Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Roman history, with an English translation online

. (page 4 of 35)
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and by servility of mind. He would plunder the b.c. so
property of others and would squander his own.
He showed compassion to many without cause and
punished even more without justice. Consequently,
though he rose from utter weakness to great power,
and from the depths of poverty to great riches, he
derived no profit from either circumstance, but after
hoping to gain single-handed the empire of the
Romans, he took his own life. Cleopatra was of in-
satiable passion and insatiable avarice ; she was
swayed often by laudable ambition, but often by
overweening effrontery. By love she gained the
title of Queen of the Egyptians, and when she hoped
by the same means to win also that of Queen of the
Romans, she failed of this and lost the other besides.
She captivated the two greatest Romans of her day,
and because of the third she destroyed herself.

Such were these two and such was their end. Of
their children, Antyllus was slain immediately,
though he was betrothed to the daughter of Caesar
and had taken refuge in his father's shrine, which
Cleopatra had built ; and Caesarion while fleeing to
Ethiopia was overtaken on the road and murdered.
Cleopatra was married to Juba, the son of Juba;
for to this man who had been brought up in Italy
and had been with him on campaigns, Caesar gave
both the maid and the kingdom of his fathers, and
as a favour to them spared the lives of Alex-
ander and Ptolemy. To his nieces, the daughters
whom Octavia had had by Antony and had reared,
he assigned money from their father's estate. He


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also ordered Antony's freedmen to give at once bc. so
to lullus^ the son of Antony and Fulvia, every-
thing which by law they would have been required
to bequeath him at their death. As for the rest
who had been connected with Antony's cause up
to this time^ he punished some and pardoned others^
either from personal motives or to oblige his friends. "
And since there were found at the court many
children of princes and kings who were being kept
there, some as hostages and others out of a spirit
of arrogance, he sent some back to their homes,
joined others in marriage with one another, and *
retained still others. I shall omit most of these
cases and mention only two. Of his own accord he
restored lotape to the Median king, who had found
an asylum with him after his defeat ; but he refused
the request of Artaxes that his brothers be sent to
him, because this prince had put to death the Romans
left behind in Armenia.

This was the disposition he made of such captives ;
and in the case of the Egyptians and Alexandrians,
he spared them all, so that none perished. The
truth was that he did not see fit to inflict any irrepar-
able injury upon a people so numerous, who might
prove very useful to the Romans in many ways;
nevertheless, he offered as a pretext for his kindness
their god Serapis, their founder Alexander, and, in
the third place, their fellow-citizen Areius, of whose
learning and companionship he availed himself. The
speech in which he proclaimed to them his pardon
he delivered in Greek, so that they might under-
stand him. After this he viewed the body of Alex-
ander and actually touched it, whereupon, it is said,
a piece of the nose was broken off. But he declined


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to view the remains of the Ptolemies, though the
Alexandrians were extremely eager to show them,
remarking, ^'l wished to see a king, not corpses/'
For this same reason he would not enter the presence
of Apis, either, declaring that he was accustomed
to worship gods, not cattle. Afterwards he made
Egypt tributary and gave it in charge of Cornelius
Gallus. For in view of the populousness of both the
cities and country, the facile, fickle character of the
inhabitants, and the extent of the grain-supply and
of the wealth, so far from daring to entrust the land
to any senator, he would not even grant a senator
permission to live in it, except as he personally made
the concession to him by name. On the other hand
he did not allow the Egyptians to be senators in
Rome ; but whereas he made various dispositions as
regards the several cities, he commanded the
Alexandrians to conduct their government without
senators ; with such capacity for revolution, I suppose,
did he credit them. And of the system then imposed
upon them most details are rigorously preserved at
the present time, but they have their senators both
in Alexandria, beginning first under the emperor
Severn s, and also in Rome, these having first been
enrolled in the senate in the reign of Severus' son

T hus^ gas Egypt enslaved. All the inhabitants
who resisted for a time were finally subdued, as,
indeed. Heaven very clearly indicated to them
beforehand. For it rained not only water where no
drop had ever fallen previously, but also blood ; and
there were flashes of armour from the clouds as this
bloody rain fell from them. Elsewhere there was
the clashing of drums and cymbals and the notes of


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flutes and trumpets, and a serpent of huge size b.c. so
suddenly appeared to them and uttered an incredibly
loud hiss. Meanwhile comets were seen and dead
men's ghosts appeared, the statues frowned, and
Apis bellowed a note of lamentation and burst into

So much for these events. In the palace quantities
of treasure were found. For Cleopatra had taken prac-
tically all the offerings from even the holiest shrines
and so helped the Romans swell their spoils without
incurring any defilement on their own part. Large ,
sums were also obtained from every man against
whom any charge of misdemeanour was brought.j
And apart from these, all the rest, even though ncj
particular complaint could be lodged against them^
had two-thirds of their property demanded of them^
Out of this wealth all the troops received what was
owing them, and those who were with Caesar at the
time got in addition a thousand sesterces on con-
dition of not plundering the city. Repayment was
made'in full to those who had previously advanced
loans, and to both the senators and the knights who
had taken part in the war large sums were given.
In fine, the Roman empire was enriched and its j ^
temples adorned.

After accomplishing the things just related Caesar
founded a city there on the very site of the .battle
and gave to it the same name and the same games as
to the city he had founded previously.^ He also
cleared out some of the canals and dug others over
again, besides attending to other important matters,
llien he went through Syria into the province of

1 See chap. 1, 3.



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Asia and passed the winter there settling the various b.c. so
affairs of the subject nations as well as those of the
Parthians. It seems there had been dissension among
the Parthians and a certain Tiridates had risen
against Phraates ; and hitherto, as long as Antony's
opposition lasted, even after the naval battle, Caesar
had not only not attached himself to either side,
though they sought his alliance, but had not even
answered them except to say that he would think the
matter over. His excuse was that he was busy with
Egypt, but in reality he wanted them in the mean-
time to exhaust themselves by fighting against each
other. But now that Antony was dead and of the two
combatants Tiridates, defeated, had taken refuge in
Syria, and Phraates, victorious, had sent envoys, he
entered into friendly negotiations with the latter;
and, without promising to aid Tiridates, he per-
mitted him to live in Syria. He received from
Phraates one of his sons by way of conferring a
favour upon him, and taking him to Rome, kept him
as a hostage.

During this time and still earlier the Romans at
home had passed many resolutions in honour of
Caesar's naval victory. Thus they granted him a
triumph, as over Cleopatra, an arch adorned with
trophies at Brundisium and another in the Roman
Forum. Moreover, they decreed that the foundation
of the shrine of Julius should be adorned with the
beaks of the captured ships and that a festival should
be held every four years in honour of Octavius ; that
there should also be a thanksgiving on his birthday
and on the anniversary of the announcement of his
victory ; also that when he should enter the city the

E 2

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Vestal Virgins and the senate and the people with b.c. so
their wives and children should go out to meet
him. But it would be quite superfluous to go
on and mention the prayers, the images, the
privilege of the front seat, and all the other honours
of the sort. At the beginning, then, they not
only voted him these honours but also either took
down or effaced the memorials of Antony, declared
the day on which he had been bom accursed, and
forbade the use of the surname Marcus by any of
his kin. When, however, they learned of Antony's
death, the news of which came while Cicero, the son
of Cicero, was consul for a part of the year, some
held that it had come to pass not without divine
direction, since the consul's father had owed his
death chiefly to Antony ; and they voted to Caesar
crowns and thanksgivings in great number and
granted him the privilege of celebrating another
triumph, this time over the Egyptians. For neither
on the previous occasion nor at this time did they
mention by name Antony and the other Romans
who had been vanquished with him and thus imply
that it was proper to celebrate their defeat. The
day on which Alexandria had been captured they
declared a lucky day, and directed that in future
years it should be taken by the inhabitants of that
city as the starting-point in their reckoning of time.
They also decreed that Caesar should hold the
tribunician power for life, that he should aid those
who called upon him for help both within the
pomerium and outside for a distance of one mile,' —

^ Literally, ''as far as the eighth half-stade," which means
seven and a half stades, that is, one mile, according to Dio'a
usage. See note on xxxviii. 18.


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^ iaypd<p€(r9ai M, iyy?^^^^^^'^ ^•

* The tribunes' authority, as a matter of fact, extended to
the first mile-stone outside the city ; see Livy iii. 20, 7.
Dio is apparently labouring under a misapprehension.


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a privilege possessed by none of the tribunes,* — also b.c. so
that he should judge appealed cases^ and that in all
the courts his vote was to be cast as Athena's vote.^
The priests and priestesses also in their prayers in
behalf of the people and the senate were to pray for
him likewise, and at all banquets, not only public
but private as well, everybody was to pour a libation
to him.

These were the decrees passed at that time ; and b.c. 29
when he was consul for the fifth time, with Sextus
Apuleius, they ratified all his acts by oath on the
very first day of January. When the letter came
regarding the Parthians, they further arranged that
his name should be included in their hjntnns equally
with those of the gods ; that a tribe should be called
the ^^ Julian" after him; that he should wear the
triumphal crown at all the festivals ; that the senators
who had participated in his victory should take part
in the triumphal procession arrayed in purple-
bordered togas ; that the day on which he entered
the city should be honoured with sacrifices by the
whole population and be held sacred for evermore ;
and that he might choose priests even beyond the
regular number, — as many, in fact, as he should wish
on any occasion. This last-named privilege, handed
down from that time, was afterwards indefinitely
extended, so that I need not henceforth make a point
of giving the exact niunber of such officials. Now
Caesar accepted all but a few of these honours,
though he expressly requested that one of them, the
proposal that the whole population of the city should

■ That is, in case of a tie vote, Caesar's vote, like Athena's
in the Areopagus at Athens, was to decide in favour of ac-
quittal. Cf . Aesch. , Eumen, 737 ff. ; Eur. , Iph. T. 965 f . , 1472.


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^ Tpiiovnpot Bs., r(nio6poi VM.

2 Kdvrafipoi R. Steph., &vrafipot VM.

^ Tt M. , om. V.


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go out to meet him^ should not be put into effect. b.c. 20
Nevertheless, the action which pleased him more
than all the decrees was the closing by the senate of
the gates of Janus, implying that all their wars had
entirely ceased, and the taking of the augurium
saluUs, which had at this time fallen into disuse for

Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Roman history, with an English translation → online text (page 4 of 35)