| C. VELLEIUS
COMPENDIUM OF ROMAN HISTORY
~ Book II ~
( AD 30 )
( F. W. Shipley, Velleius Paterculus, Compendium of Roman History, London, 1924 ).
1. – The first of the Scipios opened the way for the world power of the Romans; the second opened the way for luxury. For, when Rome was freed of the fear of Carthage, and her rival in empire was out of her way, the path of virtue was abandoned for that of corruption, not gradually, but in headlong course. The older discipline was discarded to give place to the new. The state passed from vigilance to slumber, from the pursuit of arms to the pursuit of pleasure, from activity to idleness. It was at this time that there were built, on the Capitol, the porticoes of Scipio Nasica, the porticoes of Metellus already mentioned, and, in the Circus, the portico of Gnaeus Octavius, the most splendid of them all; and private luxury soon followed public extravagance.
Then followed a war that was disaster and disgraceful to the Romans, the war in Spain with Viriathus, a guerilla chief. The fortunes of this war during its progress shifted constantly and were, more frequently than not, adverse to the Romans. On the death of Viriathus through the perfidy rather than the valour of Servilius Caepio, there broke out in Numantia a war that was more serious still. Numantia city was never able to arm more than ten thousand men of its own; but, whether it was owing to her native valour, or to the inexperience of our soldiers, or to the mere kindness of fortune, she compelled first other generals, and then Pompey, a man of great name (he was the first of his family to hold the consulship) to sign disgraceful treaties, and forced Mancinus Hostilius to terms no less base and hateful. Pompey, however, escaped punishment through his influence. As for Mancinus his sense of shame, in that he did not try to evade the consequences, caused him to be delivered to the enemy by the fetial priests, naked, and with his hands bound behind his back. The Numantines, however, refused to receive him, following the example of the Samnites at an earlier day at Caudium, saying that a national breach of faith should not be atoned for by the blood of one man.
2. – The surrender of Mancinus aroused in the state a quarrel of vast proportions. Tiberius Gracchus, the son of Tiberius Gracchus, an illustrious and eminent citizen, and the grandson, on his mother's side, of Scipio Africanus, had been quaestor in the army of Mancinus and had negotiated the treaty. Indignant, on the one hand, that any of his acts should be disavowed, and fearing the danger of a like trial or a like punishment, he had himself elected tribune of the people. He was a man of otherwise blameless life, of brilliant intellect, of upright intentions, and, in a word, endowed with the highest virtues of which a man is capable when favoured by nature and by training. In the consulship of Publius Mucius Scaevola and Lucius Calpurnius (one hundred and sixty-two years ago), he split with the party of the nobles, promised the citizenship to all Italy, and at the same time, by proposing agrarian laws which all immediately desired to see in operation, turned the state topsyturvy, and brought it into a position of critical and extreme danger. He abrogated the power of his colleague Octavius, who defended the interests of the state, and appointed a commission of three to assign lands and to found colonies, consisting of himself, his father-in-law the ex-consul Appius, and his brother Gaius, then a very young man.
3. – At this crisis Publius Scipio Nasica appeared. He was the grandson of the Scipio who had been adjudged by the senate the best citizen of the state, the son of the Scipio who, as censor, had built the porticoes on the Capitol, and great-grandson of Gnaeus Scipio, that illustrious man who was the paternal uncle of Publius Scipio Africanus. Although he was a cousin of Tiberius Gracchus, he set his country before all ties of blood, choosing to regard as contrary to his private interests everything that was not for the public weal, a quality which earned for him the distinction of being the first man to be elected pontifex maximus in absentia. He held no public office at this time and was clad in the toga. Wrapping the fold of his toga about his left forearm he stationed himself on the topmost steps of the Capitol and summoned all those who wished for the safety of the state to follow him. Then the optimates, the senate, the larger and better part of the equestrian order, and those of the plebs who were not yet infected by pernicious theories rushed upon Gracchus as he stood with his bands in the area of the Capitol and was haranguing a throng assembled from almost every part of Italy. As Gracchus fled, and was running down the steps which led from the Capitol, he was struck by the fragment of a bench, and ended by an untimely death the life which he might have made a glorious one. This was the beginning in Rome of civil bloodshed, and of the licence of the sword. From this time on right was crushed by might, the most powerful now took precedence in the state, the disputes of the citizens which were once healed by amicable agreements were now settled by arms, and wars were now begun not for good cause but for what profit there was in them. Nor is this to be wondered at; for precedents do not stop where they begin, but, however narrow the path upon which they enter, they create for themselves a highway whereon they may wander with the utmost latitude; and when once the path of right is abandoned, men are hurried into wrong in headlong haste, nor does anyone think a course is base for himself which has proven profitable to others.
4. – While
these events were taking place in Italy King Attalus had died, bequeathing
Asia in his will to the Roman people, as Bithynia was later bequeathed
to them by Nicomedes, and Aristonicus, falsely claiming to be a
scion of the royal house, had forcibly seized the province. Aristonicus
was subdued by Marcus Perpenna and was later led in triumph, but
by Manius Aquilius. He paid with his life the penalty for having
put to death at the very outset of the war the celebrated jurist
Crassus Mucianus, proconsul of Asia, as he was leaving his province.
5. – In
Spain, even before the destruction of Numantia, Decimus Brutus had
conducted a brilliant campaign in which he penetrated to all the
peoples of the country, took a great number of men and cities and,
by extending his operations to regions which hitherto had scarcely
been heard of, earned for himself the cognomen of Gallaecus.
6. – After
an interval of ten years the same madness which had possessed Tiberius
Gracchus now seized upon his brother Gaius, who resembled him in
his general virtues as well as in his mistaken ambition, but far
surpassed him in ability and eloquence. Gaius might have been the
first man in the state had he held his spirit in repose; but, whether
it was with the object of avenging his brother's death or of paving
the way for kingly power, he followed the precedent which Tiberius
had set and entered upon the career of a tribune. His aims, however,
were far more ambitious and drastic. He was for giving the citizenship
to all Italians, extending it almost to the Alps, distributing the
public domain, limiting the holdings of each citizen to five hundred
acres as had once been provided by the Licinian law, establishing
new customs duties, filling the provinces with new colonies, transferring
the judicial powers from the senate to the equites, and began the
practice of distributing grain to the people. He left nothing undisturbed,
nothing untouched, nothing unmolested, nothing, in short, as it
had been. Furthermore he continued the exercise of his office for
a second term.
7. – Such
were the lives and such the deaths of the sons of Tiberius Gracchus,
and the grandsons of Publius Scipio Africanus, and their mother
Cornelia, the daughter of Africanus, still lived to witness their
end. An ill use they made of their excellent talents. Had they but
coveted such honours as citizens might lawfully receive, the state
would have conferred upon them through peaceful means all that they
sought to obtain by unlawful agitations.
8. – I
must next record the severity of the law courts in condemning for
extortion in Macedonia Gaius Cato, an ex-consul, the grandson of
Marcus Cato, and son of the sister of Africanus, though the claim
against him amounted to but four thousand sesterces. But the judges
of that day looked rather at the purpose of the culprit than at
the measure of the wrong, applying to actions the criterion of intention
and weighing the character of the sin and not the extent of it.
9. – At
this same period flourished the illustrious orators Scipio Aemilianus
and Laelius, Sergius Galba, the two Gracchi, Gaius Fannius, and
Carbo Papirius. In this list we must not pass over the names of
Metellus Numidicus and Scaurus, and above all of Lucius Crassus
and Marcus Antonius. They were followed in time as well as in talents
by Gaius Caesar Strabo and Publius Sulpicius. As for Quintus Mucius,
he was more famous for his knowledge of jurisprudence than, strictly
speaking, for eloquence.
10. – Let
us now go on to note the severity of the censors Cassius Longinus
and Caepio, who summoned before them the augur Lepidus Aemilius
for renting a house at six thousand sesterces. This was a hundred
and fifty-three years ago. Nowadays, if any one takes a residence
at so low a rate he is scarcely recognized as a senator. Thus does
nature pass from the normal to the perverted, from that to the vicious,
and from the vicious to the abyss of extravagance.
11. – Then followed the Jugurthan war waged under the generalship of Quintus Metellus, a man inferior to no one of his time. His second in command was Gaius Marius, whom we have already mentioned, a man of rustic birth, rough and uncouth, and austere in his life, as excellent a general as he was an evil influence in time of peace, a man of unbounded ambition, insatiable, without self-control, and always an element of unrest. Through the agency of the tax-gatherers and others who were engaged in business in Africa he criticized the delays of Metellus, who was now dragging on the war into its third year, charging him with the haughtiness characteristic of the nobility and with the desire to maintain himself in military commands. Having obtained a furlough he went to Rome, where he succeeded in procuring his election as consul and had the chief command of the war placed in his own hands, although the war had already been practically ended by Metellus, who had twice defeated Jugurtha in battle. The triumph of Metellus was none the less brilliant, and the cognomen of Numidicus earned by his valour was bestowed upon him. As I commented, a short time anyone, on the glory of the family of the Domitii, let me now comment upon that of the Caecilii. Within the compass of about twelve years during this period, the Metelli were distinguished by consulships, censorships, or triumph more than twelve times. Thus it is clear that, as in the case of cities and empires, so the fortunes of families flourish, wane, and pass away.
12. – Gaius Marius, even at this time, had Lucius Sulla associated with him as quaestor, as though the fates were trying to avoid subsequent events. He sent Sulla to King Boccus and through him gained possession of Jugurtha, about one hundred and thirty-four years before the present time. He returned to the city as consul designate for the second time, and on the kalends of January, at the inauguration of his second consulship, he led Jugurtha in triumph. Since, as has already been stated, an immense horde of the German races called the Cimbri and the Teutons had defeated and routed the Consuls Caepio and Manlius in Gaul, as before them Carbo and Silanus, had scattered their armies, and had put to death Scaurus Aurelius an ex-consul, and other men of renown, the Roman people was of the opinion that no general was better qualified the repel these mighty enemies than Marius. His consulships then followed each other in succession. The third was consumed in preparation for this war. In this year Gnaeus Domitius, the tribune of the people, passed a law that the priests, who had previously been chosen by their colleagues, should now be elected by the people. In his fourth consulship Marius met the Teutons in battle beyond the Alps in the vicinity of Aquae Sextiae. More than a hundred and fifty thousand of the enemy were slain by him on that day and the day after, and the race of the Teutons was exterminated. In his fifth consulship the consul himself and the proconsul Quintus Lutatius Catulus fought a most successful battle on this side of the Alps on the plain called the Raudian Plain. More than a hundred thousand of the enemy were taken or slain. By this victory Marius seems to have earned some claim upon his country that it should not regret his birth and to have counterbalanced his bad by his good deeds. A sixth consulship was given him in the light of a reward for his services. He must not, however, be deprived of the glory of this consulship, for during this term as consul he restrained by arms the mad acts of Servilius Glaucia and Saturninus Apuleius who were shattering the constitution by continuing in office, and were breaking up the elections with armed violence and bloodshed, and caused these dangerous men to be put to death in the Curia Hostilia.
13. – After an interval of a few years Marcus Livius Drusus entered the tribunate, a man of noble birth, of eloquent tongue and of upright life; but in all his acts, his success was not in keeping with his talents or his good intentions. It was his aim to restore to the senate its ancient prestige, and again to transfer the law courts to that order from the knights. The knights had acquired this prerogative through the legislation of Gracchus, and had treated with severity many noted men who were quite innocent, and, in particular, had brought to trial on a charge of extortion and had condemned, to the great sorrow of all the citizens, Publius Rutilius, one of the best men not only of his age, but of all time. But in these very measures which Livius undertook on behalf of the senate he had an opponent in the senate itself, which failed to see that the proposals he also urged in interest of the plebs were made as a bait and a sop to the populace, that they might, by receiving lesser concessions, permit the passage of more important measures. In the end it was the misfortune of Drusus to find that the senate gave more approval to the evil measures of his colleagues than to his own plans, however excellent, and that it spurned the dignity which he would confer it only to accept tamely the real slights levelled against it by the others, tolerating the mediocrity of his colleagues while it looked with jealous eyes upon his own distinction.
14. – Since his excellent programme had fared so badly, Drusus turned his attention to granting the citizenship to the Italians. While he was engaged in this effort, and was returning from the forum surrounded by the large and unorganized crowd which always attended him, he was stabbed in the area before his house and died in a few hours, the assassin leaving the weapon in his side. As he breathed his last and gazed at the throng of those who stood weeping about him, he uttered the words, most expressive of his own feelings: "O my relatives and friends, will my country ever have another citizen like me?" Thus ended the life of this illustrious man. One index of his character should not be passed over. When he was building his house on the Palatine on the site where now stands the house which once belonged to Cicero, and later to Censorinus, and which now belongs to Statilius Sisenna, the architect offered to build it in such a way that he would be free from the public gaze, safe from all espionage, and that no one could look down into it. Livius replied, "If you possess the skill you must build my house in such a way that whatever I do shall be seen by all."
15. – The
long smouldering fires of an Italian war were now fanned into flame
by the death of Drusus. One hundred and twenty years ago, in the
consulship of Lucius Caesar and Publius Rutilius, all Italy took
up arms against the Romans. The rebellion began with the people
of Asculum, who had put to death the praetor Servilius and Fonteius,
his deputy; it was then taken up by the Marsi, and from them it
made its ways into all the districts of Italy. The fortune of the
Italians was as cruel as their cause was just; for they were seeking
citizenship in the state whose power they were defending by their
arms; every year and in every war they were furnishing a double
number of men, both of cavalry and of infantry, and yet were not
admitted to the rights of citizens in the state which, through their
efforts, had reached so high a position that it could look down
upon men of the same race and blood as foreigners and aliens.
16. – On
the Italian side the most celebrated generals were Silo Popaedius,
Herius Asinius, Insteius Cato, Gaius Pontidius, Telesinus Pontius,
Marius Ignatius, and Papius Mutilus; nor ought I, through excess
of modesty, to deprive my own kin of glory, especially when that
which I record is the truth; for much credit is due to the memory
of my great-grandfather Minatius Magius of Aeculanum, grandson of
Decius Magius, leader of the Campanians, of proven loyalty and distinction.
Such fidelity did Minatius display towards the Romans in this war
that, with a legion which he himself had enrolled among the Hirpini,
he took Herculaneum in conjunction with Titus Didius, was associated
with Lucius Sulla in the siege of Pompeii, and occupied Compsa.
Several historians have recorded his services, but the most extensive
and clearest testimony is that of Quintus Hortensius in his Annals.
The Romans abundantly repaid his loyal zeal by a special grant of
the citizenship to himself, and by making his sons praetors at a
time when the number elected was still confined to six.
17. – Except for the remnants of hostility which lingered at Nola the Italian war was now in large measure ended, the Romans, themselves exhausted, consenting to grant the citizenship individually to the conquered and humbled states in preference to giving it to them as a body when their own strength was still unimpaired. This was the year in which Quintus Pompeius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla entered upon the consulship. Sulla was a man to whom, up to the conclusion of his career of victory, sufficient praise can hardly be given, and for whom, after his victory, no condemnation can be adequate. He was sprung of a noble family, the sixth in descent from the Cornelius Rufinus who had been one of the famous generals in the war with Pyrrhus. As the renown of his family had waned, Sulla acted a long while as though he had no thought of seeking the consulship. Then, after his praetorship, having earned distinction not only in the Italian war but also, even before that, in Gaul, where he was second in command to Marius, and had routed the most eminent leaders of the enemy, encouraged by his successes, he became a candidate for the consulship and was elected by an almost unanimous vote of the citizens. But this honour did not come to him until the forty-ninth year of his age.
18. – It
was about this time that Mithridates, king of Pontus, seized Asia
and put to death all Roman citizens in it. He was a man about whom
one cannot speak except with concern nor yet pass by in silence;
he was ever eager for war, of exceptional bravery, always great
in spirit and sometimes in achievement, in strategy a general, in
bodily prowess a soldier, in hatred to the Romans a Hannibal. He
had sent messages to various cities of Asia in which he had held
out great promises of reward, ordering that all Romans should be
massacred on the same day and hour throughout the province. In this
crisis none equalled the Rhodians either in courageous opposition
to Mithridates or in loyalty to the Romans. Their fidelity gained
lustre from the perfidy of the people of Mytilene, who handed Manius
Aquilius and other Romans over to Mithridates in chains. The Mytilenians
subsequently had their liberty restored by Pompey solely in consideration
of his friendship for Theophanes. When Mithridates was now regarded
as a formidable menace to Italy herself, the province of Asia fell
to the lot of Sulla, as proconsul.
19. – Thereupon Sulla assembled his army, returned to the city, took armed possession of it, drove from the city the twelve persons responsible for these revolutionary and vicious measures — among them Marius, his son, and Publius Sulpicius — and caused them by formal decree to be declared exiles. Sulpicius was overtaken by horsemen and slain in the Laurentine marshes, and his head was raised aloft and exhibited on the front of the rostra as a presage of the impending proscription. Marius, who had held six consulships and was now more than seventy years of age, was dragged, naked and covered with mud, his eyes and nostrils alone showing above the water, from a reed-bed near the marsh of Marica, where he had taken refuge when pursued by the cavalry of Sulla. A rope was cast about his neck and he was led to the prison of Minturnae on the order of its duumvir. A public slave of German nationality was sent with a sword to put him to death. It happened that this man had been taken a prisoner by Marius when he was commander in the war against the Cimbri; when he recognized Marius, giving utterance with loud outcry to his indignation at the plight of this great man, he threw away his sword and fled from the prison. Then the citizens, taught by a foreign enemy to pity one who had so short a time before been the first man in the state, furnished Marius with money, brought clothing to cover him, and put him on board a ship. Marius, overtaking his son near Aenaria, steered his course for Africa, where he endured a life of poverty in a hut amid the ruins of Carthage. There Marius, as he gazed upon Carthage, and Carthage as she beheld Marius, might well have offered consolation the one to the other.
20. – In
this year the hands of Roman soldiers were first stained with the
blood of a consul. Quintus Pompeius, the colleague of Sulla, was
slain by the army of Gnaeus Pompeius the proconsul in a mutiny which
their general himself had stirred up.
21. – While
Cinna was waging war against his country, the conduct of Gnaeus
Pompeius, the father of Pompeius Magnus, was somewhat equivocal.
As I have already told, the state had made use of his distinguished
services in the Marsian war, particularly in the territory of Picenum;
he had taken Asculum, in the vicinity of which, though armies were
scattered in other regions also, seventy-five thousand Roman citizens
and more than sixty thousand Italians had met in battle on a single
day. Foiled in his hope of a second term in the consulship, he maintained
a doubtful and neutral attitude as between the two parties, so that
he seemed to be acting entirely in his own interest and to be watching
his chance, turning with his army now to one side and now to the
other, according as each offered a greater promise for power for
himself. In the end, however, he fought against Cinna in a great
and bloody battle. Words almost fail to express how disastrous to
combatants and spectators alike was the issue of this battle, which
began and ended beneath the walls and close to the very hearths
of Rome. Shortly after this battle, while pestilence was ravaging
both armies, as though their strength had not been sapped enough
by the war, Gnaeus Pompeius died. The joy felt at his death almost
counterbalanced the feeling of loss for the citizens who had perished
by sword or pestilence, and the Roman people vented upon his dead
body the hatred it had owed him while he lived.
22. – Then
Gaius Marius entered the city, and his return was fraught with calamity
for the citizens. No victory would ever have exceeded his in cruelty
had Sulla's not followed soon afterwards. Nor did the licence of
the sword play havoc among the obscure alone; the highest and most
distinguished men in the state were made the victims of many kinds
of vengeance. Amongst these Octavius the consul, a man of the mildest
temper, was slain by the command of Cinna. Merula, however, who
had abdicated his consulship just before the arrival of Cinna, opened
his veins and, as his blood drenched the altars, he implored the
gods to whom, as priest of Jupiter, he had formerly prayed for safety
of the state, to visit their wrath upon Cinna and his party. Thus
did he yield up the life which had served the state so well. Marcus
Antonius, the foremost statesman and orator of Rome, was struck
down, at the order of Marius and Cinna, by the swords of soldiers,
though he caused even these to hesitate by the power of his eloquence.
Then there was Quintus Catulus, renowned for his virtues in general
and for the glory, which he had shared with Marius, of having won
the Cimbrian war; when he was being hunted down for death, he shut
himself in a room that had lately been plastered with lime and sand;
then he brought fire that it might cause a powerful vapour to issue
from the plaster, and by breathing the poisonous air and then holding
his breath he died a death according rather with his enemies' wishes
than with their judgement.
23. – Cinna
then entered upon his second consulship, and Marius upon his seventh,
only to bring dishonour upon his former six. An illness which came
upon Marius at the very beginning of his year of office ended the
life of this man, who, impatient as he was of tranquillity, was
as dangerous to his fellow-citizens in peace as he had been in war
to Rome's enemies. In his place was chosen as consul suffectus Valerius
Flaccus, the author of a most disgraceful law, by which he had ordained
that one-fourth only of a debt should be paid to the creditors,
an act for which a well-deserved punishment overtook him within
two years. During this time, while Cinna held the reins of power
in Italy, a large proportion of the nobles took refuge with Sulla
in Achaea, and afterwards in Asia.
24. – Before
the arrival of Sulla, Gaius Flavius Fimbria, prefect of horse, had
put to death Valerius Flaccus, a man of consular rank, had taken
command of his army, by which he was saluted as imperator, and had
succeeded in defeating Mithridates in battle. Now, on the eve of
Sulla's arrival, he took his own life. He was a young man who, however
reprehensible his bold designs might be, at any rate executed them
with bravery. In the same year Publius Laenas, tribune of the people,
threw Sextus Lucilius, tribune of the previous year, from the Tarpeian
rock. When his colleagues, whom he also indicted, fled in fear to
Sulla, he had a decree of banishment passed against them.
25. – One
would think that Sulla had come to Italy, not as the champion of
war but as the establisher of peace, so quietly did he lead his
army through Calabria and Apulia into Campania, taking unusual care
not to inflict damage on crops, fields, men, or cities, and such
efforts did he make to end the war on just terms and fair conditions.
But peace could not be to the liking of men whose cause was wicked
and whose cupidity was unbounded. In the meantime Sulla's army was
daily growing, for all the better and saner citizens flocked to
his side. By a fortunate issue of events he overcame the consuls
Scipio and Norbanus near Capua. Norbanus was defeated in battle,
while Scipio, deserted and betrayed by his army, was allowed by
Sulla to go unharmed. So different was Sulla the warrior from Sulla
the victor that, while his victory was in progress he was mild and
more lenient than was reasonable, but after it was won his cruelty
was unprecedented. For instance, as we have already said, he disarmed
the consul and let him go, and after gaining possession of many
leaders including Quintus Sertorius, so soon to become the firebrand
of a great war, he dismissed them unharmed. The reason, I suppose,
was that we might have a notable example of a double and utterly
contradictory personality in one and the same man.
26. – Carbo
now became consul for the third time, in conjunction with Gaius
Marius, now aged twenty-six, the son of a father who had been seven
times consul. He was a man who showed his father's spirit, though
not destined to reach his years, who displayed great fortitude in
the many enterprises he undertook, and never belied the name. Defeated
by Sulla at Sacriportus he retired with his army to Praeneste, which
town, though already strong by nature, he had strengthened by a
27. – While
Carbo and Marius were still consuls, one hundred and nine years
ago, on the Kalends of November, Pontius Telesinus, a Samnite chief,
brave in spirit and in action and hating to the core the very name
of Rome, having collected about him forty thousand of the bravest
and most steadfast youth who still persisted in retaining arms,
fought with Sulla, near the Colline gate, a battle so critical as
to bring both Sulla and the city into the gravest peril. Rome had
not faced a greater danger when she saw the camp of Hannibal within
the third milestone, than on this day when Telesinus went about
from rank to rank exclaiming: "The last day is at hand for
the Romans," and in a loud voice exhorted his men to overthrow
and destroy their city, adding: "These wolves that made such
ravages upon Italian liberty will never vanish until we have cut
down the forest that harbours them." It was only after the
first hour of the night that the Roman army was able to recover
its breath, and the enemy retired. The next day Telesinus was found
in a half-dying condition, but with the expression of a conqueror
upon his face rather than that of a dying man. Sulla ordered his
severed head to be fixed upon a spear point and carried around the
walls of Praeneste.
28. – Shortly
before Sulla's victory at Sacriportus, several leaders of his party
had routed the enemy in successful engagements; the two Servilii
at Clusium, Metellus Pius at Faventia, and Marcus Lucullus in the
vicinity of Fidentia.
29. – Just
before the arrival of Lucius Sulla in Italy, Gnaeus Pompeius, the
son of the Gnaeus Pompeius who, as has already been mentioned, won
such brilliant successes in the Marsian war during his consulship,
though but twenty-three years of age — it was one hundred
and thirteen years ago — on his own initiative and with his
own private funds conceived and brilliantly executed a daring plan.
To avenge his country and restore her dignity he raised a strong
army from the district of Picenum which was filled with the retainers
of his father. To do justice to the greatness of this man would
require many volumes, but the brief compass of my work compels me
to limit my description to a few words.
30. – Shortly
afterwards Marcus Perpenna, an ex-praetor, one of those who had
been proscribed, a man more distinguished for his birth than for
his character, assassinated Sertorius at Osca at a banquet. By this
wicked deed he ensured success to the Romans, and destruction to
his own faction, and for himself a death of extreme dishonour. Metellus
and Pompey won triumphs for their victories in Spain. Pompey, who
even at the time of his triumph was still a Roman knight, entered
the city in his triumphal car on the day before his entrance upon
his consulate. Who is there who does not feel surprise that this
man, who owed his elevation to the highest position in the state
to so many extraordinary commands, should have taken it ill that
the senate and the Roman people were willing to consider Gaius Caesar
as a candidate for the consulship a second time, though suing for
it in absentia? So common a failing is it for mankind to overlook
every irregularity in their own case, but to make no concessions
to others, and to let their discontent with conditions be vented
upon suspected motives and upon persons instead of the real cause.
In this consulship Pompey restored the power of the tribunes, of
which Sulla had left the shadow without the substance.
31. – The personality of Pompey had now turned the eyes of the world upon itself, and in all things he was now regarded as more than a mere citizen. As consul he made the laudable promise, which he also kept, that he would not go from that office to any province. But, two years afterwards, when the pirates were terrifying the world, not as heretofore by furtive marauding expeditions but with fleets of ships in the manner of regular warfare, and had already plundered several cities of Italy, Aulus Gabinius, a tribune, proposed an enactment to the effect that Gnaeus Pompeius should be sent to crush them, and that in all the provinces he should have a power equal to that of the proconsular governors to a distance of fifty miles from the sea. By this decree the command of almost the entire world was being entrusted to one man. Seven years before, it is true, like power had been decreed to Marcus Antonius as praetor. But sometimes the personality of the recipient of such power, just as it renders the precedent more or less dangerous, increases or diminishes its invidiousness. In the case of Antonius people had looked upon his position with no concern. For it is not often that we begrudge honours to those whose power we do not fear. On the other hand men shrink from conferring extraordinary powers upon those who seem likely to retain them or lay them aside only as they themselves choose, and whose inclinations are their only check. The optimates advised against the grant to Pompey, but sane advice succumbed to impulse.
32. – The
sterling character of Quintus Catulus and his modesty on this occasion
are worthy of record. Opposing the law before the assembled people
he had said that Pompey was without question a great man, but that
he was now becoming too great for a free republic, and that all
powers ought not to be reposed in one man. "If anything happens
to Pompey," he added, "whom will you put in his place?"
The people shouted with one accord, "You, Catulus." Then,
yielding to the unanimous desire of the people for the proposed
law and to this honourable tribute of his fellow-citizens, he left
the assembly. At this point one would fain express admiration for
the modesty of the man and the fairness of the people; in the case
of Catulus, because he ceased his opposition, and, in the case of
the people, because it was unwilling to withhold from one who was
speaking against the measure in opposition to them this real evidence
of their esteem.
33. – When the war with the pirates was drawing to a close, Pompey was assigned to the command against Mithridates in place of Lucius Lucullus. Seven years before this, Lucullus, at the conclusion of his consulship, had obtained the proconsulship of Asia, and had been placed in command against Mithridates. In this post he had performed some great and notable exploits, having defeated Mithridates several times in different regions, freed Cyzicus by a brilliant victory, and conquered Tigranes, the greatest of kings, in Armenia. That he had not put an end to the war was due, one might say, to lack of inclination rather than of ability; for although in all other respects he was a man of laudable character and in war had scarcely ever been defeated, he was a victim to the love of money. He was still engaged in carrying on the same struggle when Manilius, tribune of the people, a man of venal character always, and ready to abet the ambitions of others, proposed a law that Pompey should be given the chief command in the Mithridatic war. The law was passed, and the two commanders began to vie with each other in recriminations, Pompey charging Lucullus with his unsavoury greed for money, and Lucullus taunting Pompey with his unbounded ambition for military power. Neither could be convicted of falsehood in his charge against the other. In fact Pompey, from the time when he first took part in public life, could not brook an equal at all. In undertakings in which he should have been merely the first he wished to be the only one. No one was ever more indifferent to other things or possessed a greater craving for glory; he knew no restraint in his quest for office, though he was moderate to a degree in the exercise of his powers. Entering upon each new office with the utmost eagerness, he would lay them aside with unconcern, and, although he consulted his own wishes in attaining what he desired, he yielded to the wishes of others in resigning it. As for Lucullus, who was otherwise a great man, he was the first to set the example for our present lavish extravagance in building, in banquets, and in furnishings. Because of the massive piles which he built in the sea, and of his letting the sea in upon the land by digging through mountains, Pompey used to call him, and not without point, the Roman Xerxes.
34. – During
the same period the island of Crete was brought under the sovereignty
of the Roman people by Quintus Metellus. For three years this island,
under the leadership of Panares and Lasthenes who had collected
a force of twenty-four thousand men, swift in their movements, hardened
to the toils of war, and famous in their use of the bow, had worn
out the Roman armies. Gnaeus Pompeius could not refrain from coveting
some of this glory also, and sought to claim a share in his victory.
But the triumphs, both of Lucullus and of Metellus, were rendered
popular in the eyes of all good citizens not only by the distinguished
merits of the two generals themselves but also by the general unpopularity
35. – The
meeting of the senate at which this action had been taken raised
the character of Marcus Cato, which had already shone forth conspicuously
in other matters, to a lofty pinnacle. Descended from Marcus Cato,
the first of the Porcian house, who was his great-grandfather, he
resembled Virtue herself, and in all his acts he revealed a character
nearer to that of gods than of men. He never did a right action
solely for the sake of seeming to do the right, but because he could
not do otherwise. To him that alone seemed reasonable which was
likewise just. Free from all the failings of mankind he always kept
fortune subject to his control. At this time, though he was only
tribune elect and still quite a young man, while others were urging
that Lentulus and the other conspirators should be placed in custody
in the Italian towns, Cato, though among the very last to be asked
for his opinion, inveighed against the conspiracy with such vigour
of spirit and intellect and such earnestness of expression that
he caused those who in their speeches had urged leniency to be suspected
of complicity in the plot. Such a picture did he present of the
dangers which threatened Rome, by the burning and destruction of
the city and the subversion of the constitution, and such a eulogy
did he give of the consul's firm stand, that the senate as a body
changed to the support of his motion and voted the imposition of
the death penalty upon the conspirators, and a large number of the
senators escorted Cicero to his home.
36. – No
slight prestige is added to the consulship of Cicero by the birth
in that year — ninety-two years ago — of the emperor
Augustus, who was destined by his greatness to overshadow all men
of all races.
37. – While these occurrences were taking place in the city and in Italy, Gnaeus Pompeius carried on a notable campaign against Mithridates, who after the departure of Lucullus had again prepared a new army of great strength. The king was defeated and routed, and after losing all his forces sought refuge in Armenia with his son-in-law Tigranes, the most powerful king of his day, though his power had been somewhat broken by Lucullus. Pompey accordingly entered Armenia in pursuit of both kings at once. First a son of Tigranes, who was at variance with his father, came to Pompey. Then the king in person, and, in the guise of a suppliant, placed himself and his kingdom under the jurisdiction of Pompey, prefacing this act with the statement that he would not have submitted himself to the alliance of any man but Gnaeus Pompeius, whether Roman or of any other nationality; that he would be ready to bear any condition, favourable or otherwise, upon which Pompey might decide; that there was no disgrace in being beaten by one whom it would be a sin against the gods to defeat, and that there was no dishonour in submitting to one whom fortune had elevated above all others. The king was permitted to retain the honours of royalty, be was compelled to pay a large sum of money, all of which, as was Pompey's practice, was remitted to the quaestor and listed in the public accounts. Syria and the other provinces which Mithridates had seized were wrested from him. Some were restored to the Roman people, and others were then for the first time brought under its sway — Syria, for instance — which first became a tributary province at this time. The sovereignty of the king was now limited to Armenia.
38. – It
does not seem out of keeping with the plan which I have set before
me in my work to give a brief synopsis of the races and nations
which were reduced to provinces and made tributary to Rome, and
by what generals. Thus it will be easier to see at a glance when
grouped together, the facts already given in detail.
39. – Domitius
and Fabius, son of Paulus, who was surnamed Allobrogicus, first
entered the Gauls with an army; later these provinces cost us much
blood in our attempts at conquest alternating with our loss of them.
In all these operations the work of Caesar is the most brilliant
and most conspicuous. Reduced under his auspices and generalship,
they pay almost as much tribute into the treasury as the rest of
the world. Caesar also made Numidia a province, from which Metellus
had long before won by his valour the cognomen of Numidicus.
40. – Then
followed the military exploits of Gnaeus Pompeius, in regard to
which it would be difficult to say whether the glory they earned
or labour they cost was the greater. Media, Albania, and Iberia
were invaded with victorious arms. Then he changed the direction
of his month to the regions of the interior, to the right of the
Black Sea — the Colchians, the Heniochi, and the Achaei. Mithridates
was crushed, the last of the independent kings except the rulers
of the Parthians, through the treachery of his son Pharnaces, it
is true, but during the period of Pompey's command. Then, after
conquering all the races in his path, Pompey returned to Italy,
having achieved a greatness which exceeded both his own hopes and
those of his fellow-citizens, and having, in all his campaigns,
surpassed the fortune of a mere mortal. It was owing to this impression
that his return created such favourable comment; for the majority
of his countrymen had insisted that he would not enter the city
without his army, and that he would set a limit upon public liberty
according to his own caprice. The return of so great a general as
an ordinary citizen was all the more welcome because of the apprehensions
which had been entertained. For, dismissing his whole army at Brundisium,
and retaining none of his former power except the title of imperator,
he returned to the city with only the retinue which regularly attended
him. There he celebrated, for a period of two days, a most magnificent
triumph over the many kings whom he had conquered, and from the
spoils he contributed to the treasury a far larger sum of money
than any other general had ever done except Paulus.
41. – Then followed the consulship of Gaius Caesar, who now lays hold upon my pen and compels, whatever my haste, to linger a while upon him. Sprung from the noble family of the Julii, and tracing his descent from Venus and Anchises, a claim conceded by all investigators of antiquity, he surpassed all his fellow-citizens in beauty of person. He was exceedingly keen and vigorous of mind, lavish in his generosity, and possessed a courage exceeding the nature, and even the credence, of man. In the magnitude of his ambitions, in the rapidity of his military operations, and in his endurance of danger, he closely resembled Alexander the Great, but only when Alexander was free from the influence of wine and master of his passions for Caesar, in a word, never indulged in food or in sleep except as they ministered, not to pleasure, but to life. To Gaius Marius he was closely related by blood; he was also the son-in-law of Cinna, whose daughter no consideration of fear would induce him to divorce, whereas Marcus Piso, a man of consular rank, had divorced Annia, who had been the wife of Cinna, in order to win Sulla's favour. Caesar was only about eighteen years of age at the time of Sulla's dictatorship; and when a search was made for him with a view to putting him to death, not, it is true, by Sulla himself, but by his minions and partisans, he escaped from the city at night by assuming a disguise which effectually concealed his rank. Later, but when still quite a young man, he was captured by pirates and so conducted himself during the entire period of his detention as to inspire in them to an equal degree both fear and respect. Neither by day nor by night did he remove his shoes or loosen his girdle — for why should a detail of the greatest significance be omitted merely because it cannot be adorned in imposing language? — lest the slightest change in his usual garb might cause him to be suspected by his captors, who guarded him only with their eyes.
42. – It would take too long to tell of his many bold plans for the punishment of the pirates, or how obstinately the timid governor of Asia refused to second them. The following story, however, may be told as a presage of his future greatness. On the night following the day on which his ransom was paid by the cities of Asia — he had, however, compelled the pirates before payment to give hostages to these cities — although he was but a private citizen without authority, and his fleet had been collected on the spur of the moment, he directed his course to the rendezvous of the pirates, put to flight part of their fleet, sank part, and captured several ships and many men. Well satisfied with the success of his night expedition he returned to his friends and, after handing his prisoners into custody, went straight to Bithynia to Juncus, the proconsul — for the same man was governor of Bithynia as well as of Asia — and demanded his sanction for the execution of his captives. When Juncus, whose former inactivity had now given way to jealousy, refused, and said that he would sell the captives as slaves, Caesar returned to the coast with incredible speed and crucified all his prisoners before anyone had had time to receive a dispatch from the consul in regard to the matter.
43. – Not
long afterwards he was hastening to Italy to enter upon the priestly
office of pontifex maximus to which he had been elected in his absence
in place of the ex-consul Cotta. Indeed, while still little more
than a boy he had already been made priest of Jupiter by Marius
and Cinna, but all their acts had been annulled in consequence of
Sulla's victory, and Caesar had thus lost this priesthood. On the
journey just mentioned, wishing to escape the notice of the pirates
who then infested all the seas and by this time had good reasons
for being hostile to him, he took two friends and ten slaves and
embarked in a four-oared boat, and in this way crossed the broad
expanse of the Adriatic Sea. During the voyage, sighting, as he
thought, some pirate vessels, he removed his outer garments, bound
a dagger to his thigh, and prepared himself for any event; but soon
he saw that his eyes had deceived him and that the illusion had
been caused by a row of trees in the distance which looked like
masts and yards.
44. – But
to resume. It was in Caesar's consulship that there was formed between
himself, Gnaeus Pompeius and Marcus Crassus the partnership in political
power which proved so baleful to the city, to the world, and, subsequently
at different periods to each of the triumvirs themselves. Pompey's
motive in the adoption of this policy had been to secure through
Caesar as consul the long delayed ratification of his acts in the
provinces across the seas, to which, as I have already said, many
still raised objections; Caesar agreed to it because he realized
that in making this concession to the prestige of Pompey he would
increase his own, and that by throwing on Pompey the odium for their
joint control he would add to his own power; while Crassus hoped
by the influence of Pompey and the power of Caesar he might achieve
a place of pre-eminence in the state which he had not been able
to reach single-handed. Furthermore, a tie of marriage was cemented
between Caesar and Pompey, in that Pompey now wedded Julia, Caesar's
45. – About
the same time Publius Clodius, a man of noble birth, eloquent and
reckless, who recognized no limits either in speech or in act except
his own caprice, of ill-repute as the debaucher of his own sister,
and accused of adulterous profanation of the most sacred rites of
the Roman people, having conceived a violent hatred against Marcus
Cicero — for what friendship could there be between men so
unlike? — caused himself to be transferred from a patrician
into a plebeian family and, as tribune, proposed a law that whoever
put to death a Roman citizen without trial should be condemned to
exile. Although Cicero was not expressly named in the wording of
the bill, it was aimed at him alone. And so this man, who had earned
by his great services the gratitude of his country, gained exile
as his reward for saving the state. Caesar and Pompey were not free
from the suspicion of having had a share in the fall of Cicero.
Cicero seemed to have brought upon himself their resentment by refusing
to be a member of the commission of twenty charged with the distribution
of lands in Campania. Within two years Cicero was restored to his
country and to his former status, thanks to the interest of Gnaeus
Pompeius — somewhat belated, it is true, but effective when
once exerted — and thanks to the prayers of Italy, the decrees
of the senate, and the zealous activity of Annius Milo, tribune
of the people. Since the exile and return of Numidicus no one had
been banished amid greater popular disapproval or welcomed back
with greater enthusiasm. As for Cicero's house, the maliciousness
of its destruction by Clodius was now compensated for by the magnificence
of its restoration by the senate.
46. – Meanwhile, in Gaul, Gaius Caesar was carrying on his gigantic task, which could scarcely be covered in many volumes. Not content with his many fortunate victories, and with slaying or taking as prisoners countless thousands of the enemy, he even crossed into Britain, as though seeking to add another world to our empire and to that which he had himself won. Gnaeus Pompeius and Marcus Crassus, who had once been consuls together, now entered upon their second consulship, which office they not only won by unfair means, but also administered without popular approval. In a law which Pompey proposed in the assembly of the people, Caesar's tenure of office in his provinces was continued for another five years, and Syria was decreed to Crassus, who was now planning to make war upon Parthia. Although Crassus was, in his general character, entirely upright and free from base desires, in his lust for money and his ambition for glory he knew no limits, and accepted no bounds. On his departure for Asia the tribunes of the people made ineffectual efforts to detain him by the announcement of baleful omens. If the curses which they called down upon him had affected Crassus alone, the loss of the commander would not have been without advantage to the state, had but the army been saved. He had crossed the Euphrates and was now marching toward Seleucia when he was surrounded by King Orodes with his innumerable bands of cavalry and perished together with the greater part of his army. Remnants of the legions were saved by Gaius Cassius — (he was later the perpetrator of a most atrocious crime, but was at that time quaestor) — who not only retained Syria in its allegiance to the Roman people, but succeeded, by a fortunate issue of events, in defeating and putting to rout the Parthians when they crossed its borders.
47. – During
this period, including the years which immediately followed and
those of which mention has already been made, more than four hundred
thousand of the enemy were slain by Gaius Caesar and a greater number
were taken prisoners. Many times had he fought in pitched battles,
many times on the march, many times as besieger or besieged. Twice
he penetrated into Britain, and in all his nine campaigns there
was scarcely one which was not fully deserving of a triumph. His
feats about Alesia were of a kind that a mere man would scarcely
venture to undertake, and scarcely anyone but a god could carry
48. – It
was not long after this that the first sparks of civil war were
kindled. All fair-minded men desired that both Caesar and Pompey
should disband their armies. Now Pompey in his second consulship
had caused the provinces of Spain to be assigned to him, and though
he was actually absent from them, administering the affairs of the
city, he continued to govern them for three years through his lieutenants,
Afranius and Petreius, the former of consular and the latter of
praetorian rank; and while he agreed with those who insisted that
Caesar should dismiss his army, he was opposed to those who urged
that he should also dismiss his own. Had Pompey only died two years
before the outbreak of hostilities, after the completion of his
theatre and the other public buildings with which he had surrounded
it, at the time when he was attacked by a serious illness in Campania
and all Italy prayed for his safety as her foremost citizen, fortune
would have lost the opportunity of overthrowing him and he would
have borne to the grave unimpaired all the qualities of greatness
that had been his in life. It was Gaius Curio, however, a tribune
of the people, who, more than anyone else, applied the flaming torch
which kindled the civil war and all the evils which followed for
twenty consecutive years. Curio was a man of noble birth, eloquent,
reckless, prodigal alike of his own fortune and chastity and of
those of other people, a man of the utmost cleverness in perversity,
who used his gifted tongue for the subversion of the state. No wealth
and no pleasures sufficed to satiate his appetites. He was at first
on the side of Pompey, that is to say, as it was then regarded,
on the side of the republic. Then he pretended to be opposed both
to Pompey and Caesar, but in his heart he was for Caesar. Whether
his conversion was spontaneous or due to a bribe of ten million
sesterces, as is reported, we shall leave undetermined. Finally,
when a truce was on the point of being concluded on terms of the
most salutary character, terms which were demanded in a spirit of
the utmost fair-mindedness by Caesar and accepted by Pompey without
protest, it was in the end broken and shattered by Curio in spite
of Cicero's extraordinary efforts to preserve harmony in the state.
49. – In
the consulship Lentulus and Marcellus, seven hundred and three years
after the founding of the city and seventy-eight before your consulship,
Marcus Vinicius, the civil war burst into flame. The one leader
seemed to have the better cause, the other the stronger; on the
one was the appearance, on the other the reality of power; Pompey
was armed with the authority of the senate, Caesar with the devotion
of the soldiers. The consuls and the senate conferred the supreme
authority not on Pompey but on his cause. No effort was omitted
by Caesar that could be tried in the interest of peace, but no offer
of his was accepted by the Pompeians. Of the two consuls, one showed
more bitterness than was fair, the other, Lentulus, could not save
himself from ruin without bringing ruin upon the state, while Marcus
Cato insisted that they should fight to the death rather than allow
the republic to accept a single dictate from a mere citizen. The
stern Roman of the old-fashioned type would praise the cause of
Pompey, the politic would follow the lead of Caesar, recognizing
that while there was on the one side greater prestige, the other
was the more formidable.
50. – Caesar,
on his side, having got into his power Domitius and the legions
that were with him at Corfinium, immediately released this commander
and all others who so wished, and allowed them to join Pompey, whom
he now followed to Brundisium, making it clear that he preferred
to put an end to the war while the state was uninjured and negotiation
still possible, rather than to crush his fleeing enemy. Finding
that the consuls had crossed the sea he returned to the city, and
after rendering to the senate and also to the assembly of the people
an account of his motives and of the deplorable necessity of his
position, in that he had been driven to arms by others who had themselves
resorted to arms, he resolved to march on Spain.
51. – The next year found Dyrrachium and its vicinity occupied by the camp of Pompey, who by summoning legions from all the provinces beyond the sea, together with auxiliary troops of foot and horse, and the forces of kings, tetrarchs, and other subject rulers, had in this way collected a formidable army, and had with his fleets established, as he thought, a successful blockade upon the sea to prevent Caesar from transporting his legions across the Adriatic. But Caesar, relying upon his usual rapidity of action and his famous luck, allowed nothing to prevent him or his army from crossing and landing at any port he pleased, and at first pitched his camp almost touching that of Pompey, and then proceeded to surround the latter by entrenchments and siege works. But lack of provisions was a more serious matter to the besiegers than to the besieged. It was at this time that Balbus Cornelius, at incredible risk, entered the camp of the enemy and held several conferences with the consul Lentulus, whose only doubt was what price to put upon himself. It was by stages such as this that Balbus, who was not even the son of a Roman citizen born in Spain but actually a Spaniard, paved the way for his later rise to the pontificate and to a triumph, and from the rank of private citizen to that of a consul. Conflicts followed, with shifting fortunes. One of these battles was much more favourable to the Pompeians, and Caesar's troops were severely repulsed.
52. – Then
Caesar marched with his army into Thessaly, destined to be the scene
of his victory. Pompey, in spite of the contrary advice of others,
followed his own impulse and set out after the enemy. Most of his
advisers urged him to cross into Italy — nor indeed was there
any course more expedient for his party — others advised him
to prolong the war, which, by reason of the esteem in which the
party was held, was daily becoming more favourable to them.
53. – Pompey
fled with the two Lentuli, both ex-consuls, his own son Sextus,
and Favonius, a former praetor, friends whom chance had gathered
about him as his companions. Some advised him to take refuge with
the Parthians, others in Africa, where he had in King Juba a most
loyal partisan; but, remembering the favours which he had conferred
upon the father of Ptolemy, who, though still between boyhood and
manhood, was now reigning at Alexandria, he decided to repair to
Egypt. But, in adversity who remembers past services? Who considers
that any gratitude is due to those who have met disaster? When does
change of fortune fail to shift allegiance? Envoys were sent by
the king at the instance of Theodotus and Achillas to receive Pompey
at his arrival — he was now accompanied in his flight by his
wife Cornelia, who had been taken on board at Mytilene — and
to urge him to change from the merchant ship to the vessel which
had come out to meet him. Having accepted the invitation, the first
of the citizens of Rome was stabbed to death by the order and dictation
of an Egyptian vassal, the year of his death being the consulship
of Gaius Caesar and Publius Servilius. So died in his fifty-eighth
year, on the very eve of his birthday, that upright and illustrious
man, after holding three consulships, celebrating three triumphs,
conquering the whole world, and attaining to a pinnacle of fame
beyond which it is impossible to rise. Such was the inconsistency
of fortune in his case, that he who but a short time before had
found no more lands to conquer now found none for his burial.
54. – The
loyalty of the king, and of those by whose influence he was controlled,
was no greater towards Caesar than it had been toward Pompey. For,
upon Caesar's arrival in Egypt, they assailed him with plots and
subsequently dared to challenge him in open warfare. By suffering
death they paid to both of these great commanders, the living and
the dead, a well-deserved atonement.
55. – Fidelity
to my promise of brevity reminds me how rapidly I must pass over
the details of my narrative. Caesar, following up his success, passed
over to Africa, of which the Pompeian armies now held possession
since the death of Gaius Curio, the leader there of the Caesarian
party. At first his armies were attended by a varying fortune, but
later by his usual luck the forces of the enemy were routed. Here
again he showed no less clemency toward the vanquished than to those
whom he had defeated in the previous war.
56. – Caesar,
victorious over all his enemies, returned to the city, and pardoned
all who had borne arms against him, an act of generosity almost
passing belief. He entertained the city to repletion with the magnificent
spectacle of a gladiatorial show, a sham battle of ships, mock battles
of cavalry, infantry, and even mounted elephants, and the celebration
of a public banquet which was continued through several days. He
celebrated five triumphs. The emblems in his Gallic triumph were
of citrus wood; in his Pontic of acanthus; in his Alexandrian triumph
of tortoise-shell, in his African of ivory, and in his Spanish of
polished silver. The money borne in his triumphs, realized from
the sale of spoils, amounted to a little more than six hundred million
57. – In the light of experience due credit should be given to the counsel of Pansa and Hirtius, who had always warned Caesar that he must hold by arms the position which he had won by arms. But Caesar kept reiterating that he would rather die than live in fear, and while he looked for a return for the clemency he had shown, he was taken off his guard by men devoid of gratitude, although the gods gave many signs and presages of the threatened danger. For the soothsayers had warned him beforehand carefully to beware the Ides of March; his wife Calpurnia, terrified by a dream, kept begging him to remain at home on that day; and notes warning him of the conspiracy were handed him, but he neglected to read them at the time. But verily the power of destiny is inevitable; it confounds the judgement of him whose fortune it has determined to reverse.
58. – Brutus and Cassius were praetors, and Decimus Brutus was consul designate in the year in which they perpetrated this deed. These three, with the remainder of the group of conspirators, escorted by a band of gladiators belonging to Decimus Brutus, seized the capitol. Thereupon Antonius, as consul, summoned the senate. Cassius had been in favour of slaying Antony as well as Caesar, and of destroying Caesar's will, but Brutus had opposed him, insisting that citizens ought not to seek the blood of any but the "tyrant" — for to call Caesar "tyrant" placed his deed in a better light. Dolabella, whom Caesar had named for the consulship, with the intention of putting him in his own place, had already seized the fasces and the insignia of that office. Having summoned the senate, Antonius, acting as the guarantor of peace, sent his own sons to the capitol as hostages and thus gave his assurance to the slayers of Caesar that they might come down in safety. On the motion of Cicero the famous precedent of the Athenians granting amnesty for past acts was approved by decree of the senate.
59. – Caesar's will was then opened, by which he adopted Gaius Octavius, the grandson of his sister Julia. Of the origin of Octavius I must now say a few words, even if the account comes before its proper place. Gaius Octavius, his father, though not of patrician birth, was descended from a very prominent equestrian family, and was himself a man of dignity, of upright and blameless life, and of great wealth. Chosen praetor at the head of the poll among a list of candidates of noble birth, this distinction won for him a marriage alliance with Atia, a daughter of Julia. After he had filled the office of praetor, the province of Macedonia fell to his lot, where he was honoured with the title of imperator. He was returning thence to sue for the consulship when he died on the way, leaving a son still in his early teens. Though he had been reared in the house of his stepfather, Philippus, Gaius Caesar, his great-uncle, loved this boy as his own son. At the age of eighteen Octavius followed Caesar to Spain in his campaign there, and Caesar kept him with him thereafter as his companion, allowing him to share the same roof and ride in the same carriage, and though he was still a boy, honoured him with the pontificate. When the civil war was over, with a view to training his remarkable talents by liberal studies, he sent him to Apollonia to study, with the intention of taking him with him as his companion in his contemplated wars with the Getae and the Parthians. At the first announcement of his uncle's death, although the centurions of the neighbouring legions at once proffered their own services and those of their men, and Salvidienus and Agrippa advised him to accept the offer, he made such haste to arrive in the city that he was already at Brundisium when he learned the details of the assassination and the terms of his uncle's will. As he approached Rome an enormous crowd of his friends went out to meet him, and at the moment of his entering the city, men saw above his head the orb of the sun with a circle about it, coloured like the rainbow, seeming thereby to place a crown upon the head of one destined soon to greatness.
60. – His mother Atia and Philippus his stepfather disliked the thought of his assuming the name of Caesar, whose fortune had aroused such jealousy, but the fates that preside over the welfare of the commonwealth and of the world took into their own keeping the second founder and preserver of the Roman name. His divine soul therefore spurned the counsels of human wisdom, and he determined to pursue the highest goal with danger rather than a lowly estate and safety. He preferred to trust the judgement concerning himself of a great-uncle who was Caesar, rather than that of a stepfather, saying that he had no right to think himself unworthy of the name of which Caesar had thought him worthy. On his arrival, Antony, the consul, received him haughtily — out of fear, however, rather than contempt — and grudgingly gave him, after he had secured admission to Pompey's gardens, a few moments' conversation with himself; and it was not long before Antony began wickedly to insinuate that an attempt had been made upon his life through plots fostered by Octavius. In this matter, however, the untrustworthiness of the character of Antony was disclosed, to his discredit. Later the mad ambition of Antony and Dolabella, the consuls, for the attainment of an unholy despotism, burst into view. The seven hundred thousand sestertia deposited by Gaius Caesar in the temple of Ops were seized by Antony; the records of his acts were tampered with by the insertion of forged grants of citizenship and immunity; and all his documents were garbled for money considerations, the consul bartering away the public interests. Antony resolved to seize the province of Gaul, which had been assigned by decree to Decimus Brutus, the consul designate, while Dolabella had the provinces beyond the sea assigned to himself. Between men by nature so unlike and with such different aims there grew up a feeling of hatred, and in consequence, the young Gaius Caesar was the object of daily plots on the part of Antony.
61. – The state languished, oppressed by the tyranny of Antony. All felt resentment and indignation, but no one had the power to resist, until Gaius Caesar, who had just entered his nineteenth year, with marvellous daring and supreme success, showed by his individual sagacity a courage in the state's behalf which exceeded that of the senate. He summoned his father's veterans first from Calatia then from Casilinum; other veterans followed their example, and in a short time they united to form a regular army. Not long afterwards, when Antony had met the army which he had ordered to assemble at Brundisium from the provinces beyond the sea, two legions, the Martian and the fourth, learning of the feeling of the senate and the spirit shown by this courageous youth, took up their standards and went over to Caesar. The senate honoured him with an equestrian statue, which is still standing upon the rostra and testifies to his years by its inscription. This is an honour which in three hundred years had fallen to the lot of Lucius Sulla, Gnaeus Pompeius, and Gaius Caesar, and to these alone. The senate commissioned him, with the rank of propraetor, to carry on the war against Antony in conjunction with Hirtius and Pansa, the consuls designate. Now in his twentieth year, he conducted the war at Mutina with great bravery, and the siege of Decimus Brutus there was raised. Antony was compelled to abandon Italy in undisguised and disgraceful flight. Of the two consuls, the one died upon the field of battle, and the other of his wound a few days afterwards.
62. – Before the defeat of Antony the senate, chiefly on the motion of Cicero, passed all manner of resolutions complimentary to Caesar and his army. But, now that their fears had vanished, their real feelings broke through their disguise, and the Pompeian party once more took heart. By vote of the senate, Brutus and Cassius were now confirmed in possession of the provinces which they had seized upon their own authority without any decree of the senate; the armies which had gone over to them were formally commended; and Brutus and Cassius were given all authority and jurisdiction beyond the sea. It is true that these two men had issued manifestoes — at first in real fear of armed violence at the hands of Antony, and later to increase Antony's unpopularity, with the pretence of fear — manifestos in which they declared that for the sake of ensuring harmony in the republic they were even ready to live in perpetual exile, that they would furnish no grounds for civil war, and that the consciousness of the service they had rendered by their act was ample reward. But, when they had once left Rome and Italy behind them, by deliberate agreement and without government sanction they had taken possession of provinces and armies, and under the pretence that the republic existed wherever they were, they had gone so far as to receive from the quaestors, with their own consent, it is true, the moneys which these men were conveying to Rome from the provinces across the sea. All these acts were now included in the decrees of the senate and formally ratified. Decimus Brutus was voted a triumph, presumably because, thanks to another's services, he had escaped with his life. Hirtius and Pansa were honoured with a public funeral. Of Caesar not a word was said. The senate even went so far as to instruct its envoys, who had been sent to Caesar's army, to confer with the soldiers alone, without the presence of their general. But the ingratitude of the senate was not shared by the army; for, though Caesar himself pretended not to see the slight, the soldiers refused to listen to any orders without the presence of their commander. It was at this time that Cicero, with his deep-seated attachment for the Pompeian party, expressed the opinion, which said one thing and meant another, to the effect that Caesar "should be commended and then — elevated."
63. – Meanwhile Antony in his flight had crossed the Alps, and at first made overtures to Marcus Lepidus which were rejected. Now Lepidus had surreptitiously been made pontifex in Caesar's place, and, though the province of Spain had been assigned to him, was still lingering in Gaul. Later, however, Antony showed himself several times to the soldiers of Lepidus, and being, when sober, better than most commanders, whereas none could be worse than Lepidus, he was admitted by the soldiers through a breach which they made in the fortifications in the rear of the camp. Antony still permitted Lepidus to hold the nominal command, while he himself held the real authority. At the time when Antony entered the camp, Juventius Laterensis, who had strongly urged Lepidus not to ally himself with Antony now that he had been declared an enemy of the state, finding his advice of no avail ran himself through with his own sword, consistent unto death. Later Plancus and Pollio both handed over their armies to Antony. Plancus, with his usual loose idea of loyalty, after a long debate with himself as to which party to follow, and much difficulty in sticking to his resolutions when formed, now pretended to co-operate with his colleague, Decimus Brutus, the consul designate, thus seeking to ingratiate himself with the senate in his dispatches, and again betrayed him. But Asinius Pollio, steadfast in his resolution, remained loyal to the Julian party and continued to be an adversary of the Pompeians.
64. – Decimus
Brutus, first abandoned by Plancus, and later actually the object
of his plots, deserted little by little by his army, and now a fugitive,
was slain by the emissaries of Antony in the house of a noble named
Camelus with whom he had taken refuge. He thus met his just deserts
and paid the penalty of his treason to Gaius Caesar by whom he had
been treated so well. He who had been the foremost of all Caesar's
friends became his assassin, and while he threw upon Caesar the
odious responsibility for the fortune of which he himself had reaped
the benefits, he thought it fair to retain what he had received
at Caesar's hands, and for Caesar, who had given it all, to perish.
65. – Then
began an interchange of letters between Lepidus, Caesar, and Antony,
and terms of agreement were suggested. Antony reminded Caesar how
hostile to him the Pompeian party was, to what a height they had
now risen, and how zealously Cicero was extolling Brutus and Cassius.
Antony threatened to join forces with Brutus and Cassius, who had
now control of seventeen legions, if Caesar rejected this friendly
gesture, and said that Caesar was under greater obligations to avenge
a father than he to avenge a friend. Then began their partnership
in political power, and, on the urgent advice and entreaty of the
armies, a marriage alliance was also made between Antony and Caesar,
in which Antony's stepdaughter was betrothed to Caesar. Caesar,
with Quintus Pedius as colleague, entered on the consulship one
day before the completion of his twentieth year on the twenty-second
of September, seven hundred and nine years after the founding of
the city and seventy-two, Marcus Vinicius, before the beginning
of your consulship.
66. – Then the vengeful resentment of Antony and Lepidus — for each of them had been declared public enemies, as has already been stated, and both preferred to hear accounts of what they had suffered, rather than of what they had deserved, at the hands of the senate — renewed the horror of the Sullan proscription. Caesar protested, but without avail, being but one against two. The climax of the shame of this time was that Caesar should be forced to proscribe any one, or that any one should proscribe the name of Cicero. By the crime of Antony, when Cicero was beheaded the voice of the people was severed, nor did anyone raise a hand in defence of the man who for so many years had protected the interests both of the state and of the private citizen. But you accomplished nothing, Mark Antony — for the indignation that surges in my breast compels me to exceed the bounds I have set for my narrative — you accomplished nothing, I say, by offering a reward for the sealing of those divine lips and the severing of that illustrious head, and by encompassing with a death-fee the murder of so great a consul and of the man who once had saved the state. You took from Marcus Cicero a few anxious days, a few senile years, a life which would have been more wretched under your domination than was his death in your triumvirate; but you did not rob him of his fame, the glory of his deeds and words, nay you but enhanced them. He lives and will continue to live in the memory of the ages, and so long as this universe shall endure — this universe which, whether created by chance, or by divine providence, or by whatever cause, he, almost alone of all the Romans, saw with the eye of his mind, grasped with his intellect, illumined with his eloquence — so long shall it be accompanied throughout the ages by the fame of Cicero. All posterity will admire the speeches that he wrote against you, while your deed to him will call forth their execrations, and the race of man shall sooner pass from the world than the name of Cicero be forgotten.
67. – No one has even been able to deplore the fortunes of this whole period with such tears as the theme deserves, much less can one now describe it in words. One thing, however, demands comment, that toward the proscribed their wives showed the greatest loyalty, their freedmen not a little, their slaves some, their sons none. So hard is it for men to brook delays in the realization of their ambitions, whatever they might be. That no sacred tie might escape inviolate, and, as it were, as an inducement and invitation to such atrocities, Antony had Lucius Caesar, his uncle, placed upon the list, and Lepidus his own brother Paulus. Plancus also had sufficient influence to cause his brother Plancus Plotius to be enrolled among the proscribed. And so the troops who followed the triumphal car of Lepidus and Plancus kept repeating among the soldiers' jests, but amid the execrations of the citizens, the following line: Brothers-german our two consuls triumph over, not the Gauls.
68. – Let
me now relate a matter which I omitted in its proper place, for
the person involved does not permit the deed to rest in obscurity.
This person is Marcus Caelius, a man closely resembling Curio in
eloquence and in spirit, though more than his peer in either, and
quite as clever in his worthlessness. Being quite as bankrupt in
property as in character and unable to save himself by paying even
a reasonable proportion of his debts, he came forward in his praetorship,
at the time when Caesar was fighting for the control of affairs
on the field of Pharsalus, as the author of a law for the cancellation
of debts, nor could he be deterred from his course by the authority
of either the senate or the consul. Calling to his aid Milo Annius,
who was hostile to the Caesarian party because he had failed to
secure from them his recall, he stirred up a sedition in the city,
and openly raised armed bands in the country. He was first banished
from the state and was later overcome at Thurii by the army of the
consul, on the order of the senate. A like fortune attended a similar
attempt by Milo. While besieging Compsa, a city of the Hirpini,
he was struck by a stone, and thus the restless man, too reckless
to be called brave, paid the penalty he owed to Publius Clodius
and to his country, against which he was bearing arms.
69. – Meanwhile
in Asia, Dolabella, who succeeded Gaius Trebonius as governor, had
surprised the latter at Smyrna and had put him to death, a man who
had showed the basest ingratitude in return for Caesar's kindness,
and had shared in the murder of him to whom he owed his advancement
to the consulship. Dolabella had already occupied Asia and had passed
over into Syria when Gaius Cassius, taking over their strong legions
from Statius Murcus and Crispus Marcius, both praetorians who had
been saluted as imperator by their troops, shut him up in Laodicea
and by taking that city had caused his death; for Dolabella had
promptly offered his neck to the sword of his own slave. Cassius
also gained control of ten legions in that part of the empire. Marcus
Brutus had raised his strength to seven legions by wresting their
troops, by voluntary transfer of allegiance, from Gaius Antonius,
the brother of Marcus Antonius, in Macedonia, and from Vatinius
in the vicinity of Dyrrachium. Brutus had been obliged to offer
battle to Antony, but Vatinius he had overwhelmed by the weight
of his own reputation, since Brutus was preferable to any general,
while no man could rank lower than Vatinius, whose deformity of
body was rivalled to such an extent by the baseness of his character,
that his spirit seemed to be housed in an abode that was thoroughly
worthy of it.
70. – Then
Caesar and Antonius transported their armies to Macedonia, and met
Brutus and Cassius in battle near the city of Philippi. The wing
under the command of Brutus, after defeating the enemy, captured
Caesar's camp; for Caesar was performing his duties as commander
although he was in the poorest of health, and had been urged not
to remain in camp by Artorius his physician, who had been frightened
by a warning which had appeared to him in his sleep. On the other
hand, the wing commanded by Cassius had been routed and roughly
handled, and had retreated with much loss to higher ground. Then
Cassius, judging his colleague's success by his own fortune, sent
a veteran with instructions to report to him what was the large
force of men which was now bearing down in his direction. As the
orderly was slow in reporting, and the force approaching at a run
was now close, while their identity and their standards could not
be recognized for the dust, imagining that the troops rushing on
him were those of the enemy, he covered his head with his military
cloak and undismayed presented his neck to the sword of his freedman.
The head of Cassius had scarcely fallen when the orderly arrived
with the report that Brutus was victorious. But when he saw his
commander lying prostrate, he uttered the words, "I shall follow
him whose death my tardiness has caused," and fell upon his
71. – Messalla, a young man of brilliant parts, was next in authority to Brutus and Cassius in their camp. Although there were those who urged him to take command, he preferred to owe his safety to the kindness of Caesar than to try once again the doubtful hope of arms. Caesar, on his side, found no greater pleasure in his victories than in granting life to Corvinus, nor was there ever a better example of loyal gratitude than that shown by Corvinus to Caesar. No other war cost the blood of so many illustrious men. In that battle the son of Cato fell; the same fortune carried off Lucullus and Hortensius, the sons of eminent citizens. Varro, when about to die, in mockery of Antony, with the utmost freedom of speech prophesied for Antony the death he deserved, a prophecy which came true. Drusus Livius, the father of Julia Augusta, and Quintilius Varus, without making any appeal for mercy, ended their lives. Livius died by his own hand in his tent; Varus first covered himself with the insignia of his offices and then forced his freedman to commit the deed.
72. – This
was the end reserved by fortune for the party of Marcus Brutus.
He was in his thirty-seventh year, and had kept his soul free from
corruption until this day, which, through the rashness of a single
act, bereft him, together with his life, of all his virtuous qualities.
Cassius was as much the better general as Brutus was the better
man. Of the two, one would rather have Brutus as a friend, but would
stand more in fear of Cassius as an enemy. The one had more vigour,
the other more virtue. As it was better for the state to have Caesar
rather than Antony as emperor, so, had Brutus and Cassius been the
conquerors, it would have been better for is to be ruled by Brutus
rather than by Cassius.
73. – Sextus was a young man without education, barbarous in his speech, vigorous in initiative, energetic and prompt in action as he was swift in expedients, in loyalty a marked contrast to his father, the freedman of his own freedmen and slave of his own slaves, envying those in high places only to obey those in the lowest. The senate, which still consisted almost entirely of Pompeians, in the period which followed the flight of Antony from Mutina, and at the very time at which it had assigned to Brutus and Cassius the provinces across the sea, had recalled Sextus for Spain — where Pollio Asinius the praetorian had distinguished himself in his campaigns against him — restored him to his father's property, and had entrusted to him the guarding of the coast. Seizing Sicily, as we have said, and admitting into his army slaves and runaways, he had raised his legions to their full complement. He supported himself and his army on plunder, and through the agency of Menas and Menecrates, his father's freedmen, who were in charge of his fleet, he infested the seas by predatory and piratical expeditions; nor was he ashamed thus to infest with piracy and its atrocities the sea which had been freed from it by his father's arms and leadership.
74. – After the defeat of the party of Brutus and Cassius, Antony remained behind with the intention of visiting the provinces beyond the sea. Caesar returned to Italy, which he found in a much more troubled condition than he had expected. Lucius Antonius, the consul, who shared the faults of his brother but possessed none of the virtues which he occasionally showed, by making charges against Caesar before the veterans at one moment, and at the next inciting to arms those who had lost their farms when the division of lands was ordered and colonists assigned, had collected a large army. In another quarter Fulvia, the wife of Antony, who had nothing of the woman in her except her sex, was creating general confusion by armed violence. She had taken Praeneste as her base of operations; Antonius, beaten on all sides by the forces of Caesar, had taken refuge in Perusia; Plancus, who abetted the faction of Antony, offered the hope of assistance, rather than gave actual help. Thanks to his own valour and his usual good fortune, Caesar succeeded in storming Perusia. He released Antonius unharmed; and the cruel treatment of the people of Perusia was due rather to the fury of the soldiery than to the wish of their commander. The city was burned. The fire was begun by Macedonicus, a leading man of the place who, after setting fire to his house and contents, ran himself through with his sword and threw himself into the flames.
75. – At
the same period war broke out in Campania at the instigation of
the ex-praetor and pontiff, Tiberius Claudius Nero, father of Tiberius
Caesar, and a man of noble character and high intellectual training,
who now came forward as the protector of those who had lost their
lands. This war also was quickly extinguished and its embers scattered
by the arrival of Caesar.
76. – I
shall not deprive my own grandfather of the honourable mention which
I should give to a stranger. Gaius Velleius, chosen to a most honourable
position among the three hundred and sixty judges by Gnaeus Pompey,
prefect of engineers under Pompey, Marcus Brutus, and Tiberius Nero,
and a man second to none, on the departure from Naples of Nero,
whose partisan he had been on account of his close friendship, finding
himself unable to accompany him on account of his age and infirmities,
ran himself through with his sword in Campania.
77. – Then in response to a unanimous demand on the part of the people, who were now pinched by the high price of grain because the sea was infested by pirates, a peace was arranged with Pompey also, in the neighbourhood of Misenum. Pompey entertained Caesar and Antony at dinner on board his ship, on which occasion he remarked, not without point, that he was giving the dinner on "his own keels," thereby recalling the name of the quarter in which stood his father's house, now in the possession of Antony. By the terms of this treaty it was agreed that Sicily and Achaea should be conceded to Pompey, but his restless soul would not let him abide by the agreement. There was only one benefit which he rendered to his country by attending the conference, namely, the stipulation that all those who had been proscribed, or who for any other reason had taken refuge with him, should be granted a safe return. Among other illustrious men, Nero Claudius, Marcus Silanus, Sentius Saturninus, Arruntius and Titius were thereby restored to the state. As to Statius Murcus, however, who had doubled Pompey's forces by joining him with his strong fleet, Pompey had already put him to death in Sicily as the result of false accusations which had been brought against him, Menas and Menecrates having expressed a dislike for such a man as their colleague.
78. – It
was during this period that Marcus Antonius espoused Octavia, the
sister of Caesar. Pompey had now returned to Sicily, and Antony
to the provinces across the sea, which Labienus had thrown into
a panic in consequence of the great movements he had set on foot;
for he had gone from the camp of Brutus to the Parthians, had led
a Parthian army into Syria, and had slain a lieutenant of Antony.
Thanks to the courageous generalship of Ventidius, Labienus perished
in the battle and with him the forces of the Parthians, including
the most distinguished of their young men, Pacorus, son of the Parthian
79. – As Pompey's fleet was growing daily, and his reputation as well, Caesar resolved to take up the burden of this new war. Marcus Agrippa was charged with constructing the ships, collecting soldiers and rowers, and familiarizing them with naval contests and manoeuvres. He was a man of distinguished character, unconquerable by toil, loss of sleep or danger, well disciplined in obedience, but to one man alone, yet eager to command others; in whatever he did he knew no such thing as delay, but with him action went hand in hand with conception. Building an imposing fleet in lakes Avernus and Lucrinus, by daily drills he brought the soldiers and the oarsmen to a thorough knowledge of fighting on land and at sea. With this fleet Caesar made war on Pompey in Sicily, after he had espoused Livia, who was given to him in marriage by her former husband under circumstances which augured well for the state. But this man, unconquerable by human power, received at this time a heavy blow at the hands of fortune, since the greater part of his fleet was wrecked and scattered in the vicinity of Velia and Cape Palinurus by a violent scirocco. This delayed finishing the war, which, however, was subsequently carried on with shifting and sometimes doubtful fortune. For Caesar's fleet was again buffeted by a storm in the same locality, and although the issue was favourable in the first naval battle, at Mylae, under the leadership of Agrippa, a serious defeat was received near Tauromenium beneath the very eyes of Caesar, in consequence of the unexpected arrival of Pompey's fleet, and Caesar's own person was endangered. The legions which were with Cornificius, Caesar's lieutenant, came near being crushed by Pompey as soon as they landed. But fortune's caprice at this critical period was soon amended by bravery in action; when the fleets on both sides had been drawn up for battle, Pompey lost almost all his ships, and fled to Asia, where, wavering between the rôle of general and suppliant, now endeavouring to retain his dignity and now pleading for his life, he was slain by Titius on the orders of Marcus Antonius, whose aid he had sought. The hatred which Titius brought upon himself by this act lasted for a long time; indeed, afterwards, when he was celebrating games in Pompey's theatre, he was driven amid the execrations of the people from the spectacle which he himself was giving.
80. – While engaged in his war with Pompey, Caesar had summoned Lepidus from Africa with twelve legions of half the usual strength. This man, the most fickle of mankind, who had not earned the long-continued kindness of fortune through any qualities of his own, being nearer to the army of Pompey, annexed it to his own, though it was following not his orders but Caesar's, and owned loyalty to him. His numbers now swollen to twenty legions, he went to such lengths of madness that, though but a useless partner in another's victory, a victory which he had long delayed in refusing to agree to Caesar's plans and always insisting upon something different from that which suited others, he claimed the victory as entirely his own and had the effrontery to order Caesar out of Sicily. The Scipios and the other Roman generals of the olden time never dared or carried out a braver act than did Caesar at this juncture. For although he was unarmed and dressed in his travelling cloak, carrying nothing except his name, he entered the camp of Lepidus, and, avoiding the weapons which were hurled at him by the orders of that scoundrel, though his cloak was pierced by a lance, he had the courage to carry off the eagle of a legion. Then could one know the difference between the two commanders. Though armed, the soldiers followed Caesar who was unarmed, while Lepidus, in the tenth year after arriving at a position of power which his life had done nothing to deserve, now deserted both by his soldiers and by fortune, wrapping himself in a dark cloak and lurking in the rear of the crowd that thronged to Caesar, thus threw himself at Caesar's feet. He was granted his life and the control of his own property, but was shorn of the high position which he had shown himself unable to maintain.
81. – There
followed a sudden mutiny of the army; for it happens not infrequently
that when soldiers observe their own numbers they break discipline
and do not endure to ask for what they think they can exact. The
mutiny was broken up partly by severity, partly by liberality on
the part of the emperor, and considerable additions were at the
same time made to the Campanian colony by placing veterans on the
lands of that colony which had been left public. Lands in Crete
were given in return for these, which yielded a richer revenue of
a million two hundred thousand sesterces, and an aqueduct was promised
which is to-day a remarkable agency of health as well as an ornament
to the landscape.
82. – In the summer in which Caesar so successfully ended the war in Sicily, fortune, though kind in the case of Caesar and the republic, vented her anger in the east. For Antony with thirteen legions after passing through Armenia and then through Media, in an endeavour to reach Parthia by this route, found himself confronted by their king. First of all he lost two legions with all their baggage and engines, and Statianus his lieutenant; later he himself with the greatest risk to his entire army, on several occasions encountered perils from which he dared not hope that escape was possible. After losing not less than a fourth part of his soldiers, he was saved through the fidelity and by the suggestion of a captive, who was nevertheless a Roman. This man had been made prisoner in the disaster to the army of Crassus, but had not changed his allegiance with his fortune. He came by night to a Roman outpost and warned them not to pursue their intended course but to proceed by a detour through the forest. It was this that saved Marcus Antonius and his many legions; and yet, even so, not less than a fourth part of these soldiers and of his entire army was lost, as we have already stated, and of the camp-followers and slaves a third, while hardly anything of the baggage was saved. Yet Antonius called this flight of his a victory, because he had escaped with his life! Three summers later he returned to Armenia, obtained possession of the person of Artavasdes its king by deceit, and bound him with chains, which, however, out of regard for the station of his captive, were of gold. Then as his love for Cleopatra became more ardent and his vices grew upon him — for these are always nourished by power and licence and flattery — he resolved to make war upon his country. He had previously given orders that he should be called the new Father Liber, and indeed in a procession at Alexandria he had impersonated Father Liber, his head bound with the ivy wreath, his person enveloped in the saffron robe of gold, holding in his hand the thyrsus, wearing the buskins, and riding in the Bacchic chariot.
83. – In the midst of these preparations for war Plancus went over to Caesar, not through any conviction that he was choosing the right, nor from any love of the republic or of Caesar, for he was always hostile to both, but because treachery was a disease with him. He had been the most grovelling flatterer of the queen, a client with less self-respect than a slave; he had also been a secretary to Antony and was the author or the abettor of his vilest acts; for money he was ready to do all things for all men; and at a banquet he had played the role of Glaucus the Nereid, performing a dance in which his naked body was painted blue, his head encircled with reeds, at the same time wearing a fish's tail and crawling upon his knees. Now, inasmuch as he had been coldly treated by Antony because of unmistakable evidence of his venal rapacity, he deserted to Caesar. Afterwards he even went so far as to interpret the victor's clemency as a proof of his own merit, claiming that Caesar had approved that which he had merely pardoned. It was the example of this man, his uncle, that Titius soon afterwards followed. The retort of Coponius, who was the father-in-law of Publius Silius and a dignified praetorian, was not so far from the mark when he said, as Plancus in the senate fresh from his desertion was heaping upon the absent Antony many unspeakable charges, "By Hercules, Antony must have done a great many things before you left him."
84. – Then, in the consulship of Caesar and Messala Corvinus, the decisive battle took place at Actium. The victory of the Caesarian party was a certainty long before the battle. On the one side commander and soldiers alike were full of ardour, on the other was general dejection; on the one side the rowers were strong and sturdy, on the other weakened by privations; on the one side ships of moderate size, not too large for speed, on the other vessels of a size that made them more formidable in appearance only; no one was deserting from Caesar to Antony, while from Antony to Caesar someone or other was deserting daily; and King Amyntas had embraced the better and more advantageous side. As for Dellius, consistent to his habit, he now went over from Antony to Caesar as he had deserted from Dolabella to Cassius and from Cassius to Antony. The illustrious Gnaeus Domitius, who was the only one of the party of Antony who refused to salute the queen except by name, went over to Caesar at great and imminent risk to himself. Finally, before the eyes of Antony and his fleet, Marcus Agrippa had stormed Leucas, had captured Patrae, had seized Corinth, and before the final conflict had twice defeated the fleet of the enemy.
85. – Then came the day of the great conflict, on which Caesar and Antony led out their fleets and fought, the one for the safety, the other for the ruin, of the world. The command of the right wing of Caesar's fleet was entrusted to Marcus Lurius, of the left to Arruntius, while Agrippa had full charge of the entire conflict at sea. Caesar, reserving himself for that part of the battle to which fortune might summon him, was present everywhere. The command of Antony's fleet was entrusted to Publicola and Sosius. On the land, moreover, the army of Caesar was commanded by Taurus, that of Antony by Canidius. When the conflict began, on the one side was everything — commander, rowers, and soldiers; on the other, soldiers alone. Cleopatra took the initiative in the flight; Antony chose to be the companion of the fleeing queen rather than of his fighting soldiers, and the commander whose duty it would have been to deal severely with deserters, now became a deserter from his own army. Even without their chief his men long continued to fight bravely, and despairing of victory they fought to the death. Caesar, desiring to win over by words those whom he might have slain with the sword, kept shouting and pointing out to them that Antony had fled, and kept asking them for whom and with whom they were fighting. But they, after fighting long for their truant commander, reluctantly surrendered their arms and yielded the victory, Caesar having promised them pardon and their lives before they could bring themselves to sue for them. It was evident that the soldiers had played the part of the good commander while the commander had played that of the cowardly soldier, so that one might question whether in case of victory he would have acted according to Cleopatra's will or his own, since it was by her will that he had resorted to flight. The land army likewise surrendered when Canidius had hurried after Antony in precipitate flight.
86. – Who is there who, in the compass of so brief a work, would attempt to state what blessings this day conferred upon the world, or to describe the change which took place in the fortunes of the state? Great clemency was shown in the victory; no one was put to death, and but few banished who could not bring themselves even to become suppliants. From this display of mercy on the part of the commander it may be inferred how moderate a use Caesar would have made of the victory, had he been allowed to do so, whether at the beginning of his triumvirate or on the plain of Philippi. But, in the case of Sosius, it was the pledged word of Lucius Arruntius, a man famous for his old-time dignity, that saved him; later, Caesar preserved him unharmed, but only after long resisting his general inclination to clemency. The remarkable conduct of Asinius Pollio should not be passed by nor the words which he uttered. For although he had remained in Italy after the peace of Brundisium, and had never seen the queen nor taken any active part in Antony's faction after this leader had become demoralized by his passion for her, when Caesar asked him to go with him to the war at Actium he replied: "My services to Antony are too great, and his kindness to me too well known; accordingly I shall hold aloof from your quarrel and shall be the prize of the victor."
87. – The following year Caesar followed Cleopatra and Antony to Alexandria and there put the finishing touch upon the civil wars. Antony promptly ended his life, thus by his death redeeming himself from the many charges of lack of manhood. As for Cleopatra, baffling the vigilance of her guards she caused an asp to be smuggled in to her, and ended her life by its venomous sting untouched by a woman's fears. It was in keeping with Caesar's fortune and his clemency that not one of those who had borne arms against him was put to death by him, or by his order. It was the cruelty of Antony that ended the life of Decimus Brutus. In the case of Sextus Pompey, though Caesar was his conqueror, it was likewise Antony who deprived him of his life, even though he had given his word that he would not degrade him from his rank. Brutus and Cassius, without waiting to discover the attitude of their conquerors, died voluntary deaths. Of the end of Antony and Cleopatra we have already told. As for Canidius, he showed more fear in the face of death than was consistent with his lifelong utterances. The last of Caesar's assassins to pay the penalty of death was Cassius of Parma, as Trebonius had been the first.
88. – While Caesar was engaged in giving the finishing touch to the war at Actium and Alexandria, Marcus Lepidus, a young man whose good looks exceeded his prudence — son of the Lepidus who had been one of the triumvirs for the re-establishment of order in the state and of Junia the sister of Brutus — had formed plans for the assassination of Caesar as soon as he should return to the city. The guards of the city were at that time under the charge of Gaius Maecenas, of equestrian rank, but none the less of illustrious lineage, a man who was literally sleepless when occasion demanded, and quick to foresee what was to be done and skilful in doing it, but when any relaxation was allowed him from business cares would almost outdo a woman in giving himself up to indolence and soft luxury. He was not less loved by Caesar than Agrippa, though he had fewer honours heaped upon him, since he lived thoroughly content with the narrow stripe of the equestrian order. He might have achieved a position no less high than Agrippa, but had not the same ambition for it. Quietly and carefully concealing his activity he unearthed the plans of the hot-headed youth, and by crushing Lepidus with wonderful swiftness and without causing disturbance to either men or things he extinguished the portentous beginnings of a new and reviving civil war. Lepidus himself paid the penalty for his ill-advised plot. Servilia his wife must be placed on a parity with the wife of Antistius already mentioned, for by swallowing live coals she compensated for her untimely death by the lasting memory of her name.
89. – As for Caesar's return to Italy and to Rome — the procession which met him, the enthusiasm of his reception by men of all classes, ages, and ranks, and the magnificence of his triumphs and of the spectacles which he gave — all this it would be impossible adequately to describe even within the compass of a formal history, to say nothing of a work so circumscribed as this. There is nothing that man can desire from the gods, nothing that the gods can grant to a man, nothing that wish can conceive or good fortune bring to pass, which Augustus on his return to the city did not bestow upon the republic, the Roman people, and the world. The civil wars were ended after twenty years, foreign wars suppressed, peace restored, the frenzy of arms everywhere lulled to rest; validity was restored to the laws, authority to the courts, and dignity to the senate; the power of the magistrates was reduced to its former limits, with the sole exception that two were added to the eight existing praetors. The old traditional form of the republic was restored. Agriculture returned to the fields, respect to religion, to mankind freedom from anxiety, and to each citizen his property rights were now assured; old laws were usefully emended, and new laws passed for the general good; the revision of the senate, while not too drastic, was not lacking in severity. The chief men of the state who had won triumphs and had held high office were at the invitation of Augustus induced to adorn the city. In the case of the consulship only, Caesar was not able to have his way, but was obliged to hold that office consecutively until the eleventh time in spite of his frequent efforts to prevent it; but the dictatorship which the people persistently offered him, he as stubbornly refused. To tell of the wars waged under his command, of the pacification of the world by his victories, of his many works at home and outside of Italy would weary a writer intending to devote his whole life to this one task. As for myself, remembering the proposed scope of my work, I have confined myself to setting before the eyes and minds of my readers a general picture of his principate.
90. – When the civil wars had been extinguished, as we have already told, and the rent limbs of the state itself began to heal, the provinces, also, torn asunder by the long series of wars began to knit together. Dalmatia, in rebellion for one hundred and twenty years, was pacified to the extent of definitely recognizing the sovereignty of Rome. The Alps, filled with wild and barbarous tribes, were subdued. The provinces of Spain were pacified after heavy campaigns conducted with varied success now by Caesar in person, now by Agrippa, whom the friendship of the emperor had raised to a third consulship and soon afterwards to a share in the emperor's tribunician power. Roman armies had been sent into these provinces for the first time in the consulship of Scipio and Sempronius Longus, in the first year of the Second Punic war, two hundred and fifty years ago, under the command of Gnaeus Scipio, the uncle of Africanus. For a period of two hundred years the struggle was kept up with so much bloodshed on both sides that the Roman people, by the loss of its commanders and armies, often suffered disgrace, and sometimes its empire was really endangered. These, namely, were the provinces that brought death to the Scipios; that taxed the endurance of our ancestors in the disgraceful ten years' war under Viriathus; that shook the Roman people with the panic of the Numantine war; here occurred the disgraceful surrender of Quintus Pompeius, whose terms the senate disavowed, and the more shameful capitulation of Mancinus, which was also disavowed, and its maker ignominiously handed over to the enemy; it was Spain that destroyed so many commanders who were consulars or praetorians, and which in the days of our fathers raised Sertorius to such a height of power that for a period of five years it was not possible to decide whether there was greater strength in the arms of the Spaniard or the Roman, and which of the two peoples was destined to obey the other. These, then, were the provinces, so extensive, so populous, and so warlike, which Caesar Augustus, about fifty years ago, brought to such a condition of peace, that whereas they had never before been free from serious wars, they were now, under the governorship of Gaius Antistius and then of Publius Silius and of their successors, exempt even from brigandage.
91. – While the pacification of the west was going on, in the east the Parthian king restored to Augustus the Roman standards which Orodes had taken at the time of Crassus' disaster, and those which his son Phraates had captured on the defeat of Antony. This title of Augustus was deservedly given him on the motion of Plancus with the unanimous acclaim of the entire senate and the Roman people. Yet there were those who did not like this prosperous state of affairs. For example, Lucius Murena and Fannius Caepio had entered into a plot to assassinate Caesar, but were seized by state authority and themselves suffered by law what they had wished to accomplish by violence. They were two men quite diverse in character, for Murena, apart from this act, might have passed as a man of good character, while Caepio, even before this, had been of the worst. Shortly afterwards a similar attempt was made by Rufus Egnatius, a man who in all respects resembled a gladiator rather than a senator. Securing the favour of the people in his aedileship by putting out fires with his own gang of slaves, he increased it daily to such an extent that the people gave him the praetorship immediately after the aedileship. It was not long before he dared to become a candidate for the consulship, but he was overwhelmed by the general knowledge of his shameless deeds and crimes, and the state of his property came to be as desperate as his mind. Therefore, collecting about him men of his own kind, he resolved to assassinate Caesar in order that he might die after getting rid of him whose existence was not compatible with his own. Such men are so constituted that each would prefer to fall in a general cataclysm than to perish alone, and, though suffering the same fate in the end, to be less conspicuous in dying. He, however, was not more successful than the rest in concealing his designs, and after being thrust into prison with his fellow conspirators, died the death his life richly deserved.
92. – The remarkable conduct of an excellent man, Gaius Sentius Saturninus, who was consul about this time, must not be cheated of its due record. Caesar was absent from the city engaged in regulating the affairs of Asia and of the orient, and in bringing to the countries of the world by his personal presence the blessings of Augustan peace. On this occasion Sentius, chancing thus to be sole consul with Caesar absent, adopting the rigorous regime of the older consuls, pursued a general policy of old-fashioned severity and great firmness, bringing to light the fraudulent tricks of the tax-collectors, punishing their avarice, and getting the public moneys into the treasury. But it was particularly in holding the elections that he played the consul. For in the case of candidates for the quaestorship whom he thought unworthy, he forbade them to offer their names, and when they insisted upon doing so, he threatened them with the exercise of his consular authority if they came down to the Campus Martius. Egnatius, who was now at the height of popular favour, and was expecting to have his consulship follow his praetorship as his praetorship had followed his aedileship, he forbade to become a candidate, and failing in this, he swore that, even if Egnatius were elected consul by the votes of the people, he would refuse to report his election. This conduct I consider as comparable with any of the celebrated acts of the consuls of the olden days. But we are naturally more inclined to praise what we have heard than what has occurred before our eyes; we regard the present with envy, the past with veneration, and believe that we are eclipsed by the former, but derive instruction from the latter.
93. – Some three years before the plot of Egnatius was exposed, about the time of the conspiracy of Murena and Caepio, fifty years from the present date, Marcus Marcellus died, the son of Octavia, sister of Augustus, after giving a magnificent spectacle to commemorate his aedileship and while still quite a youth. People thought that, if anything should happen to Caesar, Marcellus would be his successor in power, at the same time believing, however, that this would not fall to his lot without opposition from Marcus Agrippa. He was, we are told, a young man of noble qualities, cheerful in mind and disposition, and equal to the station for which he was being reared. After his death Agrippa, who had set out for Asia on the pretext of commissions from the emperor, but who, according to current gossip, had withdrawn, for the time being, on account of his secret animosity for Marcellus, now returned from Asia and married Julia the daughter of Caesar, who had been the wife of Marcellus, a woman whose many children were to be blessings neither to herself nor to the state.
94. – At this period Tiberius Claudius Nero, in his nineteenth year, began his public life as quaestor. I have already told how, when he was three years of age, his mother Livia, the daughter of Drusus Claudianus, had become the wife of Caesar, her former husband, Tiberius Nero, himself giving her in marriage to him. Nurtured by the teaching of eminent praeceptors, a youth equipped in the highest degree with the advantages of birth, personal beauty, commanding presence, an excellent education combined with native talents, Tiberius, as quaestor when he was eighteen years old, gave early promise of becoming the great man he now is, and already by his look revealed the prince. Now, acting on the orders of his stepfather, he so skilfully regulated the difficulties of the grain supply and relieved the scarcity of corn at Ostia and in the city that it was apparent from his execution of this commission how great he was destined to become. Shortly afterwards he was sent by his stepfather with an army to visit the eastern provinces and restore them to order, and in that part of the world gave splendid illustration of all his strong qualities. Entering Armenia with his legions, he brought it once more under the sovereignty of the Roman people, and gave the kingship to Artavasdes. Even the king of the Parthians, awed by the reputation of so great a name, sent his own children as hostages to Caesar.
95. – On
Nero's return Caesar resolved to test his powers in a war of no
slight magnitude. In this work he gave him as a collaborator his
own brother Drusus Claudius, to whom Livia gave birth when already
in the house of Caesar. The two brothers attacked the Raeti and
Vindelici from different directions, and after storming many towns
and strongholds, as well as engaging successfully in pitched battles,
with more danger than real loss to the Roman army, though with much
bloodshed on the part of the enemy, they thoroughly subdued these
races, protected as they were by the nature of the country, difficult
of access, strong in numbers, and fiercely warlike.
96. – Then
occurred the death of Agrippa. Though a "new man" he had
by his many achievements brought distinction upon his obscure birh,
even to the extent of becoming the father-in-law of Nero; and his
sons, the grandsons of the emperor, had been adopted by Augustus
under the names of Gaius and Lucius. His death brought Nero closer
to Caesar, since his daughter Julia, who had been the wife of Agrippa,
now married Nero.
97. – But while everything was being successfully managed in this quarter of the either, a disaster received in Germany under Marcus Lollius the legate — he was a man who was ever more eager for money than for honest action, and of vicious habits in spite of his excessive efforts at concealment — and the loss of the eagle of the fifth legion, summoned Caesar from the city to the provinces of Gaul. The burden of responsibility for this war was then entrusted to Drusus Claudius, the brother of Nero, a young man endowed with as many great qualities as men's nature is capable of receiving or application developing. It would be hard to say whether his talents were the better adapted to a military career or the duties of life; at any rate, the charm and the sweetness of his character are said to have been inimitable, and also his modest attitude of equality towards his friends. As for his personal beauty, it was second only to that of his brother. But, after accomplishing to a great extent the subjection of Germany, in which much blood of that people was shed on various battle-fields, an unkind fate carried him off during his consulship, in his thirtieth year. The burden of responsibility for this war was then transferred to Nero. He carried it on with his customary valour and good fortune, and after traversing every part of Germany in a victorious campaign, without any loss of the army entrusted to him — for he made this one of his chief concerns — he so subdued the country as to reduce it almost to the status of a tributary province. He then received a second triumph, and a second consulship.
98. – While the events of which we have spoken were taking place in Pannonia and in Germany, a fierce rebellion arose in Thrace, and all its clans were aroused to arms. It was terminated by the valour of Lucius Piso, whom we still have with us to-day as the most vigilant and at the same time the gentlest guardian of the security of the city. As lieutenant of Caesar he fought the Thracians for three years, and by a succession of battles and sieges, with great loss of life to the Thracians, he brought these fiercest of races to their former state of peaceful subjection. By putting an end to this war he restored security to Asia and peace to Macedonia. Of Piso all must think and say that his character is an excellent blend of firmness and gentleness, and that it would be hard to find anyone possessing a stronger love of leisure, or, on the other hand, more capable of action, and of taking the necessary measures without thrusting his activity upon our notice.
99. – Soon afterwards Tiberius Nero, who had now held two consulships and celebrated two triumphs; who had been made the equal of Augustus by sharing with him the tribunician power; the most eminent of all Roman citizens save one (and that because he wished it so); the greatest of generals, attended alike by fame and fortune; veritably the second luminary and the second head of the state — this man, moved by some strangely incredible and inexpressible feeling of affection for Augustus, sought leave for him who was both his father-in-law and stepfather to rest from the unbroken succession of his labours. The real reasons for this were soon made plain. Inasmuch as Gaius Caesar had already assumed the toga of manhood, and Lucius was reaching maturity, he concealed his reason in order that his own glory might not stand in the way of the young men at the beginning of their careers. I must reserve for my regular history a description of the attitude of the state at this juncture, of the feelings of the individual citizens, of the tears of all at taking leave of such a man, and how nearly the state came to laying upon him its staying hand. Even in this brief epitome I ought to say that all who departed for the provinces across the sea, whether proconsuls or governors appointed by the emperor, went out of their way to see him at Rhodes, and on meeting him they lowered their fasces to him though he was but a private citizen — if such majesty could ever belong to a private citizen — thereby confessing that his retirement was more worthy of honour than their official position.
100. – The
whole world felt the departure of Nero from his position as protector
of the city. The Parthian, breaking away from his alliance with
us, laid hold of Armenia, and the eyes of its conqueror were no
longer upon it.
101. – Shortly after this Gaius Caesar, who had previously made a tour of other provinces, but only as a visitor, was dispatched to Syria. On his way he first paid his respects to Tiberius Nero, whom he treated with all honour as his superior. In his province he conducted himself with such versatility as to furnish much material for the panegyrist and not a little for the critic. On an island in the Euphrates, with an equal retinue on each side, Gaius had a meeting with the king of the Parthians, a young man of distinguished presence. This spectacle of the Roman army arrayed on one side, the Parthian on the other, while these two eminent lands not only of the empires they represented but also of mankind thus met in conference — truly a notable and a memorable sight — it was my fortunate lot to see early in my career as a soldier, when I held the rank of tribune. I had already entered upon this grade of the service under your father, Marcus Vinicius, and Publius Silius in Thrace and Macedonia; later I visited Achaia and Asia and all the eastern provinces, the outlet of the Black Sea and both its coasts, and it is not without feelings of pleasure that I recall the many events, places, peoples, and cities. As for the meeting, first the Parthian dined with Gaius upon the Roman bank, and later Gaius supped with the king on the soil of the enemy.
102. – It was at this time that there were revealed to Caesar, through the Parthian king, the traitorous designs, revealing a crafty and deceitful mind, of Marcus Lollius, whom Augustus had desired to be the adviser of his still youthful son; and gossip spread the report abroad. In regard to his death, which occurred within a few days, I do not know whether it was accidental or voluntary. But the joy which people felt at this death was equalled by the sorrow which the state felt long afterwards at the decease in the same province of Censorinus, a man born to win the affections of men. Then Gaius entered Armenia and at first conducted his campaign with success; but later, in a parley near Artagera, to which he rashly entrusted his person, he was seriously wounded by a man named Adduus, so that, in consequence, his body became less active, and his mind of less service to the state. Nor was there lacking the companionship of persons who encouraged his defects by flattery — for flattery always goes hand in hand with high position — as a result of which he wished to spend his life in a remote and distant corner of the world rather than return to Rome. Then, in the act of returning to Italy, after long resistance and still against his will, he died in a city of Lycia which they call Limyra, his brother Lucius having died about a year before at Massilia on his way to Spain.
103. – But fortune, which had removed the hope of the great name of Caesar, had already restored to the state her real protector; for the return of Tiberius Nero from Rhodes in the consulship of Publius Vinicius, your father, and before the death of either of these youths, had filled his country with joy. Caesar Augustus did not long hesitate, for he had no need to search for one to choose as his successor but merely to choose the one who towered about the others. Accordingly, what he had wished to do after the death of Lucius but while Gaius was still living, and had been prevented from doing by the strong opposition of Nero himself, he now insisted upon carrying out after the death of both young men, namely, to make Nero his associate in the tribunician power, in spite of his continued objection both in private and in the senate; and in the consulship of Aelius Catus and Gaius Sentius, on the twenty-seventh of June, he adopted him, seven hundred and fifty-four years after the founding of the city, and twenty-seven years ago. The rejoicing of that day, the concourse of the citizens, their vows as they stretched their hands almost to the very heavens, and the hopes which they entertained for the perpetual security and the eternal existence of the Roman empire, I shall hardly be able to describe to the full even in my comprehensive work, much less try to do it justice here. I shall simply content myself with stating what a day of good omen it was for all. On that day there sprang up once more in parents the assurance of safety for their children, in husbands for the sanctity of marriage, in owners for the safety of their property, and in all men the assurance of safety, order, peace, and tranquillity; indeed, it would have been hard to entertain larger hopes, or to have them more happily fulfilled.
104. – On
the same day Marcus Agrippa, to whom Julia had given birth after
the death of Agrippa, was also adopted by Augustus; but, in the
case of Nero, an addition was made to the formula of adoption in
Caesar's own words: "This I do for reasons of state."
His country did not long detain at Rome the champion and the guardian
of her empire, but forthwith dispatched him to Germany, where, three
years before, an extensive war had broken out in the governorship
of that illustrious man, Marcus Vinicius, your grandfather. Vinicius
had carried on this war with success in some quarters, and in others
had made a successful defence, and on this account there had been
decreed to him the ornaments of a triumph with an honorary inscription
recording his deeds.
105. – He at once entered Germany. The Canninefates, the Attuarii, and Bructeri were subdued, the Cherusci (Arminius, a member of this race, was soon to become famous for the disaster inflicted upon us) were again subjugated, the Weser crossed, and the regions beyond it penetrated. Caesar claimed for himself every part of the war that was difficult or dangerous, placing Sentius Saturninus, who had already served as legate under his father in Germany, in charge of expeditions of a less dangerous character: a man many-sided in his virtues, a man of energy and action, and of foresight, alike able to endure the duties of a soldier as he was well trained in them, but who, likewise, when his labours left room for leisure, made a liberal and elegant use of it, but with this reservation, that one would call him sumptuous and jovial rather than extravagant or indolent. About the distinguished ability of this illustrious man and his famous consulship I have already spoken. The prolonging of the campaign of that year into the month of December increased the benefits derived from the great victory. Caesar was drawn to the city by his filial affection, though the Alps were almost blocked by winter's snows; but the defence of the empire brought him at the beginning of spring back to Germany, where he had on his departure pitched his winter camp at the source of the river Lippe, in the very heart of the country, the first Roman to winter there.
106. – Ye Heavens, how large a volume could be filled with the tale of our achievements in the following summer under the generalship of Tiberius Caesar! All Germany was traversed by our armies, races were conquered hitherto almost unknown, even by name; and the tribes of the Cauchi were again subjugated. All the flower of their youth, infinite in number though they were, huge of stature and protected by the ground they held, surrendered their arms, and, flanked by a gleaming line of our soldiers, fell with their generals upon their knees before the tribunal of the commander. The power of the Langobardi was broken, a race surpassing even the Germans in savagery; and finally — and this is something which had never before been entertained even as a hope, much less actually attempted — a Roman army with its standards was led four hundred miles beyond the Rhine as far as the river Elbe, which flows past the territories of the Semnones and the Hermunduri. And with this wonderful combination of careful planning and good fortune on the part of the general, and a close watch upon the seasons, the fleet which had skirted the windings of the sea coast sailed up the Elbe from a sea hitherto unheard of and unknown, and after proving victorious over many tribes effected a junction with Caesar and the army, bringing with it a great abundance of supplies of all kinds.
107. – Even in the midst of these great events I cannot refrain from inserting this little incident. We were encamped on the nearer bank of the aforesaid river, while on the farther bank glittered the arms of the enemies' troops, who showed an inclination to flee at every movement and manoeuvre of our vessels, when one of the barbarians, advanced in years, tall of stature, of high rank, to judge by his dress, embarked in a canoe, made as is usual with them of a hollowed log, and guiding this strange craft he advanced alone to the middle of the stream and asked permission to land without harm to himself on the bank occupied by our troops, and to see Caesar. Permission was granted. Then he beached his canoe, and, after gazing upon Caesar for a long time in silence, exclaimed: "Our young men are insane, for though they worship you as divine when absent, when you are present they fear your armies instead of trusting to your protection. But I, by your kind permission, Caesar, have to-day seen the gods of whom I merely used to hear; and in my life have never hoped for or experienced a happier day." After asking for and receiving permission to touch Caesar's hand, he again entered his canoe, and continued to gaze back upon him until he landed upon his own bank. Victorious over all the nations and countries which he approached, his army safe and unimpaired, having been attacked but once, and that too through deceit on the part of the enemy with great loss on their side, Caesar led his legions back to winter quarters, and sought the city with this haste as in the previous year.
108. – Nothing remained to be conquered in Germany except the people of the Marcomanni, which, leaving its settlements at the summons of its leader Maroboduus, had retired into the interior and now dwelt in the plains surrounded by the Hercynian forest. No considerations of haste should lead us to pass over this man Maroboduus without mention. A man of noble family, strong in body and courageous in mind, a barbarian by birth but not in intelligence, he achieved among his countrymen no mere chief's position gained as the result of internal disorders or chance or liable to change and dependent upon the caprice of his subjects, but, conceiving in his mind the idea of a definite empire and royal powers, he resolved to remove his own race far away from the Romans and to migrate to a place where, inasmuch as he had fled before the strength of more powerful arms, he might make his own all powerful. Accordingly, after occupying the region we have mentioned, he proceeded to reduce all the neighbouring races by war, or to bring them under his sovereignty by treaty.
109. – The body of guards protecting the kingdom of Maroboduus, which by constant drill had been brought almost to the Roman standard of discipline, soon placed him in a position of power that was dreaded even by our empire. His policy toward Rome was to avoid provoking us by war, but at the same time to let us understand that, if he were provoked by us he had in reserve the power and the will to resist. The envoys whom he sent to the Caesars sometimes commended him to them as a suppliant and sometimes spoke as though they represented an equal. Races and individuals who revolted from us found in him a refuge, and in all respects, with but little concealment, he played the part of a rival. His army, which he had brought up to the number of seventy thousand foot and four thousand horse, he was steadily preparing, by exercising it in constant wars against his neighbours, for some greater task than that which he had in hand. He was also to be feared on this account, that, having Germany at the left and in front of his settlements, Pannonia on the right, and Noricum in the rear of them, he was dreaded by all as one who might at any moment descend upon all. Nor did he permit Italy to be free from concern as regards his growing power, since the summits of the Alps which mark her boundary were not more than two hundred miles distant from his boundary line. Such was the man and such the region that Tiberius Caesar resolved to attack from opposite directions in the course of the coming year. Sentius Saturninus had instructions to lead his legions through the country of the Catti into Boiohaemum, for that is the name of the region occupied by Maroboduus, cutting a passage through the Hercynian forest which bounded the region, while from Carnuntum, the nearest point of Noricum in this direction, he himself undertook to lead against the Marcomanni the army which was serving in Illyricum.
110. – Fortune sometimes breaks off completely, sometimes merely delays, the execution of men's plans. Caesar had already arranged his winter quarters on the Danube, and had brought up his army to within five days' march of the advanced posts of the enemy; and the legions which he had ordered Saturninus to bring up, separated from the enemy by an almost equal distance, were on the point of effecting a junction with Caesar at a predetermined rendezvous within a few days, when all Pannonia, grown arrogant through the blessings of a long peace and now at the maturity of her power, suddenly took up arms, bringing Dalmatia and all the races of that region into her alliance. Thereupon glory was sacrificed to necessity; and it did not seem to Tiberius a safe course to keep his army buried in the interior of the country and thus leave Italy unprotected from an enemy so near at hand. The full number of the races and tribes which had rebelled reached a total of more than eight hundred thousand. About two hundred thousand infantry trained to arms, and nine thousand cavalry were being assembled. Of this immense number, which acted under the orders of energetic and capable generals, one portion had decided to make Italy its goal, which was connected with them by the line of Nauportum and Tergeste, a second had already poured into Macedonia, while a third had set itself the task of protecting their own territories. The chief authority rested with the two Batones and Pinnes as generals. Now all the Pannonians possessed not only a knowledge of Roman discipline but also of the Roman tongue, many also had some measure of literary culture, and the exercise of the intellect was not uncommon among them. And so it came to pass, by Hercules, that no nation ever displayed such swiftness in following up with war its own plans for war, and in putting its resolves into execution. Roman citizens were overpowered, traders were massacred, a considerable detachment of veterans, stationed in the region which was most remote from the commander, was exterminated to a man, Macedonia was seized by armed forces, everywhere was wholesale devastation by fire and sword. Moreover, such a panic did this war inspire that even the courage of Caesar Augustus, rendered steady and firm by experience in so many wars, was shaken with fear.
111. – Accordingly
levies were held, from every quarter all the veterans were recalled
to the standards, men and women were compelled, in proportion to
their income, to furnish freedmen as soldiers. Men heard Augustus
say in the senate, that, unless precautions were taken, the enemy
might appear in sight of Rome within ten days. The services of senators
and knights were demanded for this war, and promised. All these
our preparations would have been vain had we not had the man to
take command. And so, as a final measure of protection, the state
demanded from Augustus that Tiberius should conduct the war.
112. – An
exploit of Messalinus in the first summer of the war, fortunate
in its issue as it was bold in undertaking, must here be recorded
for posterity. This man, who was even more noble in heart than in
birth, and thoroughly worthy of having had Corvinus as his father,
and of leaving his cognomen to his brother Cotta, was in command
in Illyricum, and, at the sudden outbreak of the rebellion, finding
himself surrounded by the army of the enemy and supported by only
the twentieth legion, and that at but half its normal strength,
he routed and put to flight more than twenty thousand, and for this
was honoured with the ornaments of a triumph.
113. – Listen now, Marcus Vinicius, to the proof that Caesar was no less great in war as a general than you now see him in peace as an emperor. When the two armies were united, that is to say the troops which had served under Caesar and those which had come to reinforce him, and there were now gathered together in one camp ten legions, more than seventy cohorts, fourteen troops of cavalry and more than ten thousand veterans, and in addition a large number of volunteers and the numerous cavalry of the king — in a word a greater army than had ever been assembled in one place since the civil wars — all were finding satisfaction in this fact and reposed their greatest hope of victory in their numbers. But the general, who was the best judge of the course he pursued, preferring efficiency to show, and, as we have so often seen him doing in all his wars, following the course which deserved approval rather than that which was currently approval, after keeping the army which had newly arrived for only a few days in order to allow it to recover from the march, decided to send it away, since he saw that it was too large to be managed and was not well adapted to effective control. And so he sent it back whence it came, escorting it with his own army on a long exceedingly laborious march, whose difficulty can hardly be described. His purpose in this was, on the one hand, that no one might dare to attack his united forces, and, on the other, to prevent the united forces of the enemy from falling upon the departing division, through the apprehension of each nation for its own territory. Then returning himself to Siscia, at the beginning of a very hard winter, he placed his lieutenants, of whom I was one, in charge of the divisions of his winter quarters.
114. – And
now for a detail which in the telling may lack grandeur, but is
most important by reason of the true and substantial personal qualities
it reveals and also of its practical service — a thing most
pleasant as an experience and remarkable for the kindness it displayed.
Throughout the whole period of the German and Pannonian war there
was not one of us, or of those either above or below our rank, who
fell ill without having his health and welfare looked after by Caesar
with as much solicitude indeed as though this were the chief occupation
of his mind, preoccupied though he was by his heavy responsibilities.
There was a horsed vehicle ready for those who needed it, his own
litter was at the disposal of all, and I, among others, have enjoyed
its use. Now his physicians, now his kitchen, and now his bathing
equipment, brought for this one purpose for himself alone, ministered
to the comfort of all who were sick. All they lacked was their home
and domestic servants, but nothing else that friends at home could
furnish or desire for them. Let me also add the following trait,
which, like the others I have described, will be immediately recognized
as true by anyone who participated in that campaign. Caesar alone
of commanders was in the habit of also travelling in the saddle,
and, throughout the greater portion of the summer campaign, of sitting
at the table when dining with invited guests. Of those who did not
imitate his own stern discipline he took no notice, in so far as
no harmful precedent was thereby created. He often admonished, sometimes
gave verbal reproof, but rarely punishment, and pursued the moderate
course of pretending in most cases not to see things, and of administering
only occasionally a reprimand.
115. – Caesar
then devoted his attention and his arms to his second task, the
war in Dalmatia. What assistance he had in this quarter from his
aide and lieutenant Magius Celer Velleianus, my brother, is attested
by the words of Tiberius himself and of his father, and signalized
by the record of the high decorations conferred upon him by Caesar
on the occasion of his triumph. In the beginning of summer Lepidus
led his army out of winter quarters, in an effort to make his way
to Tiberius the commander, through the midst of races that were
as yet unaffected and untouched by the disasters of war and therefore
still fierce and warlike; after a struggle in which he had to contend
with the difficulties of the country as well as the attacks of the
enemy, and after inflicting great loss on those who barred his way,
by the devastation of fields, burning of houses, and slaying of
the inhabitants, he succeeded in reaching Caesar, rejoicing in victory
and laden with booty. For these feats, for which, if they had been
performed under his own auspices he would properly have received
a triumph, he was granted the ornaments of a triumph, the wish of
the senate endorsing the recommendation of the Caesars.
116. – In
the Dalmatian war Germanicus, who had been dispatched in advance
of the commander to regions both wild and difficult, gave great
proof of his valour. By his repeated services and careful vigilance
the governor of Dalmatia, Vibius Postumus the consular, also earned
the ornaments of a triumph. A few years before this honour had been
earned in Africa by Passienus and Cossus, both celebrated men, though
not alike in merit. Cossus passed on to his son, a young man born
to exhibit every variety of excellence, a cognomen that still testifies
to his victory. And Lucius Apronius, who shared in the achievements
of Postumus, earned by the distinguished valour which he displayed
in this campaign also, the honours which he actually won shortly
117. – Scarcely
had Caesar put the finishing touch upon the Pannonian and Dalmatian
war, when, within five days of the completion of this task, dispatches
from Germany brought the baleful news of the death of Varus, and
of the slaughter of three legions, of as many divisions of cavalry,
and of six cohorts — as though fortune were granting us this
indulgence at least, that such a disaster should not be brought
upon us when our commander was occupied by other wars. The cause
of this defeat and the personality of the general require of me
a brief digression.
118. – But the Germans, who with their great ferocity combine great craft, to an extent scarcely credible to one who has had no experience with them, and are a race to lying born, by trumping up a series of fictitious lawsuits, now provoking one another to disputes, and now expressing their gratitude that Roman justice was settling these disputes, that their own barbarous nature was being softened down by this new and hitherto unknown method, and that quarrels which were usually settled by arms were now being ended by law, brought Quintilius to such a complete degree of negligence, that he came to look upon himself as a city praetor administering justice in the forum, and not a general in command of an army in the heart of Germany. Thereupon appeared a young man of noble birth, brave in action and alert in mind, possessing an intelligence quite beyond the ordinary barbarian; he was, namely, Arminius, the son of Sigimer, a prince of that nation, and he showed in his countenance and in his eyes the fire of the mind within. He had been associated with us constantly on private campaigns, and had even attained the dignity of equestrian rank. This young man made use of the negligence of the general as an opportunity for treachery, sagaciously seeing that no one could be more quickly overpowered than the man who feared nothing, and that the most common beginning of disaster was a sense of security. At first, then, he admitted but a few, later a large number, to a share in his design; he told them, and convinced them too, that the Romans could be crushed, added execution to resolve, and named a day for carrying out the plot. This was disclosed to Varus through Segestes, a loyal man of that race and of illustrious name, who also demanded that the conspirators be put in chains. But fate now dominated the plans of Varus and had blindfolded the eyes of his mind. Indeed, it is usually the case that heaven perverts the judgement of the man whose fortune it means to reverse, and brings it to pass — and this is the wretched part of it — that that which happens by chance seems to be deserved, and accident passes over into culpability. And so Quintilius refused to believe the story, and insisted upon judging the apparent friendship of the Germans toward him by the standard of his merit. And, after this first warning, there was no time left for a second.
119. – The details of this terrible calamity, the heaviest that had befallen the Romans on foreign soil since the disaster of Crassus in Parthia, I shall endeavour to set forth, as others have done, in my larger work. Here I can merely lament the disaster as a whole. An army unexcelled in bravery, the first of Roman armies in discipline, in energy, and in experience in the field, through the negligence of its general, the perfidy of the enemy, and the unkindness of fortune was surrounded, nor was as much opportunity as they had wished given to the soldiers either of fighting or of extricating themselves, except against heavy odds; nay, some were even heavily chastised for using the arms and showing the spirit of Romans. Hemmed in by forests and marshes and ambuscades, it was exterminated almost to a man by the very enemy whom it had always slaughtered like cattle, whose life or death had depended solely upon the wrath or the pity of the Romans. The general had more courage to die than to fight, for, following the example of his father and grandfather, he ran himself through with his sword. Of the two prefects of the camp, Lucius Eggius furnished a precedent as noble as that of Ceionius was base, who, after the greater part of the army had perished, proposed its surrender, preferring to die by torture at the hands of the enemy than in battle. Vala Numonius, lieutenant of Varus, who, in the rest of his life, had been an inoffensive and an honourable man, also set a fearful example in that he left the infantry unprotected by the cavalry and in flight tried to reach the Rhine with his squadrons of horse. But fortune avenged his act, for he did not survive those whom he had abandoned, but died in the act of deserting them. The body of Varus, partially burned, was mangled by the enemy in their barbarity; his head was cut off and taken to Maroboduus and was sent by him to Caesar; but in spite of the disaster it was honoured by burial in the tomb of his family.
120. – On
hearing of this disaster, Caesar flew to his father's side. The
constant protector of the Roman empire again took up his accustomed
part. Dispatched to Germany, he reassured the provinces of Gaul,
distributed his armies, strengthened the garrison towns, and then,
measuring himself by the standard of his own greatness, and not
by the presumption of an enemy who threatened Italy with a war like
that of the Cimbri and Teutones, he took the offensive and crossed
the Rhine with his army. He thus made aggressive war upon the enemy
when his father and his country would have been content to let him
hold them in check, he penetrated into the heart of the country,
opened up military roads, devastated fields, burned houses, routed
those who came against him, and, without loss to the troops with
which he had crossed, he returned, covered with glory, to winter
121. – Tiberius showed the same valour, and was attended by the same fortune, when he entered Germany on his later campaigns as in his first. After he had broken the force of the enemy by his expeditions on sea and land, had completed his difficult task in Gaul, and had settled by restraint rather than by punishment the dissensions that had broken out among the Viennenses, at the request of his father that he should have in all the provinces and armies a power equal to his own, the senate and Roman people so decreed. For indeed it was incongruous that the provinces which were being defended by him should not be under his jurisdiction, and that he who was foremost in bearing aid should not be considered an equal in the honour to be won. On his return to the city he celebrated the triumph over the Pannonians and Dalmatians, long since due him, but postponed by reason of a succession of wars. Who can be surprised at its magnificence, since it was the triumph of Caesar. Yet who can fail to wonder at the kindness of fortune to him? For the most eminent leaders of the enemy were not slain in battle, that report should tell thereof, but were taken captive, so that in his triumph he exhibited them in chains. It was my lot and that of my brother to participate in this triumph among the men of distinguished rank and those who were decorated with distinguished honours.
122. – Among the other acts of Tiberius Caesar, wherein his remarkable moderation shines forth conspicuously, who does not wonder at this also, that, although he unquestionably earned seven triumphs, he was satisfied with three? For who can doubt that, when he had recovered Armenia, had placed over it a king upon whose head he had with his own hand set the mark of royalty, and had put in order the affairs of the east, he ought to have received an ovation; and that after his conquest of the Vindelici and the Raeti he should have entered the city as victor in a triumphal chariot? Or that, after his adoption, when he had broken the power of the Germans in three successive campaigns, the same honour should have been bestowed upon him and should have been accepted by him? And that, after the disaster received under Varus, when this same Germany was crushed by a course of events which, sooner than was expected, came to a happy issue, the honour of a triumph should have been awarded to this consummate general? But, in the case of this man, one does not know which to admire the more, that in courting toils and danger he went beyond all bounds or that in accepting honours he kept within them.
123. – We now come to the crisis which was awaited with the greatest foreboding. Augustus Caesar had dispatched his grandson Germanicus to Germany to put an end to such traces of the war as still remained, and was on the point of sending his son Tiberius to Illyricum to strengthen by peace the regions he had subjugated in war. With the double purpose of escorting him on his way, and of being present at an athletic contest which the Neapolitans had established in his honour, he set out for Campania. Although he had already experienced symptoms of growing weakness and of a change in his health for the worse, his strong will resisted infirmity and he accompanied his son. Parting from him at Beneventum he went to Nola. As his health grew daily worse, and he knew full well for whom he must send if he wished to leave everything secure behind him, he sent in haste for his son to return. Tiberius hurried back and reached the side of the father of his country before he was even expected. Then Augustus, asserting that his mind was now at ease, and, with the arms of his beloved Tiberius about him, commending to him the continuation of their joint work, expressed all his readiness to meet the end if the fates should call him. He revived a little at seeing Tiberius and at hearing the voice of one so dear to him, but, ere long, since no care could withstand the fates, in his seventy-sixth year, in the consulship of Pompeius and Apuleius he was resolved into the elements from which he sprang and yielded up to heaven his divine soul.
124. – Of
the misgivings of mankind at this time, the trepidation of the senate,
the confusion of the people, the fears of the city, of the narrow
margin between safety and ruin on which we then found ourselves,
I have no time to tell as I hasten on my way, nor could he tell
who had the time. Suffice it for me to voice the common utterance:
"The world whose ruin we had feared we found not even disturbed,
and such was the majesty of one man that there was no need of arms
either to defend the good or to restrain the bad." There was,
however, in one respect what might be called a struggle in the state,
as, namely, the senate and the Roman people wrestled with Caesar
to induce him to succeed to the position of his father, while he
on his side strove for permission to play the part of a citizen
on a parity with the rest rather than that of an emperor over all.
At last he was prevailed upon rather by reason than by the honour,
since he saw that whatever he did not undertake to protect was likely
to perish. He is the only man to whose lot it has fallen to refuse
the principate for a longer time, almost, than others had fought
to secure it.
125. – The
state soon reaped the fruit of its wise course in desiring Tiberius,
nor was it long before it was apparent what we should have had to
endure had our request been refused, and what we had gained in having
it granted. For the army serving in Germany, commanded by Germanicus
in person, and the legions in Illyricum, seized at the same moment
by a form of madness and a deep desire to throw everything into
confusion, wanted a new leader, a new order of things, and a new
republic. Nay, they even dared to threaten to dictate terms to the
senate and to the emperor. They tried to fix for themselves the
amount of their pay and their period of service. They even resorted
to arms; the sword was drawn; their conviction that they would not
be punished came near to breaking out into the worst excesses of
arms. All they needed was someone to lead them against the state;
there was no lack of followers. But all this disturbance was soon
quelled and suppressed by the ripe experience of the veteran commander,
who used coercion in many cases, made promises where he could so
with dignity, and by the combination of severe punishment of the
most guilty with milder chastisement of the others.
126. – Who would undertake to tell in detail the accomplishments of the past sixteen years, since they are borne in upon the eyes and hearts of all? Caesar deified his father, not by exercise of his imperial authority, but by his attitude of reverence; he did not call him a god, but made him one. Credit has been restored in the forum, strife has been banished from the forum, canvassing for office from the Campus Martius, discord from the senate-house; justice, equity, and industry, long buried in oblivion, have been restored to the state; the magistrates have regained their authority, the senate its majesty, the courts their dignity; rioting in the theatre has been suppressed; all citizens have either been impressed with the wish to do right, or have been forced to do so by necessity. Right is now honoured, evil is punished; the humble man respects the great but does not fear him, the great has precedence over the lowly but does not despise him. When was the price of grain more reasonable, or when were the blessings of peace greater? The pax augusta, which has spread to the regions of the east and of the west and to the bounds of the north and of the south, preserves every corner of the world safe from the fear of brigandage. The munificence of the emperor claims for its province the losses inflicted by fortune not merely on private citizens, but on whole cities. The cities of Asia have been restored, the provinces have been freed from the oppression of their magistrates. Honour ever awaits the worthy; for the wicked punishment is slow but sure; fair play has now precedence over influence, and merit over ambition, for the best of emperors teaches his citizens to do right by doing it, and though he is greatest among us in authority, he is still greater in the example which he sets.
127. – It is but rarely that men of eminence have failed to employ great men to aid them in directing their fortune, as the two Scipios employed the two Laelii, whom in all things they treated as equal to themselves, or as the deified Augustus employed Marcus Agrippa, and after him Statilius Taurus. In the case of these men their lack of lineage was no obstacle to their elevation to successive consulships, triumphs, and numerous priesthoods. For great tasks require great helpers, and it is important to the state that those who are necessary to her service should be given prominence in rank, and that their usefulness should be fortified by official authority. With these examples before him, Tiberius Caesar has had and still has as his incomparable associate in all the burdens of the principate Sejanus Aelius, son of a father who was among the foremost in the equestrian order, but connected, on his mother's side, with old and illustrious families and families distinguished by public honours, while he had brothers, cousins, and an uncle who had reached the consulship. He himself combined with loyalty to his master great capacity for labour, and possessed a well-knit body to match the energy of his mind; stern but yet gay, cheerful but yet strict; busy, yet always seeming to be at leisure. He is one who claims no honours for himself and so acquires all honours, whose estimate of himself is always below the estimate of others, calm in expression and in his life, though his mind is sleeplessly alert.
128. – In the value set upon the character of this man, the judgement of the whole state has long vied with that of the emperor. Nor is it a new fashion on the part of the senate and the Roman people to regard as most noble that which is best. For the Romans who, three centuries ago, in the days before the Punic war, raised Tiberius Coruncanius, a "new man," to the first position in the state, not only bestowing on him all the other honours but the office of pontifex maximus as well; and those who elevated to consulships, censorships, and triumphs Spurius Carvilius, though born of equestrian rank, and soon afterwards Marcus Cato, though a new man and not a native of the city but from Tusculum, and Mummius, who triumphed over Achaia; and those who regarded Gaius Marius, though of obscure origin, as unquestionably the first man of the Roman name until his sixth consulship; and those who yielded such honours to Marcus Tullius that on his recommendation he could secure positions of importance almost for anyone he chose; and those who refused no honour to Asinius Pollio, honours which could only be earned, even by the noblest, by sweat and toil — all these assuredly felt that the highest honours should be paid to the man of merit. It was but the natural following of precedent that impelled Caesar to put Sejanus to the test, and that Sejanus was induced to assist the emperor with his burdens, and that brought the senate and the Roman people to the point where they were ready to summon for the preservation of its security the man whom they regarded as the most useful instrument.
129. – But having set before the reader a sort of general outline of the principate of Caesar, let us now review some of the details. With what sagacity did he draw to Rome Rhascupolis, the slayer of his brother's son Cotys who shared the throne with him; in this transaction Tiberius employed the rare services of Flaccus Pomponius, a consular, and a man born to carry out tasks requiring accurate discrimination, and who by his straightforward character also deserved glory though he never sought it. With what dignity did he listen to the trial of Drusus Libo, not in the capacity of emperor, but as a senator and a judge! How swiftly did he suppress that ingrate in his plot for revolution! How well had Germanicus been trained under his instructions, having so thoroughly learned the rudiments of military science under him that he was later to welcome him home as conqueror of Germany! What honours did he heap upon him, young though he was, making the magnificence of his triumph to correspond to the greatness of his deeds! How often did he honour the people with largesses, and how gladly, whenever he could do so with the senate's sanction, did he raise to the required rating the fortunes of senators, but in such a way as not to encourage extravagant living, nor yet to allow senators to lose their rank because of honest poverty! With what honours did he send his beloved Germanicus to the provinces across the seas! With what effective diplomacy, carried out though the help and agency of his son Drusus, did he force Maroboduus, who clung to the limits of the territories he had seized as a serpent to his hole, to come forth like the serpent under the spell of his salutary charms — a simile which I use with no disrespect to Caesar. With what honour does he treat him while at the same time he holds him securely! With what wonderful swiftness and courage did he repress the formidable war, stirred up at the instigation of Sacrovir and Florus Julius, so that the Roman people learned that he had conquered before they knew he was engaged in war, and the news of victory preceded the news of the danger! The African war also, which caused great consternation and grew more formidable every day, was soon extinguished under his auspices and in accordance with his plans.
130. – What public buildings did he construct in his own name or that of his family! With what pious munificence, exceeding human belief, does he now rear the temple to his father! With what a magnificent control of personal feeling did he restore the works of Gnaeus Pompey when destroyed by fire! For a feeling of kinship leads him to protect every famous monument. With what generosity at the time of the recent fire on the Caelian Hill, as well as on other occasions, did he use his private fortune to make good the losses of people of all ranks in life! And the recruiting of the army, a thing ordinarily looked upon with great and constant dread, with what calm on the part of the people does he provide for it, and without any of the usual panic attending conscription! If either nature permits, or man's weak faculties allow, I may dare to make this plaint to the gods: How has this man deserved, in the first place, to have Drusus Libo enter upon a traitorous conspiracy against him, or later to earn the hostility of Silius and Piso, though in the one case he created his rank, and in the other he increased it? Passing on to greater trials — although he regarded these as great enough — how did he deserve the loss of his sons in their prime or of his grandson, the son of Drusus? Thus far I have told of sorrows only, we must now come to the shame. With what pain, Marcus Vinicius, have the past three years rent his heart! With what fire, the more cruel because pent up, was his soul consulted because of the grief, the indignation, and the shame he was forced to suffer through his daughter-in-law and his grandson! His sorrow at this time was crowned by the loss of his mother, a woman pre-eminent among women, and who in all things resembled the gods more than mankind, whose power no one felt except for the alleviation of trouble or the promotion of rank.131. – Let me end my volume with a prayer. O Jupiter Capitolinus, and Mars Gradivus, author and stay of the Roman name, Vesta, guardian of the eternal fire, and all other divinities who have exalted this great empire of Rome to the highest point yet reached on earth! On you I call, and to you I pray in the name of this people: guard, preserve, protect the present state of things, the peace which we enjoy, the present emperor, and when he has filled his post of duty — and may it be the longest granted to mortals — grant him successors until the latest time, but successors whose shoulders may be as capable of sustaining bravely the empire of the world as we have found his to be: foster the pious plans of all good citizens and crush the impious designs of the wicked.