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Marcellus, Chapter 2

[Translation from Plutarch's Lives, with an English translation by Bernadotte Perrin. London, W. Heinemann; New York, The Macmillan co. [etc.] 1914-26]

1. Marcellus was efficient and practised in every kind of fighting, but in single combat he surpased himself, never declining a challenge, and always killing his challengers. In Sicily he saved his brother Otacilius from peril of his life, covering him with his shield and killing those who were set upon him.

2. Wherefore, although he was still a youth, he received garlands and prizes from his commanders, and since he grewin repute, the people appointed him curule aedile, and the priests, augur. This is a species of priesthood, to which the law particularly assigns the observation and study of prophetic signs from the flight of birds.

3. During his aedileship, he was compelled to bring a disagreeable impeachment into the senate. He had a son, named Marcus like himself, who was in the flower of his boyish beauty, and not less admired by his countrymen for his modesty and good training. To this boy Capitolinus, the colleague of Marcellus, a bold and licentious man, made overtures of love. The boy at first repelled the attempt by himself, but when it was made again, told his father. Marcellus, highly indignant, denounced the man in the senate.

4. The culprit devised many exceptions and ways of escape, appealing to the tribunes of the people, and when these rejected his appeal, he sought to escape the charge by denying it. There had been no witness to his proposals, and therefore the senate decided to summon the boy before them. When he appeared, and they beheld his blushes, tears, and shame mingled with quenchless indignation, they wanted no further proof, but condemned Capitolinus, and set a fine upon him. With this money, Marcellus had silver libation-bowls made, and dedicated them to the gods.