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PAULUS AEMILIUS

PAULUS AEMILIUS. Paulus Aemilius, when he stood for his second consulship, was rejected. Afterwards, the war with Perseus and the Macedonians being prolonged by the. ignorance and effeminacy of the commanders, they chose him consul. I thank, said he, the people for nothing; they choose me general, not because I want the office, but because they want an officer. As he returned from the hall to his own house, and found his little daughter Tertia weeping, he asked her what she cried for? Perseus, said she (so her little dog was called), is dead. Luckily hast thou spoken, girl, said he, and I accept the omen. When he found in the camp much confident prating among the soldiers, who pretended to advise him and busy themselves as if they had been all officers, he bade them be quiet and only whet their swords, and leave other things to his care.

He ordered night-guards should be kept without swords or spears, that they might resist sleep, when they had nothing wherewith to resist the enemy. He invaded Macedonia by the way of the mountains; and seeing the enemy drawn up, when Nasica advised him to set upon them presently, he replied: So I should, if I were of your age; but long experience forbids me, after a march, to fight an army marshalled regularly. Having overcome Perseus, he feasted his friends for joy of the victory, saying, it required the same skill to make an army very terrible to the enemy, and a banquet very acceptable to our friends. When Perseus was taken prisoner, he told Paulus that he would not be led in triumph. That, said he, is as you please,—meaning he might kill himself. He found an infinite quantity [p. 233] of money, but kept none for himself; only to his son-in-law Tubero he gave a silver bowl that weighed five pounds, as a reward of his valor; and that, they say, was the first piece of plate that belonged to the Aemilian family. Of the four sons he had, he parted with two that were adopted into other families; and of the two that lived with him, one of them died at the age of fourteen years, but five days before his triumph; and five days after the triumph, at the age of twelve years died the other. When the people that met him bemoaned and compassionated his calamities, Now, said he, my fears and jealousies for my country are over, since Fortune hath discharged her revenge for our success on my house, and I have paid for all.

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