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Dionysius the tyrant, who otherwise manifested a natural propensity for cruelty and pride, sent a vessel crowned with garlands to meet Plato, that high-priest of wisdom; and on his disembarcation, received him on the shore, in a chariot drawn by four white horses. Isocrates was able to sell a single oration of his for twenty talents.1 Æschines, the great Athenian orator, after he had read to the Rhodians the speech which he had made on the accusation of Demosthenes, read the defence made by Demosthenes, through which he had been driven into exile among them. When they expressed their admiration of it, "How much more," said he, "would you have admired it, if you had heard him deliver it him- self;"2 a striking testimony, indeed, given in adversity, to the merit of an enemy! The Athenians sent their general, Thucydides, into banishment, but recalled him as their historian, admiring his eloquence, though they had punished his want of valour.3 A strong testimony, too, was given to the merit of Menander, the famous comic poet, by the kings of Egypt and Macedonia, in sending to him a fleet and an embassy; though, what was still more honourable to him, he preferred enjoying the converse of his literary pursuits to the favour of kings.

The nobles too of Rome have given their testimonies in favour of foreigners, even. Cn. Pompeius, after having finished the war against Mithridates, when he went to call at the house of Posidonius, the famous teacher of philosophy, forbade the lictor to knock at the door, as was the usual custom;4 and he, to whom both the eastern and the western world had yielded submission, ordered the fasces to be lowered before the door of a learned man. Cato the Censor, after he had heard the speech of Carneades,5 who was one of the embassy sent from Athens, of three men famous for their learning, gave it as his opinion, that the ambassadors ought to be dismissed as soon as possible, because, in consequence of his ingenious method of arguing, it became extremely difficult to distinguish truth from falsehood.6 What an extraordinary change too in our modes of thinking! This Cato constantly gave it out as his decided opinion that all Greeks ought to be expelled from Italy, while, on the other hand, his great-grandson, Cato of Utica, upon his return from his military tribuneship, brought back with him a philosopher, and a second one7 when he returned from his embassy to Cyprus;8 and it is a very remarkable fact, that the same language which had been proscribed by one of the Cato's, was introduced among us by the other. But let us now give some account of the honours of our own countrymen.

The elder Africanus ordered that the statue of Ennius should be placed in his tomb, and that the illustrious surname, which he had acquired, I may say, as his share of the spoil on the conquest of the third part of the world, should be read over his ashes, along with the name of the poet.9 The Emperor Augustus, now deified, forbade the works of Virgil to be burnt, in opposition to the modest directions to that effect, which the poet had left in his will: a prohibition which was a greater compliment paid to his merit, than if he himself had recommended his works.

M. Varro10 is the only person, who, during his lifetime, saw his own statue erected. This was placed in the first public library that was ever built, and which was formed by Asinius Pollio with the spoils of our enemies.11 The fact of this distinction being conferred upon him by one who was in the first rank, both as an orator and a citizen, and at a time, too, when there was so great a number of men distinguished for their genius, was not less honourable to him, in my opinion, than the naval crown which Pompeius Magnus bestowed upon him in the war against the pirates. The instances that follow among the Romans, if I were to attempt to reckon them, would be found to be innumerable; for it is the fact that this one nation has furnished a greater number of distinguished men in every branch than all the countries of the world taken together.12

But what atonement could I offer to thee, Marcus Tullius,13 were I to be silent respecting thy name? or on what ground am I to pronounce thee as especially pre-eminent? On what, indeed, that can be more convincing than the most abundant testimony that was offered in thy favour by the whole Roman people? Contenting myself with the selection only of such of the great actions of the whole of your life, as were performed during your consulship.—You speak, and the tribes surrender the Agrarian law, or, in other words, their very subsistence;14 you advise them to do so, and they pardon Roscius,15 the author of the law for the regulation of the theatres, and, without any feelings of resentment, allow a mark to be put upon themselves by allotting them an inferior seat; you entreat, and the sons of proscribed men blush at having canvassed for public honours: before your genius, Catiline took to flight, and it was you who proscribed M. Antonius. Hail then to thee, who wast the first of all to receive the title of Father of thy country,16 who wast the first of all, while wearing the toga, to merit a triumph, and who didst obtain the laurel for oratory. Great father, thou, of eloquence and of Latin literature! as the Dictator Cæsar, once thy enemy, wrote in testimony of thee,17 thou didst require a laurel superior to every triumph! How far greater and more glorious to have enlarged so immeasurably the boundaries of the Roman genius, than those of its sway!

(31.) Those persons among the Romans, who surpass all others in wisdom, have the surnames of Catus and Corculus18 given to them. Among the Greeks, Socrates was declared by the oracle of the Pythian Apollo to be superior to all others in wisdom.

1 We may here refer to some remarks by Hardouin and Ajasson on the actual sum obtained by Isocrates; Lemaire, vol. iii. pp. 126, 127.—B.

2 This anecdote is related by Cicero, De Oratore, B. iii. c. 56, and by Val. Maximus, B. viii. c. 10.—B.

3 This is rather a strong expression, and it is doubtful if the great historian at all deserves it. The facts of the case seem to have been as follow. Thucydides was employed in a military capacity, and was in command of an Athenian squadron of seven ships at Thasos, B.C. 424, when Eucles, who commanded in Amphipolis, sent for his assistance against Brasidas, who was before that town with an army. Fearing the arrival of a superior force, Brasidas offered favourable terms to Amphipolis, which were readily accepted, as there were but few Athenians in the place. Thucydides arrived at Eion, on the mouth of the Strymon, the evening of the same day on which Amphipolis surrendered: and though too late to save Amphipolis, prevented Eion from falling into the hands of the enemy. It was in consequence of this failure, that he became voluntarily an exile, perhaps to avoid the still severer punishment of death, which appears to have been the penalty of such a failure as that which he had, though unavoidably, committed. It is most probable that he returned to Athens about B.C. 403, the period of its liberation by Thrasybulus.

4 The following passage in Livy, B. vi. c. 34, may serve to illustrate this remark of Pliny:—"The lictors of Sulpicius, the military tribune, when he went home from the forum, knocked at the door with his staff, as the usual custom is."

5 Of Cyrene, the Academic philosopher. In B.C. 155, being then fifty- eight years old, he was chosen with some others to deprecate the fine of 500 talents which had been imposed on the Athenians for the destruction of Oropus. It was then that, in presence of Cato the Elder, he delivered his famous orations on Justice. The first oration was in commendation of the virtue, and on the ensuing day the next was delivered, by which all the arguments of the first were answered, and justice shown to be not a virtue, but only a matter of compact for the maintenance of civil society. The honesty of Cato was greatly shocked at this, and he moved the senate to send the philosopher back to his school, and save the Roman youth from his demoralizing doctrines. He lived twenty-eight years after this, and died at Athens B.C. 129, aged eighty-five, or, according to Cicero, ninety.

6 This is related by Plutarch, in his Life of Cato. His general dislike of the Grecian character is again mentioned, B. xxix. c. 7.—B.

7 See B. xxxiv. c. 19.

8 We have an account of this embassy in Plutarch. Pliny informs us, B. xxxiv. c. 20, that the only article which Cato retained, of the works of art that he brought from Cyprus, was the statue of Zeno, "not for its intrinsic merit, but because it was the statue of a philosopher." Valerius Paterculus, B. ii. c. 45, and Plutarch refer to this transaction.—B.

9 This circumstance is related by Valerius Maximus, B. viii. c. 14, and is referred to by Cicero in his defence of Archias, sec. 9.—B.

10 M. Varro, the philosopher, sometimes called "the most learned" of the Romans. His command under Pompey, in the war against the Pirates, has been already mentioned in B. iii. c. 16. He also served under him against Mithridates, and was his legatus in Spain, at the first outbreak of the civil wars.

11 Pliny refers to the same subject: in B. xxxv. c. 2, he speaks of Pollio as "qui primus, bibliothecam dicando, ingenia hominum rempublicam fecit"—"The first who, by forming a public library, made public property the genius of learned men." Aulus Gellius, B. vi. c. 18, informs us, that the first library, formed for the use of the public, was that collected at Athens by Pisistratus.—B. Ptolemy Philadelphus, the king of Pergamus, and Lucullus, had formed extensive libraries, but solely for their own use, and not that of the public.

12 Some of these are given by Val. Maximus, B. viii. c. 15.—B. It is very doubtful, however, if Greece did not greatly excel Rome in this respect.

13 Meaning Cicero, the orator and philosopher.

14 Cicero, in an Epistle to Atticus, B. ii. c. i., enumerates what he styles his consular orations: the total number is twelve, and among them we find all those here referred to by Pliny.—B.

15 The individual referred to is L. Roscius Otho; by his law the Roman equites, who, before this time, sat mingled with the people generally, had appropriate seats allotted to them. Cicero designates this oration, "De Othone."—B.

16 This title was bestowed upon him by the general acclamation of the people, at the end of his consulship. We have an account of it in Plutarch.—B.

17 This remark is not found in any of Cesar's works now extant.—B.

18 These terms signify "acute" and "judicious" they are derived respectively from "cautus " and "cor."—B.

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