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SUMMARY Plutarch's motives in writing the Lives of illustrious men. No:
ble extraction of Paulus Æmilius. His birth, first offices, and exploits. His marriages; war in Liguria, and taste for the sciences. War with Perseus, king of Macedon. Origin of the Roman war with that country. Paulus Æmilius is elected con, sul a second time, and appointed to the management of the Macedonian war. He harangues the people, and sets off. Perseus' avarice; and Æmilius' judicious conduct. Different opi. nions about springs and fountains. Æmilius enters Macedon by mount Olympus. Height of that mountain. Scipio crosses it. Perseus' consternation; and the prudent measures of Æmilius. Eclipse of the moon. Plan of the battle. Perseus retreats. Vigo. rous resistance of the Macedonian phalanx; which, however, is at last broken. Æmilius gains a complete víctory: is alarmed for bis son. Perseus flies, and carries off his treasures to Sa. mothrace. Æmilius in two days takes possession of the whole of Macedon. Despatch with which the intelligence is conveyed to Rome. Other instances of the speedy circulation of news. Perseus is taken, and kindly treated by Æmilius. His abject behaviour. Æmilius' speech to his soldiers upon the vicissitudes of human affairs. He travels in Greece, and introduces there many judicious regulations. His great satisfaction in that country. He passes into Epirus; and returns to Italy. Servius VOL. III.
Galba endeavours to deprive him of the honour of a triumph. Servilius addresses the people in his favour. A triumph is de. creed to him. Its extraordinary magnificence. Perseus is led up in it, with his children. Æmilius' personal splendor. He loses his two sons; but supports his misfortune with great magnanimity. Death of Perseus, and fate of his children. Taxes abolished at Rome. Difference of Æmilius' conduct from that of his son Scipio. He is elected censor: dies. Honours paid him. He leaves behind him very inconsiderable property.
WHEN I first applied myself to the writing of these Lives, it was for the sake of others; but I pursue and persevere in that study for my own; availing myself of history as of a mirrois, from which I learn to adjust and regulate my conduct. For it is like living and conversing with these illustrious men, when I invite as it were and receive them, one after another, under my roof; when I consider
How great and wonderful they were3, and select from their actions the most memorable and glorious:
1 This Life is by the modern editors of Amyot, and by M. Ri. card, judiciously made to precede that of Timoleon, as the preface clearly indicates it ought to be; in opposition to most of the editors of Plutarch, who seem to have thought without sufficient foundation, that the Greek should always go before his Roman parallel. 2 So Terence,
(Adelph. iii. 4.) And Livy,
Hoc illud est præcipue in cognitione rerum salubre ac frugiferum, omnis te exempli documenta in illustri posita monumento intueri: inde tibi, tuæque reip., quod imitere capias; inde fædum inceptu, fedum exitu, quod vites. (Præf.)*
3 οσσος εην οιoς τε --- Hóm. Il. xxiv. 629. where the phrase is applied to Priam's admiration of Achilles. These allosions at once prove the fulness of Plutarch's mind, and set off his compositions.*
What greater bliss! What medicine, of our manners
More powerfully corrective! Democritus has a position in his philosophy*, utterly false indeed and leading to endless superstitions, that there are phantasms or images continually floating in the air, some propitious and some unlucky; and advises us to pray, that such may strike upon our senses, as are agreeable to and perfective of our nature, and not such as have a tendency to vice and error. For my part, in. stead of this, I fill my mind with the sublime images of the best and greatest men, by attention to history and biography; and if I contract any blemish, any ill custom or ungenerous feeling from other company in which I am unavoidably engaged, I correct and expel them, by calmly and dispassionately turning my thoughts to these excellent examples. For the same purpose, I now put into your's hands the life of Timoleon the Corinthian and that of Æmilius Paulus, men celebrated not only for their pursuits but their virtues; insomuch that they have left room to doubt, whether their great achievements were not more owing to their good fortune, than to their prudence.
Most writers agree, that the Æmilian family was one of the most ancient among the Roman nobility: and it is asserted that the founder of it, who also left it his surname, was Mamercuse the son of Pythagoras the philosopher7, who for the peculiar charms and gracefulness of
4 Democritús held that visible objects produced their image in the ambient air, which image produced a second, and the se. cond a third still less than the former, and so on till the last produced its counterpart in the eye. This he supposed to be the process of the act of vision, and called ogaev xareldw.cov SM T TWTES, But he went on to what is infinitely more absurd. He maintained that thought was formed, accordingly as those images struck upon the imagination; that of these there were some good, and some evil; that the good produced virtuous thoughts in us, and the evil the contrary. (L.) Plutarch, however, has made a fine use of this whimsical theory. Lucretius has amplified the notion of images (simulacra) in the beginning of his fourth book, ver. 34. &c.
For an account of Democritus, see Diog. Laert. ix. 34.
5 Viz. those of Sessius Senecio. See not. 3. at the beginning of the Life of Theseus. *
6 See the Life of Numa, Vol. I.
7 He is called Pythagoras the philosopher, to distinguish him from Pythagoras the wrestler.