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Headword: *ma/rkios
Adler number: mu,210
Translated headword: Markios, Marcius
Vetting Status: high
[Marcius,] general of [the] Romans.[1] This man was banished by the populace. "There was lamentation and tears from those who were escorting and pitying [sc. Marcius]. But Marcius was observed as neither having burst into tears nor having bewailed his own fortune nor having said or done any other thing whatsoever unworthy of his own greatness of mind. He evinced yet more fortitude and nobility of purpose when, having arrived home, he saw his wife and mother tearing their robes into pieces, beating their breasts, and uttering such things as are likely in these circumstances, when women are being torn away from their closest kinsfolk by death or banishment, crying out loud in grief. Not by the tears of the children[2] was he affected, one son being ten years old, but one [sc. an infant son] clasped in arms.[3] With haste, nonetheless, he went out through the gates [sc. of the city], divulging to no one[4] where he would make his escape. He was a true man, best in battle, against all indulgences in control of himself,[5] and promulgating customs not from law compulsory to everyone, but being earnest and also quite forthright regarding them. And not only being zealous to keep himself pure from all injustice, but considering it right to compel others as well, [being] both magnanimous, generous, and most ready to redress. But as it was indeed impossible for all of a man's virtues to have arisen by nature, neither was anyone, generally good, brought forth by nurture from dead and waxed-over seed. However, in this very man, a spirit--having imbued each and every virtue--also bestowed fatal flaws and reckless impulses, for mildness and cheerfulness did not apply to his tendencies, nor helpfulness in close salutations and in greeting,[6] nor any ease of accommodation and conciliation when he might have lost temper with someone, nor the grace that decorates all things human; he was always but sharp and hard. And these things did tarnish him to many people, and most of all [sc. that he was] indiscriminate[7] and intransigent concerning rules and defense of the laws, and giving nothing at all to the deserving. It seems to be true, what was said by the ancient philosophers, that moral virtues--and above all lawfulness--are means, not extremes.[8] For not only has falling short of the law been his nature, but also exceeding its bounds; it is not paying to others their due, but the imposition[9] of enormous penalties. Harsh lawgiving thus tarnished Marcius, and he was exiled from his country, because with all his injustices he aroused an opposing hatred. So, if when bodies perish,[10] it is at the same time characteristic of the soul--that is, whenever it has indeed been completely abolished and no longer exists anywhere--I do not know how I am to understand as blessed those enjoying nothing good from a virtue, yet perishing by this [sc. virtue] itself. But also if, as according to many, our souls happen to be ineradicable, or for a time after release from their bodies persevere, those of the good men the longest, while those of the wicked the least, it might seem a sufficient honor to those making a practice of virtue, after having set oneself against one's fate; for the living, it is a eulogy and a resilient memorial for the longest time. It fell too to this man's lot. For not only the Volscians mourned this man--he used to be their leader[11]--but the Romans too observed a mourning in private and in public, the women also taking off gold and other adornment and, dressing in black wraps, commemorating and mourning for a year's time; and, five hundred years to this having elapsed, the memory of this man has not begun fading."
Greek Original:
*ma/rkios, strathgo\s *(rwmai/wn. ou(=tos e)fugadeu/qh u(po\ tou= dh/mou: h)=n te oi)mwgh\ kai\ da/krua tw=n propempo/ntwn au)to\n kai\ oi)kteiro/ntwn. o( de\ *ma/rkios ou)/te a)naklausa/menos w)/fqh ta\s e(autou= tu/xas ou)/te a)poimw/cas ou)/te a)/llo ei)pw\n h)\ dra/sas a)na/cion th=s e(autou= megalofrosu/nhs ou)dotiou=n. e)/ti de\ ma=llon e)dh/lwse th\n karteri/an kai\ th\n gennaio/thta th=s gnw/mhs, e)peidh\ oi)/kade a)fiko/menos gunai=ka/ te ei)=de kai\ mhte/ra katarrhgnume/nas tou\s pe/plous kai\ ta\ ste/rna tuptou/sas kai\ oi(=a ei)ko/s e)stin e)pi\ toiau/tais sumforai=s le/gein ta\s a)pozeugnume/nas a)po\ tw=n a)nagkaiota/twn sfi/si qana/tois h)\ fugai=s a)nabow/sas: ou)de\ pro\s ta\ da/krua tw=n pai/dwn e)/paqen: w(=n o( ei(=s de/ka gegonw\s e)/th, o( de\ u(pagka/lios: a)ll' e)ch/|ei kata\ spoudh\n e)pi\ ta\s pu/las, ou)qeni\ dhlw/sas, o(/pou th\n a)pallagh\n poih/soito. h)=n de\ a)nh\r a)/ristos ta\ pole/mia kai\ pro\s pa/sas ta\s h(dona\s e)gkrath/s, ta/ te di/kaia ou)k a)po\ no/mou ma=llon a)na/gkhs a(/pasin a)podidou/s, a)ll' e(kw/n te kai\ prospefukw\s pro\s au)ta\ eu)=. kai\ ou) mo/non au)to\s a(gneu/ein a)po\ pa/shs kaki/as proqumou/menos, a)lla\ kai\ tou\s a)/llous prosanagka/zein dikaiw=n, megalo/frwn te kai\ dwrhmatiko\s kai\ e)s e)pano/rqwsin proxeiro/tatos. a)lla\ ga\r e)n a)duna/tw| h)=n a)/ra pa/sas ta\s a)reta\s e)n a)nqrw/pou gene/sqai fu/sei, ou)de\ fu/etai/ tis a)po\ qnhtw=n kai\ e)pikh/rwn sperma/twn peri\ pa/nta a)gaqo/s: e)kei/nw| ge ou)=n pa/nta kai\ ta\s a)reta\s o( dai/mwn xarisa/menos e(te/ras ou)k eu)tuxei=s kh=ra/s te kai\ a)/tas prosh=ye. to\ ga\r prau\+ kai\ faidro\n ou)k e)ph=n au)tou= toi=s tro/pois, ou)de\ to\ qerapeutiko\n tw=n pe/las e)/n te a)spasmoi=s kai\ prosagoreu/sei, ou)de\ dh\ to\ eu)dia/llakton kai\ metriopaqe/s, o(po/te di' o)rgh=s o(/tw| ge/noito, ou)de\ h( pa/nta ta\ a)nqrw/pina e)pikosmou=sa xa/ris, a)ll' a)ei\ pikro\s kai\ xalepo\s h)=n. tau=ta te dh\ au)to\n e)n polloi=s e)/blaye, kai\ pa/ntwn ma/lista h( peri\ ta\ di/kaia kai\ th\n fulakh\n tw=n no/mwn a)/krito/s te kai\ a)para/peistos kai\ ou)qe\n tw=| e)pieikei= didou=sa a)potomi/a. e)/oiken a)lhqe\s ei)=nai to\ u(po\ tw=n a)rxai/wn lego/menon filoso/fwn, o(/ti meso/thte/s ei)sin, ou)k a)kro/thtes ai( tw=n h)qw=n a)retai/, ma/lista de\ h( dikaiosu/nh. ou) ga\r mo/non lei/pousa tou= dikai/ou pe/fuken, a)lla\ kai\ u(perba/llousa: au)toi=s te ou) lusitelh/s e)stin, a)ll' ai)ti/a mega/lwn sumforw=n. *ma/rkion ga\r to\ a)/kron di/kaion e)/blaye, kai\ e)chla/qh th=s patri/dos: pa/nta ga\r ta\ mh\ di/kaia a)ntile/gwn mi=sos h)/geiren. ei) me\n ou)=n a(/ma toi=s sw/masi dialuome/nois kai\ to\ th=s yuxh=s, o(/ ti dh/ pote/ e)stin e)kei=no, sundialu/etai, kai\ ou)damh= ou)qe\n e)/ti e)sti/n, ou)k oi)=da pw=s makari/ous u(pola/bw tou\s mhqe\n me\n a)polau/santas th=s a)reth=s a)gaqo/n, di' au)th\n de\ tau/thn a)polome/nous: ei) de\ kai\ a)/fqartoi me/xri tou= panto\s ai( yuxai\ tugxa/nousin h(mw=n ou)=sai, h)\ xro/non meta\ th\n a)pallagh\n tw=n swma/twn e)ndiame/nousi, mh/kiston me\n ai( tw=n a)gaqw=n a)ndrw=n, e)la/xiston de\ ai( tw=n kakw=n, a)poxrw=sa timh\ fai/noito au)toi=s a)reth\n a)skou=sin: h)nantiw/qh para\ th=s tu/xhs, h( para\ tw=n zw/ntwn eu)logi/a kai\ mnh/mh me/xri plei/stou paramei/nasa xro/nou. o(\ kai\ tw=| a)ndri\ e)kei/nw| sune/bh. ou) ga\r mo/non *ou)olou=skoi tou=ton e)pe/nqhsan, w(=n h)=rxen, a)lla\ kai\ *(rwmai=oi pe/nqos e)poih/santo i)di/a| kai\ dhmosi/a|, kai\ ai( gunai=kes a)poqe/menai xruso\n kai\ to\n a)/llon ko/smon kai\ me/lasin a)mfi/ois xrhsa/menai kai\ penqh/sasai e)niau/sion xro/non: kai\ e)tw=n e)s to/de f# diagegono/twn, ou) ge/gonen e)ci/thlos h( tou= a)ndro\s mnh/mh.
Whether the Roman general Gnaeus Marcius (fl. early C5 BCE) was a historical or legendary personage is uncertain; see OCD(4) s.v. Marcius Coriolanus. In any event, tradition has it that he led Roman forces in conquest (493) over the Volscian (Barrington Atlas map 44 grid D3; cf. beta 451, omicron 923, and OCD(4) s.v. Volsci) town of Corioli (kappa 2092 (note)). Corioli's location is uncertain, but it seems to have been situated in Latium, south of the Albanus Mons (modern Italy's Alban Hills), between ancient Aricia (nowadays Ariccia: ibid. map 44 grid C2) and the Volscian capital of Antium (ibid. map 44 grid C3; present-day Anzio; Talbert, p. 660). For his exploits at Corioli, the Romans granted Marcius the epithet -- by which he is better known -- of Coriolanus; see Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities [hereinafter Dion.Hal.] 6.92-94 (and Livy 2.33: web address 1).
The present entry's material, after the opening glosses, comes from Dion.Hal. 7.67 and 8.60-62; cf. Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, On Virtues and Vices 2.73.1-2.75.7.
[1] For later trying to thwart grain distribution to hungry plebians and for generally arrogant patrician conduct, Coriolanus was put on trial in Rome. The following quotation covers events immediately after his conviction on a close vote; cf. Dion.Hal. 7.64; Livy 2.34-35 (web address 2); and alpha 967.
[2] The source text here reads women, not children; cf. n. 3 and Dion.Hal.
[3] For u(pagka/lios (clasped in arms) cf. upsilon 135 and LSJ s.v. The Suda intermingles the account of Coriolanus' parting interactions with his household's women together with those of his children; cf. n.2.
[4] With ou)qeni/, Adler follows ms A, but notes that mss GVM use an earlier form, ou)deni/, dative singular of ou)dei/s (and not one); cf. LSJ s.v.
[5] In her critical apparatus Adler observes that ms V reads e)gkratei/as, accusative plural of e)gkra/teia (mastery over, cf. LSJ s.v.); Coriolanus has a mastery over his indulgences.
[6] Adler notes that mss GM read proagoreu/sei, dative singular of proago/reusis (a stating beforehand, a public address, cf. LSJ s.v.); in public address, he was unhelpful.
[7] Adler notes that ms V reads a)/krita/ -- the neuter plural instead of the masculine (and feminine) singular form of the adjective. It evidently modifies ta\ di/kaia: Coriolanus was intransigent concerning strict rules.
[8] Perhaps gesturing at Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1106b27 (web address 3) and 1129a1-6 (web address 4).
[9] Adler notes that ms V gives au)ti/ka (forthwith, cf. LSJ s.v.): but of enormous penalties forthwith.
[10] Adler notes that ms A omits ou)=n (so) and that ms V reads diaballome/nois: when bodies pass away.
[11] Upon his banishment Coriolanus took refuge among the Volscians (cf. mu 211). Having gained the confidence of their leader Tullus Attius (cf. tau 243 n.2) and the rest of the Volscians (cf. Dion.Hal. 8.1-3), he then led them in a vengeful series of successful attacks upon Roman cities. But, upon approach to his native Rome, he balked; his family still lived within its walls. And on an embassy to the Volscian camp, his mother Veturia and wife Volumnia (cf. Dion.Hal. 8.40-44 and omicron 834) implored him to desist (cf. kappa 120). Coriolanus withdrew, retreated through conquered regions as if they were friendly, and distributed spoils to his troops (cf. Dion.Hal. 8.57.1-2). But his failure to storm Rome inspired the wrath of his jealous erstwhile ally, the Volscian general Tullus Attius, who brought charges of treason against Coriolanus (Dion.Hal. 8.57.3-4; cf. tau 243). The trial became a lynching, and, before he could commence his defense, Tullus' supporters rushed him and stoned Coriolanus to death (Dion.Hal. 8.58.4-59.1).
R. Talbert, ed. Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Map-by-Map Directory, vol. I, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000
K. Jacoby, Dionysii Halicarnasei antiquitatum Romanarum quae supersunt, vol. 3, Leipzig: Teubner, 1891
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4
Keywords: biography; children; chronology; clothing; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; geography; historiography; history; law; military affairs; mythology; philosophy; politics; women
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 9 December 2008@02:53:21.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 9 December 2008@03:49:58.
David Whitehead (tweaking) on 7 May 2013@04:25:43.
Catharine Roth (upgraded links) on 7 May 2013@22:21:54.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@07:20:25.
David Whitehead (my typo; coding) on 17 May 2016@07:38:52.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 12 July 2020@01:15:11.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation) on 13 July 2020@00:59:34.


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