Caesar: A Sketch
James Anthony Froude

Part 7 out of 8

the city which joined the outer harbor. The situation was irritating from
its absurdity, but more or less it was really dangerous. The Egyptian
fleet which had been sent to Greece in aid of Pompey had come back, and
was in the inner basin. It outnumbered Caesar's, and the Alexandrians were
the best seamen in the Mediterranean. If they came out, they might cut his
communications. Without hesitation he set fire to the docks; burnt or
disabled the great part of the ships; seized the Pharos and the mole which
connected it with the town; fortified the palace and the line of houses
occupied by his troops; and in this position he remained for several
weeks, defending himself against the whole power of Egypt. Of the time in
which legend describes him as abandoned to his love for Cleopatra, there
was hardly an hour of either day or night in which he was not fighting for
his very life. The Alexandrians were ingenious and indefatigable. They
pumped the sea into the conduits which supplied his quarters with water,
for a moment it seemed with fatal effect. Fresh water was happily found by
sinking wells. They made a new fleet; old vessels on the stocks were
launched, others were brought down from the canals on the river. They made
oars and spars out of the benches and tables of the professors' lecture
rooms. With these they made desperate attempts to retake the mole. Once
with a sudden rush they carried a ship, in which Caesar was present in
person, and he was obliged to swim for his life.[3] Still, he held on,
keeping up his men's spirits, and knowing that relief must arrive in time.
He was never greater than in unlooked-for difficulties. He never rested.
He was always inventing some new contrivance. He could have retired from
the place with no serious loss. He could have taken to his ships and
forced his way to sea in spite of the winds and the Alexandrians. But he
felt that to fly from such an enemy would dishonor the Roman name, and he
would not entertain the thought of it.

[Sidenote: B.C. 47.]
The Egyptians made desperate efforts to close the harbor. Finding that
they could neither capture the Pharos nor make an impression on Caesar's
lines, they affected to desire peace. Caesar had kept young Ptolemy with
him as a security. They petitioned that he should be given up to them,
promising on compliance to discontinue their assaults. Caesar did not
believe them. But the boy was of no use to him; the army wished him gone,
for they thought him treacherous; and his presence would not strengthen
the enemy. Caesar, says Hirtius, considered that it would be more
respectable to be fighting with a king than with a gang of ruffians. Young
Ptolemy was released, and joined his countrymen, and the war went on more
fiercely than before. Pompey's murderers were brought to justice in the
course of it. Pothinus fell into Caesar's hands, and was executed.
Ganymede, another eunuch, assassinated Achillas, and took his place as
commander-in-chief. Reinforcements began to come in. Mithridates had not
yet been heard of; but Domitius Calvinus, who had been left in charge of
Asia Minor, and to whom Caesar had also sent, had despatched two legions
to him. One arrived by sea at Alexandria, and was brought in with some
difficulty. The other was sent by land, and did not arrive in time to be
of service. There was a singular irony in Caesar being left to struggle
for months with a set of miscreants, but the trial came to an end at last.
Mithridates, skilful, active, and faithful, had raised a force with
extraordinary rapidity in Cilicia and on the Euphrates. He had marched
swiftly through Syria; and in the beginning of the new year Caesar heard
the welcome news that he had reached Pelusium, and had taken it by storm.
Not delaying for a day, Mithridates had gone up the bank of the Nile to
Cairo. A division of the Egyptian army lay opposite to him, in the face of
whom he did not think it prudent to attempt to cross, and from thence he
sent word of his position to Caesar. The news reached Caesar and the
Alexandrians at the same moment. The Alexandrians had the easiest access
to the scene. They had merely to ascend the river in their boats. Caesar
was obliged to go round by sea to Pelusium, and to follow the course which
Mithridates had taken himself. Rapidity of movement made up the
difference. Taking with him such cohorts as could be spared from his
lines, Caesar had joined Mithridates before the Alexandrians had arrived.
Together they forced the passage; and Ptolemy came only for his camp to be
stormed, his army to be cut to pieces, and himself to be drowned in the
Nile, and so end his brief and miserable life.

Alexandria immediately capitulated. Arsinoe, the youngest sister, was sent
to Rome. Cleopatra and her surviving brother were made joint sovereigns;
and Roman rumor, glad to represent Caesar's actions in monstrous
characters, insisted in after years that they were married. The absence of
contemporary authority for the story precludes also the possibility of
denying it. Two legions were left in Egypt to protect them if they were
faithful, or to coerce them if they misconducted themselves. The
Alexandrian episode was over, and Caesar sailed for Syria. His long
detention over a complication so insignificant had been unfortunate in
many ways. Scipio and Cato, with the other fugitives from Pharsalia, had
rallied in Africa, under the protection of Juba. Italy was in confusion.
The popular party, now absolutely in the ascendant, were disposed to treat
the aristocracy as the aristocracy would have treated them had they been
victorious. The controlling hand was absent; the rich, long hated and
envied, were in the power of the multitude, and wild measures were
advocated, communistic, socialistic, such as are always heard of in
revolutions, meaning in one form or another the equalization of wealth,
the division of property, the poor taking their turn on the upper crest of
fortune and the rich at the bottom. The tribunes were outbidding one
another in extravagant proposals, while Caesar's legions, sent home from
Greece to rest after their long service, were enjoying their victory in
the license which is miscalled liberty. They demanded the lands, or
rewards in money, which had been promised them at the end of the war.
Discipline was relaxed or abandoned. Their officers wore unable, perhaps
unwilling, to control them. They, too, regarded the Commonwealth as a
spoil which their swords had won, and which they were entitled to
distribute among themselves.

In Spain, too, a bad feeling had revived. After Caesar's departure his
generals had oppressed the people, and had quarrelled with one another.
The country was disorganized and disaffected. In Spain, as in Egypt, there
was a national party still dreaming of independence. The smouldering
traditions of Sertorius were blown into flame by the continuance of the
civil war. The proud motley race of Spaniards, Italians, Gauls, indigenous
mountaineers, Moors from Africa, the remnants of the Carthaginian
colonies, however they might hate one another, yet united in resenting an
uncertain servitude under the alternate ascendency of Roman factions.
Spain was ripe for revolt. Gaul alone, Caesar's own province, rewarded him
for the use which he had made of his victory, by unswerving loyalty and

On his landing in Syria, Caesar found letters pressing for his instant
return to Rome. Important persons were waiting to give him fuller
information than could be safely committed to writing. He would have
hastened home at once, but restless spirits had been let loose everywhere
by the conflict of the Roman leaders. Disorder had broken out near at
hand. The still recent defeat of Crassus had stirred the ambition of the
Asiatic princes; and to leave the Eastern frontier disturbed was to risk a
greater danger to the Empire than was to be feared from the impatient
politics of the Roman mob, or the dying convulsions of the aristocracy.

Pharnaces, a legitimate son of Mithridates the Great, had been left
sovereign of Upper Armenia. He had watched the collision between Pompey
and Caesar with a neutrality which was to plead for him with the
conqueror, and he had intended to make his own advantage out of the
quarrels between his father's enemies. Deiotarus, tributary king of Lower
Armenia and Colchis, had given some help to Pompey, and had sent him men
and money; and on Pompey's defeat, Pharnaces had supposed that he might
seize on Deiotarus's territories without fear of Caesar's resentment.
Deiotarus had applied to Domitius Calvinus for assistance; which Calvinus,
weakened as he was by the despatch of two of his legions to Egypt, had
been imperfectly able to give. Pharnaces had advanced into Cappadocia.
When Calvinus ordered him to retire, he had replied by sending presents,
which had hitherto proved so effective with Roman proconsuls, and by an
equivocating profession of readiness to abide by Caesar's decision.
Pharnaces came of a dangerous race. Caesar's lieutenant was afraid that,
if he hesitated, the son of Mithridates might become as troublesome as his
father had been. He refused the presents. Disregarding his weakness, he
sent a peremptory command to Pharnaces to fall back within his own
frontiers, and advanced to compel him if he refused. In times of
excitement the minds of men are electric, and news travels with
telegraphic rapidity if not with telegraphic accuracy. Pharnaces heard
that Caesar was shut up in Alexandria and was in a position of extreme
danger, that he had sent for all his Asiatic legions, and that Calvinus
had himself been summoned to his assistance. Thus he thought that he might
safely postpone compliance till the Roman army was gone, and he had the
country to himself. The reports from Egypt were so unfavorable that,
although as yet he had received no positive orders, Calvinus was in daily
expectation that he would be obliged to go. It would be unsafe, he
thought, to leave an insolent barbarian unchastised. He had learnt in
Caesar's school to strike quickly. He had not learnt the comparison
between means and ends, without which celerity is imprudence. He had but
one legion left; but he had a respectable number of Asiatic auxiliaries,
and with them he ventured to attack Pharnaces in an intricate position.
His Asiatics deserted. The legion behaved admirably; but in the face of
overwhelming numbers, it could do no more than cut its way to security.
Pharnaces at once reclaimed his father's kingdom, and overran Pontus,
killing, mutilating, or imprisoning every Roman that he encountered; and
in this condition Caesar found Asia Minor on his coming to Syria.

It was not in Caesar's character to leave a Roman Province behind him in
the hands of an invader, for his own political interests. He saw that he
must punish Pharnaces before he returned to Rome, and he immediately
addressed himself to the work. He made a hasty progress through the Syrian
towns, hearing complaints and distributing rewards and promotions. The
allied chiefs came to him from the borders of the Province to pay their
respects. He received them graciously, and dismissed them pleased and
satisfied. After a few days spent thus, he sailed for Cilicia, held a
council at Tarsus, and then crossed the Taurus, and went by forced marches
through Cappadocia to Pontus. He received a legion from Deiotarus which
had been organized in Roman fashion. He sent to Calvinus to meet him with
the survivors of his lost battle; and when they arrived, he reviewed the
force which was at his disposition. It was not satisfactory. He had
brought a veteran legion with him from Egypt, but it was reduced to a
thousand strong. He had another which he had taken up in Syria; but even
this did not raise his army to a point which could assure him of success.
But time pressed, and skill might compensate for defective numbers.

Pharnaces, hearing that Caesar was at hand, promised submission. He sent
Caesar a golden crown, in anticipation perhaps that he was about to make
himself king. He pleaded his desertion of Pompey as a set-off against his
faults. Caesar answered that he would accept the submission, if it were
sincere; but Pharnaces must not suppose that good offices to himself could
atone for injuries to the Empire.[4] The provinces which he had invaded
must be instantly evacuated; his Roman prisoners must be released, and
their property must be restored to them.

Pharnaces was a politician, and knew enough of Caesar's circumstances to
mislead him. The state of Rome required Caesar's presence. A campaign in
Asia would occupy more time than he could afford, and Pharnaces calculated
that he must be gone in a few days or weeks. The victory over Calvinus had
strengthened his ambition of emulating his father. He delayed his answer,
shifted from place to place, and tried to protract the correspondence till
Caesar's impatience to be gone should bring him to agree to a compromise.

Caesar cut short negotiations. Pharnaces was at Zela, a town in the midst
of mountains behind Trebizond, and the scene of a great victory which had
been won by Mithridates over the Romans. Caesar defied auguries. He seized
a position at night on the brow of a hill directly opposite to the
Armenian camp, and divided from it by a narrow valley. As soon as day
broke the legions were busy intrenching with their spades and pickaxes.
Pharnaces, with the rashness which if it fails is madness, and if it
succeeds is the intuition of genius, decided to fall on them at a moment
when no sane person could rationally expect an attack; and Caesar could
not restrain his astonishment when he saw the enemy pouring down the steep
side of the ravine, and breasting the ascent on which he stood. It was
like the battle of Maubeuge over again, with the difference that he had
here to deal with Asiatics, and not with the Nervii. There was some
confusion while the legions were exchanging their digging tools for their
arms. When the exchange had been made, there was no longer a battle, but a
rout. The Armenians were hurled back down the hill, and slaughtered in
masses at the bottom of it. The camp was taken. Pharnaces escaped for the
moment, and made his way into his own country; but he was killed
immediately after, and Asia Minor was again at peace.

Caesar, calm as usual, but well satisfied to have ended a second awkward
business so easily, passed quickly down to the Hellespont, and had landed
in Italy before it was known that he had left Pontus.

[1] Supposed to have been a natural son of Mithridates the Great. The
reason for the special confidence which Caesar placed in him does not
appear. The danger at Alexandria, perhaps, did not appear at the
moment particularly serious.

[2] Roman scandal discovered afterward that Caesar had been fascinated by
the charms of Cleopatra, and allowed his politics to be influenced by
a love affair. Roman fashionable society hated Caesar, and any carrion
was welcome to them which would taint his reputation. Cleopatra
herself favored the story, and afterward produced a child, whom she
named Caesarion. Oppius, Caesar's most intimate friend, proved that
the child could not have been his--of course, therefore, that the
intrigue was a fable; and the boy was afterward put to death by
Augustus as an impostor. No one claims immaculate virtue for Caesar.
An amour with Cleopatra may have been an accident of his presence in
Alexandria. But to suppose that such a person as Caesar, with the
concerns of the world upon his hands, would have allowed his public
action to be governed by a connection with a loose girl of sixteen is
to make too large a demand upon human credulity; nor is it likely
that, in a situation of so much danger and difficulty as that in which
he found himself, he would have added to his embarrassments by
indulging in an intrigue. The report proves nothing, for whether true
or false it was alike certain to arise. The _salons_ of Rome,
like the _salons_ of London and Paris, took their revenge on
greatness by soiling it with filth; and happily Suetonius, the chief
authority for the scandal, couples it with a story which is
demonstrably false. He says that Caesar made a long expedition with
Cleopatra in a barge upon the Nile; that he was so fascinated with her
that he wished to extend his voyage to Aethiopia, and was prevented
only by the refusal of his army to follow him. The details of Caesar's
stay at Alexandria, so minutely given by Hirtius, show that there was
not a moment when such an expedition could have been contemplated.
During the greater part of the time he was blockaded in the palace.
Immediately after the insurrection was put down, he was obliged to
hurry off on matters of instant and urgent moment. Of the story of
Cleopatra's presence in Rome at the time of his murder, more will be
said hereafter.

[3] Legend is more absurd than usual over this incident. It pretends that
he swam with one hand, and carried his Commentaries, holding them
above water, with the other. As if a general would take his MSS. with
him into a hot action!

[4] "Neque provinciarum injurias condonari iis posse qui fuissent in se
officiosi."--_De Bello Alexandrino_, 70.


Cicero considered that the Civil War ought to have ended with Pharsalia;
and in this opinion most reasonable men among the conservatives were
agreed. They had fought one battle; and it had gone against them. To
continue the struggle might tear the Empire to pieces, but could not
retrieve a lost cause; and prudence and patriotism alike recommended
submission to the verdict of fortune. It is probable that this would have
been the result, could Caesar have returned to Italy immediately after his
victory. Cicero himself refused to participate in further resistance. Cato
offered him a command at Corcyra, but he declined it with a shudder, and
went back to Brindisi; and all but those whose consciences forbade them to
hope for pardon, or who were too proud to ask for it, at first followed
his example. Scipio, Cato, Labienus, Afranius, Petreius, were resolute to
fight on to the last; but even they had no clear outlook, and they
wandered about the Mediterranean, uncertain what to do, or whither to
turn. Time went on, however, and Caesar did not appear. Rumor said at one
time that he was destroyed at Alexandria. The defeat of Calvinus by
Pharnaces was an ascertained fact. Spain was in confusion. The legions in
Italy were disorganized, and society, or the wealthy part of society,
threatened by the enemies of property, began to call for some one to save
it. All was not lost. Pompey's best generals were still living. His sons,
Sextus and Cnaeus, were brave and able. The fleet was devoted to them and
to their father's cause, and Caesar's officers had failed, in his absence,
to raise a naval force which could show upon the sea. Africa was a
convenient rallying point. Since Curio's defeat, King Juba had found no
one to dispute his supremacy, and between Juba and the aristocracy who
were bent on persisting in the war, an alliance was easily formed. While
Caesar was perilling his own interest to remain in Asia to crush
Pharnaces, Metellus Scipio was offering a barbarian chief the whole of
Roman Africa, as the price of his assistance, in a last effort to reverse
the fortune of Pharsalia. Under these scandalous conditions, Scipio,
Labienus, Cato, Afranius, Petreius, Faustus Sylla, the son of the
Dictator, Lucius Caesar, and the rest of the irreconcilables, made Africa
their new centre of operations. Here they gathered to themselves the
inheritors of the Syllan traditions, and made raids on the Italian coasts
and into Sicily and Sardinia. Seizing Caesar's officers when they could
find them, they put them invariably to death without remorse. Cicero
protested honorably against the employment of treacherous savages, even
for so sacred a cause as the defence of the constitution;[1] but Cicero
was denounced as a traitor seeking favor with the conqueror, and the
desperate work went on. Caesar's long detention in the East gave the
confederates time. The young Pompeys were strong at sea. From Italy there
was an easy passage for adventurous disaffection. The shadow of a Pompeian
Senate sat once more, passing resolutions, at Utica; while Cato was busy
organizing an army, and had collected as many as thirteen legions out of
the miscellaneous elements which drifted in to him. Caesar had sent orders
to Cassius Longinus to pass into Africa from Spain, and break up these
combinations; but Longinus had been at war with his own provincials. He
had been driven out of the Peninsula, and had lost his own life in leaving
it. Caesar, like Cicero, had believed that the war had ended at Pharsalia.
He found that the heads of the Hydra had sprouted again, and were vomiting
the old fire and fury. Little interest could it give Caesar to match his
waning years against the blinded hatred of his countrymen. Ended the
strife must be, however, before order could be restored in Italy, and
wretched men take up again the quiet round of industry. Heavy work had to
be done in Rome. Caesar was consul now--annual consul, with no ten years'
interval any longer possible. Consul, dictator, whatever name the people
gave him, he alone held the reins; he alone was able to hold them. Credit
had to be restored; debtors had to be brought to recognize their
liabilities. Property had fallen in value since the Civil Wars, and
securities had to be freshly estimated. The Senate required reformation;
men of fidelity and ability were wanted for the public offices. Pompey and
Pompey's friends would have drowned Italy in blood. Caesar disappointed
expectation by refusing to punish any one of his political opponents. He
killed no one. He deprived no one of his property. He even protected the
money-lenders, and made the Jews his constant friends. Debts he insisted
must be paid, bonds fulfilled, the rights of property respected, no matter
what wild hopes imagination might have indulged in. Something only he
remitted of the severity of interest, and the poor in the city were
allowed their lodgings rent free for a year.

He restored quiet, and gave as much satisfaction as circumstances
permitted. His real difficulty was with the legions, who had come back
from Greece. They had deserved admirably well, but they were unfortunately
over-conscious of their merits. Ill-intentioned officers had taught them
to look for extravagant rewards. Their expectations had not been
fulfilled; and when they supposed that their labors were over, they
received orders to prepare for a campaign in Africa. Sallust, the
historian, was in command of their quarters in Campania. They mutinied,
and almost killed him. He fled to Rome. The soldiers of the favored 10th
legion pursued him to the gates, and demanded speech with Caesar. He bade
them come to him, and with his usual fearlessness told them to bring their

The army was Caesar's life. In the army lay the future of Rome, if Rome
was to have a future. There, if anywhere, the national spirit survived. It
was a trying moment; but there was a calmness in Caesar, a rising from a
profound indifference to what man or fortune could give or take from him,
which no extremity could shake.

The legionaries entered the city, and Caesar directed them to state their
complaints. They spoke of their services and their sufferings. They said
that they had been promised rewards, but their rewards so far had been
words, and they asked for their discharge. They did not really wish for
it. They did not expect it. But they supposed that Caesar could not
dispense with them, and that they might dictate their own terms.

During the wars in Gaul, Caesar had been most munificent to his soldiers.
He had doubled their ordinary pay. He had shared the spoils of his
conquests with them. Time and leisure had alone been wanting to him to
recompense their splendid fidelity in the campaigns in Spain and Greece.
He had treated them as his children; no commander had ever been more
careful of his soldiers' lives; when addressing the army he had called
them always "commilitones," "comrades," "brothers-in-arms."

The familiar word was now no longer heard from him. "You say well,
quirites," [2] he answered; "you have labored hard, and you have
suffered much; you desire your discharge--you have it. I discharge you who
are present. I discharge all who have served their time. You shall have
your recompense. It shall never be said of me that I made use of you when
I was in danger, and was ungrateful to you when the peril was past."

"Quirites" he had called them; no longer Roman legionaries, proud of their
achievements, and glorying in their great commander, but "quirites"--plain
citizens. The sight of Caesar, the familiar form and voice, the words,
every sentence of which they knew that he meant, cut them to the heart.
They were humbled, they begged to be forgiven. They said they would go
with him to Africa, or to the world's end. He did not at once accept their
penitence. He told them that lands had been allotted to every soldier out
of the _ager publicus_, or out of his own personal estates. Suetonius
says that the sections had been carefully taken so as not to disturb
existing occupants; and thus it appeared that he had been thinking of them
and providing for them when they supposed themselves forgotten. Money,
too, he had ready for each, part in hand, part in bonds bearing interest,
to be redeemed when the war should be over. Again, passionately, they
implored to be allowed to continue with him. He relented, but not

"Let all go who wish to go," he said; "I will have none serve with me who
serve unwillingly."

"All, all!" they cried; "not one of us will leave you"--and not one went.
The mutiny was the greatest peril, perhaps, to which Caesar had ever been
exposed. No more was said; but Caesar took silent notice of the officers
who had encouraged the discontented spirit. In common things, Dion Cassius
says, he was the kindest and most considerate of commanders. He passed
lightly over small offences; but military rebellion in those who were
really responsible he never forgave.

[Sidenote: B.C. 46.]
The African business could now be attended to. It was again midwinter.
Winter campaigns were trying, but Caesar had hitherto found them answer to
him; the enemy had suffered more than himself; while, as long as an
opposition Senate was sitting across the Mediterranean, intrigue and
conspiracy made security impossible at home. Many a false spirit now
fawning at home on Caesar was longing for his destruction. The army with
which he would have to deal was less respectable than that which Pompey
had commanded at Durazzo, but it was numerically as strong or stronger.
Cato, assisted by Labienus, had formed into legions sixty thousand
Italians. They had a hundred and twenty elephants, and African cavalry in
uncounted multitudes. Caesar perhaps despised an enemy too much whom he
had so often beaten. He sailed from Lilybaeum on the 19th of December,
with a mere handful of men, leaving the rest of his troops to follow as
they could. No rendezvous had been positively fixed, for between the
weather and the enemy it was uncertain where the troops would be able to
land, and the generals of the different divisions were left to their
discretion. Caesar on arriving seized and fortified a defensible spot at
Ruspinum.[3] The other legions dropped in slowly, and before a third of
them had arrived the enemy were swarming about the camp, while the Pompeys
were alert on the water to seize stray transports or provision ships.
There was skirmishing every day in front of Caesar's lines. The Numidian
horse surrounded his thin cohorts like swarms of hornets. Labienus himself
rode up on one occasion to a battalion which was standing still under a
shower of arrows, and asked in mockery who they were. A soldier of the
10th legion lifted his cap that his face might be recognized, hurled his
javelin for answer, and brought Labienus's horse to the ground. But
courage was of no avail in the face of overwhelming numbers. Scipio's army
collected faster than Caesar's, and Caesar's young soldiers showed some
uneasiness in a position so unexpected. Caesar, however, was confident and
in high spirits.[4] Roman residents in the African province came gradually
in to him, and some African tribes, out of respect, it was said, for the
memory of Marius. A few towns declared against the Senate in indignation
at Scipio's promise that the province was to be abandoned to Juba. Scipio
replied with burning the Roman country houses and wasting the lands, and
still killing steadily every friend of Caesar that he could lay hands on.
Caesar's steady clemency had made no difference. The senatorial faction
went on as they had begun till at length their ferocity was repaid upon

The reports from the interior became unbearable. Caesar sent an impatient
message to Sicily that, storm or calm, the remaining legions must come to
him, or not a house would be left standing in the province. The officers
were no longer what they had been. The men came, but bringing only their
arms and tools, without change of clothes and without tents, though it was
the rainy season. Good will and good hearts, however, made up for other
shortcomings. Deserters dropped in thick from the Senate's army. King
Juba, it appeared, had joined them, and Roman pride had been outraged,
when Juba had been seen taking precedence in the council of war, and
Metellus Scipio exchanging his imperial purple in the royal presence for a
plain dress of white.

[Sidenote: April 6, B.C. 46.]
The time of clemency was past. Publius Ligarius was taken in a skirmish.
He had been one of the captives at Lerida who had given his word to serve
no further in the war. He was tried for breaking his engagement, and was
put to death. Still, Scipio's army kept the field in full strength, the
loss by desertions being made up by fresh recruits sent from Utica by
Cato. Caesar's men flinched from facing the elephants, and time was lost
while other elephants were fetched from Italy, that they might handle them
and grow familiar with them. Scipio had been taught caution by the fate of
Pompey, and avoided a battle, and thus three months wore away before a
decisive impression had been made. But the clear dark eyes of the
conqueror of Pharsalia had taken the measure of the situation and
comprehended the features of it. By this time he had an effective squadron
of ships, which had swept off Pompey's cruisers; and if Scipio shrank from
an engagement it was possible to force him into it. A division of Scipio's
troops were in the peninsula of Thapsus.[5] If Thapsus was blockaded at
sea and besieged by land, Scipio would be driven to come to its relief,
and would have to fight in the open country. Caesar occupied the neck of
the peninsula, and the result was what he knew it must be. Scipio and Juba
came down out of the hills with their united armies. Their legions were
beginning to form intrenchments, and Caesar was leisurely watching their
operations, when at the sight of the enemy an irresistible enthusiasm ran
through his lines. The cry rose for instant attack; and Caesar, yielding
willingly to the universal impulse, sprang on his horse and led the charge
in person. There was no real fighting. The elephants which Scipio had
placed in front wheeled about and plunged back into the camp, trumpeting
and roaring. The vallum was carried at a rush, and afterward there was
less a battle than a massacre. Officers and men fled for their lives like
frightened antelopes, or flung themselves on their knees for mercy. This
time no mercy was shown. The deliberate cruelty with which the war had
been carried on had done its work at last. The troops were savage, and
killed every man that they overtook. Caesar tried to check the carnage,
but his efforts were unavailing. The leaders escaped for the time by the
speed of their horses. They scattered with a general purpose of making for
Spain. Labienus reached it, but few besides him. Afranius and Faustus
Sylla with a party of cavalry galloped to Utica, which they expected to
hold till one of the Pompeys could bring vessels to take them off. The
Utican towns-people had from the first shown an inclination for Caesar.
Neither they nor any other Romans in Africa liked the prospect of being
passed over to the barbarians.

[Sidenote: B.C. 46.]
Cowards smarting under defeat are always cruel. The fugitives from Thapsus
found that Utica would not be available for their purpose, and in revenge
they began to massacre the citizens. Cato was still in the town. Cato was
one of those better natured men whom revolution yokes so often with base
companionship. He was shocked at the needless cruelty, and bribed the
murderous gang to depart. They were taken soon afterward by Caesar's
cavalry. Afranius and Sylla were brought into the camp as prisoners. There
was a discussion in the camp as to what was to be done with them. Caesar
wished to be lenient, but the feeling in the legions was too strong. The
system of pardons could not be continued in the face of hatred so
envenomed. The two commanders were executed; Caesar contenting himself
with securing Sylla's property for his wife, Pompeia, the great Pompey's
daughter. Cato Caesar was most anxious to save; but Cato's enmity was so
ungovernable that he grudged Caesar the honor of forgiving him. His
animosity had been originally the natural antipathy which a man of narrow
understanding instinctively feels for a man of genius. It had been
converted by perpetual disappointment into a monomania, and Caesar had
become to him the incarnation of every quality and every principle which
he most abhorred. Cato was upright, unselfish, incorruptibly pure in deed
and word; but he was a fanatic whom no experience could teach, and he
adhered to his convictions with the more tenacity, because fortune or the
disposition of events so steadily declared them to be mistaken. He would
have surrendered Caesar to the Germans as a reward for having driven them
back over the Rhine. He was one of those who were most eager to impeach
him for the acts of his consulship, though the acts themselves were such
as, if they had been done by another, he would himself have most warmly
approved; and he was tempted by personal dislike to attach himself to men
whose object was to reimpose upon his country a new tyranny of Sylla. His
character had given respectability to a cause which, if left to its proper
defenders, would have appeared in its natural baseness, and thus on him
rested the responsibility for the color of justice in which it was
disguised. That after all which had passed he should be compelled to
accept his pardon at Caesar's hands was an indignity to which he could not
submit, and before the conqueror could reach Utica he fell upon his sword
and died. _Ultimus Romanorum_ has been the epitaph which posterity
has written on the tomb of Cato. Nobler Romans than he lived after him;
and a genuine son of the old Republic would never have consented to
surrender an imperial province to a barbarian prince. But at least he was
an open enemy. He would not, like his nephew Brutus, have pretended to be
Caesar's friend, that he might the more conveniently drive a dagger into
his side.

The rest of the party was broken up. Scipio sailed for Spain, but was
driven back by foul weather into Hippo, where he was taken and killed. His
correspondence was found and taken to Caesar, who burnt it unread, as he
had burnt Pompey's. The end of Juba and Petreius had a wild splendor about
it. They had fled together from Thapsus to Zama, Juba's own principal
city, and they were refused admission. Disdaining to be taken prisoners,
as they knew they inevitably would be, they went to a country house in the
neighborhood belonging to the king. There, after a last sumptuous banquet,
they agreed to die like warriors by each other's hand. Juba killed
Petreius, and then ran upon his own sword.

So the actors in the drama were passing away. Domitius, Pompey, Lentulus,
Ligarius, Metellus Scipio, Afranius, Cato, Petreius, had sunk into bloody
graves. Labienus had escaped clear from the battle; and knowing that if
Caesar himself would pardon him Caesar's army never would, he made his way
to Spain, where one last desperate hope remained. The mutinous legions of
Cassius Longinus had declared for the Senate. Some remnants of Pompey's
troops who had been dismissed after Lerida had been collected again and
joined them; and these, knowing, as Labienus knew, that they had sinned
beyond forgiveness, were prepared to fight to the last and die at bay.

One memorable scene in the African campaign must not be forgotten. While
Caesar was in difficulty at Ruspinum, and was impatiently waiting for his
legions from Sicily, there arrived a general officer of the 10th, named
Caius Avienus, who had occupied the whole of one of the transports with
his personal servants, horses, and other conveniences, and had not brought
with him a single soldier. Avienus had been already privately noted by
Caesar as having been connected with the mutiny in Campania. His own
habits in the field were simple in the extreme, and he hated to see his
officers self-indulgent. He used the opportunity to make an example of him
and of one or two others at the same time.

He called his tribunes and centurions together. "I could wish," he said,
"that certain persons would have remembered for themselves parts of their
past conduct which, though I overlooked them, were known to me; I could
wish they would have atoned for these faults by special attention to their
duties. As they have not chosen to do this, I must make an example of them
as a warning to others.

"You, Caius Avienus, instigated soldiers in the service of the State to
mutiny against their commanders. You oppressed towns which were under your
charge. Forgetting your duty to the army and to me, you filled a vessel
with your own establishment which was intended for the transport of
troops; and at a difficult moment we were thus left, through your means,
without the men whom we needed. For these causes, and as a mark of
disgrace, I dismiss you from the service, and I order you to leave Africa
by the first ship which sails.

"You, Aulus Fonteius [another tribune], have been a seditious and a bad
officer. I dismiss you also.

"You, Titus Salienus, Marcus Tiro, Caius Clusinas, centurions, obtained
your commissions by favor, not by merit. You have shown want of courage in
the field; your conduct otherwise has been uniformly bad; you have
encouraged a mutinous spirit in your companies. You are unworthy to serve
under my command. You are dismissed, and will return to Italy."

The five offenders were sent under guard on board ship, each noticeably
being allowed a single slave to wait upon him, and so were expelled from
the country.

This remarkable picture of Caesar's method of enforcing discipline is
described by a person who was evidently present;[6] and it may be taken
as a correction to the vague stories of his severity to these officers
which are told by Dion Cassius.

[1] _To Atticus_, xi. 7.

[2] Citizens.

[3] Where the African coast turns south from Cape Bon.

[4] "Animum enim altum et erectum prae se gerebat."--_De Bello

[5] Between Carthage and Utica.

[6] _De Bella Africano_, c. 54. This remarkably interesting narrative
is attached to Caesar's _Commentaries_. The author is unknown.


[Sidenote: B.C. 45.]
The drift of disaffection into Spain was held at first to be of little
moment. The battle of Thapsus, the final breaking up of the senatorial
party, and the deaths of its leaders, were supposed to have brought an end
at last to the divisions which had so long convulsed the Empire. Rome put
on its best dress. The people had been on Caesar's side from the first.
Those who still nursed in their hearts the old animosity were afraid to
show it, and the nation appeared once more united in enthusiasm for the
conqueror. There were triumphal processions which lasted for four days.
There were sham fights on artificial lakes, bloody gladiator shows, which
the Roman populace looked for as their special delight. The rejoicings
being over, business began. Caesar was, of course, supreme. He was made
inspector of public morals, the censorship being deemed inadequate to curb
the inordinate extravagance. He was named Dictator for ten years, with a
right of nominating the person whom the people were to choose for their
consuls and praetors. The clubs and caucuses, the bribery of the tribes,
the intimidation, the organized bands of voters formed out of the clients
of the aristocracy, were all at an end. The courts of law were purified.
No more judges were to be bought with money or by fouler temptations. The
Leges Julias became a practical reality. One remarkable and darable reform
was undertaken and carried through amidst the jests of Cicero and the
other wits of the time--the revision of the Roman calendar. The
distribution of the year had been governed hitherto by the motions of the
moon. The twelve annual moons had fixed at twelve the number of the
months, and the number of days required to bring the lunar year into
correspondence with the solar had been supplied by irregular
intercalations, at the direction of the Sacred College. But the Sacred
College during the last distracted century had neglected their office. The
lunar year was now sixty-five days in advance of the sun. The so-called
winter was really the autumn, the spring the winter. The summer solstice
fell at the beginning of the legal September. On Caesar as Pontifex
Maximus devolved the duty of bringing confusion into order, and the
completeness with which the work was accomplished at the first moment of
his leisure shows that he had found time in the midst of his campaigns to
think of other things than war or politics. Sosigenes, an Alexandrian
astronomer, was called in to superintend the reform. It is not unlikely
that he had made acquaintance with Sosigenes in Egypt, and had discussed
the problem with him in the hours during which he is supposed to have
amused himself "in the arms of Cleopatra." Sosigenes, leaving the moon
altogether, took the sun for the basis of the new system. The Alexandrian
observers had discovered that the annual course of the sun was completed
in 365 days and six hours. The lunar twelve was allowed to remain to fix
the number of the months. The numbers of days in each month were adjusted
to absorb 365 days. The superfluous hours were allowed to accumulate, and
every fourth year an additional day was to be intercalated. An arbitrary
step was required to repair the negligence of the past. Sixty-five days
had still to be made good. The new system, depending wholly on the sun,
would naturally have commenced with the winter solstice. But Caesar so far
deferred to usage as to choose to begin, not with the solstice itself, but
with the first new moon which followed. It so happened in that year that
the new moon was eighty days after the solstice; and thus the next year
started, as it continues to start, from the 1st of January. The eight days
were added to the sixty-five, and the current year was lengthened by
nearly three months. It pleased Cicero to mock, as if Caesar, not
contented with the earth, was making himself the master of the heavens.
"Lyra," he said, "was to set according to the edict;" but the unwise man
was not Caesar in this instance.[1]

While Sosigenes was at work with the calendar, Caesar personally again
revised the Senate. He expelled every member who had been guilty of
extortion or corruption; he supplied the vacancies with officers of merit,
with distinguished colonists, with foreigners, with meritorious citizens,
even including Gauls, from all parts of the Empire. Time, unfortunately,
had to pass before these new men could take their places, but meanwhile he
treated the existing body with all forms of respect, and took no step on
any question of public moment till the Senate had deliberated on it. As a
fitting close to the war he proclaimed an amnesty to all who had borne
arms against him. The past was to be forgotten, and all his efforts were
directed to the regeneration of Roman society. Cicero paints the habits of
fashionable life in colors which were possibly exaggerated; but enough
remains of authentic fact to justify the general truth of the picture.
Women had forgotten their honor, children their respect for parents.
Husbands had murdered wives, and wives husbands. Parricide and incest
formed common incidents of domestic Italian history; and, as justice had
been ordered in the last years of the Republic, the most abandoned villain
who came into court with a handful of gold was assured of impunity. Rich
men, says Suetonius, were never deterred from crime by a fear of
forfeiting their estates; they had but to leave Italy, and their property
was secured to them. It was held an extraordinary step toward improvement
when Caesar abolished the monstrous privilege, and ordered that parricides
should not only be exiled, but should forfeit everything that belonged to
them, and that minor felons should forfeit half their estates.

Cicero had prophesied so positively that Caesar would throw off the mask
of clemency when the need for it was gone, that he was disappointed to
find him persevere in the same gentleness, and was impatient for revenge
to begin. So bitter Cicero was that he once told Atticus he could almost
wish himself to be the object of some cruel prosecution, that the tyrant
might have the disgrace of it.[2]

He could not deny that "the tyrant" was doing what, if Rome was to
continue an ordered commonwealth, it was essential must be done. Caesar's
acts were unconstitutional! Yes; but constitutions are made for men, not
men for constitutions, and Cicero had long seen that the Constitution was
at an end. It had died of its own iniquities. He had perceived in his
better moments that Caesar and Caesar only could preserve such degrees of
freedom as could be retained without universal destruction. But he refused
to be comforted. He considered it a disgrace to them all that Caesar was
alive.[3] Why did not somebody kill him? Kill him? And what then? On
that side too the outlook was not promising. News had come that Labienus
and young Cnaeus Pompey had united their forces in Spain. The whole
Peninsula was in revolt, and the counter-revolution was not impossible
after all. He reflected with terror on the sarcasms which he had flung on
young Pompey. He knew him to be a fool and a savage. "Hang me," he said,
"if I do not prefer an old and kind master to trying experiments with a
new and cruel one. The laugh will be on the other side then." [4]

Far had Cicero fallen from his dream of being the greatest man in Rome!
Condemned to immortality by his genius, yet condemned also to survive in
the portrait of himself which he has so unconsciously and so innocently

The accounts from Spain were indeed most serious. It is the misfortune of
men of superior military ability that their subordinates are generally
failures when trusted with independent commands. Accustomed to obey
implicitly the instructions of their chief, they have done what they have
been told to do, and their virtue has been in never thinking for
themselves. They succeed, and they forget why they succeed, and in part
attribute their fortune to their own skill. With Alexander's generals,
with Caesar's, with Cromwell's, even with some of Napoleon's, the story
has been the same. They have been self-confident, yet when thrown upon
their own resources they have driven back upon a judgment which has been
inadequately trained. The mind which guided them is absent. The instrument
is called on to become self-acting, and necessarily acts unwisely.
Caesar's lieutenants while under his own eye had executed his orders with
the precision of a machine. When left to their own responsibility they
were invariably found wanting. Among all his officers there was not a man
of real eminence. Labienus, the ablest of them, had but to desert Caesar,
to commit blunder upon blunder, and to ruin the cause to which he attached
himself. Antony, Lepidus, Trebonius, Calvinus, Cassius Longinus, Quintus
Cicero, Sabinus, Decimus Brutus, Vatinius, were trusted with independent
authority, only to show themselves unfit to use it. Cicero had guessed
shrewdly that Caesar's greatest difficulties would begin with his victory.
He had not a man who was able to govern under him away from his immediate

Cassius Longinus, Trebonius, and Marcus Lepidus had been sent to Spain
after the battle of Pharsalia. They had quarrelled among themselves. They
had driven the legions into mutiny. The authority of Rome had broken down
as entirely as when Sertorius was defying the Senate; and Spain had become
the receptacle of all the active disaffection which remained in the
Empire. Thither had drifted the wreck of Scipio's African army. Thither
had gathered the outlaws, pirates, and banditti of Italy and the Islands.
Thither too had come flights of Numidians and Moors in hopes of plunder;
and Pompey's sons and Labienus had collected an army as numerous as that
which had been defeated at Thapsus, and composed of materials far more
dangerous and desperate. There were thirteen legions of them in all,
regularly formed, with eagles and standards; two which had deserted from
Trebonius; one made out of Roman Spanish settlers, or old soldiers of
Pompey's who had been dismissed at Lerida; four out of the remnants of the
campaign in Africa; the rest a miscellaneous combination of the mutinous
legions of Longinus and outlawed adventurers who knew that there was no
forgiveness for them, and were ready to fight while they could stand. It
was the last cast of the dice for the old party of the aristocracy.
Appearances were thrown off. There were no more Catos, no more phantom
Senates to lend to rebellion the pretended dignity of a national cause.
The true barbarian was there in his natural colors.

Very reluctantly Caesar found that he must himself grapple with this last
convulsion. The sanguinary obstinacy which no longer proposed any object
to itself save defiance and revenge, was converting a war which at first
wore an aspect of a legitimate constitutional struggle, into a conflict
with brigands. Clemency had ceased to be possible, and Caesar would have
gladly left to others the execution in person of the sharp surgery which
was now necessary. He was growing old: fifty-five this summer. His health
was giving way. For fourteen years he had known no rest. That he could
have endured so long such a strain on mind and body was due only to his
extraordinary abstinence, to the simplicity of his habits, and the
calmness of temperament which in the most anxious moments refused to be
agitated. But the work was telling at last on his constitution, and he
departed on his last campaign with confessed unwillingness. The future was
clouded with uncertainty. A few more years of life might enable him to
introduce into the shattered frame of the Commonwealth some durable
elements. His death in the existing confusion might be as fatal as
Alexander's. That some one person not liable to removal under the annual
wave of electoral agitation must preside over the army and the
administration, had been evident in lucid moments even to Cicero. To leave
the prize to be contended for among the military chiefs was to bequeath a
legacy of civil wars and probable disruption; to compound with the
embittered remnants of the aristocracy who were still in the field would
intensify the danger; yet time and peace alone could give opportunity for
the conditions of a permanent settlement to shape themselves. The name of
Caesar had become identified with the stability of the Empire. He no doubt
foresaw that the only possible chief would be found in his own family.
Being himself childless, he had adopted his sister's grandson, Octavius,
afterward Augustus, a fatherless boy of seventeen; and had trained him
under his own eye. He had discerned qualities doubtless in his nephew
which, if his own life was extended for a few years longer, might enable
the boy to become the representative of his house and perhaps the heir of
his power. In the unrecorded intercourse between the uncle and his niece's
child lies the explanation of the rapidity with which the untried Octavius
seized the reins when all was again chaos, and directed the Commonwealth
upon the lines which it was to follow during the remaining centuries of
Roman power.

Octavius accompanied Caesar into Spain. They travelled in a carriage,
having as a third with them the general whom Caesar most trusted and
liked, and whom he had named in his will as one of Octavius's guardians,
Decimus Brutus--the same officer who had commanded his fleet for him at
Quiberon and at Marseilles, and had now been selected as the future
governor of Cisalpine Gaul. Once more it was midwinter when they left
Rome. They travelled swiftly; and Caesar, as usual, himself brought the
news that he was coming. But the winter season did not bring to him its
usual advantages, for the whole Peninsula had revolted, and Pompey and
Labienus were able to shelter their troops in the towns, while Caesar was
obliged to keep the field. Attempts here and there to capture detached
positions led to no results. On both sides now the war was carried on upon
the principles which the Senate had adopted from the first. Prisoners from
the revolted legions were instantly executed, and Cnaeus Pompey murdered
the provincials whom he suspected of an inclination for Caesar. Attagona
was at last taken. Caesar moved on Cordova; and Pompey, fearing that the
important cities might seek their own security by coming separately to
terms, found it necessary to risk a battle.

[Sidenote: March 17, B.C. 45.]
[Sidenote: B.C. 45.]
The scene of the conflict which ended the civil war was the plain of
Munda. The day was the 17th of March, B.C. 45. Spanish tradition places
Munda on the Mediterranean, near Gibraltar. The real Munda was on the
Guadalquiver, so near to Cordova that the remains of the beaten army found
shelter within its walls after the battle. Caesar had been so invariably
victorious in his engagements in the open field that the result might have
been thought a foregone conclusion. Legendary history reported in the next
generation that the elements had been pregnant with auguries. Images had
sweated; the sky had blazed with meteors; celestial armies, the spirits of
the past and future, had battled among the constellations. The signs had
been unfavorable to the Pompeians; the eagles of their legions had dropped
the golden thunderbolts from their talons, spread their wings, and had
flown away to Caesar. In reality, the eagles had remained in their places
till the standards fell from the hands of their dead defenders; and the
battle was one of the most desperate in which Caesar had ever been
engaged. The numbers were nearly equal--the material on both sides equally
good. Pompey's army was composed of revolted Roman soldiers. In arms, in
discipline, in stubborn fierceness, there was no difference. The Pompeians
had the advantage of situation, the village of Munda, with the hill on
which it stood, being in the centre of their lines. The Moorish and
Spanish auxiliaries, of whom there were large bodies on either side, stood
apart when the legions closed; they having no further interest in the
matter than in siding with the conqueror, when fortune had decided who the
conqueror was to be. There were no manoeuvres; no scientific evolutions.
The Pompeians knew that there was no hope for them if they were defeated.
Caesar's men, weary and savage at the protraction of the war, were
determined to make a last end of it; and the two armies fought hand to
hand with their short swords, with set teeth and pressed lips, opened only
with a sharp cry as an enemy fell dead. So equal was the struggle, so
doubtful at one moment the issue of it, that Caesar himself sprang from
his horse, seized a standard, and rallied a wavering legion. It seemed as
if the men meant all to stand and kill or be killed as long as daylight
lasted. The ill fate of Labienus decided the victory. He had seen, as he
supposed, some movement which alarmed him among Caesar's Moorish
auxiliaries, and had galloped conspicuously across the field to lead a
division to check them. A shout rose, "He flies--he flies!" A panic ran
along the Pompeian lines. They gave way, and Caesar's legions forced a
road between their ranks. One wing broke off and made for Cordova; the
rest plunged wildly within the ditch and walls of Munda, the avenging
sword smiting behind into the huddled mass of fugitives. Scarcely a
prisoner was taken. Thirty thousand fell on the field, among them three
thousand Roman knights, the last remains of the haughty youths who had
threatened Caesar with their swords in the senate-house, and had hacked
Clodius's mob in the Forum. Among them was slain Labienus--his desertion
of his general, his insults and his cruelties to his comrades, expiated at
last in his own blood. Attius Varus was killed also, who had been with
Juba when he destroyed Curio. The tragedy was being knitted up in the
deaths of the last actors in it. The eagles of the thirteen legions were
all taken. The two Pompeys escaped on their horses, Sextus disappearing in
the mountains of Grenada or the Sierra Morena; Cnaeus flying for
Gibraltar, where he hoped to find a friendly squadron.

Munda was at once blockaded, the enclosing wall--savage evidence of the
temper of the conquerors--being built of dead bodies pinned together with
lances, and on the top of it a fringe of heads on swords' points with the
faces turned toward the town. A sally was attempted at midnight, and
failed. The desperate wretches then fought among themselves, till at
length the place was surrendered, and fourteen thousand of those who still
survived were taken, and spared. Their comrades, who had made their way
into Cordova, were less fortunate. When the result of the battle was
known, the leading citizen, who had headed the revolt against Caesar,
gathered all that belonged to him into a heap, poured turpentine over it,
and, after a last feast with his family, burnt himself, his house, his
children, and servants. In the midst of the tumult the walls were stormed.
Cordova was given up to plunder and massacre, and twenty-two thousand
miserable people--most of them, it may be hoped, the fugitives from
Munda--were killed. The example sufficed. Every town opened its gates, and
Spain was once more submissive. Sextus Pompey successfully concealed
himself. Cnaeus reached Gibraltar, but to find that most of the ships
which he looked for had been taken by Caesar's fleet. He tried to cross to
the African coast, but was driven back by bad weather, and search parties
were instantly on his track. He had been wounded; he had sprained his
ankle in his flight. Strength and hope were gone. He was carried on a
litter to a cave on a mountain side, where his pursuers found him, cut off
his head, and spared Cicero from further anxiety.

Thus bloodily ended the Civil War, which the Senate of Rome had undertaken
against Caesar, to escape the reforms which were threatened by his second
consulship. They had involuntarily rendered their country the best service
which they were capable of conferring upon it, for the attempts which
Caesar would have made to amend a system too decayed to benefit by the
process had been rendered forever impossible by their persistence. The
free constitution of the Republic had issued at last in elections which
were a mockery of representation, in courts of law which were an insult to
justice, and in the conversion of the Provinces of the Empire into the
feeding-grounds of a gluttonous aristocracy. In the army alone the Roman
character and the Roman honor survived. In the Imperator, therefore, as
chief of the army, the care of the Provinces, the direction of public
policy, the sovereign authority in the last appeal, could alone
thenceforward reside. The Senate might remain as a Council of State; the
magistrates might bear their old names, and administer their old
functions. But the authority of the executive government lay in the
loyalty, the morality, and the patriotism of the legions to whom the power
had been transferred. Fortunately for Rome, the change came before decay
had eaten into the bone, and the genius of the Empire had still a refuge
from platform oratory and senatorial wrangling in the hearts of her

Caesar did not immediately return to Italy. Affairs in Rome were no longer
pressing, and, after the carelessness and blunders of his lieutenants, the
administration of the Peninsula required his personal inspection. From
open revolts in any part of the Roman dominions he had nothing more to
fear. The last card had been played, and the game of open resistance was
lost beyond recovery. There might be dangers of another kind: dangers from
ambitious generals, who might hope to take Caesar's place on his death; or
dangers from constitutional philosophers, like Cicero, who had thought
from the first that the Civil War had been a mistake, "that Caesar was but
mortal, and that there were many ways in which a man might die." A
reflection so frankly expressed, by so respectable a person, must have
occurred to many others as well as to Cicero; Caesar could not but have
foreseen in what resources disappointed fanaticism or baffled selfishness
might seek refuge. But of such possibilities he was prepared to take his
chance; he did not fly from them, he did not seek them; he took his work
as he found it, and remained in Spain through the summer, imposing fines
and allotting rewards, readjusting the taxation, and extending the
political privileges of the Roman colonies. It was not till late in the
autumn that he again turned his face toward Rome.

[1] In connection with this subject it is worth while to mention another
change in the division of time, not introduced by Caesar, but which
came into general use about a century after. The week of seven days
was unknown to the Greeks and to the Romans of the Commonwealth, the
days of the month being counted by the phases of the moon. The
seven-days division was supposed by the Romans to be Egyptian. We know
it to have been Jewish, and it was probably introduced to the general
world on the first spread of Christianity. It was universally adopted
at any rate after Christianity had been planted in different parts of
the Empire, but while the Government and the mass of the people were
still unconverted to the new religion. The week was accepted for its
convenience; but while accepted it was paganized; and the seven days
were allotted to the five planets and the sun and moon in the order
which still survives among the Latin nations, and here in England with
a further introduction of Scandinavian mythology. The principle of the
distribution was what is popularly called "the music of the spheres,"
and turns on a law of Greek music, which is called by Don Cassius the
[Greek: armonia dia teddaron]. Assuming the earth to be the centre of
the universe, the celestial bodies which have a proper movement of
their own among the stars were arranged in the order of their apparent
periods of revolution--Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury,
the Moon. The Jewish Jehovah was identified by the Graeco-Romans with
Saturn, the oldest of the heathen personal gods. The Sabbath was the
day supposed to be specially devoted to him. The first day of the week
was, therefore, given to Saturn. Passing over Jupiter and Mars,
according to the laws of the [Greek: armonia], the next day was given
to the Sun; again passing over two, the next to the Moon, and so on,
going round again to the rest, till the still existing order came out.
Dies Saturni, dies Solis, dies Lunae, dies Martis, dies Mercurri,
dies Jovis, and dies Veneris. See Dion Cassius, _Historia
Romana_, lib. xxxvii. c. 18. Dion Cassius gives a second account of
the distribution, depending on the twenty-four hours of the day. But
the twenty-four hours being a division purely artificial, this
explanation is of less interest.

[2] _To Atticus_, x. 12.

[3] "Cum vivere ipsum turpe sit nobis."--_To Atticus_, xiii. 28.

[4] "Peream nisi sollicitus sum, ac malo veterem et clementem dominum
habere, quam novum et crudelem experiri. Scis, Cnaeus quam sit fatuus.
Scis, quomodo crudelitatem virtutem putet. Scis, quam se semper a
nobis derisum putet. Vereor, ne nos rustice gladio velit
[Greek: antimuktaerisai]"--_To Caius Cassius, Ad Fam_. xv. 19.


Caesar came back to Rome to resume the suspended work of practical reform.
His first care was to remove the fears which the final spasm of rebellion
had again provoked. He had already granted an amnesty. But the optimates
were conscious that they had desired and hoped that the Pompeys might be
victorious in Spain. Caesar invited the surviving leaders of the party to
sue for pardon on not unbecoming conditions. Hitherto they had kept no
faith with him, and on the first show of opportunity had relapsed into
defiance. His forbearance had been attributed to want of power rather than
of will to punish; when they saw him again triumphant, they assumed that
the representative of the Marian principles would show at last the colors
of his uncle, and that Rome would again run with blood. He knew them all.
He knew that they hated him, and would continue to hate him; but he
supposed that they had recognized the hopelessness and uselessness of
farther conspiracy. By destroying him they would fall only under the rod
of less scrupulous conquerors; and therefore he was content that they
should ask to be forgiven. To show further that the past was really to be
forgotten, he drew no distinction between his enemies and his friends, and
he recommended impartially for office those whose rank or services to the
State entitled them to look for promotion. Thus he pardoned and advanced
Caius Cassius, who would have killed him in Cilicia.[1] But Cassius had
saved Syria from being overrun by the Parthians after the death of
Crassus; and the service to the State outweighed the injury to himself. So
he pardoned and advanced Marcus Brutus, his friend Servilia's son, who had
fought against him at Pharsalia, and had been saved from death there by
his special orders. So he pardoned and protected Cicero; so Marcus
Marcellus, who, as consul, had moved that he should be recalled from his
government, and had flogged the citizen of Como, in scorn of the
privileges which Caesar had granted to the colony. So he pardoned also
Quintus Ligarius,[2] who had betrayed his confidence in Africa; so a
hundred others, who now submitted, accepted his favors, and bound
themselves to plot against him no more. To the widows and children of
those who had fallen in the war he restored the estates and honors of
their families. Finally, as some were still sullen, and refused to sue for
a forgiveness which might imply an acknowledgment of guilt, he renewed the
general amnesty of the previous year; and, as a last evidence that his
victory was not the triumph of democracy, but the consolidation of a
united Empire, he restored the statues of Sylla and Pompey, which had been
thrown down in the revolution, and again dedicated them with a public

Having thus proved that, so far as he was concerned, he nourished no
resentment against the persons of the optimates, or against their
principles, so far as they were consistent with the future welfare of the
Roman State, Caesar set himself again to the reorganization of the
administration. Unfortunately, each step that he took was a fresh crime in
the eyes of men whose pleasant monopoly of power he had overthrown. But
this was a necessity of the revolution. They had fought for their
supremacy, and had lost the day.

He increased the number of the Senate to nine hundred, filling its ranks
from eminent provincials; introducing even barbarian Gauls, and, still
worse, libertini, the sons of liberated slaves, who had risen to
distinction by their own merit. The new members came in slowly, and it is
needless to say were unwillingly received; a private handbill was sent
round, recommending the coldest of greetings to them.[3]

The inferior magistrates were now responsible to himself as Dictator. He
added to their numbers also, and to check the mischiefs of the annual
elections, he ordered that they should be chosen for three years. He cut
short the corn grants, which nursed the city mob in idleness; and from
among the impoverished citizens he furnished out masses of colonists to
repair the decay of ancient cities. Corinth rose from its ashes under
Caesar's care. Eighty thousand Italians were settled down on the site of
Carthage. As inspector of morals, Caesar inherited in an invigorated form
the power of the censors. Senators and officials who had discredited
themselves by dishonesty were ruthlessly degraded. His own private habits
and the habits of his household were models of frugality. He made an
effort, in which Augustus afterward imitated him, to check the luxury
which was eating into the Roman character. He forbade the idle young
patricians to be carried about by slaves in litters. The markets of the
world had been ransacked to provide dainties for these gentlemen. He
appointed inspectors to survey the dealers' stalls, and occasionally
prohibited dishes were carried off from the dinner table under the eyes of
the disappointed guests,[4] Enemies enough Caesar made by these
measures; but it could not be said of him that he allowed indulgences to
himself which he interdicted to others. His domestic economy was strict
and simple, the accounts being kept to a sesterce. His frugality was
hospitable. He had two tables always, one for his civilian friends,
another for his officers, who dined in uniform. The food was plain, but
the best of its kind; and he was not to be played with in such matters. An
unlucky baker who supplied his guests with bread of worse quality than he
furnished for himself was put in chains. Against moral offences he was
still more severe. He, the supposed example of licentiousness with women,
executed his favorite freedman for adultery with a Roman lady. A senator
had married a woman two days after her divorce from her first husband;
Caesar pronounced the marriage void.

[Sidenote: B.C. 45-44.]
Law reforms went on. Caesar appointed a commission to examine the huge
mass of precedents, reduce them to principles, and form a Digest. He
called in Marcus Varro's help to form libraries in the great towns. He
encouraged physicians and men of science to settle in Rome, by offering
them the freedom of the city. To maintain the free population of Italy, he
required the planters and farmers to employ a fixed proportion of free
laborers on their estates. He put an end to the pleasant tours of senators
at the expense of the provinces; their proper place was Italy, and he
allowed them to go abroad only when they were in office or in the service
of the governors. He formed large engineering plans, a plan to drain the
Pontine marches and the Fucine lake, a plan to form a new channel for the
Tiber, another to improve the roads, another to cut the Isthmus of
Corinth. These were his employments during the few months of life which
were left to him after the close of the war. His health was growing
visibly weaker, but his superhuman energy remained unimpaired. He was even
meditating and was making preparation for a last campaign. The authority
of Rome on the eastern frontier had not recovered from the effects of the
destruction of the army of Crassus. The Parthians were insolent and
aggressive. Caesar had determined to go in person to bring them to their
senses as soon as he could leave Rome. Partly, it was said that he felt
his life would be safer with the troops; partly, he desired to leave the
administration free from his overpowering presence, that it might learn to
go alone; partly and chiefly, he wished to spend such time as might remain
to him where he could do most service to his country. But he was growing
weary of the thankless burden. He was heard often to say that he had lived
long enough. Men of high nature do not find the task of governing their
fellow-creatures particularly delightful.

The Senate meanwhile was occupied in showing the sincerity of their
conversion by inventing honors for their new master, and smothering him
with distinctions since they had failed to defeat him in the field. Few
recruits had yet joined them, and they were still substantially the old
body. They voted Caesar the name of Liberator. They struck medals for him,
in which he was described as Pater Patriae, an epithet which Cicero had
once with quickened pulse heard given to himself by Pompey. "Imperator"
had been a title conferred hitherto by soldiers in the field on a
successful general. It was now granted to Caesar in a special sense, and
was made hereditary in his family, with the command-in-chief of the army
for his life. The Senate gave him also the charge of the treasury. They
made him consul for ten years. Statues were to be erected to him in the
temples, on the Rostra, and in the Capitol, where he was to stand as an
eighth among the seven Kings of Rome. In the excess of their adoration,
they desired even to place his image in the Temple of Quirinus himself,
with an inscription to him as [Greek: Theos animaetos], the invincible
god. Golden chairs, gilt chariots, triumphal robes were piled one upon
another with laurelled fasces and laurelled wreaths. His birthday was made
a perpetual holiday, and the month Quinctilis[5] was renamed, in honor of
him, July. A temple to Concord was to be erected in commemoration of his
clemency. His person was declared sacred, and to injure him by word or
deed was to be counted sacrilege. The Fortune of Caesar was introduced
into the constitutional oath, and the Senate took a solemn pledge to
maintain his acts inviolate. Finally, they arrived at a conclusion that he
was not a man at all; no longer Caius Julius, but Divus Julius, a god or
the son of god. A temple was to be built to Caesar as another Quirinus,
and Antony was to be his priest.

Caesar knew the meaning of all this. He must accept their flattery and
become ridiculous, or he must appear to treat with contumely the Senate
which offered it. The sinister purpose started occasionally into sight.
One obsequious senator proposed that every woman in Rome should be at his
disposition, and filthy libels against him were set floating under the
surface. The object, he perfectly understood, "was to draw him into a
position more and more invidious, that he might the sooner perish." [6]
The praise and the slander of such men were alike indifferent to him. So
far as he was concerned, they might call him what they pleased; god in
public, and devil in their epigrams, if it so seemed good to them. It was
difficult for him to know precisely how to act, but he declined his divine
honors; and he declined the ten years' consulship. Though he was sole
consul for the year, he took a colleague, and when his colleague died on
the last day of office, he named another, that the customary forms might
be observed. Let him do what he would, malice still misconstrued him.
Cicero, the most prominent now of his senatorial flatterers, was the
sharpest with his satire behind the scenes. "Caesar," he said, "had given
so active a consul that there was no sleeping under him." [7]

Caesar was more and more weary of it. He knew that the Senate hated him;
he knew that they would kill him, if they could. All these men whose lips
were running over with adulation, were longing to drive their daggers into
him. He was willing to live, if they would let him live; but, for himself,
he had ceased to care about it. He disdained to take precautions against
assassination. On his first return from Spain, he had been attended by a
guard; but he dismissed it in spite of the remonstrances of his friends,
and went daily into the senate-house alone and unarmed. He spoke often of
his danger with entire openness; but he seemed to think that he had some
security in the certainty that, if he was murdered, the Civil War would
break out again, as if personal hatred was ever checked by fear of
consequences. It was something to feel that he had not lived in vain. The
Gauls were settling into peaceful habits. The soil of Gaul was now as well
cultivated as Italy. Barges loaded with merchandise were passing freely
along the Rhone and the Saone, the Loire, the Moselle, and the Rhine.
[8] The best of the chiefs were made senators of Rome, and the people
were happy and contented. What he had done for Gaul he might, if he lived,
do for Spain, and Africa, and the East. But it was the concern of others
more than of himself. "Better," he said, "to die at once than live in
perpetual dread of treason."

[Sidenote: B.C. 44.]
But Caesar was aware that conspiracies were being formed against him; and
that he spoke freely of his danger, appears from a speech delivered in the
middle of the winter by Cicero in Caesar's presence. It has been seen that
Cicero had lately spoken of Caesar's continuance in life as a disgrace to
the State. It has been seen also that he had long thought of assassination
as the readiest means of ending it. He asserted afterward that he had not
been consulted when the murder was actually accomplished; but the
perpetrators were assured of his approbation, and when Caesar was killed
he deliberately claimed for himself a share of the guilt, if guilt there
could be in what he regarded as the most glorious achievement in human
history,[9] It maybe assumed, therefore, that Cicero's views upon the
subject had remained unchanged since the beginning of the Civil War, and
that his sentiments were no secret among his intimate friends.

Cicero is the second great figure in the history of the time. He has
obtained the immortality which he so much desired, and we are, therefore,
entitled and obliged to scrutinize his conduct with a niceness which would
be ungracious and unnecessary in the case of a less distinguished man.
After Pharsalia he had concluded that the continuance of the war would be
unjustifiable. He had put himself in communication with Antony and
Caesar's friend and secretary Oppius, and at their advice he went from
Greece to Brindisi, to remain there till Caesar's pleasure should be
known. He was very miserable. He had joined Pompey with confessed
reluctance, and family quarrels had followed on Pompey's defeat. His
brother Quintus, whom he had drawn away from Caesar, regretted having
taken his advice. His sons and nephews were equally querulous and
dissatisfied; and for himself, he dared not appear in the streets of
Brindisi, lest Caesar's soldiers should insult or injure him. Antony,
however, encouraged him to hope. He assured him that Caesar was well
disposed to him, and would not only pardon him, but would show him every
possible favor,[10] and with these expectations he contrived for a while
to comfort himself. He had regarded the struggle as over, and Caesar's
side as completely victorious. But gradually the scene seemed to change.
Caesar was long in returning. The optimates rallied in Africa, and there
was again a chance that they might win after all. His first thought was
always for himself. If the constitution survived under Caesar, as he was
inclined to think that in some shape it would, he had expected that a
place would be found in it for him.[11] But how if Caesar himself should
not survive? How if he should be killed in Alexandria? How if he should be
defeated by Metellus Scipio? He described himself as excruciated with
anxiety.[12] Through the year which followed he wavered from day to day
as the prospect varied, now cursing his folly for having followed the
Senate to Greece, now for having deserted them, blaming himself at one
time for his indecision, at another for having committed himself to either

Gradually his alarms subsided. The Senate's party was finally overthrown.
Caesar wrote to him affectionately, and allowed him to retain his title as
Imperator. When it appeared that he had nothing personally to fear, he
recovered his spirits, and he recovered along with them a hope that the
constitution might be restored, after all, by other means than war.
"Caesar could not live forever, and there were many ways in which a man
might die."

Caesar had dined with him in the country, on his way home from Spain. He
had been as kind as Cicero could wish, but had avoided politics. When
Caesar went on to Rome, Cicero followed him, resumed his place in the
Senate, which was then in the full fervor of its affected adulation, and
took an early opportunity of speaking. Marcus Marcellus had been in exile
since Pharsalia. The Senate had interceded for his pardon, and Caesar had
granted it, and granted it with a completeness which exceeded expectation.
Cicero rose to thank him in his presence, in terms which most certainly
did not express his real feelings, whatever may have been the purpose
which they concealed.

* * * * *

"He had long been silent," he said, "not from fear, but from grief and
diffidence. The time for silence was past. Thenceforward he intended to
speak his thoughts freely in his ancient manner. Such kindness, such
unheard-of generosity, such moderation in power, such incredible and
almost godlike wisdom, he felt himself unable to pass over without giving
expression to his emotions." [14] No flow of genius, no faculty of speech
or writing, could adequately describe Caesar's actions, yet on that day he
had achieved a yet greater glory. Often had Cicero thought, and often had
said to others, that no king or general had ever performed such exploits
as Caesar. In war, however, officers, soldiers, allies, circumstances,
fortune, claimed a share in the result; and there were victories greater
than could be won on the battlefield, where the honor was undivided.

"To have conquered yourself," he said, addressing Caesar directly, "to
have restrained your resentment, not only to have restored a distinguished
opponent to his civil rights, but to have given him more than he had lost,
is a deed which raises you above humanity, and makes you most like to God.
Your wars will be spoken of to the end of time in all lands and tongues;
but in tales of battles we are deafened by the shoutings and the blare of
trumpets. Justice, mercy, moderation, wisdom, we admire even in fiction,
or in persons whom we have never seen; how much more must we admire them
in you, who are present here before us, and in whose face we read a
purpose to restore us to such remnants of our liberty as have survived the
war! How can we praise, how can we love you sufficiently? By the gods, the
very walls of this house are eloquent with gratitude.... No conqueror in a
civil war was ever so mild as you have been. To-day you have surpassed
yourself. You have overcome victory in giving back the spoils to the
conquered. By the laws of war we were under your feet, to be destroyed, if
you so willed. We live by your goodness.... Observe, conscript fathers,
how comprehensive is Caesar's sentence. We were in arms against him, how
impelled I know not. He cannot acquit us of mistake, but he holds us
innocent of crime, for he has given us back Marcellus at your entreaty.
Me, of his own free will, he has restored to myself and to my country. He
has brought back the most illustrious survivors of the war. You see them
gathered here in this full assembly. He has not regarded them as enemies.
He has concluded that you entered into the conflict with him rather in
ignorance and unfounded fear than from any motives of ambition or

"For me, I was always for peace. Caesar was for peace, so was Marcellus.
There were violent men among you, whose success Marcellus dreaded. Each
party had a cause. I will not compare them. I will compare rather the
victory of the one with the possible victory of the other. Caesar's wars
ended with the last battle. The sword is now sheathed. Those whom we have
lost fell in the fury of the fight, not one by the resentment of the
conqueror. Caesar, if he could, would bring back to life many who lie
dead. For the others, we all feared what they might do if the day had been
theirs. They not only threatened those who were in arms against them, but
those who sate quietly at home."

* * * * *

Cicero then said that he had heard a fear of assassination expressed by
Caesar. By whom, he asked, could such an attempt be made? Not by those
whom he had forgiven, for none were more attached to him. Not by his
comrades, for they could not be so mad as to conspire against the general
to whom they owed all that they possessed. Not by his enemies, for he had
no enemies. Those who had been his enemies were either dead through their
own obstinacy, or were alive through his generosity. It was possible,
however, he admitted, that there might be some such danger.

* * * * *

"Be you, therefore," he said, again speaking to Caesar,--"be you watchful,
and let us be diligent. Who is so careless of his own and the common
welfare as to be ignorant that on your preservation his own depends, and
that all our lives are bound up in yours? I, as in duty bound, think of
you by night and day; I ponder over the accidents of humanity, the
uncertainty of health, the frailty of our common nature, and I grieve to
think that the Commonwealth which ought to be immortal should hang on the
breath of a single man. If to these perils be added a nefarious
conspiracy, to what god can we turn for help? War has laid prostrate our
institutions; you alone can restore them. The courts of justice need to be
reconstituted, credit to be recovered, license to be repressed, the
thinned ranks of the citizens to be repaired. The bonds of society are
relaxed. In such a war, and with such a temper in men's hearts, the State
must have lost many of its greatest ornaments, be the event what it would.
These wounds need healing, and you alone can heal them. With sorrow I have
heard you say that you have lived long enough. For nature it may be that
you have, and perhaps for glory. But for your country you have not. Put
away, I beseech you, this contempt of death. Be not wise at our expense.
You repeat often, I am told, that you do not wish for longer life. I
believe you mean it; nor should I blame you, if you had to think only of
yourself. But by your actions you have involved the welfare of each
citizen and of the whole Commonwealth in your own. Your work is
unfinished: the foundations are hardly laid, and is it for you to be
measuring calmly your term of days by your own desires?... If, Caesar, the
result of your immortal deeds is to be no more than this, that, after
defeating your enemies, you are to leave the State in the condition in
which it now stands, your splendid qualities will be more admired than
honored. It remains for you to rebuild the constitution. Live till this is
done. Live till you see your country tranquil, and at peace. Then, when
your last debt is paid, when you have filled the measure of your existence
to overflowing, then say, if you will, that you have had enough of life.
Your life is not the life which is bounded by the union of your soul and
body, your life is that which shall continue fresh in the memory of ages
to come, which posterity will cherish, and eternity itself keep guard
over. Much has been done which men will admire: much remains to be done,
which they can praise. They will read with wonder of empires and
provinces, of the Rhine, the ocean, and the Nile, of battles without
number, of amazing victories, of countless monuments and triumphs; but
unless this Commonwealth be wisely re-established in institutions by you
bestowed upon us, your name will travel widely over the world, but will
have no stable habitation; and those who come after us will dispute about
you as we have disputed. Some will extol you to the skies, others will
find something wanting and the most important element of all. Remember the
tribunal before which you will hereafter stand. The ages that are to be
will try you, with minds, it may be, less prejudiced than ours,
uninfluenced either by desire to please you or by envy of your greatness.

"Our dissensions have been crushed by the arms, and extinguished by the
lenity of the conqueror. Let all of us, not the wise only, but every
citizen who has ordinary sense, be guided by a single desire. Salvation
there can be none for us, Caesar, unless you are preserved. Therefore, we
exhort you, we beseech you, to watch over your own safety. You believe
that you are threatened by a secret peril. From my own heart I say, and I
speak for others as well as myself, we will stand as sentries over your
safety, and we will interpose our own bodies between you and any danger
which may menace you." [15]

* * * * *

Such, in compressed form, for necessary brevity, but deserving to be
studied in its own brilliant language, was the speech delivered by Cicero,
in the Senate in Caesar's presence, within a few weeks of his murder. The
authenticity of it has been questioned, but without result beyond creating
a doubt whether it was edited and corrected, according to his usual habit,
by Cicero himself. The external evidence of genuineness is as good as for
any of his other orations, and the Senate possessed no other speaker known
to us, to whom, with any probability, so splendid an illustration of Roman
eloquence could be assigned.

Now, therefore, let us turn to the second Philippic delivered in the
following summer when the deed had been accomplished which Cicero
professed to hold in so much abhorrence. Then, fiercely challenging for
himself a share in the glory of tyrannicide, he exclaimed:

* * * * *

"What difference is there between advice beforehand and approbation
afterward? What does it matter whether I wished it to be done, or rejoiced
that it was done? Is there a man, save Antony and those who were glad to
have Caesar reign over us, that did not wish him to be killed, or that
disapproved when he was killed? All were in fault, for all the _Boni_
joined in killing him, so far as lay in them. Some were not consulted,
some wanted courage, some opportunity. All were willing," [16]

Expressions so vehemently opposite compel us to compare them. Was it that
Cicero was so carried away by the stream of his oratory, that he spoke
like an actor, under artificial emotion which the occasion called for? Was
it that he was deliberately trying to persuade Caesar that from the Senate
he had nothing to fear, and so to put him off his guard? If, as he
declared, he himself and the _Boni_, who were listening to him,
desired so unanimously to see Caesar killed, how else can his language be
interpreted? Cicero stands before the tribunal of posterity, to which he
was so fond of appealing. In him, too, while "there is much to admire,"
"something may be found wanting."

Meanwhile the Senate went its way, still inventing fresh titles and
conferring fresh powers. Caesar said that these vain distinctions needed
limitation, rather than increase; but the flattery had a purpose in it,
and would not be checked.

One day a deputation waited on him with the proffer of some "new marvel."
[17] He was sitting in front of the Temple of Venus Genetrix, and when
the senators approached he neglected to rise to receive them. Some said
that he was moving, but that Cornelius Balbus pulled him down. Others said
that he was unwell. Pontius Aquila, a tribune, had shortly before refused
to rise to Caesar. The senators thought he meant to read them a lesson in
return. He intended to be king, it seemed; the constitution was gone,
another Tarquin was about to seize the throne of Republican Rome.

Caesar was king in fact, and to recognize facts is more salutary than to
ignore them. An acknowledgment of Caesar as king might have made the
problem of reorganization easier than it proved. The army had thought of
it. He was on the point of starting for Parthia, and a prophecy had said
that the Parthians could only be conquered by a king.--But the Roman
people were sensitive about names. Though their liberties were restricted
for the present, they liked to hope that one day the Forum might recover
its greatness. The Senate, meditating on the insult which they had
received, concluded that Caesar might be tempted, and that if they could
bring him to consent he would lose the people's hearts. They had already
made him Dictator for life; they voted next that he really should be King,
and, not formally perhaps, but tentatively, they offered him the crown. He
was sounded as to whether he would accept it. He understood the snare, and
refused. What was to be done next? He would soon be gone to the East. Rome
and its hollow adulations would lie behind him, and their one opportunity
would be gone also. They employed some one to place a diadem on the head
of his statue which stood upon the Rostra.[18] It was done publicly, in
the midst of a vast crowd, in Caesar's presence. Two eager tribunes tore
the diadem down, and ordered the offender into custody. The treachery of
the Senate was not the only danger. His friends in the army had the same
ambition for him. A few days later, as he was riding through the streets,
he was saluted as King by the mob. Caesar answered calmly that he was not
King but Caesar, and there the matter might have ended; but the tribunes
rushed into the crowd to arrest the leaders; a riot followed, for which
Caesar blamed them; they complained noisily; he brought their conduct
before the Senate, and they were censured and suspended. But suspicion was
doing its work, and honest republican hearts began to heat and kindle.

The kingship assumed a more serious form on the 15th of February at the
Lupercalia--the ancient carnival. Caesar was in his chair, in his consular
purple, wearing a wreath of bay, wrought in gold. The honor of the wreath
was the only distinction which he had accepted from the Senate with
pleasure. He retained a remnant of youthful vanity, and the twisted leaves
concealed his baldness. Antony, his colleague in the consulship,
approached with a tiara, and placed it on Caesar's head, saying, "The
people give you this by my hand." That Antony had no sinister purpose is
obvious. He perhaps spoke for the army;[19] or it may be that Caesar
himself suggested Antony's action, that he might end the agitation of so
dangerous a subject. He answered in a loud voice "that the Romans had no
king but God," and ordered that the tiara should be taken to the Capitol,
and placed on the statue of Jupiter Olympius. The crowd burst into an
enthusiastic cheer; and an inscription on a brass tablet recorded that the
Roman people had offered Caesar the crown by the hands of the consul, and
that Caesar had refused it.

The question of the kingship was over; but a vague alarm had been created,
which answered the purpose of the optimates. Caesar was at their mercy any
day. They had sworn to maintain all his acts. They had sworn, after
Cicero's speech, individually and collectively to defend his life. Caesar,
whether he believed them sincere or not, had taken them at their word, and
came daily to the Senate unarmed and without a guard. He had a protection
in the people. If the optimates killed him without preparation, they knew
that they would be immediately massacred. But an atmosphere of suspicion
and uncertainty had been successfully generated, of which they determined
to take immediate advantage. There were no troops in the city. Lepidus,
Caesar's master of the horse, who had been appointed governor of Gaul, was
outside the gates, with a few cohorts; but Lepidus was a person of feeble
character, and they trusted to be able to deal with him.

Sixty senators, in all, were parties to the immediate conspiracy. Of these
nine-tenths were members of the old faction whom Caesar had pardoned, and
who, of all his acts, resented most that he had been able to pardon them.
They were the men who had stayed at home, like Cicero, from the fields of
Thapsus and Munda, and had pretended penitence and submission that they
might take an easier road to rid themselves of their enemy. Their motives
were the ambition of their order and personal hatred of Caesar; but they
persuaded themselves that they were animated by patriotism, and as, in
their hands, the Republic had been a mockery of liberty, so they aimed at
restoring it by a mock tyrannicide. Their oaths and their professions were
nothing to them. If they were entitled to kill Caesar, they were entitled
equally to deceive him. No stronger evidence is needed of the
demoralization of the Roman Senate than the completeness with which they
were able to disguise from themselves the baseness of their treachery. One
man only they were able to attract into co-operation who had a reputation
for honesty, and could be conceived, without absurdity, to be animated by
a disinterested purpose.

Marcus Brutus was the son of Cato's sister Servilia, the friend, and a
scandal said the mistress, of Caesar. That he was Caesar's son was not too
absurd for the credulity of Roman drawing-rooms. Brutus himself could not
have believed in the existence of such a relation, for he was deeply
attached to his mother; and although, under the influence of his uncle
Cato, he had taken the Senate's side in the war, he had accepted afterward
not pardon only from Caesar, but favors of many kinds, for which he had
professed, and probably felt, some real gratitude. He had married Cato's
daughter Portia, and on Cato's death had published a eulogy upon him.
Caesar left him free to think and write what he pleased. He had made him
praetor; he had nominated him to the governorship of Macedonia. Brutus was
perhaps the only member of the senatorial party in whom Caesar felt
genuine confidence. His known integrity, and Caesar's acknowledged regard
for him, made his accession to the conspiracy an object of particular
importance. The name of Brutus would be a guarantee to the people of
rectitude of intention. Brutus, as the world went, was of more than
average honesty. He had sworn to be faithful to Caesar as the rest had
sworn, and an oath with him was not a thing to be emotionalized away; but
he was a fanatical republican, a man of gloomy habits, given to dreams and
omens, and easily liable to be influenced by appeals to visionary
feelings. Caius Cassius, his brother-in-law, was employed to work upon
him. Cassius, too, was praetor that year, having been also nominated to
office by Caesar. He knew Brutus, he knew where and how to move him. He
reminded him of the great traditions of his name. A Brutus had delivered
Rome from the Tarquins. The blood of a Brutus was consecrated to liberty.
This, too, was mockery; Brutus, who expelled the Tarquins, put his sons to
death, and died childless; Marcus Brutus came of good plebeian family,
with no glories of tyrannicide about them; but an imaginary genealogy
suited well with the spurious heroics which veiled the motives of Caesar's

Brutus, once wrought upon, became with Cassius the most ardent in the
cause which assumed the aspect to him of a sacred duty. Behind them were
the crowd of senators of the familiar faction, and others worse than they,
who had not even the excuse of having been partisans of the beaten cause;
men who had fought at Caesar's side till the war was over, and believed,
like Labienus, that to them Caesar owed his fortune, and that he alone
ought not to reap the harvest. One of these was Trebonius, who had
misconducted himself in Spain, and was smarting under the recollection of
his own failures. Trebonius had long before sounded Antony on the
desirableness of removing their chief. Antony, though he remained himself
true, had unfortunately kept his friend's counsel. Trebonius had been
named by Caesar for a future consulship, but a distant reward was too
little for him. Another and a yet baser traitor was Decimus Brutus, whom
Caesar valued and trusted beyond all his officers, whom he had selected as
guardian for Augustus, and had noticed, as was seen afterward, with
special affection in his will. The services of these men were invaluable
to the conspirators on account of their influence with the army. Decimus
Brutus, like Labienus, had enriched himself in Caesar's campaigns, and had
amassed near half a million of English money.[20] It may have been easy
to persuade him and Trebonius that a grateful Republic would consider no
recompense too large to men who would sacrifice their commander to their
country. To Caesar they could be no more than satellites; the first prizes
of the Empire would be offered to the choice of the saviours of the

So composed was this memorable band, to whom was to fall the bad
distinction of completing the ruin of the senatorial rule. Caesar would
have spared something of it; enough, perhaps, to have thrown up shoots
again as soon as he had himself passed away in the common course of
nature. By combining in a focus the most hateful characteristics of the
order, by revolting the moral instincts of mankind by ingratitude and
treachery, they stripped their cause by their own hands of the false
glamour which they hoped to throw over it. The profligacy and avarice, the
cynical disregard of obligation, which had marked the Senate's supremacy
for a century, had exhibited abundantly their unfitness for the high
functions which had descended to them; but custom and natural tenderness
for a form of government, the past history of which had been so glorious,
might have continued still to shield them from the penalty of their
iniquities. The murder of Caesar filled the measure of their crimes, and
gave the last and necessary impulse to the closing act of the revolution.

Thus the ides of March drew near. Caesar was to set out in a few days for
Parthia. Decimus Brutus was going, as governor, to the north of Italy,
Lepidus to Gaul, Marcus Brutus to Macedonia, and Trebonius to Asia Minor.
Antony, Caesar's colleague in the consulship, was to remain in Italy.
Dolabella, Cicero's son-in-law, was to be consul with him as soon as
Caesar should have left for the East. The foreign appointments were all
made for five years, and in another week the party would be scattered. The
time for action had come, if action there was to be. Papers were dropped
in Brutus's room, bidding him awake from his sleep. On the statue of
Junius Brutus some hot republican wrote "Would that thou wast alive!" The
assassination in itself was easy, for Caesar would take no precautions. So
portentous an intention could not be kept entirely secret; many friends
warned him to beware; but he disdained too heartily the worst that his
enemies could do to him to vex himself with thinking of them, and he
forbade the subject to be mentioned any more in his presence. Portents,
prophecies, soothsayings, frightful aspects in the sacrifices, natural
growths of alarm and excitement, were equally vain. "Am I to be
frightened," he said, in answer to some report of the haruspices,
"because a sheep is without a heart?"

[Sidenote: March 14, B.C. 44.]
An important meeting of the Senate had been called for the ides (the 15th)
of the month. The Pontifices, it was whispered, intended to bring on again
the question of the kingship before Caesar's departure. The occasion would
be appropriate. The senate-house itself was a convenient scene of
operations. The conspirators met at supper the evening before at Cassius's
house. Cicero, to his regret, was not invited. The plan was simple, and
was rapidly arranged. Caesar would attend unarmed. The senators not in the
secret would be unarmed also. The party who intended to act were to
provide themselves with poniards, which could be easily concealed in their
paper boxes. So far all was simple; but a question rose whether Caesar
only was to be killed, or whether Antony and Lepidus were to be despatched
along with him. They decided that Caesar's death would be sufficient. To
spill blood without necessity would mar, it was thought, the sublimity of
their exploit. Some of them liked Antony. None supposed that either he or
Lepidus would be dangerous when Caesar was gone. In this resolution Cicero
thought that they made a fatal mistake;[21] fine emotions were good in
their place, in the perorations of speeches and such like; Antony, as
Cicero admitted, had been signally kind to him; but the killing Caesar was
a serious business, and his friends should have died along with him. It
was determined otherwise. Antony and Lepidus were not to be touched. For
the rest, the assassins had merely to be in their places in the Senate in
good time. When Caesar entered, Trebonius was to detain Antony in
conversation at the door. The others were to gather about Caesar's chair
on pretence of presenting a petition, and so could make an end. A gang of
gladiators were to be secreted in the adjoining theatre to be ready should
any unforeseen difficulty present itself.

The same evening, the 14th of March, Caesar was at a "Last Supper" at the
house of Lepidus. The conversation turned on death, and on the kind of
death which was most to be desired. Caesar, who was signing papers while
the rest wore talking, looked up and said, "A sudden one." When great men
die, imagination insists that all nature shall have felt the shock.
Strange stories were told in after years of the uneasy labors of the
elements that night.

A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves did open, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and jibber in the Roman streets.

The armor of Mars, which stood in the hall of the Pontifical Palace,
crashed down upon the pavement. The door of Caesar's room flew open.
Calpurnia dreamt her husband was murdered, and that she saw him ascending
into heaven, and received by the hand of God.[22] In the morning the
sacrifices were again unfavorable. Caesar was restless. Some natural
disorder affected his spirits, and his spirits were reacting on his body.
Contrary to his usual habit, he gave way to depression. He decided, at his
wife's entreaty, that he would not attend the Senate that day.

[Sidenote: March 15, B.C. 44.]
The house was full. The conspirators were in their places with their
daggers ready. Attendants came in to remove Caesar's chair. It was
announced that he was not coming. Delay might be fatal. They conjectured
that he already suspected something. A day's respite, and all might be
discovered. His familiar friend whom he trusted--the coincidence is
striking!--was employed to betray him. Decimus Brutus, whom it was
impossible for him to distrust, went to entreat his attendance, giving
reasons to which he knew that Caesar would listen, unless the plot had
been actually betrayed. It was now eleven in the forenoon. Caesar shook
off his uneasiness, and rose to go. As he crossed the hall, his statue
fell, and shivered on the stones. Some servant, perhaps, had heard
whispers, and wished to warn him. As he still passed on, a stranger thrust
a scroll into his hand, and begged him to read it on the spot. It
contained a list of the conspirators, with a clear account of the plot. He
supposed it to be a petition, and placed it carelessly among his other
papers. The fate of the Empire hung upon a thread, but the thread was not
broken, As Caesar had lived to reconstruct the Roman world, so his death
was necessary to finish the work. He went on to the Curia, and the
senators said to themselves that the augurs had foretold his fate, but he
would not listen; he was doomed for his "contempt of religion." [23]

Antony, who was in attendance, was detained, as had been arranged, by
Trebonius. Caesar entered, and took his seat. His presence awed men, in
spite of themselves, and the conspirators had determined to act at once,
lest they should lose courage to act at all. He was familiar and easy of
access. They gathered round him. He knew them all. There was not one from
whom he had not a right to expect some sort of gratitude, and the movement
suggested no suspicion. One had a story to tell him; another some favor to
ask. Tullius Cimber, whom he had just made governor of Bithynia, then came
close to him, with some request which he was unwilling to grant. Cimber
caught his gown, as if in entreaty, and dragged it from his shoulders.
Cassius,[24] who was standing behind, stabbed him in the throat. He
started up with a cry, and caught Cassius's arm. Another poniard entered
his breast, giving a mortal wound. He looked round, and seeing not one
friendly face, but only a ring of daggers pointing at him, he drew his
gown over his head, gathered the folds about him that he might fall
decently, and sank down without uttering another word,[25] Cicero was
present. The feelings with which he watched the scene are unrecorded, but
may easily be imagined. Waving his dagger, dripping with Caesar's blood,
Brutus shouted to Cicero by name, congratulating him that liberty was
restored.[26] The Senate rose with shrieks and confusion, and rushed
into the Forum. The crowd outside caught the words that Caesar was dead,
and scattered to their houses. Antony, guessing that those who had killed
Caesar would not spare himself, hurried off into concealment. The
murderers, bleeding some of them from wounds which they had given one
another in their eagerness, followed, crying that the tyrant was dead, and
that Rome was free; and the body of the great Caesar was left alone in the
house where a few weeks before Cicero told him that he was so necessary to
his country that every senator would die before harm should reach him!

[1] Apparently when Caesar touched there on his way to Egypt, after
Pharsalia. Cicero says (_Philippic_ ii. 11): "Quid? C.
Cassius ... qui etiam sine his clarissimis viris, hanc rem in Cilicia
ad ostium fluminis Cydni confecisset, si ille ad eam ripam quam
constituerat, non ad contrariam, navi appulisset."

[2] To be distinguished from Publius Ligarius, who had been put to death
before Thapsus.

[3] The Gauls were especially obnoxious, and epigrams were circulated to
insult them:--

"Gallos Caesar in triumphum ducit, idem in Curiam.
Galli braccas deposuerunt, latum clavum sumpserunt"

SUETONIUS, _Vita Jullii Caesaris_, 80.

[4] Suetonius.

[5] The fifth, dating the beginning of the year, in the old style, from

[6] Dion Cassius.

[7] The second consul who had been put in held office but for a few hours.

[8] Dion Cassius.

[9] See the 2nd _Philippic_, passim. In a letter to Decimus Brutus,
he says: "Quare hortatione tu quidem non egos, si ne illa quidem in
re, quae a te gesta est post hominum memoriam maxima, hortatorem
desiderasti." _Ad Fam_. xi. 5.

[10] _To Atticus_, xi. 5, 6.

[11] _Ad Caelium, Ad Fam_. ii. 16.

[12] _To Atticus_, xi. 7.

[13] See _To Atticus_, xi. 7-9; _To Terentia, Ad Fam_. xiv. 12.

[14] "Tantam enim mansuetudinem, tam inusitatam inauditamque clementiam,
tantum in summa potestate rerum omnium modum, tam denique incredibilem
sapientiam ac paene divinam tacitus nullo modo praeterire
possum."--_Pro Marco Marcello_, 1.

[15] _Pro Marco Marcello_, abridged.

[16] "Non intelligis, si id quod me arguis voluisse interfici Caesarem
crimen sit, etiam laetatum esse morte Caesaris crimen esse? Quid enim
interest inter suasorem facti et approbatorem? Aut quid refert utrum
voluerim fieri an gaudeam factum? Ecquis est igitur te excepto et iis
qui illum regnare gaudebant, qui illud aut fieri noluerit, aut factum
improbarit? Omnes enim in culpa. Etenim omnes boni quantum in ipsis
fuit Caesarem occiderunt. Aliis consilium, aliis animus, aliis occasio
defuit. Voluntas nemini."--_2nd Philippic_, 12.

[17] Dion Cassius.

[18] So Dion Cassius states, on what authority we know not. Suetonius says
that as Caesar was returning from the Latin festival some one placed a
laurel crown on the statue, tied with a white riband.

[19] The fact is certain. Cicero taunted Antony with it in the Senate, in
the Second Philippic.

[20] "Cum ad rem publicam liberandam accessi, HS. mihi fuit
quadringenties amplius."--_Decimus Brutus to Cicero,
Ad Fam_. xi. 10.

[21] "Vellem Idibus Martiis me ad coenam invitasses. Reliquiarum nihil
fuisset."--_Ad Cassium, Ad Fam_. xii. 4. And again: "Quam vellem
ad illas pulcherrimas epulas me Idibus Martiis invitasses! Reliquiarum
nihil haberemus."--_Ad Trebonium, Ad Fam_. x. 28.

[22] Dion Cassius, _C. Julius Caesar_, xliv. 17.

[23] "Spreta religione."--Suetonius.

[24] Not perhaps Caius Cassius, but another. Suetonius says "alter e

[25] So says Suetonius, the best extant authority, who refers to the
famous words addressed to Brutus only as a legend: "Atque ita tribus
et viginti plagis confossus est, uno modo ad primum ictum gemitu sine
voce edito. Etsi tradiderunt quidam Marco Bruto irruenti dixisse
[Greek: kai su ei ekeinon kai su teknon]"--_Julius Caesar_, 82.

[26] "Cruentum alte extollens Marcus Brutus pugionem, Ciceronem
nominatim exclamavit atque ei recuperatam libertatem est
gratulatus."--_Philippic ii_. 12.


[Sidenote: March 16, B.C. 44.]
The tyrannicides, as the murderers of Caesar called themselves, had
expected that the Roman mob would be caught by the cry of liberty, and
would hail them as the deliverers of their country. They found that the
people did not respond as they had anticipated. The city was stunned. The
Forum was empty. The gladiators, whom they had secreted in the Temple,
broke out and plundered the unprotected booths. A dead and ominous silence
prevailed everywhere. At length a few citizens collected in knots. Brutus
spoke, and Cassius spoke. They extolled their old constitution. They said
that Caesar had overthrown it; that they had slain him, not from private
hatred or private interest, but to restore the liberties of Rome. The
audience was dead and cold. No answering shouts came back to reassure
them. The citizens could not forget that these men who spoke so fairly had
a few days before fawned on Caesar as the saviour of the Empire, and, as
if human honors were too little, had voted a temple to him as a god. The
fire would not kindle. Lepidus came in with troops, and occupied the
Forum. The conspirators withdrew into the Capitol, where Cicero and others
joined them, and the night was passed in earnest discussion what next was
to be done. They had intended to declare that Caesar had been a tyrant, to
throw his body into the Tiber, and to confiscate his property to the
State. They discovered to their consternation that, if Caesar was a
tyrant, all his acts would be invalidated. The praetors and tribunes held
their offices, the governors their provinces, under Caesar's nomination.
If Caesar's acts were set aside, Decimus Brutus was not governor of North
Italy, nor Marcus Brutus of Macedonia; nor was Dolabella consul, as he had
instantly claimed to be on Caesar's death. Their names, and the names of
many more whom Caesar had promoted, would have to be laid before the
Comitia, and in the doubtful humor of the people they little liked the
risk. That the dilemma should have been totally unforeseen was
characteristic of the men and their capacity.

Nor was this the worst. Lands had been allotted to Caesar's troops. Many
thousands of colonists were waiting to depart for Carthage and Corinth and
other places where settlements had been provided for them. These
arrangements would equally fall through, and it was easy to know what
would follow. Antony and Lepidus, too, had to be reckoned with. Antony, as
the surviving consul, was the supreme lawful authority in the city; and
Lepidus and his soldiers might have a word to say if the body of their
great commander was flung into the river as the corpse of a malefactor.
Interest and fear suggested more moderate counsels. The conspirators
determined that Caesar's appointments must stand; his acts, it seemed,
must stand also; and his remains, therefore, must be treated with respect.
Imagination took another flight. Caesar's death might be regarded as a
sacrifice, an expiatory offering for the sins of the nation; and the
divided parties might embrace in virtue of the atonement. They agreed to
send for Antony, and invite him to assist in saving society; and they
asked Cicero to be their messenger. Cicero, great and many as his faults
might be, was not a fool. He declined to go on so absurd a mission. He
knew Antony too well to dream that he could be imposed on by fantastic
illusions. Antony, he said, would promise anything, but if they trusted
him, they would have reason to repent.[1] Others, however, undertook
the office. Antony agreed to meet them, and the next morning the Senate
was assembled in the Temple of Terra.

Antony presided as consul, and after a few words from him Cicero rose. He
disapproved of the course which his friends were taking; he foresaw what
must come of it; but he had been overruled, and he made the best of what
he could not help. He gave a sketch of Roman political history. He went
back to the secession to Mount Aventine. He spoke of the Gracchi, of
Saturninus and Glaucia, of Marius and Sylla, of Sertorius and Pompey, of
Caesar and the still unforgotten Clodius. He described the fate of Athens
and of other Grecian states into which faction had penetrated. If Rome
continued divided, the conquerors would rule over its ruins; therefore he
appealed to the two factions to forget their rivalries and to return to
peace and concord. But they must decide at once, for the signs were
already visible of a fresh conflict.

"Caesar is slain," he said. "The Capitol is occupied by the optimates, the
Forum by soldiers, and the people are full of terror. Is violence to be
again answered by more violence? These many years we have lived less like
men than like wild beasts in cycles of recurring revenge. Let us forget
the past. Let us draw a veil over all that has been done, not looking too
curiously into the acts of any man. Much may be said to show that Caesar
deserved his death, and much against those who have killed him. But to
raise the question will breed fresh quarrels; and if we are wise we shall
regard the scene which we have witnessed as a convulsion of nature which
is now at an end. Let Caesar's ordinances, let Caesar's appointments be
maintained. None such must be heard of again. But what is done cannot be
undone." [2]

Admirable advice, were it as easy to act on good counsel as to give it.
The murder of such a man as Caesar was not to be so easily smoothed over.
But the delusive vision seemed for a moment to please. The Senate passed
an act of oblivion. The agitation in the army was quieted when the men
heard that their lands were secure. But there were two other questions
which required an answer, and an immediate one. Caesar's body, after
remaining till evening on the floor of the senate-house, had been carried
home in the dusk in a litter by three of his servants, and was now lying
in his palace. If it was not to be thrown into the Tiber, what was to be
done with it? Caesar had left a will, which was safe with his other papers
in the hands of Antony. Was the will to be read and recognized? Though
Cicero had advised in the Senate that the discussion whether Caesar had
deserved death should not be raised, yet it was plain to him and to every
one that, unless Caesar was held guilty of conspiring against the
Constitution, the murder was and would be regarded as a most execrable
crime. He dreaded the effect of a public funeral. He feared that the will
might contain provisions which would rouse the passions of the people.
Though Caesar was not for various reasons to be pronounced a tyrant,
Cicero advised that he should be buried privately, as if his name was
under a cloud, and that his property should be escheated to the nation.
But the humor of conciliation and the theory of "the atoning sacrifice"
had caught the Senate. Caesar had done great things for his country. It
would please the army that he should have an honorable sepulture.

[Sidenote: March, B.C. 44.]
If they had refused, the result would not have been greatly different.
Sooner or later, when the stunning effects of the shock had passed off,
the murder must have appeared to Rome and Italy in its true colors. The
optimates talked of the Constitution. The Constitution in their hands had
been a parody of liberty. Caesar's political life had been spent in
wresting from them the powers which they had abused. Caesar had punished
the oppressors of the provinces. Caesar had forced the nobles to give the
people a share of the public lands. Caesar had opened the doors of
citizenship to the libertini, the distant colonists, and the provincials.
It was for this that the Senate hated him. For this they had fought
against him; for this they murdered him. No Roman had ever served his
country better in peace or war, and thus he had been rewarded.

Such thoughts were already working in tens of thousands of breasts. A
feeling of resentment was fast rising, with as yet no certain purpose
before it. In this mood the funeral could not fail to lead to some fierce
explosion. For this reason Antony had pressed for it, and the Senate had
given their consent.

The body was brought down to the Forum and placed upon the Rostra. The
dress had not been changed; the gown, gashed with daggers and soaked in
blood, was still wrapped about it. The will was read first. It reminded
the Romans that they had been always in Caesar's thoughts, for he had left
each citizen seventy-five drachmas (nearly L3 of English money), and he
had left them his gardens on the Tiber as a perpetual recreation ground, a
possession which Domitius Ahenobarbus had designed for himself before
Pharsalia. He had made Octavius his general heir; among the second heirs,
should Octavius fail, he had named Decimus Brutus, who had betrayed him. A
deep movement of emotion passed through the crowd when, besides the
consideration for themselves, they heard from this record, which could not
lie, a proof of the confidence which had been so abused. Antony, after
waiting for the passion to work, then came forward.

Cicero had good reason for his fear of Antony. He was a loose soldier,
careless in his life, ambitious, extravagant, little more scrupulous
perhaps than any average Roman gentleman. But for Caesar his affection was
genuine. The people were in intense expectation. He produced the body, all
bloody as it had fallen, and he bade a herald first read the votes which
the Senate had freshly passed, heaping those extravagant honors upon
Caesar which he had not desired, and the oath which the senators had each
personally taken to defend him from violence. He then spoke--spoke with
the natural vehemence of a friend, yet saying nothing which was not
literally true. The services of Caesar neither needed nor permitted the
exaggeration of eloquence.

He began with the usual encomiums. He spoke of Caesar's family, his birth,
his early history, his personal characteristics, his thrifty private
habits, his public liberality; he described him as generous to his
friends, forbearing with his enemies, without evil in himself, and
reluctant to believe evil of others.

"Power in most men," he said, "has brought their faults to light. Power in
Caesar brought into prominence his excellences. Prosperity did not make
him insolent for it gave him a sphere which corresponded to his nature.
His first services in Spain a deserved triumph; of his laws I could speak
forever. His campaigns in Gaul are known to you all. That land from which
the Teutons and Cimbri poured over the Alps is now as well ordered as
Italy. Caesar would have added Germany and Britain to your Empire, but his
enemies would not have it so. They regarded the Commonwealth as the
patrimony of themselves. They brought him home. They went on with their
usurpations till you yourselves required his help. He set you free. He set
Spain free. He labored for peace with Pompey, but Pompey preferred to go
into Greece, to bring the powers of the East upon you, and he perished in
his obstinacy.

"Caesar took no honor to himself for this victory. He abhorred the
necessity of it. He took no revenge. He praised those who had been
faithful to Pompey, and he blamed Pharnaces for deserting him. He was
sorry for Pompey's death, and he treated his murderers as they deserved.
He settled Egypt and Armenia. He would have disposed of the Parthians had
not fresh seditions recalled him to Italy. He quelled those seditions. He
restored peace in Africa and Spain, and again his one desire was to spare
his fellow-citizens. There was in him an 'inbred goodness.'[3] He was
always the same--never carried away by anger, and never spoilt by success.
He did not retaliate for the past; he never tried by severity to secure
himself for the future. His effort throughout was to save all who would
allow themselves to be saved. He repaired old acts of injustice. He
restored the families of those who had been proscribed by Sylla, but he
burnt unread the correspondence of Pompey and Scipio, that those whom it
compromised might neither suffer injury nor fear injury. You honored him
as your father; you loved him as your benefactor; you made him chief of
the State, not being curious of titles, but regarding the most which you
could give as less than he had deserved at your hands. Toward the gods he
was High Priest. To you he was Consul; to the army he was Imperator; to
the enemies of his country, Dictator. In sum he was _Pater Patriae_.
And this your father, your Pontifex, this hero, whose person was declared
inviolable, lies dead--dead, not by disease or age, not by war or


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