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 9 of 30)
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historical writing, like Xenophon, like Thucydides. This form of
learning is most lasting and most adaptable to every man, every
government, and exile brings a leisure in some respects more productive.
If, then, you wish to become really immortal, like those historians,
imitate them. Necessities you have in sufficiency and you lack no
measure of esteem. And, if there is any virtue in it, you have been
consul. Nothing more belongs to those who have held office a second, a
third, or a fourth time, except an array of idle letters which benefit
no man, living or dead. Hence you would not choose to be Corvinus or
Marius, the seven times consul, rather than Cicero. Nor, again, are you
anxious for any position of command, seeing that you withdrew from one
bestowed upon you because you scorned the gains to be had from it and
scorned a brief authority that was subject to the scrutiny of all who
chose to practice sycophancy, matters I have mentioned not because any
one of them is requisite for happiness, but because, since it was best,
you have been engaged in politics enough to learn from it the difference
in lives and to choose the one but reject the other, to pursue the one
but avoid the other.

"Our life is but short and you ought not to live all of it for others,
but by this time to grant a little to yourself. Consider how much quiet
is better than disturbance and a placid life than tumults, freedom than
slavery, and safety than dangers, that you may feel a desire to live as
I am urging you to do. In this way you will be happy, and your name
because of it shall be great, - yes, always, whether you are alive or

[-29-] "If, however, you are eager for a return and hold in esteem a
brilliant political career, - I do not wish to say anything unpleasant,
but I fear, as I cast my eyes on the case and call to mind your freedom
of speech, and behold the power and numbers of your adversaries, that
you may meet defeat once again. If then you should encounter exile, you
can merely change your mind, but if you should incur some fatal
punishment you will be unable to repent. Is it not assuredly a dreadful,
a disgraceful thing to have one's head cut off and set up in the Forum,
if it so happen, for any one, man or woman, to insult? Do not hate me as
one foreboding evil to you: I but give you warning; be on your guard. Do
not let the fact that you have certain friends among the influential men
deceive you. You will get no help against those hostilely disposed from
the men who seem to love you; this you probably know by experience.
Those who have a passion for domination regard everything else as
nothing in comparison with obtaining what they desire: they often give
up their dearest friends and closest kin in exchange for their bitterest

[-30-] On hearing this Cicero grew just a little easier in mind. His
exile did not, in fact, last long. He was recalled by Pompey himself,
who was most responsible for his expulsion. The reason was this.

Clodius had taken a bribe to deliver Tigranes the younger, who was even
then still in confinement at the abode of Lucius Flavius, and had let
him go. He outrageously insulted Pompey and Grabinius who had been
incensed at the proceeding, inflicted blows and wounds upon their
followers, broke to pieces the consul's rods, and dedicated his
property. Pompey, enraged by this and particularly because the authority
which he himself had restored to the tribunes Clodius had used against
him, was willing to recall Cicero, and immediately began through the
agency of Ninnius to negotiate for his return.

The latter watched for Clodius to be absent and then introduced in the
senate the motion in Cicero's behalf. When another one of the tribunes
opposed him, he not only went into the matter at some length, intimating
that he should communicate it also to the people, but he furthermore
opposed Clodius once for all at every point. From this ensued disputes
and many consequent woundings on both sides. But before matters reached
that point Clodius felt anxious to get Cato out of the way so that he
might the more easily be successful in the business he had in hand, and
likewise to take measures against Ptolemy who then held Cyprus, because
the latter had failed to ransom him from the pirates. Hence he made the
island public property and despatched Cato, very loath, to attend to its

[-31-] While this went on in the city, Caesar found no hostility in Gaul:
everything was absolutely quiet. The state of peace, however, did not
continue, but to one war which at first arose against him another was
added, so that his greatest wish was fulfilled of making war against and
setting right everything at once.

The Helvetians, who abounded in numbers and had not land sufficient for
their populous condition, refused to send out a part to form a colony
for fear that separated they might be more subject to plots on the part
of the tribes whom they had once injured. They decided all to leave
their homes, with the intention of transferring their dwelling-place to
some other larger and better country, and burned all their villages and
cities so as to prevent any one's regretting the migration. After adding
to their numbers some others who wanted the same changes, they started
off with Orgetorix as leader, - their intention being to cross the Rhone
and settle somewhere near the Alps.

When Caesar severed the bridge and made other preparations to hinder them
from crossing, they sent to him to ask a right of way and promised in
addition to do no harm to Roman territory.

And though he had the greatest distrust of them and had not the
slightest idea of allowing them to proceed, yet, because he was still
poorly equipped he answered that he wished to consult his lieutenants
about their requests and would give them their reply on a stated day. In
fact he offered some little hope of his granting them the passage.
Meanwhile he dug ditches and erected walls in commanding positions, so
that their road was made impassable.

[-32-] Accordingly the barbarians waited a little time, and then, when
they heard nothing as agreed, they broke camp and proceeded through the
Allobroges's country, as they had started. Encountering the obstacles
they turned aside into Sequanian territory and passed through their land
and that of the Aedui, who gave them a free passage on condition that
they do no harm. Not abiding by their covenant, however, they plundered
the Aeduans' country. Then the Sequani and Aedui sent to Caesar to ask
assistance, and begged him not to let them perish.

Though their statements did not correspond with their deeds, they
nevertheless obtained what they requested. Caesar was afraid the
Helvetians might turn also against Tolosa and chose to drive them back
with the help of the other tribes rather than to fight them after they
had effected a reconciliation, - which, it was clear, would otherwise be
the issue. For these reasons he fell upon the Helvetians as they were
crossing the Arar, annihilated in the very passage the last of the
procession and alarmed those that had gone ahead so much by the
suddenness and swiftness of the pursuit and the report of their loss,
that they desired to come to some agreement guaranteeing land. [-33-]
They did not, however, reach any terms; for when they were asked for
hostages they became offended, not because they were distrusted but
because they disliked to give hostages to any one. So they disdained a
truce and went forward again.

Caesar's cavalry had galloped far ahead of the infantry and was
harassing, incidentally, their rear guards, when they faced about with
their horse and conquered it. As a result they were filled with pride,
and thinking that he had fled, both because of the defeat and because
owing to a lack of provisions he was turning aside to a city that was
off the road, they abandoned further progress to pursue after him. Caesar
saw this, and fearing their impetus and numbers hurried with his
infantry to some higher ground but sent forward his horsemen to engage
the enemy till he should have marshaled his forces in a suitable place.
The barbarians routed them a second time and were making a spirited rush
up the hill when Caesar with forces drawn up dashed down upon them
suddenly from his commanding position and without difficulty repulsed
them, while they were scattered. After these had been routed some others
who had not joined in the conflict - and owing to their multitude and
eagerness not all had been there at once - took the pursuers in the rear
and threw them into some confusion, but effected nothing further. For
Caesar after assigning the fugitives to the care of his cavalry himself
with his heavy-armed force turned his attention to the others. He was
victorious and followed to the wagons both bodies, mingled in their
flight; and there, though from these vehicles they made a vigorous
defence, he vanquished them. After this reverse the barbarians were
divided into two parties. The one came to terms with him, went back
again to their native land whence they had set out, and there built up
again the cities to live in. The other refused to surrender arms, and,
with the idea that they could get back again to their primeval
dwelling-place, set out for the Rhine. Being few in numbers and laboring
under a defeat they were easily annihilated by the allies of the Romans
through whose country they were passing.

[-34-] So went the first war that Caesar fought; but he did not remain
quiet after this beginning. Instead, he at the same time satisfied his
own desire and did his allies a favor. The Sequani and Aedui had marked
the trend of his wishes[45] and had noticed that his deeds corresponded
with his hopes: consequently they were willing at one stroke to bestow a
benefit upon him and to take vengeance upon the Celts that were their
neighbors. The latter had at some time in the past crossed the Rhine,
cut off portions of their territory, and, holding hostages of theirs,
had rendered them tributaries. And because they happened to be asking
what Caesar was yearning for, they easily persuaded him to assist them.

Now Ariovistus was the ruler of those Celts: his dominion had been
ratified by action of the Romans and he had been registered among their
friends and allies by Caesar himself, in his consulship. In comparison,
however, with the glory to be derived from the war and the power which
that glory would bring, the Roman general heeded none of these
considerations, except in so far as he wished to get some excuse for the
quarrel from the barbarian so that it should not be thought that there
was any grievance against him at the start. Therefore he sent for him,
pretending that he wanted to hold some conversation with him.
Ariovistus, instead of obeying, replied: "If Caesar wishes to tell me
anything, let him come himself to me. I am not in any way inferior to
him, and a man who has need of any one must always go to that person."
At this the other showed anger on the ground that he had insulted all
the Romans, and he immediately demanded of him the hostages of the
allies and forbade him either to set foot on their land or to bring
against them any auxiliary force from home. This he did not with the
idea of scaring him but because he hoped to make him furious and by that
means to gain a great and fitting pretext for the war. What was expected
took place. The barbarian, enraged at the injunctions, made a long and
outrageous reply, so that Caesar no longer bandied words with him but
straightway, before any one was aware of his intentions, seized on
Vesontio, the city of the Sequani, in advance.

[-35-] Meanwhile reports reached the soldiers. "Ariovistus is making
vigorous preparations," was "There are many other Celts, some of whom
have already crossed the Rhine undoubtedly to assist him, while others
have collected on the very bank of the river to attack us suddenly," was
another. Hence they fell into deep dejection. Alarmed by the stature of
their enemies, by their numbers, their boldness, and consequent ready
threats, they were in such a mood as to feel that they were going to
contend not against men, but against uncanny and ferocious beasts. And
the talk was that they were undertaking a war which was none of their
business and had not been decreed, merely on account of Caesar's personal
ambition; and they threatened, also, to leave him in the lurch if he
should not change his course. He, when he heard of it, did not make any
address to the body of soldiers. It was not a good plan, he thought, to
discuss such matters before the multitude, especially when his words
would reach the enemy; and he was afraid that they might by refusing
obedience somehow raise a tumult and do some harm. Therefore he
assembled his lieutenants and the subalterns, before whom he spoke as

[-36-] "My friends, we must not, I think, deliberate about public
interests in the same way as about private. In fact, I do not see that
the same mark is set up for each man privately as for all together
publicly. For ourselves it is proper both to plan and to perform what
looks best and what is safest, but for the public what is most
advantageous. In private matters we must be energetic: so only can a
good appearance be preserved. Again, a man who is freest from outside
entanglements is thought to be also safest. Yet a state, especially if
holding sovereignty, would be very rapidly overthrown by such a course.
These laws, not drawn up by man but enacted by nature herself, always
did exist, do exist, and will exist so long as the race of mortals

"This being so, no one of you at this juncture should have an eye to
what is privately pleasant and safe rather than to what is suitable and
beneficial for the whole body of Romans. For besides many other
considerations that might naturally arise, reflect that we who are so
many and of such rank (members of the senate and knights) have come here
accompanied by a great mass of soldiers and with money in abundance not
to be idle or careless, but for the purpose of managing rightly the
affairs of our subjects, preserving in safety the property of those
bound by treaty, repelling any who undertake to do them wrong, and
increasing our own possessions. If we have not come with this in mind,
why in the world did we take the field at all instead of staying at home
with some occupation or other and on our private domains? Surely it were
better not to have undertaken the campaign than when assigned to it to
throw it over. If, however, some of us are here because compelled by the
laws to do what our country ordains, and the greater number voluntarily
on account of the honors and rewards that come from wars, how could we
either decently or without sin be false at once to the hopes of the men
that sent us forth and to our own? Not one person could grow so
prosperous as a private citizen as not to be ruined with the
commonwealth, if it fell. But if the republic succeeds, it lifts all
fortunes and each one individually.

[-37-] "I am not saying this with reference to you, my comrades and
friends who are here: you are not in general ignorant of the facts, that
you should need to learn them, nor do you assume an attitude of contempt
toward them, that you should require exhortation. I am saying it because
I have ascertained that there are some of the soldiers who themselves
are talking to the effect that the war we have taken up is none of our
business, and are stirring up the rest to sedition. My purpose is that
you yourselves may as a result of my words show a more ardent zeal for
your country and teach them all they should know. They would be apt to
receive greater benefit in hearing it from you privately and often than
in learning it but once from my lips. Tell them, then, that it was not
by staying at home or shirking campaigns or avoiding wars or pursuing
idleness that our ancestors made the State so great, but it was by
bringing their minds to venture readily everything that they ought and
by working eagerly to the bitter end with bodily labor for everything
that pleased them, by regarding their own things as belonging to others
but acquiring readily the possessions of their neighbors as their own,
while they saw happiness in nothing else than in doing what was required
of them and held nothing else to be ill fortune than resting inactive.
Accordingly, as a result of this policy those men, who had been at the
start very few and possessed at first a city than which none was more
diminutive, conquered the Latins, conquered the Sabines, mastered the
Etruscans, Volsci, Opici, Leucanians and Samnites, in one word
subjugated the whole land bounded by the Alps and repulsed all the alien
tribes that came against them.

[-38-] "The later Romans, likewise, and our own fathers imitated them,
not being satisfied with their temporary fortune nor content with what
they had inherited, and they regarded sloth as their sure destruction
but exertion as their certain safety. They feared that if their
treasures remained unaugmented they would be consumed and worn away by
age, and were ashamed after receiving so rich a heritage to make no
further additions: thus they performed greater and more numerous

"Why should one name individually Sardinia, Sicily, Macedonia,
Illyricum, Greece, Ionic Asia, the Bithynians, Spaniards, Africans? I
tell you the Carthaginians would have given them plenty of money to stop
sailing against that city, and so would Philip and Perseus to stop
making campaigns against them; Antiochus would have given much, his
children and descendants would have given much to let them remain on
European soil. But those men in view of the glory and the greatness of
the empire did not choose to be ignobly idle or to enjoy their wealth in
confidence, nor did the elders of our own generation who even now are
still alive.

"They knew well that the same practices as acquire good things serve
also to preserve them: hence they made sure many of their original
belongings and acquired many new ones. What need is there here to
catalogue in detail Crete, Pontus, Cyprus, Asiatic Iberia, Farther
Albania, both Syrian nations, each of the two Armenias, the Arabians,
the Palestinians? We did not even know their names accurately in the old
days: yet now we lord it over some ourselves and others we have bestowed
upon various persons, insomuch that we have gained from them income and
powers and honors and alliances.

[-39-] "With such examples before you, then, do not bring shame upon our
fathers' deeds nor let slip that empire which is now the greatest. We
cannot deliberate in like manner with the rest of mankind who possess no
similar advantages. For them it suffices to live in ease and, with
safety guaranteed, to be subservient to others, but for us it is
inevitable to toil and march and amid dangers to preserve our existing
prosperity. Against this prosperity many are plotting. Every object
which surpasses others attracts both emulation and jealousy; and
consequently an eternal war is waged by all inferiors against those who
excel them in any respect. Hence we either ought not from the first to
have increased, thus differing from other men, or else, since we have
grown so great and have gained so many possessions, it has been fated
that we should either rule these firmly or ourselves perish utterly. For
it is impossible for men who have advanced to so great reputation and
such vast power to live apart and without danger. Let us therefore obey
Fortune and not repel her, seeing that she voluntarily and self-invited
belonged to our fathers and now abides with us. This result will not be
reached if we cast away our arms and desert the ranks and sit idly at
home or wander among our allies. It will be reached if we keep our arms
constantly in hand - this is the only way to preserve peace - and practice
warlike deeds in the midst of dangers - this is the only way we shall
avoid fighting forever - and aid promptly those allies that ask us - in
this way we shall get more - and do not indulge those enemies who are
always turbulent - in this way no one will any longer care to wrong us.

[-40-] "For if some god had actually become our sponsor that, even if we
should fail to do this, no one would plot against us and we should
forever enjoy in safety all that we have won, it would still be
disgraceful to say that we ought to keep quiet; yet those who are
willing to do nothing that is requisite would have some show of excuse.
But, as a fact, it is inevitable that men who possess anything should be
plotted against by many, and it behooves us to anticipate their attacks.
One class that holds quietly to its own possessions incurs danger even
for these, while another without any compulsion employs war to acquire
the possessions of others and keeps them. No one who is in terror
regarding his own goods longs for those of his neighbors; for the fear
concerning what he already has effectually deters him, from meddling in
what does not belong to him. Why then does any man say such a thing as
this, - that we must not all the time be gaining something more!

"Do you not recall, partly from hearsay and partly from observation,
that none of the Italian races refrained from plotting against our
country until our ancestors brought war into their territories, nor did
the Epirots until they crossed over into Greece? Philip did not refrain,
but intended to make a campaign against Italy until they wrought harm to
his land in advance. Nor was there hesitation on the part of Perseus, of
Antiochus, of Mithridates, until they were subjected to the same
treatment. And why must one mention the remaining cases? For a while the
Carthaginians suffered no damage at our hands in Africa, and crossed
into Italy, where they overran the country, sacked the towns and almost
captured the City itself; but when war began to be made against them
they decamped altogether from our land. One might instance this same
course of events in regard to the Gauls and Celts. For these people
while we remained on this side of the Alps often crossed them and
ravaged a large part of Italy. But when we ventured at last to make a
campaign beyond the mountains and to surround them with war, and
actually detached a portion of their territory, we never again saw any
war begun by them in Italy except once. When, accordingly, in the face
of these facts anybody says that we ought not to make war he simply says
that we ought not to be rich, ought not to rule others, ought not to be
free, to be Romans. Just as you would not endure it if a man should say
any of these things, but would kill him even as he stood before you, so
now also, my comrades, assume a like attitude toward those who utter the
other form of statement, judging their disposition not by their words
but by their acts.

[-41-] "Now no one of you would contend, I think, that these are not the
right kind of ideas to entertain. If, however, any one thinks that the
fact of no investigation having been made about this war before the
senate and of no vote having been passed in presence of the assembly is
a reason why we need be less eager, let him reflect that of all the wars
which have ever fallen to our lot some, to be sure, have come about as a
result of preparation and previous announcement, but others equally on
the spur of the moment. For this reason all uprisings that are made
while we are staying at home and keeping quiet and in which the
beginning of the complaints arises from some embassy both need and
demand an enquiry into their nature and the introduction of a vote,
after which the consuls and praetors must be assigned to them and the
forces sent out: but all that come to light after persons have already
gone forth and taken the field are no longer to be brought up for
decision, but to be taken hold of in advance, before they increase, as
matters decreed and ratified by Necessity herself.

"Else for what reason did the people despatch you to this point, for
what reason did they send me immediately after my consulship? Why did
they, on the one hand, elect me to hold command for five years at one
time, as had never been done before, and on the other hand equip me with
four legions, unless they believed that we should certainly be required
to fight, besides? Surely it was not that we might be supported in
idleness or traveling about to allied cities and subject territory prove
a worse bane to them than an enemy. Not a man would make this assertion.
It was rather that we might keep our own land, ravage that of the enemy,

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 9 of 30)