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 5 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 5 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

reach the seventh, and in the return cycle approach them by the names of
the days, one will find all the days to be in a kind of musical
connection with the arrangement of the heavens.

[-19-] This is one of the accounts: the other is as follows. If you
begin at the first one to count the hours of the day and of the night,
assigning the first to Saturn, the next to Jupiter, the third to Mars,
the fourth to Sol,[21] the fifth to Venus, the sixth to Mercury, and the
seventh to Luna,[20] according to the order of the cycles the Egyptians
observe in their system, and if you repeat the process, covering thus
the twenty-four hours, you will find that the first hour of the
following day comes to the sun. And if you carry on the operation
throughout the next twenty-four hours, by the same method as outlined
above, you will consecrate the first hour of the third day to the moon,
and if you proceed similarly through the rest, each day will receive the
god that appertains to it. This, then, is the tradition.[22]

[-20-] Pompey, when he had accomplished what has been related, went
again to the Pontus and after taking charge of the forts returned to
Asia and thence to Greece and Italy. He had won many battles; had
brought into subjection many potentates and kings, some by going to war
with them and some by treaty, he had colonized eight cities, had created
many lands and sources of revenue for the Romans, and had established
and organized most of the nations in the continent of Asia then
belonging to them with their own laws and governments, so that even to
this day they use the laws that he laid down.

But although these achievements were great and had been equaled by no
earlier Roman, one might ascribe them both to good fortune and to his
fellow campaigners. The performance for which credit particularly
attaches to Pompey himself, which is forever worthy of admiration, I
will now proceed to set forth.

[-21-] He had enormous power both on sea and on land; he had supplied
himself with vast sums of money from captives; he had made friends with
numerous potentates and kings; and he had kept practically all the
communities which he ruled well disposed through benefits bestowed. And
although by these means he might have occupied Italy and have taken
possession of the whole Roman sway, since the majority would have
accepted him voluntarily, and if any had resisted they would certainly
have capitulated through weakness, yet he did not choose to do this.
Instead, as soon as he had crossed to Brundusium he gave up of his own
accord all his powers, without waiting for any vote to be passed
concerning the matter by the senate or the people, not troubling himself
even about using them in the course of the triumph. For since he
understood that the careers of Marius and Sulla were held in abomination
by all mankind, he did not wish to cause them any fear even for a few
days that they should undergo any similar experiences. Consequently he
did not so much as acquire any name from his exploits, although he might
have taken many.

As for the triumphal celebration - I mean that one which is considered
the chief, - although according to most ancient precedents it is not
lawful that it be held without those who aided the victory, he
nevertheless accepted it, as it had been voted to him. He conducted the
procession in honor of all his wars at once, including in it many
trophies beautifully arrayed to represent each of his deeds, even the
smallest: and after them all came one huge one, arrayed in costly
fashion and bearing an inscription to the effect that it was a World
Trophy. He did not, however, add any other title to his name, but was
satisfied with that of Magnus only, which, as is known, he had gained
even before these achievements. Nor did he get any other extravagant
privilege awarded him: only he did use once such as had been voted him
in absence. These were that he should wear the laurel wreath on the
occasion of all meetings at any time, and should be clad in the robe of
office at all of them, as well as in the triumphal garb at the
horse-races. They were granted him chiefly through the coöperation of
Caesar, and contrary to the judgment of Marcus Cato.

[-22-] Regarding the former a statement has already been made as to who
he was, and it has been related[23] that he cultivated the common
people, and while generally striving to depose Pompey from his high
position, still made a friend of him in cases where he was sure of
pleasing the populace and gaining influence himself. But this Cato
belonged to the family of the Porcii and emulated the great Cato, except
that he had enjoyed a better Greek education than the former. He
promoted assiduously the interests of the multitude and admired no one
man, being excessively devoted to the common weal; suspicious of
sovereignty, he hated everything that had grown above its fellows, but
loved everything mediocre through pity for its weakness. He showed
himself a passionate adherent of the populace as did no one else, and
indulged in outspokenness beyond the limits of propriety, even when it
involved danger. All this he did not with a view to power or glory or
any honor, but solely for the sake of a life of independence, free from
the dictation of tyrants. Such was the nature of the man who now for the
first time came forward before the people and opposed the measures under
consideration, not out of any hostility to Pompey, but because they
transgressed time-honored customs.

[-23-] These honors, then, they granted Pompey in his absence, but none
when he had come home, though they would certainly have added others,
had he wished it; upon some other men, indeed, who had been less
successful than he, they often bestowed many extravagant distinctions.
That they did so unwillingly, however, is clear.

Pompey knew well that all the gifts granted by the common people to
those who have any influence and are in positions of authority contain
the suggestion, no matter how willingly they are voted, of having been
granted through force applied out of the resources of the strong. He
knew that such honors bring no glory to those who receive them, because
it is believed that they were obtained not from willing donors, but
under compulsion, and not from good will, but as a result of flattery.
Hence he did not permit any one to propose any measure whatever. This
course he declared far better than to reject what has been voted to one.
The latter method brought hatred for the high position that led to such
measures being passed, and connoted arrogance and insolence in not
accepting what is granted by your superiors or at all events by your
peers. By the former method you possessed in very fact the democratic
name and behavior both, not indicated but existent. For having received
almost all the offices and positions of command contrary to ancient
precedent, he refused to accept all such others as were destined to
bring him only envy and hatred even from the very givers, without
enabling him to benefit any one or be benefited.

[-24-] All this took place in course of time. Temporarily the Romans had
a respite from war for the remainder of the year, so that they even held
the so-called _augurium salutis_ after a long interval. This is a kind
of augury, which consists of an enquiry whether the god allows them to
request welfare for the State, as if it were unholy even to make a
request for it until the action received sanction. That day of the year
was observed on which no army went out to war, or was taking defensive
measures against any, or was fighting a battle. For this reason, amid
the constant perils (especially those of a civil nature), it was not
held. In general it was very difficult for them to secure exactly the
day which should be free from all those disturbances, and furthermore it
was most ridiculous, when they were voluntarily causing one another
unspeakable woes through factional conflicts and were destined to suffer
ills whether they were beaten or victorious, that they should still ask
safety from the divine power.

[-25-] Notwithstanding, it was in some way possible at that time for the
divination to be held, but it did not prove to be pure. Some strange
birds flew up and made the augury of no effect. Other unlucky omens,
too, developed. Many thunderbolts fell from a clear sky, the earth was
mightily shaken, and human apparitions were visible in many places, and
in the West flashes ran up into heaven, so that any one, even an
ignorant fellow, was bound to know in advance what was signified by
them. For the tribunes united with Antonius, the consul, who was much
like themselves in character, and some one of them supported for office
the children of those exiled by Sulla, while a second was for granting
to Publius Paetus and to Cornelius Sulla, who had been convicted with
him, the right to be members of the senate and to hold office. Another
made a motion for a cancellation of debts, and for allotments of land to
be made both in Italy and in the subject territory. These motions were
taken in hand betimes by Cicero and those who were of the same mind as
he, and were quashed before any action resulted from them.

[-26-] Titus Labienus, however, by indicting Gaius Rabirius for the
murder of Saturninus caused them the greatest disorder. For Saturninus
had been killed some thirty-six years earlier, and the steps taken
against him by the consuls of the period had been at the direction of
the senate: as a result of the present action the senate was likely to
lose authority over its votes. Consequently the whole system of
government was stirred up. Rabirius did not admit the murder, but denied
it. The tribunes were eager to overthrow completely the power and the
reputation of the senate and were preparing for themselves in advance
authority to do whatever they pleased. For the calling to account of
acts that had received the approval of the senate and had been committed
so many years before tended to give immunity to those who were
undertaking anything similar, and curtailed the punishments they could
inflict. Now the senate in general thought it shocking for a man of
senatorial rank who was guilty of no crime and now well advanced in
years to perish, and were all the more enraged because the dignity of
the government was being attacked, and control of affairs was being
entrusted to the vilest men.

[-27-] Hence arose turbulent exhibitions of partisanship and contentions
about the court, the one party demanding that it should not be convened
and the other that it should sit. When the latter party won, because of
Caesar and some others, there was strife again regarding the trial. Caesar
himself was judge with Lucius Caesar; for the charge against Rabirius was
not a simple one, but the so-called _perduellio-: - and they condemned
him, although they had not been chosen according to precedent by the
people, but by the praetor himself, which was not permitted. Rabirius
yielded, and would certainly have been convicted before the popular
court also, had not Metellus Celer who was an augur and praetor hindered
it. For since nothing else would make them heed him and they were
unconcerned that the trial had been held in a manner contrary to custom,
he ran up to Janiculum before they had cast any vote whatever, and
pulled down the military signal, so that it was no longer lawful for
them to reach a decision.

[-28-] Now this matter of the signal is about as follows. In old times
there were many enemies dwelling near the city, and the Romans
(according to the account) fearing that while they were holding an
assembly foes might occupy Janiculum to attack the city decided that not
all should vote at once, but that some men under arms should by turns
always guard that spot. So they garrisoned it as long as the assembly
lasted, but when it was about to be dissolved, the signal was pulled
down and the guards departed. Regularly no business was any longer
allowed to be transacted unless the post were garrisoned. It was
permissible only in the case of assemblies which collected by companies,
for these were outside the wall and all who had arms were obliged to
attend them. Even to this day it is done from religious grounds.

So on that occasion, when the signal was pulled down, the assembly was
dissolved and Rabirius saved. Labienus, indeed, had the right to go to
court again, but he did not do this.

[-29-] As for Catiline, his ruin was accomplished in the following way
and for the reasons which I shall narrate. He had been seeking the
consulship even then, and contriving every conceivable way to get
appointed, when the senate decreed, chiefly at the instance of Cicero,
that a banishment of ten years should be added by law to the penalties
imposed for bribery. Catiline thought, as was doubtless true, that this
ruling had been made on his account, and planned, by collecting a small
band, to slay Cicero and some other foremost men on the very day of the
election, in order that he might immediately be chosen consul. This
project he was unable, however, to carry out. Cicero learned of the plot
beforehand, informed the senate of it, and delivered a long accusation
against him. Being unsuccessful, however, in persuading them to vote any
of the measures he asked - this was because his announcement was not
regarded as credible and he was suspected of having uttered false
charges against the men on account of personal enmity - Cicero became
frightened, seeing that he had given Catiline additional provocation,
and he did not venture to enter the assembly alone, as had been his
custom, but he took his friends along prepared to defend him if any
danger threatened; and he wore for his own safety and because of their
hostility a breastplate beneath his clothing, which he would purposely
uncover. For this reason and because anyway some report had been spread
of a plot against him, the populace was furiously angry and the fellow
conspirators of Catiline through fear of him became quiet. [-30-] In
this way new consuls were chosen, and Catiline no longer directed his
plot in secret or against Cicero and his adherents only, but against the
whole commonwealth. He assembled from Rome itself the lowest characters
and such as were always eager for a revolution and as many as possible
of the allies, by promising them cancellation of debts, redistribution
of lands, and everything else by which he was most likely to allure
them. Upon the foremost and most powerful of them (of whose number was
Antonius the consul) he imposed the obligation of taking the oath in an
unholy manner. He sacrificed a boy, and after administering the oath
over his entrails, tasted the inwards in company with the rest. Those
who coöperated with him most were: In Rome, the consul and Publius
Lentulus, who, after his consulship, had been expelled from the senate
(he was now acting as praetor, in order to gain senatorial rank again);
at Faesulae, where the men of his party were collecting, one Gaius
Mallius, who was most experienced in military matters (he had served
with Sulla's centurions) and the greatest possible spendthrift.
Everything that he had gained at that epoch, although a vast sum, he had
consumed by evil practices, and was eager for other similar exploits.
Afranius, returning through Mesopotamia to Syria, contrary to the
agreement made with the Parthian, [B.C. 65] wandered from the way and
endured much evil by reason of the winter and lack of supplies. Indeed,
he would have perished, had not Carraeans, colonists of the Macedonians
who dwelt somewhere in that vicinity, supported him and helped him

[-31-] While they were making these preparations, information came to
Cicero, first of what was occurring in the city, through some letters
which did not indicate the writer but were given to Crassus and some
other influential men. On their publication a decree was passed that a
state of disorder existed and that a search should be made for those
responsible for it. Next came the news from Etruria, whereupon they
voted to the consuls in addition the guardianship of the city and of all
its interests, as they had been accustomed to have: for to this decree
was subjoined the command that they should take care that no injury
happen to the republic. When this had been done and a garrison stationed
at many points, there was no further sign of revolution in the city,
insomuch that Cicero was even falsely charged with sycophancy; but
messages from the Etruscans confirmed the accusation, and thereupon he
prepared an indictment for violence against Catiline.

[-32-] The latter at first accepted it with entire readiness as if
supported by a good conscience, and made ready for the trial, even
offering to surrender himself to Cicero so that the latter could watch
and see that he did not escape anywhere. As Cicero, however, refused to
take charge of him, he voluntarily took up his residence at the house of
Metellus the praetor, in order that he might be as free as possible from
the suspicion of promoting a revolution until he should gain some
additional strength from the conspirators in that very town. But he made
no headway at all, because Antonius through fear shrank back and
Lentulus was anything but an energetic sort of person. Accordingly, he
gave them notice to assemble by night in a particular house, where he
met them without Metellus's knowledge and upbraided them for their
timorousness and weakness. Next he set forth in detail how great
punishments they would suffer if they were detected and how many
desirable things they would obtain if successful, and by means so
encouraged and incited them, that two men promised to rush into Cicero's
house at daybreak and murder him there.

[-33-] Information of this, too, was given in advance: for Cicero, being
a man of influence, had through his speeches by either conciliation or
intimidation gained many followers, who reported such occurrences to
him: and the senate voted that Catiline should leave the city. The
latter was glad enough to withdraw on this excuse and went to Faesulae,
where he prepared an out and out war. He took the consular name and
dress and proceeded to organize the men previously collected by Mallius,
meanwhile gaining accessions first of freemen, and second of slaves.

The Romans consequently condemned him for violence, ordered Antonius to
the war (being ignorant, of course, of their conspiracy), and themselves
changed their apparel. The crisis kept Cicero likewise where he was. The
government of Macedonia had fallen to him by lot, but he did not set out
for that country, - retiring in favor of his colleague on account of his
occupation in the prosecutions, - nor for Hither Gaul, which he had
obtained in its place, on account of the immediate situation. Instead,
he charged himself with the protection of the city, but sent Metellus to
Gaul to prevent Catiline from alienating it.

[-34-] It was extremely well for the Romans that he remained. For
Lentulus made preparations to burn down the city and commit wholesale
slaughter with the aid of his fellow conspirators and of Allobroges, who
chanced to be there on an embassy: these also he persuaded to join
him[24] and the others implicated in the revolution in their
undertaking. The consul learning of their purpose arrested the men sent
to carry it out and brought them with their letter into the
senate-chamber, where, by granting them immunity, he proved all the
conspiracy. As a consequence Lentulus was forced by the senate to resign
the praetorship, and was kept under guard along with the others arrested
while the remnant of the society was being sought for. These measures
pleased the populace equally: especially so, when, during a speech of
Cicero's on the subject, the statue of Jupiter was set up on the Capitol
at the very time of the assembly, and by instructions of the soothsayers
was placed so as to face the East and the Forum. For these prophets had
decided that some conspiracy would be brought to light by the erection
of the statue, and when its setting up coincided with the time of the
conspirators' arrest, the people magnified the divine power and were the
more angry at those charged with the disturbance.

[-35-] A report went abroad that Crassus was also among them, and one of
the men arrested, too, gave this information; still, not many believed
it. Some, in the first place, thought they had no business to suspect
him of such a thing; others regarded it as a trumped-up charge emanating
from the guilty parties, in order that the latter might thereby get some
help from him, because he possessed the greatest influence. And if it
did seem credible to any persons, at least they did not see fit to ruin
a man who was foremost among them and to disquiet the city still more.
Consequently this charge fell through utterly.

Now many slaves, and freemen as well, some through fear and others for
pity of Lentulus and the rest, made preparations to deliver them all
forcibly and rescue them from death. Cicero learned of this beforehand
and occupied the Capitol and Forum betimes by night with a garrison. At
dawn he received from above an inspiration to hope for the best: for in
the course of sacrifices conducted in his house by the Vestals in behalf
of the populace, the fire, contrary to custom, shot up in a tongue of
great length. Accordingly, he ordered the praetors to administer an oath
to the populace and have them enlisted, in case there should be any need
of soldiers, and meanwhile himself convened the senate: then, by
throwing them into agitation and fright, he persuaded them to condemn to
death the persons held under arrest.

[-36-] At first the senators had been at variance, and came near setting
them free. For while all before Caesar had voted that they should be put
to death, he gave his decision that they should be imprisoned and
deported to various cities after having their property confiscated, with
the condition that there should be no further deliberation about
immunity for them, and if any one of them should run away, he should be
considered among the enemies of that city from which he fled. Then all
who subsequently made known their opinions, until it came to Cato, cast
this vote, so that some of the first also changed their minds. But the
fact that Cato himself gave a sentence of death against them caused all
the rest to vote similarly. So the conspirators were punished by the
decision of the majority and a sacrifice and period of festival over
them was decreed, - something that had never before happened from any
such cause. Others, also, against whom information was lodged, were
sought out and some incurred suspicion and were held to account for
merely intending to join that party. The consuls managed most of the
investigations, but Aulus Fulvius, a senator, was slain by his own
father; and some think that the latter was not the only private
individual who did this. There were many others, that is, not only
consuls but persons in private life, who killed their children. This was
the course of affairs at that time.

[-37-] The priestly elections, on motion of Labienus supported by Caesar,
were again referred by the people to popular vote, contrary to the law
of Sulla, but in renewal of the law of Domitius. Caesar at the death of
Metellus Pius was eager for his priesthood, although young and not
having served as praetor. Resting his hopes of it upon the multitude,
therefore, especially because he had helped Labienus against Rabirius
and had not voted for the death of Lentulus, he took the above course.
And he was appointed pontifex maximus, in spite of the fact that many
others, Catulus most of all, were his rivals for the honor. This because
he showed himself perfectly ready to serve and flatter every one, even
ordinary persons, and he spared no speech or action for getting
possession of the objects for which he strove. He paid no heed to
temporary groveling when weighed against subsequent power, and he
cringed as before superiors to those men whom he was planning to

[-38-] Toward Caesar, accordingly, for these reasons, the masses were
well disposed, but their anger was directed against Cicero for the death
of the citizens, and they displayed their enmity in many ways. Finally,
when on the last day of his office he desired to give a defence and
account of all that had been done in his consulship, - for he took great
pleasure not only in being praised by others, but also in extolling
himself, - they made him keep silence and did not allow him to utter a
word outside of his oath; in this they had Metellus Nepos, the tribune,

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 5 of 30)