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 21 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 21 of 30)
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return for it they would get immediately, - as if they were doing it to
please him at all and not from necessity, - the one an office, another a
priesthood, and a third some pecuniary reward. I shall omit those honors
which had either been voted to some others previously, - images, crowns,
front seats, and things of that kind, - or were novel and proposed now
for the first time, which were not also confirmed by Caesar: for I fear
that I might become wearisome, were I to enumerate them all. This same
plan I shall adopt in my later narrations, adhering the more strictly to
it, as the honors proposed grew more in number and more universal. Only
such as had some special and extraordinary importance and were then
confirmed will be set down. [-20-] They granted him, then, permission to
do whatever he liked to those who had favored Pompey's cause; it could
not be said that he had not already received this right from himself,
but it was intended that he might seem to be acting with some show of
legal authority. They appointed him lord of wars and peace (using the
confederates in Africa as a Pretext) in regard to all mankind, even
though he should make no communication on the subject to the people or
the senate. This was also naturally in his power before, inasmuch as he
had so large a force; and the wars he had fought he had undertaken
himself in nearly every case: nevertheless, because they wished still to
appear to be free and independent citizens, they voted him these rights
and everything else which it was in his power to have even against their
will. He received the privilege of being consul for five consecutive
years and of being chosen dictator not for six months but for an entire
year, and could assume the tribunician authority practically for life.
He was enabled to sit with the tribunes upon the same benches and to be
reckoned with them for other purposes, - a right commonly accorded to no
one. All the elections except those of the people were put in his hands
and for this reason they were delayed till after his arrival and were
carried on only toward the close of the year.[75] The governorships in
subject territory the citizens themselves of course allotted to the
consuls, but they voted that Caesar might give them to the praetors
without the casting of lots: for they had gone back to consuls and
praetors again contrary to their decrees. And another practice which had
the sanction of custom, indeed, but in the corruption of the times might
justly be deemed a cause of hatred and resentment, formed the matter of
one of their resolutions. Caesar had at that time heard not a word of the
mere inception of the war against Juba and against the Romans who had
fought on his side, and yet they assigned a triumph for him to hold, as
if he had been victor.

[-21-] In this way these votes and ratifications took place. Caesar
entered upon the dictatorship at once, though he was outside Italy, and
chose Antony, who had not yet been praetor, as his master of the horse:
and the consul proposed his name, although the augurs most strongly
opposed him with the declaration that no one was allowed to be master of
the horse for more than six months. They incurred, however, a great deal
of laughter for this, - deciding that Caesar should be chosen dictator for
a year contrary to all ancestral precedent, and then splitting hairs
about the master of the horse. [-22-]Marcus Caelius[76] actually perished
because he dared to break the laws laid down by Caesar regarding loans of
money, as if their propounder was defeated and ruined, and because he
had therefore stirred up to strife Rome and Campania. He had been very
prominent in carrying out Caesar's wishes, for which reason moreover he
had been appointed praetor; but he became angry because he had not also
been made praetor urbanus, and because his colleague Trebonius had been
preferred before him for this office, not by lot as had been the custom,
but by Caesar's choice. Hence he opposed his colleague in everything and
would not let him perform any of the duties that belonged to him. He
would not consent to his executing judgments according to Caesar's laws,
and furthermore gave notice to such as owed any sum that he would assist
them against the money-lenders, and to all who dwelt in other peoples'
houses that he would release them from payment of rent. Having by this
course won the attachment of many he set upon Trebonius with their aid
and would have killed him, had he not managed to change his robe and
escape in the crowd. After this failure Caelius privately issued a law in
which he gave to all the use of houses free and annulled debts. [-23-]
Servilius consequently sent for some soldiers who chanced to be going by
on the way to Gaul and after convening the senate under their protection
he presented a proposition about the matter in hand. No ratification was
reached, since the tribunes prevented it, but the sense of the meeting
was recorded and Servilius then ordered the court officers to take down
the offending tablets. When Caelius drove them away and acted in a
disorderly manner toward the consul himself, they convened again, still
protected by the soldiers, and delivered to Servilius the "care of the
city," a phrase I have often used previously in regard to it. After this
he would not permit Caelius, even in his capacity as praetor, to do
anything, but assigned the duties pertaining to his office to some other
praetor, debarred him from the senate, dragged him from the rostra in the
midst of some vociferation, and broke to pieces his chair.

[-24-]Of course Caelius was violently angry at him for each of these
acts, but since Servilius had a rather respectable body of troops in
town he was afraid that he might suffer chastisement, and therefore
decided to set out for Campania to join Milo, who was instituting a kind
of rebellion. The latter, when it proved that he was the only one of the
exiles not restored by Caesar, had come to Italy, where he gathered a
number of men, some in want of a livelihood and others fearing some
punishment, and ravaged the country, assailing Capua and other cities.
It was to him that Caelius wished to betake himself, in order that with
his aid he might do Caesar all possible harm. He was watched, however,
and could not leave the city openly; and he did not venture to escape
secretly because (among other motives) he hoped to accomplish a great
deal more by possessing the attire and the title of praetor. At last,
therefore, he approached the consul and obtained from him leave of
absence, saying that he wished to proceed to Caesar. The other, though he
suspected his intention, still allowed him to do this, particularly
because he was very insistent, invoking Caesar's name and pretending that
he was eager to submit his defence. Servilius sent a tribune with him,
so that if he should attempt any rebellious conduct he might be
prevented.[25] When they got to Campania, and found that Milo after a
defeat near Capua had taken refuge in the Tifatine mountain, and Caelius
would go no farther, the tribune was alarmed and wished to bring him
back home. Servilius, learning of this in advance, declared war upon
Milo in the senate and gave orders that Caelius (who must be prevented
from stirring up any confusion) should remain in the suburbs. However,
he did not keep him under strict surveillance, because the man was a
praetor. Thus Clius made his escape and hastened to Milo: and he would
certainly have aroused some sedition, had he found him alive. As it
proved, Milo had been driven from Campania and had perished in Apulia:
Caelius therefore went to Bruttium, presumably to form some league in
that district, and there he perished before doing anything important;
for the persons who favored Caesar banded together and killed him.

[26-] So these men died, but that did not bring quiet to Rome. On the
contrary, many dreadful events took place, as, indeed, omens indicated
beforehand. Among other things that happened toward the end of that year
bees settled on the Capitol beside the statue of Hercules. At the time
sacrifices to Isis chanced to be going on and the soothsayers gave their
opinion to the effect that the precincts of that goddess and of Serapis
should be razed to the ground, as of yore. In the course of demolition a
small shrine of Bellona had unwittingly been taken down, and in it were
found jars full of human flesh.

[B.C. 47 (_a.u._ 707)]

The following year a violent earthquake occurred, an owl was seen,
thunderbolts descended upon the Capitol and upon the temple of the
so-called Public Fortune and into the gardens of Caesar, where a horse of
considerable value was destroyed by them, and the temple of Fortune
opened of its own accord. In addition to this, blood issuing from a
bake-shop flowed to another temple of Fortune, whose statue on account
of the fact that the goddess necessarily oversees and can fathom
everything that is before us as well as behind and does not forget from
what beginnings any great man came they had set up and named in a way
not easy for Greeks to describe.[77] Also some infants were born holding
their left hands to their heads, so that whereas no good was looked for
from the other signs, from this especially an uprising of inferiors
against superiors was both foretold by the soothsayers and accepted by
the people as true.

[-27-] These portents so revealed by supernatural power disturbed them;
and their fear was augmented by the very appearance of the city, which
had been strange and unaccustomed at the beginning of the month and
thereafter for a long time. There was as yet no consul or praetor, and
Antony, in so far as his costume went (which was the _toga laticlavia_)
and his lictors, of whom he had only six, and his convening the senate,
furnished some semblance of democracy: but the sword with which he was
girded, and the throng of soldiers that accompanied him, and his actions
themselves most of all indicated the existence of one sole ruler. Many
robberies, outrages, and murders took place. And not only were the
existing conditions most distressing to the Romans, but they dreaded a
far greater number of more terrible acts from Caesar. For when the master
of the horse never laid aside his sword even at the festivals, who would
not have been suspicious of the dictator himself? (At the most of these
festivals Antony presided at the orders of Caesar. Some few the tribunes
also had in charge.) It any persons stopped to think of his magnanimity,
which had led him to spare many that had opposed him in battle,
nevertheless seeing that men who had gained an office did not stick to
the same principles as guided them in striving for it, they therefore
expected that he too would change his tactics. [-28-] They felt
aggrieved and discussed the matter with one another at length, - those at
least who were safe in so doing, for they could not make everybody a
companion with impunity. Many who would seem to be good friends and
others who were relatives were liable to slander them, perverting some
statements, and telling downright lies on other points. This was a cause
of the greatest discomfort to the rest who were not equally safe,
because, being able neither to lament nor to share their views with
others they could not in any way get rid of their thoughts.
Communication with those similarly afflicted lightened their burden
somewhat, and the man who could safely utter and hear in return what the
citizens were undergoing became easier. But distrust of such as were not
of like habits with themselves confined their dissatisfaction within
their minds and inflamed them the more, as they could not tell their
secret[78] nor obtain any relief. In addition to keeping their
sufferings shut up within they were compelled to praise and admire their
treatment, as also to celebrate festivals, perform sacrifices, and
appear happy in it all.

[-29-] This was the condition of the Romans in the City at that time.
And, as if it were not sufficient for them to be abused by Antony,
Lucius Trebellius and Publius Cornelius Dolabella, tribunes, began a
factional disturbance. The latter fought on the side of the debtors, to
which category he belonged, and had therefore changed his legal standing
from patrician to plebeian, to get the tribuneship. The former said he
represented the nobles, but none the less published edicts and had
recourse to murders. This, too, naturally resulted in a great
disturbance and many weapons were everywhere in evidence, although the
senators had commanded that no changes should be made before Caesar's
arrival in the city, and Antony that no private individual in the city
should carry arms. As they paid no attention themselves, however, to
these orders, but resorted to all kinds of measures against each other
and against the men just mentioned, there arose a third dispute between
Antony and the senate. In order to have it thought that that body had
allowed him weapons and the authority that resulted from them (which he
had been overready to usurp) he got the privilege of keeping soldiers
within the wall and of helping the tribunes in maintaining a guard over
the city. After this Antony did whatever he desired with a kind of legal
right, and Dolabella and Trebellius were nominally guilty of violence:
but their effrontery and resources led them to resist both each other
and him as if they too had received some position of command from the
senate. [-30-] Meanwhile Antony learned that the legions which Caesar
after the battle had sent ahead into Italy, as if to indicate that he
would follow them, were engaged in doubtful proceedings; and in fear of
some insurrection from that quarter he turned over the charge of the
city to Lucius Caesar, appointing him praefectus urbi, an office never
before conferred by a master of the horse. He himself set out to the
soldiers. The tribunes that were at variance with the two despised
Lucius because of his advanced age and inflicted many outrages upon one
another and on the rest until they learned that Caesar, having settled
the affairs of Egypt, had started for Rome. They were carrying on the
quarrel under the assumption that he would never return again but be
killed somewhere abroad by the Egyptians, as, indeed, they kept hearing.
When his coming was reported they moderated their conduct for a time,
but as soon as he set out against Pharnaces they relapsed into factional
differences once more.[-31-] Antony was unable to restrain them, and
finding that his opposition to Dolabella was obnoxious to the populace
he at first joined his party and brought charges against
Trebellius, - one being to the effect that he was appropriating the
soldiers to his own use. Later, when he perceived that he was not
esteemed at all by the multitude, which was attached only to Dolabella,
he became vexed and changed sides. He was especially influenced in this
course by the fact that while not sharing popular favor with the
plebeian leader he received the greatest share of blame from the
senators. So nominally he adopted a neutral attitude toward both, but
really in secret he chose the cause of Trebellius, and coöperated with
him among other ways by allowing him to obtain soldiers. From this time
on he made himself a spectator and director of their contests; and they
fought, seized in turn the most advantageous points in the city, and
entered upon a career of killing and burning, so that on one occasion
the holy vessels were carried by the virgins out of the temple of Vesta.
[-32-] Once more the senators voted that the master of the horse should
guard the city still more scrupulously, and practically the entire town
was filled with soldiers. Yet there was no respite. Dolabella in despair
of obtaining any pardon from Caesar desired to accomplish some great evil
and then perish, - with the idea that he would forever have renown for
this act. So many men in the past have become infatuated with basest
deeds for the mere sake of fame! Under this influence he too wrought
universal disturbance, promising even that on a certain specified day he
would enact his laws in regard to debts and house-rents. On receipt of
these announcements the crowd erected barricades around the Forum,
setting up wooden towers at some points, and put itself in readiness to
cope with any force that might oppose it. At that, Antony brought down
from the Capitol about dawn a large body of soldiers, cut down the
tablets of the laws and hurled some offenders who still continued to be
unruly from the cliffs of the Capitol itself.

[-33-] However, this did not stop the factional disputes. Instead, the
greater the number of those who perished, the more did the survivors
raise a tumult, thinking that Caesar had got involved in a very great and
difficult war. And they did not cease until suddenly he himself appeared
before them. Then they became quiet even if unwilling. Some of them were
expecting to suffer every conceivable ill fate, for there was talk
against them all through the city, and some made one charge and others
another: but Caesar at this juncture also pursued his usual method. He
accepted their attitude of the moment as satisfactory and did not
concern himself with their past conduct: he spared them all and some of
them (including Dolabella) he honored. To the latter he owed some
kindness, which he did not see fit to forget. For in place of
overlooking that favor because he had been wronged, he pardoned him in
consideration of the benefit received, and besides bringing him to other
honors Caesar not long after appointed him consul, though he had not yet
served as praetor.

[-34-] These were the events which were brought about in Rome by Caesar's
absence. The reasons why he was so long in coming there and did not
arrive immediately after Pompey's death are as follows.

[B.C. 48 (_a.u._ 708)]

The Egyptians were discontented at the levies of money and highly
indignant because not even their temples were left untouched. They are
the most excessively religious people on earth and wage wars even
against one another on account of their beliefs, since their worship is
not a unified system, but different branches of it are diametrically
opposed one to another. As a result, then, of their vexation at this and
their further fear that they might be surrendered to Cleopatra, who had
great influence with Caesar, they commenced a disturbance. For a time the
princess had urged her claim against her brother through others who were
in Caesar's presence, but as soon as she discovered his disposition
(which was very susceptible, so that he indulged in amours with a very
great number of women at different stages of his travels), she sent word
to him that she was being betrayed by her friends and asked that she
allowed to plead her case in person. She was a woman of surpassing
beauty, especially conspicuous at that time because in the prime of
youth, with a most delicious voice and a knowledge of how to make
herself agreeable to every one. Being brilliant to look upon and to
listen to, with the power to subjugate even a cold natured or elderly
person, she thought that she might prove exactly to Caesar's tastes and
reposed in her beauty all her claims to advancement. She begged
therefore for access to his presence, and on obtaining permission
adorned and beautified herself so as to appear before him in the most
striking and pitiable guise. When she had perfected these devices she
entered the city from her habitation outside, and by night without
Ptolemy's knowledge went into the palace. [-35-] Caesar upon seeing her
and hearing her speak a few words was forthwith so completely captivated
that he at once, before dawn, sent for Ptolemy and tried to reconcile
them, acting as an advocate for the same woman whose judge he had
previously assumed to be. For this reason and because the sight of his
sister within the royal dwelling was so unexpected, the boy was filled
with wrath and rushed out among the people crying out that he had been
betrayed, and at last he tore the diadem from his head and cast it down.
In the mighty tumult which thereupon arose Caesar's soldiers seized the
prince who had caused the commotion; but the Egyptian mob was in
upheaval. They assaulted the palace by land and sea together and would
have taken it without difficulty (for the Romans had no force present
sufficient to cope with the foreigners, because the latter had been
regarded as friends) but for the fact that Caesar, alarmed, came out
before them and standing in a safe place promised to do for them
whatsoever they wished. Then he entered an assembly of theirs and
producing Ptolemy and Cleopatra read their father's will, in which it
was directed that they should live together according to the customs of
the Egyptians and rule in common, and that the Roman people should
exercise a guardianship over them. When he had done this and had added
that it belonged to him as dictator, holding all the power of the
people, to have an oversight of the children and to fulfill the father's
wishes, he bestowed upon them both the kingdom and granted Cyprus to
Arsinoë and Ptolemy the Younger, a sister and a brother of theirs. So
great fear possessed him that he not only laid hold on none of the
Egyptian domain, but actually gave the inhabitants in addition some of
what was his.

[-36-] By this action they were calmed temporarily, but not long after
they raised a rebellion which reached the dignity of war. Potheinos, a
eunuch who had taken a prominent part in urging the Egyptians on, who
was also charged with the management of Ptolemy's funds, was afraid that
he might some time pay the penalty for his behavior. Therefore he sent
secretly to Achillas who was at this time still near Pelusium and by
frightening him and inspiring him at the same time with hopes he made
him his associate, and next won over also all the rest who bore arms. To
all of them alike it seemed a shame to be ruled by a woman: for they
suspected that Caesar on the occasion mentioned had given the kingdom to
both of the children merely to quiet the people, and that in the course
of time he would offer it to Cleopatra alone. Also they thought
themselves a match for the army he then had present. Some started
immediately for Alexandria where they busied themselves with their
project. [-37-] Caesar when he learned this was afraid of their numbers
and daring, and sent some men to Achillas not in his own but in
Ptolemy's name, bidding him keep the peace. But he, understanding that
this was not the child's command, but Caesar's, so far from giving it any
attention was filled with contempt for the sender, believing him afraid.
Then he called his soldiers together and by haranguing them at length in
favor of Ptolemy and against Caesar and Cleopatra he finally so incensed
them against the messengers, though they were Egyptians, that they
defiled themselves with their murder and accepted the necessity of a war
without quarter. Caesar, when the news was brought him, summoned his
soldiers from Syria, put a ditch around the palace and the other
buildings near it, and fortified it with a wall reaching to the sea.
[38-] Meanwhile Achillas had arrived on the scene with his regular
followers and with the Romans left behind by Grabinius and Septimius to
keep guard over Ptolemy: these as a result of their stay there had
changed their character and were attached to the local party. Thus he
immediately won over the larger part of the Alexandrians and made
himself master of the most advantageous positions. After this many
battles between the two armies occurred both by day and at night and
many places were set on fire, and among others the docks and the
storehouses both of grain and of books were burned, - the volumes being,
as is reported, of the greatest number and excellence.

Achillas commanded the mainland, with the exception of what Caesar had
walled off, and the latter the sea - except the harbor. Caesar, indeed,
was victorious in a sea-fight, and when the Egyptians consequently,
fearing that he would sail into their harbor, had filled up the entrance
all except a narrow passage, he cut off that outlet also by sinking
freight ships full of stones; so they were unable to stir, no matter how
much they might desire to sail out. After this achievement provisions,
and among other things water, were brought in more easily. Achillas had
deprived them of the city water supply by cutting the pipes.

[-39-] While these events were taking place one Ganymedes, a eunuch,
abducted Arsinoë, as she was not very well guarded, and led her out to

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 21 of 30)