Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

The Hiſtory of Life and Death. happy in the calamity of her husband and near kinsfolks, and in a long widow-hood
unhappy; not withſtanding much honoured of all.



The year of our Lord ſeventy ſix, falling into the time of Veſpaſian, is memorable; in which we ſhall find, as it were, a calendar of long liv’d men: For that year there
was a Taxing, (now a Taxing is the moſt Authentical and trueſt Informer touching
the ages of men;) and in that part of Italy which lieth betwixt the Apennine Moun-
tains and the River Po, there were found an hundred and four and twenty perſons that
either equalled or exceeded an hundred years of age: namely, of an hundred years
juſt, fifty four perſons; of an hundred and ten, fifty ſeven perſons; of an hundred
and five and twenty, two onely; of an hundred and thirty, four men; of an hundred
and five and thirty, or ſeven and thirty, four more; of an hundred and forty, three
men. Beſides theſe, Parma in particular afforded five; whereof three fulfilled an hun-
dred and twenty years, and two an hundred and thirty: Bruxels afforded one of an hun-
dred and twenty five years old; Placentia one, aged an hundred thirty and one; Fa-
ventia one woman, aged one hundred thirty and two: a certain Town, then called
Velleiatium, ſituate in the Hills about Placentia, afforded ten, whereof ſix fulfilled an
hundred and ten years of age; four, an hundred and twenty: Laſtly, Rimini one of an
hundred and fifty years, whoſe name was Marcus Aponius.



That our catalogue might not be extended too much in length, we have thought fit,
as well in thoſe whom we have rehearſed, as in thoſe whom we ſhall rehearſe, to offer
none under eighty years of age. Now we have affixed to every one a true and ſhort
Character or Elogy; but of that ſort whereunto, in our judgment, Length of Life
(which is not a little ſubject to the Manners and Fortunes of men) hath ſome relation,
and that in a two-fold reſpect: either that ſuch kind of men are for the most part long-
liv’d; or that ſuch men may ſometimes be of long life, though otherwiſe not well diſpoſed
for it.

Amongſt the Roman and Grecian Emperors, alſo the French and Almain, to theſe
our dayes, which make up the number of well-near two hundred Princes, there
are onely four found that lived to eighty years of age: unto whom we may adde the
two firſt Emperors, Auguſtus and Tiberius; whereof the latter fulfilled the ſeventy
and eighth year, the former the ſeventy and ſixth year of his age, and might both per-
haps have lived to fourſcore, if Livia and Caius had been pleaſed. Auguſtus (as was
ſaid) lived ſeventy and ſix years: a man of moderate diſpoſition; in accompliſhing
his deſigns vehement, but other wiſe calm and ſerene; in meat and drink ſober,
in Venery intemperate, through all his life-time happy; and who about the thir-
tieth year of his life had a great and dangerons ſickneſs, inſomuch as they de-
ſpaired of life in him; whom Antonius Muſa the Phyſician, when other Phyſicians
had applied hot Medicines, as moſt agreeable to his diſeaſe, on the contrar cured
with cold Medicines, which perchance might be ſome help to the prolonging of his
life. Tiberius lived to be two years older: A man with lean chaps, as Augustus
was wont to ſay, for his ſpeech ſtuck within his jaws, but was weighty He was
bloudy, a drinker, and one that took Luſt into a part of his diet; notwithſtanding
a great obſ@rver of his health, inſomuch that he uſed to ſay, That he was a fool
that after thirty years of| age took advice of a Phyſician. Gordian the elder lived
eighty years, and yet died a violent death when he was ſcarce warm in his Empire: a man of an high ſpirit and renowned, learned, and a Poet, and conſtantly hap-
py throughout the whole courſe of his life, ſave onely that he ended his dayes by a
violent death. Valerian the Emperour was ſeventy ſix years of age before he was
taken priſoner by Sapor King of Perſia, after his Captivity he lived ſeven years in
reproaches, and then died a violent death alſo: a man of a poor mind, and not va-
liant; notwithſtanding liſted up in his own and the opinion of men, but falling
ſhort in the performance. Anaſtaſius, ſurnamed Dicorus, lived eighty eight years: he
was of a ſetled mind, but too abject, and ſuperſtitious, and fearful. Anicius Juſti-
nianus lived to eighty three years: a man greedy of glory, performing nothing in his
own perſon, but in the valour of his Captains happy and renowned; uxorious, and not
his own man, but ſuffering others to lead him. Helena of Britain, mother of Con-
ſtantine the Great, was four@core years old: a woman that intermedled not in matters of
State neither in her Husband’s nor ſons Reign, but devoted her ſelf wholly to Religion; magnanimous, and perpetually flouriſhing. Theodora the Empreſs (who was ſiſter to Zoes,


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