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by the whole city; thousands attended his funera. with tears, with regret, with the deepest sorrow and the Roman matrons mourned for him, as for the loss of a son, a brother, or a common parent.
Another wish of Solon's is thus expressed :
The flow of riches I desire,
And Publicola not only acquired, but employed his riches honourably, for he was a generous benefactor to the poor: so that, if Solon was the wisest, Publicola was the happiest of human kind. What the former had wished for, as the greatest and most desirable of blessings, the latter actually possessed and continued to enjoy.
Thus Solon did honour to Publicola, and he to Solon in his turn. For he considered him as the most excellent pattern, that could be proposed, in regulating a democracy; and like him, laying aside the pride of power, he rendered it gentle and acceptable to all. He also made use of several of Solon's laws; for he empowered the people to elect their own magistrates, and left an appeal to them from the sentence of other courts, as the Athenian
mortality upon earth as a poet, desired to die unlamented. Cicero rejoiced in the same prospect, as an orator. The passion for immortality is, indeed, a natural one; but as the chief part of our happiness consists in the exercise of the benevolent affections, in giving and receiving sincere testimonies of regard, the undoubted expressions of that regard must sooth the pains of a dying man, and comfort him with the reflection that he has not been wanting in the offices of humanity. (L.)
Mimnermus, the inventor of the pentameter verse (Athen. xiii. 8.) was a poet and musician of Colophon, and distinguished chiefly by his Elegies, of which only a few fragmerits are extant. Horace, who sets him above Callimachus (Ep.II. ii. 101.) represents him as placing all his happiness in amore jocisque (Ep. I. ii. 65.); so that, whatever poetry may have suffered by the loss of his works, morality has probably been a gainer by it.*
lawgiver had done. He did not indeed, with Solon, create a new senate?; but he almost doubled the number of that, which he found in being
His reason for appointing quæstors or treasurers was that, if the consul were a worthy man, he might have, leisure to attend to more important affairs; if unworthy, that he might not have greater opportunities of injustice, when both the government and the treasury were under his direction,
Publicola's aversion from tyrants was stronger than that of Solon. For the latter made every attempt to establish arbitrary power punishable by law; but the former made it death, without the formality of trial. Solon, indeed, justly and reasonably plumes himself upon having refused absolute power, when both the state of affairs and the inclinations of the people would have readily admitted it: and yet it was no less glorious for Publicola, that finding the consular authority too despotic, he rendered it milder and more popular, and did not stretch it so far as he might have done. That this was the best method of governing, Solon seems before him to have discovered, when he says of a republic,
The reins nor loosely held nor strictly tied,
Safely the car of slippery power you guide.
By Bonin, we apprehend that Plutarch here rather means the senate or council of Four Hundred, than the council of Areopagus. The Four Hundred had the pre-cognisance of all that was to come before the people, and nothing could be proposed to the general assembly, till digested by themselves; so that, as far as he was able, he provided against a thirst of arbitrary power in the rich, and a desire of licentious freedom in the lower orders; the Areopagus being a check upon the former, as the senate was a curb upon the latter. (L.) M. Ricard' understands this passage of the Areopagus.*
and was indeed the most effectual way to support the liberty of the people. For laws intended to establish an equality would be of no avail, so long as the poor were deprived of the benefit of that equality by their debts. Where they seemed most to exercise their liberty, in offices, in debates, and in deciding causes, there they were most enslaved to the rich, and most entirely under their control. What is still more remarkable is that, though the cancelling of debts generally produces seditions, Solon seasonably applied it, as a strong though hazardous medicine, to remove the sedition then existing. The measure likewise lost it's infamous and obnoxious nature, when introduced by a man of Solon's probity and character.
If we consider the whole administration of each, that of Solon was more illustrious in the beginning. He was an original, and followed no example; besides by himself, without a collegue, he effected many great things for the public advantage. But Publicola's fortune was more to be admired at the conclusion. For Solon lived to see his own establishment overturned; whereas that of Publicola preserved the state in good order till the time of the civil wars. And no wonder; since the former, as soon as he had enacted his laws, left them inscribed on tables of wood without any one to support their authority, and departed from Athens; while the latter remaining at Rome, and continuing in the magistracy, thoroughly settled and secured the commonwealth.
Solon was sensible of the ambitious designs of Pisistratus, and desirous to prevent their being carried into execution; but he miscarried in the attempt, and saw a tyrant set up. On the other hand, Publicola demolished kingly power, when it had been established for some ages, and was at a formidable height. He was equalled by Solon in
virtue and patriotism, but he had (what the other wanted) power and good fortune to second his virtue.
As to warlike exploits, there is a considerable difference; for Daimachus 78 of Platææ does not even attribute to Solon that enterprise against the Megarensians, which we have done; whereas Publicola, in many signal battles, perforined the duty both of a general and a private soldier.
Again; if we compare their conduct in civil affairs, we shall find that Solon, only acting a part as it were, and under the form of a maniac, went out to speak concerning the recovery of Salamis. But Publicola in the face of the most imminent danger rose up against Tarquin, detected the plot, prevented the escape of the vile conspirators, had them punished, and not only excluded the tyrants from the city, but cut up their hopes by the roots. If he was thus vigorous in prosecuting affairs that required spirit, resolution, and open force, he was still more successful in negociation, and the gentle arts of persuasion; for by his address he gained Porsena, whose power was so formidable that he could not be quelled by dint of arms, and made him a friend to Rome.
But here perhaps some will object, that Solon recovered Salamis, when the Athenians had given it up; whereas Publicola surrendered lands, of which the Romans were in possession. Our judgement of actions, however, should be formed according to the respective times and posture of affairs. An able politician, in order to manage all for the best, varies his conduct as the present occasion requires; often quits a part, to save the whole; and, by yielding
78 This Daïmachus, according to Strabo, was sent on an embassy to Allitrochades an Indian prince; and wrote a history of the country which he visited, as little entitled to credit as that of Megasthenes. *
in small matters, secures considerable advantages. Thus Publicola, by giving up what the Romans had lately usurped, saved all that was really their own; and, at a time when they found it difficult to defend their city, obtained for them the possession of the besiegers' camp. In effect, by referring his cause to the arbitration of the enemy, he gained his point; and, with that, all the advantages which he could have proposed to himself by a victory. For Porsena put an end to the war, and left the Romans all the provision he had made for carrying it on, induced by that impression of their virtue and honour, which he had received from their general.