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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

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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 28 of 30)
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believed by virtue to have attained divinity, but actually increased it;
if any person disputed formerly the possibility of Aeneas ever having
been born of Venus, he may now believe it. The gods in past times have
been reported as possessing some unworthy children, but no one could
deem this man unworthy to have had gods for his ancestors. Aeneas himself
became king, as likewise some of his descendants. This man proved
himself so much superior to them that whereas they were monarchs of
Lavinium and Alba, he refused to become king of Rome; and whereas they
laid the foundation of our city, he raised it to such heights that among
other services he established colonies greater than the cities over
which they ruled.

[-38-] "Such, then, is the state of his family. That he passed through a
childhood and education corresponding to the dignity of his noble birth
how could one feel better assured than by the certain proofs that his
deeds afford? When a man possesses conspicuously a body that is most
enduring and a soul that is most steadfast in the face of all
contingencies alike of peace and war, is it not inevitable that he must
have been reared in the best possible way? And I tell you it is
difficult for any man surpassingly beautiful to show himself most
enduring, and difficult for one who is strong in body to attain greatest
prudence, but most difficult of all for the same man to shine both in
words and in deeds. Now this man - I speak among men who know the facts,
so that I shall not falsify in the least degree, for I should be caught
in the very act, nor heap up exaggerated praises, for then I should
obtain the opposite results of what I wish. If I do anything of the
kind, I shall be suspected with the utmost justice of braggadocio, and
it will be thought that I am making his excellence less than the
reputation which already exists in your own minds. Every utterance
delivered under such conditions, in case it admits even the smallest
amount of falsehood, not only bestows no praise on its subject but
defeats its own ends. The knowledge of the hearers, not agreeing with
the fictitious declaration, takes refuge in truth, where it quickly
finds satisfaction and learns as well what the statement ought to have
been; and then, comparing the two, detects the difference. Stating only
the truth, therefore, I affirm that this Caesar was at the same time most
able in body and most amiable in spirit. He enjoyed a wonderful natural
talent and had been scrupulously trained in every kind of education,
which always enabled him (not unnaturally) to comprehend everything that
was needed with the greatest keenness, to interpret the need most
plausibly, and to arrange and administer matters most prudently. No
shifting of a favorable situation could come upon him so suddenly as to
catch him off his guard, nor did a secret delay, no matter how long the
postponement, escape his notice. He decided always with regard to every
crisis before he came in contact with it, and was prepared beforehand
for every contingency that could happen to him. He understood well how
to discern sharply what was concealed, to dissimulate what was evident
in such a way as to inspire confidence, to pretend to know what was
obscure, to conceal what he knew, to adapt occasions to one another and
to give an account of them, and furthermore to accomplish and cover
successfully in detail the ground of every enterprise. [-39-] A proof of
this is that in his private affairs he showed himself at once an
excellent manager and very liberal, being careful to keep permanently
what he inherited, but lavish in spending with an unsparing hand what he
gained, and for all his relatives, except the most impious, he possessed
a strong affection. He did not neglect any of them in misfortune, nor
did he envy them in good fortune, but he helped the latter to increase
their previous property and made up the deficiencies for the former,
giving some money, some lands, some offices, some priesthoods. Again, he
was wonderfully attached to his friends and other associates. He never
scorned or insulted any one of them, but while courteous to all alike he
rewarded many times over those who assisted him in any project and won
the devotion of the rest by benefits, not bowing to any one of brilliant
position, nor humiliating any one who was bettering himself, but as if
he himself were being exalted through all their successes and acquiring
strength and adornment he took delight in making the largest number
equal with himself. While he behaved thus toward his friends and
acquaintances, he did not show himself cruel or inexorable even to his
enemies, but many of those who had come into collision with him
personally he let off scotfree, and many who had actually made war
against him he released, giving some of them honors and offices. To this
degree was he in every way inclined to right conduct, and not only had
no baseness in his own making, but would not believe that it was found
in anybody else.

[-40-] "Since I have reached these statements, I will begin to speak
about his public services. If he had lived a quiet existence, perhaps
his excellence would never have come to light; but as it was, by being
raised to the highest position and becoming the greatest not only of his
contemporaries but of all the rest who had ever wielded any influence,
he displayed it more conspicuously. For nearly all his predecessors this
supreme authority had served only to reveal their defects, but him it
made more luminous: through the greatness of his excellence he undertook
correspondingly great deeds, and was found to be a match for them; he
alone of men after obtaining for himself so great good fortune as a
result of true worth neither disgraced it nor treated it wantonly. The
brilliant successes which he regularly achieved on his campaigns and the
highmindedness he showed in everyday duties I shall pass over, although
they are so great that for any other man they would constitute
sufficient praise: but in view of the distinction of his subsequent
deeds, I shall seem to be dealing with small matters, if I rehearse them
all with exactness. I shall only mention his achievements while ruling
over you. Even all of these, however, I shall not relate with minute
scrupulousness. I could not possibly give them adequate treatment, and I
should cause you excessive weariness, particularly since you already
know them.

[-41-] "First of all, this man was praetor in Spain, and finding it
secretly hostile did not allow the inhabitants under the protection of
the name of peace to develop into foes, nor chose to spend the period of
his governorship in quiet rather than to effect what was for the
advantage of the nation; hence, since they would not agree to alter
their sentiments, he brought them to their senses without their consent,
and in doing so so far surpassed the men who had previously won glory
against them as keeping a thing is more difficult than acquiring it, and
reducing men to a condition where they can never again become rebellious
is more profitable than rendering them subject in the first place, while
their power is still undiminished. That is the reason that you voted him
a triumph for this and gave him at once the office of consul. As a
result of your decree it became most plainly evident that he had waged
that war not for his own desires or glory, but was preparing for the
future. The celebration of the triumph he waived on account of pressing
business, and after thanking you for the honor he was satisfied with
merely that to secure his glory, and entered upon the consulship. [-42-]
Now all his administrative acts in this city during the discharge of
that office would be verily countless to name. And as soon as he had
left it and been sent to conduct war against the Gauls, notice how many
and how great were his achievements there. So far from causing
grievances to the allies he even went to their assistance, because he
was not suspicious at all of them and further saw that they were
wronged. But his foes, both those dwelling near the friendly tribes, and
all the rest that inhabited Gaul he subjugated, acquiring at one time
vast stretches of territory and at another unnumbered cities of which we
knew not even the names before. All this, moreover, he accomplished so
quickly, though he had received neither a competent force nor sufficient
money from you, that before any of you knew that he was at war he had
conquered; and he settled affairs on such a firm basis and [113] ...,
that as a result Celtica and Britain felt his footstep. And now is that
Gaul enslaved which sent against us the Ambrones and the Cimbri, and is
entirely cultivated like Italy itself. Ships traverse not only the Rhone
or the Arar, but the Mosa, the Liger, the very Rhine, and the very
ocean. Places of which we had not even heard the titles to lead us to
think that they existed were likewise subdued for us: the formerly
unknown he made accessible, the formerly unexplored navigable by his
greatness of purpose and greatness of accomplishment. [-43-] And had not
certain persons out of envy formed a faction against him, or rather us,
and forced him to return here before the proper time, he would certainly
have subdued Britain entire together with the remaining islands
surrounding it and all of Celtica to the Arctic Ocean, so that we should
have had as borders not land or people for the future, but air and the
outer sea. For these reasons you also, seeing the greatness of his mind
and his deeds and good fortune, assigned him the right to hold office a
very long time, - a privilege which, from the hour that we became a
democracy has belonged to no other man, - I mean holding the leadership
during eight whole years in succession. This shows that you thought him
to be really winning all those conquests for you and never entertained
the suspicion that he would strengthen himself to your hurt.

"No, you desired that he should spend in those regions as long a time as
possible. He was prevented, however, by those who regarded the
government as no longer a public but their own private possession, from
subjugating the remaining countries, and you were kept from becoming
lords of them all; these men, making an ill use of the opportunity given
them by his being occupied, ventured upon many impious projects, so that
you came to require his aid. [-44-] Therefore abandoning the victories
within his grasp he quickly brought you assistance, freed all Italy from
the dangers in which it had become involved, and furthermore won back
Spain which had been estranged. Then he saw Pompey, who had abandoned
his fatherland and was setting up a kingdom of his own in Macedonia,
transferring thither all your possessions, equipping your subjects
against you, and using against you money of your own. So at first he
wished to persuade Pompey somehow to stop and change his course and
receive the greatest pledges that he should again attain a fair and
equal position with him; and he sent to him both privately and publicly.
When, however, he found himself unable in any way to effect this, but
Pompey burst all restraints, even the relationship that had existed
between himself and Caesar, and chose to fight against you, then at last
he was compelled to begin a civil war. And what need is there of telling
how daringly he sailed against him in spite of the winter, or how boldly
he assailed him, though Pompey held all the strong positions there, or
how bravely he vanquished him though much inferior in number of
soldiers? If a man wished to examine each feature in detail, he might
show the renowned Pompey to have been a child, so completely was he
outgeneraled at every point.

[-45-] "But this I will omit, for Caesar himself likewise never took any
pride in it, but he accepted it as a dispensation of destiny, repugnant
to him personally. When Heaven had most justly decided the issue of the
battle, what man of those then captured for the first time did he put to
death? Whom, rather, did he not honor, not alone senators or knights or
citizens in general, but also allies and subjects? No one of them either
died a violent death, or was made defendant in court, no individual, no
king, no tribe, no city. On the contrary, some arrayed themselves on his
side, and others at least obtained immunity with honor, so that then all
lamented the men that had been lost. Such exceeding humanity did he
show, that he praised those who had co√ґperated with Pompey and allowed
them to keep everything the latter had given them, but hated Pharnaces
and Orodes, because though friends of the vanquished they had not
assisted him. It was chiefly for this reason that he not long after
waged war on Pharnaces, and was preparing to conduct a campaign against
Orodes. He certainly [would have spared] even [Pompey himself if] he had
captured him alive.[114] A proof of this is that he did not pursue him
at once, but allowed him to flee at his leisure. Also he was grieved to
hear of Pompey's death and did not praise his murderers, but put them to
death for it soon after, and even destroyed besides Ptolemy himself,
though a child, because he had allowed his benefactor to perish.

[-46-] "How after this he brought Egypt to terms and how much money he
conveyed to you from there it would be superfluous to relate. And when
he made his campaign against Pharnaces, who already held considerable of
Pontus and Armenia, he was on the same day reported to the rebel as
approaching him, was seen confronting him, engaged in conflict with him,
and conquered him.

"This better than anything else established the truth of the assertion
that he had not become weaker in Alexandria and had not delayed there
out of voluptuousness. For how could he have won that victory so easily
without employing a great store of insight and great force? When now
Pharnaces had fled he was preparing to conduct a campaign at once
against the Parthian, but as certain quarrels were taking place there he
withdrew rather unwillingly, but settled this dispute, too, so that no
one would believe there had been a disturbance. Not a soul was killed or
exiled or even dishonored in any way as a result of that trouble, not
because many might not justly have been punished, but because he thought
it right while destroying enemies unsparingly to preserve citizens, even
if they were poor stuff. Therefore by his bravery he overcame foreigners
in war, but out of his humanity kept unharmed the seditious citizens,
although many of them by their acts had often shown themselves unworthy
of this favor. This same policy he followed again both in Africa and in
Spain, releasing all who had not before been captured and been made
recipients of his mercy. To grant their lives invariably to such as
frequently plotted against him he deemed folly, not humanity. On the
other hand, he thought it quite the duty of a manly man to pardon
opponents on the occasion of their first errors and not to keep an
inexorable anger, yes, and to assign honors to them, but if they clung
to their original course, to get rid of them. Yet why did I say this?
Many of them also he preserved by allowing all his associates and those
who had helped him conquer to save, one each, the life of a captive.

[-47-] "Moreover, that he did all this from inherent excellence and not
from pretence or to gather any advantage, as others in large numbers
have displayed humaneness, the greatest evidence is that everywhere and
under all circumstances he showed himself the same: anger did not
brutalize him nor good fortune corrupt him; power did not alter, nor
authority change him. Yet it is very difficult when tested in so many
enterprises of such a scope and following one another in quick
succession at a time when one has been successful in some, is still
engaged in conducting others, and only suspects the existence of others,
to prove equally efficient on all occasions and to refrain from wishing
to do anything harsh or frightful, if not out of vengeance for the past,
at least as a measure of safeguard for the future. This, then, is enough
to prove his excellence. He was so truly a scion of gods that he
understood but one thing, to save those that could be saved. But if you
want more evidence, it lies in this, that he took care to have those who
warred against him chastised by no other hands than his own, and that he
won back those who in former times had slipped away. He had amnesty
granted to all who had been followers of Lepidus and Sertorius, and next
arranged that safety should be afforded all the survivors among those
proscribed by Sulla; somewhat later he brought them home from exile and
bestowed honors and offices upon the children of all who had been slain
by that tyrant. Greatest of all, he burned absolutely every one of the
letters containing secret information that was found in the tent of
either Pompey or Scipio, not reading or noticing any portion of them, in
order that no one else might derive from them the power to play the
rogue. That this was not only what he said, but what he did, his acts
show clearly. No one as a result of those letters was even frightened,
let alone suffering any great calamity. And no one knows those who
escaped this danger except the men themselves. This is most astonishing
and has nothing to surpass it, that they were spared before being
accused, and saved before encountering danger, and that not even he who
saved their lives learned who it was he pitied.

[-48-] "For these and all his other acts of lawmaking and
reconstruction, great in themselves, but likely to be deemed small in
comparison with those others into which one cannot enter minutely, you
loved him as a father and cherished him as a benefactor, you glorified
him with such honors as you bestowed on no one else and desired him to
be continual head of the city and of the whole domain. You did not
dispute at all about titles, but applied them all to him as being still
less than his merits, with the purpose that whatever was lacking in each
one of them of what was considered a proper expression of the most
complete honor and authority might be made up by what the rest
contributed. Therefore, as regards the gods he was appointed high
priest, as regards us consul, as regards the soldiers imperator, and as
regards the enemy dictator. But why do I enumerate these details, when
in one phrase you called him father of his country, - not to mention the
rest of his titles?

[-49-] "Yet this father, this high priest, this inviolable being, hero,
god, is dead, alas, dead not by the violence of some disease, nor
exhausted by old age, nor wounded abroad somewhere in some war, nor
snatched away irresistibly by some supernatural force: but plotted
against here within the walls - the man that safely led an army into
Britain; ambushed in this city - the man who had increased its circuit;
struck down in the senate-house - the man that had reared another such
edifice at his own charge; unarmed the brave warrior; defenceless the
promoter of peace; the judge beside the court of justice; the governor
beside the seat of government; at the hands of the citizens - he whom
none of the enemy had been able to kill even when he fell into the sea;
at the hands of his comrades - he who had often taken pity on them.
Where, Caesar, was your humaneness, where your inviolability, where the
laws? You enacted many laws to prevent any one's being killed by
personal foes, yet see how mercilessly your friends killed you, and now
slain you lie before us in that Forum through which you often crowned
led triumphal marches, wounded unto death you have been cast down upon
that rostra from which you often addressed the people. Woe for the
blood-bespattered locks of gray, alas for the rent robe, which you
assumed, it seems, only to the end that you might be slain in it!"

[-50-] At this deliverance of Antony's the throng was at first excited,
then enraged, and finally so inflamed with passion that they sought his
murderers and reproached the senators besides, because the former had
killed and the latter had beheld without protest the death of a man in
whose behalf they had voted to offer yearly prayers, by whose Health and
Fortune they took oaths, and whom they had made sacrosanct equally with
the tribunes. Then, seizing his body, some wished to convey it to the
room in which he had been slaughtered, and others to the Capitol and to
burn it there: but being prevented by the soldiers, who feared that the
theatres and temples would be burned to the ground at the same time,
they placed it upon a pyre there in the Forum, just as they were. Even
under these circumstances many of the surrounding buildings would have
been destroyed, had not the soldiers presented an obstacle, and some of
the bolder spirits the consuls forced over the cliffs of the Capitol.
For all that the remainder did not cease their disturbance, but rushed
to the houses of the murderers, and during the excitement they killed
without reason Helvius Cinna, a tribune, and some others; this man had
not only not plotted against Caesar, but was one of his most devoted
friends. Their error was due to the fact that Cornelius Cinna the praetor
had a share in the attack. [-51-] After this the consuls forbade any one
outside the ranks of soldiers to carry arms. They accordingly refrained
from assassinations, but set up a kind of altar on the site of the
pyre - his bones the freedmen had previously taken up and deposited in
the ancestral tomb - and undertook to sacrifice upon it and offer victims
to Caesar, as to a god. This the consuls overturned and punished some who
showed displeasure at the act, also publishing a law that no one should
ever again be dictator. In fact they invoked curses and proclaimed death
as the penalty upon any man who should propose or support such a
measure, and furthermore they fined the present malcontents directly. In
making this provision for the future they seemed to assume that the
shamefulness of the deeds consisted in the names, whereas these
occurrences really arose from the supremacy of arms and the character of
each individual, and degraded the titles of authority in whatever
capacity exercised. For the time being they despatched immediately to
the colonies such as held allotments of land previously assigned by
Caesar; this was from fear that they might cause some disturbance. Of
Caesar's slayers they sent out some, who had obtained governorships, to
the provinces, and the rest to various different places on one pretext
or another: and these persons were honored by many persons as
benefactors.

[-52-] In this way Caesar disappeared from the scene. Inasmuch as he had
been slain in Pompey's edifice and near his statue which at that time
stood there, he seemed in a way to have afforded his rival his revenge;
and this idea gained ground from the fact that tremendous thunder and a
furious rain occurred. In the midst of that excitement there also took
place the following incident, not unworthy of mention. One Gaius Casca,
a tribune, seeing that Cinna had perished as a result of his name being
similar to the praetor's, and fearing that he too might be killed,
because Publius Servilius Casca was one of the tribunes and also one of
the assassins, issued a book which showed that they had in common only
one and the same name and pointed out their difference of disposition.
Neither of them suffered any harm (for Servilius was strongly guarded)
and Gaius won some consideration, so that he is remembered by this act.

[-53-] These were the proceedings, at that time, of the consuls and the
rest. Dolabella was invested with his office by Antony, who feared that
he might cause a sedition, although he was at first not disposed to take
such action, on the ground that Dolabella had not yet the right to it.
When, however, the excitement subsided, and Antony himself was charged
with investigating the acts of Caesar's administration and carrying out
all the latter's behests, he no longer kept within bounds. As soon as he
had got hold of the dead man's documents, he made many erasures, and
many substitutions, - inserting laws as well as other matter. Moreover,
he deprived some of money and offices, which in turn he gave to others,
pretending that in so doing he was carrying out Caesar's directions. Next
he made many seizures on the spot, and collected large sums of money
from individuals, peoples and kings, selling to some land, to others
liberty, to others citizenships, to others exemption from taxes. This
was done in spite of the fact that the senate at first had voted that no



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 28 of 30)