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the race of the Greeks and the race of the Gauls should occupy the Forum of Rome.' It is characteristic of superstition to transfer to its idols that mockery of truth which itself so delights in, and to believe that they care not for wickedness, if it be done to promote their service. A man and woman of the Gaulish race, with a Greek man and woman, were buried alive in the Forum Boarium, that the prophecy might be fulfilled in word, and might, so the Romans hoped, be proved to be in spirit a lie.
Thucydides, ii. 17 ; ii. 54.
ERE he formed the plan of an enterprise, the adventurous
character of which it seems difficult to reconcile with his habitual caution. This was a night assault on Rome. He did not communicate his whole purpose to his officers, but simply ordered them to prepare to march on the following night, the twenty-sixth of August, against a neighbouring city, the name of which he did not disclose. It was a wealthy place, he said, but he was most anxious that no violence should be offered to the inhabitants in either their persons or property. The soldiers should be forbidden even to enter the dwellings; but he promised that the loss of booty should be compensated by increase of pay. The men were to go lightly armed, without baggage, and with their shirts over their mail, affording the best means of recognising one another in the dark.
The night was obscure, but unfortunately a driving storm of rain set in, which did such damage to the roads as greatly to impede, the march, and the dawn was nigh at hand when the troops reached the place of destination. To their great surprise, they then understood that the object of attack was Rome itself.
Xenophon, Anab. i. civ. II, 599. Thucydides, iii. 22.
young men, Philemenus and Vicon, were the leaders
of the enterprise. Philemenus, under pretence of hunting, had persuaded the officer at one of the gates to allow him to pass in and out of the town by night without interruption. He was known to be devoted to his sport : he scarcely ever returned without having caught or killed some game or other : and by liberally giving away what he had caught, he won the favour and confidence not only of the officer of the gate, but also of the Roman governor himself, M. Livius Macatus. So little did Livius suspect any danger, that on the very day which the conspirators had fixed for their attempt, and when Hannibal, with 10,000 men, was advancing upon the town, he had invited a large party to meet him at the temple of the Muses, near the market-place, and was engaged from an early hour in festivity.
Thucydides, iv. 67.
favour a surprise : for the Tarentines, following the direction of an oracle, as they said, buried their dead within the city walls; and the street of the tombs was interposed between the gates and the inhabited parts of the town. This the conspirators turned to their own purposes : in this lonely quarter two of their number, Nicon and Tragiscus, were waiting for Hannibal's arrival without the gates. As soon as they perceived the signal which was to announce his presence, they, with a party of their friends, were to surprise the gates from within, and put the guards to the sword : while others had been left in the city to keep watch near the museum, and prevent any communication from being conveyed to the Roman governor.
Thucydides, iii. 22.
near the governor's house, a second secured the approaches to the market-place, and the third hastened to the quarter of the tombs to watch for Hannibals signal. They did not watch long in vain : a fire in a particular spot without the walls assured them that Hannibal was at hand. They lit a fire in answer : and presently, as had been agreed upon, the fire without the walls disappeared. Then the conspirators rushed to the gate of the city, surprised it with ease, put the guards to the sword, and began to hew asunder the bar by which the gates were fastened. No sooner was it forced, and the gates opened, than Hannibal's soldiers were seen ready to enter : so exactly had the time of the operation been calculated.
Thucydides, ii. 4.
EANTIME Philemenus, with a thousand Africans, had
been sent to secure another gate by stratagem. The guards were accustomed to let him in at all hours, whenever
he returned from his hunting expeditions; and now, when they heard his usual whistle, one of them went to the gate to admit him. Philemenus called to the guard from without to open the wicket quickly : for that he and his friends had killed a huge wild boar, and could scarcely bear the weight any longer. The guard, accustomed to have a share in the spoil, opened the wicket; and Philemenus and three other conspirators, disguised as countrymen, stepped in carrying the boar between them. They instantly killed the poor guard, as he was admiring and feeling their prize; and then let in about thirty Africans who were following close behind. With this force they mastered the gate-house and towers, killed all the guards, and hewed asunder the bars of the main gates to admit the whole column of Africans, who marched in on this side also in regular order, and advanced towards the marketplace.
Thucydides, ii. 3,4; iv. 67.
NE morning in March there came a party of peasants,
nuts and walnuts, to the northernmost gate of the town. They offered them for sale, as usual, to the soldiers at the guardhouse, and chaffered and jested—as boors and soldiers are wont to do-over their wares. It so happened that in the course of the bargaining one of the bags became untied, and its contents, much to the dissatisfaction of the proprietor, were emptied on the ground. There was a scramble for the walnuts, and much shouting, kicking, and squabbling ensued, growing almost into a quarrel between the burgher-soldiers and the peasants. As the altercation was at its height, a heavy wagon laden with long planks came towards the gate for the use of carpenters within the town. The portcullis was drawn up to admit the lumbering vehicle, but in the confusion caused by the chance medley going on at the guardhouse, the gate dropped again before the wagon had fairly got through the passage, and remained resting upon the timber with which it was piled.
Thucydides, iv. 67.
X. T was the 18th of June, a day which, if Greek superstition
still retained its influence, would be held sacred to Nemesis, a day on which the two greatest princes of modern times were taught by a terrible experience that neither skill nor valour can fix the inconstancy of fortune. The battle began before noon : and part of the Prussian army maintained the contest till after the midsummer sun had gone down. But at length the king found that his troops, having been repeatedly driven back with frightful carnage, could no longer be led to the charge. He was with difficulty persuaded to quit the field. The officers of his personal staff were under the necessity of expostulating with him, and one of them took the liberty to say, 'Does your Majesty mean to storm the batteries alone ?' Thirteen thousand of his followers had perished. Nothing remained for him but to raise the siege, and retreat in good order.
Xenophon, Anab. i. c. viii. 8, sqq. 25.
side had poured out of their camp, and lined the bank in scattered groups at the most accessible points, thinking that