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encounter'd Cesar again, and being defeated, desired his Friend Strato to put an end to his Life. Now here are plainly two different Actions, and at some Distance of Time from each other, both fought in the same Plains of Philippi, which I hope may clear up the Matter, and justify Virgil of this great, and, I think, unaccountable Licence, which has so often been laid to his Charge. This, I hope, may fairly enough answer the Romanas Acies iterum videre Philippi, and the Bis fanguine noftro. I find Ruæus had such a Notion once, for which he only quotes the Authority of Plutarch. But he does not approve of this Solution, because he thinks the Exprellion of the Ground being twice fatten'd with the Blood of the Romans, seems to imply a greater Distance of Time than a Month, which Plutarch places between the two Actions I have before mention'd. For my part, I cannot see the Force of the Objection, nor why it might not properly be said, that the Plains of Ematbia were twice in a Month water'd and manur'd with Roman Blood. If this be a real Difficulty (which I must own I do not apprehend) I dare fay it is not so great a one, as to bring two Armies into the same Country, and fighting in the same Field, tho' they fought in two Places at so great Distance from each other. Whereas, allowing the Turn I have given to that Passage, the Sense, I think, will be very clear and plain, that Philippi saw the Romans twice fight for the Empire of the World, and that those Plains were water'd, &c. with the Blood of the Romans. I beg Leave to add but one Observation more to confirm my Opinion, and that drawn from the Context of Virgil ; it is thus :
quæ ad se tenderet, tardiùs eo nunciante, cum in vicino effet agmen cursu ad eum tendentium, -- exiftimans Hostes esse qui inruerent, Lacernâ caput circumdedit, extentamque Cerviç m interritus Liberto præbuit.— Poit paucos deinde Dies Brutus conflixit cum Hoftibus, & victus acie, cum in Tumulum nocte ex sugâ fe e. cepisset, impetravit à Stratone Ægeate, familiari fuo, ut manum morituro commodaret sibi. Vell. Paterc. l. 2. c. 70. P. 71. Elzev.
The Poet having shown the Importance of the fe, veral Prognosticks that offer themselves to common Observation, does the fame by those of the Sun, in the following Words,
Sol tibi figna dabit, folem quis dicere falfum
This gives him an Opportunity of enumerating the Prodigies that happend upon the Death of Julius Cesar, and were the Preludes of the Civil Wars between O Et avius and his Murderers.
Ille etiam extin&to miseratus Cæsare Romam,
Impiaque aternam timuerunt fæcula noétem, &c. With abundance of other Prognosticks; then he concludes with this Paffage before us,
Ergo inter sese paribus concurrere telis, &c.
Now if there is any Connexion between the Line, Ille etiam extincto, &c. and Ergo inter fefe, as I cannot but think there must ; if Ergo be an Inference from those Prodigies which attended the Death of Cesar, as it may be very reasonably suppos'd, then the
Fight of Pharsalia must be entirely out of the Question. For, what Relation could this Battle have to the Death of Cefar, which happen'd above three Years after? Granting this Connexion to be true, then the Sense of the Paffage will plainly be this : The Gods, therefore, incens’d at the Murder of Cez far, fuffer'd the Romans to break out into Discord and cruel Civil Wars; twice to engage on the same Spot of Ground, and twice to water and fatten the
Plains of Philippi with their Blood. Taking the Poet's Words in that Point of View, then the Sense will be plain, the Connexion clear, and the Inference will be entirely just. This will, I conceive, set this Passage in a new Light, give an additional Beauty to it, and make the Compliment greater s which, I make no doube, the Poet intended to Augustus in this Place.
But that you may fee, Sir, I do not design to shift and avoid any Difficulties, I shall next consider the Authors that are quoted by the Criticks in defence of the former Opinion. The first of these is Ovid, who, speaking by way of Prophecy, of the Greatness of Augustus, faith,
* Pharsalia fentiet illum, Emathiaque iterum madefa&ta cæde Philippi.
These Words, at first sight, seem clearly to assert what I have here denied, but if we understand the first Sentence, Pharsalia sentiet illum, Pharsalia shall hear of him, and of his Exploits, which is the Meaning of the word Sentire in Terence, and some of the best Latin Writers, then the last Verse will agree with my Opinion, and will make this plain and easy Sense, That the Plains of Philippi were twice water'd with the Blood of the Romans. But if this Passage of Ovid does not appear so clear under the Light I have placed it, I beg it may be consider'd as one of those Prophecies which are usually deliver’d in a loose, obscure and ambiguous Manner. For, I can never believe that a Man of Ovid's Judgment, and who lived in the very Time of the last of these Actions, should have confounded these two Coun. tries, and have made Pharsalia and Philippi to be the fame Place, which are so intirely different, and so widely distant from each other. The last Author quoted by the Learned in this Case is Florus, who, I must confess, is directly against me ; for he asserts, in express Terms, that these two Battles were fought in the fame Field *, and upon the fame Spot of Ground. The most favourable thing that I think can be said for this Writer is, that he was led into that Error by mistaking the Sense of Virgil in this Place, as some learned Men have done after him. Be it as it will, I am not much concern'd with the Authority of Florus, having already shewn, that the Matter of Fact is false. And tho'chis Licence, fupposing it was one, might be allow'd in Virgil by the Right of a Poet, yet such a Liberty can never be pardon'd in an Historian: tho' I question whether Florus deserves that Name, whose Work is rather a Panegyrick, than a History of the Romans ; rather an Encomium, than an exact Account of the A&tions of that People. For this he greedily catches at every thing that makes for their Glory, is full of Flights and poetical Conceits, every where gives into the wonderful, prefers things that are hardly credible to those that are more probable, and often conceals and diffembles real Facts which make for the Honour of the Romans, or puts a false Turn and Colour upon them. Of this I could give you many Instances, but that I fear to tire and weary out your Patience ; fo I shall reserve this to some other Opportunity, and perhaps make it the Subject of another Epistle.
* Ovid, Metam. L. 15. 1. 823.
* Illi paratis ingentibus copiis eandem, quæ fatalis Cn. Pom. peio fuerat, harenam insiderunt. Flor. l. 4. c. 7.
N. B. Dr. Littleton is very unlucky in his Dictionary, in his Remark
upon the Word Philippi. For, taking no notice this was the field of Battle between Augusus and Cefar's Murderers, Brutus and Cefsus, he only faith, Hi Campi Philippici ubi inter Cæfarem
Pompeium pugnatum eft. So omitting the Action that really happened there, he places a Battle that never was fought in that Place,
Sed aliquando bonus dormitat.
ARTICLE II. A new and accurate METHOD of delineating
all the Parts of the different Orders in AR-
the just Proportions of the principal Members,
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