Cassius Dio.

Dio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E online

. (page 15 of 30)
Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 15 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

encounter they hurriedly withdrew homeward: he inflicted no punishment
upon any one of them because of the winter and the political disputes in
Rome, but after dismissing the soldiers to their winter-quarters, went
himself to Italy on the plea of caring for Hither Gaul, but really in
order that he might be located close to what was taking place in the

[B.C. 52 (_a.u._ 702)]

[-33-] Meantime the Gauls made another outbreak. The Arverni under the
leadership of Vercingetorix revolted, killed all the Romans they found
in their country, and proceeding against the tribes in alliance with the
foreigner bestowed favors upon such as were willing to join their
revolt, and injured the rest. Caesar, on ascertaining this, returned and
found that they had invaded the Bituriges. He did not try to repel them,
all his soldiers not being at hand as yet, but by invading the Arvernian
country in his turn drew the enemy home again, whereupon, not deeming
himself yet a match for them, he retired in good season. [-34-] They
accordingly went back to the Bituriges, captured Avaricum, a city of
theirs, and in it maintained a resistance a long time, for the wall was
hard to approach, being bordered on one side by almost trackless swamps
and on the other by a river with a swift current. When, therefore, later
they were besieged by the Romans, their great numbers made it easy for
them to repel assaults, and they made sallies, inflicting great damage.
Finally they burned over everything in the vicinity, not only fields and
villages but also cities from which they thought assistance could come
to the foe, and if anything was being brought to them from allies at a
distance, they seized it for booty. Therefore the Romans, while
appearing to besiege the city, really suffered the fate of besieged,
until a furious rain and great wind sprang up (the winter having already
set in) during their attack on one point in the wall, which first drove
the assailants back, making them seek shelter in their tents, and then
confined the barbarians, too, in their houses. When they had gone from
the battlements the Romans suddenly attacked again, while there were no
men there: and first capturing a tower, before the enemy became aware of
their presence, they then without difficulty got possession of the
remaining works, plundered the whole city, and in anger at the siege and
their hardship slew all the men.

[-35-] After effecting this Caesar conducted a campaign against their
territory. The rest of the Arverni in view of the war being made upon
them had gained possession in advance of the bridges which he had to
cross; and he being in doubt as to how he should pass over, proceeded a
considerable distance along the bank to see if he could find any place
suitable for going over on foot through the water itself. Soon after he
reached a woody and overshadowed spot, from which he sent forward the
baggage-carriers and most of his army a long way, with line stretched
out: he bade them go forward so that all his troops might appear to be
in that one division. He himself with the strongest portion remained
behind, cut down the wood, made rafts, and on them crossed the stream
while the barbarians still had their attention fixed on those going
along in front and calculated that Caesar was among them. After this he
called back the advance party by night, transferred them across in the
same way, and conquered the country. The people fled in a body to
Gergovia, carrying there all their most valued possessions, and Caesar
had a great deal of toil to no purpose in besieging them. [-36-] Their
fort was on a strong hill and they had strengthened it greatly with
walls; also the barbarians round about had seized all the high ground
and were keeping guard over it, so that if they remained in position
they could safely hold their own, and if they charged down they would
gain the greater advantage. For Caesar, not having any sure position to
choose, was encamped in the plain and never knew beforehand what was
going on: but the barbarians, higher up, could look down upon his camp
and kept making opportune charges. If they ever advanced farther than
was fitting and were beaten back, they quickly got within their own
domain again; and the Romans in no way could come as near to the places
as stones and javelins could be hurled. The time was in general spent
uselessly: often when he assaulted the very height upon which their
fortress was located, he would capture a certain portion of it so that
he could wall it in and continue thence more easily his progress against
the rest of it, but on the whole he met with reverses. He lost a number
of his soldiers, and saw that the enemy could not be captured. Moreover,
there was at this time an uprising among the Aedui, and while he was
absent attending to them, the men left behind fared badly. All these
considerations led Caesar to raise the siege.

[-37-] The Aedui in the beginning abode by their agreements and sent him
assistance, but later they made war rather involuntarily, being deceived
by Litaviccus and others. He, having been unable by any other course to
persuade them to adopt a hostile attitude, managed to get the
appointment of conveying some men to Caesar to be the latter's allies. He
started off as if to fulfill this mission, but sent ahead also some
horsemen and bade some of them return and say that their companions and
the rest of their men in the camp of the Romans had been arrested by the
latter and put to death. Then he further excited the wrath of his
soldiers by delivering a speech appropriate to the message. In this way
the Aedui themselves rose and led others to revolt with them. Caesar, as
soon as he ascertained this, sent to them the Aedui whom he had and was
thought to have slain, so that they might be seen by all to be alive,
and followed on with his cavalry. On this occasion, then, they repented
and made terms. [-38-] The Romans were later, by reason of Caesar's
absence, defeated close to Gergovia and then entirely withdrew from that
country; wherefore those who had caused the uprising and were always
desirous of a change in politics feared that if they delayed the Romans
might exact vengeance[64] from them, and consequently rebelled entirely.
Members of their tribe who were campaigning with Caesar, when they
learned of this, asked him to allow them to return home, promising that
they would arrange everything. Released on these conditions they came to
Noviodunum where the Romans had deposited money and grain and many
hostages, and with the co√ґperation of the natives destroyed the
garrisons, who were not expecting hostility, and became masters of all
of them. That city, because advantageous, they burned down, to prevent
the Romans from making it a starting point for the war, and they next
caused the remainder of the Aedui to revolt. Caesar, therefore, attempted
to march against them at once, but not being able, on account of the
river Liger he turned his attention to the Lingones. And not even there
did he meet with success. Labienus, however, occupied the island in the
Sequana river by conquering its defenders on the shore, and crossed over
at many points at once, both down stream and up, in order that his
troops might not be hindered by all crossing at one spot.

[-39-] Before this happened Vercingetorix, filled with contempt for
Caesar because of his reverses, had marched against the Allobroges. And
he intercepted the Roman leader, who had meantime started out evidently
to aid them, when he was in Sequania, and surrounded him but did him no
damage: on the contrary he compelled the Romans to be brave through
despair of safety, but he failed himself by reason of his numbers and
audacity and was even defeated to a certain extent by the Celtae that
were allies of the Romans; for to their charges with unwearying bodies
they added the strength of daring and so broke through the enclosing
ranks. Having discovered this device Caesar did not give ground, but shut
up in Alesia such of the foe as fled, and besieged them. [-40-]Now
Vercingetorix at first, before the wall had entirely cut off his
followers, had sent out the horsemen to get fodder for the horses (there
being none on hand), and in order to let them disperse, each to his
native land, and bring thence provisions and assistance. As these
delayed and food supplies began to fail the beleaguered party, he thrust
out the children and the women and the most useless among the rest,
vainly hoping that either the outcasts would be saved as booty by the
Romans or else those left in the town might perhaps survive by enjoying
for a longer time the supplies that would have belonged to their
companions. But Caesar to begin with had not sufficient himself to feed
others. Thinking, therefore, that by their return he could make the
deficiency of food seem more severe to the enemy (for he expected that
the expelled would without doubt be received), he forced them all back.
So these perished most miserably between the city and the camp, because
neither party would receive them. The relief looked for from the
horsemen and such others as they were conducting reached the barbarians
before long, but it was then defeated[65] by the onset of the Romans in
a cavalry battle. Thereupon the relief party tried by night to enter the
city through the enclosing wall but was bitterly disappointed: for the
Romans had made hidden pits in those roads which were used by horses and
had fixed stakes in them, afterward making the whole surface resemble
the surrounding country; thus horse and man, falling into them
absolutely without warning, were mangled. These reinforcements did not,
however, give up until, marshaled once more in battle array beside the
very walls, they themselves and at the same time the men in the city who
came out to fight had met with failure.

[-41-] Now Vercingetorix might have escaped, for he had not been
captured and was unwounded, but he hoped because he had once been on
friendly terms with Caesar, that he would obtain pardon from him. So he
came to him without any announcement by herald, but appeared before him
suddenly, as Caesar was seated on a platform, and threw some that were
present into alarm; he was first of all very tall, and in a suit of
armor he made an extremely imposing figure. When quiet had been
restored, he uttered not a word, but fell upon his knees and remained
so, with clasped hands. This inspired many with pity at remembrance of
his former fortune and at the distressing state in which he now
appeared. But Caesar reproached him in this very matter on which he most
relied for ultimate safety, and by setting before him how he had repaid
friendliness with the opposite treatment proved his offence to have been
the more abominable. Therefore he did not pity him even for one moment,
but immediately confined him in bonds, and later, after sending him to
his triumph, put him to death.

[B.C. 51 (_a.u._ 703)]

[-42-] This was really a later occurrence. At the time previously
mentioned he gained some of the survivors by capitulation and enslaved
the rest, after conquering them in battle. The Belgae, who live near by,
put at their head Commius, an Atrebatian, and resisted for a great
while. They fought two close cavalry battles and the third time in an
infantry battle they showed themselves at first an equal match, but
later, attacked unexpectedly in the rear by cavalry, they turned to
flight. [-43-] After this the remainder abandoned the camp by night, and
as they were passing through a wood set fire to it, leaving behind only
the wagons, in order that the enemy might be delayed by these and by the
fire, and they retire to safety. Their hopes, however, were not
realized. The Romans, as soon as they perceived their flight, pursued
them and on encountering the fire they extinguished part of it and hewed
their way through the rest. Some even ran right through the flame,
overtook the fugitives without warning and slaughtered great numbers.
Thereafter some of them capitulated, but the Atrebatian, who escaped,
would not keep quiet even after this experience. He undertook at one
time to ambush Labienus, and after a defeat in battle was persuaded to
hold a conference with him. Before any terms were made he was wounded by
one of the Romans who surmised that it was not his real intention to
make peace, but he escaped and again proved troublesome to them. At
last, despairing of his project, he secured for his associates entire
amnesty extending to all their people, and for himself, as some say, on
condition of never appearing again within sight of any Roman. So the
contending parties became reconciled and subsequently the rest, some
voluntarily and others overcome in war, were subdued. Then Caesar by
garrisons and legal penalties and levies of money and assignment of
tribute humbled some and tamed others.

[B.C. 50 (_a.u._ 704)]

[-44-] Thus this trouble came to an end in the consulship of Lucius
Paulus and Gaius Marcellus. Caesar in the interest of the Gauls and to
see about the term allowed him for leadership had to leave Gaul and
return to Rome. His office was about to terminate, the war had ceased,
and he had no longer any satisfactory excuse for not disbanding his
troops and returning to private life. Affairs in the city at this time
were in turmoil, Crassus was dead, and Pompey had again come to power,
after being three times consul and having managed to get the government
of Spain granted to him for five years more. The latter had no longer
any bond of alliance with Caesar, especially now that the child, who
alone had kept them on friendly terms, had passed away. The returning
general therefore was afraid that stripped of his soldiers he might fall
into the power of Pompey and of his other enemies, and therefore did not
dismiss them.

[B.C. 53 (_a.u._ 701)]

[-45-] In these same years many tumults of a seditious character had
arisen in the city, and especially in connection with the elections, so
that it was fully six months before Calvinus and Messala could be
appointed consuls. And not even then would they have been chosen, had
not Quintus Pompeius Rufus, though the grandson of Sulla and serving as
tribune, been cast into prison by the senate, whereupon the measure was
voted by the rest who were anxious to commit some outrages, and the
campaign against opposition was handed over to Pompey. Sometimes the
birds had prevented elections, refusing to allow the offices to belong
to interreges; above all the tribunes, by managing affairs in the city
so that they instead of the praetors conducted games, hindered the
remaining offices from being filled. This also accounts for Rufus having
been confined in a cell. He later on brought Favonius the aedile to the
same place on some small charge, in order that he might have a companion
in his disgrace. But all the tribunes introduced various obstructive
pleas, proposing, among other things, to appoint military tribunes, so
that more persons, as formerly, might come to office. When no one would
heed them, they declared that Pompey, at all events, must be chosen
dictator. By this pretext they secured a very long delay: for he was out
of town, and of those on the spot there was no one who would venture to
vote for the demand (for in remembrance of Sulla's cruelty they all
hated that policy), nor yet venture to refuse to choose Pompey, on
account of their fear of him.[-46-] At last, quite late, he came
himself, refused the dictatorship offered to him, and made preparation
to have the consuls named. These likewise on account of the turmoil from
assassinations did not appoint any successors, though they had laid
aside their senatorial garb and in the dress of knights convened the
senate as if on the occasion of some great calamity. They also passed a
decree that no one, - either an ex-praetor or an ex-consul, - should assume
foreign office until five years should have elapsed: this they did to
see if people when it was no longer in any one's power to be immediately
elected would cease their craze for office. For no moderation was being
shown and there was no purity in their methods, but they vied with one
another in expending great sums and fighting more than ever, so that
once the consul Calvinus was wounded. Hence no consul nor praetor nor
prefect of the city had any successor, but at the beginning of the year
the Romans were absolutely without a government in these branches.

[B.C. 52 (_a.u._ 702)]

[-47-] Nothing good resulted from this, and among other things the
market recurring every ninth day was held on the very first of January.
This seemed to the Romans to have taken place not by accident, and being
considered in the light of a portent it caused trepidation. The same
feeling was increased when an owl was both seen and caught in the city,
a statue exuded perspiration for three days, a flash darted from the
south to the east, and many thunderbolts, many clods, stones, tiles and
blood descended through the air. It seems to me that that decree passed
the previous year, near the close, with regard to Serapis and Isis, was
a portent equal to any: the senate decided to tear down their temples,
which some private individuals had built. For they did not reverence
these gods any long time and even when it became the fashion to render
public devotion to them, they settled them outside the pomerium.

[-48-] Such being the state of things in the city, with no one in charge
of affairs, murders occurred practically every day and they did not
finish the elections, though they were eager for office and employed
bribery and assassination on account of it. Milo, for instance, who was
seeking the consulship, met Clodius on the Appian Way and at first
simply wounded him: then, fearing he would attack him for what had been
done, he slew him. He at once freed all the servants concerned in the
business, and his hope was that he might be more easily acquitted of the
murder, now that the man was dead, than he would be for the wound in
case he had survived. The people in the city heard of this about evening
and were thrown into a terrible uproar: for to factional disturbances
there was being added a starting-point for war and evils, and the middle
class, even though they hated Clodius, yet on account of humanity and
because on this excuse they hoped to get rid of Milo, showed
displeasure.[-49-] While they were in this frame of mind Rufus and Titus
Munatius Plancus took hold of them and excited them to greater wrath. As
tribunes they conveyed the body into the Forum just before dawn, placed
it on the rostra, exhibited it to all, and spoke appropriate words with
lamentations. So the populace, as a result of what it both saw and
heard, was deeply stirred and paid no further heed to considerations of
sanctity or things divine, but overthrew all the customs of burial and
nearly burned down the whole city. The body of Clodius they picked up
and carried into the senate-house, arranged it in due fashion, and then
after heaping a pyre of benches burned both the corpse and the
convention hall. They did this, therefore, not under the stress of such
an impulse as often takes sudden hold of crowds, but of set purpose, so
that on the ninth day they held the funeral feast in the Forum itself,
with the senate-house still smouldering, and furthermore undertook to
apply the torch to Milo's house. This last was not burned because many
were defending it. Milo for a time, in great terror over the murder, was
hidden not only by ordinary citizens but under the guard of knights and
some senators. When this other act, however, occurred, he hoped that the
wrath of the senate would pass over to the outrage of the opposing
party. They had assembled late in the afternoon on the Palatine for this
very purpose, and had voted that an interrex be chosen by show of hands
and that he and the tribunes and Pompey, moreover, care for the guarding
of the city, that it suffer no detriment. Milo, accordingly, made his
appearance in public, and pressed his claims to the office as strongly
as before, if not more strongly.

[-50-] As a consequence of this, conflicts and killings in plenty began
again, so that the senate ratified the aforementioned measures, summoned
Pompey, allowed him to make fresh levies, and changed their garments.
Not long after his arrival they assembled under guard near his theatre
outside the pomerium and resolved that the bones of Clodius should be
taken up, and assigned the rebuilding of the senate-house to Faustus,
son of Sulla. It was the Curia Hostilia which had been remodeled by
Sulla. Wherefore they came to this decision about it and ordered that
when repaired it should receive again the former's name. The city was in
a fever of excitement about the magistrates who should rule it, some
talking to the effect that Pompey ought to be chosen dictator and others
that Caesar should be elected consul. They were so determined to honor
the latter for his achievements that they voted to offer sacrifices over
them sixty[66] days. Fearing both of the men the rest of the senate and
Bibulus, who was first to be asked and to declare his opinion,
anticipated the onset of the masses by giving the consulship to Pompey
to prevent his being named dictator, and to him alone in order that he
might not have Caesar as his colleague. This action of theirs was
strange; it had been taken in no other case, and yet they seemed to have
done well. For since he favored the masses less than Caesar, they hoped
to detach him from them altogether and to make him their own. This
expectation was fulfilled. Elated by the novelty and unexpectedness of
the honor, he no longer formed any plan to gratify the populace but was
careful to do everything that pleased the senate.

[-51-] He did not, however, wish to hold office alone. Possessing the
glory that lay in such a vote having been passed he was anxious to
divert the envy that arose from it. Also he felt afraid that, as the
field was vacant, Caesar might be given him as colleague through the
enthusiasm of the powerful classes and the populace alike. First of all,
therefore, in order that his rival might not think he had been entirely
neglected and therefore show some just displeasure, he arranged through
the tribunes that he should be permitted even in absence to be a
candidate for the office, when the proper time came according to law.
Pompey himself then chose as assistant Quintus Scipio, who was his
father-in-law and had incurred a charge of bribery. This man, by birth
son of Nasica, had been transferred by the lot of succession to the
family of Metellus Pius, and for that reason bore the latter's name. He
had given his daughter in marriage to Pompey, and now received in turn
from him the consulship and immunity from accusation.[-52-] Very many
had been examined in the complaint above mentioned, especially because
the courts, by Pompey's laws, were more carefully constituted. He
himself selected the entire list of names from which drawings for jurors
had to be made, and he limited the number of advocates on each side, in
order that the jurymen might not be confused and disturbed by the
numbers of them. He ordered that the time allotted to the plaintiff be
two hours, and to the defendant three. And what grieved many most of
all, he revised the custom of eulogizers being presented by those on
trial (for great numbers kept escaping the clutches of the law because
commended by persons worthy of confidence); and he had a measure passed
that such prisoners should in future be allowed no one whomsoever to
eulogize them. These and other reforms he instituted in all the courts
alike; and against those who practiced bribery for office he raised up
as accusers those who had formerly been convicted of some such offence,
thus offering the latter no small prize. For if any one secured the
conviction of two men on charges equal to that against himself, or even
on smaller charges, or if one man on a greater charge, he went scot

[-53-] Among many others who were thus convicted was Plautius Hypsaeus,
who had been a rival of Milo and of Scipio for the consulship. Though
all three had been guilty of bribery he alone was condemned. Scipio was
indicted, and by two persons at that, but was not tried, on account of
Pompey: and Milo was not charged with this crime (for the murder formed
a greater complaint against him), but being brought to trial on the
latter charge he was convicted, as he was not able to use any violence.
Pompey kept the city in general well under guard and himself with armed
soldiers entered the court. When some raised an outcry at this, he

Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 15 of 30)