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Marcus Brutus   


children, the bondmen and the free, those of all ages and of all
conditions strove to force away the soldiers that came in to their
assistance from the walls; and themselves gathering together reeds and
wood, and whatever combustible matter they found, spread the fire over
the whole city, feeding it with whatever fuel they could, and by all
possible means exciting its fury, so that the flame, having
dispersed itself and encircled the whole city, blazed out in so
terrible a manner that Brutus, extremely afflicted at their
calamity, got on horseback and rode round the walls, earnestly
desirous to preserve the city, and stretching forth his hands to the
Xanthians, begged of them that they would spare themselves and save
the town. Yet none regarded his entreaties, but, by all manner of
ways, strove to destroy themselves; not only men and women, but even
boys and little children, with a hideous outcry, leaped some into
the fire, others from the walls, others fell upon their parents'
swords, baring their throats and desiring to be struck. After the
destruction of the city, there was found a woman who had hanged
herself with her young child hanging from her neck, and the torch in
her hand with which she had fired her own house.
It was so tragical a sight that Brutus could not endure to see it,
but wept at the very relation of it and proclaimed a reward to any
soldier that could save a Xanthian. And it is said that an hundred and
fifty only were found, to have their lives saved against their
wills. Thus the Xanthians after a long space of years, the fated
period of their destruction having, as it were, run its course,
repeated by their desperate deed the former calamity of their
forefathers, who after the very same manner in the Persian war had
fired their city and destroyed themselves.
Brutus, after this, finding the Patareans resolved to make
resistance and hold out their city against him, was very unwilling
to besiege it, and was in great perplexity lest the same frenzy
might seize them too. But having in his power some of their women, who
were his prisoners, he dismissed them all without any ransom; who,
returning and giving an account to their husbands and fathers, who
were of the greatest rank, what an excellent man Brutus was, how
temperate and how just, persuaded them to yield themselves and put
their city into his hands. From this time all the cities round about
came into his power, submitting themselves to him, and found him
good and merciful even beyond their hopes. For though Cassius at the
same time had compelled the Rhodians to bring in all the silver and
gold that each of them privately was possessed of, by which he
raised a sum of eight thousand talents, and besides this had condemned
the public to pay the sum of five hundred talents more, Brutus, not
having taken above a hundred and fifty talents from the Lycians, and
having done them no other manner of injury, parted from thence with
his army to go into Ionia.
Through the whole course of this expedition, Brutus did many
memorable acts of justice in dispensing rewards and punishments to
such as had deserved either; but one in particular I will relate,
because he himself, and all the noblest Romans, were gratified with it
above all the rest. When Pompey the Great, being overthrown from his
great power by Caesar, had fled to Egypt, and landed near Pelusium,
the protectors of the young king consulted among themselves what was
fit to be done on that occasion, nor could they all agree in the
same opinion, some being for receiving him, others for driving him
from Egypt. But Theodotus, a Chian by birth, and then attending upon
the king as a paid teacher of rhetoric, and for want of better men
admitted into the council, undertook to prove to them that both
parties were in the wrong, those that counselled to receive Pompey,
and those that advised to send him away; that in their present case
one thing only was truly expedient, to seize him and to kill him;
and ended his argument with the proverb, that "dead men don't bite."
The council agreed to his opinion, and Pompey the Great (an example of
incredible and unforeseen events) was slain, as the sophister

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