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With much more justice we may award credit to Pompeius Magnus, far having taken from the pirates1 no less than eight hundred and forty-six vessels: though at the same time, over and above the great qualities previously mentioned, we must with equal justice give Cæsar the peculiar credit of a remark- able degree of clemency, a quality, in the exercise of which, even to repentance, he excelled all other individuals whatsoever. The same person has left us one instance of magnanimity, to which there is nothing that can be at all compared. While one, who was an admirer of luxury, might perhaps on this occasion have enumerated the spectacles which he exhibited, the treasures which he lavished away, and the magnificence of his public works, I maintain that it was the great proof, and an incomparable one, of an elevated mind, for him to have burnt with the most scrupulous carefulness the papers of Pompeius, which were taken in his desk at the battle of Pharsalia, and those of Scipio, taken at Thapsus, without so much as reading them.2

1 Who infested the coasts of Cilicia, and whom he dislodged from their strongholds, and almost utterly extirpated.

2 This fact is mentioned by Seneca, de Ira, B. ii. c. 26. Plutarch mentions a similar circumstance with respect to Pompey.—B.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PALMUS
    • Smith's Bio, Messalla
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