Thayer's Note: Before e-mailing me with questions, comments, or corrections involving the numbering of Books, chapters, and sections in this text, please read the orientation page.
The following is contained in the Forty-fourth of Dio's Rome:—
1. About the decrees passed in honour of Caesar (chaps. 1‑11).
2. About the conspiracy formed against him (chaps. 12‑18).
3. How Caesar was murdered (chaps. 19‑22).
4. How a decree was passed that the people should not bear malice against one another (chaps. 23‑34).
5. About the burial of Caesar and the oration delivered over him (chaps. 35‑53).
|Duration of time, a part of the fifth dictatorship of Julius Caesar, held in company with Aemilius Lepidus as master of the horse, and of his fifth consulship, held with Mark Antony.|
1 All this Caesar did as a preliminary step to his campaign against the Parthians; but a baleful frenzy which fell upon certain men through jealousy of his advancement and hatred of his preferment to themselves caused his death unlawfully, while it added a new name to the annals of infamy; it scattered the decrees to the winds 2 and brought upon the Romans seditions and civil wars once more after a state of harmony. His slayers, to be sure, declared that they had shown themselves at once destroyers of Caesar and liberators of the people: but in reality they impiously plotted against him, and they threw the city into disorder when at last it p311possessed a stable government. 2 Democracy, indeed, has a fair-appearing name and conveys the impression of bringing equal rights to all through equal laws, but its results are seen not to agree at all with its title. Monarchy, on the contrary, has an unpleasant sound, but is a most practical form of government to live under. For it is easier to find a single excellent man than many of them, 2 and if even this seems to some a difficult feat, it is quite inevitable that the other alternative should be acknowledged to be impossible; for it does not belong to the majority of men to acquire virtue. And again, even though a base man should obtain supreme power, yet he is preferable to the masses of like character, as the history of the Greeks and barbarians and of the Romans themselves proves. 3 For successes have always been greater and more frequent in the case both of cities and of individuals under kings than under popular rule, and disasters do not happen so frequently under monarchies as under mob-rule. Indeed, if ever there has been a prosperous democracy, it has in any case been at its best for only a brief period, so long, that is, as the people had neither the numbers nor the strength sufficient to cause insolence to spring up among them as the result of good fortune or jealousy as the result of ambition. 4 But for a city, not only so large in itself, but also ruling the finest and the greatest part of the known world, holding sway over men of many and diverse natures, possessing many men of great wealth, occupied with every imaginable pursuit, enjoying every imaginable fortune, both p313individually and collectively, — for such a city, I say, to practise moderation under a democracy is impossible, and still more is it impossible for the people, unless moderation prevails, to be harmonious. 5 Therefore, if Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius had only reflected upon these things, they would never have killed the city's head and protector nor have made themselves the cause of countless ills both to themselves and to all the rest of mankind then living.
3 It happened as follows, and his death was due to the cause now to be given. He had aroused dislike that was not altogether unjustified, except in so far as it was the senators themselves who had by their novel and excessive honours encouraged him and puffed him up, only to find fault with him on this very account and to spread slanderous reports how glad he was to accept them and how he behaved more haughtily as a result of them. 2 It is true that Caesar did now and then err by accepting some of the honours voted him and believing that he really deserved them; yet those were most blameworthy who, after beginning to honour him as he deserved, led him on and brought blame upon him for the measures they had passed. 3 He neither dared, of course, to thrust them all aside, for fear of being thought contemptuous, nor, again, could he be safe in accepting them; for excessive honour and praise render even the most modest men conceited, especially if they seem to be bestowed with sincerity.
4 The privileges that were granted him, in addition to all those mentioned, were as follows in number and nature; for I shall name them all together, even if they were not all proposed or passed at one p315time. 2 First, then, they voted that he should always ride, even in the city itself, wearing the triumphal dress, and should sit in his chair of state everywhere except at the games; for at those he received the privilege of watching the contests from the tribunes' benches in company with those who were tribunes at the time. 3 And they gave him the right to offer •spolia opima, as they are called, at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, as if he had slain some hostile general with his own hand, and to have lictors who always carried laurel, and after the Feriae Latinae to ride from the Alban Mount into the city on horseback. 4 In addition to these remarkable privileges they named him father of his country, stamped this title on the coinage, voted to celebrate his birthday by public sacrifice, ordered that he should have a statue in the cities and in all the temples of Rome, 5 and they set up two also on the rostra, one representing him as the saviour of the citizens and the other as the deliverer of the city from siege, and wearing the crowns customary for such achievements. They also resolved to build a temple of Concordia Nova, on the ground that it was through his efforts that they enjoyed peace, and to celebrate an annual festival in her honour. 5 When he had accepted these, they assigned to him the charge of filling the Pontine marshes, cutting a canal through the Peloponnesian isthmus, and constructing a new senate-house, since that of Hostilius, although repaired, had been demolished. 2 The reason assigned for its destruction was that a p317 temple of Felicitas was to be built there, which Lepidus, indeed, brought to completion while master of the horse; but their real purpose was that the name of Sulla should not be preserved on it, and that another senate-house, newly constructed, might be named the Julian, even as they had called the month in which he was born July, and one of the tribes, selected by lot, the Julian. 3 And they voted that Caesar should be sole censor for life and should enjoy the immunities granted to the tribunes, so that if any one insulted him by deed or word, that man should be an outlaw and accursed, and further that Caesar's son, should he beget or even adopt one, should be appointed high priest. 61 As he seemed to like all this, a gilded chair was granted him, and a garb that the kings had once used, and body-guard of knights and senators; furthermore they decided that prayers should be offered for him publicly every year, that they should swear by Caesar's Fortune, and should regard as valid all his future acts. 2 Next they bestowed upon him a quadrennial festival, as to a hero, and a third priestly college, which they called the Julian, as overseers of the Lupercalia, and one special day of his own each time in connection with all gladiatorial combats both in Rome and the rest of Italy. 3 When he showed himself pleased with these honours also, they accordingly voted that his golden chair and his crown set with precious gems and overlaid with gold should be carried into the theatres in the same manner as those of the gods, and that on the occasion of the games in the Circus his chariot should be brought in. p3194 And finally they addressed him outright as Jupiter Julius and ordered a temple to be consecrated to him and to his Clemency, electing Antony as their priest like some flamen Dialis.
7 At the same time with these measures they passed another which most clearly indicated their disposition it gave him the right to place his tomb within the •pomerium; and the decrees regarding this matter they inscribed in golden letters on silver tablets and deposited beneath the feet of Jupiter Capitolinus, thus pointing out to him very clearly that he was a mortal. 2 When they had begun to honour him, it was with the idea, of course, that he would be reasonable; but as they went on and saw that he was delighted with what they voted, — indeed he accepted all but a very few of their decrees, — different men at different times kept proposing various extravagant honours, some in a spirit of exaggerated flattery and others by way of ridicule. 3 At any rate, some actually ventured to suggest permitting him to have intercourse with as many women as he pleased, because even at this time, though fifty years old, he still had numerous mistresses. Others, and they were the majority, followed this course because they wished to make him envied and hated as quickly as possible, that he might the sooner perish. 4 And this is precisely what happened, though Caesar was encouraged by these very measures to believe that he should never be plotted against by the men who had voted him such honours, nor, through fear of them, by any one else; and consequently he even dispensed henceforth with a body-guard. For nominally he accepted the privilege of being watched over p321by the senators and knights, and so dismissed the guard he had previously had. 8 Indeed, when once they had voted to him on a single day an unusually large number of these honours of especial importance, — which had been granted unanimously by all except Cassius and a few others, who became famous for this action, yet suffered no harm, whereby Caesar's clemency was conspicuously revealed, — they then approached him as he was sitting in the vestibule of the temple of Venus in order to announce to him in a body their decisions; 2 for they transacted such business in his absence, in order to have the appearance of doing it, not under compulsion, but voluntarily. And either by some heaven-sent fatuity or even through excess of joy he received them sitting, which aroused so great indignation among them all, not only the senators but all the rest, that it afforded his slayers one of their chief excuses for their plot against him. 3 Some who subsequently tried to defend him claimed, it is true, that owing to an attack of diarrhoea he could not control the movement of his bowels and so had remained where he was in order to avoid a flux. They were not able, however, to convince the majority, since not long afterwards he rose up and went home on foot; 4 hence most men suspected him of being inflated with pride and hated him for his haughtiness, when it was they themselves who had made him disdainful by the exaggerated character of their honours. After this occurrence, striking as it was, he increased the suspicion by permitting himself somewhat later to be chosen dictator for life.
p323 9 When he had reached this point, the men who were plotting against him hesitated no longer, but in order to embitter even his best friends against him, they did their best to traduce him, finally saluting him as king, a name which they often used also among themselves. 2 When he kept refusing the title and rebuking in a way those who thus accosted him, yet did nothing by which it would be thought that he was really displeased at it, they secretly adorned his statue, which stood on the rostra, with a diadem. 3 And when the tribunes, Gaius Epidius Marullus and Lucius Caesetius Flavius, took it down, he became violently angry, although they uttered no word of abuse and moreover actually praised him before the populace as not wanting anything of the sort. For the time being, though vexed, he held his peace. 10 1 Subsequently, however, when he was riding in from the Alban Mount and some men again called him king, he said that his name was not king but Caesar; but when the same tribunes brought suit against the first man who had termed him king, he no longer restrained his wrath but showed great irritation, as if these very officials were really stirring up sedition against him. 2 And though for the moment he did them no harm, yet later, when they issued a proclamation declaring that they were unable to speak their mind freely and safely on behalf of the public good, he became exceedingly angry and brought them into the senate-house where he p325accused them and put their conduct to the vote. 3 He did not put them to death, though some declared them worthy even of that penalty, but he first removed them from the tribuneship, on the motion of Helvius Cinna, their colleague, and then erased their names from the senate. Some were pleased at this, or pretended to be, thinking they would have no need to incur danger by speaking out freely, and since they were not themselves involved in the business, they could view events as from a watch tower. 4 Caesar, however, received an ill name from this fact also, that, where he should have hated those who applied to him the name of king, he let them go and found fault with the tribunes instead.
11 1 Another thing that happened not long after these events proved still more clearly that, although he pretended to shun the title, in reality he desired to assume it. 2 For when he had entered the Forum at the festival of the Lupercalia and was sitting on the rostra in his gilded chair, adorned with the royal apparel and resplendent in his crown overlaid with gold, Antony with his fellow-priests saluted him as king and binding a diadem upon his head, said: "The people offer this to you through me." 3 And Caesar answered: "Jupiter alone is king of the Romans," and sent the diadem to Jupiter on the Capitol; yet he was not angry, but caused it to be inscribed in the records that he had refused to accept the kingship when offered to him by the p327people through the consul. It was accordingly suspected that this thing had been deliberately arranged and that he was anxious for the name, but wished to be somehow compelled to take it; consequently the hatred against him was intense. 4 After this certain men at the elections proposed for consuls the tribunes previously mentioned, and they not only privately approached Marcus Brutus and such other persons as were proud-spirited and attempted to persuade them, but also tried to incite them to action publicly. 12 1 Making the most of his having the same name as the great Brutus who overthrew the Tarquins, they scattered broadcast many pamphlets, declaring that he was not truly that man's descendant; for the older Brutus had put to death both his sons, the only ones he had, when they were mere lads, and left no offspring whatever. 2 Nevertheless, the majority pretended to accept such a relationship, in order that Brutus, as a kinsman of that famous man, might be induced to perform deeds as great. They kept continually calling upon him, shouting out "Brutus, Brutus!" and adding further "We need a Brutus." 3 Finally on the statue of the early Brutus they wrote "Would that thou wert living!" and upon the tribunal of the living Brutus (for he was praetor at the time and this is the name given to the seat on which the praetor sits in judgment) "Brutus, thou sleepest," and "Thou art not Brutus."
13 1 Now these were the influences that persuaded Brutus to attack Caesar, whom he had opposed from the beginning in any case, although he had later accepted benefits from him. He was also influenced p329by the fact that he was both nephew and son-in‑law of that Cato who was called Uticensis, as I have stated. And his wife Portia was the only woman, as they say, who was privy to the plot. 2 For she came upon him while he was pondering over these very matters and asked him why he was so thoughtful. When he made no answer, she suspected that she was distrusted on account of her physical weakness, for fear she might reveal something, however unwillingly, under torture; hence she ventured to do a noteworthy deed. 3 She secretly inflicted a wound upon her own thigh, to test herself and see if she could endure torture. And as soon as the first intense pain was past, she despised the wound, and coming to him, said: "You, my husband, though you trusted my spirit that it would not betray you, nevertheless were distrustful of my body, and your feeling was but human. But I found that my body also can keep silence." 4 With these words she disclosed her thigh, and making known the reason for what she had done, she said: "Therefore fear not, but tell me all you are concealing from me, for neither fire, nor lashes, nor goads will force me to divulge a word; I was not born to that extent a woman. Hence, if you still distrust me, it is better for me to die than to live; otherwise let no one think me longer the daughter of Cato or your wife." 14 1 Hearing this, Brutus marvelled; and he no longer hid anything from her, but felt strengthened himself and related to her the whole plot. 2 After this he obtained as an associate Gaius Cassius, who had also been spared by Caesar and moreover had been honoured with the praetorship; and he was the husband of Brutus's sister. Next they proceeded p331to get together all the others who were of the same mind as themselves and these proved to be not a few in number. 3 There is no need to give a full list of the names, for I might thus become wearisome, but I cannot omit to mention Trebonius and Decimus Brutus, who was also called Junius and Albinus. 4 For these joined in the plot against Caesar, notwithstanding that they also had received many benefits at his hands; Decimus, in fact, had been appointed consul for the next year and had been assigned to Hither Gaul.
15 1 They came very near being detected for two reasons. One was the number of those who were privy to the plot, although Caesar would not receive any information about anything of the sort and punished very severely those who brought any news of the kind. 2 The second reason was their delay; for they stood in awe of him, for all their hatred of him, and kept putting the matter off, fearing, in spite of the fact that he no longer had any guard, that they might be killed by some of the men who were always with him; and thus they ran the risk of being discovered and put to death. 3 Indeed, they would have suffered this fate had they not been forced even against their will to hasten the plot. For a report, whether true or false, got abroad, as reports will spread, that the priests known as the Quindecemviri were spreading the report that the Sibyl had said the Parthians would never be defeated in any other way than by a king, 4 and were consequently going to propose that this title be granted to Caesar. The conspirators believed this to be true, and p333because a vote would be demanded of the magistrates, among whom were Brutus and Cassius, owing to the importance of the measure, and they neither dared to oppose it nor would submit to remain silent, they hastened forward their plot before any business connected with the measure should come up.
16 1 It had been decided by them to make the attempt in the senate, for they thought that there Caesar would least expect to be harmed in any way and would thus fall an easier victim, while they would find a safe opportunity by having swords instead of documents brought into the chamber in boxes, and the rest, being unarmed, would not be able to offer any resistance. 2 But in case any one should be so rash, they hoped at least that the gladiators, many of whom they had previously stationed in Pompey's Theatre under the pretext that they were to contend there, would come to their aid; for these were to lie in wait somewhere there in a certain room of the peristyle. So the conspirators, when the appointed day was come, gathered in the senate-house at dawn and called for Caesar. 17 1 As for him, he was warned of the plot in advance by soothsayers, and was warned also by dreams. For the night before he was slain his wife dreamed that their house had fallen in ruins and that her husband had been wounded by some men and had taken refuge in her bosom; and Caesar dreamed he was raised aloft upon the clouds and grasped the hand of Jupiter. 2 Moreover, omens not a few and not without significance p335came to him: the arms of Mars, at that time deposited in his house, according to ancient custom, by virtue of his position as high priest, made a great noise at night, and the doors of the chamber where he slept opened of their own accord. 3 Moreover, the sacrifices which he offered because of these occurrences were not at all favourable, and the birds he used in divination forbade him to leave the house. Indeed, to some the incident of his golden chair seemed ominous, at least after his murder; for the attendant, when Caesar delayed his coming, had carried it out of the senate, thinking that there now would be no need of it.
18 1 Caesar, accordingly, was so long in coming that the conspirators feared there might be a postponement, — indeed, a rumour got abroad that he would remain at home that day, — and that their plot would thus fall through and they themselves would be detected. Therefore they sent Decimus Brutus, as one supposed to be his devoted friend, to secure his attendance. 2 This man made light of Caesar's scruples and by stating that the senate desired exceedingly to see him, persuaded him to proceed. At this an image of him, which he had set up in the vestibule, fell of its own accord and was shattered in pieces. 3 But, since it was fated that he should die at that time, he not only paid no attention to this but would not even listen to some one who was offering him information of the plot. He received from him a little roll in which all the preparations made for the attack were accurately recorded, but did not read it, thinking it contained some indifferent matter of no pressing importance. 4 In brief, he was so confident p337that to the soothsayer who had once warned him to beware of that day he jestingly remarked: "Where are your prophecies now? Do you not see that the day which you feared is come and that I am alive?" And the other, they say, answered merely: "Ay, it is come but is not yet past."
19 1 Now when he finally reached the senate, Trebonius kept Antony employed somewhere at a distance outside. 2 For, though they had planned to kill both him and Lepidus, they feared they might be maligned as a result of the number they destroyed, on the ground that they had slain Caesar to gain supreme power and not to set free the city, as they pretended; and therefore they did not wish Antony even to be present at the slaying. As for Lepidus, he had set out on a campaign and was in the suburbs. 3 When Trebonius, then, talked with Antony, the rest in a body surrounded Caesar, who was as easy of access and as affable as any one could be; and some conversed with him, while others made as if to present petitions to him, so that suspicion might be as far from his mind as possible. 4 And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators. Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, 5 so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain p339with many wounds. This is the truest account, though some have added that to Brutus, when he struck him a powerful blow, he said: "Thou, too, my son?"
20 1 A great outcry naturally arose from all the rest who were inside and also from those who were standing near by outside, both at the suddenness of the calamity and because they did not know who the assassins were, their numbers, or their purpose; and all were excited, believing themselves in danger. 2 So they not only turned to flight themselves, every man as best he could, but they also alarmed those who met them by saying nothing intelligible, but merely shouting out the words: "Run! bolt doors! bolt doors!" 3 Then all the rest, severally taking up the cry one from another, kept shouting these words, filled the city with lamentations, and burst into the workshops and houses to hide themselves, even though the assassins hurried just as they were to the Forum, urging them both by their gestures and their shouts not to be afraid. 4 Indeed, while they were telling them this, they kept calling for Cicero; but the crowd did not believe in any case that they were sincere, and was not easily calmed. At length, however, and with difficulty, they took courage and became quiet, as no one was killed or arrested. 21 1 And when they met in the assembly, the assassins had much to say against Caesar and much in favour of democracy, and they bade the people take courage and not expect any harm. For they p341had killed him, they declared, not to secure power or any other advantage, but in order that they might be free and independent and be governed rightly. 2 By speaking such words they calmed the majority, especially since they injured no one. But fearing, for all that, that somebody might plot against them in turn, they themselves went up to the Capitol, in order, as they claimed, to pray to the gods, and there they spent the day and night. 3 And at evening they were joined by some of the other prominent men, who had not, indeed, shared in the plot, but were minded, when they saw the perpetrators praised, to lay claim to the glory of it, as well as to the prizes which they expected. 4 But for them the event proved most justly the very opposite of their expectations; for they did not secure any reputation for the deed, because they had not had a hand in it in any way, but they did share the danger which came to those who committed it just as much as if they themselves had been in the plot.
22 1 Seeing this, Dolabella likewise thought it incumbent on him not to keep quiet, but entered upon the office of consul, even though it did not yet belong to him, and after making a short speech to the people on the situation ascended to the Capitol. 2 While affairs were in this state Lepidus, learning what had taken place, occupied the Forum by night with his soldiers and at dawn delivered a speech against the assassins. As to Antony, although he had fled immediately after Caesar's death, casting away his robe of office in order to escape notice and concealing himself through the night, 3 yet when he ascertained that the assassins were on the Capitol p343and Lepidus in the Forum, he assembled the senate in the precinct of Tellus and brought forward the business of the hour for deliberation. When some had said one thing and some another, according to what was in their thoughts, Cicero, whose advice they actually followed, spoke to this effect:
23 1 "No one ought ever, I think, to say anything either out of favour or out of spite, but every one ought to declare what he believes to be the best. 2 We demand that those serving as praetors or consuls shall do everything from upright motives, and if they make any errors, we demand an accounting from them even for their misfortune; how absurd, then, if in discussion, where we are complete masters of our own opinion, we shall sacrifice the general welfare to our private interests! 3 For this reason, Conscript Fathers, I have always thought that we ought to advise you with sincerity and justice on all matters, but especially in the present circumstances, when, if without being over-inquisitive we come to an agreement, we shall both be preserved ourselves and enable all the rest to survive, whereas, if we wish to inquire into everything minutely, I fear that ill — but at very opening of my remarks I do not wish to say anything that might offend. 24 1 Formerly, not very long ago, those who had the arms usually also got control of the government and consequently issued orders to you as to the subjects on which you were to deliberate, instead of your p345determining what it was their business to do. 2 But now practically everything is at such an opportune point that matters are in your hands and depend upon you; and from yourselves you may obtain either harmony and with it liberty, or seditions and civil wars once more and a master at the close of them. 3 For whatever you decide on to‑day, all the rest of the citizens will follow. This being the state of the case, as I am convinced, I declare that we ought to give up our mutual enmities, or jealousies, or whatever name should be applied to them, and return to that old-time state of peace and friendship and harmony. 4 For you should remember this, if nothing else, that so long as we have conducted our government in that way we acquire lands, riches, glory, and allies, but ever since we were led into injuring one another, so far from becoming better off, we have become decidedly worse off. 5 Now I am so firmly convinced that nothing else at present can save the city that if we do not to‑day, at once, with all possible speed, adopt some policy, I believe we shall never be able to regain our position at all.
25 1 "That you may see, now, that I am speaking the truth, look at present conditions and then consider our position in olden times. Do you not see what is taking place — that the people are again being divided and torn asunder and that, with some choosing this side and some that, they have already fallen into two p347parties and two camps, 2 and that the one side seized the Capitol as if they feared the Gauls or somebody, while the others with headquarters in the Forum are preparing, as if they were so many Carthaginians and not Romans, to besiege them? 3 Have you not heard how, though formerly citizens often quarrelled, even to the extent of occupying the Aventine once, and the Capitol, and some of them the Sacred Mount, yet as often as they were reconciled on fair terms, or by yielding a little one to the other, they at once stopped hating one another, 4 and lived the rest of their lives in such peace and harmony that together they carried through successfully many great wars? And how, on the other hand, as often as they had recourse to murders and bloodshed, the one side deluded by the plea of defending themselves against aggression, and the other side by an ambition to appear to be inferior to none, no good ever came of it? 5 Why need I waste time by reciting to you, who know them equally well, the names of Valerius, Horatius, Saturninus, Glauca, the Gracchi? With such examples before you, examples chosen not from foreign countries but from your own, 6 do not hesitate to imitate the right course and to guard against the wrong, but in the conviction that you have already had in the events themselves a proof of the outcome of the plans you are now making, do not any longer look upon what I say as mere words, but consider that the interests of the state are already involved. 7 For thus you will not be led by any vague notion to put to the hazard p349your hopes, doubtful at best, but will foresee with justifiable confidence the certainty of your calculations.
26 1 "It is in your power, then, if you will receive this evidence that I mentioned from your own land and your own ancestors, to decide rightly; and that is why I did not wish to cite examples from abroad, though I might have mentioned countless such. One example, however, will offer from the best and most ancient city, from which even our fathers did not disdain to introduce certain laws; 2 for it would be disgraceful for us, who so far surpass the Athenians in might and intelligence, to deliberate less wisely than they. Now they were once at variance among themselves, as you all know, and as a result were overcome in war by the Lacedaemonians and were subjected to a tyranny of the more powerful citizens; 3 and they did not obtain a respite from their ills until they made a compact and agreement to forget their past injuries, though these were many and severe, and never to bring any accusation whatever or bear any malice against any one because of them. 4 Accordingly, when they had thus come to their senses, they not only ceased being subject to tyrannies and seditions, but flourished in every way, regaining their city, laying claim to the sovereignty of the Greeks, and finally gaining the authority, as often happened, to save or destroy the Lacedaemonians themselves and also the Thebans. 5 And yet, if the men who seized Pyle and returned from the Peiraeus had chosen to take vengeance p351on the city party for the wrongs they had suffered, while they would, to be sure, have been thought to have performed a justifiable action, yet they would have suffered, as well as caused, many evils. 6 For just as they exceeded their hopes by defeating their foes, they might perhaps in turn have been unexpectedly worsted. 27 1 Indeed, in such matters there is no certainty with regard to victory, even as a result of one's power, but vast numbers who are confident fail and vast numbers who seek to take vengeance upon others perish at the same time themselves. 2 For the one who is overreached in any transaction is not bound to be fortunate just because he is wronged, nor is the one who has the greater power bound to be successful just because he surpasses, but both are equally subject to the perversity of human affairs and to the instability of fortune, and the turn of the scale often corresponds, not to their own hopefulness, but to the unexpected play of these other factors. 3 As a result of this and of rivalry (for man is very prone when wronged or believing himself wronged to be bold beyond his power) many are frequently encouraged to incur dangers even beyond their strength, with the idea that they will conquer or at least will not perish unavenged. 4 So it is that, now conquering and now defeated, sometimes triumphing in turn and in turn succumbing, some perish utterly, while others gain a Cadmean victory, as the saying goes; and at a time when the knowledge can avail them nothing they perceive that they planned unwisely.
28 1 "That this is true you also have learned by experience. Consider a moment: Marius for a p353time was strong amid civil strife; then he was driven out, collected a force, and accomplished — you know what. Likewise Sulla, — not to speak of Cinna or Strabo or the rest who came between, — powerful at first, later defeated, finally making himself master, was guilty of every possible cruelty. And why name the second Marius, or even that same Cinna, or Carbo? 2 After that Lepidus, ostensibly with the purpose of punishing these men, got together a faction of his own and stirred up almost all Italy. When we at last got rid of him, too, remember what we suffered from Sertorius and from his fellow-exiles. 3 When did Pompey, what did this Caesar himself do, to make no mention here of Catiline or Clodius? Did they not afterwards fight against each other, and that in spite of their relationship, and then fill with countless evils to our own city or even the rest of Italy, but practically the entire world? 4 Well then, after Pompey's death and that great slaughter of the citizens, did any quiet appear? By no means. How could it? Africa knows, Spain knows, the multitudes who perished in each of those lands. 5 What then? Did we have peace after this? Peace, when Caesar himself lies slain in this fashion, when the Capitol is occupied, when the Forum is filled with arms and the whole city p355with fear? 29 1 In this way, when men begin sedition and seek ever to repay violence with violence and inflict vengeance without regard to decency or humanity, but according to their desires and the power that arms give them, there necessarily occurs each time a kind of cycle of ills, and alternate requitals of outrages take place. 2 For the fortunate side abounds in insolence and sets no limit to its greed, and the defeated side, if it does not perish immediately, rages at its misfortune and is eager to take vengeance on the oppressor, until it sates its wrath. 3 And the remaining multitude, also, even though it has not taken sides, now through pity for the vanquished and envy of the victorious side coöperates with the oppressed, fearing that it may itself suffer the same evils as the one party, and hoping also that it may cause the same evils as the other. 4 Thus the citizens who have remained neutral are brought into the dispute, and one class after another, on the pretext of avenging the side which is for the moment at a disadvantage, takes up the sorry business of reprisals as if it were a legitimate, everyday affair; and while individually they escape, they ruin the state in every way. 30 1 Or do you not see how much time we have wasted in fighting one another, how many great evils we have meanwhile endured, and, what is worse than this, inflicted? 2 And who could count the vast amount of money of which we have stripped our allies and robbed the gods and moreover have even contributed ourselves from what p357we did not possess, only to expend it against one another? 3 Or who could number the multitude of men who have been lost, not only of ordinary persons (for that is beyond computation) but of knights and senators, each one of whom was able in foreign wars to preserve the whole city by his life or by his death? 4 How many Curtii, how many Decii, Fabii, Gracchi, Marcelli, and Scipios have been killed? And not, by Jupiter, to repel Samnites or Latins or Spaniards or Carthaginians, but to kill citizens (?) and to perish also themselves. 5 As for those who have died under arms, no matter how much we may mourn their loss, yet there is less reason to lament in their case. For they entered their battles as volunteers (if it is proper to call by the name of volunteers men compelled by fear), and they met a death which, even if uncalled for, was at least a brave one; in an equal struggle and in the hope that they might really survive and conquer they fell without suffering. 6 But how can one mourn as they deserve those who have perished miserably in their homes, in the streets, in the Forum, in the very senate-chamber, on the very Capitol, all by violence — not only men, but women, too, not only those in their prime, but also old men and children? 7 And yet, while subjecting one another to so many and so terrible reprisals as all our enemies put together never inflicted upon us nor we upon them, so far from loathing such acts and manfully wishing to have done with them, we even rejoice and hold festivals p359and term those who are guilty of them benefactors. 8 Verily, I do not regard this life that we have been leading as human; it is rather that of wild beasts which are destroyed by one another.
31 1 "Yet why should we lament further what is already past? We cannot now prevent its having happened. Let us rather provide for the future. 2 This, indeed, is the reason why I have been recalling former events, not for the purpose of giving a list of our public calamities (would to Heaven they had never occurred!) but that by means of them I might persuade you to save at least what is left. 3 For this is the only benefit one can derive from evils, to guard against having ever again to suffer their like. And this is within your power especially at the present moment, while the danger is just beginning, while not many have yet united, and while those who have been stirred to action have gained no advantage over one another nor suffered any set-back, that they should be led by hope of their superiority or anger at their inferiority to incur danger heedlessly and contrary to their own interests. 4 Great as this task is, however, you will deal with it successfully without incurring any hardship or danger, without spending money or causing bloodshed, but simply by voting this one thing, to bear no malice against one another. 32 1 Even if mistakes have been made by certain persons, this is no time to enquire minutely into them, to convict, or to punish. For you are not at the present moment sitting in judgment upon any one, that you should need to search out with absolute accuracy what is just, but you are deliberating about the situation that has arisen and p361as to how it may in the safest way be righted. 2 But this is something we cannot accomplish unless we overlook some things, as we are wont to do in the case of children. When dealing with them, now, we do not take careful account of everything, but of necessity overlook many things, since for moderate errors it is not right to punish one of them remorselessly, but rather to admonish them gently. 3 And now, since we are in common the fathers of all the people, not in name only, but in reality, let us not enter into a discussion of all the fine points, lest we all perish. For that matter anybody could find much to blame in Caesar himself, so that he would seem to have been justly slain, 4 or again might bring numerous charges against those who killed him, so that they would be thought to deserve punishment. But such a course is for men who are eager to stir up strife again, whereas it is necessary for those who deliberate wisely not to cause their own hurt by meting out strict justice, but to secure their own safety by employing clemency with justice. 5 Regard this, then, that has happened as if it were some hail-storm or deluge that had taken place, and consign it to oblivion. And learn at last to know one another, since you are countrymen and fellow-citizens and relatives, and so live in harmony.
33 1 "In order, now, that none of you may suspect me of wishing to grant any indulgence to Caesar's slayer to prevent their paying the penalty, in view of the fact that I was once a member of Pompey's party, I will make one statement to you. 2 For I think that all of you are firmly convinced that I have never adopted an attitude of friendship or hostility toward any one for purely personal p363reasons, but that it was always for your sake and for the public freedom and harmony that I hated the one side and loved the other; for this reason I will pass over everything else and make merely one brief statement to you. 3 So far, indeed, am I from acting in the way I have mentioned, instead of looking out for the public safety, that I affirm that the others, too, should not only be granted immunity for their high-handed acts, contrary to established law, in Caesar's lifetime, but that they also should keep the honours, offices and gifts which they received from him, though I am not pleased with some of these. 4 I should not, indeed, advise you to do or to grant anything further of the kind; but since it has been done, I think you ought not to be troubled overmuch about any of these matters, either. For what loss could you sustain, even if this man or that does hold something that he has obtained apart from justice and contrary to his deserts, so far-reaching as the benefits you would obtain by not causing fear or disturbance to the men who were formerly powerful.
5 "This is what I have to say for the present, in face of the pressing need. But when matters have become settled, let us then consider the questions that remain."
34 1 Cicero by the foregoing speech persuaded the senate to vote that no one should bear malice against any one else. While this was being done, the assassins also promised the soldiers that they would not undo any of Caesar's acts. 2 For as soon as they perceived that the troops were very ill at ease for fear that they would be deprived of what he had given them, they made haste, before the senate reached any decision whatever, to get them on their p365side. Next they invited those who were present at the foot of the Capitol to come within hearing distance and addressed suitable words to them; 3 and they also sent down a letter to the Forum announcing that they would not confiscate anybody's goods or cause injury in other ways, and that they confirmed the validity of all the acts of Caesar. They also urged them to harmony, binding themselves by the strongest oaths that they would faithfully carry out these promises. 4 When, therefore, the action of the senate also was made known, the soldiers no longer paid heed to Lepidus nor did the conspirators have any fear of him, but all hastened to become reconciled, chiefly at the instance of Antony, and quite contrary to Lepidus' purpose. 5 For Lepidus, while making a pretence of avenging Caesar, was really eager for a revolution, and inasmuch as he had legions also at his command, he expected to succeed to Caesar's position as ruler and to come to power; with these motives he was disposed to begin war. 6 Antony, perceiving his rival's favourable situation and having himself no force at his back, did not dare to begin any revolutionary movement for the time being, and in order to prevent the other from becoming stronger, he furthermore persuaded him to bow to the will of the majority. So they came to an agreement on the terms that had been voted, but those on the Capitol would not come down till they had secured the son of Lepidus and the son of Antony as hostages; then Brutus descended to Lepidus, to whom he was related, 7 and Cassius to p367Antony, under promise of safety. And while they were dining together they naturally, at such a juncture, discussed a variety of topics and Antony asked Cassius: "Have you perchance a dagger under your arm even now?" To which he answered: "Yes, and a big one, if you too should desire to make yourself tyrant."
35 1 This was the way things went at that time. No injury was inflicted or expected, but instead the majority were glad to be rid of Caesar's rule, some of them even conceiving the idea of casting his body out unburied, and the conspirators, well pleased at being called liberators and tyrannicides, did not busy themselves with any further undertaking. 2 But later, when Caesar's will was read and the people learned that he had adopted Octavius as his son and had left Antony along with Decimus and some of the other assassins to be the young man's guardians and heirs to the property in case it should not come to him, 3 and, furthermore, that he not only had made various bequests to individuals but had also given his gardens along the Tiber to the city and one hundred and twenty sesterces, according to the record of Octavius himself, or three hundred, according to some others, to each of the citizens, — at this the people became excited. 4 And Antony aroused them still more by bringing the body most inconsiderately into the Forum, exposing it all covered with blood as it was and with gaping wounds, and then delivering over it a speech, which was very p369ornate and brilliant, to be sure, but out of place on that occasion. He spoke somewhat as follows:
36 1 "If this man had died as a private citizen, Quirites, and I had happened to be in private life, I should not have required many words nor have rehearsed all his achievements, but after making a few remarks about his family, his education, and his character, and perhaps mentioning his services to the state, I should have been satisfied, desiring only not to become wearisome to those who were unrelated to him. 2 But since this man when he perished held the highest position among you and I have received and hold the second, it is requisite that I should deliver a two-fold address, one as the man set down as his heir and the other in my capacity as magistrate, and I must not omit anything that ought to be spoken, but must mention the things which the whole people would have celebrated with one tongue if they could speak with one voice. 3 Now I am well aware that it is difficult successfully to utter your thoughts; for it is no easy task in any case to measure up to so great a theme — indeed, what speech could equal the greatness of his deed? — and you, whose wishes are not easily satisfied because you know the facts as well as I, will prove no lenient judges of my efforts. 4 To be sure, if my words were being addressed to men ignorant of the subject, it would be very easy to win their approval by astounding them with the very magnitude of his achievements; but as the matter stands, because of your familiarity with them it is inevitable that everything that shall be said will be thought less than the reality. 5 Strangers, even if through jealousy they doubt the deeds, yet for that reason deem each p371statement they hear strong enough; but your minds, because of your good-will, must inevitably prove impossible to satisfy. For you yourselves have profited most by Caesar's virtues, and you demand their praises, not half-heartedly, as if he were unrelated to you, but with deep affection as for your own kinsman. 6 I shall strive, therefore, to meet your wishes to the fullest extent, and I feel sure that you will not judge my good-will by the feebleness of my words, but will supply from my zeal whatever is lacking in that respect.
37 1 "I shall speak first about his lineage, though not because it is the most brilliant. Yet this, too, has considerable bearing on the nature of virtue, that a man should become good, not through force of circumstances, but by inherited power. 2 Those, to be sure, who are not born of noble parents may disguise themselves as noble men, but may also some day be convicted of their base origin by their inborn character; those, however, who possess the seed of a noble nature, handed down through a long line of ancestors, cannot possibly help possessing a virtue both spontaneous and enduring. 3 Still, I am praising Caesar now, not so much because his recent lineage is through many noble men, his ancient origin from kings and gods, but because, in the first place, he is a kinsman of our whole city, — for those who founded his line also founded our city, — 4 and, secondly, because he not only confirmed the renown of his forefathers who were believed to have attained divinity through their virtue, but p373actually enhanced it; so that if anyone was inclined formerly to argue that Aeneas could never have been born of Venus, let him now believe it. 5 For, although in times past some unworthy sons have been imputed to the gods, yet no one could deem this man unworthy to have had gods for his ancestors. Indeed, Aeneas himself ruled as king and so did some of his descendants; but this man proved himself so much superior to them that, whereas they were monarchs of Lavinium and Alba, 6 he refused to become king of Rome; and whereas they laid the foundation of our city, he raised it to such a height that he even established colonies greater than the cities over which they ruled.
38 1 "So much, then, for his family. That he also received a nurture and a training corresponding to the dignity of his noble birth how could one better realize than by the cogent proof his deeds afford? 2 For is it not inevitable that a man who possessed to a conspicuous degree a body that was altogether adequate and a spirit that was more than adequate for all contingencies alike of peace and of war, must have been reared in the best possible way? 3 And yet it is difficult for any man of surpassing beauty to show the greatest endurance, and difficult for one who is powerful in body to attain to the greatest wisdom, but it is particularly difficult for one and the same man to shine both in words and in deeds. Yet this man — I speak among those who know the p375facts, so that I shall not falsify in the least degree, since I should be caught in the very act, nor heap up exaggerated praises, since then I should accomplish the opposite of what I wish. 4 For if I do anything of the sort, I shall be suspected with full justice of boasting, and it will be thought that I am making his virtue appear less than the belief in it which is already in your own minds. In fact, every utterance delivered under such conditions, in case it contains even the smallest amount of falsehood, not only bestows no praise upon its subject but actually involves censure of him; 5 for the knowledge of the hearers, not agreeing with the fictitious report, takes refuge in the truth, where it quietly finds satisfaction, and not only learns what kind of man he ought to have been, but also, by comparing the two, detects what he lacked. Stating only the truth, therefore, I affirm that this Caesar was at the same time most capable in body and most versatile in spirit. 6 For he enjoyed a wonderful natural force and had been carefully trained by the most liberal education, which always enabled him, not unnaturally, to comprehend everything that was needful with the greatest keenness, to interpret the need most convincingly, and then to arrange and handle the matter most prudently. No critical turn in a situation came upon him so suddenly as to catch him off his guard, nor did a secret menace, no matter how long the postponement, except his notice. 7 For he decided always with regard to every crisis before it was at hand, and was prepared beforehand for every contingency that could happen to one. He p377understood well how to discern shrewdly what was concealed, to dissimulate plausibly what was evident, to pretend to know what was hidden, to conceal what he knew, 8 to adapt occasions to one another and to draw the proper inferences from them, and furthermore to accomplish and carry out in detail every enterprise. 39 1 A proof of this is that in his private affairs he showed himself an excellent manager and very liberal at the same time, being careful to keep enough of what he had inherited, yet lavish in spending with an unsparing hand what he had acquired, and for all his relatives, except the most impious, he possessed a strong affection. 2 For he did not neglect any of them in misfortune, nor did he envy those in good fortune, but he helped these to increase the property they already had, and made up to the others what they lacked, giving some of them money, some lands, some offices, and some priesthoods. 3 Again, his conduct toward his friends and other associates was remarkable. He never scorned or insulted any of them, but while courteous to all alike, he rewarded many times over those who assisted him in any project and won the devotion of the rest by benefits, never disparaging any one of brilliant position, nor humiliating any one who was bettering himself, 4 but, just as if he himself were being exalted through all of them and were acquiring strength and honour, he took delight in seeing great numbers become equal to himself. And yet, while he behaved thus toward his friends and acquaintances, he did not show himself cruel or p379inexorable even to his enemies, 5 but let off scot-free many of those who had come into collision with him personally and released many who had actually made war against him, even giving some of them honours and offices. So strong a natural bent had he toward virtue, and not only had no vice himself, but would not believe that it existed in anybody else.
40 1 "And since I have reached this topic, I will begin to speak about his public services. If he had lived in quiet retirement, perhaps his virtue would not have been clearly proved; but as it was, by being raised to the highest position and becoming the greatest not only of his contemporaries but of all others who ever wielded any power, he displayed it more conspicuously. 2 For in the case of nearly all the others this authority had served only to reveal their weakness, but him it made more illustrious, since by reason of the greatness of his virtue he undertook correspondingly great deeds, and was found to be equal to them; he alone of men after obtaining for himself so great good fortune as a result of his nobility of character neither disgraced it nor treated it wantonly. 3 I shall pass over, then, the brilliant successes which he regularly achieved in his campaigns and the high-mindedness he showed in his ordinary public services, although they were so great that for any other man they would warrant high praise; for, in view of the distinction of his subsequent deeds, I shall seem to be dealing in trivialities, if I also rehearse these scrupulously. I shall therefore only mention his achievements p381while he was your magistrate. 4 Yet I shall not even relate all these with scrupulous detail, for I could never get to the end of them, and I should cause you excessive weariness, particularly since you already know them.
41 1 "First of all, then, this man was praetor in Spain, and finding it secretly disloyal, did not allow the inhabitants under the name of peace to become unconquerable, nor was it his own choice to spend the period of his governorship in quiet instead of accomplishing what was for the advantage of the state. Hence, since they would not willingly change their course, he brought them to their senses against their will, 2 and in doing this he surpassed the men who had previously won glory against them in just so far as keeping a thing is more difficult than acquiring it, and reducing men to a condition where they can never again become rebellious is more profitable than making them subject in the first place, while their power is still undiminished. 3 That is the reason why you voted him a triumph for this and immediately gave him the office of consul. Indeed, from this very circumstance it became most evident that he had waged that war, not for his own pleasure or glory, but as a preparation for the future. 4 At all events he waived the celebration of the triumph because of the business that was pressing, and after thanking you for the honour he was content with that alone for his glory, and entered upon the consulship.
42 1 "Now all his administrative acts in the city during his tenure of that office would verily be countless to name. But as soon as he had ended it and had been p383sent to conduct this war against the Gauls, observe how many and how great were his achievements there. 2 So far from becoming a burden to our allies, he even went to their assistance, because he was not at all suspicious of them and saw, moreover, that they were being wronged. But our foes, both those who dwelt near the friendly tribes, and all the rest who inhabited Gaul, he subjugated, acquiring, on the one hand, vast stretches of territory, and on the other, numberless cities of which we knew not even the names before. 3 All this, moreover, he accomplished so quietly, though he had received neither a competent force nor sufficient money from you, that before any of you knew that he was at war, he had conquered; and he settled affairs on so firm a basis as to make these places stepping-stones to Germany and to Britain. 4 So now Gaul is enslaved, which sent against us the Ambrones and the Cimbri, and is all under cultivation like Italy itself; and ships sail not only the Rhone and the Arar, but the Mosa, the Liger, the very Rhine, and the very oceanº itself. 5 Places of which we had not even heard the names, to lead us to think that they existed, he likewise subdued for us; the formerly unknown he made accessible, the formerly unexplored he made navigable, by the greatness of his purpose and the greatness of his resolution. 43 1 And had not certain persons in their envy of him, or rather of you, begun a revolt and p385forced him to return here before the proper time, he would certainly have subdued all Britain together with the other islands which surround it and all Germany to the Arctic Ocean, so that we should have had as our boundaries for the future, not land or people, but the air and the outer sea. 2 For these reasons you also, beholding the greatness of his purpose, his deeds, and his good fortune, assigned him the right to hold office for a very long period, — a privilege which, from the time that we became a republic, no other man has enjoyed, — I mean holding the command during eight whole years in succession. So fully did you believe that it was really for your sake he was making all these conquests and so far were you from ever suspecting that he would grow powerful to your hurt.
3 Nay, you desired that he should tarry in those regions as long as possible. He was prevented, however, by those who regarded the government as belonging no longer to the public but as their own private property, from subjugating the remaining countries, and you were kept from becoming masters of them all; for these men, making an evil use of the opportunity afforded by his being occupied, ventured upon many impious projects, so that you came to require his aid. 44 1 Therefore, abandoning the victories within his grasp, he quietly came to your assistance, freed all Italy from the dangers which threatened it, and furthermore won back Spain, which was being estranged. Then, p387when he saw that Pompey, who had abandoned his country and was setting up a kingdom of his own in Macedonia, 2 was transferring thither all your possessions, equipping your subjects against you, and using your own money against you, he at first wished to persuade him somehow to stop and change his course, sending mediators to him both privately and publicly and offering the most solemn pledges that he should again attain and equal and like position with himself. 3 When, however, he found himself unable in any way to effect this, but instead Pompey burst all restraints, even the relationship which had existed between himself and Caesar, and chose to fight against you, then at last he was compelled to begin the civil war. But what need is there of relating how daringly he sailed against him in spite of the winter, 4 or how boldly he assailed him, though Pompey held all the strong positions, or how bravely he vanquished him, though much inferior in the number of his troops? Indeed, if one wished to recite the whole story in detail, he could show the renowned Pompey to have been a mere child, so completely was he outgeneralled at every point.
45 1 "But all this I will omit, since not even Caesar himself ever took any pride in it, always hating, as he did, the deeds enforced by necessity. But when Heaven had most justly decided the issue of the battle, whom of those then captured for the first time did he put to death? Whom, rather, did he p389not honour, not alone of the senators or knights or of the citizens in general, but even of the allies and subjects? 2 For no one, even of them, either died a violent death, or was censured, — no civilian, no king, no tribe, no city. On the contrary, some arrayed themselves on his side, and others obtained at least pardon with honour, so that all then lamented the fate of those who had perished. 3 Such exceeding humanity did he show, that he praised those who had coöperated with Pompey and allowed them to keep everything that Pompey had given them, but hated Pharnaces and Orodes, because, though friends of the vanquished, they had not assisted him. 4 It was chiefly for this reason that he not long afterward waged war on Pharnaces and was preparing to conduct a campaign against Orodes. And he certainly would have spared even Pompey himself if he had captured him alive. A proof of this is that he did not pursue him at once, but allowed him to flee at his leisure. 5 Also he was grieved when he heard of Pompey's death and did not praise his murderers, but put them to death for it soon after, and moreover even destroyed Ptolemy himself, because, though a child, he had allowed his benefactor to perish.
46 1 "How after this he brought Egypt to terms and how much money he conveyed to you from there, it would be superfluous to relate. And when he made his campaign against Pharnaces, who already held a considerable part of Pontus and Armenia, he was on one and the same day reported to the king as approaching him, was seen confronting him, engaged him in conflict, and conquered him. 2 This better than anything else showed that he had not become weaker in Alexandria and had not p391delayed there out of voluptuousness. For how could he have won that victory so easily without having great mental vigour in reserve and great physical strength? 3 When now Pharnaces had fled, he was preparing to conduct a campaign at once against the Parthian, but as certain men had begun a strife here he returned reluctantly and settled this dispute, too, so well that no one would believe that there had been any disturbance at all. 4 For not a person was killed or exiled or even disgraced in any way as a result of that trouble, not because many might not justly have been punished, but because he thought it right while destroying the enemy unsparingly to preserve the citizens, even if some of them are of little account. 5 Therefore by his bravery he overcame foreigners in war, but by his humanity he kept unharmed even the seditious citizens, although many of them by their acts had often shown themselves unworthy of this favour. This same policy he followed again both in Africa and in Spain, releasing all who had not previously been captured and been pitied by him. 6 For while he considered it folly, not humanity, always to spare the lives of those who frequently plotted against him, on the other hand, he thought it the duty of one who was truly a man to pardon opponents on the occasion of their first errors instead of harbouring implacable anger, yes, and even to assign honours to them, but if they clung to their original course, to get rid of them. 7 Yet why do I relate this? Many of these also he spared by allowing all his associates and those who had helped him conquer to save the life of one captive each.
p393 47 1 "That he did all this, moreover, from inherent goodness and not for appearances or to reap any advantage, as many others have displayed humaneness, there is this further very strong evidence, that everywhere and in all circumstances he showed himself the same: anger did not brutalize him, nor good fortune corrupt him; power did not alter, nor authority change him. 2 Yet it is very difficult when tested in so many enterprises of such magnitude, in enterprises, moreover, that follow one another in rapid succession, when one has been successful in some, is still engaged in conducting others, and only surmises that others are yet to come, to prove equally good on all occasions and to refrain from wishing to do anything harsh or terrible, if not out of vengeance for the past, at least as a measure of safeguard for the future. 3 This alone is enough to prove his goodness; for he was so truly a scion of gods that he understood but one thing, to save those who could be saved. But there is also this further evidence, that he took care not to have those who warred against him punished even by anyone else, and that he won back those who had met with misfortune earlier. 4 For he caused amnesty to be granted to all who had been followers of Lepidus and Sertorius, and next arranged that safety should be afforded to all the survivors of those whom Sulla had proscribed; somewhat later he brought them home from exile and bestowed honours and offices upon the sons of all who had been slain by Sulla. 5 Greatest of all, he burned absolutely all the secret p395documents found in the tent of either Pompey or Scipio, neither reading nor yet keeping any of them, in order that it might not happen that anyone else should use them for mischievous ends. And that this was not only what he said he had done, but what he actually did, the facts show clearly; at any rate, no one as a result of those letters was even frightened, much less suffered any harm. 6 Hence no one even knows those who escaped this danger except the men themselves. This is a most astonishing fact and one without a parallel, that they were spared before they were accused and saved before they encountered danger, and that not even he who saved their lives learned who it was he pitied.
48 1 "For these and for all his other acts of legislation and reconstruction, great in themselves, but likely to be deemed small in comparison with those others which I need not recount in detail, you loved him as a father and cherished him as a benefactor, you exalted him with such honours as you bestowed on no one else 2 and desired him to be continual head of the city and of the whole domain. You did not quarrel at all about titles, but applied them all to him, feeling that they were inadequate to his merits, and desiring that whatever each of them, in the light of customary usage, lacked of being a complete expression of honour and authority might be supplied by what the rest contributed. 3 Therefore, for the gods he was appointed high priest, p397for us consul, for the soldiers imperator, and for the enemy dictator. But why do I enumerate these details, when in one phrase you called him father of his country — not to mention the rest of his titles?
49 1 "Yet this father, this high priest, this inviolable being, this hero and god, is dead, alas, dead not by the violence of some disease, nor wasted by old age, nor wounded abroad somewhere in some war, nor caught up inexplicably by some supernatural force, but right here within the walls as the result of a plot — the man who had safely led an army into Britain; 2 ambushed in this city — the man who had enlarged its •pomerium; murdered in the senate-house — the man who had reared another such edifice at his own expense; unarmed — the brave warrior; defenceless — the promoter of peace; the judge — beside the court of justice; the magistrate — beside the seat of government; at the hands of the citizens — he whom none of the enemy had been able to kill even when he fell into the sea; at the hands of his comrades — he who had often taken pity on them. 3 Of what avail, O Caesar, was your humanity, of what avail your inviolability, of what avail the laws? Nay, though you enacted many laws that men might not be killed by their personal foes, yet how mercilessly you yourself were slain by your friends! And now, the victim of assassination, you lie dead in the Forum through which you often led the triumph crowned; wounded to death, you have been cast down upon the rostra from which you often addressed the people. 4 Woe for the blood-bespattered locks of gray, alas for the p399rent robe, which you assumed, it seems, only that you might be slain in it!"
50 1 At this deliverance of Antony's the throng was at first excited, then enraged, and finally so inflamed with passion that they sought his murderers and reproached the other senators, because while the others had slain they had looked on at the death of a man on whose behalf they had voted to offer public prayers each year, by whose Health and Fortune they had sworn their oaths, whose person they had made as inviolable as the tribunes. 2 Then, seizing his body, some wished to convey it to the room in which he had been slaughtered, and others to the Capitol, and burn it there; but being prevented by the soldiers, who feared that the theatre and temples would be burned to the ground at the same time, they placed it upon a pyre there in the Forum, without further ado. 3 Even so, many of the surrounding buildings would have been destroyed had not the soldiers prevented and had not the consuls thrust some of the bolder ones over the cliffs of the Capitoline. 4 For all that, the rest did not cease their disturbance, but rushed to the houses of the assassins, and during the excitement killed, among others, Helvius Cinna, a tribune, without just cause; for this man had not only not plotted against Caesar, but was one of his most devoted friends. Their mistake was due to the fact that Cornelius Cinna, the praetor, had taken part in the attack. 51 1 After this, when the consuls forbade any one except the soldiers to carry arms, they p401refrained from bloodshed, but set up an altar on the site of the pyre (for the freedmen of Caesar had previously taken up his bones and deposited them in the family tomb), and undertook to sacrifice upon it and to offer victims to Caesar, as to a god. 2 But the consuls overthrew this altar and punished some who showed displeasure at the act, at the same time publishing a law that no one should ever again be dictator and invoking curses and proclaiming death as the penalty upon any man who should propose or support such a measure, besides openly setting a price upon the heads of any such. 3 This provision they made for the future, assuming that the shamefulness of men's deeds consists in the titles they bear, whereas these deeds really arise from their possession of armed forces and from the character of the individual incumbent of the office, and disgrace the titles of authority under which they chance to occur; 4 but for the time being they sent out immediately to the colonies such as held allotments of land already assigned by Caesar, out of fear that they might begin an uprising, while of the assassins they sent out those who had obtained governorships to the provinces, and the rest to various places on one pretext or another; and these men were honoured by many as their benefactors.
52 1 In this way Caesar met his end. And inasmuch as he had been slain in Pompey's edifice and near his statue which at that time stood there, he seemed in a way to have afforded his rival his revenge, especially as tremendous thunder and a furious rain p403followed. In the midst of that excitement there also took place the following incident, not unworthy of mention. 2 One Gaius Casca, a tribune, seeing that Cinna had perished as a result of his cognomen being the same as the prisoner's, and fearing that he too might be killed, because Publius Servilius Casca was one of the tribunes and also one of the assassins, 3 issued a statement which showed that they had in common only the single name and pointed out the difference in their sentiments. Neither of them suffered any harm, as Servilius was strongly guarded; but Gaius gained some notoriety, so that he is remembered for this act.
53 1 These were the actions of the consuls and of the others at that time. I say consuls, for Antony, fearing that Dolabella would head a revolt, took him as his colleague in the consulship, although he was at first not disposed to do so, on the ground that the office did not yet belong to him. 2 When, however, the excitement subsided, and Antony himself was charged with the duty of investigating the acts of Caesar's administration and carrying out all his behests, he no longer acted with moderation, but as soon as he had got hold of the dead man's papers, made many erasures and many substitutions, inserting laws as well as other matters. 3 Moreover, he deprived some of money and offices, which in turn he gave to others, pretending that in doing so he was carrying out Caesar's directions. Next he seized large sums of money there in Rome, and collected large sums also from private persons, communities, p405and kings, selling to some land, to others freedom, to others citizenship, to others exemption from taxes. 4 And this was in spite of the fact that the senate had voted at first that no tablet should be set up on account of any law alleged to have been framed by Caesar (all such matters were inscribed upon bronze tablets), and that later, when he persisted, declaring that many urgent matters had been provided for by Caesar, it had ordered that all the foremost citizens should jointly determine them. 5 Antony, however, paid no attention to them, and, in a word, despised Octavius, who, as a stripling and inexperienced in business, had declined the inheritance because it was troublesome and hard to manage; and thus he himself, claiming to be the heir not only of the property but also of the power of Caesar, managed everything. One of his acts was to restore some exiles. 6 And since Lepidus had great power and was causing him considerable fear, he gave his daughter in marriage to this leader's son and made arrangements to have Lepidus himself appointed high priest, so as to prevent his meddling with what he himself was doing. 7 In fact, in order to carry out this plan with ease, he transferred the election of the high priest from the people back to the priests, and in company with the latter he consecrated him, performing few or none of the prescribed rites; and yet he might have secured the priesthood for himself.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 23 Aug 12