The Praise of the Emperor Julian the Apostate
His Princely Virtues, and Final Apostacy – Modernised

I dare not affirm him temperate, that shuns surfeits;[1] nor him grave, that despiseth lightness; nor him valiant, that loves to converse with danger. It is no precious thing, my opinion, and yet I am afraid to spend it: let physicians, a God’s name,[2] be thought trim[3] fellows for determining of the lives of men as if they had come yesterday from the Fates;[4] for my part, except I may have leave to pass through the inside of them, I can say nothing, for all these are no more a kin to Virtue than baseness may challenge of Nobility, because their names sound alike, it being not temperance, not gravity, not fortitude; except the cause that moves these effects, be virtues. The world affords not a more apt example than this Emperor, the history of whose life is full of so many excellent things as hardly he that is a votary against the world and hath nothing to think of but keeping his vow, may equal him in all these outward appearances, that favourable judgements call the way to heaven, but in the depth of impiety; again, not the most reprobate, comparable;[5] yet was he so temperate as he never surfeited nor vomited oftener, than he was made Caesar, and that of cheese: in the provocations of the flesh none chaster,[6] no unthrift of his treasure and time, in public sports a common disease of greatness: no lascivious pleasure[7] did rust and consume his time, so cautious was he of it, as the very nights he divided into upholding his body, the bettering his mind, the serving his country; he needed not Alexander’s ball of metal[8] to awake him for the thinness of his diet[9] required not much sleep, whereas the other was a good fellow and gave his hot constitution leave to lead him to banquets and quaffings.[10] For his valour,[11] ask all the histories of his time and you shall find they make so great a noise about nobody, but all these help him not, so irreligious a heart possessed them, proceeding most of them out of his education, some from his nature, none from virtue: how justly then may we suspect our opinions of men that carry the form of the exactest lives? Methinks it were well if they were let alone untill the next world, for it is to be doubted whether praises be not like rain that increaseth weeds as well as nourisheth the corn, for it begets[12] hypocrites, and for the truly virtuous, they neither care for it nor need it: if all men were of my mind, they that are good and they that never came nearer than a desire to be thought so, should shortly be discerned one from another for his soft pacing, his grave attire and constant countenance, shall not work a whit upon me, no, not a speech well read with the head and the fingers finely placed; no, not the naming vice in choler and putting off his hat when virtue is called; no, not the defying the world, nor challenging the combat of concupiscence:[13] these are but words of course, but promises, but nothing. Promittas facito, quid enim promittere laedit? Pollicitis dives, quilibet esse potest.[14] But this it is to write without the hope of gaining by a maecenas[15] or the ambition of method; my matter, my stile, hang disjointed and uncemented, neither of them keep their place, but gallops and trots and ambles; the reason, I never gave Tully[16] an hour for any of his rethoric, I send not my words a-wooing, I care not, so they can get to their journey’s end, though they cannot caper,[17] nor dance: there is a grace in the sound of words but it is not mine, I give my thoughts clothes suddenly and so fit, that they may be understood; but whether they be in fashion and well shaped, is not my care, I am of too rude a nature to be so nice, and mine ears are so harsh that I could never yet understand the sweetness of the sound of opinion; but to that I take in hand.

First, let me not be condemned for my subject: he was an ill man, that was his loss, but this ill was only ill at the journey’s end; for most of his actions were good here, and had been good for ever, if they had not served an ill master: but at the worst, Virtue is not so proud as not to extract what may be made good out of ill, for there is a spirit in vice that being cunningly drawn out will serve even the best; so full it is of a quick and piercing vigour, he hath a poor library to behold, that reads only the good; let him turn over all that desires to be profound; let him earn Virtue with digging it out of vice, and he will keep it the better; let him fetch it out of the entrals[18] of ill, that will glory of his conquest; from those soft ministers of the mind, the Arts which make the soul read to the body, and make practice but a slight, through the mind’s foreknowledge.

This Prince came to the managing arms, not with such a people whose weakness was fit to nourish a novice but with those fierce and warlike; yet was he victorious and made those that were wont[19] to be feared, fear: Qui aliis terrore esse consueuerat, ipsum sibi timere coegit.[20] Who allows not of such an excellent beginning? When I hear of any great souldier I ask his age, when if old, it takes away mine admiration; for upon a wise minority I look with greatest affection. But here comes a privy token to know intents by, Sed haec laus etiam miserrima ambitionis labe contaminata est, cum se Augustum salutari voluit:[21] so greedy are those minds that intend only to serve their own turn; no sooner have they attained to an achievement commendable, but they enforce praises out of the mouths of men; they will swagger[22] for titles and respect; yea, it becomes Lord, even of themselves; for reason of more weight, that in another man’s case should have prevailed, with the eyes of ambition seem dwarfish,[23] weak and little. That wise and warlike servant to the kingdom of Spain,* the Duke of Alba, hath much of his glory dusked[24] by an historian that relates the (a) Prior of Crato would have come to a good composition, but he would not hear of it because it could not have been then said he conquered Portugal with the sword, of such a value were a few idle words, as his master’s profit and his own truth were thought things meet[25] to give place to this wind, to this nothing. But behold how Fortune sometimes plays the same part that wisdom doth and brings a successful end to false beginnings. Unde bellum civile atrocissimum esset consecutum, nisi mors pene repentina Constantium ante sustulisset.[26] Thus doth that blind guide make arguments to overthrow judgement: thus upon the death of Alexander de Medici,[27] Cosimo was enthroned, being scarce out of the dawn of his childhood without much pain or study that had cost his predecessors much trouble, much care. So doth it please the divine wisdom to demonstrate to mortal eyes their impotency; for it is he, there is no fortune, it is he that makes those things that seem to have idle beginnings, prove profitable at the end. Both these examples, though in some things different, yet agree in the demonstrating: those things that we understand not, and therefore call chances, have often as fair an end as things proposed; which is the will of heaven to teach us earthlings that our purposes cannot go whither[28] they are commanded without his pleasure. At his coronation,[29] and after, he seemed modestly to mislike his greatness, the common trick of ambition, who still desires to seem careless of what he chiefely thirsts after; if it be not so, it is as with us all, that like those things that are farthest off. He used often to protest, Nihil se amplius assecutum, quam ut occupatior interiret:[30] a speech that, methinks, draws the nature of his place lively; and withal, the happiness of his place; for there cannot be a more noble state than that which perforce[31] bids us to be industrious and busy; a more worthy business can there not be than the employment of a Prince: he feels not death that dieth thus, he hath other business than to breed thoughts of terror; and for them that find greatness and yet make death terrible, it comes from the abuse of their authority, for they truly using it, are unsensible of smart, and fear not death nor his worst countenance.

After his possession of the Empire he invaded Persia, drawn the more willingly by a persuasion, that his body had gotten Alexander[32] his soul, and should have his success. Good Lord, into what uncertain and ridiculous imaginations are they led, that have not the anchor-hold of Religion! Went it no further than this, it were most precious; for it keeps our thoughts in good order, which otherwise would make us all as wild as mad men, for we bred monsters and misshapen things in our brain, which did not the conscience reduce into fashion (which conscience is the child of Divinity), we should not touch one another for fear of breaking, but sometime such a persuasion carrieth higher and handsomer than ever meant enforcing imitation. I knew once a fellow mean enough and as meanly qualitied, being said to be like a great man, began to engender stirring thoughts[33] of spirit, of well doing and, at the last , arrived at the pitch of an indifferent worthy fellow; but within a while this must be cast off. It is not amiss[34] at the first to give children plums for learning their lesson, but afterwards they must love learning for knowledge’s sake, these for virtues. Of the happiness of his perfections, and then of his imperfections, his temperance[35] carried with it a number of commodities; for besides health, it maintained the strength and vivacity of his spirit, which the abundance of eating and drinking is wont to quench,[36] at least kill; his sleeps were thereby less (the drowner of the spirits) being the image of death,[37] the maker of the understanding dull and senseless; but the best quality is the cooling of lust, which banqueting and excess are wont to kindle in the body, and the body to fire the mind; but this abstinence brings the other under, and curbs[38] lust, which usually melteth away, and so becometh the maintainer of the life of man. His example is not of the least consequence, the life of the Prince being the book of the subject,[39] from which nothing may withdraw them, though his abundance may seem to license him and exempt them, they will take it for no answer, nor in truth is it sufficient, for I think they were lent him to do others good with, not himself hurt; provident[40] in spending his treasure, parsimonious of his time, both strengtheners of himself, for by the first he comes not to need others, by the last not to com¬plain of time, for they live the shortest (though most years) that misspend it; a lamentable thing, even worse than mortality, for this death is worse than that: a great means of this was the custom of delighting the people[41] and of honouring their gods with sundry[42] public sports; and what might be the reason besides ignorance in the Roman State upholding these I can but guess: it might be with their commonalty,[43] as with our little children, who if not fed with sports will grow wayward and cry, so ticklish are popular States where it is but a step from the best to the worst, that if they be not kept busy, they will mutiny and grow into mislikes; to do well they must be appointed their very thoughts, with feeding them with light stuff, far from the matter. Wherefore, if in no other respect, the Monarchy is to be honoured as the Prince of government,[44] and especially those of succession, where the ambitious and rebellious nature hath not so much to work upon, the people being ever most affectionate to the blood royal, and God having expressly prohibited the using violence to his anointed: the secret meaning of these sports was best known to the Romans, but of the diseases of them I have noted 2.[45] in the time of Nero,[46] and both of them methinks likely to follow. The one of them was, when the Procurators, Proconsuls, or other Magistrates, had abused the authority of their places with pilling[47] and taxing the subjects of the Empire, they came to Rome and made their peace with giving the people the sight of sword-players, or some such things. Here is the Prohibition: Edixit Caesar ne quis Magistratus, aut Procurator, qui Provinciam obtinert spectaculum gladiatorum, aut ferarum, aut quod aliud ludicrum aderet; this is the medicine, the disease followeth: Nam ante non minus tali largitione, quam corripiendis pecuniis subjectos affligebant, dum quae libidine deliquerant, ambitu propugnant.[48] It is a circumspection most behoveful[49] for the Magistrate, to take away the means of getting these keys to open the people’s heart with, which is to be certainliest performed, with stopping all springs that would feed them, but the fountain of chief authority, for otherwise, they will, like tame birds, readily come to the call of him that gives them meat. The other[50] was, how apt the celebrations were to nourish a lascivious Prince, showing and directing the way to softness and excess, which is well approved by this Empire of liberty and festivals, and the ancient Laconian[51] strictness, where there was never riotous Prince; in the other, every second or third Emperor a monster: there is not a more dangerous thing than power in a wanton hand,[52] which every way ruinates his charge; for if it lives to grow old, it becomes tyranny, in the mean time corrupts himself and Commonwealth: the natural man loving bodily pleasures, when cherished by the life of a lascivious Prince, the nature of it is doubled. Est vulgus cupiens voluptatum et, si eo Princeps trahat, laetum.[53] They are well contented with such a Governor, alas, their countenances are unfit guides for a Statesman; methinks they are like the sense of taste, that never considereth the operation, but taste: fair otherwise was this Prince, which he lays to his edu¬cation, though I think Nature had made him of too rough a mould to be carried with such lightness; yet might it be his familiarity with letters, which carrieth the mind so high, as most other things appear base and contemptible; this speech is the child of such a mind, turpe esse sapienti, cum habeat animam captare laudes ex corpore:[54] it is a speech worthy of the worthiest mouth, and proclaims to the ambitious where to buy the best glory and commendations. It resteth to tell what were the weights that made his vices heaviest,[55] the lightness of his nature, or inconstancy, his pursuit of unlawful knowledges, and lastly, his ambition and coveting dominion. I do not cry fie[56] of inconstancy,[57] or curse it, for by the leave of age’s settledness, there is never a pesant in the world trains up youth better, I abhor it in age, and stop my nose at it; but youth’s best lectures are read by inconstancy;[58] never stamp, Mistress Experience, at my opinion, for were it not lawful for age to forget, I should call you ungrateful, for Inconstancy was your nurse, and all the strange experiments you have passed, she carried you through. But when age begins to decline a body, it is time to leave it: he hath spent his time ill, that knows not then what to trust to, which known must be held to the death, yea and in death. Martyrdom[59] is one of the best fashioned cuts that Dame Atropos[60] hath: me thinks, at that time Death playeth a gallant conductor, and leads us to an assault that passed, deserves triumph, his ill-directed knowledges deserve the greatest blame,[61] for all knowledges whatsoever that have poisoned man with the persuasion of standing only upon his own strength, are both feeble and impious; they are like legs that have only strength to carry the body where it may destroy itself: amongst these Magic and Astrology,[62] the studies of vain melancholic natures, but especially the devil-binders[63] are the most sottish[64] people in the world, for what can be more ridiculous than to think herbs, spells, and cir¬cles can enforce infernal spirits to be ruled by mortal men, or that God will give a power to his Name abused? But Astrology is not so ill. The other Magic is the game that the devil plays at fast and loose with man, but the abuse of knowledge, the disease of the finest metals, deserves more pity; of all the great troupes that go this way, I find few arrived at an indifferent commendation; I cannot tell, they are cut off either by pride, vanity, or contempt; this is the cousinage of partiality; do you think there is such an excellency in having slubbered an Aristotle? Fie,no. If you understood Aristotle, you might be bettered; there is not such a virtue in genus and species,[65] as you have set it down in your inventory, they are but names; and Art itself but the stilts of a cripple: for if we could go without them, what should we do with them? Vanity, pride’s minority, belongeth to this crew: such are those that having taken a dose of Cicero, presently learn their tongues to dance a cinquepace;[66] these utter orations so like Cicero’s as they seem the same, so well can they enforce a circumstance and neatly slide from one limb of Rethoric to another, away with this whorish eloquence, with this breath-merchandise, it becomes not the gravity of a professed scholar, no more than it doth a general, reckoned to be skilful at his needle. The last is Pride in grain,[67] contempt; an humor sodden in self-opinion, a disease killing the love of his country and countrymen, the persuasion to make him to apply the riches of his mind to the benefit of others, but this is taken away; for contempt and love were never friends, and then he is no other than a buried treasure. This disease[68] is to be known by separating his customs from the world, by an eye full of disdain, by a countenance borrowed from the picture of some old philosopher: for no people am I more sorry than for these, which abuse the picture of our first and most blessed state, they that desire cure, let them go to Seneca, Frons nostra, populo conveniat,[69] and after more thoroughly, Id agamus, ut meliorem vitam sequamur quam vulgus, non ut contrariam.[70] I am glad yet that Seneca’s time was troubled with these inkhorn[71] braggarts, as well as we.

But this Emperor’s coveting dominion,[72] of which I shall speak like one in a dream, for I cannot think like a Prince, and I am glad of it, for they are thoughts too big for me, but as I guess, Ambition is more natural and profitable in a Prince than private men, for the definition of utile et honestum[73] with them, and us, is not all one, our states and our professions differ, and all one instrument will not serve us.

Julian’s Dialogue of the Caesars.[74]

I desire to have the picture of famous men by mine ear not mine eye, I prefer the historian before the painter, I get nothing by the fashion of his face but by the knowledge of his life: the pen is the best pencil which draws the mind, the other, that tells you the stature and proportion of the body may delight, not profit; give me therefore their works if writers, if not, their lives written by others: thus think I of books (the issue of our minds) all which are not without some profit, for there is no soul altogether barren but especially those that are able and do write in earnest, those bind the whole world to them, for they dissolve their spirits to make theirs more precious, and by the help of time have made that excellent cordial, that the soul digesting may recover and be preserved against our natural disease, ignorance. I sucked[75] not long enough of my schoolmaster to prove a commentor,[76] I cannot fetch words from their swaddling bands, nor make them interpret the quality of the things known by them, I tract them not, nor set a brand of them when I meet them, nor compare the words of one au¬thor with another; if I can make joining work of the matter, I go contented, for I work not for words and thus nature hath framed me, and I will not go to surgery for an alteration; for methinks it becomes a gentle spirit well, to leave the dross[77] and fly to the matter he writes not under the hard restraint of fear or gain, but gallantly gives the world the travels of his mind, and it is gallantly, for a mercenary liberalist is in little better state than a renegado.[78] Let him then that courts his censurers with sweet titles for fear of bitterness, or him that sends his book of a voyage in hope of gain, tend this cutting up words and such stuff; but he that writes so purely as to want these, let him run into things of worth, and fetch secrets out of the entrals of actions. I have read history, but they seldom do any more than make the times confess; some upon history, most simple, some better, others dangerous; but this dialogue hath of the virtue of both and little of their idleness, full of excellent observation, and withall quick; so well did the stomach of mine Understanding like it, that she boiled longer than ordinary, and here is the digestion.

It is not my manner to be busy about the manner of the feast, the place, nor other circumstances; let it suffice the Author makes Romulus[79] invite his successors to a feast, at whose entrance Silenus,[80] Jupiter’s buffone, hits them where they were left unarmed by Virtue.

I promise neither method nor antiquity; but after my fashion thus. First Julius Caesar enters,[81] of whom Silenus bids Jupiter beware lest he plots his deposing; for he is (saith he) great and fair; thus dangerous is the neighbourhood of Ambition:[82] for all other affections that are wont to maintain amity are not here; for Ambition loves nothing but itself, nor pities, nor regards: so both commending his reason and passion to be slaves to this humour is good only for that, to all other dangerous. Besides the humour, he had two instruments belong¬ing to it: he was great and fair; alas, what account should we make of our reason? Since she suffereth the vainest occasions to beget the seriousest purposes. Is it not pitiful that Valour should be beholding to the drum and trumpet, and flying of the colours and the glittering of armour? Yet is it, and I think few spirits but amongst the rest have found these the inflamer of courage; no less absurd is the election of a magistrate by his beauty;[83] yet is it common for that whorish affection to prevail, the which ranked with this greatness overcoming sufficiency, when men whose evidence lieth in their titles; shall possess places where wisdom is behoveful, and patrias laudes sentiat esse suas.[84] Of all which there is to be noted the baseness of our choice, the sluggishness[85] of our reason, for not forbidding the banes. And lastly, how they throw themselves into the hands of Fortune, with managing these high things so basely. In the description of Octavius’ entrance,[86] I note Poetry’s power, he makes him appeare in divers colours, which, me thinks, doth here more handsomely than the plain truth:[87] for it had not been so fit to have said, policy suits his form like the occasion and alters as it alters; of him, Silenus, Papae, quam varium hoc animal,[88] such must be policy, for his trade is with the divers dispositions of man and according to them must be divers.

Then Tiberius with a grave and cruel countenance,[89] who he after paints full of scars and scabs, as testimonies of his tyranny and intemperance,[90] to whom Silenus, Longe alius mihi nunc, quam ante videres.[91] But, methinks, his verse is not rightly applied, for tyrants are ever deformed, marry, fear in their lives makes it inward, after their deaths apparent; thus prettily doth time mock mortality, first tying one party and suffering the other to beat them, then the loosed, tied, and the tied, loosed; thus tyranny and subjection: tyranny as long as it lasts buffets[92] his underlings, but death at last gives the loser a time of revenge, when he woundeth their memories, without fear or danger.

After Silenus assaults his abominable life in the Island Capri,[93] in no life do the blemishes[94] of life appear so visibly as in Princes’s, whose height and pow¬er, as it may do much, so is it most observed. I wonder he lets him escape for Sejanus, his doting upon whom, was much more impardonable than the simple Claudius,[95] because the former professed craft, the other always governed by smocks[96] and slaves.

At Claudius’ entrance he repeats a comedy[97] and after complains of Romulus for suffering him to come without Narcissus,[98] Palantus,[99] and his wife Messalina:[100] thus it happens with them that bear the names of great places and lay their execution upon others; thus with them that are so tender-hearted as to be led by others;[101] thus have I often observed servile con¬ditions to undermine their masters, there being great loss in granting to the will of intercessors, for the gift is theirs, the thanks another’s; wherefore it is the duty of discretion to reserve to themselves the occasion of importance, and he that giveth, to be unknown himself to him that he gives. Now comes Nero and his harp:[102] nothing is so fast tied to us as our faults, we are never mentioned without them, they hackney[103] our names to death and never leave spurring them till they have killed them. This man, saith Silenus, imitates Apollo,[104] in the mean time beholds his misshapen course, that destinated to an Empire pursues the faculty of a musician: I never see any that profess skill in many things; in these high matters much less; one being enough for one. There follows a troupe together, though Vindex[105] shows the suppression of tyranny, is behoveful to the commonwealth, but dangerous to the party. Galba[106] was ever too little or too big, for his fortune, being thought fit for an Empire whilst private, when an Emperor, unworthy and ended his slave’s slave.

Otho[107] might have been examined about the government of Lusitania, whether he possessed not that, to be dispossessed of Poppea. For Vitellius[108] let Jupiter look his cheer be good, or else his palate will purse his host. Galba shows the difference between opinion and trial, and withal that there is no greater enemy to praise than expectation. Otho, that it is not impossible to possess great places for vild[109] causes. Vitellius that there is nothing that discovers a lascivious mind so clearly as power and authority. Vespasian[110] follows a Prince that Silenus could find no fault with, but it seems he had not read Dion, who relates the time of his whore’s death:[111] here is the odds of being near an Emperor, for a thousand better deserving women died in those times without mention; he saith he delighted much in her, neither becoming his age, office, nor wisdom, but I find none without some ail or other.

It had been a good time for Silenus to have asked this, what it was he repented him of, whether it were his loving his brother’s wife to wed, or not, hating his brother enough, or else his fearing the people, more than loving Berenice. Domitian[112] had been better for a butcher’s shop than a palace: for there it could hardly have been said of him, Solus est, ne musca quidem cum eo.[113] Now Trajan appears,[114] upon whose sight Silenus gives Jupiter warning to look to Ganymedes:[115] he might also have bidden him be careful of his nectar,[116] for he loved his lector as well as boys. The grave fellow following must be in Aurelius,[117] according to my guess a fellow meeter to have made a private man than a Prince, one of his commendations was his sufferance:[118] a good pretty praise for a subject, but nothing fit for a Prince, he was also pitiful, a procurer of love; but what of that, love thus obtained, is too familiar a Virtue for an Emperor. Pertinax bought his regality at a dear rate, his greatest fault was his ill husbandry, for as trees in their first growth are defended by briars, which after¬wards uncut-up, overthrow the flourishing of the tree, so an unlawful elected Prince, seldom escapes pulling down by those that set him up; for covetousness being the cause of their combination, nothing can serve their unsatiable desires, nor be thought a sufficient recompence; ask Laetus[119] else by the fortune of Plautianus. Here comes Severus,[120] a Prince of indifferent worthiness, had not his virtue suffered shipwreck by his affections, erant ei filii multo chariores quam cives,[121] which though a private man may confess, whose government is but a household, it is a shame for a Prince, whose office as it resembles the gods in power, so should it in being free from partiality. Macrinus[122] entereth: a thing made by chance,[123] and overthrown by chance, come from a base progeny and ruined by an infant. Alas, for this poor fellow that follows;[124] Alexander that died because he loved his parents well; this is he that would give any money for quietness[125] and made orators the supporters of his Empire. Debere unumquemque suis fortunis acquiescere,[126] a speech fit for a warm chamber and no business, questionless he sought not the Empire, but the Empire him: so do the Fates or chance, or if you will, more high and certain powers constitute ignorant men in high places, to distemper all, to give after the more grace to the reorderer. There follows more, but I will not follow all, nor stand upon the author’s poetry, or by-speeches, I write upon him, not him out, they that will have it more orderly, were best go thither for it.

Comparison between Alexander and Caesar.

Now to the comparison between Alexander and Caesar.[127] Caesar loved a wench,[128] as well as Alexander wine, both faults, but which most dangerous disputable, they both impair the understanding, the one with laying too much upon the head, the other with taking too much from the head: wine drowns reason, lust prefers his wench before the world; in wine Alexander killed Clitus, Caesar proclaims love letters in the senate; both breaches[129] likely to waste authority, but which of them most dangerous, I leave to the censurers, both of them doubtless full of danger, for they are the privy gates, whereat conspirators get entrance. More early did Alexander begin to busy fame, but that was his fortune. Ceasar more worthly, if not at last unworthily; for, he overthrew the hindrance of a mean state, and made way through the obscurity of his birth, which he confesseth difficult: difficilius se principem civitatis a primo ordine in secundum, quam a secundo in novissimum detrudi.[130] How he did this deserves note: I find all his actions, even his youngest, to be carried with great majesty and an intent to lay the foundation of a reverend opinion of him in the hearts of men; his behaviour amongst the pirates was one,[131] the refusing the friendship of Lepidus[132] another, he being the author of restoring the Tribune’s office; these for example, upon which time will not suffer me to work my will, the wise observer may for me, and gain by it, Alexander was not idle in his child’s age;[133] his managing Bucephalus,[134] argued courage; his use of embassadors, wisdom; the denying to run without Kings, majesty; but these were beautified with being the actions of a Prince, for they would not become Caesar half so well, because a private man; that Caesar wept at the sight of Alexander’s picture, is no advantage, for he had the odds of him by birth, then both were happy in not having the first growth of their endeavours, overdripped[135] by men already great, Greece at this time not having any great soldier. Caesar in his first consulship, being matched with a heavy fellow[136] that, not able to keep way with his swiftness and strength of his spirit, gave him leave to manage all matters alone, whereupon his two names served for the names of both the consuls: nonnulli urbanorum cum quid per jocum testandi gratia signarent, non Caesare et Bibulo, sed Julio et Caesare Consule actum scriberent.[137] They tried how the world would like their authorities by two different means. Alexander an absolute Prince invaded Greece, by which he made them understand that his youth deserved not contempt, and brought them to be assistants in the wars against Persia. Caesar, lower but no less politicly, he took the occasion of his daughter’s death,[138] and in an office of affection presented the people with pleasures and novelties: munus populo epulumque pronuntiavit in filiae memoriam, quod ante eum nemo fecit;[139] this was a taste of their likings, a love letter of an amorist,[140] which if taken, more will be taken. Caesar seems in the difficulty of their conquests the worthier, no nation of Alexander’s being comparable either to the Gauls or Helvetians, but in the upshot alike, both the Persian and Pompey being greater in reputation than truth: they did well, as long as they went with the tide. It was the generation long before spent that made the Persian diademe shine with imperial title, the vi¬gor of necessity, that is wont to move magnanimity, was taken away, and now left an overflowing of for¬tune, which makes men degenerate and become slothful. Pompey became great by the travels of Lucullus and others; neither his managing the civil wars[141] was as it should be, nor his adversity rightly managed; so that, methinks, beholding him, I behold nothing but a bubble of fortunes. For their particular valours they were both valiant, in their military discipline they differed, which might be by the difference of their adversaries, nature and country: in the special point of arms they agreed, to encounter the hearts of men, as well as bodies. Therefore did Alex¬ander deny Parmenio[142] the invading his enemies by night, answering the conquests of their hearts gene¬rally, not of a particular army was the way: the Empire of Persia being abundant in men, could never have been overcome, if their discourse could have laid the Macedonian conquests upon any accident, but then vanquished, when fear should make them superstitiously add to the valour of their enemies, and think basely of their own strengths: not thus, but to the same purpose, Caesar never misliked the multitude of his enemies, difficulty being ever a spur to his actions. That humor that Caesar possest his souldiers with, at the scorning life at the hands of Caesar’s ene¬mies, I find not in Alexander’s, yet had he one of the chief instigators the being still a conqueror; for had Caesar sometimes lost, they would have grown weary. This branch came first from the root of success, seconded by some gallant spirits of Caesar’s side, emulated by their followers, rewarded by Caesar; both held the hearts of the souldiers by liberality, the only means to make them apt for great matters, and his means that attempts great matters, that which we call the common good, this is a chief limb of the engrossing which alienates the hearts of subjects more than anything, and with those natures that must feel the effects of virtue, with their hand: no doubt liberality makes them daring, the contrary, cowards. Alexander maintained this honestest, thanks to his patrimony: for a spirit that aims at so great matters, cannot determine those things dishonest that are anything available. Suetonius saith of Caesar, Urbes diruit saepius ob praedam quam delictum,[143] an impardonable fault, for though fury, smart, or rapine may carry the common soldier past the bounds of reason; yet should the general’s mind be still one, and behold nothing with so much love as justice, but this was the violence of Ambition, who dares displease right, than her assistants. Caesar, after his victories, used to give his soldiers an accustomed liberty, a precedent for all the success dangerous, for of all rewards and encouragements, liberty is the most dangerous to the giver. Contrariwise, Alexander then curbed his soldiers, doubting insolency, the destinate disease of success, which he did by giving education to the Persian youth, and after employing them, a design full of wisdom, for his conquests having laid all things at her feet, they had no need of his direction, but he of their loyalties, which had they found, and found before his possession of other strengths, doubtless they would have made him their slave, that counted himself Monarch of the World: but this I find it discommodious,[144] to rely upon one assistant, for two are not so likely to fail as one; and to say truth, both will be the more true, because they are two. Equally did they subject their bodies to raise their reputations, they knew the force of example, and restrained appetite for honour’s sake. Alexander would not add to the thirst of his companions, with the quenching of his own. Caesar in a straight lodging gave his friends the house, and lay himself in the air; I cannot say in the cold, for he that is rapt in the fiery thoughts of ambition, cannot feel heat nor cold, nor any of these distemperatures: it is idleness that betrays us to the opinion of aches and infirmities; for he that employs his mind, carrieth his body about without feeling the burden: the use of these is an ex¬cellent remedy against envy, mean fortune’s thinking greatness, loves greatness to nourish delicacy; but this is disproved by partaking with their extremities. Both entertained a sweetness of nature in bewailing the misery or death of their enemies, which, whether it came from the grounds of clemency, or otherwise to wrap some other purpose in, is hardly to be discerned, for there is no such counterfeiter to the life, as an aspiring disposition. Thus Caesar set up the statues of Silla and Pompey; thus Alexander kindly and honestly entertained the wife and mother of Darius.[145] Caesar took to mercy the relics of Pompey’s overthrown army; Alexander suffered the mother of Darius to solemnize the burials of his slain enemies, which compassion is the only balm to heal up the wound of revenge. Lastly, Caesar wept at the sight of Pompey’s head and Alexander sharply executed the murderer of Darius. In the first, I see how prettily dissimulation can apply herself sometimes; for surely Caesar felt no remorse in the hardness of his labours, such thoughts attend decayed estates, not the summer of fortune. In the other, one death serves two turns, for death rewarded him, and death mitigated the rancor, likely to spring out of the ashes of Darius. About conspiracies, Alexander spoke as Caesar thought, Satius est, alieno me mori scelere, quam metu meo,[146] they might have lived longer, if they had been of another mind; yet I think they chose well, for they chose the easiest: for fear runs division upon death, every thought being an instru¬ment of torment, at the end they meet in the last course of greatness. Alexander was a King, and would needs be a god; Caesar, because not a King, a King; thus do the baits of fortune choose us, and stuff us with monstrous and unnatural thoughts; they died both violent deaths, the end of violent ambition: for who mislikes not that one should possess so much of honour, fame and dominion as would serve many?

Octavius comes again, whose beginning to speak resembles his life, busy in the separating envy and greatness, which he did by giving every state a taste of his government: by turns they felt it all, even the meanest and youngest, the surest strengthener of authority. Only this Prince gave occasion leave to choose, which was to be entertained of peace or wars: an excellent temper, the which many of his predecessors and successors had lost by, while they regarded not which was most fit for their Countries, but which was most fitting their natures. It were too long to touch all the particulars of his life; let it suffice, they all tended to settle the troubled estate of his time, the testimonies of dishonour that the Romans suffered under Crassus[147] and Anthony,[148] by the hands of the Parthians, he solved, as much as the restoring the military ornaments, arested by the victors might, which witnesseth wisdom is a more prevailing assister than strength; he enforced all the Knights of Rome to yield an account of their lives, an ordinance, look on which side you will, full of health, for idleness brings bareness; his Epistle to his adopted son illustrates another limb of his wisdom: Noli in haec re nimium indignari, quenquam esse qui de me male loquatur, etc.[149] These ill speakers are rather troublesome than dangerous, an humour arising rather out of some light passion or wanton gadding[150] of the tongue, than from malice; who is more silent, more full of poison; over those care, but over the other, neglect is the best medicine; he refused the name of Dictator, though his authority far exceeded it, the only course to make greatness stand firmly; for by the common eye, names are more plainly seen than executions, which silently enjoy a more ample and safe rule, than those that make their titles march before their power. Our Dialoguist omits some, and I some.

Trajan speaks next, a Prince full of merits; especially in his warlike actions, but methinks it was to the same end, that he made war upon a country: sed revera id bellum suscepit adductus gloriae cupiditate;[151] it often falls out thus, and as often that our dispositions without any great pains give us pretty graces: therefore say I, a young man not covetous, and an old man no lecher, deserves neither thanks nor marvel, but their exchange doth well, come they from what cause they will, they are well; he was an excellent Prince, and that title his subjects gave him, optimus cognominatus est,[152] he deserved it for he abstained as much from depriving his subjects from their goods, as from unlawful slaughters, both the one and the other, the main virtues of a Prince, for to pill them is no less horrible, than the tutor of an infant to betray his charge, the other is bloody, which though their jealousies think the way of freedom, they are deceived; for an unjust death raiseth ten enemies out of one: Non ei unquam accidit (quod evenire in huiusmodi solet) ut millites feroces se et insolentes praebuerint,[153] as great a praise as memory can give a commander; for nothing is so sure an evidence of a wise man as to bring his soldiers to fetch all their determinations from him, and not to let them entertain insolency, when victors; nor baseness, when vanquished; but still to read his will, and to hold that will a law: he carefully visited the wounded, honourably buried the dead, marched on foot with them, suffered part of their extremities. I like this better than the saluting them commilitones:[154] suffer with them, give them, care for them; but no fellows, nor companions: these words kill all the actions of greatness, of commiseration, of pity, with contempt; for never can one man play two parts well, you cannot be their judge and companion; for this equality taketh away the re¬gard of your sentence: love them, but do not play with them.

Marcus[155] enters, a slow wise fellow, whose opinion was non decere Imperatorem, propere quicquam agere:[156] I like consideration well, but not to stick fast upon a design; sure he was naturally a dull phlegmatic fellow; and so was honest whether he would or not, he saith little in this Dialogue, and little is said to him; but only he was a wise man, because he knew when to speak and when to hold his peace, which is wisdom, but the lowest form of wisdom: for the highest is, when to do and not to do. Post hunc Constantium ut diceret, admonuerunt;[157] under this Prince things of note were done; but not by him: thus search the divine natures into men’s actions, the strength of whose sight is neither to be deceived nor corrupted; he rooted out two Tyrants, not he but himself the first, being weak and slothful, two diseases that make the thus diseased, uncapable of great matters; the other, being the impediment of fortune, had the impediment of age, a heavy clog and the opposite to expedition: both of them had both the mislike of God and men, and would have ruined themselves without help: he was subject to delicacy and luxury, which being vices uncountervailed with virtue, made him rejected of the gods, and banished into the orb of the Moon. The au¬thor thinks he enforced not enough how behoveful these wars were to the world, rooting out Tyrants (the curse of mankind), where Caesar and others made their ambition destroy their countrymen, and subvert their Commonwealths; the rest, or at least many of them, picking quarrels with their neighbours to feed their own insatiable appetite: Si quis sinus abditus ultra, si qua foret tellus quae fulvum mittere aurum, hostis erat;[158] but others’ faults mend not his, and perhaps it was his enemies that made his quarrel good, for be they never so worthy, ambitious Princes will find causes to be troublesome.

It was well known by the gods, that power may accompany beautiful actions, sometimes without virtue; therefore they are examined, about the causes of their endeavours: first, Alexander is asked, and answers; Ut omnia vincerem.[159] Mercury[160] demands, whether he had performed it, he saith yea; Silenus, no, for wine overcame him, he saith, no, by the help of his master Aristotle, inanimata non vincere.[161] Here the author desires to show the fruits of subtelty, which ever wisheth to be commended rather for his sharpness than truth, wherefore knowledge should be employed rather to arm reason against vice than to defend vice: his cause of maintaining wars, deserves praise, only for the truth, for too unequal are those intents that aim at making all mankind vassals. Caesar is asked, whose answer Mercury calls obscure; and therefore demands again, what he desired chiefly to excell in? He answered, In all things, for so doth the ambitious wish, by their wills not suffering any excellency out of their own bosoms. Octavius was asked, what he thought the most excellent thing; he Pulchre imperium administrare:[162] he chose well, for there is no such sight as to behold a Commonwealth flourishing and to know it comes from the wisdom of the beholder; but Marcus his answer is most ex¬cellent: Deos (inquit) imitari,[163] in which is comprehended all other excellencies; for there is no excellency wherewith the divine nature participates not. Silenus asks him, in what he thought to imitate the gods: he, Quam paucissimis indigere, et quam imis benefacere,[164] a rule for all them that desire to do well, for a mind that needs much, is a sick mind and unprofitable. Silenus asks him again if he needed nothing; he denied his mind to need any outward thing, perhaps the body something: little is it that the body needs, which is blessed with a mind not needing, for it is the nature of the mind only not to be satisfied with small matters; she is thus formed to be the more capable of her Creator: which power of hers when corrupted, is corrupted in the intention, not universality or largeness of receipt; thus comes it that our desires are still thirsty: he taxeth him for his wife, and son, but he was to blame, we have nothing but is stained with some imperfection, not beasts and trees; which I hold one of the punishments of our fall; for they being for us, we suffer in their deformities: he ends not here, but I will; choosing rather to end disorderly than not to end.


[1]“Lack of moderation; excessive indulgence; excess” (OED n., 5).

[2] A form of “in God’s name” (see “god” OED n. and int., P1, b).

[3] I.e. competent.

[4] Called Moirae by the Greeks and Parcae by the Romans, they were the three goddesses responsible for mortals’ lives.

[5] His temperance. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[6] His chastity and thirst. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[7] Not given to pleasure. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[8] “He in bed at night thinking over his studies, his method of keeping awake being that of holding a metal ball in his hand which was extended from out of the bed in such a position that if he dropped off to sleep the ball would fall with a crash into a metal basin upon the floor at his side”. (Weigall, Arthur (1933), Alexander the Great, London: G.P. Putnam’s sons, 73)

[9] His moderate diet. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[10] From quaff: “To drink deeply; to take a long draught. Also: to drink repeatedly in this manner” (OED v., 1).

[11] His valour. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[12] I.e. gives rise to.

[13] “Libidinous desire, sexual appetite, lust” (OED n., 2).

[14] Line from Ovid’s Ars Amatoria (1.441-2). It translates as: “Go ahead and make promises, for what does it hurt to promise? Anyone can be rich in promises” (James, Sharon L. (2003), Learned Girls and Male Persuasion. Gender and Reading in Roman Love Elegy, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 200).

[15] Latin for “patron”.

[16] I.e. Marcus Tullius Cicero.

[17] “To dance or leap in a frolicsome manner, to skip for merriment; to prance as a horse” (OED v.1, a).

[18] I.e. entrances.

[19] I.e. accustomed.

[20] Line from Petrus Martinius Morentinus of Navarre’s 1566 Praefatio to Julian’s Misopogon. It translates as: “One who is used to arouse fear in others, forces himself to fear himself” (translation mine). See William Poole (2016), “John Milton and the Beard-Hater: encounters with Julian the Apostate”, The Seventeenth Century 31 (2), 161-89.

[21] From Morentinus’ Praefatio: “But this praise, however moderate, is also tainted with the stain of ambition, since he desired to be hailed ‘Augustus’”.

[22] “To behave with an air of superiority, in a blustering, insolent, or defiant manner; now esp. to walk or carry oneself as if among inferiors, with an obtrusively superior or insolent air.” (OED v., 1a)

[23] I.e. dwarf-like; here in the sense of tiny.

* The Duke of Alva. [Cornwallis’s own note] Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba, was the first minister of King Philip II of Spain and a skilled soldier. In 1567, he was sent to the Netherlands to suppress the rebellions against the Spanish crown.

[24] To dusk: “figurative. To obscure, darken, cloud, sully” (OED v., 2b).

(a) Don Antonio Prior of Crato, commonly called the King of Portugal. [Cornwallis’s own note] He claimed the Portuguese throne during the dynastic crisis arisen after the death of Henry I in 1580, until Philip II was crowned King of Spain and Portugal.

[25] I.e. suitable.

[26] Another line from Morentinus’ Praefatio: “A most dreadful civil war would have followed, if an almost sudden death had not struck Constantium sooner”.

[27] First Medici to rule Florence as a hereditary monarch; after his death in 1537 his son Cosimo I rose to power.

[28] I.e. where.

[29] His Coronation. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[30] Originally from Ammianus (16.1, 5), cited in Morentinus’ Praefatio: “He had obtained nothing but having to die a busy man”.

[31] I.e. by force.

[32] I.e. Alexander the Great.

[33] I.e. produce inconstant thoughts.

[34] I.e. wrong, improper.

[35] His temperance. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[36] “To oppress, crush; †to kill, destroy (obsolete)” (OED v., 2a).

[37] His moderate sleep. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[38] “figurative. To restrain, check, keep in check” (OED v.2, 2a).

[39] The Prince’s example, the subject’s book. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[40] Providence of time and treasure. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[41] His delighting the people. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[42] I.e. several.

[43] “The general body of the community; the common people, as distinguished from those in authority, from those of rank and title, or ‘the upper classes’ generally; the ‘commons’ collectively” (OED n., 3).

[44] Monarchic government best. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[45] 2. Diseases in the Roman sports. The first disease. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[46] The last Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (54-68 AD), he was accused for long time of the great fire of Rome which occured in 64 AD.

[47] “To strip (a person or place) of money or goods; esp. to rob or steal from (a person)” (OED v.1, 7a).

[48] Line from Tacitus’ Annales 13.31. It translates as: “The Caesar, too, issued an edict that no magistrate or procurator should, in the province for which he was responsible, exhibit a gladiatorial spectacle, a display of wild beasts, or any other entertainment. Previously, a subject community suffered as much from the spurious liberality as from the rapacity of its governors, screening as they did by corruption the offences they had committed in wantonness”. Read the text here.

[49] I.e. useful.

[50] The second disease. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[51] Laconia was a district of Peloponnese controlled by Sparta until 338 BC: hence the adjective ‘laconic’.

[52] Power in a wanton hand ruinates his charge. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[53] Line from Tacitus’ Annales 14.14: “as is the way of the crowd, hungry for amusements, and delighted if the sovereign draws in the same direction”. Read the text here.

[54] Line from Ammianus 4.7: “That it is beneath a wise man, since he has a soul, to aim at acquiring praise by his body”. Read the text here.

[55] His vices. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[56] I.e. shame.

[57] First his inconstancy, etc.. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[58] Praise of inconstancy in youth. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[59] Martyrdom one of the best deaths. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[60] One of the three Fates, her role was to cut the thread of a man’s life.

[61] His ill-derived knowledge. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[62] Magic and astrology. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[63] Devil-binders. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[64] I.e. foolish.

[65] Latin for “family” and “species”.

[66] “Obsolete. A kind of lively dance much used for some time before and after 1500. From the name it is inferred that ‘the steps were regulated by the number five’ (Nares); and its identity with the galliard appears to be established by a passage referring to the latter in Sir J. Davis’s Poem on Dancing st. lxvii” (OED n.).

[67] His contempt of others. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[68] To know what contempt is. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[69] Line from Seneca’s fifth Epistula ad Lucilium. It translates as: “Our apperance should adapt to the people’s”.

[70] From Seneca’s Epistula ad Lucilium: “Let us act so that we lead a better life than that of the common people, not a life that is opposite to theirs”.

[71] “A small portable vessel (originally made of a horn) for holding writing-ink: now seldom used”. (OED n.)

[72] His ambition. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[73] Latin for “useful and morally good”.

[74] His Dialogue of the Caesars. [Cornwallis’s own note] Julian’s satiric work The Caesars is dated 362 AD.; a modern translation can be found here.

[75] “To derive or extract (information, comfort, profit, etc.) from, †of, or out of.” (OED v., I,5)

[76] The author’s digression of himself. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[77] I.e. impure matter.

[78] Spanish for “renegade”.

[79] Founder and first King of Rome.

[80] Old satyr companion and tutor of the god Dionysus.

[81] Julius Caesar’s entrance. [Cornwallis’s own note] First consul then dictator, he played a major role in the fall of the Roman Republic and rise of the Empire becoming one of the most powerful Roman politicians.

[82] Caesar’s ambition. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[83] Not good to elect a magistrate for his beauty. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[84] Line from Martial’s Epigram 6.38, 4. It translates as: “He thinks his father’s praises to be his”.

[85] I.e. slowness.

[86] Octavius’s entrance. [Cornwallis’s own note] Known as Augustus, he was the first Roman Emperor after the death of Caesar, reigning from 27 BC to 14 AD.

[87] His Poetry, and Policy. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[88] “My goodness, how changeable is this animal!”

[89] Tiberius’ entrance. [Cornwallis’s own note] Second Emperor, he was adopted by Augustus and succeded him after his death.

[90] His tyranny and intemperance. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[91] “You seem to me very different, since the last time I saw you”.

[92] I.e. beats, tricks.

[93] Tiberius withdrew to the Island of Capri in 26 AD, leaving his prefect and minion Sejanus in charge of Rome.

[94] I.e. faults.

[95] Successor of Caligula, he was Emperor from 41 to 54 AD.

[96] “Used allusively to denote a woman or womankind. Obsolete.” (OED n., 1c).

[97] Claudius’ entrance [Cornwallis’s own note]

[98] Tiberius Claudius Narcissus, freedman under Claudius, he ordered the execution of Messalina behind Claudius’ back.

[99] Marcus Antonius Pallas, freedman under Claudius and Nero, after the death of Messalina he supported Agrippina ‘the younger’ as Claudius’s new wife.

[100] Third wife of Claudius, she had several extramarital affairs and conspired against the Emperor, she was executed for it by Narcissus.

[101] His committing his affairs to others. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[102] Nero entrance delighting with playing on the harp. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[103] “transitive (in passive). To be hurried or rushed; to be driven hard. Also intransitive: to hurry at something. Obsolete” (OED v., 4).

[104] One of the most important of the Greek gods, he was the divinity of the arts and played the lyre to the other gods.

[105] Gaius Julius Vindex, Roman governor who rebelled against Nero in the last years of his reign. He supported Servius Sulpicius Galba as the new Emperor.

[106] Galba. [Cornwallis’s own note] He seized the throne after Nero’s death but was killed shorlty after in 69 AD.

[107] Otho. [Cornwallis’s own note] Courtier of Nero, he was sent to the province of Lusitania as governor in 58 AD, after Nero started an affair with his wife Poppea who then became his second wife. He was briefly Emperor in 69 AD for three months.

[108] Vitellius. [Cornwallis’s own note] Third Emperor during the year 69 AD, he was defeated by Vespasian in December 69 AD.

[109] Archaic form of “vile”.

[110] Vespasian. [Cornwallis’s own note] Emperor from 69 to 79 AD and founder of the Flavian dynasty.

[111] Given to women. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[112] Domitian. His cruelty. [Cornwallis’s own note] Youngest son of Vespasian, he succeded his brother Titus to the throne.

[113] Line from Cassius Dio’s Roman History. It translates as: “He’s alone, not even a fly with him”.

[114] Trajan. [Cornwallis’s own note] Emperor from 98 to 117 AD, he was responsible for the Empire’s greatest military expansion and territorial extent.

[115] “allusively. A boy or (usually young) man likened to the beautiful youth Ganymede of Greek mythology, Zeus’s cup-bearer and (in many versions) lover” (OED n., 1).

[116] Given to drink. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[117] Aurelius. [Cornwallis’s own note] Member of the gens Aurelia, i.e. Marcus Aurelius.

[118] Too mild. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[119] Quintus Aemilius Laetus organized with Commodus’s concubine his murder and Pertinax’s rise to the throne.

[120] Severus. [Cornwallis’s own note] Emperor from 193 to 211.

[121] Too affectionate to his children. [Cornwallis’s own note] The Latin phrase translates as: “His children were to him dearer than his subjects”.

[122] Macrinus. [Cornwallis’s own note] Emperor for barely a year in 217-218 AD, he succeded Caracalla after having him killed but was soon overthrown by the fourteen-year-old Elagabalus, thanks to a rebellion of his military forces.

[123] Improvident. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[124] Alexander. [Cornwallis’s own note] Severus Alexander reigned from 222 to 235 AD.

[125] Given too much to peace. [Cornwallis’s own note]

[126] It translates as: “He must take comfort of each one of his fortunes”. Probably, Cornwallis took this quotation from an edition of Herodian’s History such as this one.

[127] Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar.

[128] I.e. a young woman.

[129] I.e. violations.

[130] Quotation from Suetonius’s Vita Divi Juli (De Vita Caesarum, lib. 1): “it was harder to push him down from the first place to the second than it would be from the second to the lowest”. Read the text here.

[131] He was captured and held prisoner, but after his ransom was paid he pursued, imprisoned and executed them.

[132] He refused to join Marcus Aemilius Lepidus’s rebellion because he did not consider him to be a good leader.

[133] He succeded to the throne at age 20.

[134] Alexander’s horse, tamed when he was just a boy and then brought with him on his campaigns.

[135] I.e. overshadowed.

[136] Marcus Bibulus.

[137] From Suetonius’s Vita Divi Juli: “sundry witty fellows, pretending by way of jest to sign and seal testamentary documents, wrote ‘Done in the consulship of Julius and Caesar’, instead of ‘Bibulus and Caesar’, writing down the same man twice, by name and by surname”.

[138] Julia, wife of Pompey.

[139] From Suetonius’s Vita Divi Juli: “He announced a combat of gladiators and a feast for the people in memory of his daughter, a thing quite without precedent”.

[140] “A writer of love poetry; a writer whose main subject is love” (OED n., 2).

[141] Silla’s civil wars, in which he fought as commander.

[142] A general at his service.

[143] Line from Suetonius’s Vita Divi Juli: “[He] oftener sacked towns for the sake of plunder than for any fault”.

[144] I.e. inconvenient, troublesome.

[145] Darius the Great, Persian king.

[146] Line from Quintus Curtius Rufus’s Historiae Alexandri Magni. It translates as: “It is better to die because of a crime I did not commit, than for my fear”.

[147] One of the Triumviri with Caesar and Pompey.

[148] With Octavian and Lepidus he formed the Second Triumvirate.

[149] Line from Suetonius’s Vita Divi Juli, it translates as: “Don’t be too outraged for this thing, whatever bad things they say about me”.

[150] “Rushing about or frenzied leaping of a bovine animal, caused by excessive heat or (now typically) the presence of gadflies” (OED n., 1.2).

[151] From Dio’s Roman History. The line translates as: “In fact, he began the war because he desired glory”.

[152] Again from Dio’s Roman History, it translates as: “It is an excellent name”.

[153] From John Xiphilinus’s epitome of Cassius Dio’s Roman History. It can be translated as: “It never happened to him (as it is accustomed in these situations) that his soldiers revealed themselves to be ferocious and arrogant”.

[154] Latino for “fellow-soldiers”.

[155] Marcus Aurelius.

[156] “It does not suit an emperor to act in a hurry”, as found in John Xiphilinus’s epitome of Cassius Dio’s Roman History.

[157] It translates as “After this Constantius, it would be said that they had been warned”.

[158] Line from Petronius’ Satyricon (CXIX): “If a hidden gulf opened itself [or] if a ground yielded glittering gold, there was the enemy” (presenting Rome’s greed as the reason of its expansionism).

[159] From Julian’s Caesares: “In order to win everything”.

[160] Roman God, son of Jupiter.

[161] It translates as: “Inanimate objects are not overcome”.

[162] “To administer the Empire well”.

[163] “To imitate the Gods (he said)”.

[164] “To need very few things and to do good to the meanest people”.