old philosophers
and poets are true, as there is probability to think, that honors
and high seats of dignity are conferred upon the righteous after
they are departed this life, and if, as it is said, a particular
region is appointed for their souls to dwell in, you ought to
cherish very fair hopes that your son stands numbered among
these blest inhabitants.
Of the state of the pious after death, Pindar discourseth
after this manner:

"'There the sun shines with an unsullied light,
When all the world below is thick with night.
There all the richly scented plants do grow,
And there the crimson-colored roses blow;
Each flower blooming on its tender stalk,
And all these meadows are their evening walk.
There trees peculiarly delight the sense
With their exhaled perfume of frankincense;
The boughs their noble burdens cannot hold,
The weight must sink them when the fruit is gold.
*
Death its efforts on the body spends;
But the aspiring spirit upward tends-
Nothing can damp that bright and subtile flame,
Immortal as the Gods, from whence it came.' "















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THESEUS.


As geographers, Sosius,* crowd into the edges of their
maps parts of the world which they do not know about, adding
notes in the margin to the effect that beyond this lies nothing
but sandy deserts full of wild beasts, unapproachable bogs,
Scythian ice, or a frozen sea, so, in this work of mine, in which
I have compared the lives of the greatest men with one another,
after passing through those periods which probable reasoning
can reach to and real history find a footing in, I might very
well say of those that are farther off, Beyond this there is
nothing but prodigies and fictions; the only inhabitants are
the poets and inventors of fables; there is no credit, or cer-
tainty any farther. Yet, after publishing an account of Lycur-
gus the lawgiver and Numa the king, I thought I might, not
without reason, ascend as high as to Romulus, being brought
by my history so near to his time. Considering therefore with
myself
Whom shall I set so great a man to face ?
Or whom oppose? who's equal to the place?

(as zEschylus expresses it), I found none so fit as he who
peopled the beautiful and far-famed city of Athens, to be set
in opposition with the father of the invincible and renowned
city of Rome. Let us hope that Fable may, in what shall fol-
low, so submit to the purifying processes of Reason as to take
the character of exact history. We shall beg that we may
meet with candid readers, and such as will receive with indul-
gence the stories of antiquity.
Theseus seemed to me to resemble Romulus in many par-
Sosius Senecio, Plutarch's friend at Rome, whom he addresses.
3






4 PLUTARCH 'S LIVES.

ticulars. Both of them had the repute of being sprung from
the gods.
Both warriors; that by all the world's allowed.

Both of them united with strength of body an equal vigor of
mind; and of the two most famous cities of the world, the
one built Rome, and the other made Athens be inhabited.
Neither of them could avoid domestic misfortunes nor jealousy
at home; but towards the close of their lives are both of
them said to have incurred great odium with their country-
men, if, that is, we ,may take the stories least like poetry as
our guide to the truth.
Theseus was the son of .Egeus and /Ethra. His lineage,
by his father's side, ascends as high as to Erechtheus and the
first inhabitants of Attica. By his mother's side he was de-
scended of Pelops, who was the most powerful of all the kings
of Peloponnesus.
When Egeus went from the home of /Ethra in Troezen to
Athens, he left a sword and a pair of shoes, hiding them
under a great stone that had a hollow in it exactly fitting
them; and went away making her only privy to it, and com-
manding her that if, when their son came to man's estate, he
should be able to lift up the stone and take away what he had
left there, she should send him away to him with those things
with all secrecy, and with injunctions to him as much as
possible to conceal his journey from every one; for he greatly
feared the Pallantidae, who were continually mutinying against
him, and despised him for his want of children, they them-
selves being fifty brothers, all sons of Pallas, the brother of
IEgeus.
When /Ethra's son was born, some say that he was imme-
diately named Theseus, from the tokens which his father had
put* under the stone; others that he received his name after-
wards at Athens, when Egeus acknowledged* him for his son.
Thesis, putting ; Thesthai, to take to oneself, to adopt or acknowledge, as a son.







IHESE US. 5
He was brought up under his grandfather Pittheus, and had a
tutor and attendant set over him named Connidas, to whom
the Athenians, even to this time, the day before the feast that'
is dedicated to Theseus, sacrifice a ram, giving this honor to
his memory upon much juster grounds than to Silanio and
Parrhasius, for making pictures and statues of Theseus. There
being then a custom for the Grecian youth, upon their first
coming to man's estate, to go to Delphi and offer first-
fruits of their hair to the god, Theseus also went thither, and
a place there to this day is yet named Thesea, as it is said,
from 'him. He clipped only the fore part of his head, as
Homer says the Abantes did. And this sort of tonsure was
from him named Theseis. The Abantes first used it, not in
imitation of the Arabians, as some imagine, nor of the Mys-
ians, but because they were a warlike people, and used to close
fighting, and above all other nations accustomed to engage
hand to hand; as Archilochus testifies in these verses :

Slings shall not whirl, nor many arrows fly,
When on the plain the battle joins ; but swords,
Man against man, the deadly conflict try,
As is the practice of Euboea's lords
Skilled with the spear.--

Therefore, that they might not give their enemies a hold
by their hair, they cut it in this manner. They write also
that this was the reason why Alexander gave command to his
captains that all the beards of the Macedonians should be
shaved, as being the readiest hold for an enemy.
,Ethra for some time concealed the true parentage of
Theseus, and a report was given out by Pittheus that he was
the son of Neptune; for the Trcezenians pay Neptune the
highest veneration. He is their tutelar god, to him they offer
all their first-fruits, and in his honor stamp their money with
a trident.
Theseus displaying not only great strength of body, but






6 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
equal bravery, and a quickness alike and force of understand-
ing, his mother /Ethra, conducting him to the stone, and
informing him who was his true father, commanded him to
take from thence the tokens that /Egeus had left, and to sail
to Athens. He without any difficulty set himself to the stone
and lifted it up; but refused to take his journey by sea, though
it was much the safer way, and though his mother and grand-
father begged him to do so. For it was at that time very
dangerous to go by land on the road to Athens, no part of it
being free from robbers and murderers. That age produced
a sort of men, in force of hand, and swiftness of foot, and
strength of body, excelling the ordinary rate, and wholly
incapable of fatigue; making use, however, of these gifts of
nature to no good or profitable purpose for mankind, but
rejoicing and priding themselves in insolence, and taking the
benefit of their superior strength in the exercise of inhumanity
and cruelty, and in seizing, forcing, and committing all manner
of outrages upon everything that fell into their hands; all
respect for others, all justice, they thought, all equity and
humanity, though naturally lauded by common people, either
out of want of courage to commit injuries or fear to receive
them, yet no way concerned those who were strong enough to
win for themselves. Some of these Hercules destroyed and
cut off in his passage through these countries, but some,
escaping his notice while he was passing by, fled and hid
themselves, or else were spared by him in contempt of their
abject submission; and after that Hercules fell into misfortune,
and, having slain Iphitus, retired to Lydia, and for a long
time was there slave to Omphale, a punishment which he had
imposed upon himself for the murder. Then, indeed, Lydia
enjoyed high peace and security, but in Greece and the
countries about it the like villanies again revived and broke
out, there being none to repress or chastise them. It was
therefore a very hazardous journey to travel by land from
Athens to. Peloponnesus; and Pittheus, giving him an exact








THESE US. 7

account of each of these robbers and villains, their strength,
and the cruelty they used to all strangers, tried to persuade
Theseus to go by sea. But he, it seems, had long since been
secretly fired by the glory of Hercules, held him in the highest
estimation, and was never more satisfied than in listening to
any that gave an account of him; especially those that had
seen him, or had been present at any action or saying of his.
So that he was altogether in the same state of feeling as, in
after ages, Themistocles was, when he said that he could not
sleep for the trophy of Miltiades; enter- -
taining such admiration for the virtue of -- --
Hercules that in the night his dreams
were all of that hero's actions, and in the
day a continual emulation stirred him up
to perform the like. Besides, they were _
related, being born of own cousins. For
AzEthra was daughter of Pit-
theus, and Alcmena of Lysi-
*dice; and Lysidice and Pit- 1 "1
theus were brother and I', ", 7 -"Fl
sister, children of Hippo-
,L-1--1 .-'- -i;r-.d ^rf SIS=i^^^-




S









PORTICO OF TEMPLE OF HERCULES AT ATHENS.
(It is erroneously called Temple of Theseus in W. Gr.)






8 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
damia and Pelops. He thought it therefore a dishonorable
thing, and not to be endured, that Hercules should go out every-
where, and purge both land and sea from wicked. men, and he
himself should fly from the like adventures that actually came
in his way; not showing his true father as good evidence of the
greatness of his birth by noble and worthy actions, as by
the tokens that he brought with him, the shoes and the
sword.
With this mind and these thoughts, he set forward with a
design to do injury to nobody, but to repel and revenge him-
self of all those that should offer any. And first of all, in a
set combat he slew Periphetes, in the neighborhood of Epi-
daurus, who used a club for his arms, and from thence had the
name of Corynetes, or the club-bearer.; who seized upon him,
and forbade him to go forward in his journey. Being pleased
with the club, he took it, and made it his weapon, continuing
to use it as Hercules did the lion's skin, on whose shoulders
that served to prove how huge a beast he had killed; and to
the same end Theseus carried about him this club; overcome
indeed by him, but now, in his hands, invincible.
Passing on further towards 'the Isthmus of Peloponnesus,
he slew Sinnis, often surnamed the Bender of Pines, after the
same manner in which he himself had destroyed many others
before. And this he did without having either practiced or
ever learnt the art of bending these trees, to show that natural
strength is above all art. This Sinnis had a daughter of re-
markable beauty and stature, called Perigune, who, when her
father was killed, fled, and was sought after everywhere by
Theseus; and coming into a place overgrown with brushwood,
shrubs, and asparagus-thorn, there, in a childlike, innocent
mannr, prayed and begged them, as if they understood her,
to give her shelter, with vows that if she escaped. she would
never cut them down nor burn them. But Theseus calling
upon her, and giving her his promise that he would use her
with respect, and offer her no injury, she came forth. Whence







THESE US. 9
it is a family usage amongst the people called loxids, from the
name of her grandson, loxus, both male and female, never to
burn either shrubs or asparagus-thorn, but to respect and
honor them.
The Crommyonian sow, which they called Phaea, was a
savage and formidable wild beast, by no means an enemy to
be despised. Theseus killed her, going out of his way on pur-
pose to meet and engage her, so that he might not seem to
perform all his great exploits out of mere necessity; being
also of opinion that it was the part of a brave man to chastise
villanous and wicked men when attacked by them, but to seek
out and overcome the more noble wild beasts. Others relate
that Phaea was a woman, a robber full of cruelty, that lived in
Crommyon, and had the name of Sow given her from the
foulness of her life and manners, and afterwards was killed by
Theseus. He slew also Sciron, upon the borders of Megara,
casting him down from the rocks, being, as most report, a
notorious robber of all passengers, and, as others add, accus-
tomed, out of insolence and wantonness, to stretch forth his
feet to strangers, commanding them to wash them, and then
while they did it, with a kick to send them down the rock into
the sea.
In Eleusis he killed Cercyon, the Arcadian, in a wrestling
match. And going on a little farther, in Erineus, he slew
Damastes, otherwise called Procrustes, forcing his body to the
size of his own bed, as he himself was used to do with all
strangers; this he did in imitation of Hercules, who always
returned upon his assailants the same sort of violence that they
offered to him; sacrificed Busiris, killed Anteus in wrestling,
and Cycnus in single combat, and Termerus by breaking his
skull in pieces (whence, they say, comes the proverb of "a
Termerian mischief"), for it seems Termerus killed passengers
that he met by running with his head against them. And so
also Theseus proceeded with the punishment of evil men, who
underwent the same violence from him which they had inflict-






10 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
ed upon others, justly suffering after the manner of their own
injustice.
As he went forward on his journey, and was come as far as
the River Cephisus, some of the race of the Phytalidse met
him and saluted him, and, upon his desire to use the purifica-
tions, then in custom, they performed them with all the usual
ceremonies, and, having offered propitiatory sacrifices to the
gods, invited him and entertained him at their house, a kind-
ness which, in all his journey hitherto, he had not met.
On the eighth day of Cronius, now called Hecatombaeon, he
arrived at Athens, where he found the public affairs full of all
confusion, and divided into parties and factions, /Egeus also,
and his whole private family, laboring under the same distem-
per; for Medea, having fled from Corinth, was living with
him. She first was aware of Theseus, whom as yet /Egeus
did not know, and he being in years, full of jealousies and sus-
picions, and fearing everything by reason of the faction that
was then in the city, she easily persuaded him to kill him by
poison at a banquet, to which he was to be invited as a stranger.
He, coming to the entertainment, thought it not fit to discover
himself at once, but, willing to give his father the occasion of
first finding him out, the meat being on the table, he drew his
sword as if he designed to cut with it; /Egeus, at once recog-
nizing the token, threw down the cup of poison, and, question-
ing his son, embraced him, and, having gathered together all
his citizens, owned him publicly before them, who, on their
part, received him gladly for the fame of his greatness and
bravery.
The sons of Pallas, who before were quiet, upon expectation
of recovering the kingdom after Egeus's death, who was with-
out issue, as soon as Theseus appeared and was acknowledged
the successor, highly resenting that zEgeus first, an adopted
son only of Pandion, and not at all related to the family of
Erechtheus, should be holding the kingdom, and that after him,
Theseus, a visitor and stranger, should be destined to succeed







THESEUS.
to it, broke'out into open war. And, dividing themselves into
two companies, one part of them marched openly from Sphet-
tus, with their father, against the city; the other, hiding them-
selves in the village of Gargettus, lay in ambush, with a design
to set upon the enemy on both sides. They had with them a
crier of the township of Agnus, named Leos, who discovered
to Theseus all the designs of the Pallantida. He immediately
fell upon those that lay in ambuscade, and cut them all off;
upon tidings of which Pallas and his company fled and were
dispersed.
From hence they say is derived the custom among the peo-
ple of the township of Pallene to have no marriages or any al-
liance with the people of Agnus, nor to suffer the criers to
pronounce in their proclamations the words used in all other
parts of the country, AcouitA Leoi (Hear ye people), hating
the very sound of Leo, because of the treason of Leos.
Theseus, longing to be in action, and desirous also to make
himself popular, left Athens to fight with the bull of Marathon,
which did no small mischief to the inhabitants of Tetrapolis.
And having overcome it, he brought it alive in triumph through
the city, and afterwards sacrificed it to the Delphinian Apollo.
The story of Hecale, also, of her receiving and entertaining
Theseus in this expedition, seems to be not altogether void of
truth; for the townships round about, meeting upon a certain day,
used to offer a sacrifice, which they called Hecalesia, to Jupiter
Hecaleius, and to pay honor to Hecale, whom, by a diminutive
name, they called Hecalene, because she, while entertaining
Theseus, who was quite a youth, addressed him, as old people do,
with similar endearing diminutives; and having made a vow to
Jupiter for him as he was going to the fight, that, if he returned
in safety, she would offer sacrifices in thanks of it, and dying be-
fore he came back, she had these honors given her by way of
return for her hospitality, by the command of Theseus, as
Philochorus tells us.
Not long afterwards came the third time from Crete the col-






12 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
lectors of the tribute which the Athenians paid them upon the
following occasion. Androgeus having been treacherously
murdered in the confines of Attica, not only Minos, his father,
put the Athenians to extreme distress by a perpetual war, but
the gods also laid waste their country; both famine and pesti-
lence lay heavy upon them, and even their rivers were dried
up. Being told by the oracle that if they appeased and recon-
ciled Minos, the anger of the gods would cease and they should
enjoy rest from the miseries they labored under, they sent her-
alds, and with much supplication were at last reconciled, enter-
ing into an agreement to send to Crete every nine years a trib-
ute of seven young men and as many virgins, as most writers
agree in stating; and the most poetical story adds that the
Minotaur destroyed them, or that, wandering in the Labyrinth,
and finding no possible means of getting out, they miserably
ended their lives there; and that this Minotaur was (as Eurip-
ides hath it)
A mingled form, where two strange shapes combined,
And different natures, bull and man, were joined.
Now when the time of the third tribute was come, and the
fathers who had any young men for their sons were to proceed
by lot to the choice of those that were to be sent, there arose
fresh discontents and accusations against IEgeus among the
people, who were full of grief and indignation that he, who
was the cause of all their miseries, was the only person exempt
from the punishment; adopting and settling his kingdom upon
a foreign son, he took no thought, they said, of their destitu-
tion and loss of their lawful children. These things sensibly
affected Theseus, who, thinking it but just not to disregard,
but rather partake of, the sufferings of his fellow-citizens,
offered himself for one without any lot. All else were struck
with admiration for the nobleness, and with love for the good-
ness, of the act; and /Egeus, after prayers and entreaties, find-
ing him inflexible and not to be persuaded, proceeded to the







THESEUS. 13
choosing of-the rest by lot. Hellanicus, however, tells us that
the Athenians did not send the young men and virgins by lot,
but that Minos himself used to come and make his own choice,
and pitched upon Theseus before all others; according to the
conditions agreed upon between them, namely, that the Athe-
nians should furnish them with a ship, and that the young men
who were to sail with him should carry no weapon of war; but
that if the Minotaur was destroyed the tribute should cease.
On the two former occasions of the payment of the tribute,
entertaining no hopes of safety or return, they sent out the
ship with a black sail, as to unavoidable destruction; but now,
Theseus encouraging his father and speaking greatly of himself,
as confident that he should kill the Minotaur, he gave the pilot
another sail, which was white, commanding him, as he returned,
if Theseus were safe, to make use of that; but if not, to sail
with the black one, and to hang out that sign of his misfortune.
Simonides says that the sail which AEgeus delivered to the
pilot was not white, but
Scarlet, in the juicy bloom
Of the living oak-tree steeped.

The lot being cast, and Theseus having received out of the
Prytaneiim those upon whom it fell, he went to the Delphinium,
and made an offering for them to Apollo of his suppliant's
badge, which was a bough of a consecrated olive tree, with
white wool tied about it.
Having thus performed his devotion, he went to sea, the
sixth day of Munychion, on which day even to this time the
Athenians send their virgins to the same temple to make sup-
plication to the gods. It is farther reported that he was com-
manded by the oracle at Delphi to make Venus his guide, and
to invoke her as the companion and conductress of his voyage,
and that, as he was sacrificing a she goat to her by the sea-
side, it was suddenly changed into a he, and for this cause
that goddess had the name of Epitragia.






I4 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.

When he arrived at Crete, as most of the ancient historians
as well as poets tell us, having a clue of thread given him by
Ariadne, who had fallen in love with him, and being instructed
by her how to use it so as to conduct him through the wind-
ings of the Labyrinth, he escaped out of it and slew the Mino-
taur, and sailed back, taking along with him Ariadne and the
young Athenian captives. Pherecydes adds that he bored
holes in the bottoms of the Cretan ships to hinder their pur-
suit. Demon writes that Taurus, the chief captain of Minos,
was slain by Theseus at the mouth of the port, in a naval
combat, as he was sailing out for Athens. But Philochorus
gives us the story thus : That at the setting forth of the yearly
games by King Minos, Taurus was expected to carry away the
prize, as he had done before; and was much grudged the
honor. His character and manners made his power hateful,
and he was accused, moreover, of too near familiarity with
Pasiphae, for which reason, when Theseus desired the combat,
Minos readily complied. And as it was a custom in Crete
that the women also should be admitted to the sight of these
games, Ariadne, being present, was struck with admiration of
the manly beauty of Theseus, and the vigor and address which
he showed in the combat, overcoming all that encountered
with him. Minos, too, being extremely pleased with him,
especially because he had overthrown and disgraced Taurus,
voluntarily gave up the young captives to Theseus, and re-
mitted the tribute to the Athenians.
There are yet many traditions about these things, and as
many concerning Ariadne, all inconsistent with each other.
Some relate that she hung herself, being deserted by Theseus.
Others that she was carried away by his sailors to the isle of
Naxos, and married to CEnarus, priest of Bacchus; and that
Theseus left her because he fell in love with another,
For AEgle's love was burning in his breast.
Now Theseus, in his return from Crete, put in at Delos, and,










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16 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
having sacrificed to the god of the island, dedicated to the
temple the image of Venus which Ariadne had given him, and
danced with the young Athenians a dance that, in memory of
him, they say is still preserved among the inhabitants of Delos,
consisting in certain measured turnings and returning, imita-
tive of the windings and twistings of the Labyrinth. And this
dance, as Dicaearchus writes, is called among the Delians, the
Crane. This he danced round the Ceratonian Altar,* so called
from its consisting of horns taken from the left side of the
head. They say also that he instituted games in Delos, where
he was the first that began the custom of giving a. palm to the
victors.
When they were come near the coast of Attica, so great was
the joy for the happy success of their voyage, that neither
Theseus himself nor the pilot remembered to hang out the
sail which should have been the token of their safety to
/Egeus, who, in despair at the sight, threw himself headlong
from a rock, and perished in the sea. But Theseus, being
arrived at the port of Phalerum, paid there the sacrifices which
he had vowed to the gods at his'setting out to sea, and sent a
herald to the city to carry the news of his safe return. At his
entrance, the herald found the people for the most part full of
grief for the loss of their king, others, as may well be believed,
as full of joy for the tidings that he brought, and eager to
welcome him and crown him with garlands for his good news,
which he indeed accepted of, but hung them upon his herald's
staff; and thus returning to the seaside before Theseus had
finished his libation to the gods, he stayed apart for fear of
disturbing the holy rites, but, as soon as the libation was
ended, went up and related the king's death, upon the hearing
of which, with great lamentations. and a confused tumult of
grief, they ran with all haste to the city. And from hence,
they say, it comes that at this day, in the feast of Oschophoria,

Kiras, a horn.








THESEUS. 17

the herald is not crowned, but his staff, and all who are pres-
ent at the libation cry out eleleu, iou, iou, the first of which
confused sounds is commonly used by men in haste, or at a
triumph, the other is proper to people in consternation or
disorder of mind.
Theseus, after the funeral of his father, paid his vows to
Apollo the seventh day of Pyanepsion; for on that day the
youth that returned with him safe from Crete made their entry
into the city. They say, also, that the custom of boiling pulse
at this feast is derived from hence; because the young men
that escaped put all that was left of their provision together,
and; boiling it in one common pot, feasted themselves with it,
and ate it all up together. Hence, also, they carry in proces-
sion an olive branch bound about with wool (such as they then
made use of in their supplications), which they call Eiresione,
crowned with all sorts of fruits, to signify that scarcity and
barrenness was ceased, singing in their procession this song:

Eiresione bring figs, and Eirsione bring loaves ;
Bring us honey in pints, and oil to rub on our bodies,
And a strong flagon of wine, for all to go mellow to bed on.

The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned
had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down
even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away
the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger tim-
ber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing
example among the philosophers, for the logical question as
to things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained
the same, and the other contending that it was not the came.
Now, after the death of his father /Egeus, forming in his
mind a great and wonderful design, he gathered together all
the inhabitants of Attica into one town, and made them one
people of one city, whereas before they lived dispersed, and
were not easy to assemble upon any affair for the common in-
terest. Nay, differences and even wars often occurred between
2







18 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
them, which he by his persuasions appeased, going from town-
ship to township, and from tribe to tribe. And those of a
more private and mean condition readily embracing such good
advice, to those of greater power he promised a common-
wealth without monarchy, a democracy, or people's govern-
ment, in which he should only be continued as their com-
mander in war and the protector of their laws, all things else
being equally distributed among them;-and by this means
brought a part of them over to his proposal. The rest, fearing
his power, which was already grown very formidable, and
knowing his courage and resolution, chose rather to be per-
suaded than forced into a compliance. He then dissolved all
the distinct state-houses, council halls, and magistracies, and
built one common state-house (the Prytaneiim) and council
hall on the site of the present upper town, and gave the name
of Athens to the whole state, ordaining a common feast and
sacrifice, which he called Panathenama, or the sacrifice of all the
united Athenians. He instituted also another sacrifice, called
Metoecia, or Feast of Migration, which is yet celebrated on the
sixteenth day of Hecatombaeon. Then, as he had promised,
he laid down his regal power and proceeded to order a com-
monwealth, entering upon this great work not without advice
from the gods. For having sent to consult the oracle of Delphi
concerning the fortune of his new government and city, he
received this answer:
Son of the Pitthean maid,
To your town the terms and fates
My father gives of many states.
Be not anxious nor afraid:
The bladder will not fail to swim
On the waves that compass him.

Which oracle, they say, one of the sibyls long after did in a
manner repeat to the Athenians, in this verse,

The bladder may be dipt, but not be drowned.








THESEUS. 19
Farther yet designing to enlarge his city, he invited all
strangers to come and enjoy equal privileges with the natives,
and it is said that the common form, Come hither allye people,
was the words that Theseus proclaimed when he thus set up a
commonwealth, in a manner, for all nations. Yet he did not
suffer his state, by the promiscuous multitude that flowed in,
to be turned into confusion and be left without any order or
degree, but was the first that divided the. commonwealth into
three distinct ranks, the noblemen, the husbandmen, and
artificers. To the nobility he committed the care of religion,
the choice of magistrates, the teaching and dispensing of the
laws, and interpretation and direction in all sacred matters; the
whole city being, as it were, reduced to an exact equality, the
nobles excelling the rest in honor, the husbandmen in profit,
and the artificers in number. And that Theseus was the first,
who, as Aristotle says, out of an inclination to popular govern-
ment, parted with the regal power, Homer also seems to testify,
in his catalogue of the ships, where he gives.the name of People
to the Athenians only.
He also coined money, and stamped it with the image of an
ox, either in memory of the Marathonian bull, or of Taurus,
whom he vanquished, or else to put his people in mind to fol-
low husbandry; and from this coin came the expression so
frequent among the Greeks, as a thing being worth ten or a
hundred oxen. After this he joined Megara to Attica, and
erected that famous pillar on the Isthmus, which bears an in-
scription of two lines, showing the bounds of the two countries
that meet there. On the east side the inscription is,-

Peloponnesus there, Ionia here,
and on the west side,-
Peloponnesus here, Ionia there.

He also instituted the games, in emulation of Hercules, being
ambitious that as the Greeks, by that hero's appointment, cel-







20 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
ebrated the Olympian games to the honor of Jupiter, so, by
his institution, they should celebrate the Isthmian to the honor
of Neptune. At the same time he made an agreement with
the Corinthians, that they should allow those that came from
SAthens to the celebration of the Isthmian games as much space
of honor before the rest to behold the spectacle in as the sail
of the ship that brought them thither, stretched to its full ex-
tent, could cover; so Hellanicus and Andro of Halicarnassus
have established.
Concerning his voyage into the Euxine Sea, Philochorus and
some others write that he made it with Hercules, offering him
his service in the war against the Amazons, and had Antiope
given him for the reward of his valor; but the greater number,
of whom are Pherecides, Hellanicus, and Herodorus, write
that he made this voyage many years after Hercules, with a
navy under his own command, and took the Amazon prisoner,
-the more probable story, for we do not read that any other,
of all those that accompanied him in this action, took any
Amazon prisoner. Bion adds, that, to take her, he had to use
deceit and fly away; for the Amazons, he says, being naturally
lovers of men, were so far from avoiding Theseus when he
touched upon their coasts, that they sent him presents to his
ship.; but he, having invited Antiope, who brought them, to
come aboard, immediately set sail and carried her away. An
author named Menecrates, that wrote the History of Nicea in
Bithynia, adds, that Theseus, having Antiope aboard his vessel,
cruised for some time about those coasts, and that there were
in the same ship three young men of Athens, that accompanied
him in this voyage, all brothers, whose names were Euneos,
Thoas, and Soloon. The last of these fell desperately in love
with Antiope; and, escaping the notice of the rest, revealed
the secret only to one of his most intimate acquaintance, and
employed him to disclose his passion to Antiope. She rejected
his pretences with a very positive denial, yet treated the matter
with much gentleness and discretion, and made no complaint








THESEUS. 21
to Theseus of anything that had happened; but Soloon, the
thing being desperate, leaped into a river near the seaside and
drowned himself. As soon as Theseus was acquainted with
his death, and his unhappy love that was the cause of it, he was
extremely distressed, and, in the height of his grief, an oracle
which he had formerly received at Delphi came into his mind;
for he had been commanded by the priestess of Apollo Pythius,
that, wherever in a strange land he was most sorrowful and
under the greatest affliction, he should build a city there,
and leave some of his followers to be governors of the place.
For this cause he there founded a city, which he called, from
the name of Apollo, Pythopolis, and, in honor of the unfor-
tunate youth, he named the river that runs by it Soloon, and
left the two surviving brothers intrusted with the care of the
government and laws, joining with them Hermus, one of the
nobility of Athens, from whom a place in the city is called the
House of Hermus; though by an error in the accent it has
been taken for the House of Hermes, or Mercury, and the
honor that was designed to the hero, transferred to the god.
This was the origin and cause of the Amazonian invasion of
Attica, which would seem to have been no slight or womanish
enterprise. For it is impossible that they should have placed
their camp in the very city, and joined battle close by the Pnyx
and the hill called Museum, unless, having first conquered
the country round about, they had thus with impunity ad-
vanced to the city. That they made so long a journey by
land, and passed the Cimmerian Bosphorus when frozen, as
Hellanicus writes, is difficult to be believed. That they en-
camped-all but in the city is certain, and may be sufficiently
confirmed by the names that the places thereabout yet retain,
and the graves and monuments of those that fell in the battle.
Both armies being in sight, there was a long pause and doubt
on each side which should give the first onset; at last Theseus,
having sacrificed to Fear, in obedience to the command of an
oracle he had received, gave them battle, in which action a







22 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
great number of the Amazons were slain. At length, after
four months, a peace was concluded between them by the me-
diation of Hippolyta (for so this historian calls the Amazon
whom Theseus married, and not Antiope), though others write
that she was slain with a dart by Molpadia, while fighting by
Theseus's side, and that the pillar which stands by the temple
of Olympian Earth was erected to her honor. Nor is it to be
wondered at, that in events of such antiquity, history should
be in disorder. This is as much as is worth telling concerning
the Amazons.
The celebrated friendship between Theseus and Pirithouis is
said to have been begun as follows: The fame of the strength
and valor of Theseus being spread through Greece, Pirithoiis
was desirous to make a trial and proof of it himself, and to this
end seized a herd of oxen which belonged to Theseus, and was
driving them away from Marathon, and, when news was brought
that Theseus pursued him in arms, he did not fly, but turned
back and went to meet him. But as soon as they had viewed
one another, each so admired the gracefulness and beauty, and
was seized with such a respect for the courage of the other, that
they forgot all thoughts of fighting; and Pirithoiis, first stretch-
ing out his hand to Theseus, bade him be judge in this case
himself, and promised to submit willingly to any penalty he
should impose. But Theseus not only forgave him all, but en-
treated him to be his friend and' brother in arms; and they
ratified their friendship by oaths. After this Pirithoiis married
Deidamia, and invited Theseus to the wedding, entreating him
to come and see his country, and make acquaintance with the
Lapithae; he had at the same time invited the Centaurs to the
feast, who, growing hot with wine and beginning to be insolent
and wild, the Lapithae took immediate revenge upon them, slay-
ing many of them upon the place, and afterwards, having over-
come them in battle, drove the whole race of them out of their
country, Theseus all along taking the part of the Lapithae, and
fighting on their side.








THESES. 23
Theseus was now fifty years old, as Hellanicus states, when
he carried off Helen, who was yet too young to be married.
Some writers, to take away this accusation of one of the
greatest crimes laid to his charge, say that he did not steal
away Helen himself, but that Idas and Lynceus brought
her to him, and committed her to his charge, and that,
therefore, he refused to restore her at the demand of Castor
and Pollux; or, indeed, they say her own father, Tyndarus,
had sent her to be kept by him, for fear of Enarophorus,
the son of Hippocoon, who would have carried her away
by force when she was yet a child. But the most probable
account, and that which has most witnesses on its side, is
this: Theseus and Pirithois went both together to Sparta,
and, having seized the young' lady as she was dancing in the
temple of Diana Orthia, fled away with her. There were pres-
ently men in arms sent to pursue, but they followed no farther
than to Tegea; and Theseus and Pirithoius being now out of
danger, having passed through Peloponnesus, made an agree-
ment between themselves, that he to whom the lot should fall
should have Helen to his wife, but should be obliged to assist
in procuring another for his friend. The lot fell upon Theseus,
who conveyed her to Aphidnae, not being yet marriageable,
arid delivered her to one of his allies, called Aphidnus, and
having sent his mother, iEthra, after to take care of her, de-
sired him to keep them so secretly that none might know where
they were; which done, to return the same service to his friend
Pirithoiis, he accompanied him in his journey to Epirus, in
order to steal away the king of the Molossians' daughter. The
king, his own name being Aidoneus, or Pluto, called his wife
Proserpina, and his daughter Cora, and a great dog which he
kept Cerberus, with whom he ordered all that came as suitors
to his daughter to fight, and promised her to him that should
overcome the beast. But having been informed that the
design of Pirithoius and his companion was not to court his
daughter, but to force her away, he caused them both to be







24 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
seized, and threw Pirithoiis to be torn to pieces by the dog,
and put Theseus into prison, and kept him.
About this time Menestheus, the son of Peteus, grandson of
Orneus, and great-grandson to Erechtheus, the first man that
is recorded to have affected popularity and ingratiated himself
with the multitude, stirred up and exasperated the most emi-
nent men of the city, who had long borne a secret grudge to
Theseus, conceiving that he had robbed them of their several
little kingdoms and lordships, and, having pent them all up in
one city, was using them as his subjects and slaves. He put
also the meaner people into commotion, telling them, that, de-
luded with a mere dream of liberty, though indeed they were
deprived both of that and of their proper homes and religious
usages, instead of many good and gracious kings of their own,
they had given themselves up to be lorded over by a new-
comer and a stranger. Whilst he was thus busied in infecting
the minds of the citizens, the war that Castor and Pollux
brought against Athens came very opportunely to further the
sedition he had been promoting, and some say that he by his
persuasions was wholly the cause of their invading the city.
At their first approach they committed no acts of hostility, but
peaceably demanded their sister Helen ; but the Athenians re-
turning answer that they neither had her there nor knew where
she was disposed of, they prepared to assault the city, when
Academus, having, by whatever means, found it out, disclosed
to them that she was secretly kept at Aphidnae. For which
reason he was both highly honored during his life by Castor
and Pollux, and the Lacedaemonians, when often in after times
they made incursions into Attica, and destroyed all the coun-
try round about, spared the Academy for the sake of Acade-
mus.
Hercules, passing by the Molossians, was entertained in his
way by Aidoneus the king, who, in conversation, accidentally
spoke of .the journey of Theseus and Pirithoiis into his country,
of what they had designed to do, and what they were forced








THESEUS. 25
to suffer. Hercules was much grieved for the inglorious death
of the one and the miserable condition of the other. As for
Pirithois, he thought it useless to complain; but begged to
have Theseus released for his sake, and obtained that favor
from the king. Theseus, being thus set at liberty, returned
to Athens, where his friends were not yet wholly suppressed,
and dedicated to Hercules all the sacred places which the city
had set apart for himself, changing their names from Thesea
to Heraclea, four only excepted, as Philochorus writes. And
wishing immediately to resume the first place in the common-
wealth, and manage the state as before, he soon found himself
involved in factions and troubles; those who long had hated
him had now added to their hatred contempt; and the minds
of the people were so generally corrupted, that, instead of
obeying commands with silence, they expected to be flattered
into their duty. He had some thoughts to have reduced them
by force, but was overpowered by demagogues and factions.
And at last, despairing of any good success of his affairs in
Athens, he sent away his children privately to Euboea, com-
mending them to the care of Elephenor, the son of Chalcodon;
and he himself, having solemnly cursed the people of Athens
in the village of Gargettus, in which there yet remains the
place called Araterion, or the place of cursing, sailed to Scyros,
where he had lands left him by his father, and friendship, as
he thought, with those of the island. Lycomedes was then
king of Scyros. Theseus, therefore, addressed himself to him,
and desired to have his lands .put into his possession, as de-
signing to settle and to dwell there, though others say that he
came to beg his assistance against the Athenians. But Lyco-
medes, either jealous of the glory of so great a man, or to
gratify Menestheus, having led him up to the highest cliff of
the island, on pretence of showing him from thence the lands
that he desired, threw him headlong down from the rock and
killed him. Others say he fell down of himself by a slip of
his foot, as he was walking there, according to his custom,






26 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
after supper. At. that time there was no notice taken, nor
were any concerned for his death, but Menestheus quietly
possessed the kingdom of Athens. His sons were brought up
in a private condition, and accompanied Elephenor to the
Trojan war, but, after the decease of Menestheus in that ex-
pedition, returned to Athens, and recovered the government.
But in succeeding ages, beside several other circumstances
that moved the Athenians to honor Theseus as a demigod, in
the battle which was fought at Marathon against the Medes,
many of the soldiers believed they saw an apparition of The-
seus in arms, rushing on at the head of them against the
barbarians. And after the Median war, Phsedo being. archon
of Athens, the Athenians, consulting the oracle at Delphi,
were commanded to gather together the bones of Theseus,
and, laying them in some honorable place, keep them as sacred
in the city. But it was very difficult to recover, these relics,
or so much as to find out the place where they lay, on account
of the inhospitable and savage temper of the barbarous people
that inhabited the island. Nevertheless, afterwards, when
Cimon took the island (as is related in his life), and had a
great ambition to find out the place where Theseus was buried,
he, by chance, spied an eagle upon a rising ground pecking
with her beak and tearing up the earth with her talons, when
on the sudden it came into his mind, as it were by some divine
inspiration, to dig there, and search for the bones of Theseus.
There were found in that place a coffin of a man of more than
ordinary size, and a brazen spear-head, and a sword lying by
it, all which he took aboard his galley and brought with him
to Athens. Upon which the. Athenians, greatly delighted,
went out to meet and receive the relics with splendid proces-
sions and with sacrifices, as if it were Theseus himself return-
ing alive to the city. He lies interred in the middle of the
city, near the present gymnasium. His tomb is a sanctuary
and refuge for slaves, and all those of mean condition that fly
from the persecution of men in power, in memory that The-







THESEUS. 27

seus while he lived was an assister and protector of the dis-
tressed, and never refused the petitions of the afflicted that
fled to him. The chief and most solemn sacrifice which they
celebrate to him is kept on the eighth day of Pyanepsion, on
which he returned with the Athenian young men from Crete.
Besides which, they sacrifice to him on the eighth day of every
month, either because he returned from Trcezen the eighth
day of Hecatombaeon, as Diodorus the geographer writes, or
else thinking that number to be proper to him, because he was
reputed to be born of Neptune, because they sacrifice to Nep-
tune on the eighth day of every month. The number eight
being the first cube of an even number, and the double of the
first square, seemed to be an emblem of the steadfast and im-
movable power of this god, who from thence has the names of
Asphalius and Gaeiochus, that is, the establisher and stayer of
the earth.












ROMULUS.



FROM whom, and for what reason, the city of Rome, a name
so great in glory, and famous in the mouths of all men, was so
first called, authors do not agree.
But the story which is most believed and has the greatest
number of vouchers in general outline runs thus: the kings
of Alba reigned in lineal descent from IEneas, and the succes-
sion devolved at length upon two brothers, Numitor and
Amulius. Amulius proposed to divide things into two equal
shares, and set as equivalent to the kingdom the treasure
and gold that were brought from Troy. Numitor chose the
kingdom; but Amulius, having the money, and being able to
do more with that than Numitor, took his kingdom from him
with great ease, and, fearing lest his daughter might have
children who would supplant him, made her a Vestal, bound
in that condition forever to live a single and maiden life. This
lady some call Ilia, others Rhea, and others Silvia; however,
not long after, contrary to the established laws of the Vestals,
she had two sons of more than human size and beauty, whom
Amulius, becoming yet more alarmed, commanded a servant
to take and cast away; this man some call Faustulus, others
say Faustulus was the man who brought them up. He put
the children, however, in a small trough, and went towards
the river with a design to cast them in; but, seeing the
waters much swollen and coming violently down, was afraid
to go nearer, and, dropping the children near the bank, went
away. The river overflowing, the flood at last bore up the
trough, and, gently wafting it, landed them on a smooth piece







R OMUL US. 29

of ground, which they now call Cermanus, formerly Germanus,
perhaps from Germani, which signifies brothers.
While the infants lay here, history tells us, a she-wolf nursed
them, and a woodpecker constantly fed and watched them.
These creatures are esteemed holy to the god Mars; the wood-
pecker the Latins still especially worship and honor. Which
things, as much as any, gave credit to what the mother of the
children said, that their father was the god Mars.
Meantime Faustulus, Amulius's swineherd, brought up the
children without any man's knowledge; or, as those say who
wish to keep closer to probabilities, with the knowledge and
secret assistance of Numitor; for it is said, they went to
school at Gabii, and were well instructed in letters, and other
accomplishments befitting their birth. And they were called
Romulus and Remus (from ruma, the dug), because they were
found sucking the wolf. In their very infancy, the size and
beauty of their bodies intimated their natural superiority;
and when they grew up, they both proved brave and manly,
attempting all enterprises that seemed hazardous, and show-
ing in them a courage altogether undaunted. But Romulus
seemed rather to act by counsel, and to show the sagacity of
a statesman, and in all his dealings with their neighbors,
whether relating to feeding of flocks or to hunting, gave the
idea of being born rather to rule than to obey. To their com-
rades and inferiors they were therefore'dear; but the king's
servants, his bailiffs and overseers, as being in nothing better
men than themselves, they despised and slighted, nor were
the least concerned at their commands and menaces. They
used honest pastimes and liberal studies, not esteeming sloth
and idleness honest and liberal, but rather such exercises as
hunting and running, repelling robbers, taking of thieves, and
delivering the wronged and oppressed from injury. For doing
such things they became famous.
A quarrel occurring betwixt Numitor's and Amulius's cow-
herds, the latter, not enduring the driving away of their cattle
a






30 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.

by the others, fell upon them and put them to flight, and
rescued the greatest part of the prey. At which Numitor be-
ing highly incensed, they little regarded it, but collected and
took into their company a number of needy men and runaway
slaves,-acts which looked like the first stages of rebellion. It
so happened, that when Romulus was attending a sacrifice,
being fond of sacred rites and divination, Numitor's herds-
men, meeting with Remus on a journey with few companions,
fell upon him, and, after some fighting, took him prisoner,
carried him before Numitor, and there accused him. Numitor
would not punish him himself, fearing his brother's anger, but
went to Amulius and desired justice, as he was Amulius's
brother and was affronted by Amulius's servants. The men of
Alba likewise resenting the thing, and thinking he had been
dishonorably used, Amulius was induced to deliver Remus up
into Numitor's hands, to use him as he thought fit. He there-
fore took and carried him home, and, being struck with admi-
ration of the youth's person, in stature and strength of body
exceeding all men, and perceiving in his very countenance the
courage and force of his mind, which stood unsubdued and un-
moved by his present circumstances, and hearing further that
all the enterprises and actions of his life were answerable to
what he saw of him, but chiefly, as it seemed, a divine influence
aiding and directing the first steps that were to lead to great
results, out of the mere thought of his mind, and casually, as
it were, he put his hand upon the fact, and, in gentle terms and
with a kind aspect, to inspire him with confidence and hope,
asked him who he was, and whence he was derived. He, tak-
ing heart, spoke thus: I will hide nothing from you, for you
seem to be of a more princely temper than Amulius, in that
you give a hearing and examine before you punish, while he
condemns before the cause is heard. Formerly, then, we (for
we are twins) thought ourselves the sons of Faustulus and
Larentia, the king's servants;- but since we have been accused
and aspersed with calumnies, and brought in peril of our lives







ROMUL US. 31
here before you, we hear great things of ourselves, the truth
of which my present danger is likely to bring to the test. Our
birth is said to have been secret, our fostering and nurture in
our infancy still more strange; by birds and beasts, to whom
we were cast out, we were fed-by the milk of a wolf, and the
morsels of a woodpecker, as we lay in a little trough by the
side of the river. The trough is still in being, and is preserved,
with brass plates round it, and an inscription in letters almost
effaced, which may prove hereafter unavailing tokens to our
parents when we are dead and gone." Numitor, upon these
words, and computing the dates by the young man's looks,
slighted not the hope that flattered him, but considered how to
come at his daughter privately (for she was still kept under re-
straint), to talk with her concerning these matters.
Faustulus, hearing Remus'was taken and delivered up, called
on Romulus to assist in his rescue, informing him then plainly
of the particulars of his birth-not but he had before given
hints of it-and told as much as an attentive man-might make
no small conclusions from; he himself, full of concern and fear
of not coming in time, took the trough, and ran instantly
to Numitor; but giving a suspicion to some of the king's sentry
at his gate, and being gazed upon by them and perplexed with
their questions, he let it be seen that he was hiding the trough
under his cloak. By chance there was one among them who
was at the exposing of the children, and was one employed in
the office; he, seeing the trough and knowing it by its make
and inscription, guessed at the business, and, without
further delay, telling the king of it, brought in the man to be ex-
amined. Faustulus, hard beset, did not show himself altogether
proof against terror; nor yet was he wholly forced out of all:
confessed indeed the children were alive, but lived, he said, as
shepherds, a great way from Alba; he himself was going to
carry the trough to Ilia, who had often greatly desired to see
and handle it, for a confirmation of her hopes of her children.
As men generally do who are troubled in mind and act either






32 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
in fear or passion, it so fell out Amulius now did; for he sent
in haste as a messenger, a man, otherwise honest and friendly
to Numitor, with commands to learn from Numitor whether
any tidings were come to him of the children's being alive.
He, coming and seeing how little Remus wanted of being re-
ceived into the arms and embraces of Numitor, both gave him
surer confidence in his hope, and advised them, with all expe-
dition, to proceed to action; himself too joining and assisting
them, and indeed, had they wished it, the time would not have
let them demur. For Romulus was now come very near, and
many of the citizens, out of fear and hatred of Amulius, were
running out to join him; besides, he brought great forces with
him, divided into companies, each of an hundred men, every
captain carrying a small bundle of grass and shrubs tied to a
pole. The Latins call such bundles manipuli, and from hence
it is that in their armies still they call their captains manipu-
lares. Remus rousing the citizens within to revolt, and Rom-
ulus -making attacks from without, the tyrant, not knowing
either what to do, or what expedient to think of for his secu-
rity, in this perplexity and confusion was taken and put to death.
This narrative, for the most part given by Fabius and Diodes
of Peparethos, who seem to be the earliest historians of the
foundation of Rome, is suspected by some because of its
dramatic and fictitious appearance ; but it would not wholly be
disbelieved, if men would remember what a poet Fortune some-
times shows herself, and consider that the Roman power would
hardly have reached so high a pitch without a divinely ordered
origin, attended with great and extraordinary circumstances.
Amulius' now being dead and matters quietly disposed, the
two brothers would neither dwell in Alba without governing
there, nor take the government into their own hands during
the life of their grandfather. Having therefore delivered the
dominion up into his hands, and paid their mother befitting
honor, they resolved to live by themselves, and build a city in
the same place where they were in their infancy brought up.
J







ROMUL US. 33
This seems the most honorable reason for their departure;
though perhaps it was necessary, having such a body of slaves
and fugitives collected about them, either to come to nothing
by dispersing them, or if not so, then to live with them else-
where. For that the inhabitants of Alba did not think fugi-
tives worthy of being received and incorporated as citizens
among them plainly appears from the matter of the women, an
attempt made not wantonly but of necessity, because they could
not get wives by good-will. For they certainly paid unusual
respect and honor to those whom they thus forcibly seized.
Not long after the first foundation of the city, they opened
a sanctuary of refuge for all fugitives, which they called the
temple of the god Asyleus, where they received and protected
all, delivering none back, neither the servant to his master, the
debtor to his creditor, nor the murderer into the hands of the
magistrate, saying it was a privileged place, and they could so
maintain it by an order of the holy oracle; insomuch that the
city grew presently very populous, for, they say, it consisted
at first of no more than a thousand houses. But of that here-
after.
Their minds being fully bent upon building, there arose
presently a difference about the place where. Romulus chose
what was called Roma Quadrata, or the Square Rome, and
would have the city there. Remus laid out a piece of ground
on the Aventine Mount, well fortified by nature, which was
from him called Remonium, but now Rignarium. Concluding
at last to decide the contest by a divination from a flight of
birds, and placing themselves apart at some distance, Remus,
they say, saw six vultures, and Romulus double the number;
others say Remus did truly see his number, and that Romulus
feigned his, but, when Remus came to him, that then he did,
indeed, see twelve. Hence it is that the Romans, in their
divinations from birds, chiefly regard the vulture, though
Herodorus Ponticus relates that Hercules'was always very joy-
ful when a vulture appeared to him upon any occasion. For
3






34 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
it is a creature the least hurtful of any, pernicious neither to
corn, fruit-tree, nor cattle; it preys only upon carrion, and
never kills or hurts any living thing; and as for birds, it
touches not them, though they are dead, as being of its own
species, whereas eagles, owls, and hawks mangle and kill their
own fellow-creatures; yet, as IEschylus says,-
What bird is clean that preys on fellow bird ?
Besides, all other birds are, so to say, never out of our eyes;
they let themselves be seen of us continually; but a vulture
is a very rare sight, and you can seldom meet with a man that
has seen their young; their rarity and infrequency has raised
a strange opinion in some, that they come to us from some
other world; as soothsayers ascribe a divine origination to all
things not produced either of nature or of themselves.
When Remus knew the cheat, he was much displeased; and
as Romulus was casting up a ditch, where he designed the
foundation of the city wall, he turned some pieces of the work
to ridicule, and obstructed others: at last, as he was* in con-
tempt leaping over it, some say Romulus himself struck him,
others Celer, one of his companions; he fell, however, and in
the scuffle Faustulus also was slain, and Plistinus, who, being
Faustulus's brother, story tells us, helped to bring up Romulus.
Celer upon this fled instantly into Tuscany, and from him the
Romans call all men that are swift of foot Celeres; and be-
cause Quintus Metellus, at his father's funeral, in a few days'
time gave the people a show of gladiators, admiring his expe-
dition in getting it ready, they gave him the name of Celer.
Romulus, having buried his brother Remus, together with
his two foster-fathers, on the mount Remonia, set to building
his city; and sent for men out of Tuscany, who directed him
by sacred usages and written rules in all the ceremonies to be
observed, as in a religious rite. First, they dug a round trench
about that which is now the Comitium, or Court of Assembly,
and into it solemnly threw the first-fruits of all things either







ROMUL US. 35
good by custom or necessary by nature; lastly, every man
taking a small piece of earth of the country from whence he
came, they all threw them in promiscuously together. This
trench they call, as they do the heavens, Mundus; making
which their centre, they described the city in a circle round it.
Then the founder fitted to a plough a bronze ploughshare, and,
yoking together a bull and a cow, drove himself a deep line
or furrow round the bounds; while the business of those that
followed after was to see that whatever earth was thrown up
should be turned all inwards towards the city, and not to let any
clod lie outside. With this line they described the wall, and
called it, by a contraction, Pomoerium, that is, post murum,
after or beside the wall; and where they designed to make a
gate, there they took out the share, carried the plough over,
and left a space; for which reason they consider the whole
wall as holy, except where the gates are; for had they adjudged
them also sacred, they could not, without offence to religion,
have given free ingress and egress for the necessaries of human
life, some of which are in themselves unclean.
As for the day they began to build the city, it is universally
agreed to have been the twenty-first of April,/and that day the
Romans annually keep holy, calling it their country's birthday.
At first, they say, they sacrificed no living creature on this day,
-thinking it fit to preserve the feast of their country's birthday
pure and without stain of blood. Yet before ever the city was
built, there was a feast of herdsmen and shepherds kept on
this day, which went by the name of Palilia. The Roman and
Greek months have now little o4 no agreement; they say,
however, the day on which Romulus' began to build was quite
certainly the thirtieth of the month, at which time there was
an eclipse of the sun which they conceive to be that seen by
Antimachus, the Teian poet, in the third year of the sixth
Olympiad. In the times of Varro the philosopher, a man
deeply read in Roman history, lived one Tarrutius, his familiar
acquaintance, a good philosopher and mathematician, and one,






36 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
too, that out of curiosity had studied the way of drawing
schemes and tables, and was thought to be a proficient in the
art; to him Varro propounded to cast Romulus's nativity, even
to the first day and hour, making his deductions from the
several events of the man's life which he should be informed
of, exactly as in working back a geometrical problem; for it
belonged, he said, to the same science both to foretell a man's
life by knowing the time of his birth, and also to find out his
birth by the knowledge of his life. This task Tarrutius under-
took, and first looking into the actions and casualties of the
man, together with the time of his life and manner of his death,
and then comparing all these remarks together, he very confi-
dently and positively pronounced that Romulus was born the
twenty-first day of the month Thoth, about sun-rising; and
that the first stone of Rome was laid by him the ninth day of
the month Pharmuthi, between the second and third hour.
For the fortunes of cities as well as of men, they think, have
their certain periods of time prefixed, which may be collected
and foreknown from the position of the stars at their first
foundation. But these and the like relations may perhaps not
so much take and delight the reader with their novelty and
curiosity as offend him by their extravagance.
The city now being built, Romulus enlisted all that were of
age to bear arms into military companies, each company con-
sisting of three thousand footmen and three hundred horse.
These companies were called legions, because they were the
choicest and most select of the people for fighting men. The
rest of the multitude he called the people; an hundred of the
most eminent he chose for counsellors; these he styled patri-
cians, and their assembly the senate, which signifies a council
of elders.
In the fourth month after the city was built, as Fabius
writes, the adventure of stealing the women was attempted.
It would seem that, observing his city to be filled by a con-
fluence of foreigners, few of whom had wives, and that the







ROMUL US. 37
multitude in general, consisting of a mixture of mean and
obscure men, fell under contempt, and seemed to be of no
long continuance together, and hoping farther, after the women
were appeased, to make this injury in some measure an occa-
sion of confederacy and mutual commerce with the Sabines,
Romulus took in hand this exploit after this manner. First,
he gave it out that he had found an altar of a certain god hid
under ground, perhaps the equestrian Neptune, for the altar is
kept covered in the Circus Maximus at all other times, and
only at horse-races is exposed to public view. Upon discovery
of this altar, Romulus, by proclamation, appointed a day for a
splendid sacrifice, and for public games and shows, to entertain
all sorts of people; many flocked thither, and he himself sat
in front, amidst his nobles, clad in purple. Now the signal
for their falling on was to be whenever he rose and gathered
up his robe and threw it over his body; his men stood all
ready armed, with their eyes intent upon him, and when the
sign was given, drawing their swords and falling on with a
great shout, they stole away the daughters of the Sabines, the
men themselves flying without any let or hindrance. Some
say there were but thirty taken, and from them the Curiae or Fra-
ternities were named; but Valerius Antias says five hundred
and twenty-seven, Juba, six hundred and eighty-three.
It continues a custom at this very day for the bride not of
herself to pass her husband's threshold, but to be lifted over,
in memory that the Sabine virgins were carried in by violence,
and did not go in of their own will. Some say, too, the
custom of parting the bride's hair with the head of a spear
was in'token their marriages began at first by war and acts of
hostility.
The Sabines were a numerous and martial people, but lived
in small, unfortified villages, as it befitted, they thought, a
colony of the Lacedaemonians to be bold and fearless; never-
theless, seeing themselves bound by such hostages to their
good behavior, and being solicitous for their daughters, they






38 PLUTARCH S LIVES.
sent ambassadors to Romulus with fair and equitable requests,
that he would return their young women and recall that act
of violence, and afterwards, by persuasion and lawful means,
seek friendly correspondence between both nations. Romulus
would not part with the young women, yet proposed to the
Sabines to enter into an alliance with them; upon which point
some consulted and demurred long, but Acron, king of the
Ceninenses, a man of high spirit and a good warrior, who had
all along a jealousy of Romulus's bold attempts, and consider-
ing particularly from this exploit upon the women that he was
growing formidable to all people, and indeed insufferable, were
he not chastised, first rose up in arms, and with a powerful
army advanced against him. Romulus likewise prepared to
receive him; but when they came within sight and viewed each
other, they made a challenge to fight a single duel, the armies
standing by under arms, without participation. And Romulus,
making a vow to Jupiter, if he should conquer, to carry, him-
self, and dedicate his adversary's armor to his honor, overcame
him in combat, and, a battle ensuing, routed his army also,
and then took'his city; but did those he found in it no injury,
only commanded them to demolish the place and attend him
to Rome, there to be admitted to all the privileges of citizens.
And indeed there was nothing did more advance the greatness
of Rome, than that she did always unite and incorporate those
whom she conquered into herself. Romulus, that he might
perform his vow in the most acceptable manner to Jupiter, and
withal make the pomp of it delightful to the eye of the city,
cut down a tall oak which he saw growing in the camp; which
he trimmed to the shape of a trophy, and fastened on it Acron's
whole suit of armor disposed in proper form; then he himself,
girding his clothes about him, and crowning his head with a
laurel-garland, his hair gracefully- flowing, carried the trophy
resting erect upon his right shoulder, and so marched on,
singing songs of triumph, and his whole army following after,
the citizens all receiving him with acclamations of joy and







ROMULUS. 39
wonder. The procession of this day was the origin and model
of all after triumphs. But the statues of Romulus in triumph
are, as may be seen in Rome, all on foot.
After the overthrow of the Ceninensians, the other Sabines
still protracting the time in preparations, the people of
Fidenae, Crustumerium, and Antemna, joined their forces
against the Romans; they in like manner were defeated in
battle, and surrendered up to Romulus their cities to be
seized, their lands and territories to be divided, and themselves
to be transplanted to Rome. All the lands which Romulus
acquired he distributed among the citizens, except only what
the parents of the stolen virgins had; these he suffered to
possess their own. The rest of the Sabines, enraged threat,
choosing Tatius their captain, marched straight against
Rome. The city was almost inaccessible, having for its for-
tress that which is now the Capitol, where a strong guard
-was placed, and Tarpeius their captain. But Tarpeia, daugh-
ter to the captain, coveting the golden bracelets she saw them
wear, betrayed the fort into the Sabines' hands, and asked, in
reward of her treachery, the things they wore on their left
arms. Tatius conditioning thus with her, in the night she
opened one of the gates and received the Sabines in. And
truly Antigonus, it would seem, was not solitary in saying he
loved betrayers, but hated those who had betrayed; nor
Caesar, who told Rhymitalces the Thracian that he loved the
treason, but hated the traitor; but it is the general feeling of
all who have occasion for wicked men's service, as people have
for the poison of venomous beasts; they are glad of them
while they are of use, and abhor their baseness when itis
over. And so then did Tatius behave towards Tarpeia, for
he commanded the Sabines, in regard to their contract, not
to refuse her the least part of what they wore on their left
arms; and he himself first took his bracelet off his arm, and
threw that, together with his buckler, at her; and all the rest
following, she, being borne down and quite buried with the






40 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
multitude of gold and their shields, died under the weight and
pressure of them; Tarpeius also himself, being prosecuted by
Romulus, was found guilty of treason, and that part of the
Capitol they still call the Tarpeian Rock, from which they
used.to cast down malefactors.
The Sabines being possessed of the hill, Romulus, in great
fury, bade them battle, and Tatius was confident to accept it.
There were many brief conflicts, we may suppose, but the
most memorable was the last, in which Romulus having re-
ceived a. wound on his head by a stone, and being almost
felled to the ground by it, and disabled, the Romans gave
way, and, being driven out of the level ground, fled towards
the Palatium. Romulus, by this time recovering from his
wound a little, turned about to renew the battle, and, facing
the fliers, with a loud voice encouraged them to stand and
fight. But being overborne with numbers, and nobody daring
to face about, stretching out his hands to heaven, he prayed
to Jupiter to stop the army, and not to neglect but main-
tain the Roman cause, now in extreme danger. The prayer
was no sooner made than shame and respect for their king
checked many; the fears of the fugitives changed suddenly
into confidence. The place they first stood at was where now
is the temple of Jupiter Stator (which may be translated the
Stayer) ; there they rallied again into ranks, and repulsed the
Sabines to the place called now Regia, and to the temple of
Vesta; where both parties, preparing to begin a second battle,
were prevented by a spectacle, strange to behold, and defying
description. For the daughters of the Sabines, who had been
carried off, came running, in great confusion, some on this
side, some on that, with miserable cries and lamentations, like
creatures possessed, in the midst of the army, and among the
dead bodies, to come at their husbands and their fathers, some
with their young babes in their arms, others their hair loose
about their ears, but all calling, now upon the Sabines, now
upon the Romans, in the most tender and endearing words.







ROM UL US. 41
Hereupon both melted into compassion; and fell back, to make
room for them betwixt the armies. The sight of the women
carried sorrow and commiseration upon both sides into the
hearts of all, but still more their words, which began with
expostulation and upbraiding, and ended with entreaty and
supplication.
Wherein," say they, "have we injured or offended you, as
to deserve such sufferings, past and present ? We were rav-
ished away unjustly and violently by those whose now we
are; that being done, we were so long neglected by our
fathers, our brothers, and countrymen, that time, having now
by the strictest bonds united us to those we once mortally
hated, has made it impossible for us -not to tremble at the
danger and weep at the death of the very men who once
used violence to us. You did not come to vindicate our
honor, while we were virgins, against our assailants; but do
come now to force away wives from their husbands and
mothers from their children, a succor more grievous to its
wretched objects than the former betrayal and neglect of
them. Which shall we call the worst, their love-making or
your compassion? If you were making war upon any other
occasion, for our sakes you ought to withhold your hands
from those to whom we have made you fathers-in-law and
grandsires. If it be for our own cause, then take us, and with
us your sons-in-law and grandchildren. Restore to us our
parents and kindred, but do not rob us of our children.and
husbands. Make us not, we entreat you, twice captives."
Having spoken many such words as these, and earnestly
praying, a truce was made, and the chief officers came to a
parley; the women, in the meantime, brought and presented
their husbands and children to their fathers and brothers;
gave those that wanted, meat and dtink, and carried the
wounded home to be cured, and showed also how much they
governed within doors, and how indulgent their husbands were
to them, in demeaning themselves towards them with all






42 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
kindness and respect imaginable. Upon this, conditions were
agreed upon, that what women pleased might stay where they
were, exempt from all drudgery and labor but spinning; that
the Romans and Sabines should inhabit the city together; that
the' city should be called Rome, from Romulus; but the
Romans, Quirites, from the country of Tatius; and that they
both should govern and command in common. The place of
the ratification is still called Comitium, from coire, to meet.
The city being thus doubled in number, an hundred of the
Sabines were elected senators, and the legions were increased
to six thousand foot and six hundred horse; then they divided
the people into three tribes: the first, from Romulus, named
Ramnenses; the second, from Tatius, Tatienses ; the third,
Luceres, from the lucus, or grove, where the Asylum stood,
whither many fled for sanctuary, and were received into the
city. And that they were just three, the very name of tribe
and tribune seems to show. They then constituted many
things in honor to the women, such as to give them the way
wherever they met them; to speak, no ill word in. their pres-
ence; that their children should wear an ornament about their
necks called the bulla (because it was like a bubble), and the
pratexta, a gown edged with purple.
The princes did not immediately join in council together,
but at first each met with. his own hundred; afterwards all as-
sembled together. Tatius dwelt where now the temple of
Moneta stands, and Romulus, close by the steps, as they call
them, of the Fair Shore, near the descent from the Mount
Palatine to the Circus Maximus. There, they say, grew the
holy cornel tree, of which they report that Romulus once, to
try his strength, threw a dart from the Aventine Mount, the
staff of which was made of cornel, which struck so deep into the
ground that no one of many that tried could pluck it up; and
the soil, being fertile, gave nourishment to the wood, which
sent forth branches, and produced a cornel-stock of considera-
ble bigness. This did posterity preserve and worship as one







R OMUL US. 43
of the most sacred things; and, therefore, walled it about; and
if to any one it appeared not green nor flourishing, but inclin-
ing to pine and wither, he immediately made outcry to all he
met, and they, like people hearing of a house on fire, with one
accord would cry for water, and run from all parts with buck-
etfuls to the place. But when Gaius Caesar, they say, was
repairing the steps about it, some of the laborers digging too
close, the.roots were destroyed, and the tree withered.
The Sabines adopted the Roman months, of which whatever
is remarkable is mentioned in the Life of Numa. Romulus,
on the other hand, adopted their long shields,, and changed his
own armor and that of all the Romans, who before wore round
targets of the Argive pattern. Feasts and sacrifices they par-
took of in common, not abolishing any which either nation ob-
served before, and instituting several new ones. This, too, is
observable as a singular thing in Romulus, that he appointed
no punishment for real parricide, but called all murder so,
thinking the one an accursed thing, but the other a thing ime
possible; and, for a long time, his judgment seemed to have
been right; for in almost six hundred years together, nobody
committed the like in Rome; Lucius Hostius, after the wars
of Hannibal, is recorded to have been the first parricide. Let
thus much suffice concerning these matters.
In the fifth year of the reign of Tatius, some of his friends
and kinsmen, meeting ambassadors coming from Laurentum
to Rome, attempted on the road to take. away their money by
force, and, upon their resistance, killed them. So great a vil-
lany having been committed, Romulus thought the malefactors
ought at once to be punished, but Tatius shuffled off and de-
ferred the execution of it; and this one thing was the begin-
ning of open quarrel betwixt them; in all other respects they
were very careful of their conduct, and administered affairs to-
gether with great unanimity. The relations of the slain, being
debarred of lawful satisfaction by reason of Tatius, fell upon
him as he was sacrificing with Romulus at Lavinium, and slew







44 PL UTARCH'S LIVES.
him; but escorted Romulus home, commending and extolling
him for a just prince. Romulus took the body of Tatius, and
buried it very splendidly in the Aventine Mount.
The Roman cause daily gathering strength, their weaker
neighbors shrunk away, and were thankful to be left un-
touched; but the stronger, out of fear or envy, thought they
ought not to give way to Romulus, but to curb and put a
stop to his growing greatness. The first were the Veientes, a
people of Tuscany, who had large possessions, and dwelt in a
spacious city; they took occasion to commence a war, by
claiming Fidenae as belonging to them. But being scorn-
fully retorted upon by Romulus in his answers, they divided
themselves into two bodies; with one they attacked the garri-
son of Fidenae, the other marched against Romulus; that
which went against Fidenae got the victory, and slew two
thousand Romans; the other was worsted by Romulus, with
the loss of eight thousand men. A fresh battle was fought
near Fidense, and here all men acknowledge the day's success
to have been chiefly the work of Romulus himself, who showed
the highest skill as well as courage, and seemed to manifest a
strength and swiftness more than human. But what some
write, that, of fourteen thousand that fell that day, above half
were slain by Romulus's own hand, verges too near to fable,
and is, indeed, simply incredible: since even the Messenians
are thought to go too far in saying that Aristomenes three
times offered sacrifices for the death of a hundred enemies,
L'acedaemonians, slain by himself. The army being thus
routed, Romulus, suffering those that were left to make their
escape, led his forces against the city; they, having suffered
such great losses, did not venture to oppose, but, humbly
suing to him, made a league and friendship for an hundred
years; surrendering also a large district of land called Septem-
pagium, that is, the seven parts, as also their salt-works upon
the river, and fifty noblemen for hostages. He made his
triumph for this on the Ides of October, leading, among the







ROMULUS. 45
rest of his many captives, the general of the Veientes, an
elderly man, but who had not, it seemed, acted with the
prudence of age; whence even now, in sacrifices for victories,
they lead an old man through the market-place to the Capitol,
apparelled in purple, with a bulla, or child's toy, tied to it, and
the crier cries, Sardians to be sold; for the Tuscans are said
to be a colony of the Sardians, and the Veientes are a city of
Tuscany.
This was the last battle Romulus ever fought; afterwards
he, as most, nay all men, very few excepted, do, who are
raised by great and miraculous good-haps of fortune to power
and greatness, so, I say, did he: relying upon his own great
actions, and growing of an haughtier mind, he forsook his
popular behavior for kingly arrogance, odious to the people;
to whom in particular the state which he assumed was hateful.
For he dressed in scarlet, with the purple-bordered robe over
it; he gave audience on a couch of state, having always about
him some young men called Celeres, from their' swiftness in
doing commissions. He suddenly disappeared on the Nones
of July, as they now call the month which was then Quintilis,
leaving nothing of certainty to be related of his death; the
senators suffered the people not to search, or busy themselves
about the matter, but commanded them to honor and worship
Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them,
in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god. The
multitude, hearing this, went away believing and rejoicing
in hopes of good things from him; but there were some, who,
canvassing the matter in a hostile temper, accused the pa-
tricians, as men that persuaded the people to believe ridiculous
tales, when they themselves were the murderers of the
king.
Things being in this disorder, one, they say, of the patri-
cians, of noble family and approved good character, and a
faithful and familiar friend of Romulus himself, having come
with him from Alba, Julius Proculus by name, presented him-






46 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
self in the forum; and, taking a most sacred oath, protested
before them all, that, as he was travelling on the road, he had
seen Romulus coming to meet him, looking taller and comelier
than ever, dressed in shining and flaming armor; and he,
being affrighted at the apparition, said, Why, O king, or for
what purpose, have you abandoned us to unjust and wicked
surmises, and the whole city to bereavement and endless sor-
row ?" and that he made answer, It pleased the gods, O
Proculus, that we, who came from them, should remain so
long a time amongst men as we did; and, having built a city
to be the greatest in the world for empire and glory, should
again return to heaven. But farewell; and tell the Romans,
that, by the exercise of temperance and fortitude, they shall
attain the height of human power; we will be to you the pro-
pitious god Quirinus." This seemed credible to the Romans,
upon the honesty and oath of the relator, and laying aside all
jealousies and detractions, they prayed to Quirinus and saluted
him as a god.
This is like some of the Greek fables of Aristeas the Pro-
connesian, and Cleomedes the Astypalxean; for they say
Aristeas died in a fuller's workshop, and his friends, coming
to look for him, found his body vanished; and that some
presently after, coming from abroad, said they met him trav-
elling towards Croton. And that Cleomedes, being an extraor-
dinarily strong and gigantic man, but also wild and mad, com-
mitted many desperate freaks; and at last, in a schoolhouse,
striking a pillar that sustained the roof with his fist, broke it
in the middle, so that the house fell and destroyed the children
in it; and being pursued, he fled into a great chest, and, shut-
ting to the lid, held- it so fast that many men, with their united
strength, could not force it open; afterwards, breaking the
chest to pieces, they found no man in it alive or dead.
And many such improbabilities do your fabulous writers
relate, deifying creatures naturally mortal; for though alto-
gether to disown a divine nature in human virtue were impious







ROMUL US. 4
and base, so again to mix heaven with earth is ridiculous. Let
us believe with Pindar, that

All human bodies yield to Death's decree :
The soul survives to all eternity.

For that alone is derived from the gods, thence comes, and
thither returns.
It was in the fifty-fourth year of his age and the thirty-eighth
of his reign that Romulus, they tell us, left the world.




COMPARISON OF THESEUS AND ROMULUS.

BOTH Theseus and Romulus were by nature meant for gov-
ernors; yet neither lived up to the true character of a king,
but fell off, and ran, the one into popularity, the other into
tyranny, falling both into the same fault out of different pas-
sions. For a ruler's first end is to maintain his office, which
is done no less by avoiding what is unfit than by observing
what is suitable. Whoever is either too remiss or too strict is
no more a king or a governor, but either a demagogue or a
despot, and so becomes either odious or contemptible to his
subjects. Though certainly the one seems to be the fault of
easiness and good-nature, the other of pride and severity.
But Romulus has, first of all, one great plea, that his per-
formances proceeded from very small beginnings; for both
the brothers, being thought servants and the sons of swine-
herds, before becoming freemen themselves gave liberty to
almost all the Latins, obtaining at once all the most honorable
titles, as, destroyers of their country's enemies, preservers of
their friends and kindred, princes of the people, founders of
cities; not removers, like Theseus, who raised and compiled
only one house out of many, demolishing many cities bearing






48 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
the names of ancient kings and heroes. Romulus, indeed, did
the same afterwards, forcing his enemies to deface and ruin
their own dwellings, and to sojourn with their conquerors;
but at first, not by removal, or increase of an existing city, but
by foundation of a new one, he obtained himself lands, a
country, a kingdom, wives, children, and relations. And, in
so doing, he killed or destroyed nobody, but benefited those
that wanted houses and homes, and were willing to be of a
society and become citizens. Robbers and malefactors he
slew not; but he subdued nations, he overthrew cities, he tri-
umphed over kings and commanders. As to Remus, it is
doubtful by whose hand he fell; it is generally imputed to
others. His mother he clearly retrieved from death, and
placed his grandfather, who was brought under base and dis-
honorable vassalage, on the ancient throne of ZEneas, to
whom he did voluntarily many good offices, but never did him
harm even inadvertently. But Theseus, in his forgetfulness
and neglect of the command concerning the flag, can scarcely,
methinks, by any excuses, or before the most indulgent judges,
avoid the imputation of parricide. And, indeed, one of the
Attic writers, perceiving it to be very hard to make an excuse
for this, feigns that /Egeus, at the approach of the ship, run-
ning hastily to the Acropolis to see what news there was,
slipped and fell down; as if he had no servants, or none would
attend him on his way to the shore.













LYCURGUS.



THOSE authors who are most worthy of credit deduce the
genealogy of Lycurgus, the lawgiver of Sparta, as follows:

Aristodemus.

Patrocles.
I
Solis.

Eurypon.

Eunomus.

Polydectes by his first wife. Lycurgus by Dionassa his second.

Soiis certainly was the most renowned of all his ancestors,
under whose conduct the Spartans made slaves of the Helots,
and added to their dominions, by conquest, a good part of
Arcadia. There goes a story of this king Sous, that, being
besieged by the Clitorians in a dry and stony place so that
he could come at no water, he was at last constrained to
agree with them upon these terms, that he would restore to
them all his conquests, provided that himself and all his men
should drink of the nearest spring. After the usual oaths and
ratifications, he called his soldiers together, and offered to him
that would forbear drinking, his kingdom for a reward; and
when not a man of them was able to forbear, in short, when
they had all drunk their fill, at last comes king Sous himself to
the spring, and, having sprinkled his face only, without swal-
4






50 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
lowing one drop, marches off in the face of his enemies, refus-
ing to yield up his conquests, because himself and all his men
had not, according to the articles, drunk of their water.
Although he was justly had in admiration on this account,
yet his family was not surnamed from him, but from his son
Eurypon (of whom they were called Eurypontids); the reason
of which was that Eurypon relaxed the rigor of the monarchy,
seeking favor and popularity with the many. They, after this
first step, grew bolder; and the succeeding kings partly in-
curred hatred with their people by trying to use force, or, for
popularity's sake and through weakness, gave way ; and anarchy
and confusion long prevailed in Sparta, causing, moreover, the
death of the father of Lycurgus. For as he was endeavoring
to quell a riot, he was stabbed with a butcher's knife, and left
the title of king to his eldest son Polydectes.
He, too, dying soon after, the right of succession (as every
one thought) rested in Lycurgus; and reign he did for a time,
but declared that the kingdom belonged to the child of his sis-
ter-in-law the queen, and that he himself should exercise the
regal jurisdiction only as his guardian; the Spartan name for
which office is prodicus. Soon after, an overture was made to
him by the queen, that she would herself in some way destroy
the infant, upon condition that he would marry her when he
came to the crown. Abhorring the woman's wickedness, he
nevertheless did not reject her proposal, but, making show of
closing with her, despatched the messenger with thanks and
expressions of joy, with orders that they should bring the boy
baby to him, wheresoever he were, and whatsoever doing. It
so fell out that when he was at supper with the principal mag-
istrates, the queen's child was presented to him, and he, taking
him into his arms, said to those about him, Men of Sparta,
here is a king born unto us;" this said, he laid him down in
the king's place, and named him Charilaus, that is, the joy of
the people; because that all were transported with joy and with
wonder at his noble and just spirit. His reign had lasted only






LYCURGUS. 51
eight months, but he was honored on other accounts by the
citizens, and there were more who obeyed him because of his
eminent virtues, than because he was regent to the king and
had the royal power in his hands. Some, however, envied
and sought to impede .his growing influence while he was still
young; chiefly the kindred and friends of the queen-mother,
who pretended to have been dealt with injuriously. Her
brother Leonidas, in a warm debate which fell out betwixt him
and Lycurgus, went so far as to tell him to his face that he
was well assured that ere long he should see him king; sug-
gesting suspicions and preparing the way for an accusation of
him, as though he had made away with his nephew, if the child
should chance to fail, though by a natural death. Words of
the like import were designedly cast abroad by the queen-
mother and her adherents.
Troubled at this, and not knowing what it might come to,
he thought it his wisest course to avoid their envy by a volun-
tary exile, and to travel from place to place until his nephew
came to marriageable years, and, by having a son, had secured
the succession. Setting sail, therefore, with this resolution, he
first arrived at Crete, where, having considered their several
forms of government, and got an acquaintance with tle princi-
pal men amongst them, some of their laws he very much ap-
proved of, and resolved to make use of them in his own country;
a good part he rejected as useless. Amongst the persons there
the most renowned for their learning and their wisdom in state
matters.was one Thales, whom Lycurgus, by importunities and
assurances of friendship, persuaded to go over to Lacedaemon;
where, though by his outward appearance and his own profes-
sion he seemed to be no other than a lyric poet, in reality he
performed the part of one of the ablest lawgivers in the world.
The very songs which he composed were exhortations to obe-
dience and concord, and the very measure and cadence of the
verse, conveying impressions of order and tranquillity, had so
great an influence on the minds of the listeners that they were







52 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
insensibly softened and civilized, insomuch that they renounced
their private feuds and animosities, and were reunited in a
common admiration of virtue. So that it may truly be said
that Thales prepared the way for the discipline introduced by
Lycurgus.
From Crete he sailed to Asia, with design, as is said, to ex-
amine the difference betwixt the manners and rules of life of
the Cretans, which were very sober and temperate, and those
of the Ionians, a people of sumptuous and delicate habits, and
so to form a judgment; just as physicians do by comparing
healthy and diseased bodies. Here he had the first sight of
Homer's works, in the hands, we may suppose, of the posterity
of Creophylus; and, having observed that the few loose expres-
sions and actions of ill example which are to be found in his poems
were much outweighed by serious lessons of state and rules of
morality, he set himself eagerly to transcribe and digest them
into order, as thinking they would be of good use in his own
country. They had, indeed, already obtained some slight re-
pute amongst the Greeks, and scattered portions, as chance
conveyed them, were in the hands of individuals; but Lycur-
gus first made them really known.
The Egyptians say that he took a voyage into Egypt, and
that, being much taken with their way of separating the sol-
diery from the rest of the nation, he transferred it from them
to Sparta; a removal from contact with those employed in low
and mechanical occupations giving high refinement and beauty
to the state. Some Greek writers also record this. But as
for his voyages into Spain, Africa, and the Indies, and his con-
ferences there with the Gymnosophists, the whole relation, as
far as I can find, rests on the single credit of the Spartan Aris-
tocrates, the son of Hipparchus.
Lycurgus was much missed at Sparta, and often sent for,
" For kings indeed we have," they said, "who wear the marks
and assume the titles of royalty, but as for the qualities of their
minds, they have nothing by which they are to be distinguished






LYCUR GUS. 53
from their subjects;" adding that in him alone was the true
foundation of sovereignty to be seen, a nature made to rule,
and a genius to gain obedience. Nor were the kings them-
selves averse to see him back, for they looked upon his pres-
ence as a bulwark against the insolencies of the people.
Things being in this posture at his return, he applied himself,
without loss of time, to a thorough reformation, and resolved
to change the whole face of the commonwealth; for what could
a few particular laws and a partial alteration avail? He must.
act as wise physicians do, in the case of one who labors under
a complication of diseases,-by force of medicines reduce and
exhaust him, changehis whole temperament, and then set him
upon a totally new regimen of diet. Having thus projected
things, away he goes to Delphi to consult Apollo there;
which having done, and offered his sacrifice, he returned with
that renowned oracle, in which he is called beloved of God, and
rather God than man: that his prayers were heard, that his
laws should be the best, and the commonwealth which observed
them the most famous in the world. Encouraged by these
things, he set himself to bring over to his side the leading men
of Sparta, exhorting them to give him a helping hand in his
great undertaking: he broke it first to his particular friends,
and then by degrees gained others, and animated them all to
put his design in execution. When things were ripe for action,
he gave order to thirty of the principal men of Sparta to be
ready armed at the market-place at break of day, to the end
that he might strike a terror into the opposite party. Her-
mippus hath set down the names of twenty of the most emi-
nent of them: but the name of him whom Lycurgus most con-
fided in, and who was of most use to him both in making his
laws and putting them in execution, was Arthmiadas. Things
growing to a tumult, king Charilaus, apprehending that it was
a conspiracy against his person, took sanctuary in the temple
of Athena of the Brazen House; but, being soon after unde-
ceived, and having taken an oath of them that they had no de-







54 PLUTARCH S LIVES,
signs against him, he quitted his refuge, and himself also en-
tered into the confederacy with them; of so gentle and flexible
a disposition he was, to which Archelaus, his brother-king, al-
luded, when, hearing him extolled for his goodness, he said:
"Who can say he is anything but good?- he is so even- to the
bad."
Amongst the many changes and alterations which Lycurgus
made, the first and of greatest importance was the establish-
ment of the senate, which, having a power equal to the kings'
in matters of great consequence, and, as Plato expresses it, al-
laying and qualifying the fiery genius of the royal office, gave
steadiness and safety to the commonwealth. For the state,
which before had no firm basis to stand upon, but leaned one
while towards an absolute monarchy, when the kings had the
upper hand, and another while towards a pure democracy, when
the people had the better, found in this establishment of the
senate a central weight, like ballast in a ship, which always kept
things in a just equilibrium; the twenty-eight always adhering
to the kings so far as to resist democracy, and, on the other
hand, supporting the people against the establishment of abso-
lute monarchy. As for the determinate number of twenty-
eight, Aristotle states that it so fell out because two.of the
original associates, for want of courage, fell. off from the en-
terprise; but Sphaerus assures us that there were but twenty-
eight of the confederates at first; perhaps there is some mys-
tery in the number, which consists of seven multiplied by four,
and is the first of perfect numbers after six, being, as that is,
equal to all its parts.* For my part, I believe Lycurgus fixed
upon the number of twenty-eight, that, the two kings being
reckoned amongst them, they might be thirty in all. So
eagerly set was he upon this establishment, that he took the
trouble to obtain an oracle about it from Delphi; and the
Rhetra (or sacred ordinance) runs thus : After that you have
built a temple to Jupiter Hellanius, and to Minerva Hellania,
14, 2, 7, 4, I, make by addition 28 ; as 3, 2, I, make 6.






LYCURGUS. 55
and after that you have fhyle'd the people into phyles, and
obe'd them into obes, you shall establish a council of thirty
elders, the leaders included, and shall, from time to time, as-
semble the people betwixt Babyca and Cnacion, there pro-
pound and put to the vote. The commons have the final voice
and decision." By phyles and obes are meant the divisions of
the people; by the leaders, the two kings; Aristotle says
Cnacion is a river, and Babyca a bridge. Betwixt this Babyca
and Cnacion, their assemblies were held, for they had no coun-
cil-house or building to meet in. Lycurgus was of opinion
that ornaments were so far from advantaging them in their
councils, that they were rather an hinderance, by diverting their
attention from the business before them to statues and pictures,
and roofs curiously fretted, the usual embellishments of such
places amongst the other Greeks. The people then being thus
assembled in the open air, it was not allowed to any one of
their order to give his advice, but only either to ratify or reject
what should be propounded to them by the king or senate.
After the creation of the thirty senators, his next task, and,
indeed, the most hazardous he ever undertook, was the making
of a new division of their lands. For there was an extreme in-
equality amongst them, and their state was overloaded with a
multitude of indigent and necessitous persons, while its whole
wealth had centred upon a very few. To the end, therefore,
that he might expel from the state arrogance and envy, luxury
and crime, and those yet more inveterate diseases of want and
superfluity, he obtained of them to renounce their properties,
and to consent to a new division of the land, and that they
should live all together on an equal footing; merit to be their
only road to eminence, and the disgrace of evil, and credit of
worthy acts, their one measure of difference between man and
man.
Upon their consent to these proposals, proceeding at once
to put them into execution, he divided the country of Laconia
in general into thirty thousand equal shares,, and the part






56 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
attached to the city of Sparta into nine thousand; these he
distributed among the Spartans, as he did the others to the
country citizens. A lot was so much as to yield, one year
with another, about seventy bushels of grain for the master of
the family, and twelve for his wife, with a suitable proportion
of oil and wine. And this he thought sufficient to keep their
bodies in good health and strength; superfluities they were
better without. It is reported, that, as he returned from a
journey shortly after the division of the lands, in harvest time,
the ground being newly reaped, seeing the stacks all standing
equal and alike, he smiled, and said to those about him, "Me-
thinks all Laconia looks like one family estate just divided
among a number of brothers."
Not contented with this, he resolved to make a division of
their movables too, that there might be no odious distinction
or inequality left amongst them; but finding that it would
be very dangerous to go about it openly, he took another
course, and defeated their avarice by the following stratagem:
he commanded that all gold and silver coin should be called
in, and that only a sort of money made of iron should be
current, a great weight and- quantity of which was worth but
very little; so that to lay up a hundred or two dollars there
was required a pretty large closet, and, to remove it, nothing
less than a yoke of oxen. With the diffusion of this money,
at once a number of vices were banished from Lacedaemon ;
for who would rob another of such a coin ? Who would un-
justly detain or take by force, or accept as a bribe, a thing
which it was not easy to hide, nor a credit to have, nor indeed
of any use to cut in pieces ? For when it was just red-hot,
they quenched it in vinegar, and by that means spoilt it, and
made it almost incapable of being worked.
In the next place, he declared an outlawry of all needless
and superfluous aits; but here he might almost have spared
his proclamation; for they of themselves would have gone
with the gold and silver, the money which remained being not






LYCURGUS. 57
so proper payment for curious work; for, being of iron, it was
scarcely portable, neither, if they should take the pains to ex-
port it, would it pass amongst the other Greeks, who ridiculed
it. So there was now no more means of purchasing foreign
goods and small wares; merchants sent no shiploads into La-
conian ports; no rhetoric-master, no itinerant fortune-teller, or
gold or silversmith, engraver, or jeweler, set foot in a country
which had no money; so that luxury, deprived little by little
of that which fed and fomented it, wasted to nothing, and died
away of itself. For the rich had no advantage here over the
poor, as their wealth and abundance had no road to come
abroad by, but were shut up at home doing nothing. And in
this way they became excellent artists in common necessary
things; bedsteads, chairs, and tables, and such like staple
utensils in a family, were admirably well made there; their
cup, particularly, was very much in fashion, and eagerly sought
for by soldiers, as Critias reports ; for its.color was such as to
prevent water, drunk upon necessity and disagreeable to look
at, from being noticed; and the shape of it was such that the
mud stuck to the sides, so that only the purer part came to the
drinker's mouth. For this, also, they had to thank their law-
giver, who, by relieving the artisans of the trouble of making
useless things, set them to show their skill in giving beauty to
those of daily and indispensable use.
The third and most masterly stroke of this great lawgiver,
by which he struck a yet more effectual blow against luxury
and the desire of riches, was the ordinance he made that they
should all eat in common, of the same bread and same meat,
and of kinds that were specified, and should not spend their
lives at home, laid on costly couches at splendid tables, deliver-
ing themselves up into the hands of their tradesmen and cooks,
to fatten them in corners, like greedy brutes, and to ruin not
their minds only but their very bodies, which, enfeebled by in-
dulgence and excess, would stand in need of long sleep, warm
bathing, freedom from work, and, in a word, of as much care






58 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
and attendance as if they were continually sick. It was cer-
tainly an extraordinary thing to have brought about such a
result as this, but a greater yet to have taken away from wealth,
as Theophrastus observes, not merely the property of being
coveted, but its very nature of being wealth. For the rich,
being obliged to go to the same table with the poor, could not
make use of or enjoy their abundance, nor so much as please
their vanity by looking at or displaying it. So that the com-
mon proverb, that Plutus, the god of riches, is blind, was no-
where in all the world literally verified but in Sparta. There,
indeed, he was not only blind, but, like a picture, without either
life or motion. Nor were they allowed to take food at home
first, and then attend the public tables, for every one had an
eye upon those who did not eat and drink like the rest, and re-
proached them with being dainty and effeminate. .
This last ordinance in particular exasperated the wealthier
men. They collected in a body against Lycurgus, and from
ill words came to throwing stones, so that at length he was
forced to run out of the market-place, and make to sanctuary
to save his life; by good-hap he outran all excepting one
Alcander, a young man otherwise not ill accomplished, but
hasty and violent, who came up so close to him, that, when he
turned to see who was near him, he struck him upon the face
with his stick, and put out one of his eyes. Lycurgus, so far
from being daunted and discouraged by this accident, stopped
short and showed his disfigured face and eye beat out to his
countrymen; they, dismayed and ashamed at the sight, de-
livered Alcander into his hands to be. punished, and escorted
him home, with expressions of great concern for his ill usage.
Lycurgus, having thanked them for their care of his person,
dismissed them all, excepting only Alcander; and, taking him
with him into his house, neither did nor said anything severe
to him, but dismissing those whose place it was, bade Alcander
to wait upon him at table. The young man, who was of an in-
genuous temper, did without murmuring as he was commanded;






LYCURGUS. 59
and, being thus admitted to live with Lycurgus, he had an op-
portunity to observe in him, beside his gentleness and calm-
ness of temper, an extraordinary sobriety and an indefatigable
industry, and so, from an enemy, became one of his most zealous
admirers, and told his friends and relations that Lycurgus was
not that morose and ill-natured man they had formerly taken
him for, but the one mild and gentle character of the world.
And thus did Lycurgus, for chastisement of his fault, make of
a wild and passionate young man one of the discreetest citi-
zens of Sparta.
In memory of this accident, Lycurgus built a temple to
Minerva. Some authors, however, say that he was wounded,
indeed, but did not lose his eye from the blow; and that he
built the temple in gratitude for the cure. Be this as it will,
certain it is, that, after this misadventure, the Lacedaemonians
made it a rule never to carry so much as a staff into their
public assemblies.
But to return to their public repasts. They met by com-
panies of fifteen, more or less, and each of them stood bound
to bring in monthly a bushel of meal, eight gallons of wine, five
pounds of cheese, two pounds and a half of figs, and some very
small sum of money to buy flesh or fish with. Besides this,
when any of them made sacrifice to the gods, they always sent
a dole to the common hall; and, likewise, when any of them
had been a-hunting, he sent thither a part of the venison he
had killed; for these two occasions were the only excuses al-
lowed for supping at home. The custom of eating together
was observed strictly for a great while afterwards; insomuch
that king Agis himself, after having vanquished the Athenians,
sending for his commons at his return home, because he de-
sired to eat privately with his queen, was refused them by the
polemarchs; and when he resented this refusal so much as to
omit next day the sacrifice due for a war happily ended, they
made him pay a fine.
They used to send their children to these tables as to schools






60 PLUTARCI'S LIVES.
of temperance; here they were instructed in state affairs by
listening to experienced statesmen; here they learnt to con-
verse with pleasantry, to make jests without scurrility, and
take them without ill humor. In this point of good breeding,
the Lacedaemonians excelled particularly, but if any man were
uneasy under it, upon the least hint given there was no more
to be said to him. It was customary also for the eldest man
in the company to say to each of them, as they came in,
" Through this" (pointing to the door), "no words go out."
When any one had a desire to be admitted into any of these
little societies, he was to go through the following probation:
each man in the company took a little ball of soft bread, which
they were to throw into a deep basin, that a waiter carried
round upon his head; those that liked the person to be chosen
dropped their ball into the basin without altering its figure,
and those who disliked him pressed it betwixt their fingers,
and made it flat; and this signified as much as a negative voice.
And if there were but one of these flattened pieces in the basin,
the suitor was rejected, so desirous were they that all the mem-
bers of the company should be agreeable to each other. The
basin was called caddichus, and the rejected candidate had a
name thence derived. Their most famous dish was the black
broth, which was so much valued that the elderly men fed only
upon that, leaving what flesh there was to the younger.
They say that a certain king of Pontus,- having heard much
of this black broth of theirs, sent for a Lacedaemonian cook
on purpose to make him some, but had no sooner tasted it than
he found it extremely bad, which the cook observing, told him,
"Sir, to make this broth relish, you should have bathed your-
self first in the river Eurotas."
After drinking moderately, every man went to his home
without lights, for the use of them was, on all occasions, for-
bid, to the end that they might accustom themselves to march
boldly in the dark. Such was the common fashion of their
meals.







LYCURGUS. 6

Lycurgus would never reduce his laws into writing; nay,
there is a Rhetra expressly to forbid it. For he thought
that the most material points, and such as most directly tended
to the public welfare, being imprinted on the hearts of their
youth by a good discipline, would be sure to remain, and
would find a stronger security, than any compulsion would be,
in the principles of action formed in them by their best law-
giver, education.
One, then, of the Rhetras was, that their laws should not
be written ; another is particularly leveled against luxury and
expensiveness, for by it it was ordained that the ceilings of
their houses should only be wrought by the axe, and their
gates and doors smoothed only by the saw. Epaminondas's
famous dictum about his own table, that Treason and a din-
ner like this do not keep company together," may be said to
have been anticipated by Lycurgus. Luxury and a house of
this kind could not well be companions. For a man must
have a less than ordinary share of sense that would furnish
such plain and common rooms with silver-footed couches and
purple coverlets and gold and silver plate. Doubtless he had
good reason to think that they would proportion their beds
to their houses, and their coverlets to their beds, and the
rest of their goods and furniture to these. It is reported
that King Leotychides, the first of that name, was so little
used to the sight. of any other kind of work, that, being
entertained at Corinth in a stately room, he was much sur-
prised to see the timber and ceilings so finely carved and
paneled, and asked his host whether the trees grew so in his
country.
A third ordinance or Rhetra was that they should not make
war often, or long, with the same enemy, lest they should
train and instruct them in war, by habituating them to defend
themselves. And this is what Agesilaus was much blamed for
a long time after; it being thought that, by his continual
incursions into Boeotia, he made the Thebans a match for







62 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.

the Lacedaemonians; and therefore Antalcidas, seeing him
wounded one day, said to him that he was very well paid for
taking such pains to make the Thebans good soldiers, whether
they would or no. These laws were called the Rhetras, to
intimate that they were divine sanctions and revelations.
In order to the good education of their youth (which, as I
said before, he thought the most important and noblest work
of a lawgiver), he took in their case all the care that was pos-
sible; he ordered the maidens to exercise themselves with
wrestling, running, throwing the quoit, and casting the dart,
to the end that they might have strong and healthy bodies.
It was not in the power of the father to dispose of his child
as he thought fit; he was obliged to carry it before certain
" triers" at a place called
Lesche ; these were some of
the elders of the tribe to
which the child belonged;
their business it was care-
fully to view the infant, and,
if they found it stout and well
made, they gave order for its
rearing, and allot-
ted to it one of
the nine thousand
shares of 1 a nd
above men-
tioned for








IRL PLAM-I-G AT DICE.
GIRL PLAYING AT DICE.






64 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
father himself to raise his children after his own fancy; but as
soon as they were seven years old they were to be enrolled in
certain companies and classes, where they all lived under the
same order and discipline, doing their exercises and taking
their play together. Of these
he who showed the most con-
duct and courage was made
captain; they had their eyes
always upon him, obeyed his
Al / orders, and underwent patient-
"ly whatsoever punishment he
inflicted; so that the whole
S \ course of their education was
one continued exercise of a
ready and perfect obedience.
SThe old men, too, were spec-
tators of their performances,
and often raised quarrels and
disputes among them, to have
a good opportunity of finding
out their different characters,
\ and of seeing which would be
/ valiant, which a coward, when
they should come to more
dangerous encounters. Read-
ing and writing they gave
them, just enough to serve
their turn; their chief care
was to make them good sub-
YOUTH WITH CHLAMYS AND HAT. jects, and to teach them to
endure pain and conquer in battle. To this end, as they grew
in years, their discipline was proportionally increased; their
heads were close-clipped; they were accustomed to go bare-
foot, and for the most part to play naked.
After they were twelve years old they were no longer allowed






LYCUR G US. 65

to wear any under-garment; they had one coat to serve them
a year;" their bodies were hard and dry, with but little ac-
quaintance of baths and unguents; these human indulgences
they were allowed only on some few particular days in
the year. They lodged to-
gether in little bands upon
beds made of the rushes
which grew by the banks of
the river Eurotas, which they (I
were to break off with their
hands without a knife; if
it were winter, they mingled
some thistledown with their
rushes, which it was thought
had the property of giving
warmth.
Besides all this, there was
always one of the best and
most honest men in the city
appointed to undertake the
charge and governance of
them; he again arranged them
into their several bands, and
set over each of them for
their- captain the most tem-
perate and bold of those they
called Irens, who were usually
twenty years old, two years
out of boyhood; and the
eldest of the boys, again, were
Mell-Irens, as much as to YOUTH WITH CHLAMYS AND HAT.
say, "who would shortly be men." This young man, therefore,
The chitdn and the himation, one inside and one out, constituted the ordinary Greek
dress; corresponding in use to the Roman tunic and toga. The chlamys, a short garment
of Thessalian origin, thrown over the left shoulder and fastened upon the right with a brooch,
was the ordinary dress of youths, the chiton of boys.
5






66 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
was their captain when they fought, and their master at home,
using them for the offices of his house; sending the oldest of
them to fetch wood, and the weaker and less able, to gather
salads and herbs, and these they must either go without or
steal; which they did by creeping into the gardens, or convey-
ing themselves cunningly and closely into the eating-houses ;
if they were taken in the act, they were whipped without
mercy, for thieving so ill and awkwardly. They stole, too, all
other meat they could lay their hands on, looking out and
watching all opportunities, when people were asleep or more
careless than usual. If they were caught, they were not only
punished with whipping, but hunger, too, being reduced to
their ordinary allowance, which was but very slender, and so
contrived on purpose, that they might set about to help them-
selves, and be forced to exercise their energy and address.
So seriously did the Lacedaemonian children go about their
stealing, that a youth, having stolen a young fox and hid it
under his coat, suffered it to tear out his very bowels with its
teeth and claws, and died upon the place, rather than let it be
seen. What is practised to this very day in Lacedxemon is
enough to gain credit to this story, for I myself have seen
several of the youths endure whipping to death at the foot of
the altar of Diana surnamed Orthia.
The Iren, or under-master, used to stay a little with them
after supper, and one of them he bade to sing a song, to an-
other he put a question which required an advised and deliber-
ate answer; for example, Who was the best man in the city ?
What he thought of such an action of such a man ? They
accustomed them thus early to pass a right judgment upon
persons and things, and to inform themselves of the abilities
or defects of their countrymen. If they had not an answer
ready to the question, Who was a good or who an ill-reputed
citizen? they were looked upon as of a dull and careless dis-
position, and to have little or no sense of virtue and honor;
besides this, they were to give a good reason for what they
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LYCURGUS. 67
said, and in as few words and as comprehensive as might be;
he that failed of this, or answered not to the purpose, had his
thumb bit by his master.
They taught them, also, to speak with a natural and graceful
raillery, and to comprehend much matter of thought in few
words. For Lycurgus, who ordered, as we saw, that a great
piece of money should be but of an inconsiderable value, on
the contrary would allow no discourse to be current which did
not contain in few words a great deal of useful and curious
sense; children in Sparta, by a habit of long silence, came to
give just and sententious answers; for, indeed, loose talkers
seldom originate many sensible words. King Agis, when
some Athenian laughed at their short swords, and said that
the jugglers on the stage swallowed them with ease, answered
him, We find them long enough to reach our enemies with;"
and as theii swords were short and sharp, so, it seems to me,
were their sayings. They reach the point and arrest the at-
tention of the hearers better than any others. Lycurgus him-
self seems to have been short and sententious, if we may trust
the anecdotes of him; as appears by his answer to one who
by all means would set up democracy in Lacedaemon. "Begin,
friend," said he, "and set it up in your family." Another
asked him why he allowed of such mean and trivial sacrifices
to the gods. He replied, "That we may always have some-
thing to offer to them." Being asked what sort of martial
exercises or combats he approved of, he answered, All sorts,
except that in which you stretch out your hands." *
SOf their dislike to talkativeness, the following apophthegms
are evidence. King Leonidas said to one who held him in
discourse upon some useful matter, but not in due time and
place, "Much to the purpose, sir, elsewhere." King Chari-
laus, the nephew of Lycurgus, being asked why his uncle had
made so few laws, answered, "Men of few words require but

"* The form of crying quarter among the ancients.






68 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
few laws." When one blamed Hecateus the sophist because
that, being invited to the public table, he had not spoken one
word all supper-time, Archidamidas answered in his vindica-
tion, He who knows how to speak, knows also when."
The sharp, and yet not ungraceful, retorts which I mentioned
may be instanced as follows. Demaratus, being asked in a
troublesome manner by an importunate fellow, Who was the
best man in Lacedaemon ? answered at last, He, sir, that is
the least like you." Some, in company where Agis was, much
extolled the Eleans for their just and honorable management
of the Olympic games; "Indeed," said Agis, "they are highly
to be commended if they can do justice one day in five
years.
We may see their character, too, in their very jests. For
they did not throw them out at random, but the very wit of
them was grounded upon something or other worth thinking
about. For instance, one, being asked to go hear a man who
exactly counterfeited the voice of a nightingale, answered,
"Sir, I have heard the nightingale itself." Another, having
read the following inscription upon a tomb,-

Seeking to quench a cruel tyranny,
They, at Selinus, did in battle die,

said, it served them right; for instead of trying to quench the
tyranny they should have let it burn out. A lad, being offered
some game-cocks that would die upon the spot, said he cared
not for cocks that would die, but for such as would live and
kill others. In short, their answers were so sententious and
pertinent, that one said well that intellectual, much more
truly than athletic, exercise was the Spartan characteristic.
Nor was their instruction in music and verse less carefully
attended to than their habits of grace and good breeding in
conversation. And their very songs had a life and spirit in
them that inflamed and possessed men's minds with an enthu-
siasm and ardor for action; the style of them was plain and






LYCURGUS. 69
without affectation; the subject always serious and moral;
most usually it was in praise of such men as had died in
defence of their country, or in derision of those that had been
cowards; the former they declared happy and glorified.; the
life of the latter they described as most miserable and abject.
There were also vaunts of what they would do, and boasts of
what they had done, varying with the various ages, as, for
example, they had three choirs in their solemn festivals, the
first of the old men, the second of the young men, and the
last of the children; the old men began thus:

We once were young, and brave and strong;
the young men answered them, singing,

And we're so now, come on and try;
the children came last and said,

But we'll be strongest by and by.

Before they engaged in battle, the Lacedxemonians abated
a little the severity of their manners in favor of their young
men, suffering them to curl and adorn their hair, and to have
costly arms, and fine clothes; and were well pleased to see
them, like proud horses, neighing and pressing to the course.
And therefore, as soon as they came to be well grown, they
took a great deal of care of their hair, to have it parted and
trimmed, especially against a day of battle, pursuant to a say-
ing recorded of their lawgiver, that a large head of hair added
beauty to a good face, and terror to an ugly one.
The senate, as I said before, consisted of those who were
Lycurgus's chief aiders and assistants in his plan. The vacan-
cies he ordered to be supplied out of the best and most deserv-
ing men past sixty years old. The manner of their election
was as follows: the people being called together, some selected
persons were locked up in a room near the place of election,






70 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
so contrived that they could neither see nor be seen, but could
only hear the noise of the assembly without; for they decided
this, as most other affairs of moment, by the shouts of the peo-
ple. This done, the competitors were not brought in and pre-
sented all together, but one after another by lot, and passed in
order through the assembly without speaking a word. Those
who were locked up had writing-tables with them, in which
they recorded and marked each shout by its loudness, without
knowing in favor of which candidate each of them was made,
but merely that they came first, second, third, and so forth.
He who was found to have the most and loudest acclamations
was declared senator duly elected.
When he perceived that his more important institutions had
taken root in the minds of his countrymen, that custom had
rendered them familiar and easy, that his commonwealth was
now grown up and able to go alone, then, as Plato somewhere
tells us the Maker of the world, when first he saw it existing
and beginning its motion, felt joy, even so Lycurgus, viewing
with joy and satisfaction the greatness and beauty of his politi-
cal structure, now fairly at work and in motion, conceived the
thought to make it immortal too, and as far 'as human forecast
could reach, to deliver it down unchangeable to posterity. He
called an extraordinary assembly of all the people, and told
them that he now thought everything reasonably well estab-
lished, both for the happiness and the virtue of the state ; but
that there was one thing still behind, of the greatest importance,
which he thought not fit to impart until he had consulted the
oracle; in the meantime, his desire was that they would observe
the laws without even the least alteration until his return, and
then he would do as the god should direct him. They all con-
sented readily, and bade him hasten his journey; but, before
he departed, he administered an oath to the two kings, the,
senate, and the whole commons, to abide by and maintain the
established form of polity until Lycurgus should come back.
This done, he set out for Delphi, and, having sacrificed to







LYCURGUS. 71
Apollo, asked him whether the laws he had established were
good and sufficient for a people's happiness and virtue. The
oracle answered that the laws were excellent, and that the
people, while it observed them, should live in the height of
renown. Lycurgus took the oracle in writing, and sent it
over to Sparta, and, having sacrificed a second time to
Apollo, and taken leave of his friends and his son, he re-
solved that the Spartans should not be released from the
oath they had taken, and that he would, of his own act, close
his life where he was. He was now about that age in which
life was still tolerable, and yet might be quitted without regret.
Everything, moreover, about him was in a sufficiently pros-
perous condition. He, therefore, made an end of himself by a
total abstinence from food; thinking it a statesman's duty to
make his very death, if possible, an act of service to the state,
and even in the end of his life to give some example of virtue
and effect some useful purpose. Nor was he deceived in his
expectations, for the city of Lacedaemon continued the chief
city of all Greece for the space of five hundred years, in strict
observance of Lycurgus's laws; in all which time there was no
manner of alteration made, during the reign of fourteen kings,
down to the time .of Agis, the son of Archidamus.
King Theopompus, when one said that Sparta held up so
long because their kings could command so well, replied, Nay,
rather because the people know so well how to obey." For
people do not obey, unless rulers know how to command;
obedience is a lesson taught by commanders. A true leader
himself creates the obedience of his own followers; as it is the
greatest attainment in the art of riding to make a horse gentle
and tractable, so is it of the science of government to inspire
men with a willingness to obey.
It is reported that when his bones were brought home to
Sparta his tomb was struck with lightning, an accident which
befell no eminent person but himself and Euripides. But
Aristocrates, the son of Hipparchus, says that he died in Crete,






72 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
and that his Cretan friends, in accordance with his own re-
quest, when they had burned his body, scattered the ashes
into the sea, for fear lest, if his relics should be transported to
Lacedaemon, the people might pretend to be released from
their oaths, and make innovations in the government.













SOLON.


SOLON, as Hermippus writes, when his father had ruined his
estate in doing benefits and kindnesses to other men, though
he had friends enough that were willing to contribute to his
relief, yet was ashamed to be beholden to others, since he was
descended from a family who were accustomed to do kind-
nesses rather than receive them; and therefore applied him-
self to merchandise in his youth; though others assure us
that he traveled rather to get learning and experience than to
make money. It is certain that he was a lover of knowledge,
for when he was old he would say that he

Each day grew older, and learnt something new.

But that he accounted himself rather poor than rich is evident
from the lines,

Some wicked men are rich, some good are poor,
We will not change our virtue for their store ;
Virtue's a thing that none can take away,
But money changes owners all the day.

It is stated that Anacharsis and Solon and Thales were fa-
miliarly acquainted, and some have quoted parts of their dis-
course; for, they say, Anacharsis, coming to Athens, knocked
at Solon's door, and told him that he, being a stranger, was
come to be his guest, and contract a friendship with him; and
Solon replying, "It is better to make friends at home," Ana-
charsis replied, "Then you that are at home make friendship
with me." Solon, somewhat surprised at the readiness of the
repartee, received him kindly, and kept him some time with





74 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
him, being already engaged in public business and the compila-
tion of his laws; which when Anacharsis understood, he laughed
at him for imagining the dishonesty and covetousness of his
countrymen could be restrained by written laws, which were
like spiders' webs, and would catch, it is true, the weak and
poor, but easily be broken by the mighty and rich. To this
Solon rejoined that men keep their promises when neither side
can get anything by the breaking of them; and he would so
fit his laws to the citizens, that all should understand it was
more eligible to be just than to break the laws. But the event
rather agreed with the conjecture of Anacharsis than Solon's
hope. Anacharsis, being once at the assembly, expressed his
wonder that in Greece wise men spoke and fools decided.
,Now, when the Athenians were tired with a tedious and dif-
ficult war that they conducted against the Megarians for the
island Salamis, and made a law that it should be death for any
man, by writing or speaking, to assert that the city ought to
endeavor to recover it, Solon, vexed at the disgrace, and per-
ceiving thousands of the youth wished for somebody to begin,
but did not dare to stir first for fear of the law, counterfeited
a distraction, and by his own family it was spread about the
city that he was mad. He then secretly composed some ele-
giac verses, and getting them. by heart, that it might seem ex-
tempore, ran out into the market-place with a cap upon his
head, and, the people gathering about him, got upon the her-
ald's stand, and sang that elegy which begins thus :-

I am a herald come from Salamis the fair,
My news from thence my verses shall declare.

The poem is called Salamis"; it contains a hundred verses,
very elegantly written. When it had been sung, his friends
commended it, and especially Pisistratus exhorted the citizens
to obey his directions; insomuch that they recalled the law,
and renewed the war under Solon's conduct. The popular tale
is, that with Pisistratus he sailed to Colias, and, finding the
















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76 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
women, according to the custom of the country there, sacrific-
ing to Ceres, he sent a trusty friend to Salamis, who should
pretend himself a renegade, and advise them, if they desired
to seize the chief Athenian women, to come with him at once
to Colias; the Megarians presently sent off men in the vessel
with him, and Solon, seeing it put off from the island, com-
manded the women to be gone, and some beardless youths,
dressed in their clothes, their shoes, and caps, and privately
armed with daggers, to dance and play near the shore till the
enemies had landed and the vessel was in their power. Things
being thus ordered, the Megarians were allured with the ap-
pearance, and, coming to the shore, jumped out, eager who
should first seize a prize, so that not one of them escaped; and
the Athenians set sail for the island and took it.
For this Solon grew famed and powerful; but his advice in
favor of defending the oracle at Delphi, to give aid, and not to
suffer the Cirrhaeans to profane it, but to maintain the honor
of the god, got him most repute among the Greeks: for upon
his persuasion the Amphictyons undertook the war.
Now the Cylonian pollution had a long time disturbed the
commonwealth, ever since the time when Megacles the archon
persuaded the conspirators with Cylon that took sanctuary in
Athena's temple to come down and stand to a fair trial. And
they, tying a thread to the image, and holding one end of it,
went down to the tribunal; but when they came to the temple
of the Furies, the thread broke of its own accord, upon which,
as if the goddess had refused them protection, they were seized
by Megacles and the other magistrates; as many as were with-
out the temples were stoned, those that fled for sanctuary were
butchered at the altar, and only those escaped who made sup-
plication to the wives of the magistrates.
The Athenians, now the Cylonian sedition was over and the
polluted gone into banishment, fell into their old quarrels about
the government, there being as many different parties as there
were diversities in the country. The Hill quarter favored







SOLON. 77
democracy; the Plain, oligarchy; and those that lived by the
Sea-side stood for a mixed sort of government, and so hindered
either of the parties from prevailing. And the disparity of for-
tune between the rich and the poor at that time also reached its
height; so that the city seemed to be in a truly dangerous con-
dition, and no other means for freeing it from disturbances and
settling it to be possible but a despotic power.
Then the wisest of the Athenians, perceiving Solon was of
all men the only one not implicated in the troubles, that he had
not joined in the exactions of the rich, and was not involved
in the necessities of the poor, pressed him to succor the com-
monwealth and compose the differences. Solon, reluctantly at
first, engaged in state affairs, being afraid of the pride of one
party and the greediness of the other; he was chosen archon,
however, after Philombrotus, and empowered to be an arbitra-
tor and lawgiver; the rich consenting because he was wealthy,
the poor because he was honest. There was a saying of his
current before the election, that when things are even there never
can be war, and this pleased both parties, the wealthy and the
poor; the one conceiving him to mean, when all have their fair
proportion; the other, when all are absolutely equal. Thus,
there being great hopes on both sides, the chief men pressed
Solon to take the government into his own hands, and, when
he was once settled, manage the business freely and according
to his pleasure; and many of the commons, perceiving it would
be a difficult change to be effected by law and reason, were
willing to have one wise and just man set over the affairs; and
some say that Solon had this oracle from Apollo:
Take the mid-seat, and be the vessel's guide;
Many in Athens are upon your side.

From which it is manifest that he was a man of great reputa-
tion before he gave his laws. The several mocks that were
put upon him for refusing the power, he records in these
words :






78 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
Solon surely was a dreamer, and a man of simple mind ;
When the gods would give him fortune, he of his own will declined ;
When the net was full of fishes, over-heavy thinking it,
He declined to haul it up, through want of heart and want of wit.
Had but I that chance of riches and of kingship for one day,
I would give my skin for flaying, and my house to die away.

Thus he makes the many and the low people speak of him.
Yet, though he refused the government, he did not show him-
self mean and submissive to the powerful, nor make his laws
to pleasure those that chose him. For the first thing which
he settled was, that what debts remained should be forgiven,
and no man, for the future, should engage the body of his
debtor for security. Though some, as Androtion, affirm that
the debts were not canceled, but the interest only lessened,
which sufficiently pleased the people; so that they named this
benefit the Seisacthea, together with the enlarging of their
measures, and raising the value of their money; for he made a
pound, which before passed for seventy-three drachmas, go for
a hundred; so that, though the number of pieces in the pay-
ment was equal, the value was less; which proved a consider-
able benefit to those that were to discharge great debts, and no
loss to the creditors.
While he was designing this, a most vexatious thing hap-
pened; for when he had resolved to take off the debts, and was
considering the proper form and fit beginning for it, he told
some of his friends, Conon, Clinias, and Hipponicus, in whom
he had a great deal of confidence, that he would not meddle
with the lands, but only free the people from their debts; upon
which, they, using their advantage, made haste and borrowed
some considerable sums of money, and purchased some large
farms; and when the law was enacted, they kept the posses-
sions, and would not return the money; which brought Solon
into great suspicion and dislike, as if he himself had not been
abused, but was concerned in the contrivance. But he pres-
ently stopped this suspicion, by releasing his own debtors of five







SOLON. 79
talents (for he had lent so much), according to the law; others,
as Polyzelus the Rhodian, say fifteen.
Soon becoming sensible of the good that was done, the peo-
ple laid by their grudges, made a public sacrifice, and chose
Solon to new-model and make laws for the commonwealth, giv-
ing him the entire power over everything, their magistracies,
their assemblies, courts, and councils; that he should appoint
the number, times of meeting, and what estate they must have
that could be capable of these, and dissolve or continue any of
the present constitutions, according to his pleasure.
First, then, he repealed all Draco's laws, except those con-
cerning homicide, because they were too severe and thepun-
ishments too great; for death was appointed for almost all
offences, insomuch that those that were convicted of idleness
were to die, and those that stole a cabbage or an apple to suffer
even as villains that committed sacrilege or murder. So that
Demades, in after time, was thought to have said very happily,
that Draco's laws were written not with ink, but blood; and
he himself, being once asked why he made death the punish-
ment of most offences, replied: Small ones deserve that, and
I have no higher for the greater crimes."
Next, Solon, being willing to continue the magistracies in
the hands of the rich men, and yet receive the people into the
other part of the government, took an account of the citizens'
estates, and those that were worth five hundred measures of
fruits, dry and liquid, he placed in the first rank; those that
could keep a horse, or were worth three hundred measures,
were made the second class; those that had two hundred
measures, were in the third; and all the other were called
Thetes, who were not admitted to any office, but could come
to the assembly, and act as.jurors; which at first seemed noth-
"ing, but afterward was found an enormous privilege, as almost
every matter of dispute came before them in this latter capacity.
Besides, it is said that he was obscure and ambiguous in the
wording of his laws, on purpose to increase the honor of his





80 PLUTARCH'S LIVES.
courts; for since their differences could not be adjusted by the
letter, they would have to bring all their causes to the judges,
who thus were in a manner masters of the laws. Of this
equalization he himself makes mention in this manner:

Such power I gave the people as might do,
Abridged not what they had, now lavished new.
Those that were great in wealth and high in place,
My counsel likewise kept from all disgrace.
Before them both I held my shield of might,
And let not either touch the other's right.

When he had constituted the Areopagus of those who had
been yearly archons, of which he himself was a member there-
fore, observing that the people, now free from their debts, were
unsettled and imperious, he formed another council of four
hundred, a hundred out of each of the four tribes, which was
to inspect all matters before they were propounded to the peo-
ple, and to take care that nothing but what had been first ex-
amined should be brought before the general assembly. The
upper council, or Areopagus, he made inspectors and keepers
of the laws, conceiving that the commonwealth, held by these
two councils like anchors, would be less liable to be tossed by
tumults, and the people be more at quiet. Such is the general
statement that Solon instituted the Areopagus.
Amongst his other laws, one is very peculiar and surprising,
which disfranchises all who stand neuter in a sedition ; for it
seems he would not have any one remain insensible and regard-
less of the public good, but at once join with the good party
and those that have the right upon their side, assist and vent-
ure with them, rather than keep out of harm's way and watch
who would get the better.
Another commendable law of Solon's is that which forbids
men to speak evil of the dead.
Since the country has but few rivers, lakes, or large springs,
and many used wells which they had dug, there was a law





At


SOLON. 81
made, that, where there was a public well within a hizpicon,
that is, four furlongs, all should draw at that; but when it was
farther off, they should try and procure a well of their own;
and, if they had dug ten fathoms deep and could find no water,
they had liberty to fetch a pitcherful of four gallons and a half
in a day from their neighbors'; for he thought it prudent to
make provision against want, but not to supply laziness. He
showed skill in his orders about planting, for any one that
would plant another tree was not to set it within five feet of his
neighbor's field; but if a fig or an olive, not within nine, for
their roots spread farther, nor can they be planted near all
sorts of trees without damage, for they draw away the nourish-
ment, and in some cases are noxious by their effluvia. He
that would dig a pit or a ditch was to dig it at the distance of
its own depth from his neighbor's ground; and he that would
raise stocks of bees was not to place them within three hun-
dred feet of those which another had already raised.
He permitted only oil to be exported, and those that ex-
ported any other fruit, the archon was solemnly to curse, or
else pay an hundred drachmas* himself; and this law was
written in his first table, and, therefore, let none think it in-
credible, as some affirm, that the exportation of figs was once
unlawful. He made a law also, concerning hurts and injuries
from beasts, in which he commands the master of any dog that
bit a man to deliver him up with a log about his neck four and
a half feet long-a happy device for men's security..
All his laws he established for an hundred years, and wrote
them on wooden tables or rollers, named axones, which might
be turned round in oblong cases; some' of their relics were in
my time still to be seen in the Prytaneum, or common hall, at
Athens. These, as Aristotle states, were called cyrbes, and
there is a passage of Cratinus the comedian,
By Solon, and by Draco, if you please,
Whose Cyrbes make the fires that parch our peas.
"* A drachma was about twenty cents.
6