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[136] Rhascus, the Thracian, brought many troops from the mountains. He asked and received as his reward the pardon of his brother, Rhascupolis, from which it was made plain that from the beginning these Thracians had not been at variance with each other, but that seeing two great and hostile armies coming into conflict near their territory, they took sides in the contest in such a way that the victor might save the vanquished. Portia, the wife of Brutus and sister of the younger Cato, when she learned that both had died in the manner described, although very strictly watched by domestics, seized some coals of fire that they were carrying, and swallowed them.1 Of the members of the nobility who escaped to Thasos some took ship from thence, others committed themselves with the remains of the army to the judgment of Messala Corvinus and Lucius Bibulus, men of equal rank, to do for all what they should decide to do for themselves. These came to an arrangement with Antony and Octavius, whereby they delivered to Antony on his arrival at Thasos the money and arms, besides abundant supplies and a great quantity of war material, there in store.

1 This tale of the death of Portia from swallowing live coals was widely current in the ancient world, yet there is good reason for doubting it. Plutarch says that there was a letter of Brutus in circulation, speaking of the death of Portia, and accusing his friends of neglecting her in her last illness. (Life of Brutus, 53.) There is a letter from Cicero to Brutus extant, consoling the latter for the death of some one very near to him. As he speaks of the loss as one cui simile in terris nihil fuit (which has not its like upon earth), it could hardly have been anything else than that of a wife. (Ad Brutum, 9.)

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