Q Valerius Maximus his collections of the memorable acts and sayings of orators, philosophers, statesmen, and other illustrious persons of the ancient Romans, and other foreign nations, upon various subjects together with the life of that famous historian
Valerius Maximus., Speed, Samuel, 1631-1682.

CHAP. X. Of Majesty. Of the ROMANS.

  • 1. Q. Metellus Numidi∣cus before the Judges.
  • 2. Of the Elder Africanus before Antiochus, and o∣thers.
  • 3. Of Aemilius Paulus a∣mong the Macedonians.
  • 4. Of the Greater Africa∣nus to the King Massi∣nissa and Carthagini∣ans.
  • 5. Of Rutilius the Exile a∣mong the Cities of Asia.
  • 6. Of Marius proscrib'd a∣mong the Minturnians.
  • 7. Of Cato Uticensis in the Senate.
  • 8. The same towards the People of Rome.
  • 1. Harmodius and Ari∣stogiton to Xerxes.
  • 2. Xenocrates among the Athenians.

THere is also that Majesty among Illustrious Men, as it were a private Censorship, without the Honour of Tribunals, without the attendance of Offi∣cers, powerful in the obtaining of Greatness.

1. For what greater Honour could be given to any one, than what was given to Metellus, though he stood Page  96accus'd of a Crime. For when he pleaded for himself upon a charge of Bribery, and his Accompts were de∣manded by his Accusers, and were brought forth to be inspected, the whole Council refused to look upon them, lest they should seem to doubt of the truth of any thing that was therein contained. For the Judges lookt upon the Life of so great a man, as an argu∣ment that he had prudently administred the Com∣mon-wealth. And though it an unworthy thing, to balance a little Wax and a few Writings with the In∣tegrity of so famous a Person.

2. But what wonder, that due honour was given to Metellus by his Fellow-citizens, which an enemy did not refrain to render to the Elder Africanus? For An∣tiochus, in the War which he made against the Romans, having taken his Son Prisoner, not onely honourably entertained him, but also sent him to his Father, laden with Royal Gifts, though he were then almost driven out of his Kingdom by him. But the enraged King rather chose to reverence the Majesty of so great a man, than revenge his own misfortune. To the same Africanus being retired to his Country-house in the Village of Liternium, several Captains of Pirates being in the same place, came to see him: He believing they came to do him some mischief, placed a Guard of his Domestick Servants upon the top of his house, being well prepared with force and courage to beat them off. Which when the said Captains perceived, immediately sending back their Souldiers, and throwing their Arms away, they approach to the Lord, declaring themselves to be his friends, requesting the sight and company of so great a man, as it had been a favour from Heaven, and desiring him to vouchsafe them the secure specta∣cle of his greatness. Which words when the Servants related to Scipio, he commanded the doors to be un∣lock'd, and the Captains to be let in; who reveren∣cing Page  97the Threshold as it had been some sacred Altar, or Religious Temple, with great eagerness approach∣ed to kiss his hands. And after they had spent a long time in admiration of him, leaving great Gifts in the Porch, such as they us'd to offer to the Immortal Gods, they departed to their Ships. What could be more noble than this effect and fruit of Majesty? What more pleasing to behold or enjoy? His enemy appeas'd their wrath with admiration. His Presence stupified the joyful eyes of the Pyrats. Should the Stars falling from Heaven offer themselves to men, they could not be capable of greater adoration.

3. This hapned to Scipio being alive; this other to Aemilius Paulus being dead. For when his Funerals were celebrated, and that by chance certain Princes of Macedon were then abiding at Rome as Embassadors to the Senate, they willingly offer'd themselves to car∣ry the Funeral Bed. Which will seem so much the greater Honour, considering that the forepart of the Bier was adorn'd with the Trophies of his Macedonian Conquests. For how great must be the honour which they give to Paulus, whom they would not refuse to carry, with the Ensignes of their own calamity in the face of all the people! Which Spectacle added to his Funeral a resemblance of another Triumph. For thus did Macedon render thee, O Paulus, illustrious twice in our City: by their Spoils, safe and victorious; venerable in his Death, by their Shoulders.

4. Nor was it a small honour done to thy Son Scipio Aemilianus, whom thou giving in Adoption, wouldst have to be the Ornament of two Families. For being but a Young-man, and sent by Lucullus the Consul out of Spain into Africa, the Carthaginians and Massinissa made him Arbitrator of the conditions of Peace, as if he had been Consul and Emperour. Carthage ignorant of her Destiny: For that very glory Page  98of aspiring Youth, by the indulgence of Gods and Men, was preferv'd for the ruine of that City. Inso∣much that being taken, it gave him the Sirname of Africanus; being destroyed, it occasion'd the rise of the Cornelian Family.

5. What more miserable than Condemnation and Exile? Yet the Conspiracy of the Publicans could not avail to diminish the Authority of Publius Rutilius. Who going into Asia, all the Cities of that Province, heating where he was retir'd, sent their Ambssadors to attend him. Who could now judge him an Exile, but rather a Triumphet in such a place?

6. Marius also, being cast down into the depth of utmost Misery, escapt out of the jaws of danger, by the benefit of his Majesty. For a publick Slave, a Cim∣brian by his Country, being sent to kill him, as he lay shut up in a private House in Minturnam, durst not attempt him, with his Sword drawn, though an old Man, unarm'd, and almost famisht; but struck blind with the brightness of his Countenance, he stung a∣way his Sword, and astonish'd and trembling ran away. For the Slaughter of the Cimbrians presented it self before his eyes; and the Calamity of his van∣quish'd Nation quell'd his Courage. The Immortal Gods deeming it an unworthy thing, that Marius should be slain by one single person of a Nation, who had subdued the whole. The Minturnians also taken with the Majesty of his Person, thoug now under the burthen on Misery, and unavoidable Destiny, yet preserv'd him safe: Nor could the most▪ severe Victory daunt them, for fear lest Sylla should revenge their preservation of Marius; though Marius himself might have been sufficient to deter them from preserving Marius.

7. The admiration also of the stout and vertuous Life of Percius Cato, render'd him so wonderful to the Page  99Senate, who having prefix'd a day for the Publicans to answer, contrary to Caesar's will, and being there∣fore by his command carried by the Lictor to Prison, the whole Senate was not ashamed to follow him, which thing did not a little soften the perseverance of his divine Soul.

8. At another time, the same person beholding the Floral Plays which Messius the Aedil set forth, the people were ashamed to require that the Mimicks should appear naked; which when he understood from Favonius, his great friend, that sate close by him, he de∣parted out of the Theatre, left his presence should in∣terrupt the custome of the Show. Whose departure the people loudly applauding, renewed the ancient custome of Jesting in the Scenes; confessing that they attributed more to the Majesty of one man, than they claimed for the sake of the Generality. To what Riches, to what Power, to what Triumphs, was this priviledge granted before? A small Patrimony, Manners restrained within the bounds of Continence: a small train of Followers, a house shut against Ambition: One Image of his Pa∣ternal Genealogy; not the most comely Aspect, but a Vertue hightned with all perfections. Hence it was, that whoever would Characterize a just and famous Citizen, described him by the name of a Cato.


1. We must give some place also to Forraign Ex∣amples, that being mix'd with those of our own Na∣tion, the variety may be the more delightful. Xerxes having taking the City of Athens, carried away the brazen Statues of Harmodius and Aristogiton, who en∣deavoured to free that City from Tyranny; which a long time after Seleucus taking care to return to their proper places, when they came into the Haven of Page  100Rhodes, the Rhodians inviting them that brought them into their City, laid the Statues upon the sacred Cu∣shions of the Gods. Nothing more happy than such a Memory, that gave so large a Veneration to a little Brass.

2. How great Honour was also given by the Athe∣nians to Xenocrates, famous for his equal Piety and Wisdome! who when he approached the Altar, being necessitated to give his testimony in confirmation that all which he had spoken was truth; all the Judges rose and forbid him openly to take his Oath, believing it proper to grant that to his Sincerity, which they were not to remit to themseves in the place of giving Sentence.