Moreover, the fortunes of the two men, which were the same in what befell them rather than in what they elected to do, make their lives alike. For both were cut off untimely, without being able to achieve the objects to which they had determined to devote the fruits of their many and great struggles. But the most wonderful thing of all was that Heaven gave to both an intimation of their approaching death, by the visible appearance to each alike of an ill-boding spectre.
And yet there are those who deny such things and say that no man in his right mind was ever visited by a spectre or an apparition from Heaven, but that little children and foolish women and men deranged by sickness, in some aberration of spirit or distemper of body, have indulged in empty and strange imaginings, because they had the evil genius of superstition in themselves.
But if Dion and Brutus, men of solid understanding and philosophic training and not easily cast down or overpowered by anything that happened to them, were so affected by a spectre that they actually told others about it, I do not know but we shall be compelled to accept that most extraordinary doctrine of the oldest times, that mean and malignant spirits, in envy of good men and opposition to their noble deeds, try to confound and terrify them, causing their virtue to rock and totter,
in order that they may not continue erect and inviolate in the path of honour and so attain a better portion after death than the spirits themselves. But this subject must be reserved for discussion elsewhere, and in this, the twelfth book1
of my Parallel Lives, I shall begin with that of the elder man.