[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.
Captions marked with [TN] have been added while producing this file.]
GREAT MEN AND FAMOUS WOMEN
A Series of Pen and Pencil Sketches of
THE LIVES OF MORE THAN 200 OF THE MOST PROMINENT PERSONAGES IN HISTORY
Copyright, 1894, BY SELMAR HESS
edited by Charles F. Horne
New-York: Selmar Hess Publisher
Copyright, 1894, by SELMAR HESS.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.
SUBJECT AUTHOR PAGE
ALARIC THE BOLD, Archdeacon Farrar, D.D., F.R.S., 56 ALEXANDER THE GREAT, 10 MARC ANTONY, 37 ATTILA, Archdeacon Farrar, D.D., F.R.S., 59 BELISARIUS, Charlotte M. Yonge, 64 GODFREY DE BOUILLON, Henry G. Hewlett, 97 JULIUS CAESAR, E. Spencer Beesly, M.A., 32 CHARLEMAGNE, Sir J. Bernard Burke, 75 CLOVIS THE FIRST, Thomas Wyatt, A.M., 61 GASPARD DE COLIGNI, Professor Creasy, 164 HERNANDO CORTES, H. Rider Haggard, 150 CYRUS THE GREAT, Clarence Cook, 5 DIOCLETIAN, 50 SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, 176 EDWARD I. OF ENGLAND, Thomas Davidson, 109 EDWARD III. OF ENGLAND, 114 EDWARD, THE BLACK PRINCE, L. Drake, 119 BERTRAND DU GUESCLIN, 127 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, 199 HANNIBAL, Walter Whyte, 14 HENRY IV. OF FRANCE, 171 HENRY V. OF ENGLAND, G. P. R. James, 129 HERMANN, 40 JOHN HUNIADES, Professor A. Vambery, 136 CAIUS MARIUS, James Anthony Froude, LL.D., 25 CHARLES MARTEL, Henry G. Hewlett, 69 NEBUCHADNEZZAR, Clarence Cook, 1 PEPIN THE SHORT, Henry G. Hewlett, 72 FRANCISCO PIZARRO, J. T. Trowbridge, 156 SIR WALTER RALEIGH, 182 SALADIN, Walter Besant, 106 SCIPIO AFRICANUS MAJOR, 18 MILES STANDISH, Elbridge S. Brooks, 189 TRAJAN, J. S. Reid, Litt. D., 42 OLAF TRYGGVESON, Thomas Carlyle, 83 ALBRECHT VON WALLENSTEIN, Henry G. Hewlett, 194 WARWICK, THE KING-MAKER, 146 WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, G. W. Prothero, 92
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
ILLUSTRATION ARTIST TO FACE PAGE
ATTILA, "THE SCOURGE OF GOD," Ulpiano Checa Frontispiece "AND HE WAS DRIVEN FROM MEN, AND DID EAT GRASS AS OXEN," Georges Rochegrosse 4 HANNIBAL CROSSING THE RHONE, Henri-Paul Motte 14 HERMANN'S TRIUMPH OVER THE ROMANS, Paul Thumann 40 ROME UNDER TRAJAN—A CHARIOT RACE, Ulpiano Checa 48 THE VICTIMS OF GALERIUS, E. K. Liska 54 ALARIC IN ATHENS, Ludwig Thiersch 56 CHARLEMAGNE AT WITIKIND'S BAPTISM, Paul Thumann 78 HENRY V. REJECTS FALSTAFF, Eduard Gruetzner 132 THE ADMIRAL OF THE SPANISH ARMADA SURRENDERS TO DRAKE, Seymour Lucas 180 GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS BEFORE THE BATTLE OF LUTZEN, Ludwig Braun 202
WOOD-ENGRAVINGS AND TYPOGRAVURES
ALEXANDER DISCOVERING THE BODY OF DARIUS, Gustave Dore 12 GENEROSITY OF SCIPIO, Schopin 20 MARIUS ON THE RUINS OF CARTHAGE, John Vanderlyn 32 THE IDES OF MARCH, Carl Von Piloty 36 THE LAST GLADIATORIAL CONTEST, J. Stallaert 58 CLOVIS PUNISHING A REBEL, Alphonse De Neuville 62 BELISARIUS RECEIVING ALMS, Jacques-Louis David 68 CHARLES MARTEL AT TOURS, Charles Steuben 72 PEPIN AFTER THE MURDER OF DUKE WAIFRE, Th. Lybaert 74 A NORSE RAID UNDER OLAF, Hugo Vogel 84 WILLIAM AT HASTINGS, P. J. De Loutherbourg 94 GODFREY DE BOUILLON ENTERING JERUSALEM, Carl Von Piloty 104 SALADIN, Gustave Dore 108 EDWARD III. AND THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS, Berthelemy 118 BERTRAND DU GUESCLIN, Alphonse De Neuville 128 HUNIADES AT BELGRADE, Gustave Dore 146 YORK AND LANCASTER—THE RED AND WHITE ROSES, 148 PIZARRO EXHORTING HIS BAND AT GALLO, Lizcano 158 HENRY IV. OF FRANCE AT HOME, J. D. Ingres 176 RALEIGH PARTING FROM HIS WIFE, E. Leutze 188 DEPARTURE OF THE MAYFLOWER, A. W. Bayes 192 WALLENSTEIN'S LAST BANQUET, J. Scholz 198
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
Sleep, soldiers! still in honored rest Your truth and valor wearing: The bravest are the tenderest. The loving are the daring.
By CLARENCE COOK
[Footnote 1: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]
With the death of Sardanapalus, the great monarch of Assyria, and the taking of Nineveh, the capital city, by the Medes, the kingdom of Assyria came to an end, and the vast domain was parcelled out among the conquerors. At the time of the catastrophe, the district of Babylonia, with its capital city Babylon, was ruled as a dependent satrapy of Assyria by Nabopolassar. Aided by the Medes, he now took possession of the province and established himself as an independent monarch, strengthening the alliance by a marriage between the Princess Amuhia, the daughter of the Median king, and his son Nebuchadnezzar.
In the partition of Assyria, the region stretching from Egypt to the upper Euphrates, including Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, had fallen to the share of Nabopolassar. But the tribes that peopled it were not disposed to accept the rule of the new claimant, and looked about for an ally to support them in their resistance. Such an ally they thought they had found in Egypt.
Egypt was the great rival of Babylon, as she had been of Assyria. Both desired to control the highways of traffic connecting the Mediterranean with the farther East. Egypt had the advantage, both from her actual position on the Mediterranean and her nearer neighborhood to the coveted territory, and she used her advantage with audacity and skill. No sooner, however, did Nabopolassar feel himself firm on his throne than he resolved to check the ambition of Egypt and secure for himself the sovereignty of the lands in dispute.
The task was not an easy one. Pharaoh Necho had been for three years in possession of the whole strip along the Mediterranean—Palestine, Phoenicia, and part of Syria—and was pushing victoriously on to Assyria, when he was met at the plain of Megiddo, commanding the principal pass in the range of Mount Carmel, by the forces of the petty kingdom of Judah, disputing his advance. He defeated them in a bloody engagement, in which Josiah, King of Judah, was slain, and then continued his march to Carchemish, a stronghold built to defend one of the few fordable passes of the upper Euphrates. This important place having been taken after a bloody battle, Necho was master of all the strategic points north and west of Babylonia.
Nebuchadnezzar was now put in command of an army, to force Pharaoh to give up his prey. Marching directly upon Carchemish, he attacked the Egyptian and defeated him with great slaughter. Following up his victory, he wrested from Pharaoh, in engagement after engagement, all that he had gained in Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, and was in the midst of fighting in Egypt itself, when the news came of the death of his father; and he hastened home at once by forced marches to secure his possession of the throne. In his train were captives of all the nations he had conquered: Syrians, Phoenicians, Jews, and Egyptians. Among the Jewish prisoners was Daniel, the author of the book of the Old Testament called by his name, and to whom we owe the little personal knowledge we have of the great Babylonian monarch.
Of all the conquests of Nebuchadnezzar in this long struggle with Egypt, that of the Jewish people is the most interesting to us. The Jews had fought hard for independence, but if they must be conquered and held in subjection, they preferred the rule of Egypt to that of Babylon. Even the long slavery of their ancestors in that country and the sufferings it had entailed, with the tragic memories of the exodus and the wanderings in the desert, had not been potent to blot out the traditions of the years passed in that pleasant land with its delicious climate, its nourishing and abundant food. Alike in prosperity and in evil days the hearts of the people of Israel yearned after Egypt, and the denunciations of her prophets are never so bitter as when uttered against those who turned from Jehovah to worship the false gods of the Nile. Three times did the inhabitants of Jerusalem rebel against the rule of Babylon, and three times did Nebuchadnezzar come down upon them with a cruel and unrelenting vengeance, carrying off their people into bondage, each time inflicting great damage upon the city and leaving her less capable of resistance; yet each time her rulers had turned to Egypt in the vain hope of finding in her a defence against the oppressor, but in every instance Egypt had proved a broken reed.
Of the three successive kings of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar had left to rule the city as his servants, and who had all in turn rebelled against him, one had been condemned to perpetual imprisonment in Babylon; a second had been carried there in chains and probably killed, while the third, captured in a vain attempt to escape after the taking of the city, had first been made to see his sons killed before his eyes, had then been cruelly blinded, and afterward carried in chains to Babylon, and cast into prison. The last siege of the city lasted eighteen months, and when it was finally taken by assault, its ruin was complete. By previous deportations Jerusalem had been deprived of her princes, her warriors, her craftsmen, and her smiths, with all the treasure laid up in the palace of her kings, and all the vessels of gold and silver consecrated to the worship of Jehovah. Little then was left for her to suffer, when the punishment of her latest rebellion came. Her walls were thrown down, her temple, her chief glory, was destroyed, the greater part of the inhabitants who had survived the prolonged siege were carried off to swell the crowd of exiles already in Babylon, and only a few of the humbler sort of folk, the vine-dressers and the small farmers, were left behind.
When Nebuchadnezzar rested after his conquests, secure in the subjugation of his rivals, and in the possession of his vast kingdom, he gave himself up to the material improvement of Babylon and the surrounding country. The city as he left it, at the end of his reign of forty-three years, was built on both sides of the Euphrates, and covered a space of four hundred square miles, equal to five times the size of London. It was surrounded by a triple wall of brick; the innermost, over three hundred feet high, and eighty-five feet broad at the top, with room for four chariots to drive abreast. The walls were pierced by one hundred gate-ways framed in brass and with brazen gates, and at the points where the Euphrates entered and left the city the walls also turned and followed the course of the river, thus dividing the city into two fortified parts. These two districts were connected by a bridge of stone piers, guarded by portcullises, and ferries also plied between the quays that lined the river-banks, to which access was given by gates in the walls.
Nebuchadnezzar's palace was a splendid structure covering a large space at one end of the bridge. In the central court were the Hanging Gardens, the chief glory of the city, and reckoned one of the wonders of the world. No clear idea can be formed of these gardens from any description that has come down to us, but it would appear that arches eighty feet high supported terraces of earth planted with all the skill for which the gardeners of the East were famous. We are told that they were built for the pleasure of Queen Amuhia, who, as a Median princess, missed her native mountains, but a more commonplace explanation is that they were carried so high to escape the mosquitoes that swarmed on the lower level.
Various splendid edifices, chiefly religious, adorned the great squares of the city: the temple of the god Bel, enriched by the spoils of Tyre and Jerusalem, was the especial pride of Nebuchadnezzar. It rose in a succession of eight lofty stages, and supported on the top a golden statue of the god, forty feet high. Still another temple of Bel was built in seven stages, each faced with enamelled brick of one of the planetary colors; the topmost one of blue, the color dedicated to Mercury or Nebo, the patron god of Nabopolassar.
But the most important of the civic undertakings of Nebuchadnezzar was the extension of the great system of canalization by which the barren wastes of the Babylonian plain were made to rival the valley of the Nile in fertility, and become the granary of the East. The whole territory was covered with a network of canals fed by the Tigris and Euphrates, and used for both irrigation and navigation. One branch had already connected Nineveh with Babylon, and another constructed by Nebuchadnezzar united Babylon to the Persian Gulf, running a distance of four hundred miles. This is still to be traced in a portion of its length.
The fate of Nebuchadnezzar is one of the most tragic in the long list of calamities that have overtaken the great and powerful of the earth. According to Daniel, it was just after the king had spoken those words of exulting pride as he walked in the palace of the Kingdom of Babylon: "Is not this great Babylon that I have built," when he was attacked by that dreadful form of madness, called by the Greeks, lycanthropy (wolf-man), in which the victim fancies himself a beast: in its fiercer manifestations a beast of the forest, or in milder visitations a beast of the field. Nebuchadnezzar's madness became so violent that for four years he was exiled from his throne and from the company of men, and wandered in the fields, eating grass like oxen, "and his body was wet with the dews of heaven, and his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws." Although no mention is made of this strange malady in any writing but the book of Daniel, yet it has a pathetic confirmation in one of the rock-cut inscriptions that record the acts of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. "For four years the seat of my kingdom did not rejoice my heart. In all my dominions I built no high place of power, nor did I lay up the precious treasure of my kingdom. In Babylon I erected no buildings for myself nor for the glory of my empire. In the worship of Bel-Merodach, my Lord, the joy of my heart, in Babylon the city of his worship and the seat of my empire, I did not sing his praise, nor did I furnish his altar with victims"—and then, as if returning to the thing that lay nearest him—"In four years I did not dig out the canals."
In time, the black cloud of the king's madness passed away and health and reason were restored to him. And if the words that Daniel puts into the king's mouth on his recovery are really his, we must recognize in this Eastern Despot a decided strain of religious sensibility, a trait that appears beside in his almost passionate expressions of affection for his god Merodach, and in his sympathy with Daniel and the youths who were his companions, in their own religious devotion. Although Daniel and the other youths whom the king had caused to be called out from the mass of the Jewish captives for his own particular service—boys distinguished from the rest by their personal beauty, their intelligence and aptitude—were too earnest in their religious convictions and too high-spirited to conform to the Babylonian religion or to conceal their sentiments under the cloak of policy, yet the king tolerated their adherence to their ritual and yielded only in part to the persistence of the Jew-baiters, who saw with angry eyes the promotion of the hated captives to places of power and authority over the heads of their captors. In spite of his enemies Daniel was allowed to exercise his own religion in peace; and the persecutors of his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were themselves destroyed in the furnace they had heated for their innocent victims, which the youths themselves were rescued from by the personal interposition of the king, who pretended to see—or in his religious exaltation did really see—the god himself standing guard over the victims in the midst of the flames.
Of Nebuchadnezzar after the recovery of his reason we learn but little. The chronicle of Daniel passes abruptly from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar, and the great king is not mentioned again. History, too, is silent. It tells us only that he left the throne to a son, whose name, Evil-Merodach, records the devotion of his father to the god of his people.
[Signature of the author.]
CYRUS THE GREAT
By CLARENCE COOK
(REIGNED 558-529 B.C.)
[Footnote 2: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.]
The early life of Cyrus the Persian, like that of many another famous conqueror, is lost in a cloud of fable. According to Herodotus, to whom we owe the earliest account, Astyages the King of Media was warned in a dream that some danger threatened the kingdom from the offspring of his daughter Mandane, who as yet was unmarried. In order to remove the danger, whatever it might be, as far as possible from his throne, Astyages married his daughter to a Persian named Cambyses, who took her with him to his own country. But after his daughter's marriage Astyages had another dream, which was interpreted by the priests to mean that his daughter's child was destined to reign in his stead. Alarmed by this prophecy he sent for his daughter, and when in course of time she bore a son, he ordered his trusty lieutenant Harpagus to carry the child to his own house and kill it. Harpagus took the infant as he had been ordered to do, but moved by the pleadings of his wife he determined to commit the rest of his bloody instructions to other hands. He therefore called one of his herdsmen, and ordered him to expose the child on the bleakest part of the mountain and leave it to perish, threatening him with the most terrible penalties in case of disobedience. But the herdsman and his wife were no more proof against pity than Harpagus and his wife had been, and while they stood swayed between their wish to save the child and their fear of disobeying Harpagus, fortune happily provided an escape for them. The wife of the herdsman brought forth a dead child, and this they determined to substitute for the living infant, and to bring up the grandson of Astyages as their own. The exchange was accomplished, and after some days the servants of Harpagus, sent to inquire if their master's commands had been obeyed, were shown by the herdsman the body of a dead child exposed on the rocks and still wearing the rich clothes and ornaments in which it had been brought to his house. Harpagus was thus enabled to assure Astyages that he was safe from the threatened danger, and might enjoy his throne in peace.
When the child of Mandane was ten years old an accident brought him to the knowledge of the king, and restored him to his birthright. One day he was playing with the children of his neighbors, and in a certain game where it was necessary to make one of the players king, Cyrus was chosen, and all the others, as his subjects, promised to obey his commands. But one of the boys, the son of a rich noble of the court of Astyages, refused to do as he was bid by Cyrus, and according to the rule of the game, he had to submit to a beating at the hand of the boy-king. Angry at this treatment, he complained to his father, who, indignant in his turn, went to Astyages, and reproached him with the blows his son had received at the hands of the son of one of the king's slaves. Cyrus was brought before the king; but when he was asked how he had dared to treat the son of a nobleman in such a way, the boy, nothing daunted, answered that he had done only what was right: the rules of the game were known to all who had joined in it: the other boys had submitted to the penalties: the son of the nobleman alone had refused, and he had been punished as he deserved. "If any wrong has been done by me," he said, "I am ready to suffer for it." Struck by the boldness of the lad, and by something in his looks, Astyages dismissed him for a time, and promised the nobleman that he should be satisfied for the insults offered to his son. He then sent for the herdsman Mitridates and wrung from him a confession of what he had done; and learning how Harpagus had deceived him he acquitted Mitridates, and turned all his vengeance upon Harpagus as the chief offender. How cruelly he punished him must not be told here, for pity, but it was such a barbarous revenge as could never be forgiven; and though Harpagus pretended to make light of it, yet it was only that by keeping fair with the king he might bide his time, and repay cruelty with cruelty.
But now, as Cyrus in our story has grown to man's estate, and is ready to show the world of what stuff he is made, it will be well to explain in a few words, what was the state of things in that part of the world where he was to play his part.
The mighty Kingdom of Assyria in its greatest estate had stretched from the Indus on the east, to the Mediterranean on the west. But when Nineveh, the capital and chief city of the empire, had been destroyed by the Medes—a subject people living on the north-eastern borders of the kingdom, but who had risen in rebellion against their rulers—Assyria was broken in pieces, and several minor kingdoms rose on her ruins.
Of these the chief were Media and Babylonia in the east, and Lydia in the west. Babylonia rose to a great height of power and splendor under Nebuchadnezzar, as we have seen in our sketch of that king's life. The Medes, a brave and warlike people, never attained to so high a degree of civilization as the Babylonians, nor did they ever have a monarch whose fame equalled that of Sardanapalus, the King of Assyria; of Nebuchadnezzar; or of Croesus, King of Lydia; but under a succession of astute and hardy warriors, who held the throne for something over one hundred and fifty years, their dominion was gradually extended until it stretched from the Indus to the centre of Asia Minor. Their greatest achievement had been the destruction of Nineveh in B.C. 606.
Lydia, the remaining province, touched the Median kingdom on the east, and on the west was only separated, in the beginning, from the Mediterranean by the narrow strip of territory occupied by the Greek colonies, which for a time acted as a bar to the encroachments of the Lydian monarchs and their conquerors.
When Cyrus came to manhood, these kingdoms, the successors of the Assyrian monarchy, were all flourishing in wealth and power. Media was ruled by Astyages, his grandfather—to accept the legendary history as it has come down to us; Babylonia the greatest of the three was governed by Nebuchadnezzar, while Lydia was ruled by Croesus, a monarch wise above his peers, whose name has long been a synonym for unbounded wealth, and whose story, though not beyond the bounds of credibility, reads more like a fable of romance than a tale of sober fact.
Croesus was the brother-in-law of Astyages, and in close alliance not only with the Medes, but with the Babylonians, the Egyptians, and the Greeks; and he was at the height of his power and was looking forward to still greater increase of his dominions, when in an evil hour he struck against the growing greatness of Cyrus, and was crushed in the encounter. Had he been less arrogant, the doom he wrought for himself might have been delayed, but it could not have been wholly averted. Nothing could have long withstood the greed of Cyrus for universal dominion.
We have seen what good cause Harpagus had to hate Astyages. But he nursed his revenge with crafty wisdom, and knowing himself powerless to act openly and alone, he tried what stratagem might do to bring about his aim, which was no less than the overthrow of Astyages by means of the tyrant's grandson, Cyrus. He did not take open measures until he knew he had allies enough at his back, and could strike with a sure aim. He worked with the great Median chiefs in private, stirring them up against Astyages by appeals of all sorts: to their ambition, their greed, their discontent, their private wrongs; and when he had secured the consent of enough nobles to his plans, he called upon Cyrus, as one who had chiefly suffered from the tyranny and cruelty of the king, to lead the proposed revolt in person. He knew that Cyrus had been gradually strengthening his own kingdom of Persia in preparation for the ambitious schemes of conquest he was nursing, but there was danger in correspondence with one who stood to Astyages in the double relation of a feared and hated grandson, and the chief of a rival people; and if we may believe Herodotus, Harpagus had recourse to a strange expedient to communicate his design to Cyrus. Disembowelling a dead hare, he inserted a letter in the cavity, and sent the animal to Cyrus as a present. When the letter came to the hands of Cyrus he eagerly accepted the offers it contained of leadership in the proposed revolt, and joined his forces with those of the disaffected Medes. Astyages was overthrown and his kingdom taken possession of by Cyrus. Herodotus draws a striking picture of the exultation of Harpagus over the success of his revengeful projects, and of the disdain with which Astyages reproached him for having called on another to do what, trusted and confided in as he was by his monarch, he might have accomplished for himself, and reaped the harvest which he had surrendered to another. Cyrus had the wisdom to spare the life of Astyages, and to attach him to his person as councillor and friend. Harpagus he made his lieutenant, and much of his success was owing to this man's wisdom and bravery. After the defeat of Astyages, Cyrus advanced against the lesser tribes that had owed allegiance to the Median king, and having reduced them one by one to submission, the power of the once mighty empire of the Medians passed to the inheritance of the Persians in the year 559 B.C.
When Croesus heard of the overthrow of his brother-in-law by the hands of Cyrus, and of the setting up a great new monarchy on the ruins of the fallen kingdom, his own ambitious projects were blown into fresh activity by the desire for private revenge. Misled by his own interpretation of the oracle he consulted as to the likelihood of success in an expedition against the Persians, he advanced to withstand the conquering march of Cyrus; and his first success was against the Syrians of Cappadocia, a people subject to Cyrus, as having formed a part of the Median Kingdom. Cyrus, with a powerful army, came at once to the assistance of his new subjects, and meeting the forces of Croesus on the plain of Cappadocia, a fiercely fought, but indecisive battle took place, which resulted in the retreat of Croesus to his capital, Sardis, to seek the assistance of his allies and prepare to meet Cyrus with a larger force. In overweening confidence in his own success, he dismissed his mercenary troops, and sent messengers to Babylon, to Egypt, and to Sparta, calling on them to come with troops to his assistance within five months. No sooner had he shut himself up in Sardis, and dismissed his mercenaries, depending upon his own forces until assistance should come from his allies, than Cyrus advanced against him so swiftly that there was no escape from a battle. Croesus, believing in his fortune, and trusting to the excellence of his cavalry, boldly took the field; but Cyrus, using stratagem where perhaps courage would not have availed, put his camels in front of his line, and massed his own horsemen behind them. The horses of Croesus, maddened by the unaccustomed smell of the camels, refused to advance; but the Lydians, dismounting, fought so bravely on foot with their spears, that it was not until after a long and fierce combat that they were forced to retreat and seek safety within the walls of Sardis. The army of Cyrus invested the city, but it was so strongly fortified on all sides but one as to be impregnable by assault and the side left unprotected by art was supposed to be amply protected by nature, since it abutted on the very edge of a steep precipice. But, after the siege had lasted fourteen days, a Persian sentinel saw one of the garrison descend the precipice to recover his helmet that had rolled down; and no sooner had he thus unwittingly showed the way, than the sentinel followed with a number of his fellow-soldiers and, reaching the top of the cliff in safety, attacked the guards, all unsuspicious, and gained an entrance to the city. The gates were opened to the Persians, and Croesus with all his vast store of treasure became the prey of the conqueror. The fall of Sardis and the Lydian monarchy was followed by the subjection of the Greek cities of Asia Minor, a task which Cyrus left to the hands of Harpagus, while he himself turned eastward to pursue his conquests in Upper Asia and in Assyria. His greatest achievement in this quarter was the taking of Babylon. This he accomplished in the reign of Belshazzar, one of the successors of Nebuchadnezzar, perhaps his son, by turning the Euphrates, which ran through the middle of the city, out of its course; and when its bed was dry he entered the city by this road and captured it with little resistance.
Cyrus was now the sole master of the vast Assyrian Kingdom, once more in his hands brought back to something like the unity it had before the great Median revolt. But he was not content, nor was it perhaps possible for him to rest in the enjoyment of power and possessions extorted by force, and dependent on force to hold. The new empire, like the old one, was destined to break in pieces by its own weight. Cyrus was kept in constant activity by the necessity of resisting the inroads on his empire of the tribes in the north and farther east; and it was in endeavoring to repel invasion and to maintain order in the regions he had already conquered, that he met his death. After a reign of thirty years he was slain, in 529 B.C., in battle with the Massagetae, a tribe of Central Asia. He left his kingdom to his son Cambyses.
[Signature of the author.]
ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Alexander the Great, son of Philip of Macedon and Olympias, daughter of Neoptolemus of Epirus, was born at Pella, 356 B.C. His mind was formed chiefly by Aristotle, who instructed him in every branch of human learning, especially in the art of government. Alexander was sixteen years of age when his father marched against Byzantium, and left the government in his hands during his absence. Two years afterward, he displayed singular courage at the battle of Chaeronea (338 B.C.), where he overthrew the Sacred Band of the Thebans. "My son," said Philip, as he embraced him after the conflict, "seek for thyself another kingdom, for that which I leave is too small for thee." The father and son quarrelled, however, when the former divorced Olympias. Alexander took part with his mother, and fled to Epirus, to escape his father's vengeance; but receiving his pardon soon afterward, he returned, and accompanied him in an expedition against the Triballi, when he saved his life on the field. Philip, being appointed generalissimo of the Greeks, was preparing for a war with Persia, when he was assassinated (336 B.C.), and Alexander, not yet twenty years of age, ascended the throne.
After punishing his father's murderers, he marched on Corinth, and in a general assembly of the Greeks he caused himself to be appointed to the command of the forces against Persia. On his return to Macedon, he found the Illyrians and Triballi up in arms, whereupon he forced his way through Thrace, and was everywhere victorious. But now the Thebans had been induced, by a report of his death, to take up arms, and the Athenians, stimulated by the eloquence of Demosthenes, were preparing to join them. To prevent this coalition, Alexander rapidly marched against Thebes, which, refusing to surrender, was conquered and razed to the ground. Six thousand of the inhabitants were slain, and 30,000 sold into slavery; the house and descendants of the poet Pindar alone being spared. This severity struck terror into all Greece. The Athenians were treated with more leniency.
Alexander, having appointed Antipater his deputy in Europe, now prepared to prosecute the war with Persia. He crossed the Hellespont in the spring of 334 B.C. with 30,000 foot and 5,000 horse, attacked the Persian satraps at the River Granicus, and gained a complete victory, overthrowing the son-in-law of their king Darius with his own lance. As a result of the battle, most of the cities of Asia Minor at once opened their gates to the conqueror.
Alexander restored democracy in all the Greek cities; and as he passed through Gordium, cut the Gordian-knot, which none should loose but the ruler of Asia. During a dangerous illness at Tarsus, brought on by bathing in the Cydnus, he received a letter insinuating that Philip, his physician, had been bribed by Darius to poison him. Alexander handed the letter to Philip, and at the same time swallowed the draught which the latter had prepared. As soon as he recovered, he advanced toward the defiles of Cilicia, in which Darius had stationed himself with an army of 600,000 men.
He arrived in November, 333 B.C., in the neighborhood of Issus, where, on the narrow plain between the mountains and the sea, the unwieldy masses of the Persians were thrown into confusion by the charge of the Macedonians, and fled in terror. On the left wing, 30,000 Greek mercenaries held out longer, but they, too, were at length compelled to yield. All the treasures as well as the family of Darius fell into the hands of the conqueror, who treated them with the greatest magnanimity. Overtures for peace, made by Darius on the basis of surrendering to Alexander all Asia west of the Euphrates, were rejected.
Alexander now turned toward Syria and Phoenicia. He occupied Damascus, where he found princely treasures, and secured to himself all the cities along the shores of the Mediterranean. Tyre, confident in its strong position, resisted him, but was conquered and destroyed, after seven months of incredible exertion (332 B.C.) Thence he marched victoriously through Palestine, where all the cities submitted to him except Gaza; it shared the same fate as Tyre. Egypt, weary of the Persian yoke, welcomed him as a deliverer; and in order to strengthen his dominion here, he restored all the old customs and religious institutions of the country, and founded Alexandria in the beginning of 331 B.C. Thence he marched through the Libyan Desert, in order to consult the oracle of Ammon, whose priest saluted him as a son of Zeus; and he returned with the conviction that he was indeed a god.
He then again set out to meet Darius; in October, 331 B.C., a great battle was fought on the plain stretching eastward to Arbela. Notwithstanding the immense superiority of his adversary, who had collected a new army of more than a million men, Alexander was not for a moment doubtful of victory. Heading the cavalry himself, he rushed on the Persians, and put them to flight; then hastened to the assistance of his left wing, which, in the meanwhile, had been surely pressed. He was anxious to make Darius a prisoner, but Darius escaped on horseback, leaving his baggage and all his treasures a prey to the conqueror. Babylon and Susa, the treasure-houses of the East, opened their gates to Alexander, who next marched toward Persepolis, the capital of Persia, which he entered in triumph.
The marvellous successes of Alexander now began to dazzle his judgment and to inflame his passions. He became a slave to debauchery, and his caprices were as cruel as they were ungrateful. In a fit of drunkenness, and at the instigation of Thais, an Athenian courtesan, he set fire to Persepolis, the wonder of the world, and reduced it to a heap of ashes; then, ashamed of the deed, he set out with his cavalry in pursuit of Darius. Learning that Bessus, the Bactrian satrap, held him a prisoner, he hastened his march, in the hope of saving him, but he found him mortally wounded (330 B.C.). He mourned over his fallen enemy, and caused him to be buried with all the customary honors, while he hunted down Bessus, who himself aspired to the throne, chasing him over the Oxus to Sogdiana (Bokhara).
Having discovered a conspiracy in which the son of Parmenio was implicated, he put both father and son to death, though Parmenio himself was innocent of any knowledge of the affair. This cruel injustice excited universal displeasure. In 329 he penetrated to the farthest known limits of Northern Asia, and overthrew the Scythians on the banks of the Jaxartes. In the following year he subdued the whole of Sogdiana, and married Roxana, whom he had taken prisoner. She was the daughter of Oxyartes, one of the enemy's captains, and was said to be the fairest of all the virgins of Asia. The murder of his foster-brother, Clitus, in a drunken brawl, was followed, in 327 B.C., by the discovery of a fresh conspiracy, in which Callisthenes, a nephew of Aristotle, was falsely implicated. For challenging Alexander's divinity, he was cruelly tortured and hanged.
In 327 B.C., proceeding to the conquest of India, hitherto known only by name, Alexander crossed the Indus near to the modern Attock, and pursued his way under the guidance of a native prince to the Hydaspes (Jhelum). He there was opposed by Porus, another native prince, whom he overthrew after a bloody contest, and there he lost his charger Bucephalus; thence he marched as lord of the country, through the Punjab, establishing Greek colonies. He then wished to advance to the Ganges, but the general murmuring of his troops obliged him, at the Hyphasis (modern Sutlej), to commence his retreat. On regaining the Hydaspes, he built a fleet, and sent one division of his army in it down the river, while the other followed along the banks, fighting its way through successive Indian armies. At length, having reached the ocean, he ordered Nearchus, the commander of the fleet, to sail thence to the Persian Gulf, while he himself struck inland with one division of his army, in order to return home through Gedrosia (Beluchistan). During this march his forces suffered fearfully from want of food and water. Of all the troops which had set out with Alexander, little more than a fourth part arrived with him in Persia (325 B.C.).
At Susa he married Stateira, the daughter of Darius, and he bestowed presents on those Macedonians (some ten thousand in number) who had married Persian women, his design being to unite the two nations. He also distributed liberal rewards among his soldiers. Soon afterward he was deprived, by death, of his favorite Hephestion. His grief was unbounded, and he interred the dead man with kingly honors. As he was returning from Ecbatana to Babylon, it is said that the Magi foretold that the latter city would prove fatal to him; but he despised their warnings. On the way, he was met by ambassadors from all parts of the world—Libya, Italy, Carthage, Greece, the Scythians, Celts, and Iberians.
At Babylon he was busy with gigantic plans for the future, both of conquest and civilization, when he was suddenly taken ill after a banquet, and died eleven days later, 323 B.C., in the thirty-second year of his age, and the thirteenth of his reign. His body was deposited in a golden coffin at Alexandria, by Ptolemaeus, and divine honors were paid to him, not only in Egypt, but in other countries. He had appointed no heir to his immense dominions; but to the question of his friends, "Who should inherit them?" he replied, "The most worthy." After many disturbances, his generals recognized as Kings the weak-minded Aridaeus—a son of Philip by Philinna, the dancer—and Alexander's posthumous son by Roxana, Alexander AEgus, while they shared the provinces among themselves, assuming the title of satraps. Perdiccas, to whom Alexander had, on his death-bed, delivered his ring, became guardian of the kings during their minority. The empire of Alexander soon broke up, and his dominions were divided among his generals.
Alexander was more than a conqueror. He diffused the language and civilization of Greece wherever victory led him, and planted Greek kingdoms in Asia, which continued to exist for some centuries. At the very time of his death, he was engaged in devising plans for the drainage of the unhealthy marshes around Babylon, and a better irrigation of the extensive plains. It is even supposed that the fever which he caught there, rather than his famous drinking-bout, was the real cause of his death. To Alexander, the ancient world owed a vast increase of its knowledge in geography, natural history, etc. He taught Europeans the road to India, and gave them the first glimpses of that magnificence and splendor which has dazzled and captivated their imagination for more than two thousand years. See Freeman's "Historical Essays" (2d series, 1873), and Mahaffy's "Alexander's Empire" (1887).
The wonderful element in the campaigns of Alexander, and his tragical death at the height of his power, threw a rare romantic interest around his figure. It is ever the fate of a great name to be enshrined in fable, and Alexander soon became the hero of romantic story, scarcely more wonderful than the actual, but growing from age to age with the mythopoeic spirit which can work as freely in fact as fiction. The earliest form of the story which we know is the great romance connected with the name of Callisthenes, which, under the influence of the living popular tradition, arose in Egypt about 200 A.D., and was carried through Latin translations to the West, through Armenian and Syriac versions to the East. It became widely popular during the middle ages, and was worked into poetic form by many writers in French and German. Alberich of Besancon wrote in Middle High German an epic on the subject in the first half of the twelfth century, which was the basis of the German "Pfaffe" Lamprecht's "Alexanderbuch," also of the twelfth century. The French poets Lambert li Court and Alexandre de Bernay composed, between 1180 and 1190, a romance of Alexander, the twelve-syllable metre of which gave rise to the name Alexandrines. The German poem of Rudolf of Ems was based on the Latin epic of Walter of Chatillon, about 1200, which became henceforward the prevailing form of the story. In contrast with it is the thirteenth century Old English epic of Alexander (in vol. i. of Weber's "Metrical Romances," 1810), based on the Callisthenes version. The story appears also in the East, worked up in conjunction with myths of other nationalities, especially the Persian. It appears in Firdusi, and among later writers, in Nizami. From the Persians both the substance of the story and its form in poetical treatment have extended to Turks and other Mohammedans, who have interpreted Alexander as the Dsulkarnein ('two horned') of the Koran, and to the Hindus, which last had preserved no independent traditions of Alexander.
By WALTER WHYTE
Hannibal (the grace of Baal, the Hanniel of Scripture) was the son of the great Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, and was born in 247 B.C. It is said that in his ninth year his father led him to an altar and bade him swear eternal enmity to Rome. From the age of nine to eighteen he was trained in war and diplomacy under Hamilcar in Spain; and from his eighteenth to his twenty-fifth year he was the chief agent in carrying out the plans by which his brother-in-law, Hasdrubal, extended and consolidated the Carthaginian dominion in the Peninsula. On the death of Hasdrubal, in 221 B.C., the soldiers with one voice chose Hannibal, then in his twenty-sixth year, as their general. Forthwith he crossed the Tagus, and in two years reduced all Spain up to the Ebro, with the exception of the Greek colony of Saguntum. That town, which claimed the protection of Rome, fell in 218 B.C., and the Second Punic War, or, as the Romans justly called it, "the War of Hannibal," began. Garrisoning Libya with Spaniards, and Spain with Libyans (a precaution against treachery), Hannibal set out on his march for Rome. In the summer of 218 B.C. he left New Carthage with 90,000 foot, 12,000 horse, and 37 elephants, crossed the Pyrenees, and gained the Rhone, where his passage was barred by a host of Gauls. The general thereupon sent part of his troops two days' journey up-stream, with orders to cross the Rhone and fall on the rear of the barbarians. His orders were executed by Hanno, and the passage of the river was safely effected. He crossed the Alps in fifteen days, in the face of obstacles which would have proved insuperable to almost any other commander. His troops, reared under African and Spanish suns, perished in thousands amid ice and snow. The native tribes threatened the annihilation of his force, and were only dispersed by his matchless courage and address. The beasts of burden fell over precipices, or stuck fast and were frozen to death. In places, rocks had to be shattered and roads constructed to enable the men to creep round projecting crags. When he gained the valley of Aosta, Hannibal had but 20,000 foot and 6,000 horse to attempt the conquest of a power which had lately shown that she could put an army of 170,000 unrivalled soldiers into the field.
After allowing his men to recruit in the villages of the friendly Insubres, he overcame the Taurini, besieging and taking Turin, and forced the Ligurian and Celtic tribes on the Upper Po to serve in his army. At the Ticinus, a stream which enters the Po near Pavia, he encountered the Romans under Scipio, the father of Scipio Africanus. The cavalry of both armies joined battle, Hannibal's Numidian horse proved their superiority, and Scipio fell back beyond the Po. The Carthaginians crossed the river, and the first great battle of the campaign was fought in the plain of the Trebia. Placing Mago in ambush with 2,000 men, Hannibal enticed the Romans across the stream. His light troops retired before the legionaries, and as Scipio was pressing on to fancied victory he was taken in flank by the terrible Numidian horse, Mago came down in the rear, and the 40,000 men of the consular army were either cut to pieces or scattered in flight. Wintering in the valley of the Po, in the early spring Hannibal crossed the Apennines and pushed through a region of lakes, flooded by the melting of the snow, to Faesulae. The beasts of burden perished in vast numbers amid the morasses; the Gauls, disheartened by the perils of the journey, had to be driven forward by Mago's horsemen, and the general lost an eye. Quitting Faesulae, Hannibal wasted Etruria with fire and sword, and marched toward Rome, leaving behind him two consular armies of 60,000 men. He awaited the consul Flaminius by the Lake Trasimene, where the hills, retiring in a semicircle from the shore, inclose a plain entered by two narrow passes. Concealing the main body of his army amid the hills, he placed his Numidians in ambush at the pass by which the Romans must enter; while he stationed part of his infantry in a conspicuous position near the other defile. The Romans pushed into the valley; the pass in their rear was secured by the Carthaginians who had lain in ambush; Hannibal's men charged from the heights, and the army of Flaminius was annihilated. Six thousand infantry cut their way through the farther pass, but these were overtaken by the horse under Maherbal and forced to yield on the following day.
After recruiting his men in the champaign country of Picenum, where the Numidian horses, we are told, were groomed with old Italian wine, Hannibal marched through Apulia and ravaged Campania, dogged by the dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus, whom he vainly endeavored to entice into an engagement. He wintered at Gerontium, and in the spring took up a position at Cannae, on the Aufidus. A Roman army of 80,000 men, under the consuls L. AEmilius Paulus and P. Terentius Varro, marched against him. Hannibal flung his troops (he had but 30,000) into a space inclosed on the rear and wings by a loop of the river. He placed his Spanish infantry in the centre, with the African foot on either flank. His Numidian horse, now reduced to 2,000 men, he posted on the right wing; while Hasdrubal, with 8,000 heavy cavalry, was opposed to the Roman cavalry on the left. The legionaries pressed into the loop, and Hannibal drew back his centre before them. Hasdrubal, on the left, broke the Roman cavalry, swept round to the left wing of the Romans, drove the second detachment of Roman horse into flight, and then came thundering in the rear of the legionaries. The Libyans, who had by the general's orders fallen back as the Romans pressed after the retiring Spanish infantry, now closed on the enemy's flanks. Packed together so closely that they could not use their weapons, assailed in front, flank, and rear, the legionaries were hewn down through eight hours of carnage, till 50,000 lay dead on the field. The battle became a butchery. Nearly 20,000 men were taken prisoners. The consul Paulus, the proconsul Servilius, the master of the horse Minucius, 21 military tribunes, and 60 senators lay amid the slain. On his side Hannibal lost but 5,700 men. "Send me on with the horse, general," said Maherbal, "and in five days thou shalt sup in the Capitol."
But the general was wiser than the fiery captain of the horse. It has been common to censure Hannibal for neglecting to march on Rome after the battle of Cannae. But his dazzling triumph did not for a moment unsettle his clear judgment. He knew that his forces were unequal to the task of storming a walled city garrisoned by a population of fighting men. An attack which he had made on Spoletium had proved the inadequacy of the small Carthaginian army to carry a strongly fortified town. Had he followed the advice of Maherbal, he would in all likelihood have dashed his army to pieces against the walls of Rome. His aim was to destroy the common oppressor by raising the Italian allies against her; and the hope was partly justified by the revolt of Lucania and Bruttium, Samnium and Apulia. The soundness of judgment, the patience and self-control which he evinced in this hour of intoxicating success, are hardly less marvellous than the genius by which the success had been won. After the battle of Cannae the character of the war changes. Hitherto Hannibal had swept everything before him. Rivers and mountains and morasses had been powerless to thwart his progress. Army after army, vastly superior in numbers and composed of the best fighting men the ancient world ever saw, had come against him to be broken, scattered, and destroyed. His career through Italy had been, in the words of Horace, as the rush of the flames through a forest of pines. But after Cannae the tide turned. His niggardly, short-sighted countrymen denied him the support without which success was impossible. As his veterans were lost to him he had no means of filling their places, while the Romans could put army after army into the field. But through the long years during which he maintained a hopeless struggle in Italy he was never defeated. Nor did one of his veterans desert him; never was there a murmur of disaffection in his camp. It has been well said that his victories over his motley followers were hardly less wonderful than his victories over nature and over Rome.
Hannibal spent the winter of 216-215 B.C. at Capua, where his men are said to have been demoralized by luxurious living. When he again took the field the Romans wisely avoided a pitched battle, though the Carthaginians overran Italy, capturing Locri, Thurii, Metapontum, Tarentum, and other towns. In 211 B.C. he marched on Rome, rode up to the Colline gate, and, it is said, flung his spear over the walls. But the fall of Capua smote the Italian allies with dismay, and ruined his hopes of recruiting his ever-diminishing forces from their ranks. In 210 B.C. he overcame the praetor Fulvius at Herdonea, and in the following year gained two battles in Apulia. Thereafter, he fell upon the consuls Crispinus and Marcellus, both of whom were slain and their forces routed, while he almost annihilated the Roman army which was besieging Locri. In 207 B.C. his brother Hasdrubal marched from Spain to his aid, but was surprised, defeated, and slain at the Metaurus by the consul Nero. By the barbarous commands of Nero, Hasdrubal's head was flung into the camp of Hannibal, who had been till then in ignorance of his brother's doom. The battle of the Metaurus sealed the fate of "the lion's brood"—of the great house of Hamilcar. But for four years Hannibal stood at bay in the hill-country of Bruttium, defying with his thinned army every general who was sent against him, till in 202 B.C., after an absence of fifteen years, he was recalled to Africa to repel the Roman invasion. In the same year he met Scipio at Zama; his raw levies fled, and in part went over to the enemy; his veterans were cut to pieces where they stood, and Carthage was at the mercy of Rome. So ended the Second Punic War—the war, as Arnold so truly said, of a man with a nation, and the war which is perhaps the most wonderful in all history. Three hundred thousand Italians had fallen, and three hundred towns had been destroyed in the struggle.
Peace being made, Hannibal turned his genius to political toils. He amended the constitution, cut down the power of the ignoble oligarchy, checked corruption, and placed the city's finances on a sounder footing. The enemies whom he made by his reforms denounced him to the Romans, and the Romans demanded that he should be surrendered into their hands. Setting out as a voluntary exile, Hannibal visited Tyre, the mother-city of Carthage, and then betook himself to the court of Antiochus, at Ephesus. He was well received by the king, who nevertheless rejected his advice to carry the war with Rome into Italy. On the conclusion of peace, to avoid being given up to the Romans, he repaired to Prusias, king of Bithynia, for whom he gained a naval victory over the king of Pergamus. The Romans again demanding that he should be surrendered, he baffled his enemies by taking poison, which, we are told, he carried about with him in a ring, and died at Lybyssa about the year 183 B.C.
In judging of the character and achievements of Hannibal, it must never be forgotten, that for all we know of him, we are indebted to his implacable enemies. No Carthaginian record of that astounding career has come down to us. The Romans did all that unscrupulous malignity can, to blacken the fame and belittle the deeds of the most terrible of their foes. Yet, though calumny has done its bitterest against him, Hannibal not only dazzles the imagination, but takes captive the heart. He stands out as the incarnation of magnanimity and patriotism and self-sacrificing heroism, no less than of incomparable military genius. Napoleon, the only general who could plausibly challenge the Carthaginian's supremacy, had throughout the greater part of his career an immense superiority to his adversaries in the quality of the forces which he wielded. He had the enthusiasm of the Revolution behind him, and he was unhampered by authorities at home. Hannibal, on the contrary, saw his plans thwarted and finally wrecked by the sordid merchant-nobles of the city he strove so hard to save. He had not, like Alexander, to lead picked troops against effeminate Asiatics. He had to mould his little army out of raw and barbarous levies. He had no reinforcements to fall back on. With a motley army of Libyans, Gauls, and Spaniards he had to encounter a nation in arms—a nation of the stoutest and most highly trained warriors of ancient times. There is not in all history so wonderful an example of what a single man of genius may achieve against the most tremendous odds, as the story of the Phoenician hero—the greatest captain that the world has seen.
SCIPIO AFRICANUS MAJOR
P. Cornelius Scipio, Africanus Major, was the son of that P. Cornelius Scipio who was defeated by Hannibal at the Ticinus. If it be true that at the age of seventeen Scipio fought in this battle, and rescued his wounded father, he must have been born in B.C. 235. He was in the battle of Cannae (B.C. 216) as a tribune, and was among those who, after the defeat, escaped to Canusium. Here the chief command of the remaining troops was unanimously entrusted to him and another. On this occasion it was owing to his presence of mind that the remnants of the Roman army did not, in their despair, quit Italy.
In B.C. 212, Scipio was curule aedile, though he had not yet attained the legitimate age. The tribunes of the people endeavored to prevent his election, but they were obliged to give up their opposition, for the people, who seem to have perceived the extraordinary abilities of the young man, elected him almost unanimously. In B.C. 211 his father and uncle fell in Spain, and the Carthaginians again took possession of the country, which they had almost entirely lost. When Capua had fallen again into their hands, and Italy no longer required their exclusive attention, the Romans determined to act with more energy against the Carthaginians in Spain. On the day of the election, no one ventured to come forward to undertake the command in this war. Young Scipio, then scarcely twenty-four years of age, at last offered to take the command of the army in Spain. The people were struck with admiration at the courage of the young man, and gave him command, with proconsular power, which was afterward prolonged to him for several years (B.C. 210-206).
The extraordinary power which young Scipio exercised over his contemporaries was perhaps partly owing to superstition, for he was believed to be a favorite of the gods. Ever since he had risen to manhood, he went every morning into the Capitol, where he spent some hours in solitude and meditation. Hence all he did was considered by the people to be the result of his intercourse with the gods. Scipio himself partook in this opinion, and cherished it; and the extraordinary success of all his enterprises must have strengthened his belief.
Toward the end of the summer, in B.C. 210, or, as Livy says, at the beginning of spring, Scipio set out for Spain with an army of 11,000 men, landed at the mouth of the Iberus, and undertook the command of the whole Roman forces in Spain. He was accompanied by his friend, Laelius. His first object was to gain possession of New Carthage, where the Carthaginians kept their Spanish hostages. Laelius made the attack with the fleet from the seaside, while Scipio conducted the operations on land. The town soon fell into the hands of the Romans, and the generosity with which Scipio treated the Spanish hostages gained over a great number of Spaniards. The hostages of those tribes who declared themselves allies of the Romans were sent home without ransom. It is also related that a very beautiful maiden having fallen to his special lot in the division of the booty, Scipio finding her sad, inquired the cause, and learning that she was betrothed to a neighboring chief, sent for the lover, and personally restored the maid in all honor to his arms. A short time after the conquest of this place Scipio went to Tarraco, where he received embassies from various Spanish tribes, who offered to become the allies of the Romans or to recognize their supremacy.
Scipio is said not to have set out against Hasdrubal until the year following, but it can scarcely be conceived why the Carthaginians should have been so long inactive, and it is a probable supposition that the battle with Hasdrubal, which Livy and Polybius assign to the year B.C. 209, was fought very soon after the taking of New Carthage. In this battle Scipio gained a great victory; 8,000 Carthaginians were slain, and 22,000, with their camp, fell into the hands of the victor. Many of the Spaniards now wished to proclaim Scipio their king, but he refused the honor.
Hasdrubal fled with the remainder of his army toward the Tagus and the Pyrenees. Scipio did not follow him, partly because he thought his enemy too much weakened to be dangerous, and partly because he feared lest he might expose himself to the combined attacks of the two other Carthaginian generals, Mago, and Hasdrubal, son of Gisco. Hasdrubal Barcas, the defeated general, however, had carried considerable wealth with him in his flight, and with these means he raised an army in Spain, to lead into Italy to the assistance of his brother Hannibal, hoping thus to bring the war to an end in Italy. During these preparations of Hasdrubal, Scipio was engaged against the two other Carthaginian generals, one of whom (Mago) was defeated, in B.C. 208, by the propraetor Silanus, in the country of the Celtiberians, and Hanno, who came with an auxiliary army from Africa, was taken prisoner. After this success of the propraetor, Scipio united his forces with those of Silanus to attack Hasdrubal, son of Gisco. But as this general had retired to the south of Spain, and had distributed his army in the fortified places on the Baetis as far as Gades, Scipio (through his brother Lucius) only took the important town of Oringis, and then gradually returned across the Iberus. The power of the Carthaginians in Spain was, however, already broken, and in the year following (B.C. 207) Scipio gained possession of nearly all Spain by a victory, the place of which is not clearly ascertained, some calling it Silpia or Baecula, some Ilipa, and others Carmo.
Scipio, now in the almost undisputed possession of Spain, began to turn his eyes to Africa, and, accompanied by his friend Laelius, he ventured to pay a visit to King Syphax, with whom Laelius had already commenced negotiations. Here Scipio is said to have met Hasdrubal, son of Gisco, and to have made a very favorable impression on Syphax as well as on Hasdrubal. After a short stay in Africa, Scipio returned to Spain, where he first punished several towns for their faithlessness, and subdued some of the Spanish chiefs who ventured to claim their former independence. During these occupations Scipio was attacked by a severe illness, from which, however, he recovered in time to quell an insurrection of 8,000 Roman soldiers, who were discontented from not having derived from their conquests those advantages which they had expected, and who are said also to have been bribed by the Carthaginians. Mago had in the meantime withdrawn to the Balearic Islands, and thence to Liguria. Gades, the last place which the Carthaginians possessed in Spain, was now taken from them, and thus the war in Spain was at an end.
Toward the close of the year B.C. 206, Scipio surrendered the command of the Roman forces in Spain to the proconsuls L. Lentulus and L. Manlius Acidinus, and returned to Rome. He delivered to the aerarium the immense treasures which he brought from Spain. He evidently wished for a triumph, but the senate paid no attention to his wishes, for no one had ever triumphed at Rome before he had held the consulship. In the year B.C. 205, Scipio was made consul with P. Licinius Crassus, who was at the same time pontifex maximus, and was consequently not allowed to leave Italy. If, therefore, a war was to be carried on abroad, the command necessarily devolved upon Scipio. His wish was immediately to sail with an army to Africa, but the more cautious senators, and especially Q. Fabius, were decidedly opposed to his plan, partly because Hannibal, as long as he was in Italy, appeared too formidable to be neglected, and partly because they were influenced by jealousy.
All that Scipio could obtain was that Sicily should be assigned to him as his province, with thirty vessels, and with permission to sail over to Africa in case he should think it advantageous to the republic. But he did not obtain from the Senate permission to levy an army, and he therefore called upon the Italian allies to provide him with troops and other things necessary for carrying on the war. As they were all willing to support the conqueror of the Carthaginians in Spain, he was soon enabled to sail to Sicily with nearly seven thousand volunteers and thirty ships. Soon after his arrival in Sicily he sent his friend Laelius with a part of his fleet to Africa, partly to keep up the connection which he had formed there, on his visit from Spain, with Syphax and Massinissa (for to the latter Scipio had sent back a nephew who had been taken prisoner in the battle of Baecula), and partly to show to his timid opponents at Rome how groundless their fears were. He himself employed his time in Sicily most actively, in preparing and disciplining his new army.
Massinissa, dissatisfied with the Carthaginians, was anxious for the arrival of Scipio in Africa, but Syphax had altered his policy, and again joined the Carthaginians. The enemies of Scipio at Rome at last got an opportunity of attacking him, and they nearly succeeded in depriving him of his post. Without being authorized by the Senate, Scipio had taken part in the conquest of Locri, in Southern Italy, and had left his legate, Q. Flaminius, as commander of the Roman garrison in that place. The legate treated the Locrians with such severity and cruelty that they sent an embassy to Rome to lay their complaints before the Senate. As Scipio, although acquainted with the conduct of Flaminius, had nevertheless left him in command, his enemies attacked him on this and other grounds, and Fabius Maximus even proposed that he should be recalled. A commission was sent out to inquire into the state of affairs and to bring Scipio home, if the charges against him were found true. Scipio proved that his army was in the best possible condition; and the commissioners were so surprised at what they saw, that instead of recalling the consul, they bade him sail to Africa as soon as he might think it proper, and to adopt any measures that he might think useful.
Scipio, in consequence of this, sailed in B.C. 204 as proconsul, with a large army, from Lilybaeum to Africa, and landed in the neighborhood of Utica. Here he made successful incursions into the neighboring country, and Hasdrubal, who attempted to prevent them, suffered a great defeat. But Scipio could not gain possession of Utica, which was of the greater importance to him and his fleet as the winter was approaching, and he was obliged to spend the season on a piece of land extending into the sea, which he fortified as well as he could. Toward the close of the winter the Carthaginians, united with Syphax, intended to make a general attack on Scipio's army and fleet, but being informed of their plans, he surprised the camps of Hasdrubal and Syphax in the night, and only a small number of the enemy escaped. Syphax withdrew into his own dominions, but was defeated by Massinissa and Laelius, and taken prisoner with his wife and one of his sons. Massinissa married Sophonisba, the wife of Syphax, who had formerly been engaged to him, but had been given to Syphax for political reasons. Scipio, fearing the influence she might have on Massinissa (for she was a Carthaginian), claimed her as a prisoner belonging to the Romans, and Massinissa poisoned her, to save her from the humiliation of captivity.
The fears and apprehensions of the Carthaginians now increased to such a degree that they thought it necessary to recall Hannibal from Italy, and at the same time they sued for peace. The terms which Scipio proposed would have concluded the war in a manner honorable to the Romans. The Carthaginians, however, whose only object was to gain time, made no objections to the conditions, but only concluded a truce of forty-five days, during which an embassy was to be sent to Rome. Before this truce was at an end, the Carthaginian populace plundered some Roman vessels with provisions, which were wrecked off Carthage, and even insulted the Roman envoys who came to demand reparation. Scipio did not resent this conduct and allowed the Carthaginian ambassadors, on their return from Rome, to pass on to Carthage unmolested. About this time (it was the autumn of the year B.C. 203) Hannibal arrived in Africa, and soon collected an army in numbers far exceeding that of Scipio. He first made a successful campaign against Massinissa. Scipio was at this time informed that the consul Tib. Claudius Nero would come with an army to co-operate with him against Hannibal.
Scipio, who wished to bring the war to a conclusion, and was unwilling to share the glory with anyone else, determined to bring Hannibal to a decisive battle. The Carthaginian at first avoided an engagement; but when Scipio, in order to deceive the enemy, hastily retreated as if he intended to take to flight, Hannibal followed him with his cavalry and lost a battle in the neighborhood of Zama. A tribune of Scipio soon afterward cut off a large convoy of provisions which was on its way to the camp of Hannibal, and this suddenly threw him into such difficulties that he began to negotiate with Scipio for peace. The conditions, however, which Scipio now proposed were so humiliating, that the Carthaginians would not accept them. Hannibal, therefore, though he saw the impossibility of gaining any further advantages, was compelled to decide the affair by a last and desperate effort. In a personal interview between the two generals Scipio was inexorable as to the conditions. Hannibal's army was in a bad condition; and in the ensuing battle, to the west of Zama, the victory of Scipio was complete. This defeat (in B.C. 202) was the death-blow to Carthage.
Scipio, on his return to Italy, was received with the greatest enthusiasm; he entered Rome in triumph, and was henceforward distinguished by the name of Africanus. He now for several years continued to live at Rome, apparently without taking any part in public affairs. In B.C. 199 he obtained the office of censor with P. AElius Paetus, and in B.C. 194 he was made consul a second time with Tib. Sempronius Longus, and princeps senatus, a distinction with which he had already been honored in B.C. 196, and which was conferred upon him for the third time in B.C. 190. In B.C. 193, during one of the disputes between the Carthaginians and Massinissa, Scipio was sent with two other commissioners to mediate between the parties; but nothing was settled, though, as Livy observes, Scipio might easily have put an end to the disputes. Scipio was the only Roman who thought it unworthy of the republic to support those Carthaginians who persecuted Hannibal; and there was a tradition that Scipio, in B.C. 193, was sent on an embassy to Antiochus, and that he met Hannibal in his exile, who in the conversation which took place, declared Scipio the greatest of all generals. Whether the story of the conversation be true or not, the judgment ascribed to Hannibal is just; for Scipio as a general was second to none but Hannibal himself.
In the year B.C. 190, some discussions arose in the Senate as to what provinces should be assigned to the two consuls, Laelius and L. Cornelius Scipio, brother of the great Africanus. Africanus, although he was princeps senatus, offered to accompany his brother, as legate, if the Senate would give him Greece as his province, for this province conferred upon Lucius the command in the war against Antiochus. The offer was accepted, and the two brothers set out for Greece, and thence for Asia. Africanus took his son with him on this expedition, but by some unlucky chance the boy was taken prisoner, and sent to Antiochus. The king offered to restore him to freedom, and to give a considerable sum of money, if the father would interpose his influence to obtain favorable terms for the king. Africanus refused; but the king, notwithstanding, soon after sent the boy back to his father, who just then was suffering from illness, and was absent from the camp. To show his gratitude, Africanus sent a message to Antiochus, advising him not to engage in a battle until he himself had returned to the Roman camp. After the great battle near Mount Sipylus, Antiochus again applied to Scipio for peace, and the latter now used his influence with his brother Lucius and the council of war, on behalf of the king. The conditions of the peace were tolerably mild, but they were afterward made much more severe when the peace was ratified at Rome.
The enemies of Africanus at Rome had now another charge against him. The peace with Antiochus, and the conditions proposed by Africanus and his brother Lucius, were regarded by the hostile party as the result of bribes from Antiochus, and of the liberation of the son of Africanus. A charge was therefore brought against the two brothers, on their return to Rome, of having accepted bribes of the king, and of having retained a part of the treasures which they ought to have delivered up to the aerarium. At the same time they were called upon to give an account of the sums of money they had taken from Antiochus. Lucius was ready to obey; but his brother Africanus with indignation snatched the accounts from the hands of his brother and tore them to pieces before the Senate. The tribune of the people, C. Minucius Augurinus, however, fined Lucius; and when he was going to be thrown into prison until he should pay the heavy fine, Africanus dragged him away; and the tribune Tib. Gracchus, though disapproving of the violence of Africanus, liberated Lucius from imprisonment. Africanus himself was now summoned before the people by the tribune M. Naevius; but instead of answering the charges he reminded the people that it was the anniversary of his victory at Zama, and bade them rather thank the gods for such citizens as he.
After these troubles he withdrew to his villa near Liternum, and it was owing to the interposition of Tib. Gracchus that he was not compelled to obey another summons. The estates of his brother Lucius, however, were confiscated (B.C. 187), but the sum produced by their sale did not make up the amount of the fine. His friends and clients not only offered to make up the sum, but their generosity would even have made him richer than he had been before; but he refused to accept anything beyond what was absolutely necessary for his support. Africanus never returned from his voluntary exile, and he spent the last years of his life in quiet retirement at his villa. He is said to have wished to be buried on his estate; but there was, as Livy says, a tradition that he died at Rome, and was buried in the tomb of his family near the Porta Capena, where statues of him, his brother Lucius, and their friend Q. Ennius, were erected. The year of his death is not quite certain; for, according to Polybius, he died in the same year with Hannibal and Philopoemen (B.C. 183); according to others, two years earlier (B.C. 185).
In judging of Scipio Africanus as a general, we may adopt the judgment ascribed to Hannibal; but as a Roman citizen he is very far from deserving such praise. His pride and haughtiness were intolerable, and the laws of the constitution were set at nought whenever they opposed his own views and passions. As a statesman he scarcely did anything worth mentioning. By his wife AEmilia, daughter of AEmilius Paullus, he had two daughters, one of whom married P. Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum, the other, the celebrated Cornelia, married Tib. Sempronius Gracchus, and was the mother of the two Gracchi, the tribunes of the people.
Extracts from "Caesar, a Sketch," by JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE, LL.D.
Caius Marius was at this time forty-eight years old. Two-thirds of his life were over, and a name which was to sound throughout the world and be remembered through all ages, had as yet been scarcely heard of beyond the army and the political clubs in Rome. He was born at Arpinum, a Latin township, seventy miles from the capital, in the year 157 B.C. His father was a small farmer, and he was himself bred to the plough. He joined the army early, and soon attracted notice by his punctual discharge of his duties. In a time of growing looseness, Marius was strict himself in keeping discipline and in enforcing it as he rose in the service. He was in Spain when Jugurtha was there, and made himself especially useful to Scipio; he forced his way steadily upward, by his mere soldierlike qualities, to the rank of military tribune. Rome, too, had learnt to know him, for he was chosen tribune of the people the year after the murder of Caius Gracchus. Being a self-made man, he belonged naturally to the popular party. While in office he gave offence in some way to the men in power, and was called before the Senate to answer for himself. But he had the right on his side, it is likely, for they found him stubborn and impertinent, and they could make nothing of their charges against him. He was not bidding at this time, however, for the support of the mob. He had the integrity and sense to oppose the largesses of corn; and he forfeited his popularity by trying to close the public granaries before the practice had passed into a system. He seemed as if made of a block of hard Roman oak, gnarled and knotted, but sound in all its fibres. His professional merit continued to recommend him. At the age of forty he became praetor, and was sent to Spain, where he left a mark again by the successful severity by which he cleared the province of banditti. He was a man neither given himself to talking, nor much talked about in the world; but he was sought for wherever work was to be done, and he had made himself respected and valued in high circles, for after his return from the Peninsula he had married into one of the most distinguished of the patrician families.
[Footnote 3: B.C. 109.]
[Footnote 4: King of Numidia. He successfully withstood the Romans during several years.]
Marius by this marriage became a person of social consideration. His father had been a client of the Metelli; and Caecilius Metellus, who must have known Marius by reputation and probably in person, invited him to go as second in command in the African campaign. He was moderately successful. Towns were taken, battles were won: Metellus was incorruptible, and the Numidians sued for peace. But Jugurtha wanted terms, and the consul demanded unconditional surrender. Jugurtha withdrew into the desert; the war dragged on; and Marius, perhaps ambitious, perhaps impatient at the general's want of vigor, began to think that he could make quicker work of it. The popular party were stirring again in Rome, the Senate having so notoriously disgraced itself. There was just irritation that a petty African prince could defy the whole power of Rome for so many years; and though a democratic consul had been unheard of for a century, the name of Marius began to be spoken of as a possible candidate. Marius consented to stand. The law required that he must be present in person at the election, and he applied to his commander for leave of absence. Metellus laughed at his pretensions, and bade him wait another twenty years. Marius, however, persisted, and was allowed to go. The patricians strained their resources to defeat him, but he was chosen with enthusiasm. Metellus was recalled, and the conduct of the Numidian war was assigned to the new hero of the "Populares."
A shudder of alarm ran, no doubt, through the Senate house, when the determination of the people was known. A successful general could not be disposed of so easily as oratorical tribunes. Fortunately, Marius was not a politician. He had no belief in democracy. He was a soldier, and had a soldier's way of thinking on government and the methods of it. His first step was a reformation in the army. Hitherto the Roman legions had been no more than the citizens in arms, called for the moment from their various occupations, to return to them when the occasion for their services was past. Marius had perceived that fewer men, better trained and disciplined, could be made more effective and be more easily handled. He had studied war as a science. He had perceived that the present weakness need be no more than an accident, and that there was a latent force in the Roman state, which needed only organization to resume its ascendency. "He enlisted," it was said, "the worst of the citizens," men, that is to say, who had no occupation, and who became soldiers by profession; and as persons without property could not have furnished themselves at their own cost, he must have carried out the scheme proposed by Gracchus, and equipped them at the expense of the state. His discipline was of the sternest. The experiment was new; and men of rank who had a taste for war in earnest, and did not wish that the popular party should have the whole benefit and credit of the improvements, were willing to go with him; among them a dissipated young patrician, called Lucius Sulla, whose name also was destined to be memorable.
By these methods, and out of these materials, an army was formed, such as no Roman general had hitherto led. It performed extraordinary marches, carried its water-supplies with it in skins, and followed the enemy across sandy deserts hitherto found impassable. In less than two years the war was over. The Moors, to whom Jugurtha had fled, surrendered him to Sulla; and he was brought in chains to Rome, where he finished his life in a dungeon.
Marius had formed an army barely in time to save Italy from being totally overwhelmed. A vast migratory wave of population had been set in motion behind the Rhine and the Danube. The German forests were uncultivated. The hunting and pasture grounds were too straight for the numbers crowded into them, and two enormous hordes were rolling westward and southward in search of some new abiding-place. Each division consisted of hundreds of thousands. They travelled, with their wives and children, their wagons, as with the ancient Scythians and with the modern South African Dutch, being at once their conveyance and their home. Gray-haired priestesses tramped along among them, barefooted, in white linen dresses, the knife at their girdle; northern Iphigenias, sacrificing prisoners as they were taken, to the gods of Valhalla. On they swept, eating up the country, and the people flying before them. In 113 B.C. the skirts of the Cimbri had encountered a small Roman force near Trieste, and destroyed it. Four years later another attempt was made to stop them, but the Roman army was beaten and its camp taken. The Cimbrian host did not, however, turn at that time upon Italy. Their aim was the south of France. They made their way through the Alps into Switzerland, where the Helvetii joined them and the united mass rolled over the Jura and down the bank of the Rhone. Roused at last into the exertion, the Senate sent into Gaul the largest force which the Romans had ever brought into the field. They met the Cimbri at Orange, and were simply annihilated. Eighty thousand Romans and forty thousand camp-followers were said to have fallen. The numbers in such cases are generally exaggerated, but the extravagance of the report is a witness to the greatness of the overthrow. The Romans had received a worse blow than at Cannae. They were brave enough, but they were commanded by persons whose recommendations for command were birth or fortune; "preposterous men," as Marius termed them, who had waited for their appointment to open the military manuals.
Had the Cimbri chosen at this moment to recross the Alps into Italy, they had only to go and take possession, and Alaric would have been antedated by five centuries. In great danger it was the Senate's business to suspend the constitution. The constitution was set aside now, but it was set aside by the people themselves, not by the Senate. One man only could save the country, and that man was Marius. His consulship was over, and custom forbade his re-election. The Senate might have appointed him Dictator, but would not. The people, custom or no custom, chose him consul a second time—a significant acknowledgment that the Empire, which had been won by the sword, must be held by the sword, and that the sword itself must be held by the hand that was best fitted to use it. Marius first triumphed for his African victory, and, as an intimation to the Senate that the power for the moment was his and not theirs, he entered the Curia in his triumphal dress. He then prepared for the barbarians who, to the alarmed imagination of the city, were already knocking at its gates. Time was the important element in the matter. Had the Cimbri come at once after their victory at Orange, Italy had been theirs. But they did not come. With the unguided movements of some wild force of nature, they swerved away through Aquitaine to the Pyrenees. They swept across the mountains into Spain. Thence, turning north, they passed up the Atlantic coast and round to the Seine, the Gauls flying before them; thence on to the Rhine, where the vast body of the Teutons joined them, and fresh detachments of the Helvetii. It was as if some vast tide-wave had surged over the country and rolled through it, searching out the easiest passages. At length, in two divisions, the invaders moved definitely toward Italy, the Cimbri following their old tracks by the Eastern Alps toward Aquileia and the Adriatic, the Teutons passing down through Provence, and making for the road along the Mediterranean. Two years had been consumed in these wanderings, and Marius was by this time ready for them. The Senate had dropped the reins, and no longer governed or misgoverned; the popular party, represented by the army, was supreme. Marius was continued in office, and was a fourth time consul. He had completed his military reforms, and the army was now a professional service, with regular pay. Trained corps of engineers were attached to each legion. The campaigns of the Romans were thenceforward to be conducted with spade and pickaxe as much as with sword and javelin, and the soldiers learnt the use of tools as well as arms.