In the year 64 Pompey went to Syria, took possession of the country in the name of Rome, and made it a province.
Next he was invited to act as judge between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, two aspirants to the Jewish throne. His decision was contrary to the wishes of the people, and to enforce it he led his army against Jerusalem, which he captured after a siege of three months. He installed Hyrcanus on the throne on condition of an annual tribute.
Meanwhile Mithradates had returned to Pontus for the prosecution of his old design; but so great was the terror inspired by the Roman arms, that even his own son refused to join him. Desperate at the turn affairs had taken, the aged monarch put an end to his own life in 63, after a reign of fifty-seven years. With him ceased for many years all formidable opposition to Rome in Asia.
Besides Syria, Pontus, to which Bithynia was joined, and Crete were now made provinces. Cilicia was reorganized, and enlarged by the addition of Pamphylia and Isauria. The three countries in Asia Minor not yet provinces, but dependencies, were Galatia, ruled by Deiotarus; Cappadocia, by Ariobarzanes; and Paphlagonia, by Attalus.
After an absence of nearly seven years, Pompey returned to Rome, January 1, 61, and enjoyed a well earned triumph. He was forty-five years old, had accomplished a really great work, had founded several cities which afterwards became centres of Greek life and civilization, and was hailed as the conqueror of Spain, Africa, and Asia.
The rest of Pompey's life is closely connected with that of Caesar. His wife, Julia, was Caesar's daughter, and thus far the relations between the two men had been friendly.
Pompey's absence in the East was marked at Rome by the rise to political importance of CAESAR and CICERO, and by the conspiracy of CATILINE.
CHAPTER XXVII. CAESAR.—CICERO.—VERRES.
The Caesars were a family belonging to the Julian gens, which claimed descent from IULUS, the son of AENEAS. Eight generations of Caesars had held prominent places in the commonwealth. They had been Consuls, Praetors, Censors, Aediles, and were aristocrats of the moderate wing. The direct ancestry of GAIUS JULIUS CAESAR can be traced no further back than his grandfather. This gentleman, of the same name as the great Caesar, married Marcia, who claimed descent from Ancus Marcius, the fourth King of Rome. They had three children, Gaius Julius, the father of the Dictator, Sextus Julius, and Julia, who became the wife of Marius. Gaius Julius held no higher office than Praetor. He was married to Aurelia, a stately woman of simple and severe tastes. Their son Gaius was born on July 12th, 100.
During Cinna's consulship (86), Caesar is first mentioned as a youth, tall, slight, handsome, with dark, piercing eyes, sallow complexion, and features refined and intellectual. The bloody scenes attending the proscription of his uncle Marius, to whose party his father belonged, must have made a deep impression upon him. One of his most intimate companions was CICERO, who was six years his senior.
Marius had seen in his nephew the materials which make great men, and determined to help him to promotion. He made him, when scarcely fifteen, a priest of Jupiter (flamen dialis), which sacred office carried with it a handsome income.
Shortly after the death of his father, in 84, Caesar married Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna. By this marriage he was connected more closely with the popular party, whose champion he remained.
When Sulla returned to Rome from his Eastern campaign, Caesar was but eighteen. In the wholesale murders that followed, his party was ruined, his nearest friends dispersed or killed. He himself was yet free from proscription, for Sulla wished to win such a promising young man to his own side. He made proposals that Caesar divorce his wife and marry one whom he might select. Caesar refused. Force was then tried. His priesthood was taken from him, and his wife's dowry. His estate was confiscated, and, when this had no effect, he was himself declared an outlaw, and a price was set on his head. Influential friends, however, interceded in his behalf, and the Dictator was finally persuaded to pardon him; but with reluctance, and with the remark that in Caesar was the making of many a Marius. The youth then left Italy, and joined the army in Asia.
Here Caesar served his apprenticeship as a soldier. He joined the forces of the Praetor Thermus, who had been sent against the pirates that were making their head-quarters in Lesbos. The Praetor, finding his troops insufficient to accomplish his work, sent Caesar to Nicomedes, a Roman ally and the King of Bithynia, to obtain additional forces. He was successful in his mission, and, upon his return to Lesbos, distinguished himself for his bravery in the attack upon Mitylene, and was awarded the oak wreath, a coveted honor, for saving the life of a fellow-soldier.
Caesar is next seen in Cilicia, serving under Servilius, in a campaign against the pirates who were marauding along the coast of that country. While here he was informed of Sulla's death, and at once left the army and returned home (77). The next year he began his struggle with the nobility by prosecuting for extortion Dolabella, a former Governor of Macedonia. Dolabella was a favorite of the Senate, and his cause was theirs. The best talent was engaged to defend him, and Caesar lost the case.
Feeling his deficiency as an orator, Caesar went to Rhodes and studied rhetoric under the famous Apollonius. He had recovered his property and priesthood, and could well afford the time. While on his way he was captured by pirates, and not released until a ransom of some $50,000 was raised and paid. Upon arriving at Miletus he at once got together some vessels, returned to the island where he had been in captivity, seized the crew of pirates, took them to Pergamus, and had them tried, convicted, and crucified. He then resumed his journey to Rhodes, where he remained two years in the pursuit of his studies. Then the report of the uprisal of Mithradates reached him, and he at once crossed over to the mainland, collected a body of volunteers, and saved Caria to Rome.
Having finished his studies, Caesar returned to Rome and lived quietly for a time with his wife and mother, watching the course of events.
While Caesar was thus preparing himself for the great struggle in which he was destined to take the leading part, Cicero, the companion of his youth, was beginning to attract attention at Rome.
MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO (106-43) was a townsman of Marius. He belonged to the Equites, and received a good education under the best Greek teachers. As he ripened into manhood, he chose in politics the party opposed to Caesar, and for a profession he selected the bar, hoping to gain fame as a speaker before the Senate, and finally to become one of its members. He took part in the Social War (89), but during the troubled times that followed he remained quietly engaged in literary pursuits. His first public oration (80), the defence of Roscius, who was falsely accused of murdering his father, was a great success, and guaranteed for him a brilliant future. Cicero improved the next few years by study and travel in Asia and Greece. Shortly after his return, in 75, he was elected Quaestor, and thus became a member of the Senate. His year of office he spent in Sicily, in the performance of his duties. There he obtained an insight into the corrupt extortions of the Roman governors. Five years later, he conducted his famous case against Verres.
VERRES had been a follower of Sulla, and during the proscriptions had amassed some property. Afterwards he held official positions in Greece and Asia, where he became notorious for his greediness and cruelty. With the money thus acquired, he had bought his election to the praetorship, became Senator, and was sent by his colleagues to govern Sicily. His government there may have been no worse than that of many other proconsuls in the different provinces, but we have a fuller account of it owing to the prosecution of Cicero, whose speeches against Verres are preserved.
Verres was Governor of Sicily for three years. In his official position, he was judge of all civil and criminal cases. Every suit brought before him he gave to the party that could pay him best. Property was confiscated on false charges, and works of art of great value were stolen. By such a course Verres collected, it is said, property to the value of $4,000,000. Two thirds of this he expected to spend in silencing accusations. The rest he hoped to enjoy in peace, but Cicero's eloquence forced him to abandon his defence and retire into exile.
It was about this time that Caesar finished his rhetorical studies abroad, and returned home. He was elected Military Tribune as a reward for what he had accomplished in Caria. Two years later, in 68, he was elected Quaestor, thereby acquiring a seat in the Senate. At this time his aunt Julia died, and, as one of her nearest relatives, he delivered the funeral oration.
Caesar was now beginning to know Pompey, and saw that their interests were common. The latter, although but six years older, was already a great man and a distinguished soldier. Cornelia, Caesar's wife, died, and he married for a second wife Pompeia, the cousin of Pompey. When sent as Quaestor to Farther Spain, in 67, he completed the work begun by Pompey and settled the finances of the troubled country, a task which he found the easier as he was known to belong to the popular party, of which Marius and Sertorius had been leaders.
CHAPTER XXVIII. TROUBLES AT ROME.—CONSPIRACY OF CATILINE.
While Pompey was absent in the East, matters at Rome were daily becoming worse, and shaping themselves for the speedy overthrow of the Republic. There were many who had suffered under Sulla, and who were anxious to regain what they had lost, and there were many who, enriched by the Dictator, had squandered their ill-gotten wealth, and now only waited a leader to renew the assault upon the state. The Senate was jealous of the power of the people, and the people distrusted the Senate.
Among the patricians who were aspiring to the consulship was LUCIUS SERGIUS CATILINA, a villain steeped in every crime, but adroit, bold, and withal captivating. In 68 he had been Praetor, the next year Governor in Africa, where by his extortions he had obtained enough money, as he hoped, to purchase his election to the consulship. On his return home he was impeached for his misgovernment, but acquitted through Cicero's defence and the careful selection of a jury.
He then came forward as candidate for the consulship of the next year (63). There were two other candidates, Antonius, the uncle of Mark Antony, and Cicero himself. Antony was sure of an election, so the struggle was really between Catiline and Cicero. The latter was elected, owing to the popularity he had acquired by his prosecution of Verres and his defence of the Manilian Law. Thus Cicero reached the goal for which he had been so long striving.
Caesar was rising at the same time. The year previous (65) he had been Curule Aedile, had built a row of costly columns in front of the Capitol, and erected a temple to the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux). But what made him especially pleasing to the populace was his lavish display at the public games and exhibitions.
Caesar was now looked upon as a prominent democratic leader. In 63 the office of Pontifex Maximus, the head of the state religion, became vacant by the death of its occupant, Metellus Pius. Caesar became a candidate for the office, and was elected, receiving more votes than both the rival candidates combined. He also received further evidence of the popular favor by being chosen Praetor for the next year (62).
Cicero's consulship would have closed without adding anything to his fame had it not been for Catiline. The latter's failure to be elected caused him to enter into a plot to seize and burn the city. He had many followers, men of noble families, among whom were the former Consul Lentulus, who had been recently expelled from the Senate by the Censors, and Cethegus, a bankrupt spendthrift, who was anxious to regain a fortune by a change in government. There were veterans of Sulla, starving peasants who had been dispossessed of their farms, and outlaws of every description. The conspirators were divided into two parties; those outside of the city, headed by Marcus Manlius, whose head-quarters were at Faesulae (Fiesole), where was gathered an army of trained soldiers; and those inside of the city, headed by Catiline. Here secret meetings were held, the purpose of which was to excite an uprising, kill the magistrates, seize the government, and then unite with the army in Etruria. Cicero was informed of these meetings by spies, and just before the plans for the uprising were matured, he disclosed them to the Senate.
Catiline fled from Rome; but his accomplices, of whom Lentulus and Cethegus were the most prominent, were arrested in the city. A serious difficulty now arose as to the disposition of the prisoners. Lentulus was at that time Praetor, and the persons of public officers were sacred. The Sempronian Law of Gracchus forbade the executing of any Roman citizen without giving him a right of appeal to the Assembly. Too many were implicated in the conspiracy for this to be safe.
In the debate in the Senate, the principal speakers were Caesar, Cato, and Cicero.
Cato and Cicero advocated immediate death; Caesar, imprisonment for life. The motives of the men are so characteristic that they form a complete key to their several public careers. Cicero, vain and selfish, weak in council, and distrustful of the temper of the people and of his own ability to rule their factions, feared that they would become dangerous enemies to himself; Cato, desiring the reformation of the state, would make an example and warning for the future. The one, forgetful of the state, was overcome by personal fears; the other, unmindful of self, would have purity at any cost.
Caesar, on the other hand, wished everything done in strict accordance with the laws; as a bold and wise statesman, he urged that nothing was more impolitic than lawless violence on the part of the rulers. Cicero was the timid magistrate; Cato, the injudicious reformer; but Caesar, with his keener knowledge and stronger hand, was the safer guide.
A sentence of death was voted; and Cicero, with unseemly haste, caused the conspirators to be strangled that same night (December 5, 63). The suppression of the conspiracy in the city was followed by the defeat of the army in Etruria. Thither Catiline had fled, and there he fell fighting with desperate courage at the head of his motley force of soldiers near Pistoria.
The name of "Father of his Country" was given to Cicero for the vigilance shown in this affair.
The execution of Lentulus and Cethegus resulted as Caesar had expected. It was a lawless act on the part of the Consul and the Senate, and it was felt that by it the constitution was still more endangered. The people demanded that Pompey return. In him they thought to have a deliverer from internal strifes.
Cicero was wrapped up in his own conceit, imagining himself a second Romulus. On the last day of the year (63), as was the custom of the retiring Consuls, he arose in the Forum to deliver a speech, reviewing the acts of his year of consulship. Metellus Nepos, a Tribune, forbade his speaking, on the ground that one who had put to death Roman citizens without a hearing did not deserve to be heard. Amid the uproar Cicero could only shout that he had saved his country. Metellus threatened to impeach him, and excitement in the city was at fever heat. The Tribune moved before the Assembly that Pompey be recalled. The Senate feared his coming. Caesar, who was now Praetor (judge), favored it, and earnestly seconded the proposal of Metellus. Cato, who was also Tribune, ordered Metellus to stop speaking, and snatched his manuscript from his hand. The aristocrats drew their swords, and broke up the meeting. Constitutional law was trampled under foot on all sides. The Senate was riding rough-shod over all opponents. Metellus and Caesar were declared deposed from their offices. The people, however, believed in Caesar. He was followed to his home by crowds, who begged him to be their leader, and make an example of the law-breakers in the Senate. But Caesar refused. He would have nothing to do with lawlessness; he let his opponents play that role, and awaited the results. The Senate soon saw its mistake, and requested him to resume his official duties.
The next year (61) Caesar was sent to Farther Spain as Propraetor. He had already left a favorable impression there as Quaestor. Portions of the country were still unsubdued. Many of the mountain passes were held by robbers, whose depredations caused much trouble. He completed the subjugation of the peninsula, put down the brigands, reorganized the government, and sent large sums of money to the treasury at Rome. His administration was thorough and complete, and a just reward for it would, he hoped, be the consulship.
Meanwhile Pompey had returned from the East. He landed at Brundisium in December, 62, and proceeded with a large band of captured princes and immense treasures to Rome, which he entered in triumph amidst the greatest enthusiasm. By a special vote of the Senate he was permitted to wear his triumphal robe in that body whenever he pleased.
Caesar returned from Spain in 60, with wealth and military fame. Though feared and detested by the Senate, he was the favorite of the people, and could depend upon their support. Pompey had the army behind him. He received Caesar with pleasure, for he had been a friend in all his career.
Caesar felt that, with the people and the army through Pompey on his side, he only needed the capitalists to make his success sure. CRASSUS was counted as the richest man at Rome. He was won over. These three then formed what is known as the FIRST TRIUMVIRATE,—"a union of shrewdness, renown, and riches," by which Caesar expected to rise to great power, Pompey to retain his power, and Crassus to gain greater wealth.
CHAPTER XXIX. THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE.
Pompey was ostensibly at the head of the first Triumvirate, and in return supported Caesar in his candidacy for the consulship. Crassus was to contribute his wealth to influence the election. Caesar was elected without opposition (59); his colleague, the Senate's tool, was Marcus Bibulus.
Caesar had now reached the highest round in the ladder of political offices. He had shown himself in all his course to be careful in keeping within the bounds of the constitution, never exerting himself in political quarrels except to defend the law against lawlessness. Now he was in a position to push his ideas of reform, and to show the aristocracy of what stuff he was made.
It would have been well for Cicero, and better for the state, had the orator been willing to join hands with Caesar and Pompey; but he was too vain of his own glory to join hands with those who were his superiors, and he clung to the Senate, feeling that his talents would shine there more, and be more likely to redound to his own personal fame.
Caesar's consulship increased his popularity among all except the aristocrats. His AGRARIAN LAW, carefully framed and worded, was bitterly opposed by the Senate, especially by his colleague, Bibulus, and by Cato. The law provided that large tracts of the ager publicus, then held on easy terms by the rich patricians, be distributed among the veterans of Pompey. Caesar proposed to pay the holders a reasonable sum for their loss, though legally they had no claim whatever on the land. Although Bibulus interfered, Cato raved, and the Tribunes vetoed, still the Assembly passed the law, and voted in addition that the Senate be obliged to take an oath to observe it.
The LEGES JULIAE were a code of laws which Caesar drew up during his year of office. They mark an era in Roman law, for they cover many crimes the commission of which had been for a long time undermining the state.
The most important of these was the LEX DE REPETUNDIS, aimed at the abuses of governors of provinces. It required all governors to make a double return of their accounts, one to be left in the province open for inspection, the other to be kept at Rome.
When Caesar's term of office was nearly ended, he obtained from the reluctant Senate his appointment as Proconsul of Gaul for five years. He must leave the city, however, in safe hands, otherwise all his work would be undone. He managed the consular elections for the next year (58) so adroitly, that Piso and Gabinius, on whose friendship he could rely, were elected.
There were in Rome, however, two men whom it would be dangerous for Caesar to leave behind. Cato, the ultra aristocrat, hated him bitterly. Cicero, whose ambition was to lead the Senate, a body only too willing to crush Caesar, might do him great harm. It was Caesar's good fortune, or, as some believe, the result of his own scheming, that both these men were put temporarily out of the way.
CLODIUS PULCHER was a young aristocrat, notorious for his wildness. At one time, by assuming the dress of a woman, he had gained admittance to the festival of Bona Dea, which was celebrated only by women. He was discovered and brought to trial before the Senate, but acquitted by means of open bribery. Cicero had been instrumental in bringing him to trial, and Clodius never forgot it. He got adopted into a plebeian family in order to be a candidate for the tribuneship, and was successful. He then proposed to the Assembly that any person who had put to death a Roman citizen without allowing him to appeal to the people be considered a violator of the constitution. The proposal was carried. All knew that Cicero was meant, and he fled at once to Macedonia. His property was confiscated, his houses were destroyed, and his palace in the city was dedicated to the Goddess of Liberty.
The kingdom of Cyprus, which had long been attached to that of Egypt, had been bequeathed to Rome at the death of Ptolemy Alexander in 80. The Senate had delayed to accept the bequest, and meanwhile the island was ruled by Ptolemy of Cyprus, one of the heirs of the dead king.
Clodius, on the plea that this king harbored pirates, persuaded the Assembly to annex the island, and to send Cato to take charge of it. He accepted the mission, and was absent two years. His duties were satisfactorily performed, and he returned with about $7,000,000 to increase the Roman treasury. Thus, Cicero and Cato being out of the city, the Senate was without a leader who could work injury in Caesar's absence.
CHAPTER XXX. CAESAR'S CAMPAIGNS IN GAUL. Caesar was now in the prime of manhood, in the full vigor of mind and body. His previous experience in camp life had been comparatively small. His early service in Asia, and his more recent campaigns in Spain, however, had shown his aptitude for military life.
The Romans had already obtained a foothold in Gaul. Since 118, the southern part of the country along the seaboard had been a Roman province, called GALLIA NARBONENSIS, from the colony of Narbo which the Romans had founded. The rest of Gaul included all modern France, and a part of Switzerland, Holland, and Belgium. The inhabitants were all of the Celtic race, except a few Germans who had crossed the Rhine and settled in the North, and the AQUITANI, who lived in the Southwest and who are represented by the Basques of to-day.
The Gauls were more or less civilized since they had come into contact with the Romans, but they still had the tribal form of government, like the early Romans. There were more than fifty of these tribes, which were mostly hostile to one another, as well as divided into factions among themselves. This condition favored a conquest, for the factions were frequently Roman and non-Roman. Two of the chief tribes were the AEDUI and SEQUANI. The former had been taken under the protection of Rome; the latter, impatient of control and Roman influence, had invited a tribe of Germans under Ariovistus to come into Gaul and settle, and be their allies. These Germans had attacked and conquered the Aeduans, taken from them hostages, and with the Sequanians were in the ascendency.
In Switzerland lived the HELVETII. They had so increased in numbers that their country was too small for them. They therefore proposed to emigrate farther into Gaul, and the Sequanians, whose lands bordered on those of the Helvetians, gave them permission to march through their country.
Such was the state of affairs when Caesar arrived in Gaul. Feeling that the passage of such a large body of emigrants (368,000) through Gaul would be dangerous to the province (Gallia Narbonensis), he determined to interfere. The Helvetians were met at BIBRACTE, near Autun, and after a terrible battle, which raged from noon until night, were defeated with great slaughter (58). The survivors, about one third, were treated kindly, and most of them sent back to Switzerland.
Caesar now turned his attention to the Germans who had settled west of the Rhine. After several fruitless attempts at negotiation, during which the bad faith of Ariovistus became conspicuous, the forces came together. Though the Germans were brave, they were no match for the drilled legionaries, who fought with the regularity of a machine. Few of the barbarians escaped, but among these was Ariovistus.
The campaigns of this year being ended, the legions were sent into winter quarters among the Sequanians under Labienus, the lieutenant of Caesar. He himself went into Cisalpine Gaul to attend to his duties as administrator, and to have communication with his friends at Rome.
THE WAR WITH THE BELGAE.
While Caesar was in Hither Gaul, he learned from Labienus that the BELGAE were forming a league to resist the Romans. This people occupied the northeastern part of Gaul, and embraced several tribes, of which the principal were the REMI, BELLOVACI, SUESSIONES, and NERVII. The last were the fiercest and least civilized.
Caesar raised two new legions, making eight in all, and marched against the Belgae as soon as the spring opened. His sudden approach alarmed the Remi, who lived nearest to Central Gaul, and they immediately put themselves under his protection. From them he learned that the Belgae could muster about 300,000 men.
By skilful tactics and a successful attack he put to flight and nearly annihilated the Suessiones. The Bellovaci now put themselves under his protection, but the Nervii remained in arms. One day, while the six legions were forming camp on the bank of the river Sabis, the Nervii and their allies suddenly rushed upon them from an ambuscade in the woods on the opposite bank. The troops were entirely unprepared, and so quick was the enemy's charge that the Romans had not time to put on their helmets, to remove the covering from their shields, or to find their proper places in the ranks. Great confusion followed, and they became almost panic-stricken. Caesar rushed into their midst, snatched a shield from a soldier, and by his presence and coolness revived their courage. The Nervii were checked, and victory was assured. But the enemy fought on with a bravery that excited the admiration of Caesar. Of sixty thousand men scarcely five hundred survived. The women and children were cared for kindly by Caesar, and settled in their own territory.
The Aduatuci, who had assisted the Nervii in their struggle, were conquered by Caesar and sold into slavery.
Thus ended the Belgian campaign (57). The legions were put into winter quarters near where the war had been waged, and Caesar went to Italy. In his honor was decreed a thanksgiving lasting fifteen days.
THE VENETI.—INVASION OF GERMANY.
All the tribes in the northwestern part of Gaul (Brittany) except the VENETI had given hostages to Crassus, son of the Triumvir, and lieutenant of Caesar. This tribe refused to give hostages, and, inducing others to join them, seized some Roman officers sent among them by Crassus. The campaign of the third year (56) was directed against these people. They were mostly sailors and fishermen, with villages built on the end of promontories and easily defended by land. In a naval engagement, which lasted nearly all day, their whole fleet was destroyed. The leaders of the Veneti were put to death for their treachery in seizing Roman officers, and the rest were sold into slavery.
The legions spent the winter of 56-55 in the northern part of Gaul, among the Aulerci and neighboring tribes.
During this winter another wave of Germans passed over the Rhine into Gaul. They had been driven from their homes by a powerful tribe called the SUEVI. In the spring of 55 Caesar collected his troops and advanced to within twelve miles of the German camp, and gave the invaders twenty-four hours to leave the country. Before the expiration of the time, they attacked Caesar's outposts, killing several Knights, and two men of aristocratic families. In the general engagement that followed, the Germans were totally routed and most of them were slain.
Caesar next determined to cross the Rhine into Germany, thinking thus to inspire the Germans with greater fear of the Romans. He built his famous bridge, crossed it, remained eighteen days in Germany, and, thinking his object accomplished, returned to Gaul, destroying the bridge behind him.
INVASION OF BRITAIN.
It was now August and Caesar occupied the rest of the season by crossing the Channel to Britain (England). Landing near Deal, with but little resistance on the part of the natives, he explored the country for a short time, and returned in September, as the equinox was near and the weather unsettled. The legions were sent into winter quarters among the Belgae, and Caesar set out for Cisalpine Gaul.
During this winter (55-54), orders were given to build a large fleet, as Caesar intended to return to Britain the next year. After all preparations were completed, he set sail, July 20, 54, and the next day landed on the island. He defeated the Britons under their leader CASSIVELAUNUS, and compelled them to pay tribute and give hostages. Many thousand prisoners were taken, and sold in Italy as slaves.
FINAL STRUGGLES OF THE GAULS.
In the winter of 54-53 the legions were distributed among several tribes. That stationed in the territory of the Eburones was commanded by the lieutenants, Gabinus and Cotta. News reached the encampment that there was an uprisal of the Eburones. It was decided to break up camp, and go, if possible, to the winter quarters of their nearest companions. On the march they were surprised and nearly all killed. Only a few stragglers carried the news to Labienus, who was wintering with a legion among the Remi.
This success moved the Nervii to attack Quintus Cicero, the lieutenant who was wintering with his legion among them. Word was sent to Caesar, who had fortunately not yet left Gaul. He hastened to Cicero's relief, raised the siege, and all but annihilated the revolting Nervii.
In 53 Caesar punished the Eburones for their action in the previous winter. The tribe was completely destroyed, but their leader, Ambiorix, escaped and was never captured. During this summer Caesar again crossed the Rhine. At the close of the summer he returned to Cisalpine Gaul, supposing that the Gauls were totally subdued. He was mistaken. The patriotism of the people was not yet extinguished. The chiefs of all the tribes secretly established communication with each other. A day was settled upon for a general uprising. The Roman inhabitants of Genabum, on the Liger, were massacred. The leading spirit in this last struggle of the Gauls was VERCINGETORIX, chief of the Averni.
Caesar hastened across the Alps, surmounted the difficulties of crossing the Cevennes when the snow was very deep, collected his legions, marched upon Genabum, and plundered and burnt the town.
Vercingetorix saw that he was no match for the legions in open battle. He proposed, therefore, to cut off Caesar's supplies by burning all the towns of the Bituriges, and laying the country waste. Avaricum alone was spared. Within its walls were placed the best of their goods and a strong garrison. Thither Caesar marched, and, after a well defended siege, captured the town and killed every person in it, excepting eight hundred, who escaped to the camp of Vercingetorix. Large quantities of corn were taken, with which Caesar supplied his soldiers. He then marched against Gergovia, the capital of the Averni. As the town was on a high plateau, and too strong to be stormed, he laid siege to it. A part of the army, contrary to instructions, one day attempted to assault the place. The battle which followed was disastrous to the Romans, and the only defeat Caesar received in Gaul. Forty-six officers and seven hundred men fell. The siege was raised. It was a serious position for Caesar. All Gaul was in flames. Retreating at once, he formed a junction with Labienus at Agendicum, and with all his troops started for Gallia Narbonensis to protect it from invasion.
On his route was ALESIA. Here Vercingetorix was intrenched with eighty thousand troops. It was, like Gergovia, situated on a hill and considered impregnable. Caesar laid siege to this place (52). Vercingetorix appealed to all Gaul for aid. Hardly had the fortress been invested when Caesar's army was surrounded by an immense force of Gauls that had come to the rescue. Caesar needed now all his skill and genius. But they did not fail him. The relieving army, though five times as large as his, was driven back and sent flying home.
Seeing that all was over, Vercingetorix called a council of his chiefs and advised surrender. A message was sent to Caesar. He demanded unconditional surrender, and was obeyed. The people were sold into slavery, and the money obtained distributed among the soldiers. Vercingetorix was kept to be exhibited in the triumph at Rome, and afterwards died in a dungeon.
With the fall of Alesia, the subjugation of Gaul was practically completed.
The next year (51) Caesar honored several chiefs with privileges; some of the nobles were granted the franchise, and some admitted to the Senate. The work of Romanizing Gaul was fairly begun. Two provinces were formed, Gallia and Belgica, and later (17 A. D.) the former of these was subdivided into Lugdunensis and Aquitania. Roman money was introduced, and Latin became the official language.
CHAPTER XXXI. CLODIUS AND MILO.—DEATH OF CRASSUS.
During the nine years (59-50) passed by Caesar in Gaul, great confusion prevailed at Rome. The Republic needed a strong, firm hand, which would stop the shedding of blood and insure security of person and property. Pompey had attempted to bring about this result, but had failed. There were two prominent factions, one led by CLODIUS, the other by MILO.
"Clodius is the most extraordinary figure in this extraordinary period. He had no character. He had no distinguished talent save for speech; he had no policy; he was ready to adopt any cause or person which for the moment was convenient to him; and yet for five years this man was the leader of the Roman mob. He could defy justice, insult the Consuls, beat the Tribunes, parade the streets with a gang of armed slaves, killing persons disagreeable to him; and in the Senate itself he had high friends and connections, who threw a shield over him when his audacity had gone beyond endurance." Milo was as disreputable as Clodius. His chief fame had been gained in the schools of the gladiators. Gangs of armed slaves accompanied him everywhere, and there were constant collisions between his retainers and those of Clodius.
In 57 Consuls were elected who favored Cicero, and his recall was demanded. Clodius and his followers opposed the recall. The nobles, led by their tool Milo, pressed it. Day after day the opposing parties met in bloody affrays. For seven months the brawl continued, till Milo's party finally got the ascendancy; the Assembly was convened, and the recall voted.
For seventeen months Cicero had been in Greece, lamenting his hard lot. He landed at Brundisium on August 5, 57, and proceeded to Rome. Outside the city all men of note, except his avowed enemies, were waiting to receive him. The Senate voted to restore his property, and to rebuild his palace on the Palatine Hill and his other villas at the public expense. But Clodius, with his bands of ruffians, interrupted the workmen engaged in the repair of his Palatine house, broke down the walls, and, attacking Cicero himself, nearly murdered him.
At last Clodius even attempted to burn the house of Milo. The long struggle between these two ruffians culminated when Milo was a candidate for the consulship, and Clodius for the praetorship. The two meeting by accident in the Via Appia at Bovillae, Clodius was murdered, 20 January, 52. This act of violence strengthened Pompey, who was nominated sole Consul. Milo was impeached. His guilt was evident, and he went into exile at Massilia. Cicero prepared an elaborate speech in his defence, but did not dare to deliver it.
During the interval between the two campaigns of 57 and 56, Caesar renewed his alliance with his two colleagues in interviews that were held at Ravenna and Luca. He retained the command of Gaul; Pompey, that of Spain; Crassus, that of Syria.
CRASSUS now undertook the war against the Parthians. He was accompanied by his son, who had done good service under Caesar in Gaul. They arrived at Zeugma, a city of Syria, on the Euphrates; and the Romans, seven legions strong, with four thousand cavalry, drew themselves up along the river. The Quaestor, CASSIUS, a man of ability, proposed to Crassus a plan of the campaign, which consisted in following the river as far as Seleucia, in order not to be separated from his fleet and provisions, and to avoid being surrounded by the cavalry of the enemy. But Crassus allowed himself to be deceived by an Arab chief, who lured him to the sandy plains of Mesopotamia at Carrhae.
The forces of the Parthians, divided into many bodies, suddenly rushed upon the Roman ranks, and drove them back. The young Crassus attempted a charge at the head of fifteen hundred horsemen. The Parthians yielded, but only to draw him into an ambush, where he perished, after great deeds of valor. His head, carried on the end of a pike, was borne before the eyes of his unhappy father, who, crushed by grief and despair, gave the command into the hands of Cassius. Cassius gave orders for a general retreat. The Parthians subjected the Roman army to continual losses, and Crassus himself was killed in a conference (53).
In this disastrous campaign there perished more than twenty thousand Romans. Ten thousand were taken prisoners and compelled to serve as slaves in the army of the Parthians.
The death of Crassus broke the Triumvirate; that of Julia, in 54, had sundered the family ties between Caesar and Pompey, who married Cornelia, the widow of the young Crassus, and daughter of Metellus Scipio.
CHAPTER XXXII. CAESAR'S STRUGGLE WITH POMPEY.—BATTLE OF PHARSALIA.
Pompey was elected sole Consul in February, 52. He at once threw off all pretence of an alliance with Caesar, and devoted himself to the interests of the Senate and aristocracy.
The brilliant successes of Caesar in Gaul had made a profound impression upon the minds of the citizens, to whom the name of the northern barbarians was still fraught with terror. Caesar had won for himself distinction as a soldier greater than the Scipios, or Sulla, or Pompey. "He was coming back to lay at his country's feet a province larger than Spain, not only subdued, but reconciled to subjugation; a nation of warriors, as much devoted to him as his own legions." The nobility had watched his successes with bitter envy; but they were forced to vote a thanksgiving of twenty days, which "the people made sixty."
Caesar now declared through his followers at Rome that he desired a second consulship. But he wished first to celebrate his triumph, and on this account would not disband his army; for, according to the custom, he could not triumph without it. According to another custom, however, he must disband it before he could offer himself as a candidate for the consulship. But he asked permission to set aside this custom, and to become a candidate while he was in the province in command of the army.
The law requiring a candidate to give up his command had been suspended several times before this; so that Caesar's request was reasonable. His enemies in the city were numerous and powerful, and he felt that, if he returned as a private citizen, his personal safety would be in danger; whereas, if he were a magistrate, his person would be considered sacred.
The Senate, on the other hand, felt that, if he carried his point, the days of their influence were numbered. Their first step, therefore, was to weaken Caesar, and to provide their champion, Pompey, with a force in Italy, They voted that Caesar should return to Pompey a legion which had been loaned him, and also should send another legion back to Italy. The vote was taken on the ostensible plea that the troops were needed in Asia Minor against the Parthians; but when they reached Italy they were placed under Pompey's command in Campania. The Consuls chosen for the year 49 were both bitter enemies of Caesar. He had taken up his winter quarters at Ravenna, the last town in his province bordering on Italy. From here he sent a messenger with letters to the Senate, stating that he was ready to resign his command, if Pompey did the same. The messenger arrived at Rome, January 1, 49, on the day in which the new Consuls entered upon their duties.
The letters were read in the Senate, and there followed a spirited discussion, resulting in a decree that Caesar should resign his command. The Tribunes opposed; but, being threatened by the Consuls, they were compelled to leave the city, and went directly to Ravenna.
When the action of the Senate was reported to Caesar, he called together his soldiers, and addressed them thus: "For nine years I and my army have served our country loyally and with some degree of success. We have driven the Germans across the Rhine; we have made Gaul a province; and the Senate, for answer, has broken the constitution in setting aside the Tribunes who spoke in my defence. It has voted the state in danger, and has called Italy to arms, when no single act of mine can justify it in this course." The soldiers became enthusiastic, and were eager to follow their leader without pay. Contributions were offered him by both men and officers. LABIENUS, his trusted lieutenant, alone proved false. He stole away, and joined Pompey. Caesar then sent for two legions from across the Alps. With these legions he crossed the RUBICON into Italy, and marched to Ariminum.
Meanwhile the report of his movements reached Rome. The aristocracy had imagined that his courage would fail him, or that his army would desert. Thoroughly frightened, Consuls, Praetors, Senators,-leaving wives, children, and property to their fate,-fled from the city to seek safety with Pompey in Capua. They did not stop even to take the money from the treasury, but left it locked.
Caesar paused at Ariminum, and sent envoys to the Senate, stating that he was still desirous of peace. If Pompey would depart to his province in Spain, he would himself disband his own troops. He was even willing to have a personal interview with Pompey. This message was received by the Senate after its flight from Rome. The substance of its reply was, that Pompey did not wish a personal interview, but would go to Spain, and that Caesar must leave Ariminum, return to his province, and give security that he would dismiss his army.
These terms seemed to Caesar unfair, and he would not accept them. Accordingly he sent his lieutenant, Mark Antony, across the mountains to Arretium, on the road to Rome. He himself pushed on to Ancona, before Pompey could stop him. The towns that were on his march threw open their gates, their garrisons joined his army, and their officers fled. Steadily he advanced, with constantly increasing forces, until when he reached Corfinium his army had swelled to thirty thousand troops.
This place had been occupied by Domitius with a party of aristocrats and a few thousand men. Caesar surrounded the town, and when Domitius endeavored to steal away, his own troops took him and delivered him over to Caesar. The capture of Corfinium and the desertion of its garrison filled Pompey and his followers with dismay. They hurried to Brundisium, where ships were in readiness for them to depart.
Hoping to intercept Pompey, Caesar hastened to this port. On his arrival outside of the town, the Consuls, with half the army, had already gone. Pompey, however, was still within the place, with twelve thousand troops, waiting for transports to carry them away. He refused to see Caesar; and, though the latter endeavored to blockade the port, he was unsuccessful, owing to want of ships.
Thus Pompey escaped. With him were the Consuls, more than half the Senate, and the aristocracy. Caesar would have followed them, but a fleet must first be obtained, and matters nearer home demanded his attention.
In sixty days Caesar had made himself master of Italy. On his way to Rome he met Cicero, and invited him to attend the Senate, but he preferred to stay away. Caesar entered the city unattended, and assembled the Senate through the Tribunes, Mark Antony and Cassius Longinus. The attendance was small, as most of the members were with Pompey. In his address to the Senate Caesar spoke of his own forbearance and concessions, of their unjust demands, and their violent suppression of the authority of the Tribunes. He was still willing to send envoys to treat with Pompey, but no one was found willing to go. After three days spent in useless discussion, Caesar decided to act for himself. By his own edict, he restored the children of the victims of Sulla's proscription to their rights and property. The money in the treasury was voted him by the Assembly of the people. He took as much of it as he needed, and started at once for Gaul to join his troops on his way to Spain.
He had much to accomplish. Spain was in the hands of Pompey's lieutenants, Afranius, Petreius, and Varro, who had six legions and allied troops. From Sicily and Sardinia came most of the grain supplies of Rome, and it was important to hold these islands. To Sicily he sent Curio and to Sardinia Valerius. Cato, who was in charge of Sicily, immediately abandoned it and fled to Africa. Sardinia received Caesar's troops with open arms.
Upon his arrival in Gaul, Caesar found that the inhabitants of Massilia had risen against his authority, led by the same Domitius whom he had sent away unharmed from Corfinium. Caesar blockaded the city, and, leaving Decimus Brutus in charge of operations, continued his journey to Spain. He found Afranius and Petreius strongly intrenched at ILERDA in Catalonia (Northern Spain). Within forty days he brought them to terms, and Varro, who was in Southern Spain, was eager to surrender. All Spain was at his feet.
Before leaving Spain, Caesar summoned the leading Spaniards and Romans to Cordova, for a conference. All promised obedience to his authority. He then set sail from Gades to Tarragona, where he joined his legions and marched back to Massilia, which he found hard pressed and ready to surrender. The gates were opened. All were pardoned, and Domitius was allowed to escape a second time.
Caesar left a portion of his forces in Gaul, and with the rest arrived at Rome in the early winter of 49-48. Thus far he had been successful. Gaul, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, and Italy were his. He had not succeeded, however, in getting together a naval force in the Adriatic, and he had lost his promising lieutenant, Curio, who had been surprised and killed in Africa, whither he had gone in pursuit of Cato and Pompey's followers.
During Caesar's absence, affairs at Rome had resumed their usual course. He had left the city under charge of his lieutenant, Aemilius Lepidus, and Italy in command of Mark Antony. Caesar was still at Massilia, when he learned that the people of Rome had proclaimed him Dictator. Financial troubles in the city had made this step necessary. Public credit was shaken. Debts had not been paid since the civil war began. Caesar allowed himself only eleven days in Rome. In this time estimates were drawn of all debts as they were one year before, the interest was remitted and the principal declared still due. This measure relieved the debtors somewhat.
It was now nearly a year since Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Pompey, during the nine months that had elapsed since his escape from Brundisium, had been collecting his forces in Epirus. Here had gathered many princes from the East, a majority of the Senatorial families of Rome, Cato and Cicero, the vanquished Afranius, and the renegade Labienus. There were nine full legions, with cavalry and auxiliaries, amounting in all to 100,000 men.
Caesar reached Brundisium at the end of the year 49. His forces were fewer in number than those of his adversary, amounting to not more than 15,000 infantry and 600 cavalry. But his legionaries were all veterans, inured to toil and hunger, to heat and cold, and every man was devoted to his leader.
On the 4th of January he set sail from Brundisium, landing after an uneventful voyage at Acroceraunia. He advanced at once towards Dyrrachium where were Pompey's head-quarters, occupied Apollonia, and intrenched himself on the left bank of the river Apsus. The country was well disposed and furnished him with ample supplies.
Caesar sent back the vessels on which he crossed to transport his remaining troops, but they were intercepted on their way across and many of them destroyed. He was therefore compelled to confine himself to trifling operations, until his lieutenant, Mark Antony, could fit out a second fleet and bring over the remainder of his legions. When Antony finally crossed, he landed one hundred miles up the coast. Pompey's forces were between him and Caesar, and his position was full of danger; but Caesar marched rapidly round Dyrrachium, and joined him before Pompey knew of his movements.
The great general was now ready for action. He built a line of strongly fortified forts around Pompey's camp, blockading him by land. He turned the streams of water aside, causing as much inconvenience as possible to the enemy. So the siege dragged on into June.
Two deserters informed Pompey of a weak spot in Caesar's line. At this point Pompey made a sudden attack. For once Caesar's troops were surprised and panic-stricken. Even his own presence did not cause them to rally. Nearly one thousand of his men fell, thirty-two standards, and a few hundred soldiers were captured.
This victory was the ruin of Pompey's cause. Its importance was exaggerated. His followers were sure that the war was practically over; and so certain were they of ultimate success that they neglected to follow up the advantage gained, and gave Caesar opportunity to recover from the blow.
The latter now retired from the sea-board into Thessaly. Pompey followed, confident of victory. The nobles in his camp amused themselves with quarrelling about the expected spoils of war. Cato and Cicero remained behind in Epirus, the former disgusted at the actions of the degenerate nobility, the latter pleading ill health.
The two armies encamped on a plain in Thessaly near the river Enipeus, only four miles apart. Between them lay a low hill called PHARSALUS, which gave name to the battle which followed.
"The battle of PHARSALIA (August 9, 48) has acquired a special place in history, because it was fought by the Roman aristocracy in their own persons in defence of their own supremacy. Senators and the sons of Senators, the heirs of the names and fortunes of the ancient Roman families, the leaders of society in Roman salons, and the chiefs of the political party of the optimates (aristocracy) were here present on the field. The other great actions were fought by the ignoble multitude whose deaths were of less significance. The plains of Pharsalia were watered by the precious blood of the elect of the earth."
For several days the armies watched each other without decisive action. One morning towards the end of May (August 9, old style) Caesar noticed a movement in Pompey's lines that told him the expected attack was coming.
The position of the Senatorial army was well taken. Its right wing rested on the Enipeus, its left was spread out on the plain. Pompey himself commanded the left with the two legions the Senate had taken from Caesar. Outside him on the plain were his allies covered by the cavalry. Opposite Pompey was Caesar, with the famous Tenth Legion. His left and centre were led by his faithful Tribunes, Mark Antony and Cassius Longinus.
At the given signal Caesar's front ranks advanced on a run, threw their darts, drew their swords, and closed in. At once Pompey's cavalry charged, outflanking the enemy's right wing, and driving back the opposing cavalry, who were inferior in numbers. But as they advanced flushed with victory, Caesar's fourth line, which he had held in reserve, and which was made up of the flower of his legions, appeared in their way. So fierce was their attack that the Pompeians wavered, turned, and fled. They never rallied. The fourth line threw themselves upon Pompey's left wing, which was now unprotected. This wing, composed of Caesar's old veterans, was probably in no mood to fight its former comrades in arms. At any rate, it turned and fled. Pompey himself mounted his horse and rode off in despair. Thus the battle ended in a rout. But two hundred of Caesar's men fell, while fifteen thousand of the enemy lay dead on the field.
The abandoned camp was a remarkable sight. The luxurious patricians had built houses of turf with ivy trained over the entrances to protect their delicate skins from the sun's rays; couches were stretched out ready for them to take repose after their expected victory, and tables were spread with dainty food and wines on which to feast. As he saw these preparations Caesar exclaimed, "These are the men who accused my suffering, patient army, which needed the common necessaries of life, of dissoluteness and profligacy." But Caesar could not delay. Leaving a portion of his forces in camp, by rapid marching he cut off the retreat of the enemy. Twenty-four thousand surrendered, all of whom were pardoned. Domitius, whom we saw at Corfinium and Massilia, was killed trying to escape. Labienus, Afranius, and Petreius managed to steal away by night. Thus ended the battle of Pharsalia.
CHAPTER XXXIII. CAESAR'S OPERATIONS IN EGYPT, ASIA, AFRICA, AND SPAIN.
Pompey, in his flight from Pharsalia, hastened by the shortest way to the sea, and, seeing a vessel weighing anchor, embarked with a few companions who had accompanied him in his flight. He went to Mitylene, and from there to Egypt, hoping to obtain an asylum with the young PTOLEMY; but he was seized upon his arrival, and beheaded, 28 September, 48.
Just before his death Pompey had completed his fifty-eighth year. "Though he had some great and good qualities, he hardly deserved the surname of GREAT. He was certainly a good soldier, and is said to have excelled in all athletic sports, but he fell short of being a first-class general. He won great successes in Spain, and more especially in the East; but for these he was, no doubt, partly indebted to what others had already done. Of the gifts which make a good statesman, he had really none. He was too weak and irresolute to choose a side and stand by it. Pitted against such a man as Caesar, he could not but fail. But to his credit be it said, that in a corrupt time he never used his opportunities for plunder and extortion."
Meanwhile Caesar, pursuing his victory with indefatigable activity, set sail for Egypt. Upon his arrival the head of his enemy was brought to him. He turned from the sight with tears in his eyes. The murderers now saw what would be their fate. Ptolemy was at variance with his sister, the famous CLEOPATRA, Caesar sided with her. The inhabitants of Alexandria revolted, and besieged Caesar in the palace; but with a handful of soldiers he bravely baffled their attacks. Setting fire to the neighboring buildings, he escaped to his ships. Afterwards he returned and wreaked vengeance upon the Alexandrians, establishing CLEOPATRA upon the throne (47).
Satisfied with this vengeance, Caesar left Egypt, and went to Pontus, where PHARNACES, son of Mithradates, was inciting a revolt against Rome. Caesar attacked and defeated him at ZELA (47), with a rapidity rendered proverbial by his words, Veni, vidi, vici, I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED.
He now passed quickly down the Hellespont, and had landed in Italy before it was known that he had left Pontus. During his absence from the capital there had been some minor disturbances; but the mass of the citizens were firmly attached to him. Few could distrust the genius and fortune of the irresistible conqueror. In October of 48 he had been made Dictator a second time, and appointed Tribune for life.
Caesar's return in September, 47, was marked by no proscription. He insisted that all debts should be paid, and the rights of property respected. He restored quiet, and after a brief stay of three months prepared to transport his army to Africa. The army was in Campania, but discontented and mutinous because of not receiving the expected privilege of pillage and plunder. They refused to move until certain promised rewards were received. The Tenth Legion broke out into open revolt, and marched from Campania to Rome to obtain their rights. Caesar collected them in the Campus Martins, and asked them to state their grievances. They demanded their discharge. "I grant it, citizens" (Quirites), said the Imperator. Heretofore he had always addressed them as "fellow soldiers," and the implied rebuke was so keen, that a reaction at once began, and they all begged to be received again into his service. He accepted them, telling them that lands had been allotted to each soldier out of the ager publicus, or out of his own estates.
Africa must now be subdued. Since the defeat and death of Curio, King JUBA had found no one to dispute his authority. Around him now rallied all the followers of Pompey, Metellus Scipio, Cato, Labienus, Afranius, Petreius, and the slain general's two sons, Sextus and Gnaeus Pompeius.
Utica was made their head-quarters. Here Cato collected thirteen legions of troops of miscellaneous character. Raids were made upon Sicily, Sardinia, and the coasts of Italy. Caesar's officers, if captured, were put to death without mercy.
Cicero alone of the old Pompeian party protested against such cruelties. He remained in Italy, was denounced by them as a traitor, and charged with currying favor of the Dictator.
Caesar sailed from Lilybaeum (December 19), effected a landing near Leptis, and maintained himself in a fortified position until he formed useful alliances among the Mauretanians. Many Roman residents in the province came to him, indignant at Metellus Scipio's promise to Juba to give the province to him in case of success. Many deserters also came in, enraged that precedence was given to Juba over Scipio in councils of war. But the enemy's army was kept full of new recruits sent from Utica by Cato.
For three months Caesar failed to bring on the desired engagement; Scipio had learned caution from Pompey's experience at Pharsalia. Finally, at THAPSUS, one hundred miles southeast of Carthage, April 4, 46, the armies met. Caesar's men were so enthusiastic that they rushed to the charge with one impulse. There was no real battle, but rather a slaughter. Officers and men fled for their lives. Scipio was intercepted in his flight and slain. Juba and Petreius fled together, but, finding their retreat cut off, engaged, it is said, in mortal combat; when the first, Petreius, fell, the other threw himself on his own sword. Labienus and the two sons of Pompey managed to escape to Spain. Afranius was captured and executed.
Cato, when he heard of the defeat, retired to his chamber in Utica, and committed suicide.
Thus ended the African campaign.
On his return from Africa, Caesar celebrated four triumphs, on four successive days; one over the Gauls, one over Ptolemy of Egypt, one over Pharnaces, and one over Juba. He gratified his armed followers with liberal gifts, and pleased the people by his great munificence. They were feasted at a splendid banquet, at which were twenty-two thousand tables, each table having three couches, and each couch three persons. Then followed shows in the circus and theatre, combats of wild beasts and gladiators, in which the public especially delighted.
Honors were now heaped upon Caesar without stint. A thanksgiving of forty days was decreed. His statue was placed in the Capitol. Another was inscribed to Caesar the Demigod. A golden chair was allotted to him in the Senate-House. The name of the fifth month (Quintilis) of the Roman calendar was changed to JULIUS (July). He was appointed Dictator for two years, and later for life. He received for three years the office of Censor, which enabled him to appoint Senators, and to be guardian of manners and morals. He had already been made Tribune (48) for life, and Pontifex Maximus (63). In a word, he was king in everything excepting name.
Caesar's most remarkable and durable reform at this period was the REVISION OF THE CALENDAR. The Roman method of reckoning time had been so inaccurate, that now their seasons were more than two months behind. Caesar established a calendar, which, with slight changes, is still in use. It went into operation January 1st, 45. He employed Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, to superintend the reform.
While Sosigenes was at work on the calendar, Caesar purified the Senate. Many who were guilty of extortion and corruption were expelled, and the vacancies filled with persons of merit.
Meanwhile matters in Spain were not satisfactory. After the battle of Pharsalia, Cassius Longinus, Trebonius, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus had been sent to govern the province. They could not agree. The soldiers became mutinous. To Spain flocked all who were dissatisfied with Roman affairs. The remnant of Scipio's African army rested there in its wanderings. Thus Labienus and Pompey's two sons managed to collect an army as numerous as that which had been defeated at Thapsus. There were thirteen legions in all.
Caesar saw that he must make one more struggle. He set out for the province accompanied by his nephew OCTAVIUS (afterwards the Emperor AUGUSTUS), and by his trusted friend and officer, DECIMUS BRUTUS. The struggle in Spain was protracted for several months, but the decisive battle was fought at MUNDA, 17 March, 45, on the Guadalquivir, near Cordova. The forces were well matched. The advantage in position was on the side of the enemy. The battle was stubbornly fought, most of it hand to hand, with short swords. So equal was the struggle, so doubtful at one time the issue, that Caesar himself sprang from his horse, seized a standard, and rallied a wavering legion. Finally, Labienus was seen to gallop across the field. It was thought he was fleeing. Panic seized his troops, they broke and ran. Thirty thousand were slain, including three thousand Roman Knights, and Labienus himself.
Gnaeus Pompey shortly after lost his life, but Sextus lived for a number of years.
Caesar tarried in Spain, regulating affairs, until late in the autumn, when he returned to Rome and enjoyed another triumph over the Iberians (Spaniards). The triumph was followed, as usual, by games and festivals, which kept the populace in a fever of delight and admiration.
MARCUS PORTIUS CATO UTICENSIS (Footnote: Cato the Younger, called UTICENSIS on account of his death at Utica.) (95-46) was the great-grandson of Cato the Censor. He was the last of the Romans of the old school. Like his more famous ancestor, he was frugal and austere in his habits, upright, unselfish, and incorruptible. But he was a fanatic, who could not be persuaded to relinquish his views on any subject. As a general, he was a failure, having neither taste nor genius for military exploits. He held various offices at Rome, as Quaestor and Praetor; but when candidate for the consulship he was defeated, because he declined to win votes by bribery and other questionable methods then in vogue.
QUINTUS CAECILIUS METELLUS PIUS belonged to the illustrious family of the Scipios by birth, and to that of the Metelli by adoption. He was one of the most unjust and dishonest of the Senators that opposed Caesar. He was the father-in-law of Pompey, by whom he was made a pliant tool against the great conqueror.
CHAPTER XXXIV. MURDER OF CAESAR.
Upon his return from Spain, Caesar granted pardon to all who had fought against him, the most prominent of whom were GAIUS CASSIUS, MARCUS BRUTUS, and CICERO. He increased the number of the Senate to nine hundred. He cut off the corn grants, which nursed the city mob in idleness. He sent out impoverished men to colonize old cities. He rebuilt Corinth, and settled eighty thousand Italians on the site of Carthage. As a censor of morals he was very rigid. His own habits were marked by frugality. The rich young patricians were forbidden to be carried about in litters, as had been the custom. Libraries were formed. Eminent physicians and scientists were encouraged to settle in Rome. The harbor of Ostia was improved, and a road constructed from the Adriatic to the Tyrrhenian Sea, over the Apennines. A temple to Mars was built, and an immense amphitheatre was erected at the foot of the Tarpeian Rock.
In the midst of this useful activity he was basely murdered.
CASSIUS LONGINUS and MARCUS JUNIUS BRUTUS were the leaders in the conspiracy to effect Caesar's death, Cassius, a former lieutenant of Crassus, had shown great bravery in the war with the Parthians. At Pharsalia he fought on the side of Pompey, but was afterwards pardoned by Caesar. He was married to a sister of Brutus. The latter, a nephew and son-in-law of Cato, had also fought at Pharsalia against Caesar, and also been pardoned by him. Cassius, it was said, hated the tyrant, and Brutus tyranny.
These conspirators were soon joined by persons of all parties; and men who had fought against each other in the civil war now joined hands. Cicero was not taken into the plot. He was of advanced years, and all who knew him must have felt that he would never consent to the taking the life of one who had been so lenient towards his conquered enemies.
On the morning of the IDES (15th) OF MARCH, 44, as Caesar entered the Senate and took his seat, he was approached by the conspirators, headed by Tullius Cimber, who prayed for the pardon of his exiled brother; and while the rest joined him in the request, he, grasping Caesar's hand, kissed his head and breast. As Caesar attempted to rise, Cimber dragged his cloak from his shoulders, and Casca, who was standing behind his chair, stabbed him in the neck. The first blow was struck, and the whole pack fell upon their noble victim. Cassius stabbed him in the face, and Marcus Brutus in the groin. He made no further resistance; but, wrapping his gown over his head and the lower part of his body, he fell at the base of POMPEY'S STATUE, which was drenched with the martyr's blood.
Great tumult and commotion followed; and, in their alarm, most of the Senators fled. It was two days before the Senate met, the conspirators meanwhile having taken refuge in the Capitol. Public sentiment was against them. Many of Caesar's old soldiers were in the city, and many more were flocking there from all directions. The funeral oration of Mark Antony over the remains produced a deep impression upon the crowd. They became so excited when the speaker removed the dead man's toga, and disclosed his wounds, that, instead of allowing the body to be carried to the Campus Martius for burial, they raised a funeral pile in the Forum, and there burned it. The crowd then dispersed in troops, broke into and destroyed the houses of the conspirators. Brutus and Cassius fled from the city for their lives, followed by the other murderers.
As a general Caesar was probably superior to all others, excepting possibly Hannibal. He was especially remarkable for the fertility of his resources. It has been said that Napoleon taught his enemies how to conquer him; but Caesar's enemies never learned how to conquer him, because he had not a mere system of tactics, but a new stratagem for every emergency. He was, however, not only a great general, but a pre-eminent statesman, and second only to Cicero in eloquence. As a historian, he wrote in a style that was clear, vigorous, and also simple. Most of his writings are lost; but of those that remain Cicero said that fools might try to improve on them, but no wise man would attempt it.
CHAPTER XXXV. THE SECOND TRIUMVIRATE.—PHILIPPI AND ACTIUM.
Caesar in his will had appointed GAIUS OCTAVIUS, the grandson of his sister Julia, heir to three fourths of his property; and his other relatives were to have the remaining fourth.
Young Octavius was in his nineteenth year when Caesar was murdered. He went at once to Rome to claim his inheritance. Caesar's widow, Calpurnia, had intrusted to Mark Antony all the money in the house,—a large sum,—and had also delivered to his care all the Dictator's writings and memoranda.
Octavius was cool and sagacious, without passion or affection, and showed himself a match for all his opponents. His arrival at Rome was disagreeable to Antony, who was unwilling to surrender Caesar's property. He claimed that he had already expended it for public purposes. Octavius at once paid the dead Dictator's legacies, mostly out of his own fortune, thus making himself very popular among the people. He then joined the party of the Senate, and during the autumn and winter of 44 was its chief champion. He was helped by the eloquent Cicero, who was delivering against Antony his famous fourteen PHILIPPICS,—so called from their resemblance to the great orations of Demosthenes against Philip.
During the spring of 43 Octavius advanced against Antony, who was at Mutina (Modena), and defeated him in two battles. He was then appointed Consul, and, finding it for his interest, he deserted the Senate, made friends with Antony, and with him and Lepidus formed (27 November, 43) the SECOND TRIUMVIRATE, assuming full authority to govern and reorganize the state, and to hold office for five years.
The provinces were divided as follows: Lepidus was to have Spain and Gallia Narbonensis; Antony, the rest of Gaul beyond the Alps and Gallia Cisalpina; Octavius, Sicily, Sardinia, and Africa. A bloody prescription followed. Among its victims were CICERO, who was surrendered to please Antony, 300 Senators, and 2,000 Equites.
PHILIPPI AND ACTIUM.
The Triumvirs could now concentrate their energies upon the East, whither BRUTUS and CASSIUS, the murderers of Caesar, had fled. These two had organized in the provinces of the East an army amounting to 80,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry. They were employed in plundering various towns of Asia Minor, and finally, in the spring of 42, assembled their forces at Sardis preparatory to an invasion of Europe. After marching through Thrace they entered Macedonia, and found Antony and Octavius opposed to them at PHILIPPI, with an army of 120,000 troops. There were two battles at Philippi in November, 42. In the first, Brutus defeated Octavius; but Cassius was defeated by Antony, and, unaware of his colleague's victory, committed suicide. In the second battle, three weeks later, Brutus was defeated by the united armies of the Triumvirs, and, following the example of Cassius, put an end to his life. With Brutus fell the Republic. The absolute ascendency of individuals, which is monarchy, was then established.
The immediate result of Philippi was a fresh arrangement of the Roman world among the Triumvirs. Antony preferred the East, Octavius took Italy and Spain, and Africa fell to Lepidus.
Octavius tried to establish order in Italy, but many obstacles were to be overcome. Sextus Pompeius, who had escaped from Munda, was in command of a strong naval force. He controlled a large part of the Mediterranean, and, by waylaying the corn ships bound for Rome, exposed the city to great danger from famine. Octavius was obliged to raise a fleet and meet this danger. At first he was defeated by Pompey, but later, in 36, in the great sea fight off NAULOCHUS in Sicily, the rebel was overcome. He fled to Asia with a few followers, but was taken prisoner at Miletus by one of the lieutenants of Antony, and put to death.
Lepidus now claimed Sicily as a part of his province, and an equal share in the government of the Roman world with the other Triumvirs. But his soldiers were induced to desert him, and he was obliged to surrender to Octavius. His life was spared, but he was deprived of his power and provinces. He lived twenty years longer (until 13), but ceased to be a factor in public affairs. Having rid themselves of all rivals, Octavius and Antony redivided the Empire, the former taking the West, the latter the East.
Antony now repaired to Alexandria, and surrendered himself to the fascinations of the famous Cleopatra. He assumed the habits and dress of an Eastern monarch, and by his senseless follies disgusted his friends and supporters. He resigned himself to luxury and idleness, and finally divorced himself from his wife Octavia, sister of Octavius, disregarding his good name and the wishes of his friends. Thus gradually he became more and more estranged from Octavius, until finally the rupture resulted in open war.
The contest was decided by the naval battle off Cape Actium, in Greece, September 2, 31. Antony had collected from all parts of the East a large army, in addition to his fleet, which was supported by that of Cleopatra. He wished to decide the contest on land; but Cleopatra insisted that they should fight by sea. The fleet of Octavius was commanded by Agrippa, who had been in command at the sea-fight off Naulochus. The battle lasted a long time, and was still undecided, when Cleopatra hoisted sail and with her sixty vessels hastened to leave the line. Antony at once followed her. The battle, however, continued until his remaining fleet was destroyed, and his army, after a few days' hesitation, surrendered.
Octavius did not follow Antony for about a year. He passed the winter in Samos, sending Agrippa to Italy with the veterans. His time was occupied in restoring order in Greece and Asia, in raising money to satisfy the demands of his troops, and in founding new colonies. At length he turned his attention to Egypt. After capturing Pelusium, the key of the country, he marched upon Alexandria. Antony, despairing of success, committed suicide, expiring in the arms of Cleopatra. The queen, disdaining to adorn the triumph of the conqueror, followed his example, and was found dead on her couch, in royal attire, with her two faithful attendants also dead at her feet.
Octavius was now sole ruler of Rome. Before returning to the capital to celebrate his triumphs, he organized Egypt as a province, settled disputes in Judaea, and arranged matters in Syria and Asia Minor. He arrived at Rome (August 29), and enjoyed three magnificent triumphs. The gates of the temple of JANUS—which were open in time of war, and had been closed but twice before, once during Numa's reign, and once between the First and Second Punic Wars—were closed, and Rome was at peace with all the world.
MARCUS TULLIUS CICERO.
CICERO'S public life covered a period of nearly forty years, from the dictatorship of Sulla to the fall of the Republic. Although endowed by nature with great talents, he was always under the sway of the moment, and therefore little qualified to be a statesman; yet he had not sufficient self-knowledge to see it. Hence the attempts he made to play a part in politics served only to lay bare his utter weakness. Thus it happened that he was used and then pushed aside, attracted and repelled, deceived by the weakness of his friends and the strength of his adversaries; and at last threatened by both the parties between which he tried to steer his course.
CHAPTER XXXVI. AUGUSTUS (30 B.C.-14 A.D.)
After enjoying his triple triumph, Octavius should, according to the precedents of the Republic, have given up the title of IMPERATOR; but he allowed the Senate, which was only too glad to flatter him, to give him that name for ten years,—a period which was repeatedly renewed. In this way he became permanent commander of the national forces. Next the Imperator (Emperor) caused himself to be invested with the authority of Censor. This enabled him to revise the list of Senators, and to restore to this body something of its ancient respectability. By judicious pruning he reduced the number to six hundred, and required a property qualification for membership. He placed himself at its head as PRINCEPS (prince), a title which implied that the Emperor was the first citizen, without claiming any rights of royalty, thus lulling any suspicions of the populace.
The Senate still decided the most important questions. It had jurisdiction in criminal matters, and the right of ratifying new laws. It was convened three times each month; viz. on the 1st, 5th (or 7th), and 13th (or 15th). The Emperor voted with the other Senators.
The Senate next conferred upon Octavius the title of AUGUSTUS; then it made him Proconsul (an officer with the right to govern provinces), and Consul, with the privilege of having twelve lictors, and of sitting in the curule chair between the two Consuls. The regular Consuls, of course, were only too ready to follow his wishes. Finally, he was made Pontifex Maximus, the head of the Roman religion.
Augustus was now supreme ruler in fact, if not in name. The Senate was practically subject to his will. The Assemblies gradually lost all voice in the government, and finally disappeared entirely. The Senate, however, continued nominally to act until the time of Diocletian (284 A. D.).
As Augustus had exclusive command of the armies, he chose to govern as Proconsul those provinces which required military forces. He himself resided at the capital, and sent deputies (legati) to oversee them. The other provinces, called Senatorial, were governed by Proconsuls appointed by the Senate. These were at this time Sicily, Africa, Achaia (Greece), Macedonia, Asia (Minor), Hispania Ulterior, and Gallia Narbonensis.
The city government now included all Italy. In this Augustus was assisted by three Praefects; one in charge of the corn supplies, a second in charge of the city proper, and a third in charge of his body guard of nine thousand men, called the PRAETORIAN GUARD. These Praefects soon overshadowed all the regular magistrates, and through them Augustus reigned supreme.
The Roman Empire at this time included all the countries bordering on the Mediterranean, extending east to the Parthian kingdom (the Upper Euphrates) and the Arabian Desert, south to the Desert of Sahara, and west to the Atlantic Ocean. On the north the boundary was unsettled, and subject to inroads of barbarians. In the early part of his reign Augustus joined to the Empire a new province, Moesia, comprising the territory along the Lower Danube, and making nineteen in all.
Augustus next devoted himself to the task of conquering the territory between the Lower Rhine and Moesia, which was occupied by hardy mountaineers whose resistance was likely to be stubborn. His two step-sons, Drusus and Tiberius, were in charge of this important work. They were so successful as to acquire enough territory to form two new provinces, Rhaetia and Noricum (15 B.C.).
Tiberius also conquered the valley of the Save, and made it the province of Pannonia (Western Hungary), 10 B.C.
Drusus, while his brother Tiberius was engaged in Pannonia, made a campaign against the Germans near the Rhine. He had nearly finished the conquest of Germany from the Rhine to the Elbe, when he died (9, B.C.), and was succeeded by his brother Tiberius, who completed his work.
Drusus received the cognomen of Germanicus for his conquests in Germany. His wife was Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony, by whom he had two sons, Germanicus and Claudius, the latter of whom was afterwards Emperor.
In 7 A.D. Lucius Varus was appointed governor of the newly acquired territory in Germany. When he endeavored to subject these recently conquered peoples to the forms of the Roman provincial government, they rose in rebellion under the lead of Arminius (Herman), a powerful chief.
Varus was allured from his fortified camp (9 A.D.) into a pass in the Teutoberger Forests, where he was suddenly attacked on all sides. After three days' fighting, he succeeded with great loss in making his way through the pass into the open plain, but was there met by the enemy in full force, and his troops were annihilated. In despair Varus killed himself. Germany was practically lost and the Rhine became again the Roman frontier. This defeat caused a great stir at Rome, and the Emperor is said to have exclaimed in his sorrow, "Varus, Varus, give me back my legions!"
Five years later (14 A.D.) Augustus died. In his last moments he asked his friends if he had not played well his part in the comedy of life.
Although married three times, the Emperor had but one child, JULIA (39 B.C.—14 A.D.), by his second wife, Scribonia. She was noted for her beauty and talents, but infamous for her intrigues. She was married three times; first, to Marcellus, her cousin; secondly, to Agrippa, by whom she had five children; and thirdly, to the Emperor Tiberius. She was banished on account of her conduct, and died in want.
OCTAVIA, the sister of Augustus, was noted for her beauty and accomplishments, as well as for the nobility of her character. Her son MARCELLUS was adopted by his uncle, but died young (23 B. C.). The famous lines of Virgil upon this promising young man (Aeneid VI. 869-887) were read before the Emperor and his sister, moving them to tears, and winning for the author a munificent reward.
After the death of her first husband, Octavia was married to Mark Antony, by whom she had two daughters, through whom she was the ancestress of three Emperors, CLAUDIUS, CALIGULA, and NERO.
AGRIPPA (63-12), an eminent general and statesman, was a warm friend and counsellor of Augustus. At the battle of Actium he commanded the fleet of Octavius. He married Julia, the only daughter of the Emperor, and had three sons, two of whom were adopted by Augustus, but died before him; the third was murdered by Tiberius.
Augustus died at the age of seventy-six. He was frugal and correct in his personal habits, quick and shrewd in his dealings with men, bold and ambitious in the affairs of state. His greatness consisted rather in the ability to abstain from abusing the advantages presented by fortune, than in the genius which moulds the current of affairs to the will. His success depended on the temper of the people and the peculiar circumstances of the time. His clearest title to greatness is found in the fact that he compelled eighty millions of people to live in peace for more than forty years, He made the world to centre on one will, and the horrors which mark the reigns of his successors were the legitimate result of the irresponsible sovereignty he established. He formed his empire for the present, to the utter ignoring of the future. Thus it would seem that the part he played was that of a shrewd politician, rather than that of a wise statesman.
CHAPTER XXXVII. THE AUGUSTAN AGE.
In speaking of Augustus, we must take into account the writers whose names have given to his its brightest lustre, and have made the AUGUSTAN AGE a synonym for excellence in culture, art, and government. Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Livy, and a host of others, have given his reign a brilliancy unmatched in time, which is rather enhanced than diminished by the fame of Cicero, Caesar, and Sallust, who preceded, and that of Tacitus, Seneca, and others, who followed; for they belong to an epoch in which Augustus stands the central figure in all which pertains to the arts of peace.
In literature the name of VIRGIL stands first in the Augustan age. Born at Andes, near Mantua, 15 October, 70, he was educated at Cremona and Mediolanum. After completing his education he retired to his paternal estate. In the division of land among the soldiers after the battle of Philippi (42), he was deprived of his property, which was subsequently restored to him by Augustus. He lived partly at Rome, partly in Campania. His health was never good, and he died in his fifty-second year (22 September, 19 B. C.).
Virgil had neither original nor creative genius. Though he mainly imitated Greek poetry, his style is graceful and eloquent, his tone inspiring and elevating.
In disposition he was childlike, innocent, and amiable,—a good son, a faithful friend, honest, and full of devotion to persons and ideal interests. He was not, however, fitted to grapple with the tasks and difficulties of practical life.
In his fortunes and friends he was a happy man. Munificent patronage gave him ample means of enjoyment and leisure; and he had the friendship of all the most accomplished men of his day, among whom was Horace, who entertained a strong affection for him. His fame, which was established in his lifetime, was cherished after his death as an inheritance in which every Roman had a share; and his works became school-books even before the death of Augustus, and have continued such ever since.
HORACE (65-8 B. C.) was born at Venusia, but received his education at Rome and Athens. He was present at the battle of Philippi (42), where he fought as Tribune under Brutus. His first writings were his Satires. These he read to his friends, and their merit was at once recognized. His great patron was MAECENAS, who introduced him to the Emperor, and gave him a fine country seat near Tivoli, among the Sabine Mountains. He died the same year as his patron, and was buried beside him at the Esquiline Gate.
The poems of Horace give us a picture of refined and educated life in the Rome of his time. They are unsurpassed in gracefulness and felicity of thought. Filled with truisms, they were for centuries read and quoted more than those of any other ancient writer.
OVID (43 B. C.-18 A. D.), a native of Sulmo, is far inferior to Virgil and Horace as a poet, but ranks high on account of his great gift for narration.
"Of the Latin poets he stands perhaps nearest to modern civilization, partly on account of his fresh and vivid sense of the beauties of nature, and partly because his subject is love. His representations of this passion are graceful, and strikingly true. He also excelled other poets in the perfect elegance of his form, especially in the character and rhythm of his verses." He spent his last days in exile, banished by Augustus for some reason now unknown. Some of his most pleasing verses were written during this period.
One of the most noted men of the Augustan age was MAECENAS, the warm friend and adviser of Augustus. He was a constant patron of the literature and art of his generation. He was very wealthy, and his magnificent house was the centre of literary society in Rome, He helped both Virgil and Horace in a substantial manner, and the latter is constantly referring to him in his poetry. He died (8 B. C.) childless, and left his fortune to Augustus.
The prose writers who lived at this period were Livy, Sallust, and Nepos.
LIVY is the best of these. He was a native of Patavium (Padua), a man of rhetorical training, who spent most of his time in Rome. The historical value of his work cannot be overestimated, on account of the scarcity, and in many cases the utter lack, of other historical documents on the times of which he wrote. His style is spirited, and always interesting. His accuracy, however, is not to be compared with that of Caesar. Only thirty-five out of the one hundred and forty-two books that he wrote are preserved.
NEPOS was a prolific writer, but only a portion of one of his works, De Viris Illustribus, has come down to us; it is neither accurate nor interesting, and of little value.
SALLUST left two historical productions, one on the conspiracy of Catiline, the other on the war with Jugurtha. His style is rhetorical. He excels in delineating character, but he is often so concise as to be obscure.
GAIUS ASINIUS POLLIO was a statesman and orator of marked attainments of this time. He was strongly attached to the old republican institutions, a man of great independence of character, and a poet of no mean merit, as his contemporaries testify. Unfortunately, none of his writings are preserved.
The age of Augustus is also noted for the architectural improvements in Rome. Augustus is said to have found a city of stone, and left one of marble. He himself built twelve temples, and repaired eighty-two that had fallen into decay. The FORUM was beautified by five halls of justice (Basilicae), which were erected around its borders. The most famous of these was the BASILICA JULIA, begun by Julius Caesar and finished by Augustus. Public squares were planned and begun north of the great Forum, the finest of which was the FORUM OF TRAJAN, finished by the Emperor of that name.