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Voluntary exile of Scipio.

considered him capable of a base action. When, therefore, on the second day of the trial, Scipio appeared on the market-place, he reminded the people that it was just the anniversary of the day on which he had defeated the greatest enemy of the Roman nation at Zama. It was not fit, he said, to bring a charge on this day against the man to whom it was due that the Roman commonwealth still existed. He was not going to lower himself by listening to the insolent accusations of a vulgar brawler, but he would render thanks to the protecting gods of his country. With these words he left the forum and went to the Capitol, into the temple of Jupiter, and thence to his home, accompanied by the mass of the people, while the tribune and his official attendants were left alone in the market-place.

This, it is true, did not terminate the prosecution. Cato and his party were not the men to be intimidated by rhetorical clap-trap. But the trial was postponed because the accused, on the plea of ill-health, left Rome and retired to his country seat near Liternum. Scipio could not make up his mind to appear once more before the people to clear himself of charges so fatal to his honour. He was too proud to accept even an acquittal from the goodwill of the multitude. His temper was soured with the feeling of having his great services requited by ingratitude; he spent the rest of his life in voluntary exile, and died, without having returned to Rome,2 in the year 183 B.C.

1 Liv. xxxviii. 50, 11: Iussus dicere causam sine ulla criminum mentione orationem adeo magnificam de rebus ab se gestis est exorsus, ut satis constaret neminem unquam neque melius neque verius laudatum esse.

2 When Lucius Scipio had been condemned to refund the sums unlawfully appropriated, and had refused to give securities for the payment, an order was given for his imprisonment. His brother Publius happened during the trial to be absent as legatus' in Etruria. Upon the news of his brother's position he hastened back to Rome, and by his zealous intervention obtained the intercession of Sempronius Gracchus, one of the tribunes, in favour of Lucius Scipio (Liv. xxxviii. 56, 8). This somewhat theatrical intermezzo looks suspicious-nay, it is utterly incredible on the assumption that the trial of Publius was commenced before that of Lucius. If the character of the haughty conqueror of Hannibal is correctly drawn in the annals, we think it


Later for

tunes of the

On his deathbed Scipio ordered that his ashes should not rest in the family vault outside the Porta Capena. Even in death he wished to remain away from his ungrateful country. When the historian Livy visited his grave in Scipios. Liternum, he found his statue thrown down from its pedestal. The star of the great family of the Scipios had paled. Only once, in the adopted son of his own son, the younger Scipio Emilianus, who passed from the family of the Emilii into that of the Scipios, the name acquired new military reputation, and then the family sank into insignificance.

of Publius

Scipio Africanus has been counted among the great Character men of antiquity; but that is an honour which he hardly Scipio. deserves. A great part of the respect that he enjoyed is due to the position of his family, which was then the first in Rome. As a general he distinguished himself among the mass of Roman commanders by daring to conceive bold plans and contriving to execute them with spirit, whereas the majority of them scarcely ever ventured beyond the general routine. As a statesman he was with

impossible that, after his disdainful refusal to submit to the indignity of a public trial, he should have availed himself of the pretext of a senatorial mission for the purpose of keeping out of the way; even if we say nothing of the small probability that Cato and the rest of his enemies would have allowed the trial to break down through such a subterfuge. It is still more improbable that Publius Scipio would have condescended to implore the intercession of a tribune, especially if that tribune, as is reported of Gracchus, was his personal enemy. On the other hand, the absence of Publius Scipio from Rome during the trial of his brother Lucius can be admitted and understood if we place his own trial after that of Lucius. In that case, being himself not directly attacked or accused, but only annoyed at the charge brought against his brother, a charge which he thought unfair and easy to rebut, he may have chosen for a time to absent himself. His affection for his brother may even have induced him to return and to intercede in his favour, which he could never have done had he himself been under an accusation at the time. But, on the whole, we are inclined to doubt the story of the intercession of Publius in favour of his brother, and all that is connected with it. The speech of Tiberius Gracchus, quoted by Livy (xxxviii. 56, 5), was, as Livy himself surmised, Lot authentic. It was a rhetorical composition of a much later period, and cannot be used as historical evidence. It is even probable, as Mommsen suggests (Forschungen, ii. p. 502), that the so-called speech of Gracchus was a party pamphlet dating from the civil wars shortly before the murder of Cæsar.


Public services of Cato.


out original ideas, and too much taken up with personal and family policy to devote himself with singleness of to the welfare of the state. At a time when the wealth and integrity of the Roman people were decaying more and more under the selfish rule of the nobility, he neither endeavoured, like Cato, to arrest the increasing degeneracy by legal or constitutional means; nor did he conceive the idea of a reform, like his grandsons, the two Gracchi, who were unfortunately born too late to retrieve the fate of the republic. On the contrary, he supported and strengthened the preponderating influence of the nobility, and for his own person he ventured to claim an exceptional and independent position. But his taste for the exercise of irresponsible power was not seconded by genius and audacity. Had he possessed these qualities, he might, in point of fact, have secured for himself that undisputed supremacy in the state which would have satisfied his pride.'

When the dominion of the Scipios in the senate had been overthrown, Cato obtained the censorship (184 B.C.), and from this time up to his death, for thirty-five years, he remained, not the leader of the nobility (for such a position was incompatible with the nature of the oligarchy), but at least the man most influential in their councils. Although his activity as an advocate both for prosecution and defence, as a political orator before the people and in the senate, and finally as ambassador on various occasions, was unceasing, he found time, nevertheless, to superintend his own private affairs, to increase his property by commercial speculations, to watch over and conduct the education of his children, and to indulge in study and literary labours. By his fearless attacks upon the political sins of his contemporaries2 he made a great number of enemies,

P. Scipio died 183 B.C., within the space of one twelvemonth after his great rival Hannibal and Philopomen. There has been much controversy on the subject of the date of his death, caused by the divergence among the classical writers themselves. In my opinion the point is definitively settled by Mommsen (Forschungen, ii. p. 479 ff.).

2 Seneca, Epist. xiii. 2, 9 (87, 9): Scipio cum hostibus nostris bellum, Cato cum moribus gessit.

and was himself accused no less than forty-four times; but each time he had the satisfaction of being acquitted. Like a bully, trusting to his own strength and skill, he sought disputes on all sides, actuated, it is true, by the conviction that he was fulfilling a public duty, but certainly not without the hearty satisfaction of seeing his personal enemies wince and writhe under his blows. His share in the impeachment of the Scipios is an example. More unselfishness and noble-mindedness were displayed by him in his attack on the wretched Sulpicius Galba, the ruffianly butcher of the Lusitanians, whom he accused before the people in his eighty-fourth year, a short time before his death.1 We see plainly by Cato's course of action what an important part political trials occupied in the life of the Roman republic; how they were calculated to complete or to be a substitute for the imperfect control to which the magistrates were subjected. We see that no sufficient provision had been made to keep the body politic in a sound and healthy condition, and that it was absolutely necessary to adopt these partial and violent remedies for the cure of evils inseparable from a form of government which confided enormous discretionary powers to men exposed to great temptations.



Hence forensic eloquence was, next to military service, Oratory of the course of training for those who aspired to political Cato. honours. Cato had already learnt the rudiments of this art in his native place, the country town of Tusculum, and he continued his studies in Rome till he became one of the most redoubted rhetorical gladiators of his time. His political eloquence would have been a powerful instrument in his hands, if he had chosen to exert his great strength of will not for the preservation or restora1 Vol. iii. p. 388.

2 This is the light in which we should look at the political trials so frequent in republican Rome. Mommsen (R. Gesch. ii. p. 73) represents them as an abuse and a sign of decay. It became customary,' he says, 'for beardless youths of noble birth, who wished to enter with éclat on public life, to play the part of Catos with the crude passion of their puerile eloquence, and by attacking some prominent and unpopular man to assume the character of guardians of public law.' Granted that this often was the case, it does not prove that state trials in Rome served no other and higher purpose.


Personal character of Cato.

tion of worn-out institutions, but for reforms demanded by the age. However, there is no evidence to show that he was anything but a one-sided conservative. He saw the greatness of Rome in the olden time,' and he endeavoured without success to bring this old time back. He was earnest and sincere, but he was not always true in action to the principles he professed. Although no man in Rome was in the habit of putting so little restraint upon his own tongue or pen,' he constantly railed against others for talking much. He boasted with blatant selfsufficiency of his hostility to the Greeks, of his contempt for everything Greek; but he diligently studied Greek, and culled flowers from the Greek Parnassus to adorn his speech. He preached moderation and abstinence in private life, but was as eager for pecuniary gain as any Roman could be. His home and foreign policy was not more guided by firm principles than his private life. His magnanimity towards the Rhodians 3 contrasted strangely with the ferocity which he evinced on all occasions to the unfortunate Carthaginians. For him the ideas of right and wrong were determined by what, according to his own notion, was demanded by the interest of the state. If he had lived in the Middle Ages, he would probably have turned zealot for the Romish Church, would have preached asceticism and fanaticism, and his morals would have been those not of general humanity, but of that party of which he had made himself the champion.


It speaks greatly in favour of Cato and of his contemporaries that, in spite of his lack of personal amiability, he never lost the universal esteem. If the younger Scipio, as even Polybius reports, preferred keeping away

1 Mommsen on several occasions speaks of a reform party as having existed at Rome in Cato's age, and he represents Cato as the soul and leader of this party (Röm. Gesch. i. p. 825). Yet he finds that there was after all more noise and talking than action (ibid. ii. p. 73). The fact is, there was no such party at that time, and if there had been, Cato would most assuredly have been its bitterest opponent. He was a conservative to the core.

2 Cato's tongue was never quiet. Of his published speeches, fifty were known to Cicero (Brut. 17).

Vol. iii. p. 269.

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