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which he was supremely qualified. But it was not merely
civic cases which he decided. He appeared as a political
speaker, and delivered from the rostrum his celebrated speech
on the Manilian laws, maintaining the cause of Pompey when
he departed from the policy of the aristocracy. He had now
gained by pure merit, in a corrupt age, without family influ-
ence, the highest offices of the State, even as Burke became
the leader of the House of Commons without aristocratic
connections, and now naturally aspired to the consulship, —
the great prize which every ambitious man sought, but which,
in the aristocratic age of Roman history, was rarely confer-
red except on members of the ruling houses, or very eminent
success in war. By the friendship of Pompey, and also



528 Cicero, Pompey, and Ccesar. [Chap, xxxix.

from the general admiration which his splendid talents and
attainments commanded, this great prize was also secured.
He had six illustrious competitors, among whom were Anto-
nius and Catiline, who were assisted hy Crassus and Caesar.
As consul, all the energies of his mind and character were
Cicero as absorbed in baffling the treason of this eminent
patrician demagogue. L. Sergius Catiline was
one of those wicked, unscrupulous, intriguing, popular, aban-
doned and intellectual scoundrels that a corrupt

Catiline. . . , x

age and patrician misrule brought to the surface
of society, aided by the degenerate nobles to whose class he
belonged. In the bitterness of his political disappointments,
headed oif by Cicero at every turn, he meditated the com-
plete overthrow of the Roman constitution, and his own
elevation as chief of the State, and absolutely inaugurated
rebellion. Cicero, who was in danger of assassination, boldly
laid the conspiracy before the Senate, and secured the arrest
of many of his chief confederates. Catiline fled and assem-
bled his followers, which numbered twelve thousand desper-
ate men, and fought with the courage of despair, but was
defeated and slain.

Had it not been for the vigilance, energy, and patriotism of
Cicero, it is possible this atrocious conspiracy would have suc-
ceeded. The state of society was completely demoralized ; the
disbanded soldiers of the Eastern wars had spent their money
and wanted spoils ; the Senate was timid and inefficient, and
an unscrupulous and able leader, at the head of discontented
factions, on the assassination of the consuls and the virtu-
ous men who remained in power, might have bid defiance to
any force which could then, in the absence of Pompey in the
East, have been marshaled against him.

But the State was saved, and saved by a patriotic states-
Cicero's man, who had arisen by force of genius and charac-
services. ^ er ^ Q tne SU p reme power. The gratitude of the
people was unbounded. Men of all ranks hailed him as the
savior of his country ; thanksgivings to the gods were voted
in his name, and all Italy joined in enthusiastic praises.



Chap. XXXIX.] Exile of Cioero. 529

But he had now reached the culminating height of his
political greatness, and his subsequent career was one of sor-
row and disappointment. Intoxicated by his elevation, — for
it was unprecedented at Rome, in his day, for a man to rise
so high by mere force of eloquence and learning, without
fortune, or family, or military exploits, — he became conceited
and vain. In the civil troubles which succeeded the return
of Pompey, he was banished from the country he

. . . .f. His fall.

had saved, and there is nothing more pitiful than
his lamentations and miseries while in exile. His fall was
natural. He had opposed the demoralizing current which
swept every thing before it. When his office of consul was
ended, he was exposed to the hatred of the senators whom
he had humiliated, of the equites whose unreasonable de-
mands he had opposed, of the people whom he disdained to
natter, and of the triumvirs whose usurpation he detested.
No one was poweiful enough to screen him from these
combined hostilities, except the very men who aimed at the
subversion of Roman liberties, and who wished him out of
the way ; his friend Pompey showed a mean, pusillanimous,
and calculating selfishness, and neither Crassus nor Csssar
liked him. But in his latter days, part of which were passed
in exile, and all without political consideration, he AccompHsh-
found time to compose those eloquent treatises on Siaraeter'of
almost every subject, for which his memory will be Clcero -
held in reverence. Unlike Bacon, he committed no crime
against the laws ; yet, like him, fell from his high estate in the
convulsions of a revolutionary age, and as Bacon soothed his
declining years with the charms of literature and philosophy,
so did Cicero display in his writings the result of long years
of study, and unfold for remotest generations the treasures of
Greek and Roman wisdom, ornamented, too, by that exquis-
ite style, which, of itself, would have given him immortality
as one of the great artists of the world. He lived to see
the utter wreck of Roman liberties, and was ultimately exe-
cuted by order of Antonius, in revenge for those bitter
philippics which the orator had launched against him before
34



530 Cicero, Pompey, and Caesar. [Chap. XXXTX.

the descending sun of his political glory had finally disap-
peared in the gloom and darkness of revolutionary miseries.
But we resume the thread of political history in those
tangled times. Cicero was at the highest of his fame and
power when Pompey returned from his Asiatic
ompey. conquests, the great hero of his age, on whom all
eyes were fixed, and to whom all bent the knee of homage
and admiration. His triumph, at the age of forty-five, was
the grandest ever seen. It lasted two days. Three hun-
dred and twenty-four captive princes walked before his
triumphal car, followed by spoils and emblems of a war
which saw the reduction of one thousand fortresses. The
enormous sum of twenty thousand talents was added to the
public treasury.

Pompey was, however, greater in war than in peace. Had
he known how to make use of his prestige and his
ispo icy. advantages, he might have henceforth reigned with-
out a rival. He was not sufficiently noble and generous to
live without making grave mistakes and alienating some of
his greatest friends, nor was he sufficiently bad and unscrupu-
lous to abuse his military supremacy. He pursued a middle
course, envious of all talent, absorbed in his own greatness,
vain, pompous, and vacillating. His quarrels with Crassus
and Lucullus severed him from the aristocratic party, whose
leader he properly was. His haughtiness and coldness alien-
ated the affections of the people, through whom he could
only advance to supreme dominion. He had neither the
arts of a demagogue, nor the magnanimity of a conqueror.
It was at this crisis that CaBsar returned from Spain as the
conqueror of the Lusitanians. Caius Julius Caesar
belonged to the ancient patrician family of the
Julii, and was born b. c. 100, and was six years younger
than Pompey and Cicero. But he was closely connected
with the popular party by the marriage of his aunt Julia
with the great Marius, and his marriage with Cornelia, the
daughter of Cinna, one of the chief opponents of Sulla. He
early served in the army of the East, but devoted his earliest



Chap. XXXIX.] Ccesar. 531

yeai's to the art of oratory. His affable manners and
unbounded liberality made him popular with the people. He
obtained the qucestorship at thirty-two, the year he lost his
wife, and went as qusestor to Antistius Vetus, into the prov-
ince of Further Spain. On his return, the following year, he
married Pompeia, the granddaughter of Sulla, of the Corne-
lia gens, and formed a union with Pompey. By his family
connections he obtained the curule aedileship at the age of
thirty-five, and surpassed his predecessors in the extrava-
gance of his shows and entertainments, the money for which
he borrowed. At thirty-seven he was elected Pontifex Max-
imus, so great was his popularity, and the following year he
obtained the prsetorship, b. c. 62, and on the expiration of
his office he obtained the province of Further Spain. His
debts were so enormous that he applied for aid to Crassus,
the richest man in Rome, and readily obtained the loan he
sought. In Spain, with an army at his command, he gained
brilliant victories over the Lusitanians, and returned to
Rome enriched, and sought the consulship. To obtain this,
he relinquished the customary triumph, and, with the aid of
Pompey, secured his election, and entered into that close
alliance with Pompey and Crassus which historians call the
first triumvirate. It was merely a private agreement
between the three most powerful men of Rome to support
each other, and not a distinct magistracy.

As consul, Caesar threw his influence against the ai'istoc-
racy, to whose ranks he belonged, both by birth The oonsui-
and office, and caused an agrarian law to be Caesar,
passed, against the fiercest opposition of the Senate, by which
the rich Campanian lands were divided for the benefit of
the poorest citizens — a good measure, perhaps, but which
brought him forward as the champion of the people. He
next gained over the equites, by relieving them, by a law
which he caused to be passed, of one-third of the sum they
had agreed to pay for the farming of the taxes of Asia. He
secured the favor of Pompey by causing all his acts in the
East to be confirmed. At the expiration of his consulship he



532 Cicero, Pompey, and Ccesar. [Chap, xxxix.

obtained the province of Gaul, as the fullest field for the
development of his military talents, and the surest way to
climb to subsequent greatness. At this period Cicero went
into exile without waiting for his trial — that miserable
period made memorable for aristocratic broils and intrigues,
and when Clodius, a reckless young noble, entered into the
house of the Pontifex Maximum, disguised as a woman, in
pursuit of a vile intrigue with Csesar's wife.

The succeeding nine years of Caesar's life were occupied
by the subjugation of Gaul. In the first campaign he sub-
dued the Helvetii, and conquered Ariovistus, a powerful
German chieftain. In the second campaign he opposed a
confederation of Belgic tribes — the most warlike of all the
Gauls, who had collected a force of three hundred thousand
men, and signally defeated them, for which victories the Sen-
ate decreed a public thanksgiving of fifteen days. That given
in Pompey's honor, after the Mithridatic war, had

Ceesar in J- J ' '

Gaul - lasted but ten. At this time he made a renewed

compact with Pompey and Crassus, by which Pompey was
to have the two Spains for his province, Crassus that of
Syria, and he himself should have a prolonged government
in Gaul for five years more. The combined influence of
these men was enough to secure the elections, and the year
following Crassus and Pompey were made consuls. Ctesar
had to resist powerful confederations of the Gauls, and in
order to strike terror among them, in the fourth year of the
war, invaded Britain. But I can not describe the various
campaigns of Csesar in Gaul and Britain without going into
details hard to be understood— his brilliant victories over
enemies of vastly greater numbers, his marchings and
countermarchings, his difficulties and dangers, his inventive
genius, his strategic talents, his boundless resources, his
command over his soldiers and their idolatry, until, after
nine years, Gaul was subdued and added to the Roman
provinces. During his long absence from Rome his interests
were guarded by the tribune Curio, and Marcus Antonius,
the future triumvir. During this time Crassus had inglori-



Chap. XXXIX.] CcBsar. 533

ously conducted a distant war in Parthia, in quest of fame
and riches, and was killed by an unknown hand after a dis-
graceful defeat. This avaricious patrician must not be con-
founded with the celebrated orator, of a preceding age, who
was so celebrated for his elegance and luxury.

Affairs at Rome had also taken a turn which indicated a
rupture with Caesar and Pompey, now left, by the death of
Crassus, at the head of the State. The brilliant victories of
the former in Gaul were in everybody's mouth, and the fame
of the latter was being eclipsed. A serious rivalry between
these great generals began to show itself. The disturbances
which also broke out on the death of Clodius led to the
appointment of Pompey as sole consul, and all his acts as
consul tended to consolidate his power. His government in
Spain was prolonged for five years more ; he entered into
closer connections with the aristocracy, and prepared for a
rupture with his great rival, which had now become inevita-
ble, as both grasped supreme power. That struggle is now
to be presented in the following chapter.



CHAPTER XL.

THE CIVIL WARS BETWEEN CAESAR AND POMPET.

The condition of Rome when Csesar returned, crowned
with glory, from, his Gallic campaign, in which he had dis-
Power of played the most consummate ability, was misera.
Poiupey. hie enough. The constitution had been assailed by
all the leading chieftains, and even Cicero could only give
vent to his despair and indignation in impotent lamentations.
The cause of liberty was already lost. Csesar had obtained
the province of Gaul for ten years, against all former prece-
dent, and Pompey had obtained the extension of his imperium
for five additional years. Both these generals thus had
armies and an independent command for a period which
might be called indefinite — that is, as long as they could
maintain their authority in a period of anarchy. Rome was
disgraced by tumults and assassinations ; worthless people
secured the highest offices, and were the tools of the two
great generals, who divided between them the empire of the
world. All family ties between these two generals were
destroyed by the death of Julia. The feud between Clo-
dius and Milo, the one a candidate for the praetorship, and
the other for the consulship, was most disgraceful, in the
course of which Clodius was slain. Each wanted an office
as the means of defraying enormous debts. Pompey, called
upon by the Senate to relieve the State from anarchy, was
made sole consul — another unprecedented thing. The trial
of Milo showed that Pompey was the absolute master at
Rome, and it was his study to maintain his position against
Caesar.

It was plain that the world could not have two absolute



Chap. XL.] Corruption of Roman Society. 535

masters, for both Pompey and Caesar aspired to universal
sovereignty. One must succumb to the other — be either anvil
or hammer. Neither would have been safe without their
armies and their armed followers. And if both were de-
stroyed, the State would still be convulsed with _. . v .
factions. All true constitutional liberty was at an be tw ^ n

J Ouesar and

end, for both generals and demagogues could get P°"ipcy-
such laws passed as they pleased, with sufficient money to bribe
those who controlled the elections. It was a time of universal
corruption and venality. Money was the mainspring of soci-
ety. Public virtue had passed away, — all elevated sentiment,
— all patriotism, — all self-sacrifice. The people cared but little
who ruled, if they were supplied with corn and wine at nom-
inal prices. Patrician nobles had become demagogues, and
demagogues had power in proportion to their abil- Deplorable

..... . , state ofpub-

lty or inclination to please the people. Cicero He affairs.
despaired of the State, and devoted himself to literature.
There yet remained the aristocratic party, which had wealth
and prestige and power, and the popular party, which aimed
to take these privileges away, but which was ruled by dema-
gogues more unprincipled than the old nobility. Pompey
represented the one, and Caesar the other, though both were
nobles.

Both these generals had rendered great services. Pompey
had subdued the East, and Caesar the West. Pompey had
more prestige, Caesar more genius. Pompey was a greater
tactician, Caesar a greater strategist. Pompey was proud,
pompous, jealous, patronizing, self-sufficient, disdainful.
Caesar was politic, intriguing, patient, lavish, unenvious, easily
approached, forgiving, with great urbanity and most genial
manners. Both were ambitious, unscrupulous, and selfish.
Cicero distrusted both, flattered each by turns, but inclined
to the side of Pompey as more conservative, and less dan-
gerous. The Senate took the side of Pompey, the people
that of Caesar. Both Caesar and Pompey had enjoyed power
so long, that neither would have been contented with private
life.



536 Wars between Ccesar and Pompey. [Chap. xl.

In the year b. c. 49, Caesar's proconsular imperium was to
terminate one year after the close of the Gallic war. He
wished to he re-elected consul, and also secure his triumph.
But he could not, according to law, have the triumph without
disbanding the army, and without an army he would not be
safe at Rome, with so many enemies. Neither could he be
elected consul, according to the forms, while he enjoyed his
imperium, for it had long been the custom that no one could
sue for the consulship at the head of an army. He, therefore,
could neither be consul nor enjoy a triumph, legitimately,
without disbanding his army. Moreover, the party of Pom-
pey, being then in the ascendant at Rome, demanded that
Caesar should lay down his imperium. The tribunes, in the
The Senate hiterests of Caesar, opposed the decree of the Sen-
demands the ate . t ]-, e reigning consuls threatened the tribunes,

abdication of ' » ° '

Caesar. an( j they fled to Caesar's camp in Cisalpine Gaul.

It should, however, be mentioned, that when the consul Mai -
cellus, an enemy of Caesar, proposed in the Senate that he
should lay down his command, Curio, the tribune, whose
debts Caesar had paid, moved that Pompey should do the
same ; which he refused to do, since the election of Caesar to
the consulship would place the whole power of the republic
in his hands. Caesar made a last effort to avoid the inevita-
Oresar seeks ble war, by proposing to the Senate to lay down
mise. his command, if Pompey would also ; but Pompey

prevaricated, and the compromise came to nothing. Both
generals distrusted each other, and both were disloyaHo the
State. The Senate then appointed a successor to Caesar in
Gaul, ordered a general levy of troops throughout Italy, and
voted money and men to Pompey. Caesar had already
crossed the Rubicon, which was high treason, before his last
proposal to compromise, and he was on his way to Rome.
No one resisted him, for the people had but little interest in
Re-ected b tae success °f either party. Pompey, exaggerat-
Pompey. } n g ] us popularity, thought he had only to stamp
the ground, and an army would appear, and when he discov-
ered that his rival was advancing on the Flaminican way,



Chap. XL.] Cmsar in Spain. 537

fled hastily from Rome with most of the senators, and went
to Brundusium. Caesar did not at once seize the capital,
but followed Pompev, and so vigorously attacked c«sar

.... . .. , pursues

rum, that he quit the town and crossed over to Pompey.
Illyricum. Caesar had no troops to pursue him, and, there-
fore retraced his steps, and entered Rome, after an absence of
ten yeai'S, at the head of a victorious army, undisputed mas-
ter of Italy.

But Pompey still controlled his proconsular province of
Spain, where seven legions were under his lieutenants, and
Africa also was occupied by his party. Caesar, after arrang-
ing the affairs of Italy, marched through Gaul into CiEsar in
Spain to tight the generals of Pompey. That cam- s P ain -
paign was ended in forty days, and he became master of
Spain. While in Spain he was elected to his second consul-
ship, and also made dictator. He returned to Rome as rapidly
as he had marched into Spain, and enacted some wholesome
laws, among others that by which the inhabitants of Cisalpine
Gaul, the northern part of Italy, obtained citizenship. After
settling the general affairs of Italy, he laid down the dictator-
ship, and went to Brundusium, and collected his forces from
various parts for a decisive conflict with Pompey, who had
remained, meanwhile, in Macedonia, organizing his army. He
collected nine legions, with auxiliary forces, while his fleet
commanded the sea. He also secured vast magazines of corn
in Thessaly, Asia, Egypt, Crete, and Cyrene.

Caesar was able to cross the sea with scarcely more than
fifteen thousand men, on account of the insufficiency Military pre-
of his fleet, and he was thrown upon a hostile shore, P anitluns -
cut off from supplies, and in presence of a vastly superior
force. But his troops were veterans, and his cause was
strengthened by the capture of Apollonia. He then advanced
north to seize Dyrbachium, where Pompey's stores were
deposited, but Pompey reached the town before him, and
both armies encamped on the banks of the river Apsus, the
one on the left and the other on the right bank. There Cissar
was joined by the remainder of his troops, brought over with



53S Wars between Omar and Pompey. [Chap. XL.

great difficulty from Brundusium by Marcus Antonius, his
most able lieutenant and devoted friend. Pompey was also
re-enforced by two legions from Syria, led by his father-in-
law, Scipio. Both parties abstained from attacking each
other while these re-enforcements were being brought for-
ward, and Caesar even made a last effort at compromise, while
the troops on each side exchanged mutual courtesies.

Pompey avoided a pitched battle, and intrenched himself
Battle of on a hill near Dyrhachium. Caesar surrounded

Dyrhachium. nmi w j{,q ]j n es of circumvallation. Pompey broke
through them, and compelled Caesar to retire, with consider-
able loss. He retreated to Thessaly, followed by Pompey,
who, had he known how to pursue his advantage, might, after
this last success — the last he ever had — have defeated Caesar.
He had wisely avoided a pitched battle until his troops should
become inured to service, or until he should wear out his
adversary ; but now, puffed up with victory and self-confi-
dence, and unduly influenced by his officers, he concluded to
risk a battle. Caesar was encamped on the plain of Pharsalia,
and Pompey on a hill about four miles distant. The steep
bank of the river Enipeus covered the right of Pompey's line
and the left of Caesar's. The infantry of the former numbered
forty-five thousand; that of the latter, twenty -two thousand,
but they were veterans. Pompey was also superior in cav-
alry, having seven thousand, while Caesar had only one thou-
sand. With these, which formed the strength of Pompey's
force, he proposed to outflank the right of Caesar, extended
Battle of on the plain. To guard against this movement,
Pharsalia. Ca3sar withdrew six cohorts from his third line,
and formed them into a fourth in the rear of his cavalry on
the right. The battle commenced by a furious assault on the
lines of Pompey by Caesar's veterans, who were received
with courage. Meanwhile Pompey's cavalry swept away
that of Caesar, and was advancing to attack the rear, when
they received, unexpectedly, the charge of the cohorts which
Caesar had posted there. The cavalry broke, and fled to the
mountains. The six cohorts then turned upon the slingers



Chap. XL.] Death of Pompey. 539

and archers, who had covered the attack of the cavalry, de-
feated them, and fell upon the rear of Pompey's left. Caesar
then brought up his third line, and decided the battle. Pom-
pey had fled when he saw the defeat of his cavalry. His
camp was taken and sacked, and his troops, so confident of
victory, were scattered, surrounded, and taken prisoners.
Caesar, with his usual clemency, spared their lives, nor had
he any object to destroy them. Among those who surren-
dered after this decisive battle was Junius Brutus, who was
not only pardoned, but admitted to the closest friendship.

Pompey, on his defeat, fled to Larissa, embarked with his
generals, and sailed to Mitylene. As he had still Flight of

i • n k r • -ii a ■ • P<»npey to

tne province of Africa and a large fleet, it was his Egypt,
policy to go there ; but he had a silly notion that his true
field of glory was the East, and he saw no place of refuge
but Egypt. That kingdom was then governed by the chil-
dren of Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra and Ptolemy, neither of
whom were adults, and who, moreover, were quarreling with
each other for the undivided sovereignty of Egypt. At this
juncture, Pompey appeared on the coast, on which Ptolemy



Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 45 of 55)