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The Great Empires of Prophecy, from Babylon to the Fall of Rome

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    CHAPTER XXI. ROME—THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE

    Pompey and the Senate—Caesar and the Senate—Caesar’s Land Laws—Reform by Law—The Senate Wins Pompey—Legal Government Ended—Pompey and the Nobles—Antipater and Herod—The Senate Flatters Caesar—The Senate Murders Caesar

    THE senators held office for life, and therefore the Senate was always in possession of power; while owing to the fact that the elections were annual, the power of the people was but spasmodic at the best. Whenever some extraordinary occasion, or some leader who could carry the multitude with him, arose, the people would awake and carry everything before them. But when the particular occasion was past, or the leader fallen, the people would drop back into the old easy way, though there was scarcely ever an election without a riot, and the Senate would gradually regain all its former power, each time using it only the more despotically, in revenge for the checks which had been put upon it, and the insults which it had received. With politics, as it had universally become, it was inevitable, and in fact essential, that there should arise a power constantly active, which should balance that of the Senate, and hold in check its despotic tendencies. This power, as had already appeared, lay in the army. But the army must be led. Consequently the logic of the situation was that a coalition should be formed representing the different classes of the people, but depending upon the army for support. Such a coalition was demanded by the times and events, and was actually created in 60 B. C.GEP 276.1

    2. Pompey’s work was done in the East, and in December, 62 B. C., he returned to Rome to display and enjoy such a triumph as had never before been seen on earth. A long train of captive princes of the conquered countries as trophies of his victories, and wagons laden with all manner of treasure as an offering to the State, followed the triumphant general as he returned to the capital. A triumphal column was erected in his honor, with an inscription which declared “that Pompey, ‘the people’s general,’ had in three years captured fifteen hundred cities, and had slain, taken, or reduced to submission, twelve million human beings.” The offerings which he brought filled the treasury to overflowing, and the income from the countries subdued made the annual revenue of the republic double what it had been before. All this was lost upon the Senate, however, except to deepen its jealousy of Pompey. By a special vote, indeed, he “was permitted to wear his triumphal robe in the Senate as often and as long as it might please him;” but with this the Senate intended that favors to Pompey should cease.GEP 276.2

    3. At the border of Italy, Pompey had disbanded his troops; and he entered Rome as a private citizen, with only his political influence to sustain him. And just here Pompey failed. Although he was every inch a general, he was no politician. He could victoriously wield an army, but he could do nothing with a crowd. He could command legions, but could not command votes. More than this, during his absence, the senatorial party had employed the time in strenuous efforts and by all means in their power, to destroy his influence in the city, and to create jealousy and distrust between Caesar and Pompey.GEP 277.1

    4. When Pompey had departed for Asia, it was with the friendship of Caesar, whose influence had helped to secure his appointment. During Pompey’s absence, Caesar’s influence and popularity had constantly increased in Rome. He held the people’s favor, and Pompey held the military power. The senatorial party decided, if possible, to divide this power by estranging Pompey and Caesar from one another. The tale was carried to Pompey that his wife, Mucia, had been seduced by Caesar. This accomplished its intended purpose, and Pompey divorced her. Pompey’s prompt action in disbanding his troops at the border of Italy had relieved the Senate from dread of his military power; yet Pompey’s troops, although disbanded, and of no force as a military power, were an important element in the elections, so long as Pompey could retain their sympathies.GEP 277.2

    5. Pompey asked that his acts in Asia might be ratified; but the Senate and its partizans, though not openly refusing to do so, raised so many questions and created so many delays as to amount in effect to a refusal. He also asked that public lands might be distributed to his soldiers, and this also was so successfully opposed as to defeat him. He then attempted to gain his wishes by political influence and action. By the free use of money he secured the election of both the consuls for the year 60 B. C.; but he was disappointed in both. One had not sense enough to be a consul; and the other, Metellus Celer, was the brother of Mucia, whom Pompey had divorced, and under pretense had only lent himself to Pompey in order to take revenge for the reproach thus cast upon his sister. Celer immediately went over to the senatorial party, and engaged in the most violent opposition to Pompey. The tribune Flavius, who had proposed Pompey’s measures, went so far as to seize Celer, and put him in prison. Celer called the senators to his cell to deliberate there. The tribune set up his tribunal at the prison door, so that the senators might not enter; but the senators had the prison walls torn down, and went in spite of the tribune.GEP 277.3

    6. The Senate, not content with estranging Pompey and Caesar from one another, and openly insulting Pompey besides, proceeded to offend Caesar. At the close of Caesar’s praetorship, at the end of 62 B. C., the province of Further Spain had been assigned to him. But he was in debt two hundred and fifty millions of sesterces—about twelve millions of dollars. To pay his debts and make the necessary preparations for his journey to Spain, he borrowed from Crassus eight hundred and thirty talents—nearly thirteen millions of dollars. The senatorial party, however, endeavored to prevent his departure from Rome, and a decree was passed to the effect that the praetors should not go to their provinces until certain important questions of State and religion had been finally settled. Caesar knew that this was aimed at him, and therefore in defiance of the decree he went at once to his province, and put himself at the head of the legions there. This was the first real opportunity that Caesar had ever had to prove his ability as a military leader, and he acquitted himself well. He “effected the complete subjugation of the districts of Lusitania north of the Tagus, including the wild fastnesses of the Herminian Mountains and the rapid waters of the Durius. Brigantium in Galicia, protected on the land side by the difficult character of the surrounding country, he attacked with a naval armament, and erected his victorious standard at the farthest extremity of his province.”—Merivale. 1[Page 279] “History of the Romans under the Empire,” chap 4. par. 22.GEP 278.1

    7. The complete conquest of his province, and the settlement of its civil administration upon a permanent basis, were all accomplished in a little more than a year. His great success entitled him to a triumph, and he desired also to stand for the consulship during the ensuing year. He addressed the Senate soliciting the award of the triumph which he said justly earned. The Senate knew that he wanted also to be a candidate for the consulship. The law was that no general to whom was granted a triumph should come into Rome until the time of triumphal entry, which time was to be fixed by the Senate; and the custom, which had the force of law, was that every candidate for the consulship must appear publicly in the Forum on three distinct occasions, and must be present personally in the Forum on the day of the election.GEP 279.1

    8. The Senate designed to prevent Caesar’s candidacy for the consulship by granting the triumph and setting the time on a day beyond the day of the election, thus keeping him out of the city, so that it would be impossible for him to be present in the Forum as a candidate. This custom could be, and in fact had been, dispensed with on important occasions; but the Senate was very tenacious of both law and custom when they could be turned to its own advantage. Caesar applied to the Senate for a dispensation allowing him to be a candidate in his absence. The Senate would not grant it, and when Caesar’s friends began to urge the matter, Cato defeated them by obtaining the floor and talking all the rest of the day. When Caesar learned of the determination of the Senate to shut him out of the consulship by granting a triumph on a day after the election, he checkmated their nicely planned move. He renounced the triumph, went at once to Rome, went through the necessary forms, and appeared as a candidate for the consulship.GEP 279.2

    9. The Senate had now offended Pompey and embittered his soldiers, and committed itself to open and determined hostility to Caesar. Pompey took in the situation, saw his opportunity, and acted upon it at once. He made overtures to Caesar, who received him willingly, and an alliance was formed. Caesar and Crassus were already firm friends, and had been working together for some time. But Crassus and Pompey were bitter enemies. Caesar’s tact, however, soon tempered the feud, and reconciled the enmity.GEP 279.3

    10. Caesar was the idol of the people; Pompey was the idol of the soldiers; and Crassus, the richest individual in the Roman world, represented the moneyed class, the farmers of the taxes, etc., who were not of the nobility. These three men covenanted together “that no proceedings should be allowed to take place in the commonwealth without the consent of each of the three contracting parties. United they constituted a power beyond all the resources of the commonwealth to cope with.”—Merivale. 2[Page 280] Id., par. 33. Thus the first triumvirate became an accomplished fact, and though there were a few expiring struggles, the power of the Roman Senate was virtually gone forever.GEP 280.1

    11. Caesar was elected consul by acclamation; and only by the very desperation of bribery and corruption did the senatorial party succeed in electing Bibulus as his colleague. It was the custom, immediately upon the election of the consuls, to name the province which should be theirs at the expiration of the year of their office. The Senate sought to cast a slur upon Caesar by assigning to him the department of roads and forests. But he cared not for that, as he held the power of the State, and had a full year in which to use it before anything in that line was to be performed.GEP 280.2

    12. Caesar’s consulship was for the year 59 B. C. The first act of his administration was to secure the publication of the proceedings of the Senate, that the people might know what was done therein. He next brought forward the land law for the reward of Pompey’s veterans, which the Senate had already refused to allow. This measure, however, like that of Tiberius Gracchus, included thousands of the free citizens who had sold their lands and crowded into Rome.GEP 280.3

    13. In the long interval since the repeal of the land law of Sulla, things had fallen back into the same old way. The public lands had fallen from those to whom the State had distributed them, to the great landed proprietors. Caesar’s land law, like all those before it, proposed to buy the rights of these proprietors, as represented in their improvements, and distribute the lands among Pompey’s veterans and several thousands of the unemployed population of the city. He showed to the Senate that there was plenty of money in the treasury, which Pompey’s soldiers themselves had brought to the State, to supply all the land required under the act. The Senate would not listen.GEP 280.4

    14. Cato took the lead in the opposition, and talked again for a whole day; he grew so violent at last that Caesar ordered the lictors to take him off to prison. Many of the senators followed Cato. As nothing could be done, however, Caesar ordered Cato to be set free, at the same time telling the senators that as they had refused to take part in legislation, henceforth he would present his propositions at once to the people. Bibulus, however, was owned by the Senate, and he as consul might obstruct and delay the proceeding in the assembly. Besides this, the Senate had bribed three tribunes to assist Bibulus.GEP 281.1

    15. Caesar did not hesitate. A day was appointed, and he presented his bill in the Forum, which before daylight the populace had filled to overflowing, to prevent the senatorial party from getting in. As Bibulus was consul, a passage was made for him through the crowd, and he took his place with Caesar on the porch of the temple of Castor and Pollux. Caesar stepped forward, and read from a tablet the proposed law, and turning to Bibulus asked if he had any fault to find with it. Bibulus answered that there should be no revolutions while he was consult, at which the assembly hissed. This made Bibulus yet more angry, and he burst out to the whole assembly, “During my year you shall not obtain your desire, not though you cried for it with one voice.”GEP 281.2

    16. Pompey and Crassus, though not officials, were both present. Caesar now signaled to them; they stepped forward, and he asked whether they would support the law. Pompey made a speech in which he declared that he spoke for his veterans and for the poor citizens, and that he approved the law in every letter of it. Caesar then asked, “Will you then support the law if it be illegally opposed?” Pompey replied: “Since you, consul, and you, my fellow citizens, ask aid of me, a poor individual without office and without authority, who nevertheless have done some service to the State, I say that I will bear the shield if others draw the sword.”GEP 281.3

    17. At this, a mighty shout arose from the assembly. Crassus followed with a speech to the same purpose. He likewise was cheered to the echo. Bibulus rushed forward to forbid the vote to be taken. The bribed tribunes interposed their veto. Bibulus declared that he had consulted the auspices,—had read the sky,—and that they were unfavorable to any further proceeding that day, and declared the assembly dissolved. But the assembly had not come together to be dissolved by him, nor in any such way as that. They paid no attention. He then declared all the rest of the year to be holy time. This was met by a yell that completely drowned his voice. The assembly rushed upon the platform, pushed Bibulus off, broke his insignia of office, bandied him about with the bribed tribunes, and trampled upon them; but they were able to escape without serious injury. Then Cato took up the strain, pushed his way to the rostra, and began to rail at Caesar. He was met with a roar from the assembly that completely drowned his voice, and in a moment he was arrested and dragged away, raving and gesticulating. The law was then passed without a dissenting voice.GEP 282.1

    18. The next day Bibulus asked the Senate to pass a decree annulling the act of the assembly; but this failed. Cato, Celer, and Favonius openly refused to obey the law, upon which a second law was passed, making it a capital offense to refuse to swear obedience to the law. Bibulus then shut himself up in his own house, and refused to act as consul any more. This left the triumvirate absolute, with the actual power in Caesar’s hands for the rest of the year. Pompey’s soldiers had been provided for by the land law which had just been passed, and his acts in Asia were confirmed. In addition to this an act was passed in behalf of Crassus. The farmers of the taxes throughout the provinces had taken the contract at too high a price, and now they were not making as much money as they expected. Crassus was the chief of all these, and an act was passed granting new terms. By these acts Caesar had more firmly bound to himself both Pompey and Crassus. He then proceeded more fully to gratify the people by a magnificent display of plays and games.GEP 282.2

    19. In legislation, the Senate was totally ignored; Caesar acted directly with the assembly of the people, and passed such laws as he pleased. Yet it must be said that he passed none that were not good enough in themselves; but they were laws which in fact meant nothing. There was no public character to sustain them, and consequently they were made only to be broken. There was a law for the punishment of adultery, when not only Caesar, but nine tenths of the people, were unblushing adulterers. There were laws for the protection of citizens against violence, when every citizen was ready to commit violence at a moment’s notice. There were laws to punish judges who allowed themselves to be bribed, when almost every man in Rome was ready both to offer and to receive bribes. There were laws against defrauding the revenue, when almost every person only desired an opportunity to do that very thing. There were laws against bribery at elections, when every soul in Rome, from Caesar to the lowest one of the rabble that shouted in the Forum, was ready to bribe or to be bribed. “Morality and family life were treated as antiquated things among all ranks of society. To be poor was not merely the sorest disgrace and the worst crime, but the only disgrace and the only crime; for money the statesman sold the State, and the burgess sold his freedom; the post of the officer and the vote of the juryman were to be had for money; for money the lady of quality surrendered her person, as well as the common courtezan; falsifying of documents, and perjuries, had become so common that in a popular poet of this age an oath is called ‘the plaster for debts.’ Men had forgotten what honesty was; a person who refused a bribe was regarded not as an upright man, but as a personal foe. The criminal statistics of all times and countries will hardly furnish a parallel to the dreadful picture of crimes—so varied, so horrible, and so unnatural.”—Mommsen. 3[Page 283] “History of Rome,” book v, chap 11, par. 72. In this condition of affairs such laws were simply a legal farce.GEP 283.1

    20. Caesar’s consulship was about to expire, and as above stated, when he was elected the Senate had named as his “province” the department of roads and forests instead of a province. As this was intended at the first to be only a slur upon Caesar, and as both he and the people fully understood it, the people set aside this appointment, and voted to Caesar for five years the command of Illyria and Gaul within the Alps; but as there were some fears from the barbarians of Gaul beyond the Alps, a proposition was introduced to extend his province to include that. Pompey and Crassus heartily assented, and the Senate, seeing that it would be voted to him anyway by the assembly, made a virtue of necessity, and bestowed this itself. Pompey now married Caesar’s daughter Julia, which more firmly cemented the alliance while Caesar should be absent.GEP 284.1

    21. The triumvirate had been formed to continue for five years. As the term drew to a close, the triumvirate was renewed for five years more. Pompey and Crassus were made consuls for the year 55 B. C., with the understanding that while in office they should extend Caesar’s command in Gaul for five years longer after the expiration of the first five; and that at the expiration of their consulate, Pompey should have Spain as his province, and Crassus should have Syria.GEP 284.2

    22. The first thing to be done by the new consuls was to secure the assembly’s endorsement of the triumvirs’ arrangement of the provinces. This also the senators opposed by every means to the very last. Cato raved as usual; and when at the expiration of his allotted time he refused to sit down, he was dragged away by an officer, and the meeting adjourned. The next day the assembly came together again. When the senatorial party saw that the action of the triumvirs was to be ratified in spite of them, Atticus, a tribune, and Cato were lifted to men’s shoulders, and the tribune cried out, as Bibulus on the like occasion formerly, that the skies were unfavorable, and the proceedings illegal. Other tribunes ordered the proceedings to go on, at which a riot began. Clubs and stones and swords and knives were freely used. The senatorial party was driven out; the arrangement of the provinces was fully ratified, and the assembly dismissed. The people had no sooner gone out than the senatorial party came back, presented a motion for Caesar’s recall, and proceeded to vote upon it. The assembly returned, and drove them out with more bloodshed; and certainly to prevent all question as to what had been done, passed a second time the motion upon Caesar’s appointment.GEP 284.3

    23. Pompey, yet more to please the populace, dedicated a new theater, which would seat forty thousand people. It was decorated with marble and adorned with precious stones in such abundance as had never before been seen in Rome. The dedication with music, games, chariot races, and contests between men and beasts, continued five days, during which five hundred lions—one hundred each day—were turned loose in the arena only to be killed. Besides this, eighteen elephants were compelled to fight with bands of gladiators, the piteous cries of the poor creatures finding a response even in the savage sympathies of Romans.GEP 285.1

    24. By the strifes of parties, the election of consuls for the year 54 was prevented until the expiration of 55, and the consulates of Pompey and Crassus had expired. Crassus departed for the East, robbing the temple at Jerusalem as he passed. Pompey assumed command of the province of Spain, but instead of going to Spain, remained in Rome.GEP 285.2

    25. In 54, Pompey’s wife, Caesar’s daughter, died; in June, 53, Crassus was killed in that memorable defeat by the Parthians; and the triumvirate was dissolved. Pompey had now been so long separated from the army that his influence with the soldiery was almost gone, while Caesar’s uninterrupted course of victory in Gaul had made him the idol of the army, as well as the pride of the people. The triumvirate was no sooner broken by the death of Crassus, than the Senate began earnestly to try to win Pompey, and compass Caesar’s destruction. “No aristocracy was ever more short-sighted at the crisis of its fate than the once glorious patriciate of Rome. It clung desperately to its privileges, not from a fond regard to their antiquity, or their connection with any social or religious prejudices; disdained to invoke the watchwords of patriotism or utility; it took up its ground upon the enactments which Sulla had made to enhance its own wealth and power and depress those of its rivals, and contended with its assailants upon purely selfish considerations. Without a policy and without a leader, the nobles went staggering onward in their blind conflict with the forces arrayed against them.”—Merivale. 4[Page 286] “Romans under the Empire,” chap 11, par. 4 from end.GEP 285.3

    26. Pompey took his stand with the Senate. Although he was in Rome, he was really commander of the province of Spain, and was thus in possession of an army, though that army was at a distance. Under pretense of a need of troops in Syria against the Parthians who had defeated and slain Crassus, the Senate drew from Caesar two legions, and stationed them at Capua. A motion was then made in the Senate for Caesar’s recall, and the appointment of his successor.GEP 286.1

    27. But just then an obstacle presented itself which disconcerted all their plans. Scribonius Curio had been one of the most violent partizans of the senatorial party, and largely on account of this he had been elected tribune by the favor of the Senate. But Curio went over to the interests of Caesar. When the motion was made to appoint a successor to Caesar, Curio moved an amendment to the effect that Pompey be included, and that when Caesar was relieved of his command, Pompey should be relieved of his command also. This amendment met with such approval that it was accepted by an overwhelming majority; and the people were so jubilant that they strewed flowers in Curio’s way as he returned from the assembly. The adoption of this amendment completely blocked the effort of the Senate to depose Caesar.GEP 286.2

    28. Curio so persistently interposed his veto to all proceedings against Caesar, that at last an attempt was made to get rid of him. One of the censors pronounced him unworthy of a place in the Senate; the consul Marcellus put the question to vote, and it was defeated. Then the consul and his partizans dressed themselves in mourning, and went straight to Pompey, declared the city in danger, placed its safety in his hands, and gave him the two legions that were at Capua. Pompey refused to accept the charge unless it was sanctioned by the consuls who had been elected for the next year. These both confirmed the appointment, and promised their support when they should come into office. Caesar’s enemies had now both an army and a commander. This, being by the official act of the consular authority, was a confession that legal government was at an end; and was virtually the establishment of government only by military force.GEP 286.3

    29. Curio’s tribunate ended with the year 50, and he closed his term of office with an appeal to the people, in which he declared that justice was violated, that the reign of law was past, and that a military domination reigned in the city. He then left the city, and went to Caesar, who was encamped at Ravenna with a legion.GEP 287.1

    30. The consuls for the year 49 were both avowed enemies to Caesar. Two of the tribunes for the year were Mark Antony and Cassius Longinus,—friendly to Caesar and ready to veto every proposition that appeared to be to his disadvantage. Caesar sent Curio back to Rome early in January with a letter in which he offered any one of three things: (1) That the agreement long before made should stand, and he be elected consul in his absence; or (2) that he would leave his army if Pompey would disband his troops; or (3) that he would surrender to a successor all Gaul beyond the Alps, with eight of his ten legions, if he were allowed to retain his original province of Illyria and Northern Italy with two legions.GEP 287.2

    31. The consuls objected to the reading of the letter; but the demands of the tribunes prevailed. When it had been read through, the consuls prohibited any debate upon it, and made a motion to consider the state of the republic. None of Caesar’s propositions would they consider for a moment. Lentulus, one of the consuls, took the lead in urging prompt and determined action, and others followed to the same purpose. Some advised delay till they were better prepared, others advised that a deputation be sent to treat further with Caesar.GEP 287.3

    32. The majority supported Lentulus. It was moved that Caesar should dismiss his troops by a certain day which the Senate should name, and return to Rome as a private citizen, or be declared a public enemy. The two tribunes interposed their vetoes on the ground that it had been decreed by the people that Caesar should be allowed to stand for the consulship in his absence; but their plea was totally disregarded, and the motion was passed almost unanimously. The tribunes then protested against the illegality of the proceedings, and cried aloud that they were refused the free exercise of their official prerogatives. The assembly in reply voted the State in danger, suspended the laws, ordered an immediate levy of troops, and gave the consuls sole power to provide for the public safety. The Senate next proposed to punish the two tribunes. They were given to understand that if they entered the Senate house, they would be expelled by force. They, with Curio, fled to Caesar. The consuls made Pompey commander-in-chief of the forces, and gave him the freedom of the public treasury. Pompey went to Capua to take charge of the two legions there, and organize the new levies.GEP 287.4

    33. When the news of these proceedings reached Caesar at Ravenna, he assembled his legions and laid the whole matter before them. The Senate had satisfied itself with the pleasing illusion that Caesar’s legions were so dissatisfied with him and discouraged by the long, tedious campaigns in barbarous Gaul, that they only waited for a good opportunity to desert him in a body. But never had they been more mistaken than they were in this. The soldiers were ready to support him to the utmost. They not only offered to serve without pay, but actually offered him money for the expenses of the war. Only one officer out of the whole army failed him. This one slipped away secretly, and fled to Pompey, and Caesar sent all his baggage after him.GEP 288.1

    34. Caesar sent orders to Gaul beyond the Alps for two legions to follow him, and he set out toward Rome with the one legion (5,000 men) that was with him. About twenty miles from Ravenna, a little stream called the Rubicon formed part of the boundary between the territory of Rome proper and the provinces which had been assigned to Caesar. To cross this boundary with an armed force was to declare war; but as the Senate had already by its actions more than once openly declared war, Caesar had no hesitation in crossing the boundary. He passed it, and marched ten miles onward to Rimini. There he halted and waited for the two legions ordered from Gaul, one of which reached him about the end of January, and the other about the middle of February.GEP 288.2

    35. By the time that Caesar had arrived at Rimini, the rumor had reached Rome that he was coming, and a panic seized his enemies throughout the whole city. Their excited imaginations and guilty fears pictured him as coming with all his legions, accompanied by hosts of the terrible barbarians of Gaul, hurrying on by forced marches, nearer and yet nearer, and breathing forth fiery wrath. “Flight, instant flight, was the only safety. Up they rose, consuls, praetors, senators, leaving wives and children and property to their fate, not halting even to take the money out of the treasury, but contenting themselves with leaving it locked. On foot, on horseback, in litters, in carriages, they fled for their lives to find safety under Pompey’s wing in Capua.”—Froude. 5[Page 289] “Caesar,” chap 21, par. 3.GEP 289.1

    36. Instead of Caesar’s marching toward Rome, however, he was waiting quietly at Rimini for his legions to come from Gaul, and his waiting there was working doubly to his advantage, to say nothing of the results of the panic-stricken fears of his enemies in Rome. Not only did the two legions come promptly from Gaul, but troops flocked to him from all the country round. Cities on the way to Rome began to declare for him, and were ready to open their gates as soon as he should arrive. Ahenobarbus, with a few thousand men, occupied a strong place in the mountains directly in Caesar’s way. Caesar surrounded the place, and captured the whole body of them. He then let them all go. Ahenobarbus and some of his officers went away, but his troops unanimously declared for Caesar.GEP 289.2

    37. As soon as Pompey and the nobles at Capua heard of the capture of Ahenobarbus and the desertion of these troops, they took up their flight again for Brundusium on the east coast of Italy, where they might take ships for Epirus. The greater part of them sailed away at once. Pompey remained with a portion of his army for the ships to return to take them away. Caesar hurried to Brundusium, where he arrived on the ninth of March. Pompey was there. Caesar asked for a meeting, but Pompey refused. Caesar began a siege, but the ships soon came, and Pompey and his army sailed away for Durazzo on the coast of Epirus. Caesar had no ships, and could follow the fugitives no farther. He therefore went directly to Rome. She threw wide her gates to receive him. He entered and took possession.GEP 289.3

    38. The remains of the Senate was convened by the tribunes who had fled to Caesar; but it would do nothing. The assembly of the people voted him the money in the treasury. He took what he needed; and as Spain and the Mediterranean coast of Gaul were yet subject to Pompey, he went in a few days to bring these into subjection. This was all accomplished before winter. He was made dictator in his absence. He returned to Rome in October. He appointed a day for the election of consuls for the year 48, and himself and Servilius Isauricus were chosen without opposition. Thus Caesar was elected consul for the very year that had been promised him long before by the Senate and assembly, although the Senate had declared that he never should have it at all.GEP 290.1

    39. The election of the other lawful magistrates soon followed, the form of legal government was restored, and he set out at once to find Pompey and the Senate. He marched to Brundusium, and sailed to Epirus. There he found that Pompey had gone to Macedonia. After much maneuvering, the armies met at Pharsalia, in Thessaly, and Pompey’s army was completely routed. Pompey fled to Egypt. Caesar followed closely; but Pompey had been murdered and beheaded before he had fairly landed, and only his head was preserved and rendered, an unwelcome present, to Caesar.GEP 290.2

    40. While Caesar was in Egypt, Antipater the Idumaean became of great service to him; for he and Mithradates, king of Pergamus, were chiefly instrumental in bringing Egypt into complete subjection to Caesar. And when they had taken Pelusium, and in a severe engagement had subdued “the whole Delta,” “Mithradates sent an account of this battle to Caesar, and openly declared that Antipater was the author of this victory and of his own preservation, insomuch that Caesar commended Antipater then, and made use of him all the rest of that war in the most hazardous undertakings; he also happened to be wounded in one of these engagements. However, when Caesar, after some time, had finished that war and was sailed away from Syria, he honored Antipater greatly, and confirmed Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood, and bestowed on Antipater the privilege of a citizen of Rome, and freedom from taxes everywhere.”—Josephus. 6[Page 291] “Antiquities,” book xiv, chap 8, pars. 2. 3.GEP 290.3

    41. And when one came to Caesar with accusations against Hyrcanus and Antipater, hoping to have himself put in their places, again “Caesar appointed Hyrcanus to be high priest, and gave Antipater what principality he himself should choose, leaving the determination to himself; so he made him procurator of Judea. He also gave Hyrcanus leave to raise up the walls of his own city, upon his asking that favor of him; for they had been demolished by Pompey. And this grant he sent to the consuls of Rome, to be engraven in the capitol. The decree of the Senate was this that follows:—GEP 291.1

    “‘Caius Caesar, consul the fifth time, hath decreed: That the Jews shall possess Jerusalem, and may compass that city with walls; and that Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, retain it, in the manner he himself pleases; and the Jews be allowed to deduct out of their tribute, every second year the land is let [in the sabbatic period], a corus of that tribute; and that the tribute they pay be not let to farm, nor that they pay always the same tribute.’” 7[Page 291] Josephus’s “Antiquities, book xiv, chap 9, par. 4.GEP 291.2

    42. Antipater the Idumaean “was in great repute with the Idumaeans also; out of which nation he married a wife, who was the daughter of one of their eminent men, and her name was Cypros, by whom he had four sons—Phasael, and Herod, who was afterward made king, and Joseph, and Pheroras, and a daughter named Salome.”GEP 291.3

    43. “Antipater made Phasaelus, his eldest son, governor of Jerusalem and the places that were about it, but committed Galilee to Herod, his next son, who was then a very young man; for he was but twenty-five years of age. But as he was a youth of great mind, he presently met with an opportunity of signalizing his courage. For, finding there was one Hezekiah, a captain of a band of robbers, who overran the neighboring parts of Syria with a great troop of them, he seized him and slew him, as well as a great number of the other robbers that were with him, for which action he was greatly beloved by the Syrians. For when they were very desirous to have their country freed from this nest of robbers, he purged it of them; so they sung songs in his commendation in their villages and cities, as having procured them peace and the secure enjoyment of their possessions. And on this account it was that he became known to Sextus Caesar, who was a relative of the great Caesar, and was now president of Syria.” 8[Page 292] Id., chap 7, par. 3. and chap 9, par. 2.GEP 291.4

    44. Caesar spent the time till the autumn of 47 setting things in order in Egypt and the East, then he returned to Rome. Finding that Pompey was dead, and that all hope of support from him was gone, Caesar’s enemies in Rome became his most servile flatterers. Those who had plunged the State into civil war rather than allow him while absent to be even a candidate for the consulship, now in his absence made him dictator for a whole year, and were ready to heap upon him other preferences without limit.GEP 292.1

    45. A part of the year 46 was spent in subduing the opposing forces in Africa. This was soon accomplished, and the servile flatterers went on with their fawning adulations. Even before his return, the Senate voted in his favor a national thanksgiving to continue forty days. When he returned, they voted him not one triumph, but four, with intervals of several days between, and that his triumphal car should be drawn by white horses. They made him inspector of public morals for three years. And as though they would be as extravagant in their adulation as they had been in their condemnation, they voted that he should be dictator for ten years, with the right to nominate the consuls and praetors each year; that in the Senate his chair should always be between those of the two consuls; that he should preside in all the games of the circus; that his image carved in ivory should be borne in processions among the images of the gods, and be kept laid up in the Capitol over against the place of Jupiter; that his name should be engraved on a tablet as the restorer of the capital; and finally that a bronze statute of him standing on a globe should be set up with the inscription, “Caesar, the Demigod.”GEP 292.2

    46. Caesar was not wanting in efforts to maintain the applause of the populace. He gave to each soldier about a thousand dollars, and to each citizen about twenty dollars, with house rent free for a year; and provided a magnificent feast for the citizens, who were supported by the public grants of grain. Twenty-two thousand tables were spread with the richest viands, upon which the two hundred thousand State paupers feasted, while from hogsheads the finest wine flowed freely. Above all this, he furnished the finest display of games and bloody battles of gladiators that had ever been seen. So great was it, indeed, and so bloody, and so long continued, that it fairly surfeited the savage Roman appetite; and the people began to complain that the vast sums of money spent on the shows would have been better employed in donations direct to themselves. Time and space would fail to tell of the numbers, the magnitude, and the magnificence of the buildings with which he adorned the city.GEP 292.3

    47. In the winter of 46-45 Caesar was compelled to go to Spain to reduce the last remains of the senatorial forces. This was accomplished before the month of April was passed, yet he did not return to Rome until September. As soon as the news of his victory reached Rome, however, the Senate, which sincerely hoped he would be killed, began once more to pour forth its fulsome flattery. It voted a national thanksgiving to continue fifty days, decreed him another triumph, conferred upon him the power to extend the bounds of the city, and erected another statue of him with the inscription, “To the Invincible Deity.”GEP 293.1

    48. When he returned and had enjoyed his triumph, he again celebrated the occasion with games, combats, and shows no less splendid than those which he had given before, only not so long continued. After this was all over, he took up the regulation of the affairs of society and State. He gave his soldiers lands; but instead of trying to provide lands in Italy for all of them, he distributed the most of them in colonies in the provinces. He cut down the quantity of public grants of grains, and sent thousands upon thousands of citizens away beyond the seas to establish Roman provinces. Eighty thousand were sent to rebuild Carthage. Another host was sent to rebuild Corinth, which had been destroyed by the Romans a hundred years before.GEP 293.2

    49. To lessen the evils that had rent the State so long in the annual elections, he enacted that the elections to the lesser offices of the State should be held only once in three years. He enacted that at least one third of the hired help of farmers, vineyardists, stock raisers, etc., should be Roman citizens. He enacted that all physicians, philosophers, and men of science should be Roman citizens. This privilege was likewise bestowed upon large numbers of people in Gaul, Spain, and other places.GEP 294.1

    50. In the early days of Rome, unions of the different trades and handicrafts had been formed for mutual benefit. In the times which we have sketched, they had become nothing but political clubs, and withal had become so dangerous that they had to be utterly abolished. In 58 B. C., Clodius, to strengthen his political influence, had restored them. Caesar now abolished them again, but allowed bona fide trade-unions to be organized upon the original plan of mutual benefit. 9[Page 294] Plutarch’s “Lives,” Numa, chap. xxxi: Merivale’s “Romans under the Empire. “chap 4, par. 42; and chap 20, par. 11.GEP 294.2

    51. As inspector of public morals he next attempted, as he had when he was consul in 59, to create reform by law. It was a time of unbounded luxury and of corresponding license and licentiousness. He forbade the rich young nobles to be carried in litters. Sea and land were being traversed for dainties for the tables of the rich; Caesar appointed inspectors of the tables and the provision stores to regulate the fare, and any prohibited dish found on any table was picked up and carried away, even though the guests were sitting at the table at the moment.GEP 294.3

    52. The marriage relation had fallen to very loose ways. He enacted that any Roman citizen who was the father of three legitimate children born in Rome, or four in Italy, or five anywhere else, should be exempted from certain public obligations, and that the mothers in such cases should be allowed the special dignity of riding in litters, dressing in purple, and wearing necklaces of pearls. Divorces were as frequent as anybody chose to make them, and Caesar, who had divorced his own wife merely upon suspicion, essayed to regulate divorces; and he who from his youth had enjoyed the personal favors of the chief women of Rome, he who “had mistresses in every country which he visited, and liaisons with half the ladies in Rome,” and who was at the time maintaining an adulterous connection with the queen of Egypt,—he presumed to enact laws against adultery!GEP 294.4

    53. One thing, however, he did, which was more lasting than all his other acts put together, and, in fact, of more real benefit. This was the reform of the calendar; though it was done against the jests and mockings of Cicero and other would-be wits.GEP 295.1

    54. All this time the Senate was heaping upon him titles and honors in the same extravagant profusion as before. One decree made him the father of his country, another liberator, another made him imperator, and commander-in-chief of the army for life with the title to be hereditary in his family. They gave him full charge of the treasury; they made him consul for ten years, and dictator for life. A triumphal robe and a crown of laurel were bestowed on him, with authority to wear them upon all occasions. A figure of his head was impressed upon the coin. His birthday was declared to be a holiday forever; and the name of the month, Quinctilius, was changed to Julius, and is still our July. Next his person was declared sacred, and any disrespect to him in word or action was made to be sacrilege. It was decreed that the oath of allegiance should be sworn by the Fortune of Caesar. The Senate itself took this oath, and by it swore sacredly to maintain his acts, and watch over the safety of his person. To complete the scale, they declared that he was no more Caius Julius, a man, but Divus Julius, a god; and that a temple should be built for the worship of him, and Antony should be the first priest.GEP 295.2

    55. Then, having exhausted the extremest measure of the most contemptible sycophancy, March 15, B. C. 44, they murdered him.GEP 295.3

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