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 25 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 25 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

the Romans, yet did no damage to them worth mentioning; but they
themselves by reason of a violent wind which just then began to blow
toward them from the opposite side fared ill: for their buildings were
set afire and many persons perished from the stones and missiles, not
being able to see any distance ahead of them for the smoke. After this
disaster, as their land was continually ravaged, and every now and then
a portion of their wall would fall, undermined, they began to riot.
Flaccus first conferred with Caesar by herald on the basis of pardon for
himself and followers: later he failed of this owing to his resolution
not to surrender his arms, but the rest of the natives subsequently sent
ambassadors and submitted to the terms imposed upon each.

[-35-] The capture of that city did not fail of its influence upon the
other peoples, but many themselves after sending envoys espoused Caesar's
cause, and many received him on his approach or his lieutenants. Pompey,
in consequence, at a loss which way to turn, at first made frequent
changes of base, wandering about now in one and now in another part of
the country: later on he became afraid that as a result of this very
behavior the rest of his adherents would also leave him in the lurch,
and chose to hazard all, although Heaven beforehand indicated his
defeat very clearly. To be sure, the drops of sweat that fell from
sacred statues and the confused noises of the legions, and the many
animals born which proved to be perversions of the proper type, and
the torches darting from sunrise to the sunset region - (all these signs
then met together in Spain at one time) - gave no clear manifestation
to which of the two combatants they were revealing the future. But the
eagles of his legions shook their wings and cast forth the golden
thunderbolts which some of them held in their talons: thus they would
hurl disaster directly at Pompey before flying off to Caesar.... For
a different force ... Heaven, and he held it in slight esteem, and so
into war ... settled down to battle.[97]

[-36-] Both had in addition to their citizen and mercenary troops many
of the natives and many Moors. For Bocchus[98] had sent his sons to
Pompey and Bogud in person accompanied Caesar's force. Still, the contest
turned out to be like a struggle of the Romans themselves, not of any
other nations. Caesar's soldiers derived courage from their numbers and
experience and above all from their leader's presence and so were
anxious to be done with the war and its attendant miseries. Pompey's men
were inferior in these respects, but, strong through their despair of
safety, should they fail to conquer, continued zealous.[99] Inasmuch as
the majority of them had been captured with Afranius and Varro, had been
spared, and delivered afterward to Longinus, from whom they had
revolted, they had no hope of safety if they were beaten, and as a
result of this were drawn toward desperation, feeling that they needed
to be of good cheer at that particular time or else perish utterly. So
the armies came together and began the battle. They had no longer any
dread of each other, since they had been so many times opposed in arms,
and for that reason required no urging. [-37-] In the course of the
engagement the allied forces on both sides quickly were routed and fled;
but the main bodies struggled in close combat to the utmost in their
resistance of each other. Not a man of them would yield. They remained
in position, wreaking slaughter and being slain, as if each separate man
was to be responsible to all the rest as well for the outcome of victory
or defeat. Consequently they were not concerned to see how their allies
were battling but set to work as if they alone were engaged. Neither
sound of paean nor groan was to be heard from any one of them: both
sides limited their shouts to "Strike! Kill!", while their acts easily
outran their speech. Caesar and Pompey, who saw this from horseback on
certain elevated positions, felt little inclination to either hope or
despair, but torn with doubts were equally distressed by confidence and
fear. The battle was so nearly balanced that they suffered tortures at
the sight, straining to spy out some advantage, and quivering lest they
descry some setback. Their souls were filled with prayers for success
and against misfortune, and with alternating strength and fear. In fact,
not being able to endure it long, they leaped from their horses and
joined the combat. Apparently they preferred a participation involving
personal exertion and danger rather than tension of spirit, and each
hoped by associating in the fight to turn the scale somehow in favor of
his own soldiers. Or, if they failed of that, they were content to meet
death, side by side with them.

[-38-] The generals, then, took part in the battle themselves. This
movement, however, resulted in no advantage to either army. On the
contrary, - when the men saw their chiefs sharing their danger, a far
greater disregard for their own death and eagerness for the destruction
of their opponents seized both alike. Accordingly neither side for the
moment turned to flight: matched in determination, they found their
persons matched in power. All would have perished, or else at nightfall
they would have parted with honors even, had not Bogud, who was
somewhere outside the press, made an advance upon Pompey's camp,
whereupon Labienus, seeing it, left his station to proceed against him.
Pompey's men, interpreting this as flight, lost heart. Later they
doubtless learned the truth but could no longer retrieve their position.
Some escaped to the city, some to the fortification. The latter body
vigorously fought off attacks and fell only when surrounded, while the
former for a long time kept the wall safe, so that it was not captured
till all of them had perished in sallies. So great was the total loss of
Romans on both sides that the victors, at a loss how to wall in the city
to prevent any running away in the night, actually heaped up the bodies
of the dead around it.

[-39-] Caesar, having thus conquered, took Corduba at once. Sextus had
retired from his path, and the natives, although their slaves, who had
purposely been made free, offered resistance, came over to his side. He
slew those under arms and obtained money by the sale of the rest. The
same course he adopted with those that held Hispalis, who at first,
pretending to be willing, had accepted a garrison from him, but later
massacred the soldiers that had come there, and entered upon a course of
warfare. In his expedition against them his rather careless conduct of
the siege caused them some hope of being able to escape. So then he
allowed them to come outside the wall, where he ambushed and destroyed
them, and in this way captured the town, which was soon destitute of
male defenders. Next he acquired and levied money upon Munda and the
other places, some that were unwilling with great slaughter and others
of their own accord. He did not even spare the offerings to Hercules,
consecrated in Gades, and he detached special precincts from some towns
and laid an added tribute upon others. This was his course toward those
who had opposed him; but to those who displayed any good-will toward him
he granted lands and freedom from taxation, to some, moreover,
citizenship, and to others the right to be considered Roman colonies; he
did not, however, grant these favors for nothing.

[-40-] While Caesar was thus occupied, Pompey, who had escaped in the
rout, reached the sea, intending to use the fleet that lay at anchor in
Carteia, but found that it had espoused the victor's cause. He
endeavored to embark in a boat, expecting to obtain safety thereby. In
the course of the attempt, however, he was roughly handled and in
dejection came to land again, where, taking some men that had assembled,
he set out for the interior. Pompey himself met defeat at the hands, of
Caesennius[100] Lento, with whom he fell in: he took refuge in a wood,
and was there killed. Didius, ignorant of the event, while wandering
about to join him met some other enemies and perished.

[-41-] Caesar, too, would doubtless have chosen to fall there, at the
hands of those who were still resisting and in the glory of war, in
preference to the fate he met not long after, to be cut down in his own
land and in the senate, at the hands of his best friends. For this was
the last war he carried through successfully, and this the last victory
that he won in spite of the fact that there was no project so great that
he did not hope to accomplish it. In this belief he was strengthened not
only by other reasons but most of all because from a palm that stood on
the site of the battle a shoot grew out immediately after the victory.

And I will not assert that this had no bearing in some direction; it
was, however, no longer for him, but for his sister's grandson,
Octavius: the latter made the expedition with him, and was destined to
shine forth brightly from his toils and dangers. As Caesar did not know
this, hoping that many great additional successes would fall to his own
lot he acted in no moderate fashion, but was filled with loftiness as if
immortal. [-42-] Though it was no foreign nation he had conquered, but a
great mass of citizens that he had destroyed, he not only personally
directed the triumph, incidentally regaling the entire populace again,
as if in honor of some common blessing, but also allowed Quintus Fabius
and Quintus Pedius to hold a festival. [101] Yet they had merely been
his lieutenants and had achieved no individual success. Naturally some
laughter was caused by this, as well as by the fact that he used wooden
instead of ivory instruments, and representations of certain actions,
and other such triumphal apparatus. Nevertheless, most brilliant triple
fêtes and triple processions of the Romans were held in connection with
those very things, and furthermore a hallowed period of fifty days was
observed. The Parilia[102] was honored by a perpetual horse-race, yet
not at all because the city had been founded on that day, but because
the news of Caesar's victory had arrived the day before, toward evening.

[-43-] Such was his gift to Rome. For himself he wore the triumphal
garb, by decree, in all assemblages and was adorned with the laurel
crown always and every-where alike. The excuse that he gave for it was
that his forehead was bald; and this had some show of reason from the
very fact that at the time, though well past youth, he still bestowed
attention on his appearance. He showed among all men his pride in rather
foppish clothing, and the footwear which he used later on was sometimes
high and of a reddish color, after the style of the kings who had once
lived in Alba, for he assumed that he was related to them on account of
Iulus. To Venus he was, in general, devoted body and soul and he was
anxious to persuade everybody that he had received from her a kind of
bloom of youth. Accordingly he used also to carry about a carven image
of her in full armor and he made her name his watchword in almost all
the greatest dangers. The looseness of his girdle[103] Sulla had looked
askance at, insomuch that he wished to kill him, and declared to those
who begged him off: "Well, I will grant him to you, but do you be on
your guard, without fail, against this ill-girt fellow." Cicero could
not comprehend it, but even in the moment of defeat said: "I should
never have expected one so ill-girt to conquer Pompey."

[-44-] This I have written by way of digression from story, so that no
one might be ignorant of the stories about Caesar. - In honor of the
victory the senate passed all of those decrees that I have mentioned,
and further called him "liberator", inscribed it in the records, and
publicly voted for a temple of Liberty. To him first and for the first
time, they then, applied, as a term of special significance, the title
"imperator," - not merely according to ancient custom any longer, as
others besides Caesar had often been saluted as a result of wars, nor
even as those who have received some independent command or other
authority were called, but, in short, it was this title which is now
granted to those who hold successively the supreme power. And so great
an excess of flattery did they employ as even to vote that his children
and grandchildren should be so called, though he had no child and was
already an old man. From him this title has come down to all subsequent
imperatores, as something peculiar to their office, even as in Caesar's
case. The ancient custom has not, however, been thereby overthrown. Each
of the two titles exists. Consequently they are invested with it a
second time, when they gain some such victory as has been mentioned.
Those who are imperatores in the limited sense use the appellation once,
as they do others, and indeed before others: whatever rulers in addition
accomplish in war any deed worthy of it acquire also the name handed
down by ancient custom, so that a man is termed imperator a second and a
third time, and oftener, as frequently as he can bestow it upon himself.

These privileges they granted then to Caesar, as well as a house, so that
he might live in state-property, and a special period of festival
whenever any victory took place and whenever there were sacrifices for
it, even if he had not been with the expedition nor in general had any
hand in the achievement.[104] [-45-] Still, those measures, even if they
seemed to them immoderate and out of the usual order, were not, so far,
undemocratic. But they passed the following decrees besides, by which
they declared him sovereign out and out. They offered him the
magistracies, even those belonging to the people, and elected him consul
for ten years, as they previously had dictator. They ordered that he
alone should have soldiers, and alone administer the public funds, so
that no one else was allowed to employ either of them, save whom he
might permit. And they commanded at that time that an ivory statue of
him, but later that a whole chariot should be escorted at the
horse-races along with the likenesses of the gods. Another image they
set up in the temple of Quirinus with the inscription: "to the
invincible god", and another on the Capitol beside the former kings of
Rome. It occurs to me really to marvel at the coincidence: there were
eight such images - seven to the kings, and an eighth to the Brutus that
overthrew the Tarquins - besides this one, when they set up the statue of
Caesar; and it was from this cause chiefly that Marcus Brutus was stirred
to conspire against him.

[-46-] These were the measures that were ratified because of victory, - I
am not mentioning all, but as many as I have seemed to me notable, - not
on one day, but just as it happened, one at one time, another at
another. Some of them Caesar began to render operative, and of others he
intended to make use in the future, no matter how much he put aside some
of them. Now the office of consul he took up immediately, even before
entering the city, but did not hold it continuously.

[B.C. 45 (_a.u._ 709)]

When he got to Rome he renounced it, delivering it to Quintus Fabius and
Graius Trebonius. When Fabius on the last day of his consulship died, he
straightway chose instead of him another, Gaius Caninius Rebilus for the
remaining hours. Then for the first time, contrary to precedent, it
became possible for the same man to hold that office neither annually,
nor for all the time left in the same year, but while living to withdraw
from it without compulsion from either ancestral custom or any
accusation, and for another one to take his place. In the second place
the circumstances were unique, because Caninius at once was appointed
consul, and ceased to serve. On this, Cicero jestingly said that the
consul had displayed so great bravery and prudence in office, as never
to fall asleep in it for the briefest moment. So from that period on the
same persons no longer (save a few in olden times), served as consul
through the entire year, but just as it happened, - some for more time,
some for less, some for months, others for days - since now no one serves
with any one else, as a rule, for a whole year or for a longer period
than two months. In general we do not differ from our ancestors, but the
naming of the years for purposes of enumeration falls to those who are
consuls at the start. Accordingly I shall in most cases name those
officials closely connected with events, but to secure perfect clearness
with regard to what is done from time to time I shall mention also those
first to serve, even if they make no contribution to the undertakings in

[-47-] Whereas the consuls were thus disposed of, the remaining
magistrates were nominally elected by the plebs and by the populace, in
accord with ancient customs (for Caesar would not accept the appointment
of them), but really by him, and without the casting of lots they were
sent out among the provinces. As for number, all were the same as
before, except that thirteen praetors and forty quaestors were appointed.
For, since he had made many promises to many people, he had no other way
to redeem them, and that accounts for his actions. Furthermore he
enrolled a vast number in the senate, making no distinction, whether a
man were a soldier, or a child of one enslaved, so that the sum of them
grew to nine hundred: and he enrolled many among the patricians and
among the ex-consuls or such as had held some office. When some were
tried for bribery and convicted he released them, so that he was charged
with bribe-taking himself. This report was strengthened by the fact that
he also exposed[105] in the market all the public lands, not only the
profane, but also the consecrated lots, and auctioned off the majority
of them. Nevertheless to some persons he granted ample gifts in the form
of money or the sale of lands; and to a certain Lucius Basilus[106] he
allowed no rulership of a province, though the latter was praetor, but
bestowed a large amount of money in place of it, so that Basilus became
notorious both in this matter and because when insulted in the course of
his praetorship by Caesar he stood his ground.[107]

All this suited those citizens who were making or expecting to make
corrupt gain, since they reverenced no element of the public weal in
comparison with bettering themselves by such acts. But all the rest took
it greatly to heart, and had much to say about it to intimates and also
(as many as felt safe in so doing) in outspoken public conversation and
the publication of anonymous pamphlets.

[-48-] Not only were those measures carried out that year, but two of
the aediles took charge of the municipal government, since no quaestor had
been elected. For just as once formerly, so now in the absence of Caesar,
the aediles managed all the city affairs, in conjunction with Lepidus as
master of the horse. Although they were censured for employing lictors
and magisterial garb and chair precisely like the master of the horse,
they got off by citing a certain law, which allowed all those receiving
any office from a dictator to make use of such things. The business of
administration, changed from that time for the reasons I have mentioned,
was no longer invariably laid upon the quaestors, but was finally
assigned to ex-praetors. Two of the aediles managed at that time the
public treasures, and one of them, by provision of Caesar, superintended
the Ludi Apollinares. The aediles of the populace directed the Megalesia,
by decree. A certain prefect, appointed during the Feriae, himself chose
a successor on the last day, and the latter another: this had never
happened before, nor did it happen again.

[B.C. 44 (_a.u._ 710)]

[-49-] The next year after these events during which Caesar was at once
dictator for the fifth time, taking Lepidus as master of the horse, and
consul for the fifth time, choosing Antony as colleague, sixteen praetors
were in power - this custom indeed has remained[108] for many years - and
the rostra, which was formerly in the center of the Forum, was moved
back to its present position: also the images of Sulla and of Pompey
were restored to it. For this Caesar received praise, and again because
he put upon Antony both the glory of the deed and credit for the
inscription on the image. Being anxious to build a theatre, as Pompey
had done, he laid the first foundations, but did not finish it. Augustus
later completed it and named it for his nephew, Marcus Marcellus. But
Caesar was blamed for tearing down the dwellings and temples on the site,
and likewise because he burned up the statues, - all of wood, save a
few, - and because on finding considerable treasures of money he
appropriated them all.

[-50-] In addition, he introduced laws and extended the pomerium, his
behavior in these and other matters resembling that of Sulla. Caesar,
however, removed the ban from the survivors of those that had warred
against him, granting them immunity with fair and equal terms; he
promoted them to office; to the wives of the slain he restored their
dowries, and to their children granted a share in the property, thus
putting mightily to shame Sulla's blood-guiltiness; so that he himself
enjoyed a great repute not alone for bravery, but also for uprightness,
though it is generally difficult for the same man to be eminent in peace
as well as in war. This was a source of pride to him, as was the fact
that he had raised again Carthage and Corinth. To be sure, there were
many other cities in and outside of Italy, some of which he had built
afresh, and some which he had newly founded. Others, however, had done
that: it remained for him to restore, in memory of their former
inhabitants, Corinth and Carthage, ancient, brilliant, conspicuous,
ruined cities: one of them he declared a Roman colony, and colonized,
and the other he honored with its ancient titles, bearing no grudge for
the enmity of their peoples toward places that had never harmed them.

[-51-] And they, even as they had once been demolished together, now
revived together and bade fair to flourish once again. But while Caesar
was so engaged, a longing came over all the Romans alike to avenge
Crassus and those that perished with him: there was some hope then, if
ever, of subjugating the Parthians. The command of the war they
unanimously voted to Caesar, and made ample provision for it. They
arranged, among other details, that he should have a larger number of
assistants, and that the city should neither be without officials in his
absence, nor by attempting to choose some on its own responsibility fall
into factions: also that such magistrates should be appointed in advance
for three years (this was the length of time they thought necessary for
the campaign). However, they did not designate them all beforehand.
Nominally Caesar was to choose half of them, having a certain legal right
to do this, but really he chose the whole number. For the first year, as
previously, forty quaestors were elected, and then for the first time two
patrician aediles and four from the people. Of the latter two have their
title from Ceres, - a custom which, then introduced, has remained to the
present day. Praetors were nominated to the number of eleven. It is not
on this, however, that I desire to lay emphasis (for they had formerly
been as many), but on the fact that among them was chosen Publius
Ventidius. He was originally from Picenum, as has been remarked, and
fought against Rome when her allies were alienated. He was captured by
Pompeius Strabo,[109] and in the latter's triumph marched in chains.
Later he was released; some time after he was enrolled in the senate,
and was now appointed praetor by Caesar; by degrees he advanced to such
prominence as to conquer the Parthians and hold a triumph over them.

All those who were to hold office the first year after that were
appointed in advance, but for the second year the consuls and tribunes
only: and no one got any closer than this to being nominated for the
third year. Caesar himself intended to be dictator both years, and
designated Octavius in advance as master of the horse for the second,
though he was at that time a mere lad. For the time being, while this
was going on, Caesar appointed Dolabella consul in his own stead, leaving
Antony to finish the year out in office. To Lepidus he assigned Gallia
Narbonensis with the adjoining portions of Spain, and made two men
masters of horse in their place, each separately. Owing, as he did,
favors to many persons he repaid them by such appointments as these and

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 25 of 30)