Julius Caesar - Ada Russell

Roman Institutions and Empire

The struggle of the people for personal and political rights is the chief fact in the domestic history of Rome from the fall of the monarchy, four centuries before Caesar's birth, until the fall of the republic in his manhood. His childhood and youth were passed amid the most terrible struggles of the orders.

When Tarquinius Superbus, the last Roman king, was expelled with all his house in 509 B.C., the chief command in the State was given to two colleagues, 'consuls,' appointed for one year and given power to veto each other's actions, so that neither of them could make himself a tyrant. The consuls had a good deal of the power of the old kings in theory, but in practice, by Caesar's time, inferior magistrates—praetors, quaestors and aediles—did most of the work of the State. They were often, indeed, little more than the chairmen of the Senate, a body of men composed of a certain patrician element and of the higher magistrates and ex-magistrates. The consuls entered on their year of office on the first of January and retired on the thirty-first of December, but their military command (imperium)  was not given them until the first of March, and it continued until the following March. By Caesar's time it had become the rule for consuls and praetors to serve a year in the city and then go out to govern the provinces as 'proconsuls and 'propraetors.' Consuls, praetors, and 'curule' aediles had an ivory 'curule' chair and a purple-edged robe, and were attended by lictors. The consul had twelve lictors, who accompanied him everywhere, bearing bundles of rods (fasces)  to symbolize his judicial powers, and when he left Rome an axe was bound up with the fasces. He had no axe when in Rome, because the people alone had power of life and death over Roman citizens. As divided rule would be dangerous in some crises, one of the consuls might, in an emergency, name a dictator, who might exercise absolute power. Other magistrates were appointed by the vote of the people. There was nothing corresponding to the British House of Commons in the ancient world, and no principle of representation of the people, and we must remember, when we find the people attempting to legislate independently of the Senate, that it is the whole body of untrained voters that makes this claim.

From 509 to 286 B.C. the plebeians (the common citizens) won their way to political equality with the patricians, only to find that the eternal difference between rich and poor remained. The richer members of the plebs  formed a new middle class, nearer to the aristocracy than to their own order; many of them obtained magistracies and entered the Senate, and henceforth it was a war between Senate and people, not between patrician and plebeian. The new middle class was called the Equestrian Order, being composed of men who, on account of their incomes, had the rank of knights (equites).

It was while the early struggles between the orders were going on that Rome ceased to be a mere city-state on the Tiber; and by 270 B.C. she had become mistress of Italy from the Rubicon to the Straits of Messina. In the third century B.C. began the fatal Punic Wars, which destroyed Carthage and did Italy an economic damage from which she never recovered, but ended in the establishment of a Roman navy and he foundation of the Roman Empire. In these wars Italy was pillaged again and again, and for years Rome was in danger from the great Carthaginian general Hannibal. Scipio, Rome's general, at last transferred the war to the enemy's country. In 202 B.C. Hannibal was defeated by Scipio at Zama, in Africa, and the great power of Carthage became practically a Roman dependency. She was forced to surrender Spain to Rome, and that country was formed into two Roman provinces. After the destruction of Carthage in 146 B.C. the Roman province of Africa—composed of a very small portion of that vast continent—was formed. Cisalpine Gaul, as North Italy was called, had been annexed in 191 B.C., during the Punic Wars, for fear of its aiding the Carthaginians as they descended on Italy from Spain; and now the Romans, having acquired the habit of foreign conquest, turned their attention to Macedonia. Three Macedonian wars ended in the defeat of the last Macedonian army at Pydna in 168 B.C. and in the establishment of a Roman protectorate over Greece. This was the most important of all Roman conquests, as now the ordinary educated Romans began to absorb Greek culture, of which they were to be the protectors and preservers. The subjugation of the old Macedonian empire as far as the Euphrates followed naturally. Asia Minor became the Roman province of 'Asia' by the bequest of the last king of Pergamum in 133 B.C.

The enormous plunder obtained from these provinces made the Roman Senate a body of millionaires as well as a 'race of kings,' and the 'publicans' of Scripture—tax-collectors belonging to the Roman middle class, the highly respectable Roman knights—came into being. In 149 B.C. a permanent commission was established at Rome to inquire into cases of extortion in the provinces, so loud had the outcry of the provincials become.

In Italy war and pestilence had thinned the population; the great capitalist farmers of the senatorial class worked their estates by means of slaves, and thus the yeoman class threatened to die out. That there was still excellent material in rustic Italy, nevertheless, was shown by the Italian contingent in the Roman army, and when the Roman people had become a demoralized mob salvation came to Rome from unspoiled Italy. There remained a great evil and a great danger in this slave labour, quite apart from the hardships endured by the slaves, who were often free-born and noble prisoners of war or travellers captured by pirates. Those unable to pay a ransom, were sold to recompense the captor for his trouble. Slave-risings became common, and sometimes developed into lengthy and arduous wars.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


After Macedonia became a Roman province Rome had no longer a State to fear, and the evil days foretold by Cato the Censor soon began, the Roman austerity and virtue, of which Cato was one of the last representatives, passing away. The energetic young Roman of the upper classes looked forward to government office as his birthright, and the attraction became, not so much the year of regal power in Rome as the rich provinces that fell in his way as a Roman magistrate. The art of public speaking became the chief point in his education, and he also learned the less reputable arts of bribery and corruption, to remedy which voting by ballot was introduced in the second century B.C. The lower orders began to care for nothing but a life of idleness and pastimes, and the upper classes discovered that if they kept them in material comfort they would abstain from interference in politics. Many Romans were considering how all these tendencies were to be arrested and dreaming of a better Rome when the standard of reform and at the same time of revolution was raised by the Gracchi.

Early in the history of the republic the plebeians had secured the right to appoint magistrates of their own, tribunes of the plebs, who were not under the control of the consuls, although their authority did not hold good against a dictator when a dictator chanced to be appointed. Their laws were binding on all the citizens; they could even order the arrest of a consul; there was no appeal from their sentences but to the assembly of plebeians; and their persons were sacred. In 134 B.C. Tiberius Gracchus, a patrician, got himself elected tribune of the plebs  and endeavoured to restore the yeoman class by an agrarian law. The aristocratic occupants of more than a fixed amount of State lands were to be evicted, with compensation, and the land thus set free was to be leased out in small farms to poor Roman citizens and Latin allies. This law was passed by the people, but Gracchus neglected to submit it, as was customary, to the Senate. The Senate, which had for long 'managed' the popular assemblies and practically ruled the State, was furious, but easily persuaded another tribune to veto the decree, as the tribunes, like the consuls, had a right of veto over each other's actions. In this right of veto Rome had long thought herself safe from the evil deeds of any one magistrate, and it had worked well while the State was healthy, but in the breakdown which was coming on the State the magisterial veto was to prove not only a futile but almost a comical device. Tiberius answered his colleague's veto by stopping all other public business, even that of the law-courts, and then introduced his bill again. It was again vetoed, and he then committed the first act of revolution by causing the people to declare his colleague deposed; and his bill became law. Thereupon a band of patricians seized what clubs and sticks they could find and slew Tiberius and three hundred of his followers. The Senate sanctioned the deed, and even his brother-in-law, the noble Scipio Aemilianus, exclaimed: "So perish all who do the like!"

The law survived the tribune, and when, a few years later, Scipio caused the distribution of land to cease, he was found murdered. Caius Gracchus, brother of Tiberius, now came forward as democratic leader and was elected tribune of the plebs  for 123 B.C. He sought to alter the constitution so that reform should be possible without revolution. His brother had gone in fear of impeachment when his year of office and 'sacrosanctity' were over; and Caius seems to have carried a law by which the tribune might be re-elected for another year's service and so act with more confidence. He himself was returned again for the year 122 B.C., and, among other reforms, began to plant colonies in Italy and the provinces to drain off the surplus population of the capital. Colonization came naturally to the Greeks, but never to the Romans. To remedy poverty, he ordered that corn should be sold at a nominal rate in the capital to all Roman citizens on application, and thus started a policy which was found to degrade the populace and was afterward adopted by the Senate with this idea.

Perhaps his most important work was his judicial reform, especially the establishment of commissions to try capital cases; and he transferred the right of sitting on juries from the senators to the Roman knights. The Senate had controlled provincial taxation, but Gracchus took it out of its hands, altered the assessment, and offered the farming of the taxes to the highest bidder in Rome, whereby it also fell to the knights. He even planned to add three hundred knights to the Senate, and, as his brother had done, he submitted his bills, not to the Senate, but to the people. Caius Gracchus had no army, only the mob at his back, and he fell from the mob's favour.

He had at heart the welfare of all Italians and even of the provincials, and in this he had few sympathizers among one of the hardest peoples the world has ever known. Both Senate and people refused his proposal for admitting the Latins to the full Roman franchise, and the Senate followed up its advantage by bribing the people to desert him. He was not re-elected to the tribunate, and when his term expired he went about the streets with three thousand armed followers in vain: the Senate and knights went forth and hunted him down, capturing and strangling his bodyguard.

The Senate then annulled most of the Gracchan legislation, but continued the corn doles and saw that the people were kept amused with free public entertainments. The provinces, reduced to penury, were in no condition to revolt, and if it had not been for the slaves, the pirates, and the attacks of foreign Powers the Roman Senate might have remained lord in Rome for many a long day.

The Jugurthine War, in which it was public knowledge that the government had taken bribes from Jugurtha, culminated in 109 B.C. With the passing of the Roman army under the yoke, a disgrace which stirred the Roman people to frenzy; and when the war was at last ended, in 106, it was by the plebeian general Caius Marius. Marius was in some ways, as the Gracchi had been, the forerunner of Caesar. He started the bloody revolutions which Caesar was to continue, and, like Caesar, he won and kept power by means of a great professional army. He married the patrician lady Julia, aunt of the great Caesar, and at the time of Caesar's birth he was the hero of Rome.

Caesar's Boyhood under Marius and Sulla

Caius Julius Caesar was born on the twelfth day of the Roman month Quinctilis, afterward called July in his honour, probably in the year 102 B.C. His family claimed descent not only from the Roman kings, but from the gods, and was one of the old patrician houses which had kept well to the fore in later democratic days. A Julius Caesar had been consul in 157; various other high State offices had been held by different members of his family; his uncle was consul when he was eleven years old, and both his grandfather and father were praetors.

Very little is known of these people—almost as little as of the great Caesar's childhood. His father died suddenly at Pisa one morning shortly after rising, as he was fastening on his shoes, when the boy was sixteen years of age. His mother, Aurelia, a lady of the great Cotta family, had a good deal to do with his upbringing, and is said to have taught him to speak Latin with the purity and elegance for which his style was noted. She shared his early triumphs, but died while he was absent from Rome on his Gallic wars. A story or two handed down to us seem to show that she approved of the daring boldness of his early political life. He learned Greek from Marcus Antonius Gnipho, a native of Cisalpine Gaul, a learned, witty, courteous, kind, and gentle tutor, who perhaps had a large share in making the boy less cruel and revengeful than the ordinary Roman of his time, and in giving him the interest in Gaul which led to his conquest of that country and his voyage to the shores of Britain

We know that Caesar was clever and spoke well at an early age and that he made some ambitious experiments in authorship; but we have no anecdotes of his childhood, overshadowed as it was by bloody revolutions. Tragedy and personal danger were the only lot possible for a relative of Marius.

Caius Marius, the gifted child of Italian peasants, won his way to fame in the army. He was standing by when some flatterers asked Scipio Aemilianus where the Romans would ever again find a general like himself, and Scipio answered, laying his hand on the shoulder of the young soldier, "Here, perhaps!"

As tribune of the plebs  Marius boldly defied a consul, and so won the favour of the people, and in the disasters of the Jugurthine War the people chose him to be consul so that he might lead the army against Jugurtha. He it was who received the public gratitude when the Numidian monarch fell at last into Roman hands in any B.C. In that year two Roman armies were completely destroyed at Orange, on the Rhone, and the road to Rome lay open to the Germans; and Marius was again chosen consul to thrust back this peril, although he might not legally be re-elected so soon or elected in his absence. Moreover, Marius held the consulship by re-election for the following four years (103-100 B.C.), and was consul, therefore, when his great kinsman first saw the light.

At Aquae Sextiae (Aix) in 102 and at Vercellae (Vercelli) in 101 the German hordes were annihilated, and Marius returned to Rome to be for several months greater than any king. He was the democratic hero, a plebeian Gracchus with a military reputation, and the 'seditious and indigent multitude,' as the Romans were fond of calling their common people, hoped that he would force some popular measures on the senatorial government. But peace was to show up the weak side of his character. He could not mix with the aristocracy on equal terms, and he found that his harsh, abrupt manners, loved by his soldiers, alienated the citizens, and popularity had now become a necessity to him. So his friends were pained by the sight of the Herculean warrior fawning on the people like some fifth-rate tribune, "attempting to seem popular and obliging, for which nature had never designed him."

Thanks to Marius's democratic sympathies, and his discharged soldiers, who controlled the elections, voting even if they were not down on the voters' list, the popular leaders Saturninus and Glaucia were returned as tribune and praetor respectively for the year 100, the beginning of a terrible period of civil strife for Rome. Saturninus carried new agrarian laws and caused the senators to take an oath to observe them. Confident of success, he determined to seek the tribuneship again for 99, while Glaucia, though not eligible by law, was to seek the consulship, and, to ensure his election, the candidate approved by the Senate was murdered. Marius was vexed at this assassination, and, to the Senate's surprise, he obeyed the consul's order to put down the sedition. He called soldiers to follow him, defeated Saturninus and Glaucia and their armed band of released prisoners and slaves, and imprisoned many of them in the Senate House. A band of young patricians then mounted on to the roof of the Senate House and stoned them to death. This slaughter of Roman citizens, which passed unpunished, still further weakened senatorial prestige, already fatally shaken by the Gracchi. The popular party, however, had lost its leaders, and the Senate, no longer afraid of Marius, proceeded to humble him by repealing the laws of Saturninus. Marius retired from the city in dudgeon and sought to win new fame abroad.

A few uneventful years followed, but far worse disorders began in 91 B.C., when the aristocrat Marcus Livius Drusus entered on his office of tribune of the plebs. He passed some measures which were pleasing to the Senate, but, on the other hand, he introduced an agrarian law, which always infuriated it; and it became known that he was contemplating the radical measure of giving the Roman franchise to the Italians. He in his turn was promptly murdered and his laws were cancelled. Drusus, however, became the torch which kindled the great Social War, and his death secured for the Italians the freedom which his life had failed to obtain for them.

Throughout the anxious year 90 the best generals of Rome, including the aged Marius, Sulla, and the consul Lucius Julius Caesar, sought in vain to crush the confederacy, and the war was only brought to an end by the franchise being granted to all those Italians south of the Po who submitted within a certain time.

The general who had shown the greatest ability in its extinction was Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Between Sulla, the champion of the Conservatives and the general of the future, and Marius, the worn-out hero of the democracy, there was to be a mortal conflict, and in their strife the city was rent into parties as it had never been before. Sulla was one of the most extraordinary of the many extraordinary Romans of the first century B.C. He was very remarkable to look at, with his golden hair, glaring blue eyes, and mottled face, 'like a mulberry sprinkled with meal,' and he was one of the new school of Roman aristocrats who went in for building palaces to live in, collecting art treasures from Greece, and—dining well. The menus of Sulla and his friend Lucullus would have seemed simple to the Romans of the Empire, but meantime they formed the wonder and the scandal of Rome. Sulla was a cynic, believing little in others and still less in himself. He never thought that it was because he was particularly well endowed that his career was so triumphant, but always named himself 'Sulla the Fortunate,' and he gave the name Fortunate (Faustus)  to his children. Such was the man who was to hunt Marius to death and put an end for a long time to democratic risings.

Sulla was chosen consul for the year 88 B.C. and appointed by the Senate to conduct the war which had broken out against Mithradates in the East. The heart of Marius overflowed with rage at this, for the old war-horse panted to be off at the sound of the trumpet. Although he was approaching his seventieth year, he thought that this command should have been given to him, and he threw himself into a new revolution which was brewing. The tribune Sulpicius, with an armed band of democratic followers, carried various other measures in the teeth of the consuls' opposition, and then started a day of blood for Rome by causing the people to transfer the command of the war in the East from Sulla to Marius.

Sulla was at Nola, stamping out the last sparks of the Social War, when the tribunes arrived from home to receive his army and lead it to Marius. The Sullan soldiers stoned them for their pains, although the person of a tribune was sacred, and news flew to the city that Sulla was marching on it at the head of his forces. Even the Conservatives were horrified, for no battle had ever taken place in Rome since history began, and no child of the commonwealth had ever entered her walls as a soldier. Two praetors were sent to command Sulla to approach no farther, but, to the horror of respectable citizens, their fasces  were broken and their purple-edged robes rent. Marius and Sulpicius hastily armed what men they could muster, and the unarmed crowded to the roofs of the houses and hurled stones and tiles down on the first Sullan legion as it approached, but in vain. Sulla came up and ordered torches and fire-darts to be cast at the houses, and his army entered Rome, slaughtering everyone it met. Sulpicius was captured and slain and Marius fled from the city. He spent a year in hiding, sometimes in marshes covered with reeds, sometimes sheltered by a peasant, and sometimes falling into the hands of his pursuers and escaping in some miraculous way. News of his whereabouts would be carried in some way to the lurking Radicals in Rome, for they knew where to put their hands on him when the time came; and the heart of the boy Julius Caesar must have been filled with grief at the thought of the evil fate of this aged relative.

Early in 87 B.C. Sulla set out for the East, and while he was destroying army after army of the vast hosts of Mithradates, the Roman democrats secured the control of the State. The Radical consul Cinna went to war with the Conservative consul Octavius, and after heaping the Forum with slain, Octavius drove the former out of the city. Cinna returned with an army of devoted Italians and accompanied by Marius. The frightened Romans submitted without a blow. But Marius wanted revenge for the treatment he had received, and he had brought back with him a band of the most dangerous sort of slaves, of such a character that they were chained together for their work in the fields by day and thrown into the slaves' prisons (ergastula)  at night.

A great concourse of his friends and relatives, among whom would be his wife Julia and other members of Caesar's house, came forth to meet him, and we may be sure that Julius, now fifteen years old, left his Greek books to go and greet his famous uncle. But it was no place or time for kinsmen and friends. This day must have burned itself into Caesar's memory, and perhaps its horror and futility taught him to act otherwise himself when Rome lay at his mercy in years to come. When Marius gave the signal his slaves slew those who approached, and if any of his friends saluted him and he did not return the salutation, the slaves took that also for a sign and cut them down. These murders made Cinna very unhappy, but Marius never wearied. The city gates were closed for five days while the slaughter went on, and minds of soldiers scoured the roads and neighbouring towns for those who had taken flight at his first coming. Among the magnates who fell were the consul Octavius and two of Caesar's uncles. That his father escaped may show that he belonged to the democratic party. Caesar himself won the great man's favour. He assumed the garb of manhood (the toga virilis), and his uncle gave him the high and lucrative position of priest of Jupiter Capitolinus (flamen Dialis). He was now the most important of all the priests of Rome, except, of course, the High Priest (Pontifex Maximus), because Jupiter was the chief god of the Roman people. He was regarded with the utmost reverence, was attended by a lictor, sat in the Senate by virtue of his office, and had a curule chair. He might not look on labour, and so people had to stop their work when a herald cried that he was coming. He was appointed for life, but any evil deed or any unlucky chance happening to him would necessitate his resignation. His wife would partake of his sacred character, and he would be bound to retire in case of her death. He was clad in a woolen purple-bordered toga, supposed to be woven by the wife, and a white leather cap made from the skin of a sacrificed animal, with an olive branch and woolen thread on top of it; and he carried wherever he went the sacrificial knife which he used in the daily slaughter of victims in Jupiter's temple. His wife also would be bound to dress in a special way and carry a sacrificial knife. It was a curious position for a boy to fill.

Marius, as had been foretold to him in his youth, was elected consul for the seventh time, a thing which had happened to no Roman before, but he died on January 13, 86 B.C., shortly after entering on office; and not till then did the massacres come to an end.

For four years after the death of Marius, Cinna held the consulship and nominated whom he chose for his colleague; and however much the Conservatives might dislike his rule it was soon to be looked back to with regret as a peaceful breathing-space between two periods of massacre. Caesar completely identified himself with Cinna, and so from the beginning of his life until he overthrew the Roman constitution he was a democrat. On his father's death he broke off the engagement which he had made for him with a wealthy lady and married Cinna's daughter Cornelia, and soon afterward their daughter Julia was born. Caesar married three times, but Julia, who died when quite a young woman, was his only legitimate child.

At the end of this period of peace the eagle Sulla returned to the dove's nest. He had been recalled by the Senate long before, at the bidding of Marius, and had taken no notice, even disregarding a senatorial army sent out to carry on the war in his place. Now, when he wrote to the Senate agreeing to accept the new laws and promising to punish no one but the ringleaders of the movement against him, the Senate replied that Rome could not negotiate with an armed rebel. Rome and Italy armed against Sulla, but the gentle Cinna wished to spare Italy a new war and set out to take his army over to Greece and meet Sulla there. On the way his soldiers, who were all for Sulla, murdered Cinna, and Sulla, therefore, landed unopposed in the spring of 83. So determined were his opponents that the Civil War which followed lasted for several years, and it was not until the close of 82 that Sulla once more entered Rome with an army at his back.

Sulla was no crazy old man, embittered by Rome's ingratitude, like Marius, but his cruelty made that of Marius seem moderation. As city after city had fallen into his hands during the Civil War, garrisons and prisoners had been slain wholesale, and now Rome again became the scene of massacres. The Senate was forced to revive for him the ancient office of dictator, conferring on him absolute power for an unlimited time. This kept up the fiction of republican rule; but Sulla was in fact king. He was a cruel man, and would calmly address the Senate while the cry of crowds being slain in the Circus penetrated to the ears of his terrified audience, and a ghastly heap of the heads of the victims was kept at the point where the Vicus Jugarius ran into the Forum. The only personal revenge he took was in violating the tomb of Marius and scattering his ashes, but he gave his followers the greatest freedom in this way. People like Catiline and the murderer Oppianicus are said to have got Sulla to put down the names of people whom they had made away with on his black list so that they might escape prosecution. The worst feature of the whole thing was that there were no trials. At last Caius Metellus dared to ask him in the Senate when and where he was going to stop, and the cynical Sulla seized the opportunity of issuing a list of the 'proscribed,' at the same time offering a large reward for their apprehension and making death the penalty for giving succour to any of them. This would have been better than the preceding Reign of Terror had the list been final, but it was not closed until June 1, 81, and nobody knew when he went to the Forum to read it whether his name would be there. The rich men of his own party went in dread, for if one of Sulla's freedmen had cast his eye on a country villa or town house or the gardens or hot baths of some rich man, that man's name, as likely as not, went down on the list.

Caesar, just out of his teens, was not proscribed, but the burly dictator summoned him to put away his wife, Cinna's daughter, and the marriage tie was so loose in those days that it would have seemed a small demand in the eyes of most Romans. Caesar, however, was attached to his wife, and perhaps eager to stand up in some way for his party. He hated the Sullan regime, and servility and hypocrisy were not in his character. He refused to put away Cornelia, lost her dower, his own property and his priesthood, and was forced to flee from Rome. Like Marius, he hid in peasants' huts and marshes, and when shivering with the fever of a quartan ague he was compelled to move on from day to day. Sometimes he fell into the hands of Sulla's bloodhounds, but he had great presence of mind and had taken plenty of money with him and he was able to bribe them to let him go. At last the powerful Roman college of the Vestal Virgins, joined with Aurelius Cotta and other important kinsmen, secured his pardon from the dictator; but, it was said in after-days, when Sulla gave way he warned them impressively. "Have your way," he said, "and let him return, but know that Caius Julius Caesar, for whose safety you are so anxious, will one day destroy our party, for in him there are many Mariuses. And he would often bid people "beware of that ill-girt boy."

Sulla restored the chief power in the State to the Senate. The only political power which he left to the people was the power of electing the magistrates. He made it penal for the peoples' tribunes to abuse their powers, and he enacted that tribunes of the plebs  should not be eligible for any other office, thus making it unlikely that stirring and ambitious men would seek that office. He also decreed that no one who had not held the offices of quaestor and praetor and attained the age of forty-three years might be consul, and that a second consulship could not be held until an interval of ten years had elapsed. Having fortified the State against the attacks of its magistrates, Sulla electrified Rome by laying down his dictatorship at the beginning of 79, and retiring into the country, where he died a year later. His abandonment of his royal position and restoration of the free republic won him the gratitude of all, and he was buried by the people in the Campus Martius, an honour equivalent to interment in Westminster Abbey for a British subject.

Despite Caesar's pardon, his friends had not thought it safe for him to stay in Rome, and he was sent out to Asia Minor in 81 on the staff of the praetor Minucius Thermus. He remained in the East until Sulla's death. We know little of his doings in these four years, but in 80, at the storming of Mytilene, he won the civic crown, a garland of oak, given for saving the life of a fellow-citizen. He then served in Cilicia under Servilius Isauricus against the pirates, but directly he learned of the death of Sulla in 78 he hastened back to Rome, where Lepidus was trying to upset the Sullan constitution.

Caesar in the Day of Pompey's Greatness

That Sulla had granted freedom to the republic in fact as well as in name was shown by the election of the democratic leader Lepidus to the consulship of 78 Inc. That he was actually in power when Sulla's death took place raised the highest hopes in the democratic party, but they soon found that in all other ways they were too weak for a new effort. Even the bold Caesar drew off when he got home; and it was with a band of devoted Italians, dispossessed of their estates to make way for Sulla's soldiers, that Lepidus made his march on Rome in 77. He was defeated by the veterans of Sulla in a battle in the Campus Martius, and fled to Sardinia, where he died.

Caesar, therefore, laid aside all ideas of revolution for the present, and started to build up his political career in the usual way, namely, by the study and practice of the law. It was illegal for a Roman advocate to take fees for his services, but he learned how to speak in an effective way, got to know the people who would be his voters when he was old enough to seek the great offices of State, and placed many people under an obligation to him. Whatever party in the State he belonged to, he generally started life by rolling some magnate in the dust of the law courts in order to call attention to himself. Cicero, Caesar's contemporary and only rival in fame, first made a reputation in Rome by attacking an agent of Sulla's, although he was a Conservative himself. Indeed, political beliefs had as little to do as private convictions of right with the Roman lawyer's pleadings. "Business is business," he would say as he stood up to prove that his guilty client was an injured saint, and the plaintiff or defendant, as the case might be, a man unfit to live. "Yes, I know I said that," answered Cicero once, when he was charged with grave inconsistency, "but I was speaking as a barrister, not as a man." Faulty as this education was for a statesman, it taught the young Roman many of the arts of public life and a common-sense, tolerance and knowledge of the world which were usually characteristic of the Roman statesman.

Caesar's first great opportunity was as counsel for the prosecution against Cornelius Dolabella, the proconsul, who was charged with extortion in his province. The senators were always very sensitive in the matter of such prosecutions, as many of them intended to plunder provinces in their turn; and, moreover, they had decreed Dolabella a 'Triumph' on his return and it would be a public disgrace to them if Dolabella's sins were proved against him. As Sulla had restored the jury courts to the Senate, Dolabella was naturally acquitted, but the young Caesar made such an able attack that he created the impression that Dolabella was guilty. After another attack on a magnate in 76 he found that he had made too big a name to start with, and again left Italy for a few years (76-74).

He may have been bitterly disappointed at his failure in these two cases, in both of which, probably, he had right on his side, and he determined to learn oratory from the most celebrated teacher of the time, Apollonius Molo of Rhodes, Cicero's master of rhetoric. On his way out to Rhodes he travelled with all the state of a rich Roman, and probably more grandly than most Romans in private life, for, like the two Ciceros, he fully understood from an early age the advantage of ostentation. A remarkable adventure befell him. His ship was boarded by pirates and he and his attendants were captured. If the tale is not true, it is at least characteristic. The 'man born to be king' laughed when the pirates asked him for twenty talents ransom, promised them fifty, and upbraided them for rating him so low. He sent most of his servants to fetch the sum agreed upon, but was so little afraid of his fierce captors, who would readily have killed him if the caprice had taken them, that he would send to bid them be quiet when he wanted to sleep. He joined in their wild amusements, composed verses and speeches and solemnly recited them, chiding his audience if it showed boredom—all this perhaps by torchlight in a mountain cave, when the pirates, their day's work done, lay round the leaping flames of their rough hearth and related their extraordinary adventures. Caesar often told them that he should return and hang them all, but they had accepted him as a comical fellow and only roared with laughter. At last his ransom came and they bade him a sorrowful farewell; but they saw him back only too soon. He hastened to Miletus and obtained ships from the authorities, returned, and made a great haul of pirates and booty, recovering his ransom. With his strong distaste for brutality, he obtained the mercy for the pirates that their throats should be cut before they were given their due punishment of crucifixion.

He then went on to the peaceful classroom of Molo, and became, like Cicero, though second to Cicero, a great orator. He had a far-reaching voice, and accompanied it with much eager action, always graceful. Cicero in after years wrote to a friend: "What professional speaker would you put above Caesar? Who has such acute sayings, or so many of them, or so well expressed?" And again he characterizes his orations as "elegant, brilliant, lofty, and stately." He was interrupted in his studies by the outbreak of a new war against Mithradates, and at about the close of 74 B.C. once more turned his steps toward Rome. He was about to make a new effort to get into touch with the electorate and prepare in earnest for the magisterial career. He turned his newly-learned oratory to a far different use from that which Cicero made of this weapon, and the difference between his character and that of Cicero is instructive. He had all the self-restraint and reserve which Cicero so sadly lacked. He listened to others and kept his own opinions to himself, as wise politicians have done in every age, while Cicero, receiving a vivid impression from every passing event, was forever talking or writing about his fresh ideas. Posterity has gained inestimably by this habit of Cicero's, and it was the delight both of his true friends and of his concealed enemies, but he lost by it. The Romans could not respect a chatterbox, even if he chattered pearls all the time; they were far more likely to admire a character the extreme opposite of Cicero's, even if it were that of some shallow man posing as the strong, silent, noble Roman of the old school. Such a person was to be found in the greatest figure in Roman society at the time of Caesar's return—Cnaeus Pompey.

All Caesar's public acts had been marked by an extreme boldness, but he had done no important public service so far, and a quarter of a century was to pass before the Romans discovered that he was a greater man than Pompey, a man a few years older than himself. Although only of the Equestrian Order and without aristocratic connections or influence, Pompey had for long been prominent. He changed his political party several times, but belonged to the Conservatives by tradition. His father's house had been plundered in the Marian massacres and the youth had armed three legions to aid Sulla when he returned from the East to subjugate Italy. Sulla gave him the title of imperator  for his services, to the surprise of all, as he was only twenty-three years of age. When he returned from subduing the Roman province of Africa for Sulla, the Dictator greeted him as ' Magnus' (the Great), which was afterward his surname. Before he was old enough to hold the civil offices which gave admission to the Senate he obtained a Triumph for his victories, that is, he received from the Senate permission to enter Rome in a triumphal procession with his spoils and trophies. He owed a great deal to Sulla's favour, but he rose still higher after his death, and was soon far and away the first man in Rome.

Few people nowadays dream of comparing Pompey with either Caesar or Cicero, but then even vain Cicero was tormented with doubts as to whether posterity would not think Pompey a greater man than himself; it never entered his head that Caesar was to be reckoned with. Plutarch has given us this traditional portrait of Pompey:

"Never had any Roman the people's goodwill and devotion more zealous throughout all the changes of fortune, more early in its first springing up, or more steadily rising with his prosperity, or more constant in his adversity than Pompey had. . . . There were many causes that helped to make him the object of their love: his temperance, his skill and exercise in war, his eloquence of speech, integrity of mind, and affability in conversation and address; insomuch that no man ever asked a favour with less offence, or conferred one with a better grace. When he gave, it was without assumption; when he received, it was with dignity and honour. In his youth his countenance pleaded for him, seeming to anticipate his eloquence, and win upon the affections of the people before he spoke. His beauty even in his bloom of youth had something in it at once of gentleness and dignity; and when his prime of manhood came, the majesty and kingliness of his character at once became visible in it."

This delicate drawing would have seemed a true copy but for the other portrait which we find in Cicero's letters. Cicero had the clearest vision of any man of his time, and he often speaks of Pompey as if he were a fair but brainless statue, and later he chows him to us as petty, vindictive, and cruel. In the light of Pompey's later failure many people came to believe that he had always taken the credit for other people's deeds, but this does not seem very probable, and we may leave him the virtue of a knowledge of the art of war.

If Pompey had any rival at all at the time of Caesar's return from Rhodes it was the millionaire Crassus, like himself and Cicero a man of the Equestrian Order. He was a member of a wealthy family of bankers and usurers, and had made immense sums of money by speculating in the property of those proscribed in Sulla's time, and he had gained enormous political influence by lending money to many men of the first rank and position. He was a shrewd and observant man, and there was hardly an undercurrent of Roman society at this time, when so many people were plotting in secret, of which Crassus was not aware. He had, moreover, the gift which every Roman politician aimed at possessing, of knowing the name and business of every man in the city, and of every man who could possibly enter into his life outside the city. He had great personal ambition and some charm as an orator, and he gave corn and great banquets to the people. On the whole he would be an invaluable helper for a great leader, but hardly a great leader himself. He and Pompey were the two most prominent Romans until Caesar's influence began to grow at their expense. The weakness of the Government after Sulla's death soon called all three men to the fore.

Every province of the Empire but Spain had submitted to Sulla, and Spain was still independent under the brilliant Cinnan partisan Sertorius. The Government sent out army after army against Sertorius, and the war was only ended by his assassination in 72; but Pompey, who was at last given chief command by the Senate, gained great fame through winning back this important province, which had given Hannibal in old days a footing for an attack on Italy.

The years of struggle against Sertorius had been years of general warfare throughout the Empire. Mithradates had declared war again at the beginning of 74, and Tigranes, the powerful King of Armenia, was extending his realm in Asia Minor and in Syria almost as far as the Mediterranean. When Mithradates began suddenly to massacre the Romans of Asia Minor, Caesar at Rhodes hastily quitted his classes, raised a corps of volunteers, and held the Pontic king's general at bay until the arrival of the Roman army sent out under Lucullus, one of the famous epicures of antiquity, but a capable man. During the year 74 and onward Lucullus slew army after army of Mithradates and Tigranes, taking vast treasure, and he would have completed their subjugation but for the opposition to all his actions at home, and finally, in 68, a mutiny of his soldiers. He was recalled by the Senate and obeyed, leading his army back to Asia Minor with Mithradates and Tigranes at his heels, and all his work undone.

Thus the eastern boundary of the Empire was left exposed to the ravages of barbarian kings, and at the same time the whole Mediterranean was overrun by pirates, who were sacking seaports, scuttling ships, and selling passengers and crews as slaves if they were not rich enough to pay ransom. Many a Cinnan fugitive and old Sertorian soldier fought under the pirates' flag, and they showed a prowess and organization which put the Roman Government to shame; but it was only when a Roman governor and his suite, going out to his province, were captured, or the pirates sailed up the Tiber, pillaging, that the Government realized the scandal. Indeed, it is probable that prominent Romans had shares in the profits, and that that was the reason why no steps were taken against this scourge.

Worse again than the condition of affairs in the East and on the Mediterranean was a war which had broken out in Italy itself—the Servile or Slaves' War, under the slave gladiator Spartacus, in 73. At first the idea of a Slave War caused amusement at Rome, but soon it was clear that the city itself was threatened as it had been in the days of Hannibal. For three years the Government endured defeat and humiliation, and so unwilling were the Romans to face the slaves that no one offered himself for the praetorship of 71 until Crassus, who had been longing for some great opportunity, came forward. Two consuls had been defeated by Spartacus, and Crassus was a bold man to undertake the war; but fortune favoured him. The gallant Spartacus was thwarted in every way by his own lawless troops, and in six months' time Crassus slew the whole force, including its leader. Pompey returned from Spain in time to win the credit of stamping out the last sparks of revolt, and he and Crassus caused themselves to be elected to the consulship for 70, although Pompey had been neither praetor nor quaestor, and was only thirty-six years of age.

There is no doubt that Pompey, who was afterward to be the great champion of constitutional rule against Caesar, did wrong in seeking the chief magistracy in this illegal way, and it was extremely foolish of the Senate, in fear of his army, to allow him to obtain it; and this was only a foretaste of its future weak conduct toward Caesar. It never learned to 'withstand the beginnings' of things, and then when it had allowed its opponent to become strong it plunged the State into a futile civil war against him. The people were alarmed now when neither of the two new consuls disbanded his army, and the rumour flew round that Pompey and Crassus were mortal enemies and were going to fight it out as Marius and Sulla had done. We do not know to this day what agencies were set to work, but in the end the two rivals laid aside their enmity and acted in concert against the Senate; and Pompey, Sulla's protégé, joined with Crassus in restoring the power of the tribunes of the plebs, associating Roman knights with the senators on the juries, and in other ways destroying the Sullan constitution. Perhaps Pompey saw that one man could never be supreme in Rome with the Senate so strong as Sulla had left it, and though he did not wish to be king he wished to be supreme in Rome.

An incident of Pompey's consulship shows his unique position in the State. It was customary for Roman knights who had served for the required time in the wars to lead their horses into the Forum before the censors, give an account of their service and receive their discharge. The two censors were sitting in state inspecting the knights, when Pompey was seen coming down to the Forum, with his consul's insignia, and leading his horse. His lictors stood aside and he led his horse up to the censors' bench, to the amazement of the people and the gratification of the censors, who were surprised at the haughty consul remembering that he was but a Roman knight and obeying the law like common men. "Then the senior censor examined him," writes Plutarch. "'Pompeius Magnus, I demand of you whether you have served the full time in the wars that is prescribed by the law?' 'Yes,' replied Pompey, with a loud voice, 'I have served all, and all under myself as general. The people hearing this gave a great shout, and made such an outcry for delight, that there was no appeasing it; and the censors rising from their judgment seat accompanied him home to gratify the multitude, who followed after, clapping their hands and shouting."

It was the people who, in 67, gave Pompey the charge of clearing the sea of pirates. Travel was becoming more dangerous from day to day, and so a tribune of the plebs  proposed and carried extraordinary powers for Pompey, complete command of the Mediterranean for three years and whatever forces and supplies he thought necessary; and Pompey added to his glory by clearing the sea of this pest in the space of forty days, thus exposing the senatorial Government which had suffered it so long. Then he took over the command in the East, defeated with the same swiftness Mithradates, Tigranes, and Antiochus, King of Syria, and returned home for his last Triumph in 61. He found that the Senate had become his bitter foe through its fear of him, and he was forced to throw himself into the party which Caesar had been gathering together in these long years.

Caesar as Magistrate

After Caesar's return to Rome from Rhodes at the close of 74 we hear no more for ten years of his prosecution of great men. For long he contented himself with dazzling the common people by prodigality and magnificence, playing the boon companion to the dissolute youths of his own class, and appearing generally to waste his time. It is difficult to imagine him, with his stern, serious face seeming to indicate the subdual of all the passions, as a riotous youth, and it is easy to picture him as reclining on his couch at a feast, the untouched wine cup by his side, his pale face and bright black eyes intently studying the young men of Rome, young men over whom he was one day to be lord and master and now before him as an open book. It is astonishing how late it was before he made a serious reputation, but he was always famous for his fine manners, grace, and courtesy, and he very soon became a social force. The first fruits of his popularity are seen in his election to the rank of an officer in the army (as a military tribune), and in 69 he was made one of the twenty quaestors for the following year.

The quaestorship was the lowest of the higher magistracies, and was obtained by the votes of the people assembled in their tribes. No one might be elected to the office before his thirtieth year. The chief duty of the office was control of the Treasury, and the quaestors were assigned to the various superior magistrates to assist them in their offices. They had, moreover, to pay out of their own pockets for the paving of the public roads. The Roman magistrates afterward obtained many perquisites, but at the beginning of his career a statesman had to empty his purse. Caesar in his quaestorship was attached to the staff of a praetor sent to Spain, did nothing worth recording there, and returned to Rome before he ought to have done. He used his office to bring himself well before the world's eye, and at last got the opportunity of attacking in a mild way the deeds of Sulla, shocking and startling the Senate and confirming his reputation as a daring democrat. The death of Julia, his aunt, the widow of Marius, took place, and he caused the images of Marius, cast down by Sulla, to be borne in her funeral procession. The joy of the crowd, which only remembered that Marius was a great man of their own class cruelly hunted to death by the brutal aristocrat Sulla, knew no bounds, and the Senate dared not interfere. Caesar pronounced an eloquent funeral oration in the Forum and recalled the glories of his aunt's own house as well as the achievements of her husband, for was she not descended like all the Julian family from Ancus Martius, and Iulus, the son of Aeneas and the goddess Venus? It was customary to make funeral orations over Roman matrons like Julia, but he had no precedent for the public speech which he next made in honour of his wife Cornelia, who died, and the splendour of these celebrations was much talked about. Cornelia's place was taken by the young Pompeia, divorced by Caesar in 62 on account of the scandal caused by Clodius' violation of the mysteries of the Bona Dea; for, as this man, born to be king, said, "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion."

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


He had still better opportunities of winning over the people as curule aedile in 65. There were two plebeian and two patrician aediles in Rome. The latter were called 'curule' because they were allowed curule chairs, beside the purple-bordered toga. They had charge of the sanitary arrangements of the city and were inspectors of weights and measures, and were to a certain extent censors of morals. These weighty matters thus came into Caesar's province at this time, and he showed in after years that he made himself master of the details of city government. It was also part of his duty to arrange the public games and spectacles and to give games at his own expense, and he did so with exceptional magnificence, splendidly decorating the Forum and Capitol. The Senate was so terrified by the number of gladiators he brought into the city to make a Roman holiday that a law was passed forbidding the bringing in of more than a specified number; three hundred and twenty pairs were nevertheless exhibited. The other curule aedile was Marcus Bibulus, and although he contributed a great deal to the enormous expense of the shows, Caesar got all the credit with the people. He took no interest in these savage sights himself, reading his book with lowered eyes while before him in the arena poor wretches—gladiators or beasts—battered or tore each other to death, and around him every Roman of every rank gloated over the spectacle. The crowning act of the year was the restoration by the popular aedile of the images and trophies of Marius and the figure of Victory to the Capitol.

During the next few years it seems certain that Caesar was meditating a more serious attack on Sullan arrangements, though there is nothing to prove that he joined with Crassus in 65, as is related, in a plot to murder the Senate, or that he joined in the famous Catilinarian Conspiracy of 63. He may have been working with others to undermine the constitution, but he openly prosecuted the agents of Sulla's murders. His attack on Rabirius, who was believed to have struck the fatal blow at Saturninus, was so bitter that it prejudiced people in favour of Rabirius, defended by Cicero.

The year 63 was of the utmost moment to Caesar and a crucial year in the history of Rome. He sought by immense bribery to win the office of High Priest (Pontifex Maximus), although the most influential men in the State were candidates; and he was forced to add to the already huge sum of his debts to do so. Plutarch says that he owed thirteen thousand talents (about £3,000,000) before he ever held any public office, and, although this must be an exaggeration, it is surprising how much young Romans who were expected to rise to the highest positions in the State could borrow. When they obtained their provinces they could pay their debts from the pockets of the provincials, and there were plenty of usurers willing to take the risk in the case of a young man like Caesar. His affairs were in such a desperate plight that he said to his mother, kissing her as he left home on the morning of the elections, "To-day you will see me High Priest or an exile!" He returned as High Priest, and the Julian family removed from their modest house in the Suburra to the pontifical palace in the Sacred Street, the main street of the city. The Sacred Street led into the Forum, where public men used to walk for social purposes even when there was no assembly of the people to be addressed from the Rostra, and it continued to be Caesar's abode until his death. He was an outspoken disbeliever (perhaps he became so as flamen when he was a boy,) but it was by a large majority that he had been raised to a position which gave him immense religious control in Rome. It also gave him a special sort of political influence, for Roman politics were closely bound up with religious usages. Later on in this year he moved up the next step in the regular political ladder, being appointed praetor for 62; and as praetor-elect he sat on the praetor's bench in the Senate House when the Catilinarian Conspiracy was unmasked by Cicero.

The senatorial party, called by Cicero the Best (optimates), the Good (boni) , or Conservatives (conservatores rei), were living at this time in a state of panic like that of the Protestants of England in the time of Titus Oates, for fear of the democrats, called by Cicero sometimes the populaces, sometimes the Evil Ones; and in 63 a plot came to a head. The conspirators were drawn from many ranks of Roman society. Cicero always persisted that they were chiefly debtors who wished for a revolution so that they might mend their financial conditions; and these debtors, he thought, were chiefly young men of fashion, whom he always talked of as though they were the worst class in the community—"the bearded youths (it was an affectation to wear a beard), all that flock of Catiline." Besides these Evil Ones, there was a large class of idle poor, maintained by public or private alms and merely longing for revolution to vary the monotony of the theatre and the gladiatorial shows. Owing to slavery Rome had little of the free working-class element; her poorer citizens had now few qualities which commanded respect, and they were swamped by outsiders—paupers whom the corn doles had attracted to the capital, or foreigners who had drifted there in great numbers. Even a humane man like Cicero could speak with disgust of "the blood-sucker of the Treasury, the wretched and needy mob," and Shakespeare's picture of it in Julius Caesar  seems to be little if at all exaggerated. Then, also, the heirs of those who had lost their property by Sulla's proscriptions dreamed of a counter-revolution in which they should come by their own again. The revolutionists were supposed to hold secret meetings at the house of Caesar or Crassus, but this was never proved against either of the two, and there was very little proof of a plot at all, just sufficient for Cicero to seize some of the ringleaders and bring them to justice.

The head of the movement was said to be Catiline, whose name could not be left out of a list of the world's chief villains, owing to the oratory of Cicero. Sallust, only twenty-three years of age at this time, afterward drew a portrait of Catiline on the lines laid down by Cicero. He speaks of his face stamped with vice and misery, his pale, livid complexion, his baleful eyes, his unequal, agitated step. Every vice possible to humanity was put down to him, and it was believed that he had organized this plot to slay the Senate and consuls and burn the city to ashes. Strange to say, this monster was one of the most popular men in Rome, even as Caesar was, and the friend of many magnates, including, until a short time before, Cicero himself; and when in later years Cicero was defending a client who had been an associate of Catiline's, he pleaded that Catiline had enough show of virtue to deceive people. Cicero's oratory was a wonderful thing. To-day his speeches seem like sensational fiction of the highest kind; we still feel as we read them something of the horror which Roman juries must have felt against the lurid villains he painted, and we know that we must allow for the effect made by his matchless voice. All the more we feel sympathy for the defendant who urged that he ought not to be condemned because the plaintiff had retained such an eloquent advocate, and in the light of Cicero's later admissions many people have felt inclined to whitewash Catiline. Perhaps the small piece of truth which inspired all the tale of horror was that Catiline had really made up his mind to have Cicero and a few other optimates  murdered.

Catiline, impeached for his conduct as propraetor in 67-66, and said to have been leader of the plot of 65, was in 64 competitor with Cicero for the consulship and supported by Crassus and Caesar; but the party of order rallied round Cicero and he was not returned. He tried again in 63 and confidently expected to be successful, but failed again, and, so runs the story, he lost all hope of ever holding the consulship. This meant that he would never have a province to pillage, and that his financial ruin was irretrievable. He therefore began to store arms at various places in Italy, and to attack Cicero openly in the Senate, where the other consul, Antonius, and many of the senators, it was believed, were in the plot. Cicero, as consul, was in a very awkward position, as Pompey, who would probably have kept order in the State, was away in the East. He promised his colleague the richest of the provinces for his pro-consulship if he would stand by him, and he foiled all attempts at murder by never appearing in public without a large bodyguard of friends and clients. At last the appointed day came, the 7th of November. It was a Roman custom to receive at daybreak, and at that hour assassins went to his house and asked to see him; but Cicero's spies had informed him and the murderers were refused admittance. Cicero then went to the Senate and persuaded the Fathers that the situation was very serious.

Moved by his urgent demands they passed the solemn decree which gave extraordinary powers to the consuls—"that the consuls should take care that the State suffered no detriment." Armed with this authority Cicero crushed the whole plot. Military night-watches were stationed in the city, regular troops and gladiators were sent to Etruria and other disaffected parts of Italy, and large rewards were offered for information. The curious thing was that no informers came forward, though it was an opportunity for slaves to win their freedom. On the contrary, the proclamation caused surprise and panic. Throughout the year, although aware that he was suspected by Cicero, Catiline had walked about cool and dauntless, and he even dared to attend the Senate until Cicero arose and made his first famous Catilinarian Oration, on the 8th of November. He sought to answer, still perfectly composed, but there was a great clamour of the Good, and the words "Traitor" "Murderer!" resounded through the Senate House. Turning his ghastly face on his fellow-senators, Catiline menaced them all and fled that night, leaving Lentulus, Cethegus, and others, it was said, to be ready to burn Rome at a given signal. He was thereupon declared a public enemy.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


Shortly afterward letters incriminating the chief conspirators were obtained. The Senate was at once summoned by Cicero to the temple of Concord, less easy to be stormed than the Senate House, and a body of armed Roman knights, with his friend Atticus at their head, was placed on guard outside. The four conspirators who had been arrested by the consul were given into the custody of eminent citizens, and by a piece of acute diplomacy Cicero assigned one to the keeping of Crassus, another to that of Caesar. A debate was then held as to the fate of the prisoners, although it was very doubtful whether the Senate had the right of constituting itself a high court of justice. Moreover, this was a case of life and death, and even the regular law courts had not the right of pronouncing the death sentence on a Roman citizen; from the earliest days of the Republic that right had belonged to the people, and had only been infringed during the disturbances of the Gracchi and the Marian and Sullan revolutions. The consul-elect, however, rose and proposed that the conspirators should be forthwith put to death, and every speaker that followed advocated the same until Caesar rose. A kind of shorthand is said to have been used for taking down the debates, and it is possible that Sallust gives a correct version of Caesar's wise and statesmanlike speech, though it has often been thought that he added a good deal to it. Passion ran too high, at present, Caesar said, and obscured judgment, and so they were proposing a course which was directly contrary to the laws of their country. He spoke courteously of the consul-elect and of the zeal and wisdom of Cicero, but urged the danger to the lives of future citizens of making a precedent of this sort. He proposed perpetual imprisonment in Italian strongholds, and as usual seized the opportunity of shocking the Senate (half of whom agreed with him, but thought that such things should not be said in public) by stating that death would be an insufficient punishment for such evil men, since death ended all. His speech had no weight, for many of his hearers believed that he was only trying to shield his accomplices, but Cicero was to suffer severely in later days for having taken no thought of this side of the question. The young Cato first comes to the front in this debate, and he, of course, was for death. He was a worthy descendant of Cato the Censor, who cut the water-pipes by which certain degenerate Romans led water to their houses. This descendant was the only senator whom Cicero venerated, but the latter was sometimes angry with him for being so unbending. "He thinks he is living in the republic of Plato," he said, "instead of in the dregs of Romulus."

The death sentence was passed, and Cicero himself led away Lentulus, well-guarded, while the praetors look the others. Caesar, leaving the temple, is said to have been threatened by the knights, who had no doubt about his guilt.

Meanwhile Catiline and the ruined youth of Rome were beset by the consular army, and early in 62 were defeated and slain, selling their lives so dearly that almost as many Roman veterans as Roman rakes fell. Catiline, who had been fighting like a great captain and hero, left almost alone on his side, rushed on to the bristling line before him and sank pierced by many wounds. Caesar's revolt against the Republic was to be very different, and to have a very different result.

On the last day of December 63 Cicero's consulship came to an end, and on the first day of January 62 Caesar entered on his praetorship. The praetors, of whom there were then eight in number, controlled the course of justice in Rome, subject to the right of appeal to the people. After a year's service in the city they went out to the provinces as governors, under the title of propraetors, and having imperium, that is, military command. In the city they had two lictors each, in the provinces six. The consuls had not arrived at the Senate House when Caesar took his place. They had gone, as was customary, escorted by crowds of followers, to offer sacrifice at the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and to take the auspices. He hastened to introduce a measure for taking the task of restoring the Capitol from the eminent aristocrat Catulus, meaning to give it to Pompey, whose friendship he was anxious to win. The senators in the consuls' train got wind of what was going on, rushed down to the Curia and compelled him to withdraw his bill. He then proceeded to annoy them in another way. Directly Cicero had laid down his consulship he had been attacked by the tribune Metellus Nepos, who had prevented him from making a speech on his laying down office, on the ground that he had put to death Roman citizens without trial; and now Caesar gave his countenance to Metellus in fresh attacks. When they sought to carry a bill for giving Pompey military command in Italy, on the pretext of stamping out the last embers of the Catilinarian Conspiracy, the Senate suspended them both. Caesar quietly went on with his duties until he heard that the Senate was sending officers to break up his courts; he then dismissed his lictors, threw aside his magistrate's robe and fled, refusing the offer of the angry multitude, whose idol he was, to aid him in asserting his rights. In return for this submission the Senate, which had been prepared for war, reinstated him in the most honourable fashion, sending its leading men to thank him publicly and summon him back.

Caesar's praetorship was marked by no other events, and in 61 he went to Farther Spain as propraetor. He was in the disgraceful predicament of not being able to leave Rome on account of his creditors, and said sadly—so the story goes—that he needed twenty-five million sesterces (about 220,000) to have nothing at all; but Crassus came to the rescue and he was able to go to his province. He spent the whole time of his stay in Spain in winning experience of war, subduing tribes which remained independent and sending home so much spoil that the Senate decreed him a Triumph. Characteristically he made preparations for the utmost splendour, but his plans were dashed by the discovery that he could not enter Rome in time for the elections if he took his Triumph. He was entering for the consulship of 59, and he wrote to the Senate to ask permission to be elected in his absence; but Cato prevented consent being given. The Conservatives dreaded his consulship, and hoped that he would take the Triumph and postpone the consulship. He proved, however, for the first time, his hard, keen sense and practical nature by abandoning his magnificent preparations and hastening to the city to enter his name as a candidate.

The year of his absence had been marked by the return of Pompey from the East and by his quarrel with the Senate, which, afraid of his warlike reputation, had determined to thwart him in every way in its power. Therefore, to his great wrath, Pompey found it impossible to get his arrangements in the East ratified, or State lands granted to his veteran soldiers, to whom he had promised them. Cicero mocks him sitting in silence in the Senate, looking down on his triumphal robe, and declares that he was most unpopular with the Evil Ones, while he had lost all consideration with the Good, and was "neither attractive, nor simple, nor politically upright, nor illustrious, nor strong, nor frank." In every letter to Atticus the orator found new epithets of disapprobation for Pompey, but he knew that the Senate would be wise to keep friendly with him; and he was even more displeased with the Good, led by the quixotic Cato, who quarreled with the Equestrian Order, to which the rich Crassus belonged, about the Asiatic taxes. Even though the publicans were grossly in the wrong, he said, the Senate needed their support if the State was not to be wrecked by the populares. Cato, however, led the Senate, and he cared little for Cicero's great political idea, the binding together of the Senate and Equestrian Order against the forces of revolution. The Senate entirely alienated Pompey, and this led Crassus and Pompey to form with Caesar the First Triumvirate (60 B.C.) and helped him to his consulship of 59.

The elections in July 60 were among the most exciting in the history of the Republic. The Conservatives had a well-founded dread of Caesar, but they knew that with Pompey and Crassus to back him they could not prevent his election. All they could do was to secure a stout Conservative colleague for him. They chose as their candidate Bibulus, who had already been his colleague as aedile, and was, Cicero tells us, the greatest fool of their number. They made it a matter of the utmost moment to exclude the candidate whom Caesar desired as his colleague, and even Cato consented to bribery on the largest scale. Such a proceeding was illegal, and we may be sure that Cato would not have done it for his own personal gain, but the Romans had long accepted the fatal principle of doing evil that good might come. There were very rarely prosecutions on this account and it was almost always done. The different candidates for office belonged to political clubs in which there was usually a regular official for the reception and distribution of bribe-money. Bibulus, who was Cato's son-in-law, was returned by these secret means, and as Caesar's colleague he lent the chief touch of comedy to the events of a year that was very amusing in Roman history, the year of Caesar's consulship, although behind the comedy lay very grave issues.

Caesar and Bibulus entered on office on January 1, 59, and from the first moment Caesar administered the State without taking any notice of Bibulus. The Conservatives raged against the 'kings'—Caesar and Pompey—and there were sometimes hisses when they appeared, but they had a very strong party to support them. The names of the consuls of the year were used to date documents, and wags, when writing anything of an informal nature, would put: "This befell in the consulship of Julius and Caesar." Soon a street song ran:

Caesar of late did many things, but Bibulus not one:

For nought by consul Bibulus can I remember done.

Caesar was guilty of no personal rudeness to Bibulus but once in his life do we find such a thing recorded of him—and he allowed him the first turn at being attended by the twelve consular lictors, it being the custom for the consuls to have them every alternate month; but he never allowed Bibulus to step between him and his measures.

Caesar's measures—the 'Julian Laws'—were simply for the satisfaction of himself, the Roman knights and Pompey, and he carried them through in the revolutionary way of the Gracchi. The first was his Agrarian Law for the distribution of lands to poor citizens who had three or more children, the preference being given to Pompey's veterans. This law he proposed in the Senate, but its opposition was such that in future, like the Gracchi, he carried bills straight to the people. The voters, afraid of senatorial violence, came to the Assembly with daggers concealed under their garments, but the Conservatives were overawed by the presence of Pompey and his disbanded soldiers, ready, as Pompey said openly, to come to Caesar's aid. Pompey must have regretted his conduct bitterly in later years, and the Senate must have mourned over the fact that it had driven him into Caesar's arms. Now its only idea of obstruction was to declare that the omens in the sacrifices were unfavourable to Caesar's bills, and that they could not, therefore, be passed. We can hardly blame Caesar for taking no notice of this excuse, but Bibulus and his followers were furious. Bibulus determined to risk his life for his party. With his lictors and fasces  and consular following he entered the Forum where Caesar was addressing the people from the Rostra, in order to protest against the ill-omened legislation proceeding. His lictors were at once overpowered, their fasces  were broken, and one of the tribunes who stood near was wounded in the struggle. Bibulus, though foolish, was of undaunted spirit, and he bared his throat and bade the crowd strike. "I may not be able to persuade Caesar to act rightly," he cried, "but I may fix the stigma of my assassination to his name."

He was seized and borne off by his friends, and Cato, who now came on the scene, was carried away again and again as he sought to address the people from the Rostra. The people accepted the agrarian bill, with the clause that all the senators should take an oath to observe it. When many of the senators refused, no doubt meaning to repeal it directly the year was over, they passed another law by which death was to be the penalty for refusing the oath. Then even Cato took it, and for the rest of the year the senators simply sulked in passive helplessness, Bibulus remaining shut up in his own house for all the weary months. It was bad policy, for it left Caesar a free field, and if they were ever going to fight him, now was the time. Pompey's acts in Asia were ratified, and one-third of the publicans' debt to the State was remitted. This act may have been meant purely to win over the Equestrian Order, but it was a deed of mercy to the provincials. If the publicans paid less to the Treasury, they would not have to be bled so seriously to recoup the publicans. A new act was passed against extortion in the provinces, and only very bitter Conservatives could say that evil of any sort had been carried through.

Spectacles, gladiatorial games, and largesses made the year a delightful one for the common people, and Caesar could easily have obtained from the Assembly of the people the measure he wanted for himself—the grant of Gaul as his province when his consulship was over. The Senate had been above all things afraid of his having a province which would mean the control of an army, and before he entered on office it had assigned the care of the roads and forests for his proconsulship. Now the people voted him Cisalpine Gaul and Illyria, and the Senate thereupon voted him the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul for five years. It knew that if it did not act he would get what he wanted from the people, and it claimed the exclusive right to assign provincial governments. It would have been better to make a stand now than nine years later when he returned from Gaul with a devoted army and wealth enough to win the favour of half the citizens; but at this time the Senate, thanks to its treatment of Pompey, had no one on whom it could call to oppose Caesar. So he was allowed to obtain command of—given, in fact—a province where a great war was brewing, and from which he was to return in nine years' time to make himself practically king.

It is an interesting question as to how far Caesar planned out his future career at this early date. Was he weary of the petty bickering and scheming of Roman political life and longing to do something more worthy of a Roman away from it all? Was it likely that a man over forty would plot to seize power in Rome by going away for nine years and exposing himself to the dangers and fatigue of marches and wars among the most dreaded of all the foes of Rome? Was it plan, or good fortune, or inspiration? There always remains a mystery about the motives of a man of genius, and we do not know enough about Caesar to answer these questions. It is certain that the Gallic conquest on which he was bound was of great value to Rome. It made her northern border safe for the first time in history, and it is possible that Caesar, an impressionable child when Marius returned to Rome with his Gallic glory, had always dreamed of following in Marius's footsteps. By the thoroughness of his work in Gaul he was to show that besides being a great soldier, he was a good patriot.

At the same time, if he had any plans for replacing the rule of the selfish Senate by an enlightened despotism, this was perhaps the only way. Warlike glory was the path by which Romans of the last half century had risen to supreme power. Marius and Sulla had been great soldiers, and so was Pompey who might be a new Sulla if he liked. Whether by plan or good fortune, he was to prepare in his absence for his future rule more surely than if he had spent every moment in Rome. Two stories, possibly not true, point to personal ambition. When he was journeying, says Plutarch, by the Alps to Spain, he passed through a hamlet of wretchedly poor barbarians. His companions wondered, mockingly, if there were any canvassing for office or political strife in this humble spot, but Caesar declared seriously that he would rather be the first man in this village than the second man in Rome. Again, he is said to have expressed dissatisfaction with his own youth, so inglorious when compared with that of Alexander the Great.

Caesar in Gaul

Both Pagan and Christian writers, looking at the progress of the world, have often expressed their belief that men like Caesar, who have disturbed the whole course of history, were agents of some force outside themselves. So far-reaching are the consequences of their actions that they seem part of a wider plan than any which the conquerors or revolutionists themselves proposed. In the conquest of Gaul and the projected conquest of Britain, Caesar, working only for his own ends and those of Rome, laid the foundations of the civilization of two great nations. We are inclined to underestimate the direct influence of Rome on Britain, but it is impossible to overestimate the influence of Rome on Gaul and the later France, and through France on Britain.

The peoples of Gaul, mostly Celts, were, though living under the tribal system, far from being barbarians at Caesar's coming. They lived in large wooden houses with thatched roofs, and stone buildings were not unknown; these were grouped together in towns, some of them fortified, connected by roads and by bridges over the rivers. They traded with their fellow Celts in Britain, Ireland, and Spain, and even imported objects from the districts round the Danube and Baltic, while they had some scientific knowledge and much artistic skill. One may almost gather from Roman writers that the tribes were distinguished by tartans, and the chieftains wore finely-wrought armour, and gold ornaments on their necks and arms. They wore trousers and, in the north, had long hair. Caesar describes them as tall, fair-haired men with blue eyes, so different from the French people of the present time that some writers think that this must have applied only to the chieftains, with whom he would have most to do; but others are of opinion that the change may have come about with the increase of town life, for it seems agreed upon to-day that fair people tend to die out in towns. Probably we must not imagine all the Gauls of that time as fair-haired giants, but Caesar was certainly struck by the prevalence of that type. The country must have been very well populated even then—unlike Italy with its great solitudes. The southern portion, from the Alps to the Pyrenees, had been in Roman possession since 121 and was known as Narbonensis, or simply as the Province, whence its later name 'Provence'; it extended northward as far as Geneva. Farther north the country was almost unknown to the Romans.

The Gauls themselves had caused the Romans little anxiety for a century, and, especially those near the Roman Province, had begun to absorb Roman culture and lose their old love of war. The danger now came from the Germans beyond the Rhine who were threatening to swarm over their boundaries and thrust the Gauls out of their country and attack the Roman Province, and might then be expected in Italy itself. It was to protect the Province that Caesar had been commissioned, and many thought that he did an illegal thing in going beyond the Province, annexing Gaul and even carrying the war into Germany. He was justified to some extent by the invitation of some of the Gallic tribes.

Before Caesar's appearance there were in Gaul two chief factions, led by the tribes of Aedui and Arverni respectively. Both adjoined the Province, and the Romans had been glad to secure the alliance of the Aedui, to whom they granted the proud title of Allies and Friends of the Roman People. After many years' warfare with the Aedui, the Arverni (dwellers in what is now called Auvergne) and the Sequani, also neighbours of the Romans, had been rash enough to bribe the Germans across the Rhine to come to their aid. A large band of Germans answered their call, but, struck by the fertility and plenty of the land into which they had come, refused to depart; others followed, and now, it was reckoned, there were 120,000 Germans in the country. The Aedui, who in 61 sent to Rome to ask for help, had been reduced, but suffered far less than the tribes who had called the Germans in. Ariovistus, a famous German king, settled among the Sequani, whose lands were the richest in Gaul, and began to drive them out. At the same time German pressure was driving the Helvetii from their homes in modern Switzerland into Gaul in the neighbourhood of the Province. Cicero says that the whole talk of Rome early in the year 60 was of the Aeduan petition and the expected Helvetian migration.

The Helvetii were not ready to set forth until 58, when they burned all their towns and all the corn which they could not carry with them, so that whatever happened the more timid should not think of returning home. Their numbers amounted to 368,000, including 92,000 warriors; and when Caesar, who had not yet set forth, heard that they intended to cross the Province, he started out at once, marched at the rate of ninety miles a day with only one legion, arrived at Geneva in eight days' time, and cut down the bridge over the Rhone before the arrival of the Helvetii. He built fortifications and prevented their crossing at this point; and as they changed their route to the Pas de 1'Ecluse, the narrow pass between Mount Jura and the Rhone, he dashed back into Italy, collected more troops, led them over the Alps, and arrived in the neighbourhood of Lyons before the whole body of the enemy had crossed over the Saone. Those who were left behind he slew, then bridged the Saone (probably with boats), and started in pursuit of the main body of homeless wanderers. They sent ambassadors to assure him that they would not enter Roman territory and would settle in any place he would appoint, but as nothing would please him except their return they bade him defiance.

With the assistance of the Aedui, not all of them too well pleased to see the Romans interfering in their affairs, he slowly followed the Helvetii down the Loire valley, but, turning north toward the Aeduan capital, Bibracte (on Mont Beuvray), for supplies, he was followed in his turn, and a great battle took place. If the accounts are correct, over 200,000 of the Helvetian force, including all the women and children, were slain by the Romans. The conquerors, after some delay caused by attending to their sick and dead, followed the fugitives toward the Vosges Mountains to the north. They sent in despair to offer surrender; but while negotiations were going on about 6000 of the boldest of them stole away from their camp and made for the Rhine, hoping to cross it before they could be overtaken.

Caesar heard of their flight and sent swift messengers with orders to the tribes through whose territory the fugitives would have to pass that they must arrest them if they wished to be free from blame in his eyes, and they were speedily brought back and slain. The rest he supplied with corn and sent back to Switzerland with orders to rebuild their towns, for he was afraid that the deserted site might tempt new immigrants from the right bank of the Rhine.

Ariovistus remained to be dealt with, and Caesar's task was complicated by the fact that he himself in his consulship had recognized him as a Friend of the Roman people, hoping that this would induce him to leave the Province alone until an army was ready to oppose him. Only the Rhone lay between the Sequani, among whom Ariovistus had established himself, and the Province, and Caesar, remembering the terrible Cimbri and Teutons of his childhood, now determined to send the Germans back to their country. He sent to order the barbarian King to leave the Aedui and their allies alone, to restore hostages he had taken from them and to bring no more Germans across the Rhine; but Ariovistus replied that he minded his own affairs and expected the Romans to mind theirs. He warned Caesar against venturing in a battle with him, since he had with him a host of veterans who had not slept under a roof for fourteen years. At the same time Caesar heard that a hundred cantons of the Germanic tribe of the Suebi were preparing to cross the Rhine. Fearful of their forces joining Ariovistus, he hastened by forced marches toward the King's camp. On the way he heard that Ariovistus meant to occupy Vesontio (Besancon), the capital of the Sequani, and to make it his base; but, journeying day and night, he seized it before the King could come up. Before he left this town a panic broke out in the Roman army. Tales of the immense stature of the Germans and of their marvelous skill and strength crept into the camp, and at last it came to be whispered that people fled at the sight of their faces and terrible, glittering eyes. The panic started with the young men of fashion, the 'carpet knights' as we should call them, whom Caesar, like other Roman generals, took out with him as officers with almost nominal duties. A few were restrained by shame, but nearly all of these young aristocrats began to ask for leave of absence on extraordinary excuses, while the rest could not muster up any appearance of cheerfulness and wept occasionally. They all made their wills, and Caesar, in his history of these wars, describes their condition of mind with amusement; but the matter became serious when his brave centurions and the common soldiers caught the alarm and began to murmur that the paths by which they would have to pass were perilously narrow and the woods fearsomely thick, while their food supply was dangerously small. At last some of the centurions actually told the general that when he ordered the camp to be raised and the standards carried onward no one would pay any heed to his orders.

In this grave danger Caesar called together a council of all ranks, and sternly rebuked the centurions for venturing to express opinions on the conduct of the war. He hoped to come to terms with the Germans, but if not, what was there to fear? "Proof was made of this enemy in our fathers' time," he said in his cold, but stirring and impressive, way, "and when the Cimbri and Teutons were repulsed by Caius Marius not less honour was won by his soldiers than renown by their general. Those who pretend fear as to the supplies and the route act presumptuously in appearing to despond or offer advice in a matter which is the general's province. I have seen to it that the Sequani, Leuci, and Lingones supply us, and there is early grain in the fields; as to the nature of the route, you will soon be able to judge of it for yourselves. As to the statement made to me that no one will listen to the command to march or bear the standards forward, I pay not the slightest heed to it. . . . I am now going to do at once what I intended to delay a while, and shall raise the camp at three o'clock to-morrow morning, for I wish to find out which will win—shame and duty, or fear. And if no one else follows me I shall go on alone with the Tenth legion, which shall be in future my praetorian cohort."

With this threat to the young men of rank who formed his bodyguard he ceased, and studied the effect of his speech. He was eloquent, like most great leaders of men. Zeal and longing for war had seized on all, as if by magic, and when the Tenth legion, his favourite, heard what he had said of it, the soldiers, thrilled with pride, sent their tribunes to thank him, while the officers of all the other legions were instructed to tell the general that they would obey his commands and had never doubted or feared or dreamed of offering their opinion on the conduct of the war. Their excuses were accepted, and the army started for the Rhine by a circuitous route in order to avoid the woods which they so much dreaded, and on the seventh day they learned by scouts that Ariovistus was but twenty miles away.

A meeting took place between Caesar and Ariovistus, and the latter treacherously tried to slay him and his guard, for, as he told him, he knew that such a deed would be very well received by many in Rome. Negotiations were, of course, broken off, but it was some days before Caesar could force the King to a battle, and meanwhile the latter managed to cut him off from his supplies. The German chief meant to fight, but prophetesses in his camp had bidden him wait until the new moon. When Caesar learned this he marched forward in battle array and compelled Ariovistus to come out and meet him. So fierce an onslaught did the now eager Romans make when the signal was given, and so swiftly did the enemy rush forward, that there was not room to hurl the javelins. The Romans, therefore, dropped their javelins, drew their swords, leaped on the enemy's thick phalanx, and, often tearing the shields from the foe's hands, made fearful slaughter. The whole force soon turned in flight and did not stop until it had reached the Rhine, followed by the Roman cavalry. A very few, including the chief, found boats or swam across. The report of this defeat of Ariovistus and his terrible companions struck awe into the hearts of Gauls and Germans, and the hosts of Suebi arrayed on the other side of the stream at once returned to their homes.

Caesar had thus brought two great wars to an end in one summer, and he had created in his army a confidence which was to work miracles. It had become in one campaign a sword of almost magic powers in his hands. He sent it into winter quarters earlier than the season demanded and put his legate Labienus, soon to be famous, in charge. Then he retired to hold the courts and perform other duties of his office in Cisalpine Gaul until the spring of 57 made a new campaign possible.

The whole of the year 57 was spent in reducing the Belgae, the warlike people of northern Gaul; they were descendants of the Germans across the Rhine, and inhabitants of the districts we know as northern France and Belgium. They had been made uneasy by the Romans wintering in Gaul, and were arming to fight for the liberty of their country. The most southerly tribe of the Belgae, the Remi, whose capital is commemorated by Rheims, was too exposed to withstand the Romans, but certainly made a patriotic attempt to frighten them by accounts of the numbers and prowess of the host that they would have to face—300,000 warriors, they said. The other tribes were furious at their having any dealings with the Romans and began to burn down their hamlets as a punishment; and as Caesar felt that he could not trust them in these circumstances, and took their chief men as hostages, they fared badly at first. Caesar placed his camp on the River Aisne, where he could give them some protection, and soon lights and fires extending for about five miles told him that an army vast indeed was encamped close to him. For some time only cavalry skirmishes took place, but the Romans slew a large number of the enemy as they were trying to ford the river. This disheartened them, and as they were getting short of provisions they determined to return to their homes and face Caesar there. They were discussing the matter when news arrived that the Aedui had invaded their territory in order to make a diversion in Caesar's favour. Breaking up their camp in the careless manner of barbarians, they departed with a great noise and without any discipline, for all the world like a beaten force in flight. Caesar at first feared a plot, and remained in his camp until the following day, but then he learned the truth and started in pursuit. His cavalry, sent on in front, overtook the straggling host and slew multitudes of those in the rear, only being stopped by sunset, when, according to orders, they returned to their own quarters.

The Belgae suffered such losses in this march, and Caesar appeared in such force before their chief towns, that the Suessiones (whose name remains in Soissons), the Bellovaci, the most powerful of all the tribes, and the Ambiani (whose name remains in Amiens) all submitted and gave him large numbers of hostages; but he had a desperate and memorable conflict with the Nervii on the banks of the River Sambre.

Scouts sent on before had chosen for the site of his camp a hill sloping down to the left bank of the Sambre; on the opposite bank rose a hill which had an open space below it and half-way up its sides, but was covered with impenetrable woodland, suitable for an ambush, above. Many of the defeated Belgae and other Gauls had attached themselves to the Roman army, and some of them now departed by night to give the Nervii information as to Caesar's movements. When a battle was not expected, the Roman army usually marched with a quantity of baggage following each legion, and the informers instructed the Nervii to attack the first legion as it came up and seize the baggage, for then, they said, the other legions would not dare to remain to fight. The Nervii therefore hid a large force in the woods on the hill on the right bank of the Sambre opposite the Roman camp, distributed a few cavalry pickets on the plain below to tempt the Romans on, and waited for their appearance.

The Nervii were a remarkable tribe, by far the most warlike with which Caesar had yet come into conflict. They allowed no merchants to enter their territories, and would not permit wine to be brought in, or anything else which might lead to self-indulgence and love of ease. They chid the other tribes for making their peace with the Romans, and declared angrily that they would never do so themselves. As they were poor cavalry soldiers, they covered their territory with thick, wall-like hedges, which impeded the enemy's horse and provided excellent cover for themselves. It was fortunate for Caesar in the conflict which was approaching that he had altered his order of march before he came up with this valiant and wily foe. As usual when he approached an enemy, he led the larger part of the army in front, unhampered by any baggage; then the baggage followed, and the two legions composed of the latest levies brought up the rear.

The Roman cavalry, sent on as usual, with the stingers and archers, crossed the stream and started to fight with the cavalry pickets of the Nervii; but these retreated into cover, dashing out again unexpectedly, and the Romans dared not follow. Then the first six legions arrived and began to fortify the Roman camp. This was the signal for which the concealed Nervii were waiting, drawn up in battle array, in the woods. They dashed out and scattered the Roman cavalry in one charge, swarmed with incredible swiftness across the stream and up the opposite hill and began to attack the soldiers busy on the camp. The enemy seemed in one moment to appear everywhere, and, impeded by their presence and by the thickset hedges, Caesar had to prepare for battle with the utmost rapidity. He sent to recall the soldiers who had gone to a distance to search for material for the rampart of the camp, set out the standard which was the signal for attack, and bade the trumpet be blown. The Romans at home, who did not realize what guerilla warfare meant, marveled at his rapidity of action in the Civil War of later years. Now the training which he had already given to his soldiers came to his aid; he had directed his 'legates' (lieutenants, or generals of division, we may call them) to stay with the legions until the camp was finished, and so they were on the spot; and they knew exactly what ought to be done and waited for no order from him in this crisis. He had not time to address all the troops before he was forced to give the signal for battle, and the soldiers had no time to remove the coverings from their shields or the ornaments from their helmets. Some of them were without their helmets. Those who came up late joined wherever they might, losing no time in seeking their own places; the army was drawn up in a very irregular way, and on account of the irregular character of the ground and the hedges Caesar could not direct its movements in every part at once. Thus it came about that the Ninth and Tenth legions, under Labienus on the left, won a speedy victory over the force opposed to them, marched across the stream, and were slaughtering quite independently, and the Eighth and Eleventh legions were doing the same, while the rest of the army was in great straits.

The chief force of the Nervii divided, and while part of them surrounded the Twelfth and Seventh legions, the rest stormed the Roman camp, whence the camp slaves at once fled, while the soldiers, who now approached with the baggage, scattered when they saw their camp in the enemy's hands. Caesar, with little scope for his gifts as general, rushed to light like a centurion in the ranks of the Twelfth legion. He found it beset on all sides, crowded together so that the men could hardly fight and were utterly dispirited; many of their centurions were slain or wounded and standard-bearers and standards fallen. Seizing a shield from one of the soldiers in the rear, he hastened to the front, called on the surviving centurions by name and ordered the standards to be carried forward and the maniples to spread out so as to give room for sword-play. He then called to the tribunes of the Seventh legion to place it at the back of the Twelfth and face the enemy in the rear. The soldiers, no longer fearing that they were going to be cut down from behind, fought with a better spirit, and as usual they strove to distinguish themselves under Caesar's eye. The two legions placed in the rear of the baggage arrived on the field, and, word of Caesar's extremity being borne to Labienus, he sent his force to speed to the rescue.

These reinforcements caused such a change that those who had sunk down overcome with their wounds got up and started to fight again; the cavalry, watching from a distance, came back and strove to wipe out its disgrace by special heroism, and even the slaves returned. It was the turn of the Nervii to despair, but they fought bravely on, pressed on all sides, speeding their missiles from the top of a pile of corpses and seizing the javelins directed against them by the Romans and hurling them back. They never submitted, and soon the tribe and name of the Nervii were nearly extinct. After this terrible battle of the Sambre Caesar discovered that their old men, children, and women were hidden in the woods and marshes, and he accepted their submission, forbidding, in pity, he tells us, any farther injury to them or their territories.

He then proceeded against their allies, the Aduatuci, who dwelt on the left bank of the Meuse, took their chief town and sold the 53,000 inhabitants who escaped the sword into slavery, as they had broken out again after submitting to him. It seems hard to call the conduct of these desperate patriots 'treachery,' but Caesar called it so and punished it as such.

During this time young Crassus, son of the Triumvir, had been reducing Armorica (Brittany of later times) for Caesar, who had already won such renown that ambassadors came even from the Germans to offer hostages and obedience. His troops were again left to winter in Gaul, while he himself went back to Cisalpine Gaul to get once more into touch with affairs in Rome. To the town of Luca in Cisalpine Gaul came in the spring of 56 B.C. Pompey, Crassus, and many another prominent Roman to agree with the successful general as to the measures that must be forced on the Roman Government. Caesar demanded for himself that his command in Gaul should be extended for another five years after its expiration. Conquered Gaul was seething with discontent, and Caesar spent most of the summer of 56 in reducing the Veneti, who inhabited the south shore of the Breton peninsula as far as the Loire. They were a tribe of skillful sailors and fishermen, and their towns were mostly built on low promontories, surrounded by the sea at high tide and yet not to be approached by ships at the ebb. It was not until Caesar had collected a fleet and Decimus Brutus, one of his officers, had defeated the Gallic navy, probably in the bay of Quiberon, that these towns could be taken. Then the Veneti, who had seized some accredited Roman officials, were punished for offending the law of nations; their chief men were slain and the rest sold into slavery.

The Venelli of the Cotentin peninsula had been reduced meanwhile in the most crafty manner by Sabinus, and young Crassus had had a brilliant campaign in Aquitaine, where he had defeated some of the old soldiers of Sertorius.

Although the summer was nearly over Caesar felt himself bound to march over four hundred miles to the territories of the Morini (from modern Boulogne to the Scheldt) and the Menapii (from the Scheldt to the lower Meuse), and he found their subjection no easy matter. They hid in their woods and marshes, and would issue forth from every quarter and attack the Romans unaware, retiring to their impenetrable lairs in the thick forests, and, as the winter storms began to rage and heavy rains to soak through the soldiers' coverings, they were left unsubdued. Wasting and burning their fields and villages, Caesar led his army back over the Seine to winter in Brittany.

Caesar in Gaul, Germany, and Britain

In 55 Caesar invaded Germany and Britain, countries practically unknown hitherto to either Greeks or Romans, even the name of our island being now heard for the first time.

The greater part of the campaign was taken up by the Germans. The long-continued attacks of the powerful tribe of the Suebi, over whom Ariovistus, now dead, had been king, had driven the German tribes of the Usipetes and Tencteri to cross the Rhine, probably near Cleve. This immigration of 430,000 warriors with their families was fraught with great perils to the Romans, as Gallic patriots, although they suffered severely from the invasion, were willing to welcome them as allies for a war of liberation. When Caesar approached their settlements the Germans sent to tell him that they meant to stay, and warned him that though they were inferior in arms to the Suebi, they were superior to every other people on earth. He sent them an ultimatum ordering them to return to Germany, and as they had no homes he offered to settle them among the Ubii, his allies there. As their cavalry had gone to a distance to forage, they asked for time to consider, but could not resist an occasion which offered itself to attack some Roman cavalry. The next day all their chief men appeared in Caesar's camp to say that the attack had been made against their wish; but Caesar answered that the truce had been broken and detained them while he fell on their camp, left without officers and taken completely by surprise. Thus favoured by fortune, he drove the crowds of women and children, and ultimately all the defenders, in flight and slew them. The chief men who had been detained in his camp were given leave to depart, but their people were scattered and they begged to remain. Their emigration, like that of the Helvetii, had ended in a very pitiful way, and a great outcry was made in Rome against what was called Caesar's treachery. Cato called for his surrender to the Usipetes and Tencteri, and many Romans would have been glad to bring it about if they could.

His pretext for carrying the war into Germany was that the cavalry of the Usipetes and Tencteri, away foraging when he attacked their camp, had returned to their own country and were protected by the Sugambri, who refused to give them up. His real design was to frighten the Suebi. In ten days he built a stout timber bridge over the Rhine, a very difficult work on account of the width, depth, and rapidity of the stream, at Bonn, Napoleon III thought, but perhaps nearer Coblentz. After striking terror into all the tribes bordering the Rhine, he recrossed the stream and cut down his bridge, having only spent eighteen days on this expedition.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


The short remaining portion of the summer was devoted to Britain, another place in which Caesar thought it wise to strike awe, since much help had been sent from Britain to the Gauls in every war. He set out from 'Portus Itius' (Boulogne or Wissant) one day late in August, when the shades of night had fallen; and it was about nine o'clock in the morning when he descried the rampart-like cliffs of Dover crowded with armed warriors. Sailing along the east coast, and trying to put in, most probably near Deal, he found that the Britons on their horses and in their war-chariots had followed his movements. Stones, leaden bullets, and arrows had to be discharged against them before they would give way. The Romans could not get their ships quite in on account of the shallows, and were hesitating at the sides when the brave standard-bearer of the Tenth legion cried out in a loud voice:

"I beseech the gods that we may be victorious! Leap down, soldiers, unless you wish to betray the eagle, for I shall do my duty to our country and to our general!" So saying, he leaped down with the eagle, the standard of the legion, in his hand, and there were immediate cries of: "Shame on us if we linger!" The whole ship's company sprang down into the water; the soldiers in the other ships followed, and after a bitter struggle the Romans succeeded in landing, and at last put the Britons to flight.

Very little could be done before the autumn storms caused the Romans to return to Gaul, although they defeated the Britons in battle and burned some of their villages and fields. In actual conflict they suffered a great deal from the British war-chariots, which they had not met with among the Celts of Gaul. The Britons would ride in among them in the chariots, and then, having broken their line, would dismount and fight on foot. They were most expert charioteers, galloping down the steepest inclines and able to leap out when they were driving at full pace. Their habit of retreating to their forests and dashing forth when least expected was baffling to both cavalry and heavy-armed infantry.

Caesar found on his return to Gaul that the Morini had attacked his forces, but as their marshes were dry this year he followed and captured most of them, while his lieutenants Sabinus and Cotta laid waste the lands of the Menapii, who had fled to their thickest woods.

In the year 54 Caesar made his second and more serious invasion of Britain, with new ships which he had designed to make landing easier. He took with him an enormous number of hostages from the various tribes of Gaul to ensure himself against a rising in his absence, as even the Aedui showed alarming signs. Labienus was left with a large force to maintain Caesar's landing-place and keep a watch over Gallic movements. He set out in July with a much larger force than in 55, and landed almost at the same spot; the Britons flying at the sight of his 800 ships. He first met the enemy drawn up in battle array to dispute the passage of the Great Stour, near the site of Canterbury, and easily put them to flight. Then he had to face the famous chief Cassivellaunus, whose tribe dwelt on the north bank of the Thames (in the present Middlesex and Buckinghamshire).

The Roman army, though everywhere victorious, suffered a great deal, as it marched, from the sorties from the woods, and it soon became plain that Cassivellaunus did not intend to fight a regular battle but to wear the enemy out. At last the Romans came to the only ford in the Thames at this point (the one between Kingston and Brentford), where the Britons had driven stakes into the bed of the stream, below the surface of the water. They stood behind a palisade to render the fording still more difficult. Caesar learned about the hidden stakes from captives (whom one is always afraid that he tortured) and fugitives, but directed his soldiers to cross, the cavalry entering first to remove the stakes. They dashed across and attacked so impetuously that the Britons at once retreated, Cassivellaunus disbanding all but about 4000 charioteers. With these he retreated to his fortress—simply an impenetrable wood and marsh, fortified by a rampart and trench, probably on the site of the later Verulamium, where the city of St Albans now stands. When Caesar appeared and beset it on two sides, Cassivellaunus escaped, and soon gave up the struggle in despair. After a failure of the four kings of Kent to destroy the Roman ships, which were well guarded, he, like the other chieftains, promised hostages and that Britain should pay a yearly tribute to Rome. This second visit lasted under three months and Caesar never came again. Interest in Rome about this new-found island died down somewhat when it was known that no treasures of silver or skilled slaves had been met with. The Romans discovered, by means of their water-clock, that the summer nights were shorter in Britain than in Gaul.

The fate of Britain caused great mourning among the Gauls, and they began to plot the murder of the Romans who were about to be stationed in winter quarters among them; and perhaps if they had obtained the German aid they sought and acted together they might have massacred all the solitary detachments of Roman soldiers scattered throughout their country for the winter months. Their first effort met with grim success. The Belgian tribe of the Eburones surrounded the camp of Sabinus and Cotta established among them, and was driven off, but returned immediately to tell them that all Gaul was up in arms against the Romans and that a vast army of Germans had crossed the Rhine and would be on them in two days' time. Its chief, Ambiorix, said he would let them go if they were willing to do so, for he bore them no ill will, but simply disliked their being quartered among his tribe. Sabinus at once took fright; Caesar, he thought, might have returned to Italy and the tale of a general rising be true; and he wished to make use of the permission of Ambiorix and retire before the arrival of the Germans. Cotta, his colleague, with many of the military tribunes and the centurions of the first ranks, disapproved of leaving their post without Caesar's permission, and reminded the other officers that it was a difficult matter for any host to storm a Roman camp and that they had plenty of supplies, while it would be undignified and disgraceful to take the advice of an enemy in such a matter. Sabinus, however, cried out that they must retreat at once, for the Germans would soon be upon them, and, even if a siege did not mean instant destruction, it must mean ultimate starvation. Cotta and his supporters urged vehemently that they should remain, but Sabinus shouted so loudly that the common soldiers in their separate quarters heard his words:

"Have your own way if you will! I am not one who is particularly afraid of death. These are wise men, but, if any misfortune occurs, you, Cotta, must bear the responsibility. If you would we might join the nearest Roman camp the day after to-morrow and all face the common danger together, not perish by the sword or starvation in this lonely spot."

After this speech, which started a panic in the army, it was almost impossible to remain in the camp, and Cotta saw that the most fatal course of all would be dissension. When the discussion had gone on far into the night he gave in, and it was decided to leave at dawn. At dawn, therefore, the weary troops, who had spent the night packing as many of the comforts which they had gathered together for the winter as they could possibly carry, started out heavily laden. The Eburories, who were on the watch, had prepared two ambushes, and when their column had descended into a low valley, the Romans found themselves between two large forces of the enemy—and an enemy who showed a discipline and self-restraint rare in Gauls and at the same time vastly outnumbered them. Sabinus was too frightened and surprised to give any orders, and Cotta acted as general from dawn to three o'clock in the afternoon, when his handful of soldiers, heavily wounded, could hold out no longer. Sabinus then sent envoys to the Gauls to beg for their lives, but Ambiorix answered that Sabinus must come himself, and promised that he should not be harmed. He asked the wounded Cotta to go with him, but nothing could persuade him to do so; and Sabinus therefore took the military tribunes and chief centurions to share the risk. When they approached, Ambiorix bade them lay aside their arms, and Sabinus, obeying, ordered the other officers to do the same, whereupon they were murdered. Yells of triumph rose from the Gauls, who rushed back to attack Cotta. This faithful officer was slain, fighting to the last; the standard-bearer managed to get back to the camp and throw the eagle over the rampart; and the rest held the camp until nightfall and then slew themselves. A few who had fled from the battle wandered through the woods until they came to the camp of Labienus and told him the tragic news.

The tale of this triumph flew from tribe to tribe of northern Gaul, and it was determined to fall at once on Quintus Cicero, brother of the orator, and his legion stationed among the Nervii. Suddenly beset by a combined force of Eburones, Nervii, and Aduatuci, Cicero could scarcely hold out till the enemy drew off at nightfall. Messengers were offered great rewards to get a letter through to Caesar, but all the routes were guarded and they were seized. During the night the Romans, with incredible swiftness, raised numbers of towers, completed the fortification of the camp, and made missiles. The varied skill of a Roman soldier is almost beyond belief: he was at need sailor, engineer, architect, and carpenter, although there was a special corps of engineers. For day after day and night after night fighting and working at the fortifications succeeded each other; not even the sick and wounded could take rest, and Cicero, who was in the poorest health at a time when so much depended on him, had to be forced by the soldiers to sleep a little at night.

The Nervii then sought to repeat the stratagem of Ambiorix, but Quintus Cicero, although he had various grave faults of character, stood much in awe of Caesar, and was, moreover, a brave man. He replied that it was not the Roman custom to accept conditions from an enemy; and so the siege went on again. The besieged must have felt that they were only selling their lives dearly, since the whole country was up and the Germans coming. The Nervii then began to draw lines of circumvallation round the camp, as they had seen the Romans do in their sieges, and to make towers and hooks to pull down the rampart, and sappers' huts so that they might approach unhurt. On the seventh day of the siege they cast red-hot balls of clay and red-hot javelins at the winter huts of the defenders, and these, made of timber (covered with hides) and thatched with straw, quickly caught fire, while a great wind bore the flames all over the camp. Then they brought their ladders and began to climb the rampart, thinking that the Roman soldiers would desert their posts to extinguish the fire. Scarcely one of them, however, even glanced behind at the flames which were devouring all their worldly goods, and they inflicted great loss on the imprudent besiegers. Among the deeds of desperate valour in this siege is that of two chief centurions who had always been rivals. Now one after the other leaped down among the enemy, and after slaying several Gauls clambered back again amid wild cheering. At last a deserter from the Nervii, unsuspected on account of his appearance and Gallic dress, managed to get to Caesar with a letter hidden under the lashing of a javelin.

Caesar was at Samarobriva (Amiens) and at once sent messages to all the winter quarters for aid. Then, leaving Crassus in charge at headquarters, he hastened away. He had only two legions and some cavalry, but he hoped to take the Gauls unawares. A messenger, sent with a letter urging Cicero to hold out, could not get near enough to deliver it, so fastened it to the thong of a javelin and shot it over the rampart. It clove to a tower and was not found for two days, and even as Cicero was reading it to the overjoyed soldiers, they saw far off the smoke of the Roman fires. The Gauls, too, saw it, drew off, and hastened with their 60,000 warriors to attack Caesar's camp, held by only 7000 men. Caesar pretended panic, a favourite Roman stratagem, and when a bold attack was being made sallied forth and drove in flight all whom he did not slay. On the same day he entered Cicero's camp, and was greatly surprised by the sight of the Gallic siege-works and touched by the condition of the defenders, not one in ten of whom was unwounded. He had heard earlier in the day of the sad affair of Sabinus and Cotta.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


Labienus, whose camp was about sixty miles away, had been threatened by the Treveri (dwellers in the district of what is now Treves), but they fled. The country, however, was in such an unsettled condition that Caesar remained for the winter, placing his three legions in three different camps round Amiens. Before the year 54 was over the Treveri made a great attack on Labienus, and their utter defeat caused all the other tribes to sink into the quiet of seeming despair. Caesar's five years' command had come to an end and he seemed to have done his work, but there can be no doubt that if he had departed now it would all have been undone.

The year 53 was even more arduous and anxious than the year 54. To repair the losses of 54 fresh troops were levied, and Caesar borrowed a legion from Pompey, thus making a total of ten legions, a respectable force for the Romans, who conquered the world with very small armies. The Menapii, the last free tribe of Gaul, were subdued; but tribe after tribe, inspired by Ambiorix, revolted, and nearly the whole campaign was spent in a vain chase of Ambiorix, who hid, now in the pathless Ardennes forest, now in marshes over which the Romans had to throw causeways. He won allies among the Germans, and, to nullify any plans for a new German invasion, Caesar once more crossed the Rhine, building another bridge a little to the south of the former one, and marched on the Suebi, who retreated to the entrance of a boundless wood, probably the Thuringian forest.

As the Suebi were not an agricultural people, Caesar was afraid of finding himself short of supplies if he marched farther against them; for the Romans contemplated a meat diet with as much fear as British soldiers would entertain at the prospect of a bread and water regime. He therefore returned, leaving part of the bridge on the Gallic side with a guard, as if he meant to come again, and continued the search for Ambiorix until the summer ended. One of the most notable episodes of the campaign was another attack on Quintus Cicero, now stationed among the revolted Eburones, the tribe of Ambiorix; and this time Cicero fell into disgrace for disobeying orders and almost causing the loss of his camp by his rashness.

The Final Subjugation of Gaul

In 52, the most terrible year of the war, the Gallic patriot Vercingetorix emerged and almost recovered the independence of his country. In the winter of 53-52 chieftains were gathering together in woods and remote places, bewailing the slavery into which their land had fallen and talking of ways in which the Roman tyranny could be overthrown, and they hit on the excellent plan of preventing Caesar's return from Cisalpine Gaul to his army while they reduced the legions in winter quarters.

The Carnutes, who dwelt on the middle Loire, where Orleans now stands, began hostilities by slaying the Roman traders who had settled in their capital, and some hours later signals of a sort still a mystery informed the Arverni of the deed. Most of the chief men of the Arverni were too timorous to consent to join in the rising, but they were expelled from the State by the young chief Vercingetorix, who inspired with his enthusiasm his own and all their client tribes. Almost all the tribes from Auvergne to the Atlantic and from the Garonne to the Seine accepted his leadership and all the sacrifices which he imposed on them for the sake of the cause, and he established the sternest discipline in his army.

News of this movement came to Caesar at a time when it was doubtful whether he could safely leave Italy, as Rome was in such disorder, but he departed, and it is curious that in this year of her weakness, when her own citizens were under martial law, Rome should have completed the conquest of a great province and sown the seeds of another country's civilization.

Caesar reached the Province before forces sent by Vercingetorix had entered it, and put it in a state of defense, and then marched over the Cevennes, his soldiers shoveling away snow six feet deep and opening the roads. The Arverni had guarded all other routes from Italy to Gaul, but they regarded the Cevennes as a wall, and no man had ever crossed them before at that time of the year. Then this 'monster of speed,' as the Romans called him, sent to all his winter quarters and assembled his army before the Arverni knew anything of his movements. All were dismayed but Vercingetorix, who began to attack the Gallic allies of the Romans. Caesar, however, drew him off by starting the siege of the rebel strongholds, and as they were taken he allowed his soldiers to sack them. The heroic Gauls, therefore, animated by Vercingetorix, determined to burn all the towns which they did not consider strong enough to hold against the Romans. The Bituriges set the example, burning more than twenty of their cities in one day, and the other tribes were not behind; but a fatal mistake was made in sparing Avaricum (Bourges), almost the fairest city of Gaul, at the earnest prayer of the Bituriges, to whom it belonged. The siege of Avaricum proved the 'hinge of the war.' The Gauls performed prodigies of valour, and the Roman soldiers suffered every hardship from fatigue and famine, being prevented by Vercingetorix from foraging and having to subsist, without corn, on the cattle they could drive into the camp by departing at unexpected times to look for them. They must have been in a pitiable condition, for Caesar even told the officers that if the privations were too severe he would give up the siege. This the whole army indignantly refused and cried out that they were dishonoured by the idea. All were thirsting to avenge the Roman citizens who had been slain at Orleans, and when at last they got into the town, no one thought of booty until all the defenders and the old men, women, and children, to the number of nearly 40,000, had been put to the sword.

Vercingetorix had disapproved of defending Arvaricum, and the sad result increased his reputation. He was now able to persuade his soldiers, men unused to arduous toil, to fortify the camp in the Roman manner, and to submit in every way to his superior wisdom. Caesar then turned against the Arvernian capital Gergovia, situated on a high hill, difficult to approach on every side and impossible to storm. He was for a while distracted by the defection of his old allies, the Aedui, who had long been ashamed of their position with regard to their countrymen. He pacified them for a time, and then concentrated all his forces against Gergovia, but suffered heavy losses and finally retired, having for once signally failed in his attack. He then proceeded against the Aedui, at last in full revolt.

In the Aeduan town of Noviodunum (Nevers), on the right bank of the Loire, Caesar had placed all his Gallic hostages and stored the public money, corn, a great part of the baggage, and a large number of horses. All these were seized by the enemy. The Roman garrison and the merchants there were slain, and the town was burned, as the Aeduans did not think it strong enough to hold against Caesar. Their supplies were carried into their capital, Bibracte, and they placed garrisons all along the Loire (difficult to cross in any case, on account of the melting of the winter snows) and organized themselves to cut off Caesar's supplies. Caesar was in a desperate position, and from his journal it appears as if he might have retired in despair from the country had not the roughest roads and the Cevennes lain between him and the Province, and had not Labienus and a Roman force, which could not be abandoned, lain on the northern side of the Loire.

Now, by forced marches day and night, he performed what all thought impossible. He arrived at the Loire before the Aedui had completed their preparations, and found a ford where his soldiers might cross. They carried their armour above their heads to hold it out of the swollen stream, while the cavalry were stationed above them in the water to break the force of the torrent.

Labienus had been carrying on aggressive warfare across the Seine, but when he heard of Caesar's repulse at Gergovia, the defection of the Aedui and his general's reported flight from Gaul, retreat became his one care, and he carried it out in the capable way in which he did everything while he was associated with Caesar. He tricked and defeated the large army set to hold the Seine and prevent his return, arrived unopposed at Agedincum (Sens), where he had left his baggage and a garrison, and three days later joined Caesar with his whole army.

Vercingetorix was now appointed commander-in-chief of all the Aeduan forces as well as his own, and at a great Gallic council at Bibracte it was decided to fight no battle, but to burn their crops and villages and attack the Romans unawares as they sought supplies. As, however, Caesar started to march southward, in order to get into touch with the Province, they deceived themselves that he was leaving for Italy, and determined to harass him on his way and seize his baggage, so that he should clearly depart in need and shame. The Gallic cavalry even swore never again to have a roof over their heads or approach their families unless they rode twice through the Roman column. This valorous attempt proved fatal; they were all put to flight, and Caesar sat down to his most famous Gallic siege, that of Alesia (Alise Ste. Reine, on Mont Auxois), where Vercingetorix, who had not taken part in the attack personally, had sought refuge. It was a very strong town, but the defenders lacked supplies, and, before Caesar completed his lines of circumvallation round the hill on which it stood, Vercingetorix sent all his cavalry away to make his case known to his allies and urge on them that the lives of 80,000 men depended on their immediate appearance. Even chiefs whom Caesar thought specially bound to himself were swept away by the general movement to vindicate the ancient liberty and glory of Gaul, and the 250,000 foot and 8000 cavalry that started for Alesia were but a small part of the force available to fight the Romans.

More than seven weeks had gone by since the cavalry left, and the besieged had come to the end of their food and were ignorant of the vast army hastening to their aid, and it was decided that soon they must slay and eat all those in the town who could not fight. Before this desperate deed, they decreased their numbers by ordering the citizens themselves with their wives and children to depart. They were compelled to go, and approached the Roman lines, weeping and praying that they might be received as slaves and given food, but Caesar also refused to harbour them, and they died of starvation in the sight of both camps.

When the relieving force approached, a desperate struggle took place, the besieged descending to attack the Romans in the rear; but the battle ended in a decisive victory for the Romans. The vast army dissolved and vanished, says Plutarch, like a ghost or dream. When the final flight had taken place and the besieged had watched the slaughter from the town above, Vercingetorix called a council of war and said that he would willingly submit to be slain if that would satisfy the Romans, or even would suffer himself to be delivered to them alive, since he had failed in the attempt he had made to deliver Gaul out of their hands. Envoys were sent to Caesar to offer surrender, and he himself walked out to the ramparts to receive Vercingetorix and the other leaders. Six years later, it is said, the great Gallic leader was led in Caesar's triumph at Rome, and then put to death, a sad end to a great patriot and a brave man. With the fall of Alesia the war of liberation was practically over, and the Roman Senate ordered a twenty days' thanksgiving for the victory. Caesar determined to winter in Gaul, and took up his quarters at Bibracte.

At this point Caesar's Commentaries' on the Gallic War  come to an end, and the story was continued by another hand, that of a less elegant Latinist than Caesar, but of a soldier who had a real love for his subject. The soldier tells us that Caesar's Commentaries  were admired by all, but, he writes, "Our admiration is greater than that of others, for they can only admire the skill and care of the style, while we know how easily and quickly he wrote them."

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


The new plan of those of the Gauls who did not give in on the news of Alesia, was no more to assemble large armies, but to rise in various places at the same time and so separate the Roman forces. Thus Caesar was compelled to spend the winter marching over rough country stamping out the various small sparks of revolt. If his troops suffered from exposure, the Gauls suffered far more, as at his approach they left their towns and tried in vain to live shelterless. "Winter and rough weather" is a more serious enemy in practice than in theory.

The Bellovaci rose again under the valiant chiefs Correus and Commius, and the former, after performing prodigies of valour, was slain, while the latter escaped when the rebels were forced to submit. Caesar offered pardon, but in the preceding year Labienus had tried to kill Commius by guile (on the plea that no faith need be kept with rebels), and he had sworn never to trust himself in the presence of a Roman again. After this army was disbanded there was no longer any tribe in arms, but scattered bands of Gauls had fled into the wilds to live the lives of free men as long as possible, like Hereward the Wake in the Fens after the Norman Conquest of England. Caesar had never yet got hold of Ambiorix, and now he laid waste his territories, slaying man and beast and burning every habitation, so that Ambiorix might never be able to return, and would, moreover, be odious in the eyes of his tribe.

His generals, scattered about the country, had every now and then to face a new outburst, and when Caesar had quelled the Bellovaci and wasted the territories of Ambiorix he went south to help Caninius in the siege of Uxellodunum (Puy d'Issolu), a town difficult to climb up to, still more to storm. It had been seized by some Gallic leaders who had failed in a projected inroad into the Province. He made up his mind as he journeyed south to show great severity, or the war would never be ended. He was determined that Gaul should be quelled before he left, and he knew that the Gauls were as well aware as himself that his time as governor was drawing to a close and thought that if only they could hold out until he was gone there would be nothing more to fear. When he arrived at Uxellodunum and heard that the townspeople had plenty of corn and no intention of surrendering, he decided to cut off the water-supply. The stream which flowed through the valley at the foot of the hill on which the town stood could not be turned aside, but the descent to it from the town was so steep and difficult that the Roman clingers and archers could prevent the defenders coining down to it for water. There was, however, a large spring near the town wall, and Caesar exposed his soldiers to showers of missiles from the wall while he made a terrace sixty feet high with a tower of ten storeys from which he could shoot at those who came to the spring. At the same time his men were busily undermining the spring. It was so difficult and dangerous for the Gauls to get water when the rampart was completed that they as well as their beasts began to perish of thirst, but they still held out. They filled casks with tallow, pitch, and wooden tiles and rolled them down alit on the works, while they themselves made such a sharp attack that no one could be spared to extinguish the flames. At last a great shout from a detachment of besiegers sent to another part of the hill recalled them to the defense of the town. Finally the Romans managed by mines to turn aside the feeders of the spring, and the drying up of this perrenial fountain brought about a surrender. Caesar had always been as merciful as is compatible with war, both from policy and temperament. He had no savage strain in his composition. Uxellodunum, however, was made an example to all the cities of Gaul, the right hand of every man bearing arms being cut off.

He then went to Aquitaine for the first time, and all the tribes sent ambassadors and hostages. Then he visited the Province and rewarded it for the vital aid which it had given him during the war, and so returned to Belgium and wintered there. Commius, who had taken to the roads, mortally wounded a Roman prefect and inflicted great loss on the band of cavalry with him, but at last sought peace and gave hostages, on condition that he himself need never come into the presence of any Roman.

The year 50 was spent by Caesar in trying to win the goodwill of Gaul which he formed into a new Roman province, imposing a yearly tribute of forty million sesterces (about 350,000). He gave rewards to chieftains and honors to various tribes, and took no more booty from a country which was worn out by the struggle of these terrible years. When the winter was over he left for Italy to support Mark Antony's candidature for an augurship, and was received with enthusiasm and reverence in Cisalpine Gaul, where the end of the Gallic Wars was celebrated. His route was decorated, crowds thronged to see him, sacrifices were offered and banquets prepared in all parts. After visits all over "Gallia Togata"—"toga-wearing Gaul"—Caesar hastened back to his new province and, drawing up his army among the Treveri, reviewed it there. He left Labienus in Cisalpine Gaul to support his candidature for the consulship for 48, and though many reports came to him that Labienus was being tampered with by his enemies, he never believed them. At the close of the year he left all but one legion, the Thirteenth, in Transalpine Gaul, and himself said good-bye to Gaul for a considerable period.

The Gallic War was over, but the conqueror was to have no rest after his labours, and many other countries, including his own, were to bow their heads to him before he celebrated this victory after the manner of a Roman general by a Triumph. When the time for his Triumphs came his Gallic Triumph was the most splendid of them all and the one in which there was the least stain of civic bitterness.

Rome During Caesar's Absence

Caesar had secured the home government for the year 58 for his friends Gabinius and Piso. He married Piso's daughter, Calpurnia, having divorced Pompeia; and to secure Pompey's friendship during his absence he gave him his attractive daughter Julia in marriage. Cato made a great outcry against all these 'political marriages.' Through Caesar's influence Cicero's great enemy, Publius Clodius Pulcher, was adopted by a plebeian father and made one of the tribunes of the plebs. Clodius and his sister Clodia, members of one of the oldest families in Rome, throw a lurid light on Roman society of the time, although it must be confessed that their evil reputations are derived from Cicero, who had a lurid mind. It is very curious that we only know how bad the Roman aristocracy of the last days of the republic was through Cicero, and that yet it is Cicero who throws a glamour over the republican cause. Clodia was what we should call a Bohemian at a time when the Roman lady seldom lifted up her eyes or her voice in the presence of men, and considered sober raiment a mark of virtue. She was the 'Lesbia' of the poet Catullus, and the centre of a circle of young poets and men of fashion in revolt from the narrow views and ways of older Rome. Clodius started like Clodia by shocking society, even stealing into Caesar's house in women's clothes when (Caesar being Pontifex Maximus)  the ceremonies of the Bona Dea were being performed, at which only women might be present. The affair was regarded so seriously that Clodius tried to get out of it by pleading an alibi  and bribing the jury, but Cicero had seen him in Rome and spoiled his alibi, and thenceforth Clodius persecuted the great senator.

Cicero had a very bad time after Caesar's departure for Gaul, and was soon to be cruelly awakened from the state of self-satisfaction in which he had lived ever since his suppression of the Catilinarian Conspiracy. He was using all his eloquence in stirring up popular feeling against the Triumvirs, and so Caesar and his friends allowed Clodius to secure his exile on the charge of having put Roman citizens to death without trial. The Senate ought to have stood by him, but most of its members, Cicero comforted himself with thinking, were jealous of his great deeds; any way, he departed, and in after years it was a long time before he threw in his lot unreservedly with the senatorial party. He might have languished in exile (the severest of punishments to a man of his temperament, with a passion for politics, the law-courts and society), had not Pompey quarreled with Clodius. He returned to Italy in the autumn of 57 with his sentence reversed, and was welcomed back with enthusiasm by the Italians, who supported him as a man of Arpinum, by the people who had always loved him, and by his own class, the powerful body of Roman knights. He was escorted from Brundisium to Rome by a crowd greater than the one which had conducted him home on the day when he laid down his consulship. Italy, he said, carried him on her shoulders to Rome, where he was welcomed at the gates by the chief men. They had begun to see that the Senate had been humiliated by his exile.

The great event of 56 was the conference, mentioned above, of the Triumvirs at Luca, in Cisalpine Gaul, where in the early part of the year Caesar held his court. Roman magistrates, provincial governors and distinguished generals thronged his quarters there, and sometimes 120 lictors of consuls and praetors could be seen; and more than 200 senators came. His Gallic spoils were known to be large and believed to be enormous; and while some had come to conciliate the commander of a powerful army and a possible murderous Sulla, others had come with the idea of replenishing their purses. Caesar was eager to grant benefits of this kind, and either gave money or lent it without interest, especially to senators, and even to freedmen and slaves who were supposed to have influence with their masters. The slave and freedman were a great social force in Rome, and Quintus Cicero once made the remark that all reputations have a domestic source. Caesar also sent to Rome in the years of his absence 100,000,000 sesterces for the site of the forum which he intended to build, and at his daughter's death he gave a very grand gladiatorial show and a public banquet, a thing never done before on such an occasion. The two chief people at Luca in 56 were, of course, Pompey and Crassus, who came to this arrangement with Caesar: Caesar was to have five more years' command in Gaul; Pompey and Crassus were to be consuls in 55, after which Pompey was to have Spain and Africa, and Crassus Syria, for their provinces.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


When the decision of the Triumvirate was known in Rome nearly all the other candidates for the consulship retired from the contest, and the rich Conservative, Domitius Ahenobarbus, thought of doing so; but Cato insisted on his standing, saying: "You are seeking the consulship to gratify no ambition, but to defend our country's liberties against two tyrants"—Crassus being regarded but as the tyrants' purse. Domitius had not the ghost of a chance, and after great scenes of disorder Pompey and Crassus were elected. They carried out the arrangements which they had made at Luca, and when the year was over Crassus departed for Syria, to end his life there in a very tragic fashion, thus leaving Pompey and Caesar face to face. The great duel between them at last began. "You might then say," writes Plutarch, "with the comic poet:

"The combatants are waiting to begin,

Smearing their hands with dust and oiling each his skin."

Pompey did not go to his provinces, but remained in Rome, where he began to take up a different position with regard to the Senate, thanks largely to Cicero, who was deeply grateful to him for securing his recall and saw how sorely the optimates  needed a soldier on their side. Pompey, too, had begun to long for his old glory, feeling himself eclipsed by Caesar. He had quite broken with the Senate, and found that he could never be so popular as Caesar with the revolutionary party. Cicero had pictured him in Caesar's consulship as "fallen from the stars," with "the Good his enemies and not even the Evil Ones his friends." The attacks of Caesar's agent, Clodius, had alienated him from Caesar, and the death of Julia completed the process. He now began to champion the Senate against the populares, but he viewed with secret pleasure all the signs of democratic violence around him, for it became clear that very soon a dictator would have to be appointed to put an end to the disorder. The strife of parties had destroyed all reverence for the State, and in such a condition of things a revolution was bound to come.

Already in 54 Cicero, who usually saw ahead, said that a dictatorship was in the wind, and the disorder was such in 53 that for eight months Rome was without consuls. People began to talk of establishing a monarchy, and pointed to Pompey as a suitable person to be chosen for king. Pompey discouraged such talk and pretended to be blind to the anarchy in the city, but in the year 52 the Senate was forced to call him to the helm.

When Pompey had been attacked by Clodius he had made use of a rough named Milo who controlled bands of gladiators and came boldly to blows with the darling of the mob. Milo and Clodius were well known to each other from their street rows in Rome, but they merely passed each other with frowns of recognition, as they met one January day in 52 when Milo had come to Bovillae, travelling on the road to Lanuvium. When Clodius had gone by, a servant of Milo's ran back and stabbed him from behind. One of the young man's attendants carried him bleeding into a neighbouring inn, but Milo and his slaves returned to finish their work, for, Milo said afterward, he knew he should be accused of the murder and he might as well have what he paid for. He had done a deed which was to be his ruin, for the Romans had a misplaced hero-worship for this villain. They loved this member of the great Claudian family, and his wild escapades, his acts of reckless daring, his defiance of every law, his picturesqueness and his general power of amusing them had won their deep affection. Besides this, there were great political forces behind that handsome, dashing figure, for Clodius was the special representative of Caesar. Milo might well think that he would find plenty of persons to protect him, but when the news of the murder reached Rome the people burst into lamentation. After spending the night in the Forum, where they placed his corpse on the Rostra, they accompanied the tribunes who bore it to the Senate House. There they broke up the benches and chairs for a funeral pyre and burned down the Senate House and all the surrounding buildings in their anxiety to do due honour to the departed.

Milo took his supporters into the Forum to address the people, but the supporters were slain and he was forced to escape in a slave's dress. The Clodian gangs had, for the most part, been slaves, and they now roamed about the city, caring little whom they slew so that they offered up a large enough sacrifice. Citizen and stranger, especially the richly clad and those who bore that sign of rank, a gold ring, were cut down. The anarchy was such that for several days armed desperadoes were able to pillage the houses of wealthy citizens, who, by the law of the land, might not bear arms in Rome. They knocked at doors and demanded to search the house for friends of Milo, and took the opportunity to rob it.

Thus Pompey's hour sounded at last. The Senate met and discussed the appointment of a dictator. Cato prevented this, but he was forced to allow the nomination of Pompey as sole consul. This foreshadowed the approaching monarchy. Pompey entered on what Cicero afterward called sarcastically "that divine third consulship," and effectually restored order in the tumultuous city. He revived the laws against violence, bribery and corruption, evils which the Senate had weakly allowed to go unpunished and foolishly taken part in, pleading that it was virtuous to keep rascals out of office in any way. Even Cicero, as we have seen, had been misguided enough to sneer at quixotic purity in politics. Pompey also passed a law by which any citizen might call a magistrate to account for his actions, and made it retrospective, aiming, many people thought, at Caesar, though he pretended to be indignant at the notion, for he still feigned to be Caesar's friend. These laws were strictly enforced, and a few rioters were at once slain by his soldiery. Wholesome fear fell upon the disorderly elements in the population, and the Senate poured its thanks and praise on the author of this new quiet in the city. Two more legions were voted for him and the term of his provincial government was extended; in return he laid down his extraordinary powers as soon as his task was done, naming his new father-in-law, Scipio, as his colleague in the consulship for the rest of the year.

As a result of Pompey's stern measures, crowds of exiles flocked from Rome to seek Caesar's camp; but Caesar, like Pompey, still kept up the appearance of friendship, and praised all Pompey's actions. Pompey actually supported a law by which Caesar might be a candidate for the consulship of 48 in his absence "on account of his distinguished services to the republic." This was vital to Caesar, and Pompey's worst act of folly, for if he wished to oppose him without war, now was the time; but he seems to have begun to wish for a war in which he might destroy him. At Luca it had been arranged that Caesar's command in Gaul should end nominally on 1st March 49, but that no successor should be appointed to him until 1st March 50, after the provinces for 49 had been assigned, so that he might not actually lose his imperium  before his election as consul. When a Roman held any imperium  he might not be called to account for his doings, but directly he sank from office to the position of a private individual he might be prosecuted for his evil deeds; and there were still people waiting to impeach Caesar for the acts of his consulship. The decisions of the Triumvirs of Luca had become law, but in 52 Pompey had made them of no avail, from Caesar's point of view, by altering the law as to provincial magistracies in such a way that a successor might be appointed to the Gauls for March 49, thus leaving Caesar to be a private citizen for a few months before the consular elections in July of that year.

The fanatical Marcus Marcellus, consul in 51, declared open war upon Caesar, urging the Senate to appoint a successor to him and to forbid his standing for the consulship in his absence. One of his actions was outrageous, however black might be his adversary: Caesar had founded the town of Novum Comum at the foot of the Alps and bestowed on it Latin rights, by which its magistrates were Roman citizens in the eyes of the law. As an insult to Caesar, therefore, Marcellus caused one of these magistrates to be scourged, a punishment that could only be inflicted on a Roman citizen by the vote of the Roman people; and he bade him go and show his stripes to Caesar. His cousin, Caius Marcellus, and Aemilius Paulus, both enemies of Caesar, were chosen consuls for 50, and the optimates  thought that they had secured a firm supporter in the tribune Curio. Curio, a wild young noble of the type of the murdered Clodius, had, however, gone over secretly to Caesar's side, and Paulus, it is said, had promised his neutrality for 1500 talents.

Curio effected his change with great diplomacy. The question of Caesar's successor came up early in the year, and he declared his approval of an appointment, but threw out at the same time a suggestion that complicated the matter and at first startled everybody. Everybody was discussing Caesar's possible action if he were superseded and impeached, and it was generally believed that he might march on Rome with all his army; but it was also thought that Pompey would be strong enough to resist him if he did. A year before, the usually keen political prophet, Cicero, had written, in one of his rare fits of enthusiasm for Pompey: "That illustrious citizen is thoroughly prepared to oppose those things we fear." Now Curio electrified Rome by urging that Pompey, whose term of office had not expired, like Caesar's, should be called on also to lay down his command. He then proceeded to paint Pompey and Caesar as two great rivals for pre-eminence in the republic, and there would be no peace, he said, until they were both reduced to the condition of private citizens. The Senate raged, but the disorderly citizens, who had been alienated by Pompey's severity, and all Caesar's party in the city, declared that it was honest advice and that of a brave man, for Pompey at that time seemed omnipotent. Curio, however, still posed as an optimate  and the Senate could do nothing, while the people strewed his homeward way with flowers.

Pompey was taken ill at this point and retired from the city, the State offering solemn sacrifice for the health of its first citizen. His days of glory were over, and if he had died of this illness the world would have had quite a different idea of 'Pompey the Great' from that which is generally retained of him. As it was, the glories of his youth were soon to seem mere freaks of fortune. From his sick bed he wrote a dignified letter to the Senate, offering to resign his command if it were for the good of the State, and when he got back to Rome he confirmed this offer. The sharp eye of Curio, however, had divined his feelings. "Why does not Pompey lay down his command instead of merely offering to do so?" he asked. Considering the enmity between the two men (Rome started at these words, remembering Marius and Sulla), Caesar ought not to be disarmed before Pompey; nor was it safe to allow Pompey such power unless he was counteracted by a rival. If neither of them would lay down their command the Senate must raise an army against them both. These words made an impression on the ever suspicious Senate and they took up the idea, but they were more afraid of Caesar than they were of Pompey, and declared that Caesar must lay down his command first. On this Curio, as tribune, stopped business. The one decision that had been arrived at was that both Pompey and Caesar should send a legion to Syria for the war there, and both satisfied this test of their intentions. Pompey sent to Caesar for the legion which he had lent him, and Caesar sent this and another, giving Pompey's soldiers 250 drachmas each as a present. As these legions were not wanted in Syria they were sent to winter at Capua.

The Senate delayed in appointing a successor to Caesar, but at last resolved to do so and also resolved by an overwhelming majority that Pompey also must lay down the command of his provinces. They were encouraged to defy Caesar to this extent by Pompey's boast when they asked what forces he had. "Have no fear!" he answered, "I have only to stamp my foot and legions will spring up round me." When a false report arrived that Caesar had crossed the Alps, Marcellus and the two consuls elect most went their own initiative to Pompey to beg for his aid, while all the optimates  went into mourning. He had left Rome for a country seat, and when they arrived they presented him with a sword, one of the consuls elect saying, "My colleague and I order you to march against Caesar for the defense of your country; we entrust you with the command of the army at Capua and of all other forces in Italy, and you may levy fresh troops at your discretion." This solemn charge Pompey accepted.

Curio was still agitating in Rome and tried to nullify Pompey's power of conscription; but nobody heeded him, and, seeing that his part was played out, he left Rome for Caesar's camp.

Crossing the Rubicon

When Caesar arrived in Cisalpine Gaul at the close of 50 he established himself at Ravenna, a town near the Adriatic and the southern frontier of his province. Thence he wrote to the Senate offering to give up Transalpine Gaul and only retain Cisalpine Gaul and two legions until his election as consul in the following July. This letter was received by the new consuls as they entered the Senate House on the 1st of January 49, and Mark Antony and Cassius, tribunes of the plebs, insisted on its being read. The Senate refused to deliberate on the offer, but opened the momentous debate as to what steps were to be taken against Caesar. Pompey could not come into the city as he was in command of an army, but his father-in-law, Scipio, stated on his behalf that he would do nothing for the State if any weakness or hesitancy was shown; and Scipio's proposal that Caesar should be ordered to lay down his command before a certain day or be declared a public enemy was carried. Cicero alone of the optimates  opposed this and positively clamoured for a compromise, but he was not in Rome at the time when these affairs were going on, and perhaps his opinion would in any case have had no weight. Pompey certainly never sought his advice.

Cicero was in a curious position just now. He had been to Cilicia as provincial governor, and just returned to Italy expecting a Triumph on account of some slight victory he had won. The Senate was in no haste to decree him a Triumph, and this put him into a bad mood for a civil war on its behalf, and unless he gave up the idea of a Triumph and dismissed his lictors he might not enter the city. Thus his wisdom had not the weight which his eloquence in the Senate would have given it. His conviction was, as he wrote to Atticus in words that have since become famous: that an unjust peace was better than the most just war. Being a Roman he never for a moment meant any but civil war in his remark; he probably did not think any foreign war unjust.

Cicero stands apart in many ways from all other Romans of his day. He had many faults, the chief of them being his concern to stand well in public opinion, and this led not only to undignified exhibitions of vanity, but in this great crisis he could not bring himself to sacrifice all for the losing side and yet was miserable lest Pompey, Cato, and the others should despise him. He had also many virtues, and his love of peaceful pursuits is not the least of them. He was temperamentally opposed to war, and perhaps misled even himself by the many petty reasons which he found for keeping aloof from it. He owed Caesar money, which it was inconvenient to repay, and for him war meant leaving Rome, the only place in the world where he was happy; and there were vicious other considerations of personal interest, which he spreads before us in his frank way in letters never meant for the world; but his coolness really sprang from the fact that there seemed to him at first no lofty ideal for which to fight. To him as to Curio, it was a personal struggle between Pompey and Caesar to gain the tyranny. In after years the opposition against Caesar took another form, that of a fight for freedom, and then Cicero was not found wanting. Now he tried to persuade himself that he owed as much to Caesar as to Pompey, but in vain, for, as the whole world knew, Pompey had brought about his return to Rome from his miserable exile.

After Scipio's proposal was carried it was vetoed by Mark Antony and Cassius, but their right of veto was questioned and disregarded. The Senate then met outside the walls in the temple of Bellona, and Pompey appeared and praised its decision. He heard, he said, that Caesar's army was so disaffected that it alone would suffice to defeat him. It would certainly desert when it got to Italy and, counting the two legions which Caesar had sent for Syria and eight in Spain, he had ten legions. He raised more legions in Italy after the war broke out. Piso, Caesar's father-in-law, and Roscius the praetor, volunteered to go and inform Caesar of the Senate's proceedings, for no regular embassy was sent, but they had scarcely time to go and return when, on the 7th of January 49, martial law was declared. At once the tribunes of the plebs, fearing that they would be murdered, as tribunes had been in previous revolutions, fled, disguised as slaves, to Caesar's camp. Not only had the tribunes' veto been taken from them, but the Senate allowed various other unconstitutional acts. The provinces, including Gaul, were portioned out without any legal formalities; both the consuls left the city; and in the city men who were not magistrates were allowed lictors. A general control of the revenue, as well as the army, was given to Pompey, and he was even authorized to call on private individuals for contributions.

News of these preparations was carried to Caesar at Ravenna, and he harangued the legion he had with him, complaining of Pompey's defection and the extraordinary measures taken against him in Rome, and roused its anger by recounting the evil treatment of the people's tribunes. He wound up with this charge: "You who have served the republic so faithfully under my leadership for nine years, and have fought so many successful battles and pacified Gaul and Germany, I call upon you to defend my name and fame against my enemies."

The soldiers answered with enthusiasm that they were ready to avenge the wrongs done to their general and the tribunes of the plebs. Caesar then started with this legion for Ariminum (Rimini), a town on the south side of the Rubicon, the southern boundary of his province. To cross the Rubicon was to break the law, and so this was the decisive moment of his life. It was the first step of the civil war which was to destroy the republic and bring back (in all but name) kings to Rome. It is said that he sent on some picked troops to take Ariminum and then followed toward evening with a small escort. When he came to the Rubicon he stopped and gazed at the stream, hesitating for the last time as to his future course. Then he turned to his companions and said, "My friends, if I do not cross this river I am lost, and if I cross it evil will fall on the whole world." Then, as if impelled by some force stronger than himself, he bent his way onward, saying as he did so, "The die is cast!"

To Ariminum, where Labienus gave him great pain by stealing away, came private remonstrances from Pompey. He replied that if Pompey departed for Spain, and if the levies were disbanded and regular government restored, he would disband his army. Pompey answered that he would go to Spain if Caesar first dismissed his army and returned to Gaul, but it was suspicious that he fixed no date for his own departure. Caesar's sole reply was to begin to capture Italian towns, and he soon discovered that most of them were indignant at the treatment that he had received, and were full of enthusiasm for him as the democratic leader.

When the news that the war had begun came to Rome a sudden terror fell on the city. Another victorious general was about to march on her, with fierce Gauls and Germans in his train. The senators met and discussed the situation and, after debating all night, most of them left the city at dawn. The consul Lentulus even, on entering the temple of Saturn to open the Treasury and take out the necessary funds for Pompey, was smitten with a sudden panic and fled, believing that Caesar was nearing the gates. Pompey showed himself utterly unprepared and determined from the first to leave Rome and Italy to Caesar, and Cicero believed that he meant from the first to collect foreign forces, cut off Italy's food supply and then invade Rome and massacre everybody. Cicero had a vivid imagination, but he tells is that this was the common talk in Pompey's camp and that he was not gossiping but giving firsthand information. Cicero was not the only angry optimate:  Favonius told Pompey bitterly that now the time had come for him to stamp his foot and see if the legions would spring forth. Pompey gave no reason for his departure except these Sulla-like threats, but before he left Rome he menaced all who remained there that they should be treated as if they had gone over to Caesar's camp. He was even angry with Jupiter Capitolinus for staying in his temple there, Cicero said. "It seems to me," wrote the orator to Atticus, "that never in any country has any statesman and leader behaved so disgracefully as our friend, and I am sorry for his plight: he has left the city in which and for which it would have been glorious to die." A day or two later he wrote again, "I won't take up the fact that he made Caesar great and armed him against the republic, that he helped him to pass laws by violence and against the auspices, that he added Farther Gaul to Caesar's province, that he became his son-in-law, that he acted as augur for the adoption of Publius Clodius, that he was more anxious for my recall than to prevent my exile, that he extended Caesar's term of provincial government, that he aided him in every way in his absence; even in his third consulship, after he had undertaken the defense of the State, he caused the ten tribunes of the plebs  to introduce the bill by which Caesar was allowed to stand for the consulship in his absence and sanctioned it by a law of his own, and he resisted the consul Marcellus when he wished Caesar's governorship of Gaul to end on the 1st of March. I will pass over all these points, but now what can be more disgraceful, what more confusing than this departure, or rather this base and dastardly flight from Rome? What submission could be worse than abandoning one's country?

The city was left unprotected, and Pompey went first to the two legions at Capua, whither he summoned the 20,000 veterans who had received lands in Campania by Caesar's agrarian law. Thence he started for Brundisium, on the east coast, ready to leave the country at Caesar's approach. Meanwhile Domitius Ahenobarbus had garrisoned Corfinium against Caesar and sent messengers begging Pompey to come to his assistance. He represented that Caesar might be enclosed between two armies and cut off from his supplies. It was, Cicero thought, Pompey's crown of dishonour that he sent no aid. Caesar had been joined by two more legions from Gaul, and he proceeded to circumvallate the town. As he was about to complete his lines, the messengers came back from Pompey and got through; Domitius eagerly read the general's letter, and his face fell when he found that he would have nothing to do with the defense of Corfinium and ordered him to leave at once and join him, as he was on his way to Brundisium. He dared not tell the soldiers, as there was no getting through Caesar's lines, and they would have insisted on instant submission; but they guessed when they saw his anxious face, and suspicions of his treachery were aroused when they saw him in constant consultation with his intimates.

At last the truth spread abroad, with a rumour that he meant to escape with a few of his friends. A mutiny at once broke forth, Domitius was put under guard, and envoys went to offer submission to Caesar. Whatever the motive of Pompey's actions may have been, he made Caesar's progress through Italy a glorious one by allowing so many towns to be garrisoned against him and then to submit when he appeared; and it is far from probable that his motive, like Cinna's of old, was to spare Italy the horrors of war. In Corfinium, besides Domitius, there were five senators and a large number of Roman knights, all now at the conqueror's mercy. He let them all go and amazed the world, as his mercy continued to do throughout the Civil War. The common soldiers enlisted under his flag. Caesar then went on, on the 21st of February, to Brundisium, the senatorians evacuating every town as he approached and joining in the general flight to Pompey. He arrived before the town on the 9th of March, and found that both the consuls and a large part of the army had sailed for Dyrrachium (Durazzo) on the coast of Epirus, on the other side of the Adriatic, while Pompey remained at Brundisium with twenty cohorts. As Pompey made no move at his approach, he determined to blockade the harbour of Brundisium by embanked moles carried out from the shore on each side and continued by large square rafts, anchored at each corner. This work was only half completed when Pompey sailed away. Before going he blocked up the gates of Brundisium, barricaded the streets, dug trenches across them, and fixed sharpened stakes everywhere, hidden by hurdles and earth. Pitfalls were also placed in the roads leading to the town and the harbour. Leaving a few troops on the town wall with directions to follow at a given signal, Pompey then stole away. He had earned, however, the enmity of the townspeople, and when they saw him about to leave they mounted on their roofs and signaled to Caesar. The latter's forces climbed into the town when the last soldiers left the walls, and, being warned of the pitfalls and told of another way to the harbour, arrived in time to intercept two shiploads of Pompey's troops.

Caesar would have liked to follow before Pompey could collect a vast army in the East, where he had a great name, but Pompey had a large fleet, and he had none at hand. Moreover, it would be almost as bad to leave the Pompeian in Spain to invade Italy from that quarter. The settlement of Italy, now abandoned to him, then an attack on Spain, and lastly combat with Pompey in the East—that was the programme marked out for him.

He ordered every municipality in Italy to provide ships and send them to Brundisium, ready for his crossing at a later date, and then he secured Sardinia and Sicily, the provinces from which Rome drew its corn, thus spoiling Pompey's plan to starve Rome. Pompey had sent Cotta to Sardinia and Cato to Sicily, but both were forced to retire at the appearance of Caesar's lieutenants, Cato angrily declaring that Pompey had betrayed him. Curio, who had driven Cato from Sicily, then went on to Africa to fight the senatorians there.

Caesar himself went from Brundisium to Rome, which he had not seen for nine years. On his way he gave Cicero, who had not yet made up his mind to desert his beloved country, an interview, and desired him to return to Rome and take his place in the much-thinned Senate. Having at first feared a general proscription, Cicero had now bounded to the other extreme, and was surprised at Caesar's insistence. "I was mistaken," he wrote to Atticus, "in thinking that he would be easy to deal with. I have never met anyone less so. He said that my judgment would condemn him, and that if I did not come others would be more reluctant to do so. Among other things, he urged, 'Come and discuss terms of peace.' 'And say what I think?' I asked. 'Should I dream of prescribing to you?' he replied. 'Well,' I answered, 'I shall say that the Senate does not wish you to go to Spain or that you should take an army over to Greece; and I shall express great sorrow for Pompey's misfortunes.' 'To this,' Caesar answered, 'I am bound to object!' 'I expected so,' I replied, 'and I do not wish to be present, because if I am there at all there are many things on which I cannot possibly be silent.' Thereupon with a sigh Caesar bade me reflect. This I could not refuse to do, and so we parted. So I shall not be in his good books, but I am in my own for the first time for many days. By-the-bye, ye gods, what associates he has! What a staff of knaves and ne'er-do-wells! His parting word was most offensive: 'If you will give me no aid with your advice, I must get other councilors, for nothing shall stop me.'"

A few days later Caesar's followers had lost all human resemblance in Cicero's fertile imagination! They found Rome trembling, but the Romans, like Cicero, soon became audacious when they found that Caesar did not mean to massacre them, and one of the tribunes of the plebs  tried to prevent his opening the Treasury. Caesar (so careful of the tribunes' rights at Ariminum!) threatened him with death, and said truthfully, "You know well, young man, that it is easier for me to do it than say it."

Before the Senate, duly summoned by the tribunes, Caesar pleaded his cause, and begged for support in carrying on the government; but when they met him as Cicero had done, he told them boldly that he was quite prepared to rule by himself. He wished an embassy to be sent to Pompey, but had not time to deal with the various elements of opposition, and after only a week's stay left the city to its own devices. To the praetor Lepidus he entrusted the government in his absence. Italy was placed under Mark Antony as propraetor.

The Civil War in Spain and Africa

Caesar set out for Spain by way of the south Gallic provinces on the 6th April 49. Domitius Ahenobarbus, recovered from his disgrace at Corfinium, had been sent by Pompey to win over the old Greek colony of Massilia (Marseilles), and Caesar left Decimus Brutus and Trebonius to besiege this famous and important city, while he went on over the Pyrenees. He had already sent Fabius to seize the passes and start the campaign. Fabius found that the Pompeian lieutenants, Afranius and Petreius, had taken up their position at Ilerda (Lerida), a strongly placed town on the right bank of the Segre, a tributary of the Ebro, to block his way to the south. To-day Lerida, with its narrow Moorish streets, is one of the most picturesque old towns of Catalonia, and its magnificent medieval cathedral may be seen for miles. Toward its predecessor Fabius descended the Segre valley from the Pyrenees, and constructed two wooden bridges over the river in order that he might be able to cross over to the east side of the stream to forage, as he soon consumed all that the Pompeians had left on the west side of the river. Caesar arrived shortly afterward, late in June by the Roman calendar, but in the mid-glory of a Spanish spring gay with flowers, and under a cloudless blue sky. When Caesar joined Fabius he at once changed the position of the camp so as effectually to cut off the defenders of the citadel from the north. He saw at once that he could not storm the city; many armies in the course of later history have attacked and retreated in despair from the great rock of Lerida. His troops were at first placed at a disadvantage by the methods of guerilla warfare which the Pompeians had learned in Spain. Their force was composed of the legions which had been here for a long time before the beginning of the Civil War, waiting for the coming of Pompey as proconsul. The warmth of the weather, too, came to the aid of the foe, for the Segre swelled to a great height through the addition of the melted snow from the mountains. Then a terrible storm swept away both the wooden bridges. The foragers could not return, and supplies on their way from Italy and Gaul could not arrive in the camp. The harvests of Spain were stacked in Ilerda long before their coming, and the natives had driven the cattle to a distance for safety. If Caesar sent soldiers out to forage, they were followed by light-armed Spanish troops from the enemy's camp, with skins which they blew out to serve as boats for crossing the waters. Afranius, too, held the stone bridge over the Segre, close to his fortress. Caesar sought to build another wooden one, but the floods were too high and the banks were lined with the enemy.

Famine and fear were beginning to reign in his camp, and the strength of the soldiers decreased every day. Congratulations poured in on the Pompeians, and many Romans who had been waiting to see which side would win now took their stand definitely with Pompey. Caesar kept his usual immovable calm. He caused osier coracles (small boats), lined with hides, like those used by the Britons, to be made and carried by night twenty-two miles farther up the Segre; his troops crossed, occupied a hill on the other side, and fortified it before the Pompeians knew anything of their proceedings; then, acting from both sides of the stream, a bridge was built in two days' time. At the same moment Caesar had news of a brilliant naval battle won by Decimus Brutus before Marseilles; nine of the war-ships of Domitius and the Massilliots were either taken or sunk, and great loss was inflicted. Thus Fortune had declared for him again. The troops of Afranius began to fear his cavalry, and even, when out foraging, to throw down their supplies and fly at its appearance. Spanish tribes sought Caesar's alliance, and sent him corn and cattle, and desertions to his camp began. Finding it inconvenient to send his cavalry as far as the bridge, he now made trenches to lower the waters of the Segre, and thus found a ford near his camp. This determined Afranius and Petreius, who were afraid of having their supplies cut off, to leave Ilerda and transfer the war to the south of the Ebro, where Pompey was greatly revered and Caesar unknown. They therefore ordered ships to be brought up the Ebro to Octogesa, a town at the confluence of the Ebro and Segre, and sent on two legions to make a camp for their reception.

Caesar's scouts brought him news of this movement at the very time that he discovered the ford. His men had been working day and night at the trenches, and now the cavalry could ride through the river at the ford, although with difficulty. The infantry, it was thought, could not get over, as the water, besides reaching to their shoulders, was too rapid. All he could do was to send the cavalry to ride through after the enemy and harass it in its march; and at dawn his scouts, looking from the heights adjoining the camp, saw with excitement their own horse attacking the Pompeian rear and forcing it to stand and charge, then retreating, and galloping up again to attack when the march was resumed. Throughout the camp the foot soldiers, gathered together in groups, were grieving that the enemy had slipped through their fingers. At last they begged their officers to go and tell the general that they could cross at the ford quite well; and their eagerness decided Caesar, who was far more eager than they could be, to take the risk. He left behind with a guard those he thought unfit for the effort, and, placing a large number of cattle in the stream to break the force of the water, led the army safely across. Then he hastened south toward the Ebro, overtook the Pompeians in nine hours from their time of starting, and forced them to encamp where they were, though five miles farther on they would have been in a wild, hilly country easy to hold against his advance from below, and difficult for his cavalry to tread. A few detached troops could have kept Caesar back while the rest crossed the Ebro. They were weary, however, with the long day's march and the continual conflict with the cavalry, and could neither fight nor march farther. In the middle of the night, having rested, they sought to depart, but found Caesar too watchful. On the following day the latter discovered that the plain ended five miles to the south in mountains, and that he who first seized the passes could keep the other back, and it became a case of a race to the hills.

The Pompeians could not decide as to whether they should set off on the following night and seize the defiles before Caesar suspected or wait for dawn, and in the end made up their minds to wait for dawn, as they did not like to risk a battle by night. It was impossible for Caesar to proceed, for the enemy had a camp at Octogesa, and he could not risk being enclosed between two forces; and so, although it was almost as desperate an attempt, he determined to leave the beaten way and circumvent the enemy. He left his cavalry to retard the foe, set out with his infantry by a route which led for a while northward, and then swept round toward the hills, and Afranius and Petreius thought that he had gone back to Ilerda. Their joy was changed to consternation when what seemed a return march was converted into a dash for the mountains; they at once fled to arms, gave the signal, and started on the straight route to the Ebro. He, meanwhile, was climbing up rough mountain valleys blocked by boulders, with his foot-soldiers, who were helping each other up the more difficult places; and he came in first, found a level spot and drew up his line of battle.

The Pompeian had now only two alternatives of action; they could not get to the Ebro, but might return to Ilerda or go across country to Tarragona on the coast north of the Ebro. Meanwhile they were obliged to construct ramparts from their camp to the Segre, as Caesar's cavalry prevented them getting water. While their two commanders were away at the works, the soldiers left in the camp began to hold communication with Caesar's troops, encamped close by, and all arrangements had been made for surrender, the soldiers exacting an oath that their commanders should not be harmed, when Petreius found out what was going on. Afranius was ready to acquiesce in the will of the army, but Petreius hastened from the rampart to the camp, slew all the Caesarian soldiers he found there, and in tears went round the maniples beseeching the troops to remain constant. He made every officer and man take a new oath to the Pompeian cause. It was then decided to return to Ilerda, as the troops, in great want, having being obliged to leave their baggage behind, were deserting to Caesar every day. A terrible return march began, with Caesar, ever attacking but ever avoiding a battle, in the rear. At last, on the 2nd of August (the 9th of June according to our calendar), the fourth day of absolute want of food, water, firewood, and every other necessary dawned for the Pompeians, and they sent to ask for terms of surrender. Caesar overwhelmed the leaders with reproaches, but said that he was not going to take advantage of their abasement or punish them for the cruel slaughter of his men when they had gone to parley. He simply ordered them to dismiss their army, kept by Pompey in Spain for so many years with the single idea of using it against him. The defeated soldiers rejoiced at this announcement; and when Afranius and Petreius began to discuss as to when and where the army should be disbanded, they called out and made signs from the rampart, where they had gathered to listen to the parley, that they wished to be dismissed immediately. Those who dwelt in Spain, therefore, were at once discharged, the rest led to the River Var, the boundary between Transalpine and Cisalpine Gaul, Caesar protecting their march and furnishing provisions. At the Var the remains of this army melted away and Hither Spain was his.

The great Roman scholar Varro was holding Gades (Cadiz) in Farther Spain for Pompey. He had been shaken in his loyalty to Pompey by his abandonment of Italy, for Varro loved Rome and detested the provinces as much as Cicero did, but he had accepted the command of this Spanish province under him, and when Caesar was in such great straits at Ilerda he had become quite devoted again. He raised a levy in his province, and sent corn to the Pompeians at Massilia and Ilerda, ordered long-ships to be built at Gades and Hispalis, and carried all his treasure into the former place, which he garrisoned strongly. He then placed Pompeian garrisons in all the towns which he thought favoured Caesar, and started proscriptions on a small scale. He heard of the defeat of Afranius and Petreius with dismay, and shut himself up, with two legions, in Gades. Caesar, who was anxious to quell the Spanish opposition thoroughly, marched to Cordova and ordered the magistrates and chiefs of every tribe to meet him there. Not a single tribe failed to do so, and not a Roman citizen of note (chiefly merchants) in the province was absent on the appointed day. Cordova declared for him of its own accord, and even the Spanish in Gades sent to offer aid in delivering up their town. One of the legions marched out of the town under Varro's eye, and he could then do nothing else than send an offer of surrender to Caesar.

Caesar stayed for two days at Cordova, interviewing and rewarding all who had helped him; then he went to Gades and took ship for Tarragona, where he held a great assembly of the magnates of the Hither province. Thence he marched by land to Narbo and Massilia, where he received from Rome the appointment of dictator, being so nominated by Marcus Lepidus the praetor. This method of appointment was at least unusual, and probably unconstitutional, but that was of little importance. The office itself was obsolete until Sulla revived it and he had given it associations with his proscriptions; and so the Romans were little concerned with the method of the appointment, but much with the fact.

While Caesar sat before Berda, his lieutenant Trebonius had been constructing huge works for the siege of Massilia, interrupted by frequent sallies of the defenders. The Massiliot fleet had been increased by sixteen war-ships sent by Pompey under Nasidius, and the citizens were busy again in their dockyards, and had even fitted out fishing smacks so that they might join in a new naval battle. Brutus, on Caesar's side, repaired six of the ships which the Massiliots had lost in the last naval engagement, and added them to his fleet. When Nasidius arrived, the defenders determined to fight another battle at sea. They sailed out of their harbour to join him, their old men and women urging them to fight valiantly for their city, and the non-combatants and young men left in the town flocked to the walls and every point where there was an outlook, or else beset the temples and prayed to the gods for their success. They were a good deal superior to the Romans in seamanship, and for some time this told, but the failure of a daring stratagem had a fatal effect. Two Massiliot ships made a simultaneous dash from opposite quarters at the ship of Brutus. He drove his ship ahead, and escaped by a hairsbreadth; the two ships crashed into each other athwart his poop, and the Caesarians sank them both before they could right themselves again. Nasidius left the battle when he saw that the issue of the day was dubious, as he was afraid of losing his ships. Of the Massiliot fleet five ships were sunk and four taken; one had fled with Nasidius, and the rest sailed back into harbour. The news was received with as great lamentations as if the city had been taken, for its best men had manned the ships.

Trebonius, who had charge of the siege on the land side, now set up some new works, which the skillful Caesarian soldiers seem to have invented. They built a large brick redoubt of six storeys and most ingenious contrivance, to protect themselves from the missiles of the besieged, and made a covered gallery sixty feet long from the redoubt to the town fortifications. When this gallery was placed in position and the besieged realized that their works were in danger of being sapped, they were seized with fear, and threw down great rocks, which they could only raise with levers, on to the gallery; but it withstood them. They then rolled down casks full of burning pine and pitch; but the gallery had been constructed to withstand fire, and the casks, rolling off its sides, were seized by the Caesarians with long pitchforks and conveyed to a distance. Meanwhile men within the gallery were destroying a tower against which the gallery abutted, while artillery was discharged from the brick redoubt in order to defend the gallery. The enemy were driven from their wall and towers, and the tower which was being undermined soon fell to the earth in two great crashes. The Massiliots, fearing the immediate seizure and sack of their city, thereupon rushed out at the gate, unarmed and wearing the fillet of peace, and stretched out their hands in the way of suppliants. The eloquent Greeks successfully persuaded the besiegers not to enter their city until Caesar's arrival, promising to make no farther attempt at defense. Trebonius was afraid that he could not keep the soldiers from sacking the town if he entered it, and, moreover, there arrived Caesar's commands for the town not to be taken until his arrival, as he did not wish it to be sacked.

The Massiliots soon broke the armistice, and in a sudden sally at noon one day set fire to the rampart, mantlets, sappers' huts, tower, and artillery of Trebonius. The Caesarians seized what arms lay to hand, but the defenders got back into the town under cover of showers of missiles. Trebonius then started to restore all his siege works, and his soldiers, full of rage, worked as if they were possessed. All the timber in the neighbourhood had long since been felled, but they made a rampart of brick—an unheard-of thing—and in a few days' time the works were as they had been before. The Massiliots, in despair, again sought peace, and were allowed the same terms as before.

When Caesar appeared, the besieged, wearied with all their misfortunes, and now suffering from famine and pestilence brought on by the long siege, and having lost all hope of help from without, determined on a genuine surrender. Domitius Ahenobarbus, however, appeared suddenly with three ships, and they could not refrain from sending out their own fleet for one more effort. It was as unfortunate as the rest of their valiant resistance. The ships of Brutus took two of the new-come ships, while one escaped, owing to the storm, and Caesar entered the town. The inhabitants fully expected that he would punish its stubborn resistance, but it was spared on account of its name and fame. He left two legions in it as a garrison, and then went on to Rome. He had received news of a serious mutiny of the troops encamped at Placentia.

At Placentia (Piacenza), a fair city on the right bank of the Po, the troops were demanding discharge and their promised rewards from their officers, and Caesar, hastening to the spot, reproached them for demanding these things before the war was over. As a punishment, he said, every tenth man in the Ninth legion, where the outcry began, should be slain, as the Roman law decreed in cases of mutiny. The officers of that legion threw themselves at his feet to beg for mercy for their troops, and he was moved to accept fewer scapegoats. One hundred and twenty of the ringleaders were selected by the centurions and twelve of their number chosen by lot; and as one of the twelve proved that he was not in the camp at the time, the centurion who had accused him was put to death in his place, by order of the stern and just Caesar.

Meanwhile Curio, who, as we have seen, had driven Cato from Sicily, had crossed to the African promontory which approaches so close to Sicily, and, establishing his command of the sea, placed himself near Utica, which was the headquarters of the Pompeians. Utica, soon to become famous as the place where Cato died, stood a little to the west of the bay once filled with the ships of Carthage, and north of the mouth of the river Bagradas. The town was too strong to be stormed, and the Roman camp under its wall offered little hope to Curio, for it was a Roman axiom that a camp could rarely be stormed until after the foe had been defeated in battle. He had various skirmishes with the enemy in the surrounding country, and won such successes that he became most confident, and one day drove back the Pompeian commander with great shame and loss. It was the coming of the Numidian King Juba to the aid which changed all this. Hearing of his approach, Curio retired to the old camp of Scipio Africanus, on the east bank of the river mouth, on a straight ridge projecting over the sea, and difficult to ascend on every side. It would be easy to escape from it by sea, he thought, and it had fresh water and saltpans. Then came false news that Juba had returned home and sent on his lieutenant Saburra with a very small force. On the strength of this news, Curio unfortunately abandoned his plan for staying in his camp. He sent out his cavalry to attack Saburra, and, finding the Numidians scattered on the bank of the Bagradas in sleep, in the careless manner of barbarians, they slew or captured a great number of them. This piece of good luck was their ruin. Returning, they met Curio with his whole force (except five cohorts left on guard in the camp), and showed so much spoil that the infantry dashed along under Curio to attack the Numidians in their turn. The horse-soldiers were bidden to follow, but they were wearied out with their night expedition, and one by one sank down on the ground in sleep, securing their jaded steeds beside them.

Contrary to the report the terrible Juba was not far behind Saburra. He had heard of the attack, and had sent 2000 Spanish and Gallic cavalry and a picked body of infantry to Saburra's aid, while he himself came slowly up with the rest of his large force and sixty elephants. Saburra guessed that the cavalry's good fortune would lure Curio to a battle, and soon he saw the Roman infantry and a few tired horse-soldiers approaching. He retreated to draw them on, and sent his cavalry to surround them. When the Romans saw the enemy's horse on their flanks and rear, they detached cohorts to repel them, and these cohorts found it impossible to get back into their ranks again. Soon Curio's army was in the most dreadful position in which an army can be placed, surrounded and trampled on from all sides. As a last hope he gave the order for escaping with the standards, but Saburra had already occupied the neighbouring heights, and in despair the Caesarians began to desert the standards. Even solitary flight, however, was forbidden to the foot-soldiers. Some were slain, the rest sank on the ground with fatigue. While the foe had been constantly relieved, they had had to keep their places throughout the battle. The prefect of the cavalry, about to lead his small force away from the lost field, besought Curio to ride away with him, but he refused. He had lost the army entrusted to him by Caesar, he said, and he could never face his general again. Very soon he was added to the heap of the slain. He had no very good reputation in Rome, but he was faithful to Caesar, he was a brave and skillful soldier, and he died as a Roman was proud to die.

The cavalry that managed to escape from the field woke the sleepers on the route, and together they fled back to the camp with the awful news. The Nurnidians, they imagined, were behind them, and they crowded into the ships in such panic that most of them were drowned. Some of them had self-control but folly enough to give up the idea of sailing and present themselves at Utica to surrender. Juba claimed them as his booty, and slew most of them (in August or September 49).

The Year of Pharsalus

When Caesar returned to Rome from Massilia in 49 as Dictator he held the consular elections, the reason for which he had demanded the office; and he and Publius Servilius Isauricus were elected consuls for the year 48. As Dictator he dealt with the clamorous debtors and creditors and bitterly disappointed the former. As the advanced democratic leader he was expected to cancel all debts, and usurers were going about with very heavy faces; but he showed at once that he was no demagogue. He had determined to establish good government in Rome, and though he deprived the State of its republican liberties, he gave it something very good in return. Once Rome had lost the memory of its olden freedom it was to acquiesce gladly in the orderly rule of the Caesars. He was bound to relieve the debtors who expected such great things of him, and had, many of them, paid their principal over and over again; and, besides cancelling the interest due from them, he appointed commissioners to decide on the value of their possessions before the war, and allowed them to pay their debts by handing over their effects at this estimation. As prices had gone up during the war, this was a great relief, and, moreover, pleased the creditors, who had expected worse. All exiles but Milo were allowed to return to Rome, and those who had fled in Pompey's third consulship came back. Having held the dictatorship only eleven days, Caesar laid it down, and, not waiting for his consulship of 48 to begin, set forth for Brundisium.

He had been able to gather together barely enough ships to convey his army over to Greece, while Pompey had now had a year of peace in which to increase his fleet. He had collected ships from Asia Minor, Athens, and the Greek islands, Syria, Phoenicia, and Egypt, and every dockyard was busy in building more, his fleet now comprising 500 war-ships, 200 of which were manned by Romans. He had levied large sums of money from every king, prince, and tetrarch in the East, and from the city-states of Greece, and he compelled all Roman tax-gatherers to render their accounts to him. He had nine legions of Roman citizens, and expected the arrival of Scipio from Syria with two legions. Archers from Crete, Sparta, Pontus, Syria, and other parts amounted to 3000; 1200 slingers were formed into two cohorts; and there were 7000 cavalry from Galatia, Cappadocia, Thrace, Macedonia, Egypt, and other parts, 800 of them being slaves and dependents of himself and his friends. Corn in immense quantities had been stored in Dyrrachium. Dyrrachium, Apollonia, and all the towns on the Adriatic at which Caesar might try to land were garrisoned, and Pompey's great fleet was stationed all along the coast under the supreme command of Caesar's old colleague Bibulus.

No one imagined that Caesar would attempt to leave Brundisium until the spring, as even in peace it was a dangerous thing to do in the winter; but on the 4th of January 48 (sometime in November 49 according to the reformed calendar) he sailed with seven legions and 600 cavalry. It was known that the great Pompeian fleet was watching, and the crossing was made in fear, but on the following day the army landed unopposed at Palaeste, just north of the island of Corcyra. The transports were sent back to Brundisium to bring over the rest of the army, and Bibulus, enraged at having let Caesar slip, was now on his guard. He seized thirty returning vessels and burned them, with their captains and crews, thus showing the blood-thirsty spirit in which his side intended to carry on the war. Henceforth he slept on board, despite the rough weather, and watched at all points for the crossing of Caesar's reinforcements.

Caesar then sent a new embassy to Pompey, saying that both parties had fought long enough, and had each suffered great disasters. Soon one of them would obtain a decided pre-eminence, and then would not submit to equal terms. Now he wished that both of them should disband their armies and submit their differences to the Senate and people at Rome. It was from this messenger that Pompey first heard of Caesar's landing, and he hastened by forced marches to the coast to prevent him taking the maritime towns. On the very day he landed Caesar had started to do this, and all the cities of Epirus had submitted to him, thus giving him a large tract of pastoral land, where he could get little corn but a plentiful supply of cattle. Moreover, at Apollonia, one of the first towns to receive him, the great roads from Thessaly and Macedonia terminated. He then went northeast on the road from Apollonia to Dyrrachium as far as the river Apsus, halting there on hearing that Pompey held this road (the Via Egnatia) farther north; he made his camp here, so that he could protect the cities which had submitted to him and at the same time be near at hand when the rest of his army arrived from Italy. Pompey thereupon marched south to the Apsus, and encamped on the other bank.

Caesar was so anxious for the rest of his army to cross from Italy that, legend says, he attempted to go and bring it over. Dressed like a slave, he went aboard a small boat, without any one's knowledge, and when the sailors were terrified by the great storm that rose, he discovered himself and cried: "Fear nothing! You carry Caesar and his fortune!" It is one of those tales that have almost become history, but we must not think them true.

While Bibulus kept his legions from sailing, Caesar prevented Bibulus from landing for firewood or water, or even anchoring in the harbours, and he was soon in the utmost want of necessaries. The fleet was compelled to drink the night-dew gathered in the skins that sheltered the ships during the stormy nights. Unused to cold and hardship, Bibulus fell seriously ill and, refusing to leave his post, succumbed. He was the first of the Pompeian martyrs to give lustre to the republican cause. His leader, Pompey, however, was out for merely personal reasons, and rejected Caesar's last embassy because he felt that he had been driven from Italy by Caesar and could not return with honour until he fought his way back.

As the winter was drawing to a close, and it would be still more difficult for the troops to cross in the face of the Pompeians in the mild weather, Caesar sent peremptory orders to Mark Antony at Brundisium to cross with the first suitable wind; and, aided by the weather and the false tactics of the enemy's fleet, most of the troops sailed and managed to get in to Nymphaeum, a port north of Dyrrachium. Caesar and Pompey heard the news at the same time, and both left the Apsus and hurried north, Caesar to join Antony, Pompey to attack him before Caesar came up. Pompey was foiled, for Antony learned of his approach and stayed in his camp until Caesar appeared, and then Caesar, by forced marches, cut Pompey off from Dyrrachium, his arsenal and storehouse. Pompey then occupied a height called Petra, to the south of Dyrrachium and close to a small harbour, to which supplies from Dyrrachium could be brought. He was no sooner established here than Caesar began to draw great lines of circumvallation round him.

Caesar had caused a fleet to be built this winter in Sicily, Gaul, and Italy, but it had not yet appeared, and he depended for supplies on Epirus. When he had arranged his commissariat and sent his lieutenants to Macedonia, Thessaly, and Aetolia to win over new allies, he started his blockade of Pompey by land. Round Pompey's camp were many lofty, rugged hills which Caesar occupied, fortified with redoubts, and joined with a continuous rampart and trench seventeen miles long, running from his camp in the north in a wide sweep east, south, and west to the coast. Caesar has been much blamed by authorities on the art of war for making these long lines, which he could not hope to defend against Pompey's superior numbers; but he thought to prevent Pompey's cavalry from foraging and make it easier for his own to do so, and although he brought great disaster on himself by his boldness, he won two decided advantages: he showed the world the spectacle of Pompey hemmed in for a long time by his lines and not daring to fight, and in the end he drew Pompey away from the neighbourhood of Dyrrachium, where his stores were.

Pompey in his turn began to occupy the hills, and made a rampart and trench inside that of Caesar and parallel to it, thus enclosing several miles of good pasture land for his cattle. Moreover, ships came in every day to Petra, and Pompey had for a long time every necessary, while the Caesarians were in great want. The latter, however, were used to privations and bore these without murmuring, even when, after a diet of barley or pulse, they had to fall back on meat. They found a sort of root which, ground and mixed with milk, looked like bread and kept off hunger. They made loaves of it, and when the Pompeians taunted them with starvation, they threw them these, to show that they had plenty. Pompey was told of this meagre diet and the cheerfulness of his opponents notwithstanding, and exclaimed, "Are we fighting with wild beasts?" The Caesarians frequently shouted to their opponents that they would live on the bark of trees before they would let Pompey slip out of their hands. Soon Pompey fell into a worse condition than his enemy, for Caesar turned aside all the rivers and streams that ran out to the coast, or obstructed their courses. The Pompeians had to drink marsh water or dig wells, and as summer approached the springs dried up. The horses and cattle died, while disease broke out among the men, confined in great numbers in a narrow circuit and having large numbers of corpses to dispose of. Caesar had plenty of water, and corn was soon—as the summer drew on—to be plentiful. No regular battle was waged in this time, but there were many fierce skirmishes, and one day every soldier in one of Caesar's redoubts was wounded; 30,000 arrows were picked up after the engagement, and the shield of one of the centurions had 120 holes in it.

At last Pompey, whose horses were feeding on barley or even leaves or crushed roots, was compelled to end the blockade. It was quite simple for him to put a number of troops in boats and land them secretly to the south of Caesar's lines, ready to attack on that side, while other forces from the camp attacked at the same point from the north. The defenders fled in panic, and Caesar, summoned by smoke signals, came up to find that Pompey had broken his lines and spoiled his whole plan of campaign. An attack on a Pompeian position later in the same day led to an ignominious defeat, which might have been annihilation if Pompey had dared to follow it up. Caesar remarked that Pompey did not know how to use a victory.

It was a signal success, and Pompey was saluted as 'imperator'  by his soldiers, but he never used the title, as he never recognized this strife with traitors as war. The captives were given to Labienus, at his request, and all slain in the presence of the army. The Pompeians were so overjoyed that they exaggerated their success. They did not think, says Caesar, of the smallness of his force and the terrible position in which it was placed, or consider the chances of war. He restored the spirits of his soldiers by a wonderful harangue, and made this defeat seem a small incident in the course of their triumphs. At the same time he chid several individuals and deprived several standard-bearers—he had lost thirty-two standards—of their positions. Collecting his forces from the various redoubts he marched off with unlooked-for speed, and, although he led a beaten army, raced Pompey to Apollonia. He arrived first and encamped himself, and then sent to warn his officer Domitius Calvinus that Pompey was abroad. Domitius had been dogging Scipio, who had arrived in Macedonia from Syria, but had come short of supplies and just left him. He was travelling along the Via Egnatia into Pompey's jaws, for Pompey was now on his way to Macedonia to join Scipio. It was only by the most fortunate chance that he learned of Caesar's defeat and his own danger, and, turning south, went to Aeginium, a town on the borders of Epirus and Thessaly, in the upper valley of the River Peneus. To this town Caesar now hastened from Apollonia by the valleys of the Aous and Peneus. Joining their forces they marched over the pass of Mezzovo into Thessaly, where they had had many allies before the late defeat. Now all the towns were closed to them. Caesar started with the siege of Gomphi, took it and gave it up to his soldiers to sack, and the result was that every city in Thessaly but Larissa, where Scipio had placed a strong garrison, submitted to him. He established his army to the south of Larissa, among fields full of ripening corn, and determined to wait there at his ease for Pompey and Scipio.

Pompey and Scipio arrived a few days later, Pompey still wishing to avoid a battle and starve Caesar out, but his army bent on fighting again the enemy they had defeated so signally at Dyrrachium. The magnates were talking publicly of the honours soon to be theirs. At their supper parties they decided who should be killed. They assigned the consulship for years ahead, wrote to Rome to hire houses in the Forum for the elections, and disputed over the property of prominent Caesarians. Scipio, Lentulus, and Domitius Ahenobarbus quarreled every day as to which of them should be Pontifex Maximus in Caesar's place. They placed their camp near that of Caesar, on a hill northeast of Pharsalus, and on the 7th of August 48 Pompey gave way to the clamours of his staff and led out his troops. He and Scipio were now joint commanders, but his warlike reputation was so great that he decided on the plan of the battle. He drew up the united army in a strong position, with the steep bank of the River Enipeus (probably dried up with the heat) on its right side. Here Afranius commanded; Scipio was in the centre; and Pompey was on the left, where the two Gallic legions taken from Caesar were placed. To the left of this far-stretching line of about 45,000 infantry were the 7000 cavalry, and all the archers and slingers. These were directed to ride round Caesar's line when the battle began, and attack him in the rear, a piece of strategy on which Pompey rested his every hope.

Caesar, whose army numbered about 22,000 legionaries and 1000 horse, arranged them to face the corresponding arms in Pompey's army. With the cavalry he mixed, as he had learned to do from the Germans, a number of foot-soldiers, who were trained to clutch the horses' tails and so keep the pace. On the right of his infantry stood as usual the famous Tenth legion, where Caesar was, opposite to Pompey. Publius Sulla commanded on the right, Domitius Calvinus in the centre, Mark Antony on the left. Caesar expected that an attempt would be made by Pompey's cavalry to outflank him, and prepared to meet it. His soldiers were usually arranged in three lines (the Roman triplex acies), but he now detached six cohorts from the third line to stand behind the others and form a fourth line. He told these troops to sally forth on the right flank when he gave the signal, and bade them earnestly do their duty, since the whole fortune of the day would depend on them. He then gave the usual address to his troops, first setting before them his position with regard to the State, and his vain attempts to negotiate terms with the opposite party. He bade the fourth line not to direct their javelins at the legs of their opponents as they generally did, but at their faces, and this may have been because they were infantry going to attack cavalry; but tradition said that it was because there were so many young dandies in the opposite cavalry force, and this would make them take flight at once. Then he gave the signal, and the minute the fateful trumpet was blown, a superannuated centurion of the Tenth legion cried out:

"Follow me, you who were in my maniple, and do for your general the great deeds you have made up your minds to do! This is our last battle, and when it is over he will have secured his honour, and we shall receive our discharge." Then he turned toward Caesar: "My general," he cried, "to-day you shall thank me, living or dead!" Then he dashed forward at the head of the legions to lose his life in performing very valiant deeds. We should dismiss this stirring story, as it seems an impossibly disorderly way of beginning a battle, but Caesar's soldiers always showed a wonderful amount of initiative (he had often to reprove them for it), and the fact is recorded in his own Commentaries. The first two lines, at Caesar's signal, followed the old hero and those who had darted forward at his words. It was usual for the opposing force of infantry to dash forward at the same moment, both sides shouting their war-cries. When they came near enough they hurled their javelins at each other and then drew their swords. Now, however, the Pompeians made no move. Pompey had directed them to let the Caesarians come all the way, and arrive breathless and perhaps in disorder. Caesar, criticizing his enemy's tactics afterward, condemns this action of Pompey's. It damped the soldiers' spirits, he said. They should be roused to ardour with eloquent speeches, trumpets, and war-cries, then dispatched against the enemy before their inspiration was lost. Such an onset, moreover, helped to frighten the foe. Since Pompey's time his tactics have been used with success often enough, but only with very enthusiastic soldiers against ill-disciplined troops; and we are told that his gloomy spirits had disheartened his whole force. Caesar's perfectly trained soldiers, too, eager as they were, did not rush right up, but halted of their own accord half-way, rested, and then dashed forward again to hurl their javelins. Then they drew their swords and engaged at close quarters in a fierce and equal combat with the Pompeian infantry. At the same time, the Pompeian cavalry started on its errand to outflank Caesar on his right. His small body of cavalry was bound to give way before the attack, and the victorious foe began to ride round to the rear. But from his vantage-point between the infantry and cavalry he signed to the fourth line, and the reserve cohorts of infantry darted forward so fiercely that not a single rider stood his ground. They all fled from the field, never stopping, in their panic, until they had reached the highest hills nearby. The archers and stingers, left unprotected, were slain, and the six cohorts held on their way round by Pompey's left, and attacked the enemy in the rear. Caesar then ordered his third line, hitherto inactive, to march forward; and the simultaneous attack of these fresh soldiers and the force in the rear created a panic in the whole Pompeian army, which turned in a general flight. Pompey had already departed, riding back to his camp, and thus striking dismay into the heart of the army he deserted, while he frightened the guard in the camp by his sad face and cheerless words. Caesar, meanwhile, was going from rank to rank of his army, bidding the men spare the lives of their fellow-citizens. When the enemy had entirely disappeared, he urged his soldiers, despite the scorching midday sun, to storm the republican camp. They found it an easy task, for the Thracian troops alone showed any courage. Soon all the defenders had followed the defeated army in flight.

The soldiers, after they had made their entrance, saw with amazement and scorn tents covered with laurel, paved with new-cut turf, and furnished with quantities of silver plate. It was clear that defeat had never been thought of. Pompey had remained in the camp until he saw the besiegers on the point of entering. Then, tearing off his scarlet cloak, he leaped on a swift horse and galloped out by the main gate in the rear. With his son Sextus, Lentulus, and some others, he made for Larissa. At Larissa they cried no halt, but sped on throughout the night, through the dark pass of Tempe and along the coast, and came at last to the Macedonian port Amphipolis, where they took ship for a. farther flight, with Caesar at their heels.

Before Caesar would allow his soldiers to rest or even to sack the enemy's camp, he ordered them to perform the further labour of making an earthwork round a hill to which many of the enemy had gone. When they came up the enemy had flown, and were making for Larissa, but, seeing that they were chased, they sped up another hill, with a stream at its foot. Caesar thereupon caused the work to be dug between the hill and the stream, so that they could get no water. At this they sent to offer submission, and at dawn they descended into the plain, and made formal surrender. He then sent the four legions with him back to rest, and ordered four others to come in their places and go on with him after Pompey to Larissa. He himself was tireless.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


At Pharsalus the Caesarians only lost 200 common soldiers, though about thirty of the bravest centurions were slain. On the other side the loss was very heavy. We are told that when Caesar saw the field strewn with dead bodies, many of them those of Roman citizens, he cried:

"They would have it! I who had conquered in so many wars should have been destroyed if I had not sought aid from my army."

One hundred and eighty inferior standards and nine of the eleven Pompeian eagles were captured. No one fell except on the field, and numbers of magnates were not even fined. Among those to whom mercy was extended was Marcus Brutus, who was to join in murdering Caesar four years later.

The conqueror now made it his only care to run to earth Pompey, who could easily get together another army against him if he had enough time. He in his turn galloped with his cavalry to the Macedonian coast, one of the legions following. At his approach Pompey sailed to Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos, where his wife Cornelia joined him, and thence to Cilicia and Cyprus, and was about to go to Syria, when Antioch sent to threaten with death any Pompeians who approached. The same thing happened to Romans of consular rank at Rhodes, and so Pompey, who had obtained a considerable sum of money and some troops from the publicans, left for Egypt. The youthful Ptolemy, who now ruled Egypt, was at war with his sister, the celebrated Cleopatra, joint ruler with him until he deposed her a few months before. When Pompey neared Pelusium, he sent to beg for Ptolemy's protection in the name of his friendship with his father. The King's advisers did not desire Romans of any party in Egypt, as they wished to give Rome no pretext for the annexation of the country, and they did not want to aid Pompey, as it seemed probable that his was a lost cause. Yet, if they refused help, and he were victorious over Caesar, he might revenge himself on them. They decided, therefore, to murder him. A small boat put out to meet him; he was decoyed into it and pulled into the harbour, conning his Greek address to King Ptolemy as he went, and was stabbed in the back as he stepped on shore. Cornelia, watching from the ship, gave a cry of agony that was heard on the beach, and immediately the Roman vessels trimmed their sails and fled. Pompey's head was cut off and carried away, and a slave seems to have found his trunk on the beach and given it to the flames.

Caesar in Egypt, Asia, and Rome

Pompey was murdered on the 28th of September 48, and Caesar, who had followed him to Asia Minor and Cyprus, arrived in Egypt and learned of his death early in the month of October. He found the kingdom almost as unwilling to receive him as, it had been to welcome Pompey, and, seizing the King, Ptolemy, he entrenched himself in the palace and adjoining part of the city of Alexandria. Rome had already made good her claim to interfere in Egypt, and as Roman consul Caesar demanded that Ptolemy and Cleopatra should submit their differences to him. He had ventured into Egypt with the small force of 4000 men (cavalry and infantry) and some war-ships, and now found himself cut off by the excellent Egyptian army. He occupied the harbour on the cast side of Pharos (the citizens holding the western harbour), and made his fortifications so strong that the national army could not enter his side of the capital. A resolute effort was made to spoil his water. Aqueducts led the water of the Nile to the houses of the rich, and now, after immense labour, sea-water was forced into the aqueducts which led to the houses on Caesar's part of the town. The water speedily became unfit to drink, and his soldiers began to clamour against Caesar, whose imprudence had put them into their present position. He at once bade them dig wells; the men laboured all night, and before morning fresh water had been found, and all the enemy's toil wasted.

A legion sent by Domitius Calvinus then dispatched word to Caesar that it had brought him corn and artillery, but could not make the port on account of the east wind. Caesar at once set off to go to it, without any of his troops, and being set upon by some Alexandrian ships, put in to avoid a fight. One of his ships, however, a Rhodian vessel, lagged behind, and was attacked by the Alexandrian fleet. Although very angry he was forced to go to the rescue; and the Rhodians, noted for their naval skill, and fearing lest their folly should be the cause of a great disaster, fought desperately, won an almost incredible victory, and inflicted great slaughter and damage on the foe. If night had not fallen all the enemy's ships might have been taken. The foe then set to work to prepare for a great naval battle, as, if Caesar's ships could be destroyed, he would be more than ever a prisoner. The Alexandrians were a sailor people and their allies were drawn from the neighbouring coasts, and they built ships and drilled their mariners until they thought that they were more than a match for Caesar. Caesar also drilled picked men, and when the day came won a further victory, thanks to his nine Rhodian war-ships. So that he should not be forced to fight another naval battle, which brought him no advantage, he then made a daring attack on the island of Pharos, and seized it and the mole connecting it to the mainland, thus obtaining complete command of the eastern harbour. He filled up with stones the arch by which ships passed under the mole, and was superintending the fortification of his new acquisition when the enemy fell upon him in their long-ships, while their whole army left the city and sought to stop him in his work. The rash conduct of some of the Caesarians in the harbour ended in a general disaster. The workmen on the bridge and mole, isolated from their fellows, fled to the boats on the shore, struggled as to who should get aboard, and sank them by overcrowding, while those who held back were slain by the enemy. A few swam out, supported by their shields, to the ships riding at anchor. Caesar had exhorted his men in vain to remain at the fortifications, and at last, in despair, himself left and hastened on board one of his ships at the mole. When crowds flocked after him, and he saw that his angry commands to them to keep back were disregarded, he leaped over the side and swam to the distant vessels. Some said that he held up the manuscript of his Commentaries  in one hand to keep it from wetting, others that he swam with his general's cloak in his teeth, lest the foe should have it as a trophy. He soon sent boats to bring off as many as possible. The ship he had left went down with everybody on board. The Egyptians then cleared out the arch which he had blocked up and made strong works at this point.

The Egyptians now begged for their King back, and Caesar, to whom he had been of no use, let him go. They found little comfort in his presence, and their spirits were cast down by the news of a great relieving army coming to Caesar from Cilicia and Syria, and of ships on their way with provisions. The army, under Mithradates of Pergamum, advanced by the land route to Pelusium, which was occupied by a strong Egyptian garrison. Pelusium, the key of eastern Egypt, was captured, and then Mithradates went on toward Alexandria, reducing the country in Caesar's name. A messenger carried word to the latter of his approach, and Caesar set forth from Alexandria to join him while, at the same time, Ptolemy hastened off to attack him before Caesar came up. Caesar, however, won the race, as he won every race. Ptolemy encamped on a hill defended on one side by a marsh, on another by the Nile, and on a third by its own steepness. He fortified it in an excellent way, and Caesar, when he appeared, after defeating the cavalry force sent against him, saw at once that it would be a matter of great difficulty to dislodge the defenders. His effort to storm the camp failed, but soon he noticed that the highest part of the hill was undefended. He sent three cohorts to pass round unnoticed, climb the hill, descend, and attack in the rear. They did so, and, as they came down on the startled foe from behind, raised the great cries wherewith warriors create a panic among their opponents. The King's forces began to run hither and thither, and were in the utmost confusion, when the Romans made an attack from the crest and all sides of the hill at once. Some of the foe leaped from the rampart on the side near the river and fell into the trench. The fugitives behind them sprang down on to this locusts' bridge and escaped, the King among them. He boarded a ship waiting there, but sank with the crowds who flocked on after him.

Caesar now marched as absolute victor into Alexandria, entering on the side held by his own forces. All the citizens threw down their arms and left their fortifications. In the raiment of suppliants they bore out their sacred things as they went to meet the conqueror, this being their custom when seeking forgiveness for any offence committed against their kings. Their great city was in a sad condition, with many of its famous buildings destroyed by the war. They had suffered terribly, and Caesar made no attempt to punish them in any way for their behaviour. He settled the dispute as to the succession by referring to the will of Ptolemy's father, who had bequeathed the crown to his elder son and daughter. The elder son, Ptolemy, was now dead, and he appointed the younger son to reign jointly with the elder daughter Cleopatra. This most famous of all beautiful women had been his firm friend ever since he came to Alexandria. He assured the Egyptians that Rome had no designs against their independence, but he left a strong force to watch over affairs and control the sovereigns.

While Caesar had been shut up in Alexandria, Pharnaces, King of Pontus, had annexed Armenia Minor, defeated his lieutenant Domitius Calvinus, and almost destroyed his army at Nicopolis. His presence was urgently called for in Rome, and indeed in nearly every part of the Empire, and, judging from experience, the reduction of a great Asiatic power might be the affair of years; yet he determined to quell Pharnaces. On his way to Pontus he visited almost every Syrian state, settled controversies, and rewarded services. Then he went by forced marches to Pontus. He brought from Egypt the veteran Sixth legion, reduced by wars and travels to less than a thousand men; of the three legions he took over in Asia, two had been already defeated by Pharnaces. Pharnaces tried in vain by flattery and gifts to persuade him to depart, and then placed his army on a hill nearly three miles from the town of Zeta. This hill was connected with the great victory of Zola which Mithradates the King's father had won over the Romans, and Pharnaces believed that the site of his father's camp would bring him luck.

Caesar at once determined to seize the valleys which strengthened this position before the King, who was much nearer to them, could do so. He had materials for a rampart brought into his camp, and setting out at dawn next day he occupied the old battlefield. Then he sent back for the material for the rampart, and his new camp was being fortified when Pharnaces woke in the morning. He at once led his army out of his camp, and as he would have to fight at a great disadvantage at any spot between his camp and Caesar's, Caesar thought that it was merely a military exercise. He therefore merely led his first line out beyond the rampart and allowed the rest to continue their labour at the fortifications. Pharnaces, however, was superstitious, and wished to attack Caesar on the spot where his father had conquered, and believed, too, that his army was vastly superior to that of the Romans. Caesar was very soon astonished to see him descending the steep valley between the two camps, not only crowding his large numbers into a narrow space, but exposing them to the missiles of the Romans from above. He laughed aloud as he saw the dreaded Pontic army in a position which no sane commander would have ventured near, but as Pharnaces held on his way and began to climb the hill on which his camp was stationed, he had to act with the utmost speed. He called the soldiers off the works to arm and take their places in the hurriedly drawn up lines. The suddenness of the call caused some terror, especially as the enemy's scythed chariots sped up the hill and assailed them before they were in order. The charioteers were overpowered with missiles, and the situation made the Roman victory certain, but still there was a stubborn conflict. The Sixth legion, on the right, had the first decisive success, driving the enemy before it down the hill. Soon the whole army was in flight and slain or trampled underfoot in the narrow spaces of the valley. Even the enemy's camp was captured, and Pharnaces and a few cavalry with great difficulty escaped.

This victory (2nd August 47) caused Caesar a special joy, both because he had ended what threatened to be a long war by a single blow, and because he had lost so few men. In the following year, when he celebrated his Pontic triumph in Rome, there was written in large letters on the triumphal car, "Vene, vidi, vici"  ("I came, I saw, I conquered"). He made his faithful ally, Mithradates of Pergamum, King of Bosphorus, in place of Pharnaces, and Tetrarch of Galatia; and thus left a powerful and friendly ruler between the Roman province and hostile states farther east. Then in a quick progress through Asia Minor he settled controversies and altered or confirmed the status of kings, tetrarchs and republics, and appeared in Italy much earlier than he was looked for.

His long absence from Rome was fraught with danger, but fewer mischances had befallen than might have been expected. The first disturbance came from Marcus Caelius Rufus, the praetor, in 48. He agitated for farther measures for relief of the debtors, and boldly proposed 'new tablets,' besides the socialistic plan of abolishing house rent. This brought him an army of rowdy supporters, and he attacked and drove from his tribunal in the Forum the orderly praetor urbanus, Trebonius. Servilius, Caesar's colleague in the consulship for this year, referred the matter to the Senate, and Caelius was forbidden to address the people; whereupon the humiliated demagogue, once Cicero's most brilliant pupil and a great favourite with him and with Caesar, left the city, giving out that he was going to Caesar's camp. Instead, he summoned Milo back to Italy, and sought to collect an army of rustics and gladiators to attack Rome. A stone from a town wall ended the life of Milo, and Caelius had no better fate; he was slain by some Gallic and Spanish cavalry of Caesar's as he was trying to bribe them to hand over Thurii to him.

Now in 47 Rome was again simmering with revolution, and Antony had had to occupy the Forum with an army. Caesar went to the city by forced marches, and the citizens at once sank into quiet, but he had to face the more serious rebellion of his troops. They were clamouring for the rewards promised after Pharsalus, and for dismissal at once, as they had served long beyond the legal period. He sent Sallust with more promises, but they cried out in wrath that they wanted ready money, and Sallust with difficulty escaped with his life. When Caesar heard this he sent the troops with which Antony had guarded the city to protect the town gates and his own house; and then, despite the warnings of his friends, betook himself to the Campus Martius, a raging sea of soldiers, and appeared on a platform unannounced. The soldiers saluted by instinct; he asked them to state their demands, and his presence awed them so that they dared only ask for disbandment, not rewards. They thought, moreover, that he needed them too much to dismiss them and would himself speak of the rewards. But he never even hesitated, ill as he could afford to take the risk of losing them. "I discharge you!" he said; and, after a profound silence, added, "As to what I have promised you, I shall give it you when I and all celebrate our Triumph." The soldiers were embarrassed by his unexpected mildness, and the idea of no longer being in Rome at the Triumph struck dismay into their hearts. Then they began to ponder on the fact that their general still had Africa to reduce, and that it was a rich country, where they might get much booty; but the chief motive that inspired them, now that they were in his presence, was their old wish for his approval. Again silence reigned, but as he prepared to depart his friends begged him not to dismiss in that cold way an army which had served him so long and so faithfully.

He then made another speech, addressing his old veterans as 'Citizens' (Quirites), not as 'Soldiers,' or, as so often, 'Fellow soldiers.' This broke their hearts. They had been so proud of their rank as victorious soldiers, and had come to scorn civilians. As the word 'Citizens!' fell from Caesar's lips they cried out for pardon, and to be retained in the service; and as he descended from the platform, affecting not to hear them, they gathered round him and begged him to punish them but to allow them to remain in his army. He stopped, pondered, and returned to the platform. He wished to punish no one, he said, but he was deeply hurt by the mutiny of the Tenth legion, to which he had shown such favour. It should be discharged alone. The Tenth then begged to be decimated and forgiven; again the general melted, and soon the whole army was in a mood that promised well for its success in Africa. The Romans were a cold people, but if there was a warm, human relationship among them, it was that between a general and his army. It is interesting to recall the mutiny at Opis against Alexander the Great, and to contrast Caesar's dry speeches with Alexander's oratory, and the Greek tears of reconciliation with the restrained joy of the Roman troops and commander.

Thapsus and Munda

After Pharsalus Cato, Scipio, Cnaeus and Sextus Pompeius, Labienus, Afranius, Petreius and others had sailed to the Roman province of Africa or to Spain, while Lentulus, following Pompey to Egypt, had been murdered there in his turn—Lentulus, who had promised himself a suburban villa of Caesar's! They had over a year in which to prepare another large army in these rich provinces before Caesar appeared, and they had collected a fine force, increased with the cavalry, light-armed troops and elephants of Juba of Numidia, and a fine fleet, and had had time to instruct the soldiers in new ways of fighting, learned from the warlike races of North Africa. They were inspirited, too, by their destruction of Curio's army in 49, and, strange as such a superstition may seem to us, by the presence of a Scipio on their side. He was a Scipio very different from the earlier great men of his name, and the most experienced of the republican party had wished to make Cato commander-in-chief after Pompey's death. Cato, however, was only a propraetor, while Scipio was of proconsular rank, and Cato, a pedantic stickler as to constitutional points, refused to take rank above him; so the worse general was chosen. When Caesar left for Africa, in December 47, Cato was at Utica with a garrison and fleet and the 300 persons who formed the republican council of war and called themselves the Roman Senate. The main army was at Adrumetum, a town to the south of Carthage.

On the 1st of January, 46, Caesar landed in Africa and placed his camp before Adrumetum. One of his officers obtained permission to send a messenger to negotiate with the Pompeian commander in the town, as he was an old acquaintance. The messenger was asked from whom he was bringing the dispatch, and answered, "From Caesar, imperator."  "There is no imperator  of the Roman people but Scipio," he was told, and they slew him. Caesar placed his camp at Ruspina, and before Scipio came up had several engagements with his old lieutenant Labienus (who now hated him more than anything else on earth, no one has ever known why) and Petreius, his old Spanish foe. At the head of enormous forces of cavalry, archers, and slingers, including the brilliant Numidians and famous German and Gallic horse gathered by Pompey, Labienus drove the Caesarians into several serious predicaments; and one day, riding at the front of his men with his head bare, he called out from some distance to one of Caesar's legionaries in a band which he had surrounded:

"What is the matter with you, young soldier? Why are you so fierce? Has he won you all over with words? He is leading you into great danger, and I am sorry for you."

"I am no young soldier, Labienus," replied the man, "but a veteran of the Tenth legion."

"I do not recognize the standards of the Tenth legion," called back Labienus; whereupon the soldier answered: "Now shall you know who I am!" and pulling off his helmet, hurled his javelin with all his strength. It wounded his interlocutor's horse, and he cried: "Labienus, know that the soldier who strikes you belongs to the Tenth legion!

Caesar always extricated his troops. He fortified himself strongly, and many citizens fled to his camp from neighbouring towns and complained of the harshness of the republicans, who had laid waste the whole countryside so that the Caesarians should not be able to find provisions. He had meant to wait until the summer to fight a battle, hut changed his mind and sent word to the praetors in Sicily that no excuse of winter or the winds was to prevent their sending the rest of the army over at once. The day after his messengers had gone he complained of the delay, and never ceased to scan the sea for a sail. Farms were being burned, fields wasted, cattle slaughtered, towns and forts pillaged, and hostages seized by the enemy, while he had so few soldiers that he could make no reply to the prayers for aid. Scipio had arrived, and once approached Caesar's camp with all his troops, but Caesar dared not accept battle. With that great force menacing his camp, however, he did not roam anxiously round the ramparts as another general would have done, but sat calmly in the praetorium  issuing directions from the reports brought in, as if he had been on the spot. Not only would any enemy hesitate before trying to storm a camp as strong as his, but he had won so many victories that his very name was dreaded. He received, too, large numbers of Numidian and other African deserters from Scipio's camp, as he had managed to let them know in some way his kinship to Marius, who had left such a great name in Africa. He obtained elephants and accustomed his horses to their smell, so that the elephants of the enemy would not terrify them, and he taught his soldiers at which parts of these beasts they should aim their javelins.

Then large reinforcements came from Sicily, and it was now his turn to offer battle, and a time of great hardship followed for the army. Caesar had forbidden the soldiers to bring from Sicily anything but their armour, as he had not many transport ships; and now, continually changing camps, they could not gather round them any comforts for the wintry weather. Very few had skins for tents, and most of them made miserable erections of their clothing or of woven reeds or branches. One night "after the Pleiades had set," a great hail-storm took place; the tents were washed away, the camp fires extinguished, and all the food spoiled, while the soldiers wandered about in their quarters holding their shields over their heads. Every day in Rome the more serious people, like Cicero (who had made it up with Caesar after a brief stay in Pompey's camp in Greece), anxiously looked out for news of some great battle, and seem to have dreaded the success of the republicans. The republicans were still the 'Good' to Cicero, but he confessed that he was afraid of the revenge they might take if they were successful. Others had returned to the normal life of the capital, and forgotten that the fate of the Empire hung on a hair that was about to be cut; and Cicero speaks of their feasting and merry-making, and "Balbus building while Rome falls."

The decisive battle did not take place until the 6th of April. Caesar had begun to invest Thapsus, a town on the coast, and Scipio hastened there and placed two camps on the neighbouring heights, but, failing to get relief into the town, was forced to offer battle. Caesar drew up his army opposite his and went the round, talking to his troops of victories past. As he did so he noticed a remarkable thing: the enemy were showing fear and moving about in confusion. His men noticed the same thing, and the officers begged him to give the signal for attack, as the Immortal Gods were offering him the victory. Caesar was not pleased with a presumption that he was henceforth to have to reckon with, and was hesitating; but without his order a trumpeter on his right, compelled by those who stood round him, gave the signal. The cohorts sprang forward and the standards were advanced, despite the efforts of the centurions. Caesar could do nothing but fall in, and, giving as the battle-cry 'Felicitas'  (Good Fortune), darted forward.

The archers and slingers on his right hurled their missiles against the elephants on Scipio's left, and the noise and pain caused by such quantities of stones, bullets, arrows, and javelins so terrified the beasts that they turned and began to trample down the soldiers on their own side—a danger always to be faced when these animals were used—and fled out of the battle to their camp, where they began to trample down the gates; and the Moorish cavalry, placed to fight with the elephants, followed their example of flight. The victorious legions on Caesar's right marched round and seized Scipio's camp, those of the defenders that were not slain flying to their camp of the day before. One of the soldiers, lifted by an elephant with its trunk, hacked at it with his sword until it flung him down and with a loud, shrill cry followed the other elephants. The Caesarians, everywhere victorious, could not this time be induced to spare the foe, even by their general.

Leaving a lieutenant and three legions to continue the siege of Thapsus, Caesar went on to Utica. Two of the largest armies the Romans had ever got together had been destroyed, and the republicans began to talk of 'Caesar's fortune.' Cato, who by his virtue and valour had always been the most respected of all the republican leaders, won for himself the title of 'the Utican,' by his old Roman death there. He tried in vain to organize some defense of the city. After the news of Thapsus came, brought by bands of fugitives, nearly all were in panic, and the townspeople were hostile to their cause. He determined, therefore, to save as many of his party as he could, for, strange to say, Cato, almost alone in his party, had shown a sense of the value of human life, even that of the Roman citizens on Caesar's side. Having provided ships to take away all who wished to leave the country and arranged for his children's welfare, he read Plato's account of the Soul, as a Christian might read the promises of the New Testament, and then slew himself like an old Stoic. Utica threw open its gates to Caesar as he came up by torch-light, and on the morrow he entered and accepted its submission.

Petreius had fled with King Juba from the fatal field of Thapsus to Numidia, but Juba's subjects would not receive him into his capital. They feared Caesar, but, still more, Juba himself, for he had declared that if he were defeated he would burn them, himself, his wives, children and treasure in one great funeral pyre. He and Petreius, therefore, fought a duel in order to win death that way, and the survivor called in a slave to kill him. Numidia was then made into a Roman province. Faustus Sulla and Afranius, Caesar's Spanish opponent, were making for Spain, but were intercepted and slain, the soldiers, enraged at the continued resistance of the republicans, apparently killing at their own discretion. Scipio, after saying good-bye to Cato, had taken ship for Spain. He was cast back to Hippo by a storm, and perished by his own hand like so many of his party. Those who did not slay themselves were eternally wondering if it would not be nobler to do so.

Late in July Caesar returned to Rome and stayed there until November. He received the dictatorship for ten years, and celebrated three Triumphs at one time—for his Gallic conquest, his defeat of Pharnaces, and his conquest of Numidia, but none for his victories over Roman citizens. The veterans received lands and splendid rewards, and large doles were made to the citizens. The poor were let off a year's rent. Magnificent public feasts were given and spectacles of every kind, from gladiatorial contests, fights between wild beasts, and mock battles, to stage plays. The circus was lengthened for the races; a canal was dug round it, and a great pool was made for a mimic naval battle. Such was the concourse to the capital that strangers were forced to lodge in tents in the streets, and two senators, among others, were crushed to death.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


Having done all he could to make his government popular, Caesar started to carry out reforms that had never been possible before. He altered the calendar, abandoning the lunar for the solar year. In future the year was to consist of 365 days 6 hours, instead of 355 days, and one day was to be added every fourth year. By this arrangement the calendar year was little more than eleven minutes longer than the solar year, and this came to only one day wrong in 128 years. Caesar's calendar, modified by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, has answered the needs of every modern nation of the Western world. He enacted that in future, too, the year was to begin on the 1st of January instead of in March, when the year began in most countries, with the spring. This was simply because the Roman magistrates entered on office in January, and several nations which adopted the Julian calendar continued to keep New Year's Day at the spring equinox. The English year, for instance, began in March until 1752. He filled up the vacancies in the Senate, made new patricians, and added to the number of praetors and other magistrates, of whom Rome had too few for orderly administration. He reduced the number of those who received free corn from 320,000 to 150,000. The population had been greatly thinned by war and by his sending out colonies, and he therefore placed restrictions on leaving Italy. He declared all doctors and scholars living in Rome free men, thus adding a respectable element to the electorate and attracting a desirable class to the capital, besides performing an enlightened act from our modern point of view.

To restore the yeomanry of Italy, he enacted that not less than one-third of the labourers employed on farms should be free men. He enfranchized all the Transpadanes, and it is said that he opened the Senate to the provincials. The world was no longer to be exploited for the benefit of a few hundred Roman aristocrats. In abolishing the old free constitution Caesar, in a sense, betrayed the democratic party, but he carried out democratic reforms to which the selfish Roman people, if he had raised it to supreme power, would never have consented. Nor is a rule of the people thinkable in a State which had not invented representation. Rome at this time was not called upon to choose a wise absolutism, a virtuous aristocratic rule, or an ideal democracy. It is not unfair to put it that she was called upon to choose a wise absolutism, a corrupt oligarchy, or the mob. The absolutism was imposed upon her, and the other two elements in the constitution were deliberately deprived of power by the new autocrat. All but the most ancient guilds were abolished, as they had long been secret political societies, and, although Caesar did nothing to punish it, nobody felt free to talk about politics.

At the same time everybody must have felt that the new ruler had the good of Rome at heart. His lessening of the corn dole showed that he wished to turn the 'proletariat' into workers. The criminal code was made more severe and administered with old Roman strictness. He tried, too, to rouse in the depraved citizens the old Roman ideal of private simplicity and public greatness, and he started the work which Augustus completed of making the State something which its citizens could respect and care for. Party feeling in Rome had ended in the destruction of all love for the State; the feeling of reverence on which government depends was felt nowhere in his time but in the army, and then it was only for the general. The general, in fact, was a monarch. To restrain the luxury of the age Caesar made sumptuary laws, bound to fail and perhaps harmful, forbidding the use of litters, or of scarlet robes or pearls to those who had not the legal right to wear them; and his lictors appeared in the market-place and even in private houses to see that no forbidden delicacies were being obtained for the table. At the same time, nothing could exceed his public magnificence, and he constructed colossal public works in Rome and in the provinces.

In all this legislation he acted as an absolute ruler, although he pretended to maintain a republic, but people like Cicero still hoped that, like Sulla, he would soon restore the free State. Cicero was even expecting an invitation to assist in this restoration. As it was, Caesar held meetings of the Senate in his own house, and, if he chose, put down the name of an absent senator as endorsing his decrees. "I have had letters," wrote Cicero, in bitter jest, "from far away kings, thanking me because they enjoy their title through my support, whereas I did not know that they were kings or even that they were born." In August he wrote cynically and sadly to a friend, "Now I have cast away all my care for the republic, all my meditations of speeches for the Senate, all cogitations as to lawsuits. I have thrown myself into the camp of my old enemy Epicurus . . .You must forget all about your simple salads and home-made cakes. I am so skilled at present in the art of dining that I often invite Verrius and Camillus, faddists and fops as they are. But the climax of my audacity is that I have dined Hirtius. I could not venture on a peacock, and, in fact, nothing in my dinner came up to his but a hot sauce. This is my life now: I receive in the morning at home, and sad loyalists and exultant Caesarians visit me, and all show me the utmost respect and liking. Then I bury myself in literature, either writing or reading. Some who come listen to me as if I were a learned man, because I am a little better read than themselves. Then I give myself up to the things of the flesh. I have mourned for my country more deeply and longer than any mother for her only son."

As time went on Cicero became more and more bitter, and the spirit in which he mourned for his country was spreading. Still he said that "Caesar was the most hopeful element in the situation," and was delighted when Caesar asked his courtiers—for we may talk of courtiers now—what witty thing Cicero had said lately. In this year Cicero dared to write his Cato, a panegyric on the republican hero, and despite republican complaints of lost liberty, Caesar made no attempt to suppress the volume. He simply wrote two Anti-Catos, as a private citizen might have done. Again, Cicero constituted himself the advocate with Caesar for the return to Rome of Pompeians living in exile and not daring to come back without the Dictator's express permission. Of one of these exiles for whom Cicero had prepared a speech to be delivered in the Senate, Caesar said, "Of course it is well known that he is a villain and a traitor, but why should we not have the pleasure of a speech from Cicero?" The speech that Cicero delivered was so moving and charming that Caesar's colour often changed as it proceeded, and it was clear that he was deeply touched. At last the orator began to talk in his magic way of Pharsalus; the hard dictator let papers fall from hands that trembled, and at the close of the oration he gave leave for the recall of the exile.

Before the year ended Caesar was drawn away to Spain, where Cnaeus and Sextus Pompeius, the sons of Pompey the Great, Labienus and other desperate souls had gathered for the last struggle against him. His parting acts in Rome were to cause himself to be chosen sole consul for 45, and to appoint the tribunes and aediles for that year, while prefects were to carry on the government in his absence. The republicans fumed, and yet they hoped that he, not the Pompeians, would be victorious in Spain. "I swear I am most anxious," wrote Cicero to a friend at the beginning of 45, "and prefer to keep our old and merciful lord rather than submit to a new, cruel one. You know how foolish Cnaeus is; you know what a virtue he thinks cruelty is; and you know how he always thinks that we are smiling at him. I fear that he will take his revenge on us with a sword-stroke, like a clown." We shall not have space to quote much more from Cicero's vast body of correspondence, and may say here that his letters are like a torch in the dark years of the fall of the Roman republic; he shows us men whom we might have thought perfect heroes or unmitigated villains in their natural colours.

The sons of Pompey were showing themselves cruel indeed in Spain, and band after band of Spaniards and Romans fled into Caesar's camp when he appeared. His object was to take Cordova, and the war was carried on in that district, the decisive battle taking place at Munda, to the south of Cordova, on the 17th of March 45. He was about to leave Munda, where he was encamped, when his scouts brought news that Cnaeus Pompey had been in battle array since dawn. He straightway ordered the red flag to be placed on his tent as a signal for battle, and advanced toward Pompey along the plain, about five miles long, between the two armies. Pompey did not quite descend to the level ground, and kept the advantage of position when the battle began. Caesar had many new recruits in his army, and they were seized with panic at the sight of the Pompeians, who were mostly skilled veterans. He called on all the gods for aid and harangued in vain, taking off his helmet so that the soldiers might see his face. They stood like mules, and finally he seized a shield from a soldier standing near, and shouted desperately to his troops: "This will be the last day of my life and of your wars." Then he dashed forward alone until he was within ten feet of the foe. Two hundred missiles were hurled at him, but he stood uninjured, and his military tribunes sprang forward to his side. Then the whole army, ashamed and at the same time inspired, followed and fought most valiantly. He said afterward that he had often fought to conquer, but this time he had fought for life. It was the fiercest of all the battles of the Civil War, and the crowning victory; and not one of the Pompeians could have escaped if they had not had a town near to fall back upon. Thirty thousand or more of them were slain, among them Labienus and 3000 Roman knights; while thirteen eagles and many other standards and fasces  were taken. Caesar then went on to take Munda, and his soldiers, in a fit of Roman inhumanity, circumvallated the town with the dead bodies of their enemies. Cordova, where 22,000 more were slain, then fell into their hands. Cnaeus Pompeius, who had fled from Munda to the coast, was hunted down, and his head was brought to Caesar at Gades on the 12th of April; his younger brother Sextus, who had fled from Cordova at Caesar's approach, gathered together the scattered members of his party, and they lived among the mountains like brigands until Caesar was dead.

The last of Caesar's battles was over, and he retired to spend the few remaining months of his life in Rome.

Kill the Tyrant!

Caesar returned from Spain to Rome in September 45. The marble bust of him in the British Museum must date from this period, for though his baldness began in early manhood, other features of this famous portrait are those of an ageing man. His face forms a remarkable contrast to the portraits handed down to us of Alexander the Great, and the contrast holds in many points of their characters. The Grecian beauty and grace of the Alexander type make the thin, painfully hollowed face of Caesar more startling, and the latter is a more convincing representation of one who had suffered for long years the 'asceticism of war.' Caesar, moreover, had the strain of facing for years all the great armies of his own country and the reorganization of its political institutions. He was pale, with penetrating black eyes, tall for an Italian, and well-made, but perhaps his chief physical beauty was the dome-like skull, with its exceptionally fine lines, which he was so eager to hide with his laurel wreath. It dominates his whole face, and shows the perfect union of the thinker and the man of action.

The reports of early historians leave us to wonder whether he was merely foppish or eccentric in his dress. Like most educated Romans he collected works of art and had luxurious villas, and even carried to war tessellated pavements to be laid down in his quarters in the camp. He was a skillful horseman, and could do an incredible amount of work. In marching, sometimes on horseback but oftener on foot, he went before the column, with his head bare in the burning sun or drenching rain, and would ride a hundred miles in a day, swimming across streams when there was no other way of getting over. He wrote books in his litter on the march, and would dictate important letters and dispatches as he galloped along on horse-back. He was habitually cautious in war, but sometimes carried out acts of seemingly reckless daring. His soldiers were allowed a good deal of license, and when his enemies reproached him with their luxury, he answered that they could fight well even if they were perfumed. He knew that they had terrible privations as a set-off. He permitted them to wear precious armour, as it encouraged their soldier's pride and they were less likely to throw it down and fly from the field. He won the devotion of his troops, and there was assuredly the feeling in his army for its general that he tried to create in Rome for the head of the State.

Not only was he moderate and clement in the Civil War, but in the end he allowed all the Pompeians to return to Rome, and all the offices of State were open to them. That he was a great statesman is specially shown by his enfranchisement of the Italians north of the Po, by his sending Roman colonists to spread Roman civilization beyond the city limits, by his protection of the provincials, and by the lasting nature of his work as founder of the second monarchy. His personal magnetism was strong, and he inspired liking and awe at the same time. Cicero in this last year of the Dictator's life had the honour of entertaining him, and said that he was most affable and courteous, although you could not venture to say, "Do come again soon!" (Cicero's frequent flippancy helps to give his style its wonderfully modern air.) Without a word of direction from Caesar, the leading men in Rome adopted instinctively the etiquette of courtiers. As an instance of his courageous courtesy, we have the anecdote of the oil.

"When at the table of Valerius Leo, who entertained him at supper at Milan," says Plutarch, "a dish of asparagus was put before him on which his host instead of oil had poured sweet ointment. Caesar partook of it without any disgust, and reprimanded his friends for finding fault with it. 'For it was enough,' said he, 'not to eat what you did not like; but he who reflects on another man's want of breeding shows he wants it as much himself.'" In his unselfishness he once gave a delicate companion the only comfortable accommodation to be found on a stormy night, sleeping himself with the rest under a shed at the door.

When he returned to Rome in the autumn of 45 he was more absolute than any Roman had been since the days of the kings, and all his chief opponents were dead. Rome received him as such a conqueror might expect to be received. Each tribe made sacrifices of thanksgiving, arranged games, and erected his statues in every temple and public place; and all the provinces and allied states of the Roman world did the same. He was given the title of Father of the Fatherland, and the dictatorship for life; his person was declared sacred and inviolable; he was given a throne of gold and ivory, and permission to wear his Triumphal costume when he sacrificed. The anniversaries of his battles were to be celebrated; the priests and vestal virgins were to make public prayer for him every five years; all magistrates were to swear on entering office to do nothing against his laws; the very month of his birth was to change its name to July; and, finally, temples were dedicated to his honour. It was probably his enemies who most wished him to receive the title of king, believing that he would then be assassinated, so much did the Roman people hate the word; and Caesar showed his disapproval when the matter was mentioned. He indicated by dismissing the praetorian guard by which he had been attended from the beginning of the war that he did not mean to rest his rule on force, and he was satisfied with the lictors of an ordinary Roman magistrate. He knew that sovereignty may be seized by soldiers, but that its only lasting foundation is loyalty of subjects. This he never obtained.

From the moment of his return from Spain until the fatal Ides of March on which he was murdered, whispers against the 'King' grew louder and louder. When the magistrates and the whole body of senators went to bring him the decrees by which he received his extraordinary honours, he was guilty of the only act of discourtesy recorded of him, and filled the minds of those magnates with rage. He was seated before the Rostra in the Forum, attended by his lictors, when they approached, and it is believed that he meant to rise, had not Balbus, standing by, murmured in his ear, "Remember that you are Caesar!" He remained seated, and deeply offended the distinguished deputation.

Not able to make him take the title of king, his enemies began to give him the show of wishing for it. Someone put a laurel crown and the white fillet of royalty on one of his statues, and was thereupon thrown into prison by a tribune, thus showing that there was to be determined opposition to any attempt to introduce a monarchy. He was addressed publicly as King, and the people murmured angrily, but he replied quickly, "I am not King, I am Caesar," The tribunes again punished the persons who had thus offended, and this time he allowed his anger to appear. He removed the tribunes and said that they merited death. Even if he did not wish to be king, he wished it to be known that he would be king if he desired. This punishment of the tribunes made it clear to the Romans that they had lost political freedom for ever, and some of the best men among them began to plot his assassination, thinking that tyranny would end with the tyrant.

Then came the celebrated Feast of the Lupercalia in the February of 44. Caesar was seated on his golden throne in the Forum to watch the games, when his faithful friend Mark Antony, whom he had made his colleague in the consulship for this year, mounted the Rostra behind him and placed a diadem upon his head. A few who stood near applauded, but most of the people showed anger, and Caesar threw the diadem on to the ground. Antony persisted again and again, to the wrath of the silent, menacing people, until the dictator forced him to desist.

Weary of the gloomy capital, Caesar determined to leave for the frontiers of the Empire, where he might win new laurels and throw off a tendency to epilepsy, which grew on him when he led an inactive life. Before his preparations for departure were made he filled the cup of republican wrath by assigning the magistracies for five years ahead; and they determined that the man who thus acted as king should not live to leave the city. Marcus Brutus, spared by Caesar after Pharsalus and deeply loved by him, but far from being the noble, disinterested patriot who appears in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Decimus Brutus and Trebonius, old lieutenants highly honoured and richly rewarded by the conqueror, Caius Cassius, Casca, Cimber, and Cinna, were the chief conspirators. Cicero, who welcomed their deed with rapture after it was done, was not taken into the secret.

[Illustration] from Julius Caesar by Ada Russell


We may learn the story of the murder from Shakespeare and from Plutarch, from whom Shakespeare took the tale. The Senate was to meet on the Ides of March in a building raised by Pompey and containing his statue. "When Caesar entered," says Plutarch, "the Senate stood up to show their respect to him, and of Brutus's confederates, some came about his chair and stood behind it, others met him, pretending to add their petitions to those of Tillius Cimber, in behalf of his brother, who was in exile; and they followed him with their joint applications till he came to his seat. When he was sat down, he refused to comply with their requests, and upon their urging him further began to reproach them severely for their importunities, when Tillius, laying hold of his robe with both his hands, pulled it down from his neck, which was the signal for the assault. Casca gave him the first cut, in the neck, which was not mortal nor dangerous, as coming from one who at the beginning of such a bold action was probably very much disturbed; Caesar immediately turned about, and laid his hand upon the dagger and kept hold of it. And both of them at the same time cried out, he that received the blow, in Latin, 'Vile Casca, what does this mean?' and he that gave it, in Greek, to his brother, 'Brother, help!' Upon this first onset those who were not privy to the design were astonished, and their horror and amazement at what they saw were so great that they durst not fly nor assist Caesar, nor so much as speak a word. But those who came prepared for the business enclosed him on every side, with their naked daggers in their hands. Which way so ever he turned he met their blows, and saw their swords leveled at his face and eyes, and was encompassed, like a wild beast in the toils, on every side. For it had been agreed they should each of them make a thrust at him, and flesh themselves with his blood; for which reason Brutus also gave him one stab in the groin. Some say that he fought and resisted all the rest, shifting his body to avoid the blows and calling out for help, but that when he saw Brutus's sword drawn, he covered his face with his robe and submitted, letting himself fall, whether it were by chance, or that he was pushed in that direction by his murderers, at the foot of the pedestal on which Pompey's statue stood." His life was over. Then the tyrannicides, as they called themselves, appealed to the gratitude of their country, only to find that they were but a small party.

Brutus and Cassius, who were both praetors, ought to have summoned the Senate at once and obtained approval of their actions and the restoration of the republic. Perhaps, even, they ought to have slain Mark Antony with Caesar, for as consul he could override the acts of the praetors. Brutus, however, refused to throw him into the Tiber, as he had not yet done any wrong to the republic, and at the same time refused to override his authority as it was that of a higher magistrate than himself; and thus it came about that Antony got his chance to sway the mob with his orations against the murderers, waken extraordinary sorrow for the loss of Caesar, and so lead up to a new civil war in which the tyrannicides one and all met death, some ending their own lives as they had ended his.

Antony frightened the Senate with the idea that the soldiery would take a terrible revenge if Caesar were not honourably buried, and that all the provinces would rise if his acts were cancelled; and he won permission to take the body to the Rostra and make a public funeral oration. The effect of this famous oration was extraordinary. Antony knew that the terms of Caesar's will would move the populace even more than his eloquence, and he read it to them. By it Caesar had appointed his sister's grandson Octavian (afterwards known to the world as Augustus) as his heir; his gardens he gave to the people for ever, and to each citizen he left seventy-five attic drachmas. Decimus Brutus, one of the assassins, was one of the chief legatees, and this circumstance thrilled the people with horror. They called for the murderers' blood, but still Antony went on, uncovering the hero's body and holding up his robe, rent with daggers and red with blood. Overwhelmed with sorrow and anger, the people chanted pagan hymns for the dead, and then ran to set fire to the Senate House where he had been murdered, and to look for the murderers and kill them. They burned his body in the Forum, watching the magnificent funeral throughout the night, and on this spot Augustus caused a temple to be built to him and divine honours were paid to his memory.

Very shortly afterward Antony and Octavian punished the murderers and divided the rule of the world with Lepidus, in the Second Triumvirate. After defeating Antony in the battle of Actium in 31, Augustus ruled alone over the inheritance of his great-uncle, 'the mightiest Julius,' and though even he never dared to take the title 'King,' he made the rank of ' imperator,' which he held mean something higher than a king—an emperor. Thus Julius started the work which Augustus finished, the creation of that form of rule on which most medieval and modern Western states have modeled their polities and courts, and they were the joint organizers of that system of provincial government which, has made us all the children of Roman civilization; but it is chiefly to Julius, the first Roman to touch English shores, that we must look back when we trace the source of our intellectual life.