Cornelius Nepos: Lives of Eminent Commanders (1886)pp. 305-450.
Translated by the Rev. John Selby Watson, MA
The merits and acts of Timotheus, I.----A statue erected to him on his victory over the Lacedaemonians, II.----Is appointed, at an advanced age, as an adviser to Menestheus; is accused by Chares, and condemned, III.----His son Conon obliged to repair the walls of Athens; attachment of Jason to Timotheus, IV.
I. TIMOTHEUS, the son of Conon, a native of Athens, increased the glory which he inherited from his father by many excellent qualities of his own; for he was eloquent, active, persevering, skilled in military affairs, and not less so in managing those of the state. Many honourable actions of his are recorded, the following are the most famous. He subdued the Olynthians and Byzantians by force of arms; he took Samos, on the siege of which, in a previous war, the Athenians |364 had spent twelve hundred talents. This sum he restored 119 to the people without any expense to them; for he carried on a war against Cotys,120 and thence brought twelve hundred talents' worth of spoil into the public treasury. He relieved Cyzicus 121 from a siege; he went with Agesilaus to the assistance of Ariobarzanes; 122 but while the Lacedaemonians received ready money from him in requital, he chose rather to have his countrymen enriched with lands and towns, than to take that of which he himself might carry a share to his own home; and he accordingly received from him Crithote 123 and Sestos.
II. Being made commander of the fleet, and sailing round the Peloponnesus, he laid waste Laconia, and defeated its naval force. He also reduced Corcyra under the power of the Athenians, and attached to them, as allies, the Epirots, the Athamanians, the Chaonians, and all those nations which lie on the sea.124 After this occurrence, the Lacedaemonians desisted from the protracted struggle, and yielded, of their own accord, the sovereignty at sea to the Athenians, making peace upon these terms, "that the Athenians should be commanders by sea." This victory gave so much delight to the Athenians, that altars were then first publicly erected to Peace, and a pulvinar 125 decreed to that goddess. And that the remembrance of this glorious action might be preserved, they raised a statue to Timotheus in the forum at the public |365 expense. Such an honour, that, after the people had erected a statue to the father, they should also present one to the son, happened, down to that period, to him alone. Thus the new statue of the son, placed close by the other, revived old recollections of the father.
III. When he was at an advanced age, and had ceased to hold any office, the Athenians began to be pressed with war on every side. Samos had revolted; the Hellespont 126 had deserted them; Philip of Macedon, then very powerful, was making many efforts; and in Chares,127 who had been opposed to him, there was not thought to be sufficient defence. Menestheus, the son of Iphicrates, and son-in-law of Timotheus, was in consequence made commander, and a decree was passed that he should proceed to take the management of the war. These two persons, his father and father-in-law, men eminent in experience and wisdom, were appointed to give him advice,128 for there was such force of character in them, that great hopes were entertained that what had been lost might be recovered by their means. When they had set out for Samos; and Chares, having heard of their approach, was also proceeding thither with his force, lest anything should appear to be done in his absence, it happened that, as they drew near the island, a great storm arose, which the two veteran commanders, thinking it expedient to avoid, checked the progress of their fleet.129 But Chares, taking a rash course, would not submit to the advice of his elders, but, as if success depended on his own vessel, pushed his way for the point to which he had been steering, and sent orders to Timotheus and Iphicrates to follow him thither. But having subsequently mis-managed the affair, and lost several ships, he returned to the same place 130 from which he had come, and despatched a letter to the government at Athens, saying that it would have been easy for him to take Samos, if |366 he had not been left unsupported by Timotheus and Iphicrates. On this charge they were impeached. The people, violent, suspicious, fickle, and unfavourable to them, recalled them home; and they were brought to trial for treason. On this charge Timotheus was found guilty, and his fine was fixed at a hundred talents; when, compelled by the hatred of an ungrateful people, he sought a refuge at Chalcis.
IV. After his death, when the people had repented of the sentence passed upon him, they took off nine-tenths of the fine, and ordered that his son Conon should give ten talents to repair a certain portion of the wall. In this occurrence was seen the changeableness of fortune; for the grandson was obliged, to the great scandal of his family, to repair, out of his own estate, the same walls which his grandfather Conon had rebuilt with the spoil taken from the enemy.
Of the temperate and judicious life of Timotheus, though we could produce a great many proofs, we will be content with one, from which it may be easily conjectured how dear he was to his friends. When he was brought to trial, while quite a young man, at Athens, not only his friends, and others connected with him by ties of private hospitality, came to give him their support, but among them also the tyrant Jason,131 who at that time was the most powerful of all men. Jason, though he did not think himself safe in his own country without guards, came to Athens unattended, having such value for his guest-friend, that he chose to hazard his life rather than not stand by Timotheus when he was contending for his honour.132 Yet Timotheus, under an order from the people, carried on a war against him afterwards, for he considered the rights of his country more sacred than those of hospitality.
Datames, an eminent barbarian leader; his war with the Cardusii, I.----He takes prisoner Thyus of Paphlagonia, II.----Presents Thyus to the king of Persia; is appointed to command in Egypt, III.----Is directed to attack Aspis of Cappadocia, IV.----Finds that the courtiers are plotting against him, and takes possession of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia, V.----Loses his son in a war with the Pisidians; defeats the Pisidians, VI.----Is betrayed by his eldest son, VII.----Defeats the general of the Persians who is sent against him, VIII.----Escapes a plot formed against him by the king, IX.----Is deceived by Mithridates, X.----Is killed by him, XI.
I. I NOW come to the bravest and wisest man of all the barbarians, except the two Carthaginians, Hamilcar and Hannibal.
I shall say the more concerning this general, because most of his acts are but little known, and because the undertakings that were attended with success to him, were accomplished, not by vastness of force, but by sagacity, in which he surpassed all ofthat age; and unless the manner of his proceedings be set forth, his merits cannot be fully understood.
Datames, son of a father named Camissares, a Carian by nation, and of a mother a native of Scythia, served first of all among the soldiers who were guards of the palace to Artaxerxes. His father Camissares, having been found undaunted in fight, active in command, and faithful on many occasions to the king, was granted as a province that portion of Cilicia which borders on Cappadocia, and which the Leucosyrians inhabit.
Datames first showed what sort of man he was, when engaged in military service, in the war which the king carried on against the Cardusii; for in this enterprise, after several thousands of the king's troops were killed, his exertions proved of great value. Hence it happened that, as Camissares lost his life in the war, his father's province was conferred upon him.
II. He distinguished himself by equal valour when Autophradates, by the king's order, made war upon those who had revolted; for the enemy, even after they had entered the camp, were put to flight by his efforts, and the rest of the king's army was saved. In consequence of this success, he began to be appointed over more important affairs. At that |368 time Thyus was prince of Paphlagonia, a man of ancient family, descended from that Pylaemenes whom Homer states to have been killed by Patroclus 134 in the Trojan war. This prince paid no respect to the king's commands. The king, in consequence, determined to make war upon him, and gave the command of the enterprise to Datames, who was a near relative of the Paphlagonian, for they were sons of a brother and a sister. Datames, on this account, was desirous, in the first place, to try every means to bring back his kinsman to his duty without having recourse to arms. But going to confer with him without a guard, as he apprehended no treachery from a friend, he almost lost his life, for Thyus had resolved to assassinate him secretly. Datames was however accompanied by his mother, the aunt of the Paphlagonian, who discovered what was going on, and gave her son warning of it. Datames escaped the danger by flight, and declared open war against Thyus, in which, though he was deserted by Ariobarzanes, the satrap of Lydia, Ionia, and all Phrygia, he nevertheless vigorously persevered, and succeeded in taking Thyus alive with his wife and children.
III. He then used his utmost efforts that the news of his success might not reach the king before him, and thus, while all were still ignorant of it, he arrived at the place where the king was encamped, and the day after arrayed Thyus, a man of huge stature, and frightful aspect, being of a black complexion, and having long hair and a long beard, in a splendid robe such as the king's satraps used to wear. He adorned him also with a chain and bracelets of gold, and other royal ornaments, while he himself was dressed in a coarse thick cloak,135 and rough coat, having a hunter's cap upon his head, a club in his right hand, and in his left a chain, with which he drove Thyus secured before him, as if he were bringing along a wild beast that he had taken. While the people were all gazing at him, on account of the strangeness of his attire, and his person being unknown to them, and a great crowd |369 was in consequence gathered round him, it happened that there was somebody in it who knew Thyus, and went off to tell the king, The king at first did not believe the account, and therefore sent Pharnabazus to make inquiry. Learning from him what had been done, he ordered Datames to be instantly admitted, being extremely delighted both with his success and the dress of his captive, rejoicing especially that that eminent prince had fallen into his hands when he scarcely expected it. He therefore sent Datames, after bestowing magnificent presents upon him, to the army which was then assembling, under the command of Pharnabazus and Tithraus tes, to make war upon Egypt, and directed that he should have equal authority with them. But as the king afterwards recalled Pharnabazus, the chief direction of the war was committed to Datames.
IV. As he was raising an army with the utmost diligence, and preparing to set out for Egypt, a letter was unexpectedly sent him by the king, desiring him to attack Aspis, who then held Cataonia, a country which lies above Cilicia, and borders on Cappadocia. Aspis, occupying a woody country, defended with fortresses, not only refused to obey the king's orders, but ravaged the neighbouring provinces, and intercepted whatever was being conveyed to the king. Datames, though he was far distant from those parts, and was drawn off from a greater matter, yet thought it necessary to yield to the king's wish. He therefore went on board a ship with a few brave followers, thinking (what really happened) that he would more easily overcome him, when unaware of his approach and unprepared, than when ready to meet him, though with ever so great an army. Sailing in this vessel to the coast of Cilicia, landing there, and marching day and night, he passed Mount Taurus, and arrived at the part to which he had directed his course. He inquired where Aspis was, and learned that he was not far off, and was gone to hunt. While he was watching for his return, the cause of his coming became known, and Aspis prepared the Pisidians, and the attendants that he had with him, to offer resistance. When Datames heard this, he took up his arms, and ordered his men to follow him; he himself, setting spurs to his horse, rode on to meet the enemy. Aspis, seeing him, from a distance, advancing upon him, was struck with fear, and, being |370 deterred from his resolution to resist, delivered himself up. Datames consigned him in chains to Mithridates, to be conducted to the king.
V. While these occurrences were passing, Artaxerxes, reflecting from how important a war, and to how inconsiderable an enterprize, he had sent the best of his generals, blamed himself for what he had done, and sent a messenger to the troops at Ace (not supposing that Datames had yet set out), to tell him not to quit the army. But before this messenger arrived at the place to which he was sent, he met upon the road the party that were leading Aspis.
Though Datames, by this celerity, gained great favour from the king, he incurred no less dislike on the part of the courtiers, because they saw that he alone was more valued than all of them; and on this account they all conspired to ruin him. Pandates, the keeper of the king's treasury, a friend to Datames, sent him an account of this state of things in writing, in which he told him that "he would be in great peril if any ill-success should fall out while he commanded in Egypt, for such was the practice of kings, that they attributed adverse occurrences to other men, but prosperous ones to their own good fortune; and hence it happened that they were easily inclined to the ruin of those under whose conduct affairs were said to have been ill-managed; and that he would be in so much the greater danger as he had those for his bitterest enemies to whom the king chiefly gave ear." Datames, having read this letter, after he had arrived at the army at Ace, resolved, as he was aware that what was written was true, to leave the king's service. He did nothing, however, that was unworthy of his honour; for he appointed Mandrocles of Magnesia to command the army, while he himself went off with his adherents into Cappadocia, and took possession of Paphlagonia, that bordered upon it, concealing what his feelings were towards the king. He then privately made a league with Ariobarzanes, raised a force, and assigned the fortified towns to be defended by his own troops.
VI. But these proceedings, from its being winter, went on with but little success. He heard that the Pisidians were raising some forces to oppose him, and sent his son Aridaeus with a detachment against them. The young man fell in battle, and the father marched away to the scene of his death with but |371 a small number of followers, concealing how great a loss he had sustained, for he wished to reach the enemy before the report of his ill-success should become known to his men, lest the spirits of the soldiers should be depressed by hearing of the death of his son. He arrived at the spot to which he had directed his course, and pitched his camp in such a position that he could neither be surrounded by the superior number of the enemy, nor be hindered from keeping his forces always ready to engage. There was with him Mithrobarzanes, his father-in-law, commander of the cavalry, who, despairing of the state of his son-in-law's affairs, went over to the enemy. When Datames heard this, he was sensible that if it should go abroad among the multitude that he was deserted by a man so intimately connected with him, it would happen that others would follow his example. He therefore spread a report throughout the camp that "Mithrobarzanes had gone off as a deserter by his direction, in order that, being received as such, he might the more easily spread destruction among the enemy. It was not right therefore," he added, "that he should be left unsupported, but that they ought all to follow without delay, and, if they did so with spirit, the consequence would be that their foes would be unable to resist, as they would be cut to pieces within their ramparts and without." This exhortation being well received, he led forth his troops, pursued Mithrobarzanes, and, almost at the moment that the latter was joining the enemy,136 gave orders for an attack. The Pisidians, surprised by this new movement, were led to believe that the deserters were acting with bad faith, and by arrangement with Datames, in order that, whan received into the camp, they might do them the greater mischief; they therefore attacked them first. The deserters, as they knew not what was in agitation, or why it took place, were compelled to fight with those to whom they had deserted, and to act on the side of those whom they had quitted; and, as neither party spared |372 them, they were quickly cut to pieces. Datames then set upon the rest of the Pisidians who offered resistance, repelled them at the first onset, pursued them as they fled, killed a great number of them, and captured their camp. By this stratagem he at once both cut off the traitors, and overthrew the enemy, and turned to his preservation what had been contrived for his destruction, We have nowhere read, on the part of any commander, any device more ingeniously conceived than this, or more promptly executed.
VII. Yet from such a man as this his eldest son Scismas deserted, and went over to the king, carrying intelligence of his father's defection. Artaxerxes, being startled at this news (for he was aware that he should have to do with a brave and active man, who, when he had conceived a project, had courage to execute it, and was accustomed to think before he attempted to act), despatched Autophradates into Cappadocia. To prevent this general from entering the country, Datames endeavoured to be the first to secure a forest, in which the Gate of Cilicia 137 is situate. But he was unable to collect his troops with sufficient expedition, and being obliged to desist from his attempt, he took up, with the force which he had got together, a position of such a nature, that he could neither be surrounded by the enemy, nor could the enemy pass beyond him without being incommoded by difficulties on both sides; while, if he wished to engage with them, the numbers of his opponents could not greatly damage his own smaller force.
VIII. Autophradates, though he was aware of these circumstances, yet thought it better to fight than to retreat with so large an army, or to continue inactive so long in one place. He had twenty thousand barbarian cavalry, a hundred thousand infantry, whom they call Cardaces,138 and three thousand slingers of the same class. He had besides eight thousand Cappadocians, ten thousand Armenians, five thousand Paphlagonians, ten thousand Phrygians, five thousand Lydians, about three thousand Aspendians and Pisidians, two thousand Cilicians, as many Captianians,139 three thousand hired men |373 from Greece, and a very large number of light-armed troops. Against this force all Datames's hopes rested on himself and the nature of his ground, for he had not the twentieth part of his enemy's numbers. Trusting to himself and his position,140 therefore, he brought on a battle, and cut off many thousands of the enemy, while there fell of his own army not more than a thousand men; on which account he erected a trophy the next day on the spot where they had fought the day before. When he had moved his camp from thence, and always, though inferior in forces, came off victorious in every battle (for he never engaged but when he had confined his adversaries in some defile, an advantage which often happened to one acquainted with the ground and taking his measures with skill), Autophradates, seeing that the war was protracted with more loss to the king than to the enemy, exhorted Datames to peace and friendship,141 so that he might again be received into favour with the king. Datames, though he saw that peace would not be faithfully kept, nevertheless accepted the offer of it, and said that "he would send deputies to Artaxerxes." Thus the war, which the king had undertaken against Datames, was ended; and Autophradates retired into Phrygia.
IX. But the king, as he had conceived an implacable hatred to Datames, endeavoured, when he found that he could not be overcome in the field, to cut him off by underhand artifices; but most of these he eluded. For instance, when it was told him that some, who were reckoned in the number of his friends, were laying a plot for him (concerning whom, as their enemies were the informers, he thought that the intimation was neither entirely to be believed nor utterly disregarded), he resolved to make trial whether what had been told him was true or false. He accordingly went forward on the road on which they had stated that an ambush would be laid for him; but he selected a man closely resembling himself in |374 person and stature, gave him his own attire, and ordered him to ride on in that part of the line where he himself had been accustomed to go, while Datames himself, in the equipments and dress of a common soldier, prepared to march among his own body-guard. The men in ambuscade, as soon as the party reached the spot where they were stationed, being deceived by the place and dress, made an assault upon him who had been substituted for Datames. But Datames had previously directed those among whom he was marching, to be ready to do what they should see him do. He, as soon as he saw the conspirators collecting in a body, hurled his darts among them, and, as all the rest did the same, they fell down dead before they could reach him whom they meant to attack.
X. Yet this man, crafty as he was, was at last ensnared by a device of Mithridates, the son of Ariobarzanes; for Mithridates promised the king that he would kill Datames, if the king would allow him to do with impunity whatever he wished, and would give him a pledge to that effect with his right hand after the manner of the Persians. When he received this pledge sent him by the king,142 he prepared a force, and though at a distance, made a league with Datames, ravaged the king's provinces, stormed his fortresses, and carried off a great quantity of spoil, part of which he divided among his men, and part he sent to Datames, putting into his hands, in like manner, many strong-holds. By pursuing this course for a long time, he made Datames believe that he had undertaken an everlasting war against the king, while notwithstanding (lest he should raise in him any suspicion of treachery), he neither sought a conference with him, nor showed any desire to come into his sight. Thus, though keeping at a distance, he maintained friendship with him; but so that they seemed to be bound to one another, not by mutual kindnesses, but by the common hatred which they had conceived towards the king.
XI. When he thought that he had sufficiently established this notion, he gave intimation to Datames that it was time for greater armies to be raised, and an attack to be made on the king himself; and that, with reference to this subject, he might, if he pleased, come to a conference with him |375 in any place that he might choose. The proposal being accepted, a time was fixed for the conference, and a place in which they were to meet. To this spot Mithridates came some days previously, in company with a person in whom he had the greatest confidence, and buried swords in several different places, carefully marking each spot. On the day of the conference, each of them brought people to examine the place, and to search Datames and Mithridates themselves. They then met, and after they had spent some time in conference, and parted in different directions, and Datames was some distance off, Mithridates, before he went back to his attendants (lest he should excite any suspicion), returned to the same place, and sat down, as if he wished to rest from weariness, on one of the spots in which a sword had been concealed, and, at the same time, called back Datames, pretending that he had forgotten something at their conference. In the mean time he drew out the sword that was hid, and concealed it, unsheathed, under his garment, and observed to Datames, as he was returning, that he had noticed, when going off, that a certain place, which was in sight, was suitable for pitching a camp. While he was pointing this out with his finger, and the other was looking towards it, he ran him through, as his back was turned, with the sword, and put an end to his life before any one could come to his assistance. Thus a man who had gained the mastery over many by prudence, over none by treachery, was ensnared by pretended friendship.
121. ‡ A strong city of the Propontis, on an island of the same name. It was besieged on this occasion, as Mitford supposes, by a force sent thither by Epaminondas, who was endeavouring to make Thebes a naval power to rival Athens.
123. || A city on the Hellespont, in the Thracian Chersonese, mentioned by Scylax, Stephanus de Urb., Strabo, and Pliny. The introduction of the name of this city into the text is due to Gebhard. Previously the common reading was Ericthonem, of which nobody knew what to make.
125. ** A pulvinus or pulvinar was a cushion, pillow, or bolster, and to support the arm or side of those who reclined on couches, like the bolsters on sofas in the present day. Pulvinar was afterwards used for the entire couch, on which the statues of the gods were placed on solemn occasions, as in the Roman lectisternia.
127. † Cui oppositus Chares quum esset, non satis in eo praesidii putabatur.] "To whom, when Chares had been opposed, there was not thought to be sufficient defence in him." Chares was a vain and ignorant braggart. See Diod. Sic. xvi. 86.
131. * Jason tyrannus.] He was tyrant of Pherae in Thessaly, and was, as it were, from his great power, king of the whole country. By calling him the "most powerful of all men," omnium potentissimus, Nepos seems to mean that he was more powerful than any single individual that had at that time to do with Greece.
135. † Agresti duplici amiculo.] Called duplex because it was thick and stout, woven of thread of a double thickness; or because it was made of cloth doubled. The Greeks called it xlai=na diplh~.----Fischer. A modern annotator thinks that duplica refers to the "folding" of the cloak as it was worn, not to the "texture!"
136. * Qui tantum quod ad hostes pervenerat..] This reading is an emendation of Lambinus, and it is extremely doubtful whether it ought to have been so favourably regarded by Van Steveren and Bos, who have admitted it into their texts. Some of the manuscripts have qui dum ad hostes pervenerat. Heusinger thinks we might read tantum qui dum, or qui tantum dum, tantum dum, being a form of expression similar to vixdum, nondum. The Ed. Ultraject. has qui tantum non ad, &c. Most of the older common editions have qui nondum ad, &c.
139. ‡ Captianorum. A people unknown to geographers. Schottus suggested that we should read, with a slight alteration, Caspianorum, people from the borders of the Caspian sea.----Bos. Bos, on the whole, approves this suggestion.
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