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

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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 7 of 30)
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who wished to seem to hold the same opinions as did he. No one in that
generation took part in politics from pure motives and without any
individual desire of gain except Cato. Some were ashamed of the acts
committed and others who strove to imitate him took a hand in affairs in
places, and manifested something of the same spirit: they were not
persevering, however, inasmuch as their efforts sprang from cultivation
of an attitude and not from innate virtue.

[-58-] This was the condition into which these men brought the affairs
of Rome at that time while they concealed their sworn fellowship as much
as possible. They did whatever had approved itself to them, but
fabricated and put forth the most opposite motives, in order that they
might still lie concealed for a very long time till their preparations
should be sufficiently made.

Yet Heaven was not ignorant of their doings, and it straightway revealed
plainly to those who could understand any such signs all that would
later result from their domination. For of a sudden such a storm came
down upon the whole city and all the land that quantities of trees were
torn up by the roots, many houses were shattered, the boats moored in
the Tiber both near the city and at its mouth were sunk, and the wooden
bridge destroyed, and a small theatre built of timbers for some assembly
was overturned, and in the midst of all this great numbers of human
beings perished. These portents appeared in advance, - an image, as it
were, of what should befall the people both on land and on water.



The following is contained in the Thirty-eighth of Dio's Rome: How Caesar
and Bibulus fell to quarreling (chapters 1-8).

How Cicero was exiled (chapters 9-17).

How Philiscus consoled Cicero in the matter of his exile (chapters

How Caesar fought the Helvetii and Ariovistus (chapters 31-50).

Duration of time, two years, in which there were the following
magistrates, here enumerated:

C. Julius C.F. Caesar, M. Calpurnius || C.F. Bibulus ||. (B.C. 59 = a.u.

||L. Calpurnius || L.F. Piso, A. Gabinius A.F. (B.C. 58 = a.u. 696.)

The names within the parallel lines are lacking in the MSS., but were
inserted by Palmer (and Boissevain).


[B.C. 59 (_a.u._ 695)]

[-1-] The following year Caesar wished to court the favor of the entire
multitude, that he might make them his own to an even greater degree.
But since he was anxious to seem to be advancing also the interests of
the leading classes, so as to avoid getting into enmity with them, he
often told them that he would propose no measure which would not
advantage them also. Now there was a certain proposition about the land
which he was for assigning to the whole populace, that he had framed in
such a way as to incur no little censure for it. However, he pretended
he would not introduce this measure, either, unless it should be
according to their wishes. So far as the law went, indeed, no one could
find fault with him. The mass of the citizens, which was unwieldly (a
feature which more than any other accounted for their tendency to riot),
was thus turning in the direction of work and agriculture; and most of
the desolated sections of Italy were being colonized afresh, so that not
only those who had been worn out in the campaigns, but also all of the
rest should have subsistence a plenty, and that without any individual
expense on the part of the city or any assessment of the chief men;
rather it included the conferring of both rank and office upon many. He
wanted to distribute all the public land except Campania - this he
advised their keeping distinct as a public possession, because of its
excellence - and the rest he urged them to buy not from any one who was
unwilling to sell nor again for so large a price as the settlers might
wish, but first from people who were willing to dispose of their
holdings and second for as large a price as it had been valued at in the
tax-lists. They had a great deal of surplus money, he asserted, as a
result of the booty which Pompey had captured, as well as from the
new[29] tributes and taxes just established, and they ought, inasmuch as
it had been provided by the dangers that citizens had incurred, to
expend it upon those very persons. Furthermore he was for constituting
the land commissioners not a small body, to seem like an oligarchy, nor
composed of men who were laboring under any legal indictment,[30] lest
somebody might be displeased, but twenty to begin with, so that many
might share the honor, and next those who were most suitable, except
himself. This point he quite insisted should be settled in advance, that
it might not be thought that he was making a motion on his own account.
He himself was satisfied with the conception and proposal of the matter;
at least he said so, but clearly he was doing a favor to Pompey and
Crassus and the rest.

[-2-] So far as the motion went, then, he escaped censure, so that no
one, indeed, ventured to open his mouth in opposition: for he had read
it aloud beforehand in the senate, and calling upon each one of the
senators by name had enquired his opinion, for fear that some one might
have some fault to find; and he promised to frame differently or even
erase entirely any clause which might not please any person. Still on
the whole quite all the foremost men who were outside the plot were
irritated. And this very fact troubled them most, that Caesar had
compiled such a document that not one could raise a criticism and yet
they were all cast down. They suspected the purpose with which it was
being done, - that he would bind the multitude to him as a result of it,
and have reputation and power over all men. For this reason even if no
one spoke against him, no one expressed approval, either. This sufficed
for the majority and they kept promising him that they would pass the
decree: but they did nothing; on the contrary, fruitless delays and
postponements kept arising. [-3-] As for Marcus Cato, who was in general
an upright man and displeased with any innovation but was able to exert
no influence either by nature or by education, he did not himself make
any complaint against the motion, but without going into particulars
urged them to abide by the existing system and take no steps beyond it.
At this Caesar was on the point of dragging Cato out of the very
senate-house and casting him into prison. The latter gave himself up
quite readily to be led away and not a few of the rest followed him; one
of them, Marcus Petreius, being rebuked by Caesar because he was taking
his departure before the senate was yet dismissed, replied: "I prefer to
be with Cato in his cell rather than here with you." Abashed at this
speech Caesar let Cato go and adjourned the senate, saying only this much
in passing: "I have made you judges and lords of the law so that if
anything should not suit you, it need not be brought into the public
assembly; but since you are not willing to pass a decree, that body
itself shall decide."

[-4-] Thereafter he communicated to the senate nothing further under
this head but brought directly before the people whatever he desired.
However, as he wished even under these circumstances to secure as
sympathizers some of the foremost men in the assembly, hoping that they
had now changed their minds and would be a little afraid of the
populace, he began with his colleague and asked him if he criticised the
provisions of the law. When the latter made no answer save that he would
endure no innovations in his own office, Caesar proceeded to supplicate
him and persuaded the multitude to join him in his request, saying: "You
shall have the law if only he wishes it."

Bibulus with a great shout replied: "You shall not have this law this
year, even if all of you wish it." And having spoken thus he took his

Caesar did not address any further enquiries to persons in office,
fearing that some one of them might also oppose him; but he held a
conference with Pompey and Crassus, though they were private citizens,
and bade them make known their views about the proposition. This was not
because he failed to understand their attitude, for all their
undertakings were in common; but he purposed to honor these men in that
he called them in as advisers about the law when they were holding no
office, and also to stir terror in the rest by securing the adherence of
men who were admittedly the foremost in the city at that time and had
the greatest influence with all. By this very move, also, he would
please the multitude, by giving proof that they were not striving for
any unusual or unjust end, but for objects which those great men were
willing both to scrutinize and to approve.

[-5-] Pompey, accordingly, very gladly addressed them as follows: "Not I
alone, Quirites, sanction the proposition, but all the rest of the
senate as well, seeing that it has voted for land to be given, aside
from the partners of my campaign, to those who formerly followed
Metellus. At that time, indeed, since the treasury had no great means,
the granting of the land was naturally postponed; but at present, since
it has become exceedingly rich through my efforts, it behooves the
senators to redeem their promise and the rest to reap the fruit of the
common toils." After these remarks he went over in detail every feature
of the proposition and approved them all, so that the crowd was mightily
pleased. Seeing this, Caesar asked him if he would willingly lend
assistance against those who took the opposite side, and advised the
multitude to ask his aid similarly for this end. When this was done
Pompey was elated because both the consul and the multitude had
petitioned his help, although he was holding no position of command. So,
with an added opinion of his own value and assuming much dignity he
spoke at some length, finally declaring "if any one dares to raise a
sword, I, too, will oppose to him my shield." These utterances of Pompey
Crassus, too, approved. Consequently even if some of the rest were not
pleased, most became very eager for the ratification of the law when
these[31] men whose reputations were in general excellent and who were,
according to common opinion, inimical to Caesar (their reconciliation was
not yet manifest) joined in the approbation of his measure.

[-6-] Bibulus, notwithstanding, would not yield and with three tribunes
to support him continued to hinder the enactment of the law. Finally,
when no excuse for delay was any longer left him, he proclaimed a sacred
period for all the remaining days of the year alike, during which people
could not, in accordance with the laws, come together for a meeting.[32]
Caesar paid slight attention to him and announced an appointed day on
which they should pass the law. When the multitude by night had already
occupied the Forum, Bibulus appeared with the force at his disposal and
made his way to the temple of the Dioscuri from which Caesar was
delivering his harangue. The men fell back before him partly out of
respect and partly because they thought he would not actually oppose
them. But when he reached an elevated place and attempted to dispute
with Caesar, he was thrust down the steps, his staves were broken to
pieces, and the tribunes as well as the others received blows and

Thus the law was ratified. Bibulus was for the moment satisfied to save
his life, but on the following day tried in the senate to annul the act;
however, he effected nothing, for all, subservient to the will of the
multitude, remained quiet. Accordingly he retired to his home and did
not again so much as once appear in public until the last day of the
year. Instead he remained in his house, - notifying Caesar through his
assistants on the introduction of every new measure that it was a sacred
period and by the laws he could rightfully take no action during it.
Publius Vatinius, a tribune, indeed undertook to place Bibulus in a cell
for this, but was prevented from confining him by the opposition of his
associates in office. However, Bibulus in this way put himself out of
politics and the tribunes belonging to his party likewise were never
again entrusted with any public duty.

[-7-] It should be said that Metellus Celer and Cato and through him one
Marcus Favonius, who imitated him in all points, for a while would not
take the oath of obedience to the law. (This custom once[33], begun, as
I have stated, became the regular practice in the case of other unusual
measures also.) A number besides Metellus, who referred to his title of
Numidicus, flatly declared they would never join in approving it. When,
however, the day came[34] on which they were to incur the stated
penalties, they took the oath, either as a result of the human trait
according to which many persons utter promises and threats more easily
than they put anything into execution, or else because they were going
to be fined to no purpose, without helping the commonwealth at all by
their obstinacy. So the law was ratified, and furthermore the land of
Campania was given to those having three or more children. For this
reason Capua was then for the first time considered a Roman colony.

By this means Caesar attached to his cause the people, and he won the
knights, as well, by allowing them a third part of the taxes which they
had hired. All the collections were made through them and though they
had often asked the senate to grant them some satisfactory schedule,
they had not gained it, because Cato and the others worked against them.
When, then, he had conciliated this class also without any protest, he
first ratified all the acts of Pompey - and in this he met no opposition
from Lucullus or any one else, - and next he put through many other
measures while no one opposed him. There was no gainsaying even from
Cato, although in the praetorship which he soon after held, he would
never mention the title of the other's laws, which were called the
"Julian." While he followed their provisions in allotting the courts he
most ridiculously concealed their names.

[-8-] These, then, because they are very many in number and offer no
contribution to this history, I will leave aside. - Quintus Fufius
Calenus, finding that the [B.C. 59 (_a.u._ 695)] votes of all in party
contests were promiscuously mingled, - each of the classes attributing
the superior measures to itself and referring the less sensible to the
others - passed when praetor a law that each should cast its votes
separately: his purpose was that even if their individual opinions could
not be revealed, by reason of doing this secretly, yet the views of the
classes at least might be made known.

As for the rest, Caesar himself proposed, advised and arranged everything
in the city once for all as if he were its sole ruler. Hence some
facetious persons hid the name of Bibulus in silence altogether and
named Caesar twice, and in writing would mention Gaius Caesar and Julius
Caesar as being the consuls. But in matters that concerned himself he
managed through others, for he guarded most strenuously against the
contingency of presenting anything to himself. By this means he more
easily effected everything that he desired. He himself declared that he
needed nothing more and strongly protested that he was satisfied with
his present possessions. Others, believing him a necessary and useful
factor in affairs proposed whatever he wished and had it ratified, not
only before the populace but in the senate itself. For whereas the
multitude granted him the government of Illyricum and of Gaul this side
of the Alps with three legions for five years, the senate entrusted him
in addition with Gaul beyond the mountains and another legion.

[-9-] Even so, in fear that Pompey in his absence (during which Aulus
Gabinius was to be consul) might lead some revolt, he attached to his
cause both Pompey and the other consul, Lucius Piso, by the bond of
kinship: upon the former he bestowed his daughter, in spite of having
betrothed her to another man, and he himself married Piso's daughter.
Thus he fortified himself on all sides. But Cicero and Lucullus, little
pleased at this, undertook to kill both Caesar and Pompey through the
medium of one Lucius Vettius; they failed of their attempt, however, and
all but perished themselves as well. For Vettius, being informed against
and arrested before he had acted, denounced them; and had he not charged
Bibulus also with being in the plot against the two, they would have
certainly met some evil fate. As it was, inasmuch as in his defence he
accused the man who had revealed the project to Pompey, he was suspected
of not speaking the truth on other points either, but created the
impression that the matter had been somehow purposely contrived with a
view to calumniating the opposite party. About these details some spread
one report and others another, but nothing was definitely proven.
Vettius was brought before the populace and after naming only those whom
I have mentioned was thrown into prison, where not much later he was
treacherously murdered.

[-10-] In consequence of this Cicero became an object of suspicion on
the part of Caesar and Pompey, and he strengthened their conjecture in
his defence of Antonius. The latter, in his governorship of Macedonia,
had committed many outrages upon the subject territory as well as the
section that was under truce, and had been well chastised in return. He
ravaged the possessions of the Dardani and their neighbors and then did
not dare to withstand their attack, but pretending to retire with his
cavalry for some other purpose took to flight; in this way the enemy
surrounded his infantry and drove them out of the country with violence,
taking away their plunder from them besides. When he tried the same
tactics on the allies in Moesia he was defeated near the city of the
Istrianians by the Bastarnian Scythians who came to their aid; and
thereupon he decamped. It was not for this conduct, however, that he was
accused, but he was indicted for conspiracy with Catiline; yet he was
convicted on the former charge, so that it was his fate to be found not
guilty of the crime for which he was being tried, but to be punished for
something of which he was not accused. That was the way he finally came
off; but at the time Cicero in the character of his advocate, because
Antonius was his colleague, made a most bitter assault upon Caesar as
responsible for the suit against the man, and heaped some abuse upon him
in addition.

[-11-] Caesar was naturally indignant at it, but, although consul,
refused to be the author of any insolent speech or act against him. He
said that the rabble purposely cast out[35] many idle slurs upon their
superiors, trying to entice them into strife, so that the commoners
might seem to be equal and of like importance, in case they should get
anything similar said of themselves. Hence he did not see fit to put any
person on an equal footing with himself. It had been his custom,
therefore, to conduct himself thus toward others who insulted him at
all, and now seeing that Cicero was not so anxious about abusing him as
about obtaining similar abuse in return and was merely desirous of being
put on an equality with him, he paid little heed to his traducer, acting
as if nothing had been said; indeed, he allowed him to employ
vilifications unstintedly, as if they were praises showered upon him.
Still, he did not disregard him entirely. Caesar possessed in reality a
rather decent nature, and was not easily moved to anger. Accordingly,
though punishing many, since his interests were of such magnitude, yet
his action was not due to anger nor was it altogether immediate. He did
not indulge wrath at all, but watched his opportunity and his vengeance
dogged the steps of the majority of culprits without their knowing it.
He did not take measures so as to seem to defend himself against
anybody, but so as to arrange everything to his own advantage while
creating the least odium. Therefore he visited retribution secretly and
in places where one would least have expected it, - both for the sake of
his reputation, to avoid seeming to be of a wrathful disposition, and to
the end that no one through premonition should be on his guard in
advance, or try to inflict some dangerous injury upon his persecutor
before being injured. For he was not more concerned about what had
already occurred than that[36] (future attacks) should be hindered. As a
result he would pardon many of those, even, who had harmed him greatly,
or pursue them only a little way, because he believed they would do no
further injury; whereas upon many others, even more than was right, he
took vengeance looking to his safety, and said that[37] what was done he
could never make undone,[38] but because of the extreme punishment he
would[39] for the future at least suffer[40] no calamity.

[-12-] These calculations induced him to remain quiet on this occasion,
too; but when he ascertained that Clodius was willing to do him a favor
in return, because he had not accused him of adultery, he set the man
secretly against Cicero. In the first place, in order that he might be
lawfully excluded from the patricians, he transferred him with Pompey's
co√ґperation again to the plebian rank, and then immediately had him
appointed tribune. This Clodius, then, muzzled Bibulus, who had entered
the Forum at the expiration of his office and intended in the course of
taking the oath to deliver a speech about present conditions, and after
that attacked Cicero also.

[B.C. 58 (_a.u._ 696)]

He soon decided that it was not easy to overthrow a man who, on account
of his skill in speaking, had very great influence in politics, and so
proceeded to conciliate not only the populace, but also the knights and
the senate with whom Cicero most held in regard. His hope was that if he
could make these men his own, he might easily cause the downfall of the
orator, whose great strength lay rather in the fear than in the
good-will which he inspired. Cicero annoyed great numbers by his words,
and those who were won to him by benefits conferred were not so numerous
as those alienated by injuries done them. Not only did it hold true in
his case that the majority of mankind are more ready to feel irritation
at what displeases them than to feel grateful to any one for good
treatment, and think that they have paid their advocates in full with
wages, whereas they are determined to give those who oppose them at law
a perceptible setback: but furthermore he invited very bitter enemies by
always striving to get the better of even the strongest men and by
always employing an unbridled and excessive frankness of speech to all
alike; he was in desperate pursuit of a reputation for being able to
comprehend and speak as no one else could, and before all wanted to be
thought a valuable citizen. As a result of this and because he was the
greatest boaster alive and thought no one equal to himself, but in his
words and life alike looked down on all and would not live as any one
else did, he was wearisome and burdensome, and was consequently both
envied and hated even by those very persons whom he pleased.

[-13-] Clodius therefore hoped that for these reasons, if he should
prepare the minds of the senate and the knights and the populace in
advance, he could quickly make way with him. So he straightway[41]
distributed free corn gratis (he had already in the consulship of
Gabinius and Piso introduced a motion that it be measured out to those
who lacked), and revived the associations called _collegia_ in the
native language, which had existed anciently but had been abolished for
some time. The tribunes he forbade to depose a person from any office or
disfranchise him, save if a man should be tried and convicted in
presence of them both. After enticing the citizens by these means he
proposed another law, concerning which it is necessary to speak at some
length, so that it may become clearer to most persons.

Public divination was obtained from the sky and from some other sources,
as I said, but that of the sky carried the greatest weight, - so much so
that whereas the other auguries held were many in number and for each
action, this one was held but once and for the whole day. Besides this
most peculiar feature it was noticeable that whereas in reference to all
other matters sky-divination either allowed things to be done and they
were carried out without consulting any individual augury further, or
else it would prevent and hinder something, it restrained the balloting
of the populace altogether and was always a portent to check them,

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 7 of 30)