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 24 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 24 of 30)
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[-17-] "Again, these words that I have spoken are no mere quibbles, and
I have tried to make you understand that they have not fallen into my
head for ostentation or by mere chance on the present occasion: on the
contrary, from the outset I realized that this course was both suitable
and advantageous for me; that is why I both think and speak thus.
Consequently you may be not only of good courage with reference to the
present, but hopeful as regards the future, reflecting (if you think I
used any pretence), that I would not be deferring my projects, but would
have made them known this very day.

"However, I was never otherwise minded in times past, as my works
themselves, indeed, doubtless prove and now I shall feel far more
eagerness with all order and decency not, - forbid it, Jupiter! - not to
be your master, but your head man, not your tyrant, but your leader. In
the matter of accomplishing for you everything else that must be done, I
will be both consul and dictator, but in the matter of injuring any one,
a private citizen. That possibility I do not think should be even
mentioned. Why should I put any one of you to death, who have done me no
harm, when I destroyed none of my adversaries, even if with the utmost
zeal they had taken[87] part with various enemies against me, but I took
pity on all those that had withstood me but once, saving many alive of
those that fought on the opposing side a second time? How should I bear
malice toward any, seeing that without reading or making excerpts I
immediately burned all the documents that were found among the private
papers both in Pompey's and in Scipio's tents? So then, let us,
Conscript Fathers, boldly unite our interests, forgetting all past
events as brought to pass simply by some supernatural Force, and
beginning to love each the other without suspicion as though we were
some new citizens. In this way you may behave yourselves toward me as
toward a father, enjoying the fore-thought and solicitude which I shall
give you and fearing no vexation, and I may have charge of you as of
children, praying that all noblest deeds may be ever! accomplished by
your exertions, and enduring perforce human limitations, exalting the
excellent by fitting honors and correcting the rest so far as is

[-18-] "Another point - do not fear the soldiers nor regard them in any
other light than as guardians of my dominion, which is at the same time
yours: that they should be maintained is inevitable, for many reasons,
but they will be maintained for your benefit, not against you; they will
be content with what is given them and think well of the givers. For
this reason larger taxes than is customary have been levied, in order
that the opposition might be made submissive and the victorious element,
receiving sufficient support, might not become an opposition. Of course
I have received no private gain from these funds, seeing that I have
expended for you all that I possessed, including much that I had
borrowed. No, you can see that a part has been expended on the wars, and
the rest has been kept safe for you: it will serve to adorn the city and
administer the other governmental departments. I have, then, taken upon
my own shoulders the odium of the levy, whereas you will all enjoy its
advantages in common, in the campaigns as well as elsewhere. We are in
need of arms, at every moment, since without them it is impossible for
us, who inhabit so great a city and hold so extensive an empire, to live
safely: now the surplus of money will be a mighty assistance in this
matter. However, let none of you suspect that I shall harass any man who
is rich or establish any new taxes: I shall be satisfied with the
present collections and be anxious to help make some contribution to you
than to wrong any one for his money."

By such, statements in the senate and afterward before the people Caesar
relieved them to some extent of their fears, but was not able to
persuade them entirely to be of good courage until he corroborated his
declarations by his deeds.

[-19-] After this he conducted subsequent proceedings in a brilliant
manner, as was fitting in honor of so many and such decisive victories.
He celebrated triumphs over the Gauls, for Egypt, for Pharnaces and for
Juba, in four sections, on four separate days. Most of it doubtless
delighted the spectators, but the sight of Arsinoë of Egypt - he had
brought her along among the captives - and the horde of lictors and the
symbols of triumph taken from citizens who had fallen in Africa
displeased them exceedingly. The lictors, on account of their numbers,
appeared to them a most outrageous multitude, since never before had
they beheld so many at one time: and the sight of Arsinoë, a woman and
once called queen, in chains (a spectacle which had never yet been
offered, in Rome at least), aroused very great pity, and in consequence
on this excuse they incidentally lamented their personal misfortunes.
She, to be sure, was released out of consideration for her brothers, but
others including Vercingetorix were put to death.

[-20-] The people, accordingly, were disagreeably affected by these
sights that I have mentioned, and yet they deemed them very few
considering the multitude of the captives and the magnitude of Caesar's
accomplishments. This, as well as the fact that he endured very
goodnaturedly the army's outspoken comments,[88] led them to admire him
extremely. For they made sport of those of their own number appointed to
the senate by him and all the other failings of which he was
accused:[89] most of all they jested about his love for Cleopatra and
his sojourn at the court of Nicomedes, ruler of Bithynia, inasmuch as he
had once been at his court when a lad; indeed, they even declared that
Caesar had enslaved[90] the Gauls, but Nicomedes Caesar. Finally, on the
top of all the rest they all together with a shout declared that if you
do well, you will be punished, but if ill you shall rule.[91] This was
meant by them to signify that if Caesar should restore self-government to
the people - which they regarded as just - and stand trial for the acts he
had committed outside the laws, he would even undergo punishment;
whereas, if he should cleave to his power, - which they deemed the course
of an unjust person, - he would continue sole ruler. As for him, however,
he was not displeased at their saying this: on the contrary he was quite
delighted that by such frankness toward him they showed a belief that he
would never be angry at it, - except in so far as their abuse concerned
his association with Nicomedes. At this he was decidedly irritated and
evidently pained: he attempted to defend himself, denying with an oath
that the case was such, and after that he incurred the further penalty
of laughter.

[-21-] Now on the first day of the festival of victory a portent far
from good fell to his lot. The axle of the triumphal chariot was crushed
just opposite the very temple of Fortune built by Lucullus, so that he
had to complete the rest of the course in another. On this occasion,
too, he climbed up the stairs of the Capitol on his knees, without
noticing at all either the chariot which he had dedicated to Jupiter, or
the image of the inhabited world lying beneath his feet, or the
inscription upon it: later on, however, he erased from that inscription
the name demi-god.

After this triumphal celebration he entertained the populace splendidly,
giving them grain beyond the regular measure and olive oil. Also, to the
multitude which received the present of grain he assigned the
seventy-five denarii which he had promised in advance, and twenty-five
more, but to the soldiers five hundred in one sum. Yet he was not merely
ostentatious: in most respects he was very exact; for instance, since
the throng receiving doles of grain had for a very long period been
growing not by lawful methods of increase but in such ways as are common
in popular tumults, he investigated the matter and erased half of their
names at one time.

[-22-] The first days of the fête he passed as was customary: on the
last day, after they had finished dinner, he entered his own forum
wearing fancy sandals and garlanded with all sorts of flowers; thence he
proceeded homeward with the entire populace, so to speak, alongside
escorting him, while many elephants carried torches. He had himself
adorned the forum called after him, and it is distinctly more beautiful
than the Roman (Forum); yet it had increased the reputation of the other
so that that was called the Great Forum. This forum which he had
constructed and the temple of Venus, looked upon as the founder of his
race, he dedicated at this very time. In honor of them he instituted
many contests of all kinds. He furnished with benches a kind of
hunting-theatre, which from the fact that it had seats all around
without a canopy was called an amphitheatre. Here in honor of his
daughter he had animals killed and contests between men in armor; but
whoever should care to write down their number would doubtless render
his narrative tedious besides falling into errors; for all such things
are regularly exaggerated by boasting. [-23-] I shall accordingly pass
over this, and be silent on the other like events that subsequently took
place - unless, of course, it should seem to me thoroughly necessary to
mention some particular point, - but I will give an account of the
so-called camelopard, because it was then for the first time introduced
into Rome by Caesar and exhibited to all. This animal is in general a
camel, except that it has sets of legs not of equal length. That is, its
hind legs are shorter. Beginning from the rump its back grows gradually
higher, appearing as if it would ascend indefinitely, until the most of
its body reaching its loftiest point is supported on the front legs,
while the neck stretches up to an unusual height. It has skin spotted
like a leopard, and for this reason bears the name common to both
animals. Such is the appearance of this beast.

As for the men, he not only pitted one against another in the Forum, as
had been customary, but he also in the hippodrome brought them together
in companies, horsemen against horsemen, fighters on foot against
similar contestants, and others that were a match for one another
indiscriminately. Some even, forty in number, fought from elephants.
Finally he produced a naval battle, not on the sea nor on the lake but
on land. He hollowed out a certain tract on the Campus Martius and by
letting water into it introduced ships. In all the contests the captives
and those condemned to death took part. Some even of the knights,
and, - not to mention others, - a son of a man who had been praetor fought
in single combat. Indeed, a senator named Fulvius Sepinus[92] desired to
contend in full armor, but was prevented; for Caesar had expressed a
fervent wish that that should never take place, though he did permit the
knights to contend. The patrician children went through the so-called
Troy equestrian exercise according to ancient custom, and the young men
who were their peers vied with one another in chariots.

[-24-] Still, it must be said he was blamed for the great number of
those who were slain, on the ground that he had not himself become
satiated with slaughter and was further exhibiting to the populace
symbols of their own miseries; and much more so because he had expended
on all that array countless sums. A clamor in consequence was raised
against him for two reasons, - that he had collected most of the funds
unjustly, and that he had used them up for such purposes.

And by mentioning one feature of his extravagance of that time I shall
thereby give an inkling of all the rest. In order that the sun might not
annoy any of the spectators he had curtains stretched over them made of
silk, according to some accounts. Now this product of the loom is a
device of barbarian luxury and from them has come down even to us to
satisfy the excessive daintiness of veritable women. The civilians
perforce held their peace at such acts, but the soldiers raised an
outcry, not because they cared about the money recklessly squandered but
because they did not themselves get what was appropriated to those
displays. In fact they did not cease from confusion till Caesar suddenly
coming upon them with his own hand seized one man and delivered him up
to punishment. This person was executed for the reasons stated, and two
other men were slaughtered as a kind of piece of ritual. The true cause
I am unable to state, inasmuch as the Sibyl made no utterance and there
was no other similar oracle, but at any rate they were sacrificed in the
Campus Martius by the pontifices and the priest of Mars, and their heads
were set up near the palace.

[-25-] While Caesar was thus engaged he was also enacting many laws,
passing over most of which I shall mention only those most deserving
attention. The courts he entrusted to the senators and the knights alone
so that the purest element of the population, so far as was possible,
might always preside: formerly some of the common people had also joined
with them in rendering decisions. The expenditures, moreover, of men of
means which had been rendered enormous by their licentiousness he not
only controlled by law but put a strong check upon them by practical
measures. There was, on account of the numbers of warriors that had
perished, a dangerous scarcity of population, as was proved both from
the censuses (which he attended to, among other things, as if he were
censor) and from actual observation, consequently he offered prizes for
large families of children. Again, because he himself as a result of
ruling the Gauls many years in succession had been attracted into a
desire for dominion and had by it increased the equipment of his force,
he limited by law the term of ex-praetors to one year, and that of
ex-consuls to two consecutive years, and enacted in general that no one
should be allowed to hold any office for a longer time.

[-26-] After the passage of these laws he also established in their
present fashion the days of the year (which were not definitely settled
among the people, since even at that time they regulated their months
according to the movements of the moon) by adding sixty-seven days, all
that were necessary to bring the year out even. In the past some have
declared that even more were interpolated, but the truth is as I have
stated it. He got this improvement from his stay in Alexandria, save in
so far as those people calculate their months as of thirty days each,
afterward annexing the five days to the entire year as a whole, whereas
Caesar distributed among seven months these five along with two other
days that he took away from one month.[93] The one day, however, which
is made up of four parts Caesar introduced every fourth year, so as to
have the annual seasons no longer differ at all except in the slightest
degree. In fourteen hundred and sixty-one years there is need of only
one (additional) intercalary day.[94]

[-27-] All these and other undertakings which he was planning for the
common weal he accomplished not by independent declaration nor by
independent cogitation, but he communicated everything in every instance
to the heads of the senate, sometimes even to the entire body And to
this practice most of all was due the fact that even when he passed some
rather harsh measures, he still succeeded in pleasing them. For these
actions he received praise; but inasmuch as he had some of the tribunes
bring back many of those that stayed away from court, and allowed those
who were convicted of bribery in office on actual proof to live in
Italy, and furthermore numbered once more among the senate some who were
not worthy of it, many murmurings of all sorts arose against him. Yet
the greatest censure he incurred from all through his passion for
Cleopatra, - not the passion he had displayed in Egypt (that was mere
hearsay), but in Rome itself. For she had come to the city with her
husband and settled in Caesar's own house, so that he too derived an ill
repute from both of them. It caused him no anxiety, however; on the
contrary he enrolled them among the friends and allies of the Roman

[-28-] Meanwhile he was learning in detail all that Pompey was doing in
Spain. Thinking him not hard to vanquish, he at first despatched his
fleet from Sardinia against him, but later sent on also the army that
was available by list, evidently intending to conduct the entire war
through his representatives. But when be ascertained that Pompey was
progressing mightily and that those sent were not sufficient to fight
against him, he finally himself went out to join the expedition,
entrusting the city to Lepidus and certain aediles, - eight as some think,
or six as is more commonly believed.

[-29-] The legions in Spain had rebelled during the period of command of
Longinus and Marcellus and some of the cities had revolted; upon the
removal of Longinus (Trebonius becoming his successor) they kept quiet
for a few days: after that through fear of vengeance from Caesar they
secretly sent ambassadors to Scipio expressing a wish to transfer their
allegiance. He despatched to them among others Gnaeus Pompey. The latter
being close to the Gymnasian[95] islands took possession of them without
a battle, save Ebusus: this one he brought over with difficulty, and
then falling sick delayed there together with his soldiers. As he was
late in returning, the soldiers in Spain, who had learned that Scipio
was dead and Didius had set sail against them, in their fear of being
annihilated before Pompey came failed to wait for him; but putting at
their head Titus Quintius Scapula and Quintus Aponius, Roman knights,
they drove out Trebonius and led the whole Baetic nation to revolt at the
same time. They had gone [-30-] thus far when Pompey, recovering from
his illness, arrived by sea at the mainland opposite. He immediately won
over several cities without resistance, for they were vexed at the
commands of their rulers and besides had no little hope in him because
of the memory of his father: Carthage,[96] which was unwilling to come
to terms, he besieged. The followers of Scapula on hearing this went
there and chose him general with full powers, after which they adhered
most closely to him and showed the most violent zeal, regarding his
successes as the successes of each individual and his disasters as their
own. Consequently they were strong for both reasons, striving to obtain
the successes and to avoid the disasters.

For Pompey, too, did what all are accustomed to do in the midst of such
tumults and revolutions and especially after some of the Allobroges had
deserted, whom Juba had taken alive in a war against Curio and had given
him, there was nothing that he did not grant the rest both by word and

They accordingly became more zealous in his behalf, and a number of the
opposing side, particularly all who had served under Afranius, came over
to him. Then there were those who came to him from Africa, among others
his brother Sextus, and Varus, and Labienus with his fleet. Therefore,
elated by the multitude of his army and their zeal he proceeded
fearlessly through the country, gaining some cities of their own accord,
some against their will, and seemed to surpass even his father in power.
[-31-] For though Caesar had generals in Spain, - Quintus Fabius Maximus
and Quintus Pedius, they did not think themselves a match for him, but
remained quiet themselves, while they sent in haste for their chief.

For a time matters went on so: but when a few of the men sent in advance
from Rome had reached there, and Caesar's arrival was looked for, Pompey
became frightened; and thinking that he was not strong enough to gain
the mastery of all Spain, he did not wait for a reverse before changing
his mind, but immediately, before testing the temper of his adversaries,
retired into Baetica. The sea, moreover, straightway became hostile to
him, and Varus was beaten in a naval battle near Carteia by Didius:
indeed, had he not escaped to the land and sunk anchors side by side at
the mouth of the harbor, upon which the foremost pursuers struck as on a
reef, the whole fleet would have perished. All the country at that point
except the city Ulia was an ally of Pompey's: this town, which had
refused to submit to him, he proceeded to besiege.

[-32-] Meanwhile Caesar, too, with a few men suddenly came up
unexpectedly not only to Pompey's followers, but even to his own
soldiers. He had employed such speed in the passage that he was seen
both by his adherents and by his opponents before news was brought that
he was actually in Spain. Now Caesar hoped from this very fact and his
mere presence to alarm Pompey in general, and to draw him from the
siege; that was why most of the army had been left behind on the road.

But Pompey, thinking that one man was not much superior to another and
quite confident in his own strength, was not seriously startled at the
other's arrival, but continued to besiege the city and kept making
assaults just as before. Hence Caesar stationed there a few soldiers from
among the first-comers and himself started for Corduba, partly because
he hoped to take it by treachery, but chiefly because he expected to
attract Pompey through fear for it away from Ulia. And so it turned out.
For at first Pompey left a portion of his army in position, went to
Corduba and strengthened it, and as Caesar did not withstand his troops,
put his brother Sextus in charge of it. However, he failed to accomplish
anything at Ulia: on the contrary, when a certain tower had fallen, and
that not shaken down by his own men but broken down by the crowd that
was making a defence from it, some few who rushed in did not come off
well; and Caesar approaching lent assistance secretly by night to the
citizens, and himself again made an expedition against Corduba, putting
it under siege in turn: then at last did Pompey withdraw entirely from
Ulia and hastened to the other town with his entire army, - a movement
not destitute of results. For Caesar, learning of this in advance, had
retired, as he happened to be sick. Afterward when he had recovered and
had taken charge of the additional troops who accompanied him he was
compelled to carry on warfare even in the winter. [-33-] Housed in
miserable little tents they were suffering distress and running short of
food. Caesar was at that time serving as dictator, and some time late,
near the close of the war, he was appointed consul, when Lepidus, who
was master of the horse, convoked the people for this purpose. He,
Lepidus, had become master of the horse at that time, having given
himself, while still in the consulship, that additional title contrary
to ancestral traditions.

Caesar, accordingly, compelled as I have said to carry on warfare even in
winter did not try to attack Corduba - it was strongly guarded - but
turned his attention to Ategua, a city in which he had learned that
there was an abundance of grain. Although it was strong, he hoped by the
size of his army and the sudden terror of his appearance to alarm the
inhabitants and capture it. In a short time he had palisaded it off and
dug a ditch round about. Pompey, encouraged by the nature of the country
and thinking that Caesar because of the winter would not besiege the
place to any great extent, paid no heed and did not try at first to
repel the assailants, since he was unwilling to injure his own soldiers
in the cold. Later on, when the town had been walled off and Caesar was
in position before it, he grew afraid and came with assistance. He fell
in with the pickets suddenly one misty night and killed a number of
them. The ungeneraled condition of the inhabitants he ameliorated by
sending to them Munatius Flaccus. The latter [-34-] had contrived the
following scheme to get inside. He went alone by night to some of the
guards as if appointed by Caesar to visit the sentries, asked and learned
the pass-word: - he was not known, of course, and would never have been
suspected by the separate contingents of being anything but a friend
when he acted in this manner: - then he left these men and went around to
the other side of the circumvallation where he met some other guards and
gave them the pass-word: after that he pretended that his mission was to
betray the city, and so went inside through the midst of the soldiers
with their consent and actually under their escort. He could not,
however, save the place. In addition to other setbacks there was one
occasion when the citizens hurled fire upon the engines and palisades of

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 24 of 30)