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were both too brave and too free, however wanting they may have been in true humanity, to tolerate the method their general had employed in the destruction of their foes. And so it appears to have been, a few months later, when a bill was put forward to the intent that the captives whom Galba had taken and saved alive should be set free ; 36 which was only another form of proposing his trial for what he had done in Lusitania. The great Cato, then far advanced in years, supported the measure with all the vehemence that we shall soon perceive to have been the characteristic of his earlier days. “Many things,” he exclaimed, on rising before the people, “many things there are to dissuade me from appearing here, — my years, my age, my voice, my weakness, and my infirmities. But the question is of the highest concern to the Commonwealth,” 37 he added; urging besides, that censure should be passed upon the Prætor who had disgraced its name. Yet the expectations, naturally aroused by the proposal of bringing the criminal commander to the shame he well deserved, are mournfully deceived. The law of Rome was as mild to any means of increasing her dominion as it was stern and fatal to any enmity, though she had herself provoked it by menaces or positive hostilities; and the children whom she bore were taught from their infancy to hate and to beat down all whose hearts were not, like theirs, bound to
36 Liv., Epit. XLIX.
24. The speech is mentioned in 37 Such is the free translation of Cic., De Orat., I. 53. the fragment in Aul. Gell., XIII.
her cause, in life and death. Galba had only to parade his children before his fellow-citizens, and pour out the abundant eloquence he had,38 as if in their behalf, to avert his sentence, as Cato said, by his boys and tears.39 In fact, the only ground on which the trial seems to have been proposed was the apprehension that the Lusitanian massacre had done or was likely to do injury instead of service to the Commonwealth ; and when the consequences actually ensuing, as had been feared, were beginning to be repaired by another general, Galba, still the rich and the eloquent citizen, was elected Consul,40 — so little had he forfeited the good graces of his countrymen.
A spirit more faithful to liberty, however far from wisdom or peace it may have been, survived amongst the Lusitanians who had escaped the death and the bondage of their kindred. It was not long afterwards that some ten thousand, partly, as is probable, of the neighbouring Spanish tribes, invaded the southern province of Turdetania.41 A Roman army soon started in pursuit; and the invaders had scarcely begun to scour the well-filled plains when they were overtaken and driven to seek refuge in some fortified place, which happened to be near at hand, and in which they were fast beset by their pursuers. The mountaineers could not sustain a siege, nor did they dare to attempt evasion through the guarded
38 Cicero speaks of Galba as sur- 40 A. C. 144. The other general passing all the orators of his time. was Fabius Æmilianus, mentioned Brut., 21.
farther on. 39 Cic., De Orat., I. 53.
41 Appian., De Reb. Hisp., 61.
lines of their enemies; but, completely overcome, they sent some envoys with olive-branches to entreat for safety. The messengers, profuse in pledges of submission and fidelity, were favorably received in the Roman camp; a treaty was proposed; and the Lusitanians, hungered and weary, were on the point of surrendering themselves, perhaps to be sold or slain, when a well-known voice was heard, denouncing the perfidy to which they were exposed, and bidding all who would save themselves from destruction prepare to fly from the place in which they had been ensnared. The voice was that of Viriathus, than whom, as all who heard it knew, there was none more valiant or more prudent in their tribe; and, to the eager tones in which he spoke, shout upon shout returned that he must be their chief and do with them what he willed.42 He chose a thousand men, and, sending the rest before him, protected their flight along the mountain-paths that led them home, until, sure of their safety, he could turn upon his astonished and infuriated foes and drive them back to carry the news that the Lusitanians were once more free.
In his youth, Viriathus had been a shepherd and a hunter amongst his native mountains; but as the ardor of his character increased with years, he joined a body of men whom the Romans called brigands, 43 but who are better described by the modern name
42 Appian., De Reb. Hisp., 61, natore latro,” Liv., Epit. LII. So 62.
Florus, II. 17. 43 “ Ex pastore venator, ex ve
of guerillas. Of these he soon became the leader, 44 and with them, as may be conjectured, he often joined the disorderly hosts which were raised from time to time against the invaders; so that experience, as well as natural capacity, prepared him to be what he was called in after times, the Champion of Spain.45 He lived for freedom, — for such, that is, as it was possible for him to understand; nor did he always show the devotion of a barbarian only, but often that of a spirit touched to finer issues than force or fiery hopes could give. There is a characteristic tale preserved of his nuptials with the daughter of some principal personage amongst his countrymen, relating how he made light of the magnificence displayed in the banquet-room, and how he stood but a moment by the laden tables before seeking his bride, and bearing her away with him, on his horse, to the camp of his mountaineers.46 It sounds as if he understood the inconsistency of revelry and luxury with the cause to which his whole heart was given in such entireness, that the revelry he sought was in the march and the victory, - if he did not rather love the lonely hours in which the mountain breeze murmured of a more peaceful future. We cannot know him ; for he was described by his enemies, and by them only so far as
44 Diod. Sic., Reliq., XXXIII. 1. in after times was much akin to
45 " Assertor contra Romanos his, – Hispaniæ.” Eutrop., IV. 16. “Ac
"The mountain breeze,
Which he had with the breath of infancy si fortuna cessisset Hispaniæ Romu
Inhaled, such impulse to his heart restored, lus.” Flor., II. 17.
As if the seasons had rolled back, and life 46 Diod. Sic., Reliq., XXXIII. 7. Enjoyed a second spring." 47 As to Pelayo, whose career
he was connected with their history. Nor would it now be lawful to set his hopes too high, or believe that he could have thought of doing more than drive the foe from his country, and leave his countrymen, and remain himself, barbarian.
However this may be, there is no possibility of doubting the energy and the self-exposure by which Viriathus, for eight years,49 led his men amongst their mountains and against the Romans. Within the first three years he was continually successful, and many a trophy on the mountain-sides 49 showed where the invaders had been discomfited in their ungenerous designs. A temporary check 50 from the operations of Fabius Æmilianus, in command both as Consul and Proconsul, did not dishearten him; but forming new alliances with some of the tribes who had hitherto stood aloof, he again aroused, and for four years more kept up, the terrors of the Romans and their allies. Once, besieged by the Proconsul, Fabius Servilianus, the adopted brother of the other Fabius, who had thought, perhaps, to cage the lion by some snares which he would be too ignorant to escape, Viriathus broke forth with such impetuosity as to have the whole Roman army completely at his mercy. The mere barbarian would have murdered or tortured every man; but Viriathus wished for peace, and entered into a treaty with Servilianus, establishing himself as the ally of the Roman people, and securing his followers in the possession of their 48 A. C. 147 – 140.
50 Appian., De Reb. Hisp., 65. 49 Flor., II. 17.
Liv., Epit. LIII.