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and two younger officers, the brothers Lucius and Marcus Lucullus,
of whom the former had fought with distinction under Sulla
in Asia, the latter in Italy; not to mention Optimates like Quintus
Hortensius (640-704), who had importance only as a pleader,
or men like Decimus Junius Brutus (consul in 677), Mamercus
Aemilius Lepidus Livianus (consul in 677), and other such nullities,
whose best quality was a euphonious aristocratic name.
But even those four men rose little above the average calibre
of the Optimates of this age. Catulus was like his father a man of
refined culture and an honest aristocrat, but of moderate talents
and, in particular, no soldier. Metellus was not merely estimable
in his personal character, but an able and experienced officer;
and it was not so much on account of his close relations as a kinsman
and colleague with the regent as because of his recognized ability
that he was sent in 675, after resigning the consulship, to Spain,
where the Lusitanians and the Roman emigrants under Quintus
Sertorius were bestirring themselves afresh. The two Luculli
were also capable officers - particularly the elder, who combined
very respectable military talents with thorough literary culture
and leanings to authorship, and appeared honourable also as a man.
But, as statesmen, even these better aristocrats were not much less
remiss and shortsighted than the average senators of the time.
In presence of an outward foe the more eminent among them, doubtless,
proved themselves useful and brave; but no one of them evinced
the desire or the skill to solve the problems of politics proper,
and to guide the vessel of the state through the stormy sea of intrigues
and factions as a true pilot. Their political wisdom was limited
to a sincere belief in the oligarchy as the sole means of salvation,
and to a cordial hatred and courageous execration of demagogism
as well as of every individual authority which sought to emancipate
itself. Their petty ambition was contented with little.
The stories told of Metellus in Spain - that he not only allowed
himself to be delighted with the far from harmonious lyre
of the Spanish occasional poets, but even wherever he went had himself
received like a god with libations of wine and odours of incense,
and at table had his head crowned by descending Victories amidst
theatrical thunder with the golden laurel of the conqueror -
are no better attested than most historical anecdotes; but even
such gossip reflects the degenerate ambition of the generations
of Epigoni. Even the better men were content when they had gained
not power and influence, but the consulship and a triumph
and a place of honour in the senate; and at the very time
when with right ambition they would have just begun to be truly useful
to their country and their party, they retired from the political stage
to be lost in princely luxury. Men like Metellus and Lucius Lucullus
were, even as generals, not more attentive to the enlargement
of the Roman dominion by fresh conquests of kings and peoples than
to the enlargement of the endless game, poultry, and dessert lists
of Roman gastronomy by new delicacies from Africa and Asia Minor,
and they wasted the best part of their lives in more or less ingenious
idleness. The traditional aptitude and the individual self-denial,
on which all oligarchic government is based, were lost
in the decayed and artificially restored Roman aristocracy of this age;
in its judgment universally the spirit of clique was accounted
as patriotism, vanity as ambition, and narrow-mindedness as consistency.
Had the Sullan constitution passed into the guardianship of men
such as have sat in the Roman College of Cardinals or the Venetian
Council of Ten, we cannot tell whether the opposition would have been able
to shake it so soon; with such defenders every attack involved,
at all events, a serious peril.


Of the men, who were neither unconditional adherents nor open
opponents of the Sullan constitution, no one attracted more the eyes
of the multitude than the young Gnaeus Pompeius, who was at the time
of Sulla's death twenty-eight years of age (born 29th September 648).
The fact was a misfortune for the admired as well as
for the admirers; but it was natural. Sound in body and mind,
a capable athlete, who even when a superior officer vied with his
soldiers in leaping, running, and lifting, a vigorous and skilled
rider and fencer, a bold leader of volunteer bands, the youth had
become Imperator and triumphator at an age which excluded him
from every magistracy and from the senate, and had acquired
the first place next to Sulla in public opinion; nay, had obtained
from the indulgent regent himself - half in recognition, half in irony -
the surname of the Great. Unhappily, his mental endowments by no means
corresponded with these unprecedented successes. He was neither
a bad nor an incapable man, but a man thoroughly ordinary, created
by nature to be a good sergeant, called by circumstances to be
a general and a statesman. An intelligent, brave and experienced,
thoroughly excellent soldier, he was still, even in his military
capacity, without trace of any higher gifts. It was characteristic
of him as a general, as well as in other respects, to set to work
with a caution bordering on timidity, and, if possible, to give
the decisive blow only when he had established an immense superiority
over his opponent. His culture was the average culture of the time;
although entirely a soldier, he did not neglect, when he went
to Rhodes, dutifully to admire, and to make presents to,
the rhetoricians there. His integrity was that of a rich man
who manages with discretion his considerable property inherited
and acquired. He did not disdain to make money in the usual senatorial
way, but he was too cold and too rich to incur special risks,
or draw down on himself conspicuous disgrace, on that account.
The vice so much in vogue among his contemporaries, rather than
any virtue of his own, procured for him the reputation - comparatively,
no doubt, well warranted - of integrity and disinterestedness.
His "honest countenance" became almost proverbial, and even after
his death he was esteemed as a worthy and moral man; he was in fact
a good neighbour, who did not join in the revolting schemes
by which the grandees of that age extended the bounds of their domains
through forced sales or measures still worse at the expense
of their humbler neighbours, and in domestic life he displayed
attachment to his wife and children: it redounds moreover to his
credit that he was the first to depart from the barbarous custom
of putting to death the captive kings and generals of the enemy,
after they had been exhibited in triumph. But this did not prevent
him from separating from his beloved wife at the command of his lord
and master Sulla, because she belonged to an outlawed family,
nor from ordering with great composure that men who had stood
by him and helped him in times of difficulty should be executed
before his eyes at the nod of the same master:(9) he was not cruel,
thoughhe was reproached with being so, but - what perhaps was worse -
he was cold and, in good as in evil, unimpassioned. In the tumult
of battle he faced the enemy fearlessly; in civil life he was a shy
man, whose cheek flushed on the slightest occasion; he spoke
in public not without embarrassment, and generally was angular, stiff,
and awkward in intercourse. With all his haughty obstinacy he was -
as indeed persons ordinarily are, who make a display of their
independence - a pliant tool in the hands of men who knew how
to manage him, especially of his freedmen and clients, by whom he had
no fear of being controlled. For nothing was he less qualified
than for a statesman. Uncertain as to his aims, unskilful in the choice
of his means, alike in little and great matters shortsighted
and helpless, he was wont to conceal his irresolution and indecision
under a solemn silence, and, when he thought to play a subtle
game, simply to deceive himself with the belief that he was
deceiving others. By his military position and his territorial
connections he acquired almost without any action of his own
a considerable party personally devoted to him, with which
the greatest things might have been accomplished; but Pompeius
was in every respect incapable of leading and keeping together a party,
and, if it still kept together, it did so - in like manner without
his action - through the sheer force of circumstances. In this,
as in other things, he reminds us of Marius; but Marius, with his
nature of boorish roughness and sensuous passion, was still less
intolerable than this most tiresome and most starched of all
artificial great men. His political position was utterly perverse.
He was a Sullan officer and under obligation to stand up for
the restored constitution, and yet again in opposition to Sulla
personally as well as to the whole senatorial government. The gens
of the Pompeii, which had only been named for some sixty years
in the consular lists, had by no means acquired full standing
in the eyes of the aristocracy; even the father of this Pompeius
had occupied a very invidious equivocal position towards
the senate,(10) and he himself had once been in the ranks
of the Cinnans(11) - recollections which were suppressed perhaps,
but not forgotten. The prominent position which Pompeius
acquired for himself under Sulla set him at inward variance
with the aristocracy, quite as much as it brought him into outward
connection with it. Weak-headed as he was, Pompeius was seized
with giddiness on the height of glory which he had climbed
with such dangerous rapidity and ease. Just as if he would himself
ridicule his dry prosaic nature by the parallel with the most
poetical of all heroic figures, he began to compare himself
with Alexander the Great, and to account himself a man of unique
standing, whom it did not beseem to be merely one of the five
hundred senators of Rome. In reality, no one was more fitted
to take his place as a member of an aristocratic government than
Pompeius. His dignified outward appearance, his solemn formality,
his personal bravery, his decorous private life, his want
of all initiative might have gained for him, had he been born
two hundred years earlier, an honourable place by the side
of Quintus Maximus and Publius Decius: this mediocrity, so characteristic
of the genuine Optimate and the genuine Roman, contributed not a little
to the elective affinity which subsisted at all times between Pompeius
and the mass of the burgesses and the senate. Even in his own age
he would have had a clearly defined and respectable position
had he contented himself with being the general of the senate,
for which he was from the outset destined. With this he was
not content, and so he fell into the fatal plight of wishing
to be something else than he could be. He was constantly aspiring
to a special position in the state, and, when it offered itself,
he could not make up his mind to occupy it; he was deeply indignant
when persons and laws did not bend unconditionally before him,
and yet he everywhere bore himself with no mere affectation
of modesty as one of many peers, and trembled at the mere thought
of undertaking anything unconstitutional. Thus constantly
at fundamental variance with, and yet at the same time the obedient
servant of, the oligarchy, constantly tormented by an ambition
which was frightened at its own aims, his much-agitated life
passed joylessly away in a perpetual inward contradiction.


Marcus Crassus cannot, any more than Pompeius, be reckoned among
the unconditional adherents of the oligarchy. He is a personage
highly characteristic of this epoch. Like Pompeius, whose senior
he was by a few years, he belonged to the circle of the high Roman
aristocracy, had obtained the usual education befitting his rank,
and had like Pompeius fought with distinction under Sulla
in the Italian war. Far inferior to many of his peers in mental gifts,
literary culture, and military talent, he outstripped them
by his boundless activity, and by the perseverance with which he strove
to possess everything and to become all-important. Above all,
he threw himself into speculation. Purchases of estates during
the revolution formed the foundation of his wealth; but he disdained
no branch of gain; he carried on the business of building
in the capital on a great scale and with prudence; he entered
into partnership with his freedmen in the most varied undertakings;
he acted as banker both in and out of Rome, in person or by his agents;
he advanced money to his colleagues in the senate, and undertook -
as it might happen - to execute works or to bribe the tribunals
on their account. He was far from nice in the matter
of making profit. On occasion of the Sullan proscriptions a forgery
in the lists had been proved against him, for which reason Sulla
made no more use of him thenceforward in the affairs of state:
he did not refuse to accept an inheritance, because the testamentary
document which contained his name was notoriously forged; he made
no objection, when his bailiffs by force or by fraud dislodged
the petty holders from lands which adjoined his own. He avoided open
collisions, however, with criminal justice, and lived himself
like a genuine moneyed man in homely and simple style. In this way
Crassus rose in the course of a few years from a man of ordinary
senatorial fortune to be the master of wealth which not long before
his death, after defraying enormous extraordinary expenses, still
amounted to 170,000,000 sesterces (1,700,000 pounds). He had
become the richest of Romans and thereby, at the same time, a great
political power. If, according to his expression, no one might
call himself rich who could not maintain an army from his revenues,
one who could do this was hardly any longer a mere citizen.
In reality the views of Crassus aimed at a higher object than
the possession of the best-filled money-chest in Rome. He grudged
no pains to extend his connections. He knew how to salute by name
every burgess of the capital. He refused to no suppliant
his assistance in court. Nature, indeed, had not done much
for him as an orator: his speaking was dry, his delivery monotonous,
he had difficulty of hearing; but his tenacity of purpose,
which no wearisomeness deterred and no enjoyment distracted, overcame
such obstacles. He never appeared unprepared, he never extemporized,
and so he became a pleader at all times in request and at all times
ready; to whom it was no derogation that a cause was rarely too bad
for him, and that he knew how to influence the judges not merely
by his oratory, but also by his connections and, on occasion,
by his gold. Half the senate was in debt to him; his habit of advancing
to "friends" money without interest revocable at pleasure rendered
a number of influential men dependent on him, and the more so that,
like a genuine man of business, he made no distinction among
the parties, maintained connections on all hands, and readily lent
to every one who was able to pay or otherwise useful. The most daring
party-leaders, who made their attacks recklessly in all directions,
were careful not to quarrel with Crassus; he was compared
to the bull of the herd, whom it was advisable for none to provoke.
That such a man, so disposed and so situated, could not strive
after humble aims is clear; and, in a very different way from Pompeius,
Crassus knew exactly like a banker the objects and the means
of political speculation. From the origin of Rome capital
was a political power there; the age was of such a sort, that everything
seemed accessible to gold as to iron. If in the time of revolution
a capitalist aristocracy might have thought of overthrowing
the oligarchy of the gentes, a man like Crassus might raise
his eyes higher than to the -fasces- and embroidered mantle
of the triumphators. For the moment he was a Sullan and adherent
of the senate; but he was too much of a financier to devote himself
to a definite political party, or to pursue aught else than his personal
advantage. Why should Crassus, the wealthiest and most intriguing
man in Rome, and no penurious miser but a speculator on the greatest
scale, not speculate also on the crown? Alone, perhaps,
he could not attain this object; but he had already carried out
various great transactions in partnership; it was not impossible
that for this also a suitable partner might present himself.
It is a trait characteristic of the time, that a mediocre orator
and officer, a politician who took his activity for energy
and his covetousness for ambition, one who at bottom had nothing
but a colossal fortune and the mercantile talent of forming
connections - that such a man, relying on the omnipotence of coteries
and intrigues, could deem himself on a level with the first generals
and statesmen of his day, and could contend with them
for the highest prize which allures political ambition.

Leaders of the Democrats

In the opposition proper, both among the liberal conservatives
and among the Populares, the storms of revolution had made fearful
havoc. Among the former, the only surviving man of note was Gaius
Cotta (630-c. 681), the friend and ally of Drusus, and as such
banished in 663,(12) and then by Sulla's victory brought back
to his native land;(13) he was a shrewd man and a capable advocate,
but not called, either by the weight of his party or by that of his
personal standing, to act more than a respectable secondary part.
In the democratic party, among the rising youth, Gaius Julius
Caesar, who was twenty-four years of age (born 12 July 652?(14)),
drew towards him the eyes of friend and foe. His relationship
with Marius and Cinna (his father's sister had been the wife of Marius,
he himself had married Cinna's daughter); the courageous refusal
of the youth who had scarce outgrown the age of boyhood to send
a divorce to his young wife Cornelia at the bidding of the dictator,
as Pompeius had in the like case done; his bold persistence
in the priesthood conferred upon him by Marius, but revoked by Sulla;
his wanderings during the proscription with which he was threatened,
and which was with difficulty averted by the intercession
of his relatives; his bravery in the conflicts before Mytilene
and in Cilicia, a bravery which no one had expected from the tenderly
reared and almost effeminately foppish boy; even the warnings
of Sulla regarding the "boy in the petticoat" in whom more than a Marius
lay concealed - all these were precisely so many recommendations
in the eyes of the democratic party. But Caesar could only be the object
of hopes for the future; and the men who from their age and their
public position would have been called now to seize the reins
of the party and the state, were all dead or in exile.


Thus the leadership of the democracy, in the absence of a man
with a true vocation for it, was to be had by any one who might please
to give himself forth as the champion of oppressed popular freedom;
and in this way it came to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a Sullan,
who from motives more than ambiguous deserted to the camp
of the democracy. Once a zealous Optimate, and a large purchaser
at the auctions of the proscribed estates, he had, as governor of Sicily,
so scandalously plundered the province that he was threatened
with impeachment, and, to evade it, threw himself into opposition.
It was a gain of doubtful value. No doubt the opposition
thus acquired a well-known name, a man of quality, a vehement orator
in the Forum; but Lepidus was an insignificant and indiscreet
personage, who did not deserve to stand at the head either
in council or in the field. Nevertheless the opposition welcomed him,
and the new leader of the democrats succeeded not only in deterring
his accusers from prosecuting the attack on him which they had
begun, but also in carrying his election to the consulship
for 676; in which, we may add, he was helped not only by the treasures
exacted in Sicily, but also by the foolish endeavour of Pompeius
to show Sulla and the pure Sullans on this occasion what he could do.
Now that the opposition had, on the death of Sulla, found a head
once more in Lepidus, and now that this their leader had become
the supreme magistrate of the state, the speedy outbreak of a new
revolution in the capital might with certainty be foreseen.

The Emigrants in Spain

But even before the democrats moved in the capital, the democratic
emigrants had again bestirred themselves in Spain. The soul
of this movement was Quintus Sertorius. This excellent man,
a native of Nursia in the Sabine land, was from the first
of a tender and even soft organization - as his almost enthusiastic love
for his mother, Raia, shows - and at the same time of the most chivalrous
bravery, as was proved by the honourable scars which he brought
home from the Cimbrian, Spanish, and Italian wars. Although wholly
untrained as an orator, he excited the admiration of learned
advocates by the natural flow and the striking self-possession
of his address. His remarkable military and statesmanly talent
had found opportunity of shining by contrast, more particularly
in the revolutionary war which the democrats so wretchedly and stupidly
mismanaged; he was confessedly the only democratic officer
who knew how to prepare and to conduct war, and the only democratic
statesman who opposed the insensate and furious doings of his party
with statesmanlike energy. His Spanish soldiers called him the new
Hannibal, and not merely because he had, like that hero, lost
an eye in war. He in reality reminds us of the great Phoenician
by his equally cunning and courageous strategy, by his rare talent
of organizing war by means of war, by his adroitness in attracting
foreign nations to his interest and making them serviceable to his ends,
by his prudence in success and misfortune, by the quickness
of his ingenuity in turning to good account his victories
and averting the consequences of his defeats. It may be doubted
whether any Roman statesman of the earlier period, or of the present,
can be compared in point of versatile talent to Sertorius.
After Sulla's generals had compelled him to quit Spain,(15)
he had led a restless life of adventure along the Spanish and African
coasts, sometimes in league, sometimes at war, with the Cilician
pirates who haunted these seas, and with the chieftains
of the roving tribes of Libya. The victorious Roman restoration had
pursued him even thither: when he was besieging Tingis (Tangiers),
a corps under Pacciaecus from Roman Africa had come to the help
of the prince of the town; but Pacciaecus was totally defeated,
and Tingis was taken by Sertorius. On the report of such achievements
by the Roman refugee spreading abroad, the Lusitanians, who,
notwithstanding their pretended submission to the Roman supremacy,
practically maintained their independence, and annually fought
with the governors of Further Spain, sent envoys to Sertorius
in Africa, to invite him to join them, and to commit to him
the command of their militia.

Renewed Outbreak of the Spanish Insurrection
Metellus Sent to Spain

Sertorius, who twenty years before had served under Titus Didius
in Spain and knew the resources of the land, resolved to comply
with the invitation, and, leaving behind a small detachment
on the Mauretanian coast, embarked for Spain (about 674).
The straits separating Spain and Africa were occupied by a Roman
squadron commanded by Cotta; to steal through it was impossible;
so Sertorius fought his way through and succeeded in reaching
the Lusitanians. There were not more than twenty Lusitanian
communities that placed themselves under his orders; and even
of "Romans" he mustered only 2600 men, a considerable part
of whom were deserters from the army of Pacciaecus or Africans
armed after the Roman style. Sertorius saw that everything depended on
his associating with the loose guerilla-bands a strong nucleus
of troops possessing Roman organization and discipline: for this end
he reinforced the band which he had brought with him by levying
4000 infantry and 700 cavalry, and with this one legion
and the swarms of Spanish volunteers advanced against the Romans.
The command in Further Spain was held by Lucius Fufidius,
who through his absolute devotion to Sulla - well tried amidst
the proscriptions - had risen from a subaltern to be propraetor;
he was totally defeated on the Baetis; 2000 Romans covered the field
of battle. Messengers in all haste summoned the governor

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