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Fortune has determined that P. Ventidius alone should enjoy the honour of a triumph over the Parthians, and yet the same individual, when he was a child, she led in the triumphal procession of Cneius Pompeius, the conqueror of Asculum.1 Indeed, Masurius says, that he had been twice led in triumph; and according to Cicero, he used to let out mules for the bakers of the camp.2 Most writers, indeed, admit that his younger days were passed in the greatest poverty, and that he wore the hob-nailed shoes3 of the common soldier. Balbus Cornelius, also, the elder, was elected to the consulate;4 but he had previously been accused, and the judges had been charged to discuss the point whether he could or not lawfully be scourged with rods; he being the first foreigner,5—born even on the very shores of the ocean,—who obtained that honour, which our ancestors denied even to the people of Latium.6 Among other remarkable instances, also, we have that of L. Fulvius,7 the consul of the rebellious Tusculani, who, immediately upon his coming over to the Romans, obtained from them the same honour. He is the only individual who, in the same year in which he had been its enemy, enjoyed the honour of a triumph in Rome, and that too, over the people whose consul he had previously been. Down to the present time, L. Sylla is the only man who has claimed to himself the surname of "Happy;"8 a name which he derived, forsooth, from the bloodshed of the citizens and the oppression of his country! But what claim had he on which to found his title to this happiness? Was it the power which he had of proscribing and massacreing so many thousands of his fellow-citizens? Oh interpretation most disgraceful, and which must stamp him as "Unhappy"9 to all future time! Were not the men who perished in those times, of the two, to be looked upon as the more fortunate—seeing that with them we sympathize, while there is no one who does not detest Sylla? And then, besides, was not the close of his life more horrible than the sufferings which had been experienced by any of those who had been proscribed by him? his very flesh eating into itself, and so engendering his own punishment.10 And this, although he may have thought proper to gloss it over by that last dream of his,11 in the very midst of which he may be said, in some measure, to have died; and in which, as he pretended, he was told that his glory alone had risen superior to all envy; though at the same time, he confessed that it was still wanting to his supreme happiness, that he had not dedicated the Capitol.12

1 We have an account of the vicissitudes in the life of Ventidius Bassus in A. Gellius, B. xv. c. 4, and in Valerius Paterculus, B. ii. c. 65. We learn from these writers, that Ventidius was a native of Picenum, and that, when that city was taken by Cneius Pompeius, in the Social war, Ventidius, then an infant, was carried in his mother's arms, before the car of the conqueror.—B.

2 The passage of Cicero referred to, occurs in a letter to Plancus, Ep. ad Fam. B. x. Ep. 18, where, speaking of Ventidius, who had united himself to the party of Antony, he says, "And I look down upon the camp of the mule-driver, Ventidius."

3 "Caliga." A strong heavy sandal worn by the Roman soldiers and centurions; but not by the superior officers. The term "a caligâ," therefore, had the same meaning as our expression, "from the ranks." The Emperor Caligula received that surname when a boy, in consequence of wearing the caliga, and being inured to the life of a common soldier.

4 In the year A.U.C. 704.

5 He was a native of Gades, in Spain. A party of the Roman nobles induced an inhabitant of Gades to accuse him of having illegally assumed the privileges of a Roman citizen. The cause was tried B.C. 55, and he was supported by Pompey and Crassus, and defended by Cicero. One of the tests of the being a Roman citizen, was the immunity from being scourged, according to the provisions of the Porcian law. So St. Paul, who, as a citizen of Tarsus, enjoyed the rights of a Roman citizen, says to the centurion, Acts xxii. 25, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?"

6 The accusation against Balbus appears to have been his illegal usurpation of the rights of a Roman citizen, being born a foreigner. Pliny has previously informed us, B. v, c. 5, that he was a native of Gades or Cadiz. He was elected consul A.U.C. 713.—B.

7 L. Fulvius Curius. consul B.C. 322. In B.C. 313 he was master of the horse to the dictator, L. Æmilius.

8 "Felix." Hardouin informs us, that he transmitted this surname to his descendants; among them was Felix, the governor of Judæa, before whom St Paul was taken for judgment.—B.

9 "Infelix."

10 According to Pliny, B. xi. c. 39, and Plutarch, Sylla was affected by what has been termed the "Morbus pediculosus" or "Lousy disease." Plutarch, however, ascribes his death to the bursting of an internal abscess; and the same cause is assigned by Val. Maximus, B. ix. c. 3.—B. It was probably of a similar disease that Herod Agrippa died, whom we find mentioned in Acts xii. 23, as being eaten of worms.

11 Plutarch refers to a dream which Sylla had a short time before his death, but it does not seem to correspond to the one here alluded to.—B. "Plutarch relates that shortly before his death, Sylla dreamed that his son Cornelius, who died before his wife, Cecilia Metella, appeared to him, and summoned him away to join his mother. Appian also states that just before his death, Sylla beheld a spirit in a dream, which summoned him by name; upon which he called together his friends, made his will, and died soon after of a fever. Only two days before his death he finished the twenty-second book of his Memoirs, in which, foreseeing his end, he boasted of the prediction of the Chaldæans, that it was his fate to die after a happy life, and in the height of his prosperity.

12 This is referred to by Tacitus, Hist. B. iii. c. 73.—B. Plutarch tells us that Catulus performed this ceremony of dedication.

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