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Coriolanus   


the Volscians, as they learned by it to grow more hardy and to contemn
their enemy, Marcius drew them off, and returned in safety.
But when the whole strength of the Volscians was brought together
in the field, with great expedition and alacrity, it appeared so considerable
a body, that they agreed to leave part in garrison, for the security
of their towns, and with the other part to march against the Romans.
Marcius now desired Tullus to choose which of the two charges would
be most agreeable to him. Tullus answered that since he knew Marcius
to be equally valiant with himself, and far more fortunate, he would
have him take the command of those that were going out to the war,
while he made it his care to defend their cities at home and provide
all conveniences for the army abroad. Marcius, thus reinforced, and
much stronger than before, moved first towards the city called Circaeum,
a Roman colony. He received its surrender and did the inhabitants
no injury; passing thence, he entered and laid waste the country of
the Latins, where he expected the Romans would meet him, as the Latins
were their confederates and allies, and had often sent to demand succours
from them. The people, however, on their part, showing little inclination
for the service, and the consuls themselves being unwilling to run
the hazard of a battle, when the time of their office was almost ready
to expire, they dismissed the Latin ambassadors without any effect;
so that Marcius, finding no army to oppose him, marched up to their
cities, and having taken by force Toleria, Lavici, Peda, and Bola,
all of which offered resistance, not only plundered their houses,
but made a prey likewise of their persons. Meantime he showed particular
regard for all such as came over to his party, and, for fear they
might sustain any damage against his will, encamped at the greatest
distance he could, and wholly abstained from the lands of their property.
After, however, that he had made himself master of Bola, a town not
above ten miles from Rome, where he found great treasure, and put
almost all the adults to the sword; and when on this, the other Volscians
that were ordered to stay behind and protect their cities, hearing
of his achievements and success, had not patience to remain any longer
at home, but came hastening in their arms to Marcius, saying that
he alone was their general and the sole commander they would own;
with all this, his name and renown spread throughout all Italy, and
universal wonder prevailed at the sudden and mighty revolution in
the fortunes of two nations which the loss and the accession of a
single man had effected.
All at Rome was in great disorder; they were utterly averse from fighting,
and spent their whole time in cabals and disputes and reproaches against
each other; until news was brought that the enemy had laid close siege
to Lavinium, where were the images and sacred things of their tutelar
gods, and from whence they derived the origin of their nation, that
being the first city which Aeneas built in Italy. These tidings produced
a change as universal as it was extraordinary in the thoughts and
inclinations of the people, but occasioned a yet stranger revulsion
of feelings among the patricians. The people now were for repealing
the sentence against Marcius, and calling him back into the city;
whereas the senate, being assembled to preconsider the decree, opposed
and finally rejected the proposal, either out of the mere humour of
contradicting and withstanding the people in whatever they should
desire, or because they were unwilling, perhaps, that he should owe
his restoration to their kindness; or having now conceived a displeasure
against Marcius himself, who was bringing distress upon all alike,
though he had not been ill-treated by all, and was become a declared
enemy to his whole country, though he knew well enough that the principal
and all the better men condoled with him and suffered in his injuries.
This resolution of theirs being made public, the people could proceed
no further, having no authority to pass anything by suffrage, and
enact it for a law, without a previous decree from the senate. When
Marcius heard of this, he was more exasperated than ever, and, quitting
the siege of Lavinium, marched furiously towards Rome, and encamped
at a place called the Cluilian ditches, about five miles from the

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