Plutarch's Life of Publicola

Text taken from Thomas North and/or John Dryden

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Reading for Lesson One

Such was Solon. To him we compare Publicola, who received this later title from the Roman people for his merit, as a noble accession to his former name, Publius Valerius. He descended from Valerius, a man amongst the early citizens, reputed the principle reconciler of the differences betwixt the Romans and Sabines, and one that was most instrumental in persuading their kings to assent to peace and union. Thus descended, Publius Valerius, as it is said, whilst Rome remained under its kingly government obtained as great a name from his eloquence as from his riches, using the one rightly and freely, for the maintenance of justice, and the other liberally and courteously, for the relief of the poor; thereby giving assurance that, should the government fall into a republic, he would become a chief man in the community.

It chanced that King Tarquin, surnamed "the proud," being come to the crown by no good lawful means, but, contrarily, by indirect and wicked ways, and behaving himself not like a king, but like a cruel tyrant: the people much hated and detested him, by reason of the death of Lucretia (she killing herself after violence had been done to her); and so the whole city rose and rebelled against him. Lucius Brutus taking upon him to be the head and captain of this insurrection and rebellion, came to Valerius before all others, and, with his zealous assistance, deposed the kings.

Now whilst they were thinking that the people would choose someone alone to be chief ruler over them, instead of a king, Valerius acquiesced, that to rule was rather Brutus's due, as the author of the democracy. But when the name of monarchy was odious to the people, and a divided power appeared more grateful in the prospect, and two were chosen to hold it, Valerius entertained hopes that he might be elected consul with Brutus.

Howbeit this hope failed him. For against Brutus's will, Tarquinius Collatinus (the husband of Lucretia) was chosen consul with him: not because he was a man of greater virtue, or of better estimation than Valerius. But the nobles, dreading the return of their kings, who still used all endeavours abroad and solicitations at home, were resolved upon a chieftain of an intense hatred to them [the kings], and noways likely to yield.

Now, Valerius was troubled that his desire to serve his country should be doubted, because he had sustained no private injury from the insolence of the tyrants. He withdrew from the Senate and practice of the bar, quitting all public concerns; which gave an occasion of discourse, and fear, too, lest his anger should reconcile him to the king's side, and he should prove the ruin of the state, tottering as yet under the uncertainties of a change.

But Brutus [was] doubtful of some others, and determined to give the test to the Senate upon the altars. Upon the day appointed, Valerius came with cheerfulness into the Forum, and was the first man that [swore] "in no way to submit or yield to Tarquin's propositions, but rigorously to maintain liberty"; which gave great satisfaction to the Senate, and assurance to the consuls, his action soon after showing the sincerity of his oath.

Reading for Lesson Two

For there came ambassadors to Rome which brought letters from King Tarquin, full of sweet and lowly speeches to win the favour of the people, with commission to use all the mildest means they could, to dulce and soften the hardened hearts of the multitude: who declared how the king had left all pride and cruelty, and meant to ask nought but reasonable things.

The consuls thought best to give them open audience, and to suffer them to speak to the people. But Valerius was against it, declaring it might peril the state much, and deliver occasion of new stir unto a multitude of poor people, which were more afraid of wars than of tyranny.

After that, there came other ambassadors also, which said that Tarquin would from thenceforth forever give over and renounce his title to the kingdom, and [also his intention] to make any more wars, but besought them only, that they would at the least deliver him and his friends their money and goods, that they might have wherewithal to keep them in their banishment. Now, several inclining to the request, and Collatinus in particular favouring it, Brutus, a fast and resolute man, rushed into the Forum, there proclaiming his fellow-consul to be a traitor, in granting subsidies to tyranny, and supplies for a war to those to whom it was monstrous to allow so much as subsistence in exile.

This caused an assembly of the citizens, amongst whom the first that spoke was Caius Minucius, a private man, who advised Brutus, and urged the Romans to keep the property, and employ it against the tyrants, rather than to remit it to the tyrants, to be used against themselves. Notwithstanding, the Romans were of opinion that, having gotten the liberty for which they fought with the tyrants, they should not disappoint the offered peace by keeping back their goods, but rather they should throw their goods out after them.

The question, however, of his property was the least part of Tarquin's design; the demand sounded the feelings of the people, and was preparatory to a conspiracy which the ambassadors endeavoured to excite. [For this reason they delayed] their return, under pretence of selling some of the goods and reserving others to be sent away; till, in fine, they corrupted two of the most eminent families in Rome: the Aquillian family, which had three [senators], and the Vitellian family, which had two.

Stop and narrate if you want. What was the real purpose of the ambassadors' remaining in Rome?

Those all were, by the mother's side, nephews to Collatinus; besides which, Brutus had a special alliance to the Vitellians from his marriage with their sister, by whom he had several children; two of whom, of their own age, their near relations and daily companions, the Vitellians seduced to join in the plot, to ally themselves to the great house and royal hopes of the Tarquins, and gain emancipation from the "violence and imbecility" of their father, whose austerity to offenders they termed "violence"; while the "imbecility" which he had long feigned, to protect himself from the tyrants, still it appears, was, in name at least, ascribed to him.

Upon these considerations the youths came to confer with the Aquillians, and thought it convenient to bind themselves with a great and horrible oath, drinking the blood of a murdered man, and touching his entrails. For which design they met at the house of the Aquillians. The building chosen for the transaction was, as was natural, dark and unfrequented; and a slave named Vindicius had, as it chanced, concealed himself there, not out of design or any intelligence of the affair, but, accidentally being within, seeing with how much haste and concern they came in, he was afraid to be discovered, and placed himself behind a chest, where he was able to observe their actions and overhear their debates.

Their resolutions were to kill the consuls, and they wrote letters to Tarquin to this effect, and gave them to the ambassadors, who were lodging upon the spot with the Aquillians, and were present at the consultation.

Reading for Lesson Three

Upon their departure, Vindicius secretly quitted the house, but was at a loss what to do in the matter. For he thought it dangerous (as it was indeed) to go and accuse the two sons unto the father (which was Brutus) of so wicked and detestable a treason; and the nephews unto their uncle, which was Collatinus; yet he knew no private Roman to whom he could intrust secrets of such importance. Unable, however, to keep silence, and burdened with his knowledge, he went and addressed himself to Valerius, whose known freedom and kindness of temper were an inducement; as he was a person to whom the needy had easy access, and who never shut his gates against the petitions or indigences of humble people. But when Vindicius came and made a complete discovery to him, his brother Marcus and his own wife being present, Valerius was struck with amazement, and by no means would dismiss the discoverer, but confined him to the room, and placed his wife as a guard to the door, sending his brother in the interim to beset the king's palace, and seize, if possible, the writings there, and to see that none of their servants fled.

Valerius, being followed (according to his manner) with a great train of his friends and people that waited on him, went straight unto the house of the Aquillians, who by chance were absent from home; and so, forcing an entrance through the gates, they lit upon the letters then lying in the lodgings of the ambassadors.

Meanwhile the Aquillians returned in all haste, and, coming to blows about the gate, endeavoured a recovery of the letters. The other party made a resistance, and throwing their gowns around their opponents' necks, at last, after much struggling on both sides, made their way with their prisoners through the streets into the Forum. The like engagement happened about the king's palace, where Marcus seized some other letters which it was designed should be conveyed away in the goods, and, laying hands on such of the king's people as he could find, dragged them also into the Forum.

There the consuls having caused silence to be made, Valerius sent to his house for this bondman Vindicius, to be brought before the consuls; then the traitors were openly accused, and their letters read, and they had not the face to answer one word. All that were present, being amazed, hung down their heads, and beheld the ground, and not a man [dared] once open his mouth to speak, excepting a few, who, to gratify Brutus, began to say that they should [only] banish them; and Collatinus also gave them some hope, because he fell to weeping; and Valerius in like manner, [because] he held his peace.

But Brutus, calling his two sons by their names, "Canst not thou," said he, "O Titus, or thou, Tiberius, make any defense against the indictment?" The question being thrice proposed, and no reply made, he turned himself to the lictors and cried, "They are now in your hands, do justice." [Dryden: "What remains is your duty."]

So soon as he had spoken these words, the sergeants laid hold immediately upon the two young men, and tearing their clothes off their backs, bound their hands behind them, and then whipped them with rods: which was such a pitiful sight to all the people, that they could not find in their hearts to behold it, but turned themselves another way, because they would not see it. But contrariwise, they say that their own father had never his eye off them, neither did change his austere and fierce countenance, with any pity or natural affection towards them, but steadfastly did behold the punishment of his own children, until they were laid flat on the ground, and both their heads stricken off with an axe before him. He then departed, committing the rest to the judgement of his colleague.

This was such an act, as men cannot sufficiently praise nor reprove enough. For either it was his excellent virtue that made his mind so quiet, or else the greatness of his misery that took away the feeling of his sorrow: whereof neither the one nor the other was any small matter, but passing the common nature of man, that hath in it both divineness, and sometime beastly brutishness. But it is better the judgement of men should commend his fame, than that the affection of men by their judgements should diminish his virtue. For the Romans hold opinion, that Brutus did a greater work in the establishment of the government than Romulus [did] in the foundation of the city.

Reading for Lesson Four

Part One

Upon Brutus's departure out of the Forum, consternation, horror, and silence for some time possessed all that reflected on what was done; the easiness and tardiness, however, of Collatinus gave confidence to the Aquillians to request some time to answer their charge, and that Vindicius, their servant, should be remitted into their hands and no longer harboured amongst their accusers. The consul seemed inclined to their proposal, and was proceeding to break up the assembly; but Valerius would not suffer Vindicius, who was surrounded by his people, to be surrendered, nor the meeting to withdraw without punishing the traitors; and at length laid violent hands upon the Aquillians, and, calling Brutus to his assistance, exclaimed against the unreasonable course of Collatinus, to impose upon his colleague [Brutus] the necessity of taking away the lives of his own sons, and yet have thoughts of gratifying some women with the lives of traitors and public enemies.

Collatinus, displeased at this, and commanding Vindicius to be taken away, the lictors made their way through the crowd and seized their man, and struck all who endeavoured a rescue. Valerius's friends headed the resistance, and the people cried out for Brutus, who, returning, on silence being made, told them:

"For mine own children, I alone have been their sufficient judge, to see them have the law according to their deservings: the rest I have left freely to the judgement of the people. Wherefore (said he), if any man be disposed to speak, let him stand up, and persuade the people as he thinketh best."

Then there needed no more words, but only to hearken what the people cried: who with one voice and consent condemned them, and cried execution, and accordingly they had their heads stricken off.

Part Two

Now the consul Collatinus long before [had been viewed] in some suspicion, as allied to the kings, and disliked for his surname, because he was called "Tarquinius"; but after this had happened, perceiving himself an offence to everyone, he relinquished his charge and departed from the city.

At the new elections in his room, Valerius obtained, with high honour, the consulship, as a just reward of his zeal; of which he thought Vindicius deserved a share, whom he made, first of all freedmen, a citizen of Rome, and gave him the privilege of voting in what tribe soever he was pleased to be enrolled [brief omission].

These things thus passed over, the goods of the kings were given to the spoil of the people, and their palaces were razed and overthrown.

Part Three

The pleasantest part of the Field of Mars, which Tarquin had owned, was devoted to the service of that god; but, it happening to be harvest season, and the sheaves yet being on the ground, they thought it not proper to commit them to the flail, or unsanctify them with any use; and, therefore, carrying them to the river-side, and trees withal that were cut down, they cast all into the water, to the end that the field being dedicated to the god Mars, should be left bare, without bearing any fruit at all.

These sheaves, thus thrown into the river, were carried down by the stream not far from thence, unto a ford and shallow place of the water, where they first did stay, and did let the other which came after, that it could go no further: there these heaps gathered together, and lay so close one to another, that they began to sink and settle fast in the water. Afterwards the stream of the river brought down continually such mud and gravel, that it ever increased the heap of corn more and more in such sort, that the force of the water could no more remove it from thence, but rather softly pressing and driving it together, did firm and harden it, and made it grow so to land. Thus this heap rising still in greatness and firmness, by reason that all that came down the river stayed there, it grew in the end, and by time to spread so far, that at this day it is called the "Holy Island" in Rome.

[short omission for length]

Reading for Lesson Five

Part One

Tarquinius then being past hope of ever entering into his kingdom again, went yet unto the Tuscans for succour, which were very glad of him; and so they levied a great army together, hoping to have put him in his kingdom again. The consuls headed the Romans against them, and made their rendezvous in certain holy places, the one called the Arsian Grove, the other the Aesuvian Meadow.

When they came into action, Aruns the son of Tarquin, and Brutus the Roman consul, encountering each other not accidentally, but out of hatred and rage, the one to avenge tyranny and enmity to his country, the other his banishment, set spurs to their horses, and, engaging with more fury than forethought, disregarding their own security, fell together in the combat. This dreadful onset was hardly followed by a more favourable end: both armies, doing and receiving equal damage, were separated by a storm.

Part Two

Valerius was much concerned, not knowing what the result of the day was, and seeing his men as well dismayed at the sight of their own dead, as rejoiced at the loss of the enemy; so apparently equal in the number was the slaughter on either side. Each party, however, felt surer of defeat from the actual sight of their own dead, than they could feel of victory from conjecture about those of their adversaries.

The night being come (and such as one may presume must follow such a battle), and the armies laid to rest, they say that the grove shook, and uttered a voice, saying that the Tuscans had lost one man more than the Romans; clearly a divine announcement; and the Romans at once received it with shouts and expressions of joy; whilst the Tuscans, through fear and amazement, deserted their tents, and were for the most part dispersed.

The Romans, falling upon the remainder [of the Tuscans], amounting to nearly five thousand, took them prisoners, and plundered the camp; when they numbered the dead, they found on the Tuscans' side eleven thousand and three hundred, exceeding their own loss but by one man.

This battle was fought (as they say) the last day of February, and the consul Valerius triumphed in honour of it, being the first of the consuls that ever entered into Rome triumphing upon a chariot drawn with four horses, which sight the people found honourable and goodly to behold, and were not offended withal (as some seem to report) nor yet did envy him for that he began it. For if it had been so, that custom had not been followed with so good acceptation, nor had continued so many years as it did afterwards.

Reading for Lesson Six

Part One

The people applauded likewise also the honours he did to his fellow consul Brutus, in adding to his obsequies a funeral oration, which was so much liked by the Romans, and found so good a reception, that it became customary for the best men to celebrate the funerals of great citizens with speeches in their commendation [omission for length]. But they did most envy Valerius, and bear him grudge, because Brutus (whom the people did acknowledge for father of their liberty) had not presumed to rule without a colleague, but united one and then another to him in his commission; while Valerius, they said, centering all authority in himself, seemed not in any sense a successor to Brutus in the consulship, but to Tarquin in the tyranny; he might make verbal harangues to Brutus's memory, yet, when he was attended with all the rods and axes, proceeding down from a house than which the king's house that he had demolished had not been statelier, those actions showed him an imitator of Tarquin.

And to say truly, Valerius dwelt in a house a little too sumptuously built and seated, upon the hanging of the hill called Mount Velia: and because it stood high, it overlooked all the marketplace, so that any man might easily see from thence what was done there. Furthermore, it was very ill to come to it; but when he came out of his house, it was a marvellous pomp and state to see him come down from so high a place, and with a train after him, that carried the majesty of a king's court.

But Valerius showed how well it were for men in power and great offices to have ears that give admittance to truth before flattery; for upon his friends telling him that he displeased the people, he contended not, neither resented it, but while it was still night, sending for a number of work-people, pulled down his house and levelled it with the ground.

Insomuch as the next day following, when the Romans were gathered together in the marketplace, and saw this great sudden ruin, they expressed their wonder and their respect for his magnanimity; and their sorrow, as though it had been a human being, for the large and beautiful house which was thus lost to them by an unfounded jealousy; while its owner, their consul, without a roof of his own, had to beg a lodging with his friends. For his friends received him, till a place the people gave him was furnished with a house, though less stately than his own, where now stands the temple, as it is called, of Vica Pota.

Part Two

Now because he would not only reform his person, but the office of his consulship, and also would frame himself to the good acceptation and liking of the people: where before he seemed unto them to be fearful, he put away the carrying of the axes from the rods, which the sergeants used to bear before the consul. Moreover when he came into the marketplace, where the people were assembled, he caused the rods to be borne downwards, as in token of reverence of the sovereign majesty of the people: which all the magistrates observe yet at this day. Now in all this humble show and lowliness of his, he did not so much embase his dignity and greatness, which the common people thought him to have at the first: as he did thereby cut [their] envy from him, winning again as much true authority, as in semblance he would seem to have lost. For this made the people more willing to obey, and readier to submit themselves unto him: insomuch as upon this occasion he was surnamed Publicola, as much to say, as "the people pleaser" [Dryden: "people-lover"]. Which surname he kept ever after, and we from henceforth also writing the rest of his life, will use no other name.

Part Three

He gave free leave to any to sue for the consulship. But, not knowing what kind of man they would join fellow consul with him; and fearing lest, through envy or ignorance, the party might thwart his purpose and meaning; he employed his sole power and authority, whilst he ruled alone, upon high and noble attempts.

First, he supplied the vacancies of the senators, whom either Tarquin long before had put to death, or the war lately cut off; those that he enrolled, they write, amounted to a hundred and sixty-four. Afterwards he made several laws which added much to the people's liberty, in particular one granting offenders the liberty of appealing to the people from the judgment of the consuls; a second, that made it death to usurp any magistracy without the people's consent.

The third was, and all in favour of the poor, that the poor citizens of Rome should pay no more custom, nor any impost whatsoever. This made every man the more willing to give himself to some craft or occupation, when he saw his travail should not be taxed, nor taken from him.

Another [law was] against disobedience to the consuls, which was no less popular than the rest, and rather to the benefit of the commonalty than to the advantage of the nobles, for it imposed upon disobedience the penalty of ten oxen and two sheep; the price of a sheep being ten obols, of an ox, a hundred. For the use of money was then infrequent amongst the Romans, but their wealth in cattle great; even now pieces of property are called peculia, from pecus, cattle. And in the old time the stamp upon their money was an ox, a sheep, or a hog; and some of them surnamed their sons Suillii, Bubulci, Caprarii, and Porcii, from caprae, goats, and porci, hogs.

Reading for Lesson Seven

Part One

Amidst this mildness and moderation, for one excessive fault Publicola instituted one excessive punishment: for he made it lawful without trial to take away any man's life that aspired to a tyranny, and acquitted the slayer, if he produced evidence of the crime. For though it was not probably for a man, whose designs were so great, to escape all notice; yet because it was possible he might, although observed, by force anticipate judgment, which the usurpation itself would then preclude, he gave a licence to any to anticipate the usurper.

They greatly commended him also for the law that he made touching the treasury; for because it was necessary for the citizens to contribute out of their estates to the maintenance of wars, and [because] he was unwilling himself to be concerned in the care of it, or to permit his friends, or indeed to let the public money pass into any private house, he did ordain that Saturn's Temple should be the treasury thereof. This order they keep to this present day. Furthermore, he granted the people to choose two young men quaestors of the same, as you would say "the treasurers," to take the charge of this money. The two first which were chosen were Publius Veturius and Marcus Minucius, who gathered great sums of money together; for they assessed one hundred and thirty thousand [people], excusing orphans and widows from the payment.

After he had established all these things, he caused Lucretius, the father of Lucretia [Lesson One] to be chosen fellow consul with him, and gave him the precedence in the government, by resigning the fasces to him, as due to his years (which privilege of seniority continued to our time). But within a few days Lucretius died, and in a new election Marcus Horatius succeeded in that honour, and continued consul for the remainder of the year.

Part Two

Now, whilst Tarquin was making preparations in Tuscany for a second war against the Romans, it is said a great portent occurred. When Tarquin was king, and had all but completed the buildings of the Capitol, designing, whether from oracular advice or his own pleasure, to erect an earthen chariot upon the top, he entrusted the workmanship to Tuscans of the city Veii, but soon after lost his kingdom. The work thus modelled, the Tuscans set in a furnace, but the clay showed not those passive qualities which usually attend its nature, to subside and be condensed upon the evaporation of the moisture, but [it] rose and swelled out to that bulk, that, when solid and firm, notwithstanding the removal of the roof and opening the walls of the furnace, it could not be taken out without much difficulty.

The soothsayers did expound this, that it was a celestial token from above, and promised great prosperity and increase of power unto those that should possess this coach. Whereupon the Tuscans resolved not to deliver it unto the Romans that demanded it, but answered that it did belong unto King Tarquin, and not unto those that had banished him.

A few days after, they had a horserace there [in Veii], with the usual shows and solemnities, and as the charioteer with his garland on his head was quietly driving the victorious chariot out of the ring, the horses, upon no apparent occasion, taking fright, either by divine instigation or by accident, hurried away their driver at full speed to Rome; neither did his holding them in prevail, nor his voice, but he was forced along with violence [until], coming to the Capitol, he was thrown out by the gate called Ratumena.

This occurrence raised wonder and fear in the Veientines, who now permitted the delivery of the chariot.

Reading for Lesson Eight

Part One

The building of the Temple of the Capitoline Jupiter had been vowed by Tarquin the son of Demaratus, when warring with the Sabines. [Lucius]Tarquinius Superbus, his son or grandson, built [it], but could not dedicate it, because he lost his kingdom before it was quite finished. And now that it was completed with all its ornaments, Publicola was ambitious to dedicate it. But the noblemen and senators envying his glory, being very angry that he could not content himself with all those honours that he had received in peace, for the good laws he had made, and in wars for the victories he had obtained and well deserved, but further that he would seek the honour of this dedication, which nothing did pertain unto him: they then did egg Horatius, and persuaded him to make suit for the same.

Occasion fell out at that time, that Publicola must have the leading of the Romans' army into the field. In the meantime, while Publicola was absent, it was procured that the people gave their voices to Horatius to consecrate the temple, knowing they could not so well have brought it to pass, he [Publicola] being present.

Others say the consuls drew lots between them, and that it lighted upon Publicola to lead the army against his will, and upon Horatius to consecrate this temple; and what happened in the performance seems to intimate some ground for this conjecture. For, upon the Ides of September, which happens about the full moon of the month Metagitnion, the people having assembled at the Capitol and silence being enjoined, Horatius, after the performance of other ceremonies, holding the doors, according to custom, was proceeding to pronounce the words of dedication, when Marcus, the brother of Publicola, who had got a place on purpose beforehand near the door, observing his opportunity, cried, "O consul, thy son lies dead in the camp"; which made a great impression upon all others who heard it, yet it nowise discomposed Horatius, who returned merely the reply, "Cast the dead out whither you please; I am nor a mourner"; and so [he] completed the dedication. The news was not true, but Marcus thought the lie might avert him from his performance; but it argues him [Horatius] a man of wonderful self-possession, whether he at once saw through the cheat, or, believing it as true, showed no discomposure.

Part Two

The same fortune attended the dedication of the second temple; the first, as has been said, was built by Tarquin, and dedicated by Horatius; it was burnt down in the civil wars. The second, Sulla built, and dying before the dedication, left that honour to Catulus; and when this was demolished in the Vitellian sedition, Vespasian<,strong>, with the same success that attended him in other things, began a third and lived to see it finished, but did not live to see it again destroyed, as it presently was; but was as fortunate in dying before its destruction, as Sulla was the reverse in dying before the dedication of his. For immediately after Vespasian's death it was consumed by fire. [Dryden's addition: The fourth, which now exists, was both built and dedicated by Domitian.]

It is said Tarquin expended forty thousand pounds of silver in the very foundations; but the whole wealth of the richest private man in Rome would not discharge the cost of the gilding of this temple in our days, it amounting to above twelve thousand talents.

[Omission for length]

Reading for Lesson Nine

Part One: Horatius

Tarquin, after that great battle wherein he lost his son in combat with Brutus [Lesson Five], fled to the city of Clusium, and sought aid from Lars Porsena, then one of the most powerful princes of Italy, and a man of worth and generosity; who assured him of assistance, immediately sending his commands to Rome that they should receive Tarquin as their kin. Upon the Romans' refusal, [Porsena] proclaimed war; and, having signified the time and place where he intended his attack, approached with a great army.

Publicola was [though absent because of military duties] chosen consul a second time, and Titus Lucretius [was chosen as] his colleague. Returning to Rome, to show a spirit yet loftier than Porsena's, built the city Sigliuria when Porsena was already in the neighbourhood; and having walled it about to his marvellous charge, he sent seven hundred citizens to dwell there, to show that he made little account of this war. Nevertheless, Porsena, making a sharp assault, obliged the defendants to retire to Rome, who had almost in their entrance admitted the enemy into the city with them; only Publicola, by sallying out at the gate, prevented them, and, joining battle by Tiber-side, opposed the enemy, that pressed on with their multitude; but at last, sinking under desperate wounds, [he] was carried out of the fight. And even so was the other consul Lucretius hurt in like case; so that the Romans, being dismayed, retreated into the city for their security, and Rome was in great hazard of being taken.

The enemy [forced] their way on to the wooden bridge, where Horatius Cocles, seconded by two of the first men in Rome, Herminius and Lartius, made head against them. (Horatius obtained this name from the loss of one of his eyes in the wars; or, as others write, from his flat nose which was so sunk into his head, that they saw nothing to part his eyes, but that the eyebrows did meet together; by reason whereof the people thinking to surname him Cyclops, by a mispronunciation they called him "Cocles.") This Cocles kept the bridge, and held back the enemy, till his own party broke it down behind. When he saw they had done that, armed as he was, and hurt in the hip with a pike of the Tuscans, he leaped into the Tiber, and saved himself by swimming unto the other side.

Publicola, admiring his courage, proposed at once that [every Roman] should make him a present of a day's provisions, and afterwards give him as much land as he could plough round in one day. Furthermore, he made his image of brass to be set up in the temple of Vulcan, comforting by this honour his wounded hip, whereof he was lame ever after.

Part Two: Mucius

But Porsena laying close siege to the city, and a famine raging amongst the Romans, [and] also a new army of the Tuscans making incursions into the country; Publicola, a third time chosen consul, designed to make, without sallying out, his defense against Porsena; but, privately stealing forth against the new army of the Tuscans, put them to flight and slew five thousand men.

As for the history of Mucius, many do diversely report it; but I will write it in such sort as I think shall best agree with the truth. This Mucius was a worthy man in all respects, but specially for the wars. He, resolving to kill Porsena, disguised himself in Tuscan apparel; and speaking Tuscan very perfectly, went into his camp, and came to the king's chair, in the which he gave audience; and not knowing him perfectly, he [dared] not ask which was he, least he should be discovered, but drew his sword and stabbed one who he thought had most the appearance of king.

Upon that they laid hold on him, and examined him. And a pan full of fire being brought for the king, that intended to do sacrifice unto the gods, Mucius held out his right hand over the fire, and, boldly looking the king full in his face, whilst the flesh of his hand did fry off, he never changed hue nor countenance. The king, wondering to see so strange a sight, called to them to withdraw the fire, and he himself did deliver him his sword again.

Mucius received it in his left hand, which occasioned the name of Scaevola, or "left-handed"; and said,

"I have overcome the terrors of Porsena, yet am vanquished by his generosity, and gratitude obliges me to disclose what no punishment could extort. Therefore for goodwill I will reveal that unto thee, which no force, nor extremity could have made me utter. There are three hundred Romans dispersed through thy camp, all which are prepared with like minds to follow that [which] I have begun, only gaping for opportunity to put it in practise. The lot fell on me to be the first to break the ice of this enterprise; and yet I am not sorry my hand failed to kill so worthy a man, that deserveth rather to be a friend than an enemy unto the Romans."

Porsena hearing this, did believe it, and ever after he gave the more willing ear to those that treated with him of peace: not so much (in my opinion) for that he feared the three hundred lying in wait to kill him, as for the admiration of the Roman's noble mind and great courage.

[short omission]

Reading for Lesson Ten

Part One

But Publicola, taking King Porsena not to be so dangerous an enemy to Rome, as he should be a profitable friend and ally to the same: let him understand that he was contented to make him judge of the controversy between them and Tarquin. Several times [he] undertook to prove Tarquin the worst of men, and justly deprived of his kingdom. Tarquin sharply answered that he would make no man his judge, and Porsena least of all others: for, having promised him to put him again in his kingdom, he was now gone from his word, and had changed his mind.

Porsena, resenting this answer, and mistrusting the equity of his cause/strong>; [and] moved also by the solicitations of his son Aruns, who was earnest for the Roman interest; made a peace on these conditions: that they should resign the land they had taken from the Tuscans, restore all prisoners, and receive back their deserters. To confirm the peace, the Romans gave as hostages ten sons of patrician parents, and as many daughters, amongst whom was Valeria, the daughter of Publicola. Upon these assurances, Porsena [withdrew] his army, trusting to the peace concluded.

Part Two

The Romans' daughters, delivered for hostages, came down to the riverside to bathe, in a quiet place where the stream ran but gently, without any force or swiftness at all. When they were there, and saw they had no guard about them, nor any came that way, nor yet any boats going up nor down the stream: they had a desire to swim over the river, which ran with a swift stream, and was marvellous deep. Some say, that one of them, by name Cloelia, passing over on horseback, persuaded the rest to swim after; but, upon their safe arrival, presenting themselves to Publicola, he neither praised nor approved their return but was concerned lest he should appear less faithful than Porsena; and this boldness in the maidens should argue treachery in the Romans; so that, apprehending them, he sent them back to Porsena.

But Tarquin's men, having intelligence of this, laid an ambush on the other side for those that conducted them; and while these were skirmishing together, Valeria, the daughter of Publicola, rushed through the enemy, and fled, and with the assistance of three of her attendants made good her escape, whilst the rest were dangerously hedged in by the soldiers. Aruns, Porsena's son, upon tidings of it, hastened to their rescue; but when he came, the enemies fled, and the Romans held on their journey to redeliver their hostages.

When Porsena saw the maidens returned, demanding who was the author and adviser of the act, and understanding Cloelia to be the person, he looked on her very earnestly and with a pleasant countenance; and, commanding one of his horses to be brought, sumptuously adorned, made her a present of it. This is produced as evidence by those who affirm that only Cloelia passed the river on horseback; those who deny it call it only the honour the Tuscan did to her courage. A figure, however, on horseback, stands in the Via Sacra, as you go to the Palatium, which some say is the statue of Cloelia, others of Valeria.

Porsena, thus reconciled to the Romans, gave them a fresh instance of his generosity, and commanded his soldiers to quit the camp merely with their armour and weapons, leaving their tents, full of corn and other stores, as a gift to the Romans. Hence even down to our time, when there is a public sale of goods, they cry that they are King Porsena's goods, by way of perpetual commemoration of his kindness. There stood also, by the senate-house, a brazen statue of him, of plain and antique workmanship.

Reading for Lesson Eleven

Part One

Afterwards, the Sabines invading the Romans' territory with a great force, Marcus Valerius, Publicola's brother, was then chosen consul, with one Postumius Tubertus. Marcus, through the management of affairs by the conduct and direct assistance of Publicola, obtained two great victories, in the latter of which he slew thirteen thousand Sabines without the loss of one Roman, and was honoured, as an accession to his triumph, with a house built in the Palatium at the public charge; and whereas the doors of other houses opened inward into the house, they made this to open outward into the street, to intimate their perpetual public recognition of his merit by thus continually making way for him. (The same fashion in their doors the Greeks, they say, had of old universally, which appears from their comedies, where those that are going out make a noise at the door within, to give notice to those that pass by or stand near the door, that the opening the door into the street might occasion no surprise.)

Part Two

The next year after that, Publicola was chosen consul the fourth time, when a confederacy of the Sabines and Latins threatened a war [omission for content]. Now there was at that time amongst the Sabines, a great rich man called Appius Clausus, a man of a great wealth and strength of body, but most eminent for his high character and for his eloquence; yet, as is usually the fate of great men, he could not escape the envy of others, which was much occasioned by his dissuading the war. Whereupon, many which before took occasion to murmur against him, did now much more increase the same: with saying he sought to maintain the power of the Romans, that afterwards by [Roman] aid he might make himself tyrant and king of the country. The common people gave easy ear unto such speeches, and Appius, perceiving well enough how the soldiers hated him, feared they would complain and accuse him. But, having a considerable body of friends and allies to assist him, he raised a tumult amongst the Sabines, which delayed the war.

Publicola, also for his part, was very diligent not only to understand the original cause of the sedition, but to promote and increase it; and he despatched emissaries with instructions to Clausus, that Publicola was assured of his goodness and justice, and thought it indeed unworthy in any man, however injured, to seek revenge upon his fellow-citizens; yet if he pleased, for his own security, to leave his enemies and come to Rome, he should be received, both in public and private, with the honour his merit deserved, and their own glory required.

Appius Clausus having long and many times considered this matter with himself, resolved that it was the best way he could take, making virtue of necessity; and advising with his friends, and they inviting again others in the same manner, he came to Rome, bringing five thousand families, with their wives and children, people of the quietest and steadiest temper of all the Sabines.

Publicola, informed of their approach, received them with all the kind offices of a friend; and admitted them at once to the franchise, allotting to every one two acres of land by the River Anio. But to Clausus [he gave] twenty-five acres, and a place in the Senate: a commencement of political power which he used so wisely, that he rose to the highest reputation, was very influential, and left the Claudian house behind him, inferior to none in Rome.

Reading for Lesson Twelve

Part One

The departure of these men rendered things quiet amongst the Sabines; yet the chief of the community would not suffer them to settle into peace, but resented that Clausus now, by turning deserter, should disappoint that revenge upon the Romans which, while at home, he had unsuccessfully opposed. Coming with a great army, they sat down before Fidenae, and placed an ambuscade of two thousand men near Rome, in wooded and hollow spots, with a design that some few horsemen, as soon as it was day, should go out and ravage the country, commending them, that when the Romans came out of the city to charge them, they should seem leisurely to retire, until they had drawn them within danger of their ambush.

Publicola, however, soon advertised of these designs by deserters, divided his army in two parts. He gave his son-in-law, Postumius Balbus, three thousand footmen, whom he sent away by night, commanding them to take the hills, under which the ambush lay, there to observe their motions; his colleague, Lucretius, attended with a body of the lightest and boldest men, was appointed to meet the Sabine horse; whilst he, with the rest of the army, encompassed the enemy.

The next morning betimes, by chance it was a thick mist, and at that present time Postumius coming down from the hills, with great shouts, charged them that lay in ambush.

Lucretius, on the other side, set upon the light horsemen of the Sabines; and Publicola fell upon their camp. So that of all sides the Sabines' enterprise had very ill success, for they had the worst in every place, and the Romans killed them flying, without any turning again to make resistance.

Thus the place which gave them hope of best safety, turned most to their deadly overthrow. For every one of their companies supposing the other had been whole and unbroken, when a charge was given upon them, did straight break, and never a company of them turned head toward their enemy. For they that were in the camp, ran toward them which lay in ambush: and those which were in ambush on the contrary side, ran towards them that were in camp. So that in flying, the one met with the other, and found those towards whom they were flying to have been safe, to stand in as much need of help as themselves.

The nearness, however, of the city Fidenae was the preservation of the Sabines, especially those that fled from the camp: those that could not gain the city either perished in the field, or were taken prisoners. As for the glory of this honourable victory, albeit the Romans were wont to ascribe all such great notable matters to the special providence and grace of the gods; yet at that time notwithstanding they did judge, that this happy success fell out by the wise foresight and valiantness of the captain. For every man that had served in this journey had no other talk in his mouth, but that Publicola had delivered their enemies into their hands [short omission]. The people were marvellously enriched by this victory, as well for the spoil as for the ransom of the prisoners that they had gotten.

Part Two

Publicola, having completed his triumph, and bequeathed the city to the care of the succeeding consuls, died; thus closing a life which, as far as human life may be, had been full of all that is good and honourable.

The people, as though they had not duly rewarded his deserts when alive, but still were in his debt, decreed him a public interment, every one contributing towards the charge; the women, besides, by private consent, mourned a whole year, a signal mark of honour to his memory.

He was buried, by the people's desire, within the city, in the part called Velia, where his posterity had likewise privilege of burial.

[omission for length]

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