Life of Antony, 83

Plutarch  translated by Bernadotte Perrin

« Plut. Ant. 82 | Plut. Ant. 83 | Plut. Ant. 84 | About This Work »

83After a few days Caesar himself came to talk with her and give her comfort. She was lying on a mean pallet-bed, clad only in her tunic, but sprang up as he entered and thew herself at his feet; her hair and face were in terrible disarray, her voice trembled, and her eyes were sunken. There were also visible many marks of the cruel blows upon her bosom; in a word, her body seemed to be no better off than her spirit. 2Nevertheless, the charm for which she was famous and the boldness of her beauty were not altogether extinguished, but, although she was in such a sorry plight, they shone forth from within and made themselves manifest in the play of her features. After Caesar had bidden her to lie down and had seated himself near her, she began a sort of justification of her course, ascribing it to necessity and fear of Antony; but as Caesar opposed and refuted her on every point, she quickly changed her tone and sought to move his pity by prayers, as one who above all things clung to life. 3And finally she gave him a list which she had of all her treasures; and when Seleucus, one of her stewards, showed conclusively that she was stealing away and hiding some of them, she sprang up, seized him by the hair, and showered blows upon his face. 4And when Caesar, with a smile, stopped her, she said: “But is it not a monstrous thing, O Caesar, that when thou hast deigned to come to me and speak to me though I am in this wretched plight, my slaves denounce me for reserving some women’s adornments,—not for myself, indeed, unhappy woman that I am,—but that I may make trifling gifts to Octavia and thy Livia, and through their intercession find thee merciful and more gentle?” 5Caesar was pleased with this speech, being altogether of the opinion that she desired to live. He told her, therefore, that he left these matters for her to manage, and that in all other ways he would give her more splendid treatment than she could possibly expect. Then he went off, supposing that he had deceived her, but the rather deceived by her.

« Plut. Ant. 82 | Plut. Ant. 83 | Plut. Ant. 84 | About This Work »

Version menu

Table of contents