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be uttered; and this is the reason why they cover the tents with
vine-leaves during the celebration of her festival, and a sacred
serpent sits by the goddess according to the mythus. No man is allowed
to approach the festival, nor to be in the house during the
celebration of the rites; but the women by themselves are said to
perform many rites similar to the Orphic in the celebration.
Accordingly when the season of the festival is come, the husband, if
he be consul or prætor, leaves the house and every male also quits it;
and the wife taking possession of the house makes all arrangements,
and the chief ceremonies are celebrated by night, the evening festival
being accompanied with mirth and much music.

X. While Pompeia[467] was now celebrating this festival, Clodius, who
was not yet bearded, and for this reason thought that he should not be
discovered, assumed the dress and equipment of a female lute-player
and went to the house looking just like a young woman. Finding the
door open, he was safely let in by a female slave who was in the
secret, and who forthwith ran off to tell Pompeia. As there was some
delay and Clodius was too impatient to wait where the woman had left
him, but was rambling about the house, which was large, and trying to
avoid the lights, Aurelia's waiting-woman, as was natural for one
woman with another, challenged him to a little mirthful sport, and as
he declined the invitations, she pulled him forward and asked who he
was and where he came from. Clodius replied that he was waiting for
Abra the maid of Pompeia, for that was the woman's name, but his voice
betrayed him, and the waiting-woman ran with a loud cry to the lights
and the rest of the company, calling out that she had discovered a
man. All the women were in the greatest alarm, and Aurelia stopped the
celebration of the rites and covered up the sacred things: she also
ordered the doors to be closed and went about the house with the
lights to look for Clodius. He was discovered lurking in the chamber
of the girl who had let him in, and on being recognised by the women
was turned out of doors. The women went straightway, though it was
night, to their husbands to tell them what had happened; and as soon
as it was day, the talk went through Rome of the desecration of the
sacred rites by Clodius, and how he ought to be punished for his
behaviour, not only to the persons whom he had insulted, but to the
city and the gods. Accordingly one of the tribunes instituted a
prosecution against Clodius for an offence against religion, and the
most powerful of the senators combined against him, charging him,
among other abominations, with adultery with his sister, who was the
wife of Lucullus. The people set themselves in opposition to their
exertions and supported Clodius, and were of great service to him
with the judices, who were terror-struck and afraid of the people.
Cæsar immediately divorced Pompeia, and when he was summoned as a
witness on the trial, he said he knew nothing about the matters that
Clodius was charged with. This answer appearing strange, the accuser
asked him, "Why have you put away your wife?" to which Cæsar replied,
"Because I considered that my wife ought not even to be suspected."
Some say that this was the real expression of Cæsar's opinion, but
others affirm that it was done to please the people who were bent on
saving Clodius. However this may be, Clodius was acquitted, for the
majority of the judices gave in their votes[468] written confusedly,
that they might run no risk from the populace by convicting Clodius
nor lose the good opinion of the better sort by acquitting him.

XI. On the expiration of his Prætorship, Cæsar received Iberia[469]
for his province, but as he had a difficulty about arranging matters
with his creditors, who put obstructions in the way of his leaving
Rome, and were clamorous, he applied to Crassus, then the richest man
in Rome, who stood in need of the vigour and impetuosity of Cæsar to
support him in his political hostility to Pompeius. Crassus undertook
to satisfy the most importunate and unrelenting of the creditors, and
having become security for Cæsar to the amount of eight hundred and
thirty talents, thus enabled him to set out for his province. There is
a story that as Cæsar was crossing the Alps, he passed by a small
barbarian town which had very few inhabitants and was a miserable
place, on which his companions jocosely observed, "They did not
suppose there were any contests for honors in such a place as that,
and struggles for the first rank and mutual jealousy of the chief
persons:" on which Cæsar earnestly remarked, "I would rather be the
first man here than the second at Rome." Again in Spain, when he had
some leisure and was reading the history of Alexander,[470] he was for
a long time in deep thought, and at last burst into tears; and on his
friends asking the reason of this, he said, "Don't you think it is a
matter for sorrow, that Alexander was king of so many nations at such
an early age, and I have as yet done nothing of note?"

XII. However, as soon as he entered Iberia, he commenced active
operations and in a few days raised ten cohorts in addition to the
twenty which were already there, and with this force marching against
the Calaici[471] and Lusitani he defeated them, and advanced to the
shores of the external sea, subduing the nations which hitherto had
paid no obedience to Rome. After his military success, he was equally
fortunate in settling the civil administration by establishing
friendly relations among the different states, and particularly by
healing the differences between debtors and creditors;[472] for which
purpose he determined that the creditor should annually take
two-thirds of the debtor's income, and that the owner should take the
other third, which arrangement was to continue till the debt was paid.
By these measures he gained a good reputation, and he retired from the
province with the acquisition of a large fortune, having enriched his
soldiers also by his campaigns and been saluted by them Imperator.

XIII. As it was the law at Rome that those who were soliciting a
triumph should stay outside the city, and that those who were
candidates for the consulship should be present in the city, Cæsar
finding himself in this difficulty, and having reached Rome just at
the time of the consular elections, sent to the senate to request
permission to offer himself to the consulship in his absence through
the intervention of his friends. Cato at first urged the law in
opposition to Cæsar's request, but seeing that many of the senators
had been gained over by Cæsar, he attempted to elude the question by
taking advantage of time and wasting the day in talking, till at last
Cæsar determined to give up the triumph and to secure the consulship.
As soon as he entered the city, he adopted a policy which deceived
everybody except Cato; and this was the bringing about of a
reconciliation between Pompeius and Crassus, the two most powerful men
in Rone, whom Cæsar reconciled from their differences, and centering
in himself the united strength of the two by an act that had a
friendly appearance, changed the form of government without its being
observed. For it was not, as most people suppose, the enmity of Cæsar
and Pompeius which produced the civil wars, but their friendship
rather, inasmuch as they first combined to depress the nobility and
then quarrelled with one another. Cato, who often predicted what would
happen, at the time only got by it the character of being a morose,
meddling fellow, though afterwards he was considered to be a wise, but
not a fortunate adviser.

XIV. Cæsar,[473] however, supported on both sides by the friendship of
Crassus and Pompeius, was raised to the consulship and proclaimed
triumphantly with Calpurnius Bibulus for his colleague. Immediately
upon entering on his office he proposed enactments more suitable to
the most turbulent tribune than a consul, for in order to please the
populace he introduced measures for certain allotments and divisions
of land.[474] But he met with opposition in the Senate from the good
and honourable among them, and as he had long been looking for a
pretext, he exclaimed with solemn adjurations, that he was driven
against his will to court the favour of the people by the arrogance
and obstinacy of the Senate, and accordingly he hurried to the popular
assembly and placing Crassus on one side of him and Pompeius on the
other, he asked them if they approved of his legislative measures.
Upon their expressing their approbation, he entreated them to give him
their aid against those who threatened to oppose him with their
swords. Pompeius and Crassus promised their assistance, and Pompeius
added, that he would oppose swords with sword and shield. The nobility
were annoyed at hearing such mad, inconsiderate words drop from
Pompeius, which were unbecoming his own character and the respect that
he owed to the Senate; but the people were delighted. Cæsar, whose
secret design it was to secure the influence of Pompeius still more,
gave him to wife his daughter Julia,[475] who was already betrothed to
Servilius Cæpio; and he promised Cæpio that he should have the
daughter of Pompeius, though she also was not disengaged, being
betrothed to Faustus, the son of Sulla. Shortly after Cæsar married
Calpurnia, the daughter of Piso, and got Piso named consul for the
next year, though Cato in this matter also strongly protested and
exclaimed that it was an intolerable thing for the chief power to be
prostituted by marriage bargains and that they should help one another
by means of women, to provinces and armies and political power.
Bibulus, Cæsar's colleague, found it useless to oppose Cæsar's
measures, and he and Cato several times narrowly escaped with their
lives in the Forum, whereupon Bibulus shut himself up at home for the
remainder of his consulship. Immediately after his marriage Pompeius
filled the Forum with armed men, and supported the people in passing
Cæsar's laws and in giving him for five years Gaul on both sides of
the Alps with the addition of Illyricum and four legions. Upon Cato's
venturing to speak against these measures, Cæsar ordered him to be
carried off to prison, thinking that he would appeal to the tribunes.
But Cato went off without speaking a word; and Cæsar observing that
the nobles were much annoyed at this, and the people also through
respect for Cato's virtue were following him in silence and with
downcast eyes, secretly asked one of the tribunes to release Cato.
Very few of the senators used to accompany Cæsar to the Senate, but
the majority not liking his measures stayed away. Considius,[476] who
was a very old man, observed that the senators did not come because
they were afraid of the arms and the soldiers. "Why don't you then
stay at home for the same reason?" replied Cæsar, to which Considius
rejoined, "My age makes me fearless, for the little of life that
remains for me is not worth much thought." The most scandalous public
measure in Cæsar's consulship was the election as tribune of that[477]
Clodius who had dishonoured Cæsar's wife and violated the mysterious
nocturnal rites. But he was elected in order to ruin Cicero, and Cæsar
did not set out for his province till with the aid of Clodius he had
put down Cicero by his cabals and driven him out of Italy.

XV. Such is said to have been the course of Cæsar's life before his
Gallic campaigns.[478] But the period of his wars which he afterwards
fought and his expedition by which he subdued Gaul, is just like a new
beginning in his career and the commencement of a new course of life
and action, in which he showed himself as a soldier and a general
inferior to none who have gained admiration as leaders and been the
greatest men: for whether we compare Cæsar's exploits with those of
the Fabii, Scipios, and Metelli, or with those of his contemporaries
or immediate predecessors, Sulla and Marius and both the Luculli or
even Pompeius himself, whose fame, high as the heavens, was blossoming
at that time in every kind of military virtue, Cæsar will be found to
surpass them all - his superiority over one appearing in the
difficulties of the country in which he carried on his campaigns, over
another in the extent of country subdued, over a third in the number
and courage of the enemy whom he defeated, over another again in the
savage manners and treacherous character of the nations that he
brought to civility, over a fourth in his clemency and mildness to the
conquered, over another again in his donations and liberality to his
soldiers; and in fine his superiority over all other generals appears
by the numbers of battles that he fought and of enemies that he slew.
For in somewhat less than ten years during which he carried on his
campaign in Gaul he took by storm above eight hundred cities, and
subdued three hundred nations, and fought with three millions of men
at different times, of whom he destroyed one million in battle and
took as many prisoners.

XVI.[479] So great were the good-will and devotion of Cæsar's
soldiers to him, that those who under other generals were in no way
superior to ordinary soldiers, were invincible and irresistible and
ready to meet any danger for Cæsar's glory. An instance of this is
Acilius, who in the sea-fight of Massalia[480] boarded one of the
enemy's ships and had his right hand cut off with a sword, but he
still kept hold of his shield with the left hand and striking at the
faces of the enemy drove all to flight and got possession of the
vessel. Another instance was Cassius Scæva,[481] who in the fight at
Dyrrachium had one eye destroyed by an arrow, his shoulder transfixed
with one javelin and his thigh with another, and on his shield he had
received the blows of one hundred and thirty missiles. In this plight
he called to the enemy as if he designed to surrender himself, and two
of them accordingly approached him, but with his sword he lopped off
one man's shoulder and wounding the other in the face, put him to
flight, and finally he escaped himself with the aid of his friends. In
Britannia on one occasion the natives had attacked the foremost
centurions who had got into a marshy spot full of water, upon which,
in the presence of Cæsar who was viewing the contest, a soldier rushed
into the midst of the enemy, and after performing many conspicuous
acts of valour, rescued the centurions from the barbarians, who took
to flight. The soldier, with difficulty attempting to cross after all
the rest, plunged into the muddy stream, and with great trouble and
the loss of his shield, sometimes swimming, sometimes walking, he got
safe over. While those who were about Cæsar were admiring his conduct
and coming to receive him with congratulations and shouts, the
soldier, with the greatest marks of dejection and tears in his eyes,
fell down at Cæsar's feet and begged pardon for the loss of his
shield. Again, in Libya, Scipio's party having taken one of Cæsar's
ships in which was Granius Petro, who had been appointed quæstor, made
booty of all the rest, but offered to give the quæstor his life; but
he replying that it was the fashion with Cæsar's soldiers to give and
not to accept mercy, killed himself with his own sword.

XVII. This courage and emulation Cæsar cherished and created, in the
first place by distributing rewards and honours without stint, and
thus showing that he did not get wealth from the enemy for his own
enjoyment and pleasure, but that it was treasured up with him as the
common reward of courage, and that he was rich only in proportion as
he rewarded deserving soldiers; and in the next place by readily
undergoing every danger and never shrinking from any toil. Now they
did not so much admire Cæsar's courage, knowing his love of glory; but
his endurance of labour beyond his body's apparent power of sustaining
it, was a matter of astonishment, for he was of a spare habit, and had
a white and soft skin, and was subject to complaints in the head and
to epileptic fits, which, as it is said, first attacked him at
Corduba;[482] notwithstanding all this, he did not make his feeble
health an excuse for indulgence, but he made military service the
means of his cure, by unwearied journeying, frugal diet, and by
constantly keeping in the open air and enduring fatigue, struggling
with his malady and keeping his body proof against its attacks. He
generally slept in chariots or in litters, making even his repose a
kind of action; and in the daytime he used to ride in a vehicle to the
garrisons, cities and camps, with a slave by his side, one of those
who were expert at taking down what was dictated on a journey, and a
single soldier behind him armed with a sword. He used to travel so
quick that on his first journey from Rome he reached the Rhodanus[483]
in eight days. From his boyhood he was a good horseman, for he had
been accustomed to place his hands behind him and, holding them close
together on his back, to put the horse to his full speed. In that
campaign he also practised himself in dictating letters as he was
riding and thus giving employment to two scribes, and as Oppius[484]
says, to more. He is said also to have introduced the practice of
communicating with his friends by letters, as there was no time for
personal interviews on urgent affairs, owing to the amount of business
and the size of the city. This anecdote also is cited as a proof of
his indifference as to diet. On one occasion when he was entertained
at supper by his host Valerius Leo[485] in Mediolanum, asparagus was
served up with myrum poured on it instead of oil, which Cæsar ate
without taking any notice of it, and reproved his friends who were out
of humour on the occasion. "You should be content," he said, "not to
eat what you don't like; but to find fault with your host's
ill-breeding is to be as ill-bred as himself." Once upon a journey he
was compelled by a storm to take shelter in a poor man's hut, which
contained only a single chamber and that hardly large enough for one
person, on which he observed to his friends that the post of honour
must be given to the worthiest and the place of safety to the weakest;
and he bade Oppius lie down while he and the rest slept in the porch.

XVIII. Cæsar's first Gallic campaign was against the Helvetii[486] and
Tigurini, who had burnt their cities, twelve in number, and their
villages, of which there were four hundred, and were advancing through
that part of Gaul which was subject to the Romans, like the Cimbri and
Teutones of old, to whom they were considered to be not inferior in
courage and in numbers equal, being in all three hundred thousand, of
whom one hundred and ninety thousand were fighting men. The Tigurini
were not opposed by Cæsar in person, but by Labienus, who was sent
against them by Cæsar and totally defeated them near the Arar. The
Helvetii fell on Cæsar unexpectedly as he was leading his forces to a
friendly city, but he succeeded in making his way to a strong
position, where he rallied his army and prepared for battle. A horse
being brought to him, he said, "I shall want this for the pursuit
after I have defeated the enemy; but let us now move on against them;"
and accordingly he made the charge on foot. After a long and difficult
contest, the Helvetian warriors were driven back, but the hardest
struggle was about the chariots and the camp, for the Helvetians made
a stand there and a desperate resistance, and also their wives and
children, who fought till they were cut to pieces, and the battle was
hardly over at midnight. This glorious deed of victory Cæsar followed
up by one still better, for he brought together those who had escaped
from the battle and compelled them to re-occupy the tract which they
had left and to rebuild the cities which they had destroyed; and the
number of these was above one hundred thousand. His object in this
measure was to prevent the Germans from crossing the Rhenus and
occupying the vacant country.

XIX. His next contest was with the Germans and for the immediate
defence of the Gauls, although he had before this made an alliance
with their king Ariovistus[487] in Rome. But the Germans were
intolerable neighbours to Cæsar's subjects, and if opportunity
offered, it was supposed that they would not remain satisfied with
what they had, but would invade and occupy Gaul. Cæsar observing his
officers afraid of the approaching contest, and particularly the men
of rank and the youths who had joined him in the expectation of
finding a campaign with Cæsar a matter of pleasure and profit, called
them to a public assembly and bade them leave him and not fight
against their inclination since they were so cowardly and effeminate:
as for himself he said he would take the tenth legion by itself and
lead it against the enemy, knowing that he should not have to deal
with a braver enemy than the Cimbri, and that he was not a worse
general than Marius. Upon this the tenth legion sent a deputation of
their body to thank him, but the rest of the legions abused their own
officers, and the whole army, full of impetuosity and eagerness, all
followed Cæsar, marching for many days, till they encamped within two
hundred stadia of the enemy. The courage of Ariovistus was somewhat
broken by the bare approach of the Romans; for as he had supposed that
the Romans would not stand the attack of the Germans, and he never
expected that they would turn assailants, he was amazed at Cæsar's
daring and he also saw that his own army was disturbed. The spirit of
the Germans was still more blunted by the predictions of their wise
women, who observing the eddies in the rivers and drawing signs from
the whirlings and noise of the waters, foreboded the future and
declared that the army ought not to fight before it was new moon.
Cæsar hearing of this and perceiving that the Germans were inactive,
thought it a good opportunity for engaging with them, while they were
out of spirits instead of sitting still and waiting for their time. By
attacking their fortifications and the hills on which they were
encamped, he irritated the Germans and provoked them to come down in
passion and fight. The Germans were completely routed and pursued to
the Rhenus a distance of four hundred stadia, and the whole of this
space was strewed with dead bodies and arms. Ariovistus with a few
escaped across the river. The dead are said to have been eighty
thousand in number.

XX. After these exploits he left his forces among the Sequani[488] to
winter, and with the view of attending to what was going on at Rome,
came down to Gaul about the Padus, which was a part of his province;
for the river Rubico separates the rest of Italy from Gaul beneath the
Alps. Fixing his residence there, he carried on his political
intrigues, and many persons came to visit him to whom he gave what
they asked for; and he dismissed all either with their wishes
satisfied, or with hopes. During the whole period of his government in
Gaul, he conducted his operations without attracting any attention
from Pompeius, though at one time he was subduing the enemy by the
arms of the citizens, and at another capturing and subjecting the
citizens by the money which he got from the enemy. Hearing that the
Belgæ[489] had risen in arms, who were the most powerful nation of the
Gauls and in possession of a third part of all Gaul, and that they had
assembled many ten thousands of armed men, he immediately turned about
and went against them with all possible expedition; and falling upon
the enemy while they were plundering the Gauls who were in alliance
with the Romans, he put to flight and destroyed those who were
collected in greatest numbers and the chief part of them after an
unsuccessful resistance, and such was the slaughter that the Romans
crossed the lakes and deep rivers over the dead bodies. Of the rebels
all who dwelt near the ocean surrendered without resistance; but
against the fiercest and most warlike of those in these parts, the
Nervii,[490] Cæsar led his forces. The Nervii, who inhabited the dense
thickets and had placed their families and property in a deep recess
of the forest as far as possible from the enemy, suddenly, to the
number of sixty thousand, attacked Cæsar while he was fortifying his
camp and not expecting a battle, and they put the Roman cavalry to
flight, and surrounding the twelfth and seventh legions, killed all
the centurions. If Cæsar had not seized a shield and, making his way
through the first ranks, charged the barbarians, and if the tenth



Online Library46 PlutarchPlutarch's Lives Volume III → online text (page 37 of 55)