The Apostle Paul and Aemilius Paullus
In Response To: Paul and Stephen Martyr ()

Take a look at Plutarchs' biography of Aemilius Paullus.

"By this speech he inspired great reverence for him amongst the citizens, and great expectations of future success; all were well pleased, that they had passed by such as sought to be preferred by flattery, and fixed upon a commander endued with wisdom and courage to tell them the truth. So entirely did the people of Rome, that they might rule, and become masters of the world, yield obedience and service to reason and superior virtue."

"At last, he began to discourse of fortune and human affairs ... learn a lesson that there is nothing durable or constant ... young men, cast off that vain pride and empty boast of victory; sit down with humility, looking always for what is yet to come, and the possible future reverses which the divine displeasure may eventually make the end of our present happiness."

"∆milius, however, reasoning justly that courage and resolution was not merely to resist armor and spears, but all the shocks of ill fortune, so met and so adapted himself to these mingled and contrasting circumstances, as to outbalance the evil with the good ..."

"Still retaining a jealousy of fortune, even from the smooth current of my affairs, and seeing myself secure and free from the danger of any enemy, I chiefly dreaded the change of the goddess at sea, whilst conveying home my victorious army, vast spoils, and a captive king. Nay, indeed, after I was returned to you safe, and saw the city full of joy, congratulating, and sacrifices, yet still I distrusted, well knowing that fortune never conferred any great benefits that were unmixed and unattended with probabilities of reverse."

"I am myself safe from danger, at least as to what was my greatest care; and I trust and am verily persuaded, that for the time to come Fortune will prove constant and harmless unto you; since she has sufficiently wreaked her jealousy at our great successes on me and mine, and has made the conqueror as marked an example of human instability as the captive whom he led in triumph ..."

"∆milius, although he still took part with the nobles, yet was as much the people's favorite as those who most sought popularity and used every art to obtain it."

"It is truly worthy our admiration in ∆milius, that, though he conquered so great and so rich a realm as that of Macedon, yet he would not touch, nor see any of the money, nor did he advantage himself one farthing by it, though he was very generous of his own to others."

I think it is easy to recognize that this was the image that Paul sought to cultivate or was cultivated for him after his death.

Also note other "Pauline themes" in the biography of Aemilius Paullus:

- his exploits in Spain and return to Rome

- his conquest of Greece (paralleled by Epistles to Phillipi and Thesally)

- controversy in Rome but ultimate triumph over his detractors

- the glorying in scars

- his constant concern for the welfare of his people

- his safe passage through perils at sea

- his death without heirs