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 Fifty-second of Dio's Rome:—
1. How Caesar planned to lay aside his sovereignty (chaps. 1‑40).
2. How he began to be called emperor (chap. 42).
Duration of time, the remainder of the consulship of Caesar (V) and Sextus Apuleius (B.C. 29).
1 Such were the achievements of the Romans and such their suffering under the kingship, under the republic, and under the dominion of a few, during a period of seven hundred and twenty-five years. After this they reverted to what was, strictly speaking, a monarchy, although Caesar planned to lay down his arms and to entrust the management of the state to the senate and the people. 2 He made his decision, however, in consultation with Agrippa and Maecenas, to whom he was wont to communicate all his secret plans; and Agrippa, taking the lead, spoke as follows:
2 "Be not surprised, Caesar, if I shall try to turn your thoughts away from monarchy, even though I should derive many advantages from it, all if it was you who held the position. For if it were to be profitable to you also, I should advocate it most earnestly; 3 but since the privileges of a monarchy p81 are by no means the same for the rulers as for their friends, but, on the contrary, jealousies and dangers fall to the lot of the rulers while their friends reap, without incurring either jealousies or dangers, all the benefits they can wish for, I have thought it right, in this question as in all others, to have regard, not for my own interests, but for yours and the state's.
3 "Let us consider, now, at our leisure all the characteristics of this system of government and then shape our course in whichever direction our reasoning may lead us. 4 For surely no one will assert that we are obliged to choose monarchy in any and all circumstances, even if it be not profitable. If we choose it, people will think that we have fallen victims to our own good fortune and have been bereft of our senses by our successes, or else that we have been aiming at sovereignty all the while, making of our appeals to your father and of our devotion to his memory a mere pretext and using the people and the senate as a cloak, with the purpose, not of freeing these latter from those who plotted against them, but of making them slaves to ourselves. 5 And either explanation involves censure for us. For who could help being indignant when he finds that we have said one thing and then discovers that we have meant another? Would he not hate us much more now than if we had at the outset laid bare our desires and set out directly for the monarchy? 6 To be sure, men have come to believe that it somehow is an attribute of human nature, however selfish that may seem, to resort to deeds of violence; for every one who excels in any respect thinks it right that he should have more than his inferior, and if he meets with any success, he ascribes his success to the force p83 of his own intelligence, whereas if he fails, he lays the blame for his failure upon the influence of the divine will. 7 But, on the other hand, the man who, in following such a course, resorts to plotting and villainy, is, in the first place, held to be crafty and crooked, malicious, and depraved, — an opinion which I know you would not allow anyone to express or to entertain about you, even if you might rule the whole world by such practices; and, in the second place, if he succeeds, men think that the advantage he has gained is unjust, or if he fails, that his discomfiture is merited. 3 This being the case, men would reproach us quite as much if we should now, after the event, begin to covet that advantage, even though we harboured no such intention at the outset. For surely it is much worse for men to let circumstances get the better of them and not only to fail to hold themselves in check but to abuse the gifts of Fortune, than to wrong others in consequence of failure. 2 For men who have failed are often compelled by their very misfortunes to commit wrongs even against their will in order to meet the demands of their own interests, whereas the others voluntarily abandon their self-control even when it is unprofitable to do so. And when men have no straightforwardness in their souls, and are incapable of moderation in dealing with the blessings bestowed upon them, how could one expect them either to rule well over others or to conduct themselves properly in adversity? 3 In the conviction, therefore, that we are guilty of neither of these shortcomings, and that we have no desire to act irrationally, but that we shall choose whatever course shall appear to us after deliberation to be best, let us proceed to make our decision p85 accordingly. I shall speak quite frankly, for I could not, for my part, speak otherwise, and I know you too well to think that you like to listen to falsehood mingled with flattery.
4 "Equality before the law has an auspicious name and is most just in its workings. For in the case of men who are endowed with the same nature, are of the same race with one another, have been brought up under the same institutions, have been trained in laws that are alike, 2 and yield in an equal degree the service of their bodies and of their minds to their country, is it not just that they should have an equal share in all other things also, and is it not best that they should secure no distinctions except as the result of excellence? 3 For equality of birth demands equality of privilege, and if it attains this object, it is glad, but if it fails, it is displeased. And the human race everywhere, sprung as it is from the gods and destined to return to the gods, gazes upward and is not content to be ruled forever by the same person, 4 nor will it endure to share in the toils, the dangers, and the expenditures and yet be deprived of partnership in the better things. Or, if it is forced to submit to anything of the sort, it hates the power which has applied coercion, and if it obtains an opportunity, takes vengeance upon what it hates. 5 All men, of course, claim the right to rule, and for this reason submit to being ruled in turn; they are unwilling to have others overreach them, and therefore are not obliged, on their part, to overreach others. They are pleased with the honours bestowed upon them by their equals, and approve of the penalties inflicted upon them by the laws. 6 Now if they live under this kind of polity and regard the blessings and also the p87 opposite as belonging to all alike, they not only wish no harm to befall any one of the citizens, but devoutly hope that nothing but prosperity will fall to the lot of each and all. 7 And if one of them possesses any excellence himself, he readily makes it known, practises it enthusiastically, and exhibits it most joyfully; or if he sees it in another, he readily brings it to the light, eagerly takes part in increasing it, and bestows the most splendid honours upon it. 8 On the other hand, if any one shows himself base, everybody hates him, and if any one meets with misfortune, everybody pities him; for each person regards the loss and the disgrace that arise therefrom as shared in by the whole state.
5 "This is the character of democracies. Under tyrannies exactly the opposite conditions are found. But why go into all the details at length? The chief thing is that no one is willing to be thought to have any superior knowledge or possession, because the dominant power generally becomes wholly hostile to him on account of such superiority; 2 on the contrary, every one makes the tyrant's character his own standard of life and pursues whatever objects he may hope to gain through him by overreaching others without personal risk. Consequently, the majority of the people are devoted only to their own interests and hate all their neighbors, regarding the others' successes as their own losses and the others' misfortunes as their own gains.
3 "Such being the state of the case, I do not see what motive could reasonably induce you to desire to become sole ruler. For that system, besides being difficult to apply to democracies, would be vastly more difficult still for you yourself to put into effect. p89 Or do you not see how the city and its affairs are even now in a state of turmoil? 4 It is difficult, also, to overthrow our populace, which has lived for so many years in freedom, and difficult, when so many enemies beset us round about, to reduce again to slavery the allies and subject nations, some of which have had a democratic government from of old, while others of them have been set free by us ourselves.
6 "To begin first with the least important consideration, it will be necessary that you procure a large supply of money from all sides; for it is impossible that our present revenues should suffice for the support of the troops, not to speak of the other expenses. Now this need of funds, to be sure, exists in democracies also, since it is not possible for any government to continue without expense. 2 But in democracies many citizens make large contributions, preferably of their own free will, in addition to what is required of them, making it a matter of patriotic emulation and securing appropriate honours in return for their liberality; or, if perchance compulsory levies are also made upon the whole body of citizens, they submit to it both because it is done with their own consent and because the contributions they make are in their own interests. 3 In monarchical governments, on the other hand, the citizens all think that the ruling power alone, to which they credit boundless wealth, should bear the expense; for they are very ready to search out the ruler's sources of income, but not reckon his expenses so carefully; and so they make no contributions from their private means gladly or of their own free will, nor are the public levies they make p91 voted of their own free choice. 4 As for the voluntary contributions, no citizen would feel free to make one, any more than he would readily admit that he was rich, and it is not to the advantage of the ruler that he should, for immediately he would acquire a reputation for patriotism among the masses, become conceited, and incite a rebellion. On the other hand, a general levy weighs heavily upon the masses, the more so because they suffer the loss while the others reap the gain. 5 Now in democracies those who contribute the money as a general rule also serve in the army, so that in a way they get their money back again; but in monarchies one set of people usually engages in agriculture, manufacturing, commerce, and politics, — and these are the classes from which the state's receipts are chiefly derived, — and a different set is under arms and draws pay.
7 "This single circumstance, then, which is as I have described it, will cause you trouble. But here is another. It is by all means essential that whoever from time to time commits a crime should pay some penalty. For the majority of men are not brought to reason by admonition or by example, but it is absolutely necessary to punish them by disfranchisement, by exile, or by death; and such punishments are often administered in an empire as large as this is and in a population as great as ours, especially during a change of government. 2 Now if you appointed other men to judge these wrongdoers, they would vie with each other in acquitting the accused, and particularly all whom you might be thought to hate; for judges, you know, gain an appearance of authority when they act in any way contrary to the wish of the ruler. 3 And if an p93 occasional criminal is in fact convicted, it will be thought that he has been condemned deliberately, in order to please you. But if, on the other hand, you sit in judgment yourself, you will be obliged to punish many also of your peers — an unfortunate situation — and you will certainly be thought to be calling some of them to account through resentment rather than through a sense of justice. 4 For no one believes that those who have the power to use compulsion are acting honestly when they give judgment, but all men think they are led by a sense of shame to spread out before the truth a mere semblance and illusive picture of a constitutional government, and under the legal name of a court of justice are but satisfying their own desires. This, then, is what happens in monarchies. 5 In democracies, on the other hand, when any one is accused of committing a private wrong, he is made defendant in a private suit before a jury of his equals; or, if he is accused of a public crime, in his case also a jury of his peers, men whom the lot shall designate, sits in judgment. It is therefore easier for men to bear the decisions which proceed from such juries, since they think that any penalty dealt out to them has been inflicted neither by a judge's power nor as a favour which a judge has been forced to grant.
8 "Then again, apart from those who are guilty of wrongdoing, there are many men who pride themselves, some on their birth, others on their wealth, and still others on something else, who, though in general not bad men, are yet by nature opposed to the principle of monarchy. If a ruler allows these men to become strong, he cannot live in safety, and if, on the other hand, he undertakes to impose a p95 check on them, he cannot do so justly. 2 What, then, will you do with them? How will you deal with them? If you root out their families, diminish their wealth, and humble their pride, you will not have the good-will of your subjects. How could you have it, if no one is permitted to be born to noble rank, or to grow rich honestly, or to become strong or brave or intelligent? 3 Yet if you allow these various classes to grow strong, you will not be able to deal with them easily. True, if you alone were equal to carrying on the business of the state and the business of warfare successfully and in a manner to meet the demands of each situation, and needed no assistant for any of these matters, it would be a different matter. 4 As the case stands, however, since you would be governing this vast world, it would be quite essential for you to have many helpers; and of course they ought all to be both brave and high-spirited. Now if you hand over the legions and the offices to men of such parts, there will be danger that both you and your government will be overthrown. 5 For it is not possible either for a man of any real worth to be naturally lacking in spirit, or on the other hand for a man sprung from a servile sphere of life to acquire a proud spirit; nor again, if he proves himself a man of spirit, can he fail to desire liberty and hate all mastery. 6 If, on the other hand, you entrust nothing to these men, but put affairs in charge of common men of indifferent origin, you will very soon incur the resentment of the first class, who will think themselves distrusted, and you will very soon fail in the greatest enterprises. 7 For what good thing could an ignorant or low-born person accomplish? Who of our enemies would not hold him in contempt? p97 Who of our allies would obey him? Who even of the soldiers would not disdain to be ruled by such a man? And yet I need not explain to you all the evils that naturally result from such a condition, for you know them thoroughly; 8 but this one thing I shall say, as I am constrained to do — that if a minister of this kind failed in every duty, he would injure you far more than the enemy, while if he met with any success in the conduct of his office, his lack of education would cause him to lose his head and he as well would prove formidable to you.
9 "Such a situation, however, does not arise in democracies, but the more men there are who are wealthy and brave, so much the more do they vie with each other and upbuild the state, and the state, on its part, rejoices in them, unless one of them conceives a desire for tyrannical power; for the citizens severely punish such an one. 2 That this is so, now, and that democracies are far superior to monarchies, is shown by the experience of Greece. For as long as the people had the monarchical form of government, they accomplished nothing of importance; but when they began to live under the democratic system they became most renowned. 3 It is shown also by the experience of the other races of mankind. For those which still live under tyrannies are always in slavery and are always plotting again their rulers, whereas those which have governors chosen for a year or a longer period continue to be both free and independent. 4 But why should we resort to examples furnished by other peoples when we have examples here at home? We Romans ourselves at first had a different form of government, then later, after we p99 had gone through many bitter experiences, conceived a desire for liberty; and when we had secured it, 5 we advanced to our present proud eminence, strong in no advantages save those that come from democracy. It was on the strength of these that the senate deliberated, the people ratified, the soldiers in the ranks were filled with zeal and their commanders with ambition. None of these things could happen under a tyranny. At any rate the ancient Romans came to feel so great a hatred of tyranny for these reasons that they even laid that form of government under a curse.
10 1 "And apart from these considerations, if one is to speak above matters which touch your personal interests, how could you endure to administer affairs so manifold, not only by day but also by night? How could you hold out if your health should fail? What human blessings could you enjoy, and how could you be happy if deprived of them? In what could you take genuine pleasure, and when would you be free from the keenest pain? 2 For it is quite inevitable that a man who holds an office of this kind should have many anxieties, be subject to many fears, and have very little enjoyment of what is most pleasant, but should always and everywhere both see and hear, do and suffer, only that which is disagreeable. That, I imagine, is the reason why, in certain instances, among both Greeks and barbarians, men have refused to accept the office of king when it was offered to them.
3 "Therefore I would have you foresee all these disadvantages and take counsel before you become involved in them. For it is disgraceful, or rather it is quite impossible, for a man to withdraw when p101 once he has entered upon the position. And do not be deceived, either, by the greatness of its authority or the abundance of its possessions, or by its array of bodyguards, or by its throng of courtiers. 4 For men who have much power have many troubles; those who have large possessions are obliged to spend largely; the multitude of bodyguards is gathered merely because of the multitude of conspirators; and as for the flatterers, they would be more likely to destroy you than to save you. Consequently, in view of these considerations, no sensible man would desire to become supreme ruler. 11 1 But if the thought that men in such a station are able to enrich others, to save their lives, and to confer many other benefits upon them — yes, by heaven, and even to insult them and to do harm to whomsoever they please — leads anyone to think that tyranny is worth striving for, he is utterly mistaken. 2 I need not, indeed, tell you that the life of wantonness and evil-doing is disgraceful or that it is fraught with peril and is hated of both gods and men; for in any event you are not inclined to such things, and you would not be led by these considerations to choose to be sole ruler. And besides, I have chosen to speak now, not of all the mischief one might work who managed the task badly, but only of what even those who make the very best use of the position are obliged both to do and to suffer. 3 But as to the other consideration, — that thus one is in a position to bestow favours in profusion, — this is indeed a privilege worth striving for; yet however noble, august, glorious, and safe it is when enjoyed by a private citizen, in a king's position it does not, in the first place, counterbalance the other considerations p103 of a less agreeable nature, so that a man should be induced for the sake of gaining this advantage to accept those disadvantages also, especially when the sovereign is bound to bestow upon others the benefit to be derived from this advantage and to have for himself alone the unpleasantness that results from the disadvantages. 12 1 In the second place, this advantage is not without complications, as people think; for a ruler cannot possibly satisfy all who ask for favours. Those, namely, who think they ought to receive some gift from the sovereign are practically all mankind, even though no favour is due to them at the moment; 2 for every one naturally thinks well of himself and wishes to enjoy some benefit at the hands of him who is able to bestow it. But the benefits which can be given to them, — I mean titles and offices and sometimes money, — will be found very easy to count when compared with the vast number of the applicants. This being so, greater hostility will inevitably be felt toward the monarch by those who fail to get what they want, than friendliness by those who but their desires. 3 For the latter take what they receive as due them and think there is no particular reason for being grateful to the giver, since they are getting no more than they expected; besides, they actually shrink from showing gratitude for fear they may thereby give evidence of their being unworthy of the kindness done them. 4 The others, when they are disappointed in their hopes, are aggrieved for two reasons: in the first place, they feel that they are being robbed of what belongs to them, for invariably men think they already possess whatever they set their hearts upon; and, in the second place, they feel that, if they are p105 not indignant at their failure to obtain whatever they expect to get, they are actually acknowledging some shortcoming on their own part. 5 The reason for all this is, of course, that the ruler who bestows such gifts in the right way obviously makes it his first business to weigh well the merits of each person, and thus he honours some and passes others by, with the result that, in consequence of his decision, those who are honoured have a further reason for elation, while those who are passed by feel a new resentment, each class being moved by their own consciousness of their respective merits. 6 If, however, a ruler tries to avoid this result and decides to award these honours capriciously, he will fail utterly. For the base, finding themselves honoured contrary to their deserts, would become worse, concluding that they were either being actually commended as good or at any rate were being courted as formidable; and the upright, seeing that they were securing no greater consideration than the base but were being regarded as being merely on an equality with them, 7 would be more vexed at being reduced to the level of the others than pleased at being thought worthy of some honour themselves, and consequently would abandon their cultivation of the higher principles of conduct and become zealous in the pursuit of the baser. And thus the result even of the distribution of honours would be this: those who bestowed them would reap no benefit from them and those who received them would become demoralized. Hence this advantage, which some would find the most attractive in monarchies, proves in your case a most difficult problem to deal with.
13 1 "Reflecting upon these considerations and the p107 others which I mentioned a little while ago, be prudent while you may and duly place in the hands of the people the army, the provinces, the offices, and the public funds. If you do it at once and voluntarily, you will be the most famous of men and the most secure; but if you wait for some compulsion to be brought to bear upon you, you will very likely suffer some disaster and gain infamy besides. 2 Consider the testimony of history: Marius and Sulla and Metellus, and Pompey at first, when they got control of affairs, not only refused to assume sovereign power but also escaped disaster thereby; whereas Cinna and Strabo, the younger Marius and Sertorius, and Pompey himself at a later time, conceived a desire for sovereign power and perished miserably. 3 For it is a difficult matter to induce this city, which has enjoyed a democratic government for so many years and holds empire over so many people, to consent to become a slave to any one. You have heard how the people banished Camillus just because he used white horses for his triumph; 4 you have heard how they deposed Scipio from power, first condemning him for some act of arrogance; and you remember how they proceeded against your father just because they conceived a suspicion that he desired to be sole ruler. Yet there have never been any better men than these.
5 "Nevertheless, I do not advise you merely to relinquish the sovereignty, but first to take all the measures which the public interest demands and by decrees and laws to settle definitively all important business, just as Sulla did, you recall; for even if some of his ordinances were subsequently overthrown, p109 yet the majority of them and the more important still remain. 6 And do not say that even then some men will indulge in factional quarrels, and thus require me, on my part, to say once more that the Romans would be much more apt to refuse to submit to the rule of a monarch. For if we should undertake to provide against all possible contingencies, it would be utterly absurd for us to be more afraid of the dissensions which are but incidental to democracy than of the tyrannies which are the natural outgrowth of monarchy. 7 Regarding the terrible nature of such tyrannies I have not so much as attempted to say anything; for it has not been my wish idly to inveigh against a thing that so readily admits of condemnation, but rather to show you that monarchy is so constituted by nature that not even the men of high character . . .1
14 1 " (. . . nor can they easily convince by frank argument those who are not in a like situation) and they succeed in their enterprises, because their subjects are not in accord with one another. Hence, if you feel any concern at all for your country, for which you have fought so many wars and would so gladly give even your life, reorganize it and regulate it in the direction of greater moderation. 2 For while p111 the privilege of doing and saying precisely what one pleases becomes, in the case of sensible persons, if you examine the matter, a cause of the highest happiness to them all, yet in the case of the foolish it becomes a cause of disaster. For this reason he who offers this privilege to the foolish is virtually putting a sword in the hands of a child or a madman; but he who offers it to the prudent is not only preserving all their other privileges but is also saving these men themselves even in spite of themselves. 3 Therefore I ask you not to fix your gaze upon the specious terms applied to these things and thus be deceived, but to weigh carefully the results which come from the things themselves and then put an end to the insolence of the populace and place the management of public affairs in the hands of yourself and the other best citizens, to the end that the business of deliberation may be performed by the most prudent and that of ruling by those best fitted for command, while the work of serving in the army for pay is left to those who are strongest physically and most needy. 4 In this way each class of citizens will zealously discharge the duties which devolve upon them and will readily render to one another such services as are due, and will thus be unaware of their inferiority when one class is at a disadvantage as compared with another, and all will gain the true democracy and the freedom which does not fail. 5 For the boasted freedom of the mob proves in experience to be the bitterest servitude of the best element to the other and brings upon both a common destruction; whereas this freedom of which I speak everywhere prefers for honour the men of prudence, awarding at the same time equality to all according to their deserts, and thus gives happiness impartially to all who enjoy this liberty.
p113 15 1 "For I would not have you think that I am advising you to enslave the people and the senate and then set up a tyranny. This is a thing I should never dare suggest to you nor would you bring yourself to do it. The other course, however, would be honourable and expedient both for you and for the city — that you should yourself, in consultation with the best men, enact all the appropriate laws, without the possibility of any opposition or remonstrance to these laws on the part of any one from the masses; 2 that you and your counsellors should conduct the wars according to your own wishes, all other citizens rendering instant obedience to your commands; that the choice of the officials should rest with you and your advisers; and that you and they should also determine the honours and the punishments. The advantage of all this would be that whatever pleased you in consultation with your peers would immediately become law; 3 that our wars against our enemies would be waged with secrecy and at the opportune time; that those to whom any task was entrusted would be appointed because of their merit and not as the result of the lot or rivalry for office; that the good would be honoured without arousing jealousy and the bad punished without causing rebellion. 4 Thus whatever business was done would be most likely to be managed in the right way, instead of being referred to the popular assembly, or deliberated upon openly, or entrusted to partisan delegates, or exposed to the danger of ambitious rivalry; and we should be happy in the enjoyment of the blessings which are vouchsafed to us, instead of being embroiled in hazardous wars abroad or in p115 unholy civil strife. 5 For these are the evils found in every democracy, — the more powerful men, namely, in reaching out after the primacy and hiring the weaker, turn everything upside down, — but they have been most frequent in our country, and there is no other way to put a stop to them than the way I propose. 6 And the evidence is, that we have now for a long time been engaged in wars and civil strife. The cause is the multitude of our population and the magnitude of the business of our government; for the population embraces men of every kind, in respect both to race and to endowment, and both their tempers and their desires are manifold; and the business of the state has become so vast that it can be administered only with the greatest difficulty.
16 1 "Witness to the truth of my words is borne by our past. For while we were but few in number and differed in no important respect from our neighbours, we got along well with our government and subjugated almost all Italy; 2 but ever since we were led outside the peninsula and crossed over to many continents and many islands, filling the whole sea and the whole earth with our name and power, nothing good has been our lot. At first it was only at home and within our walls that we broke up into factions and quarrelled, but afterwards we even carried this plague out into the legions. 3 Therefore our city, like a great merchantman manned with a crew of every race and lacking a pilot, has now for many generations been rolling and plunging as it has drifted this way and that in a heavy sea, a ship as it were without ballast. Do not, then, allow her to be longer exposed to the tempest; 4 for you see that she p117 is waterlogged. And do not let her be pounded to pieces upon a reef; for her timbers are rotten and she will not be able to hold out much longer. But since the gods have taken pity on her and have set you over her as her arbiter and overseer, prove not false to her, to the end that, even as now she has received a little by your aid, so she may survive in safety for the ages to come.
17 1 "Now I think you have long since been convinced that I am right in urging you to give the people a monarchical government; if this is the case, accept the leadership over them readily and with enthusiasm — or rather do not throw it away. For the question we are deliberating upon is not whether we shall take something, but whether we shall decide not to lose it and by so doing incur danger into the bargain. 2 Who, indeed, will spare you if you thrust the control of the state into the hands of the people, or even if you entrust it to some other man, seeing that there are great numbers whom you have injured, and that practically all these will lay claim to the sovereignty, and yet no one of them will wish either that you should go unpunished for what you have done or that you should be allowed to survive as his rival? 3 Pompey, for example, once he had given up the supreme power, became the object of scorn and of secret plotting and consequently lost his life when he was unable to regain his power. Caesar also, your father, lost not only his position but also his life for doing precisely what you are proposing to do. And Marius and Sulla would certainly have suffered a like fate had they not died p119 first. 4 And yet some say that Sulla, fearing this very fate, forestalled it by making away with himself; at any rate, much of his legislation began to be undone while he was yet alive. Therefore you also must expect that there will be many a man who will prove a Lepidus to you and many a man who will prove a Sertorius, a Brutus, or a Cassius.
18 1 "Looking, then, at these facts and reflecting upon all the other considerations involved, do not abandon yourself and your country merely in order to avoid giving the impression to some that you deliberately sought the office. For, in the first place, even if men do suspect this, the ambition is not inconsistent with human nature and the risk involved is a noble one. Again, what man is there who does not know the circumstances which constrained you to assume your present position? 2 Hence, if there be any fault to find with these compelling circumstances, one might with entire justice lay it upon your father's murderers. For if they had not slain him in so unjust and pitiable a fashion, you would not have taken up arms, would not have gathered your legions, would not have made your compact with Antony and Lepidus, and would not have had to defend yourself against these men themselves. 3 That you were right, however, and were justified in doing all this, no one is unaware. Therefore, even if some slight error has been committed, yet we cannot at this time with safety undo anything that has been done. 4 Therefore, for our own sake and for that of the state let us obey Fortune, who offers you the sole rulership. And let us be very grateful to her that she has not only freed us from our domestic troubles, but has also placed in p121 your hands the organisation of the state, to the end that you, by bestowing due care upon it, may prove to all mankind that those troubles were stirred up and that mischief wrought by other men, whereas you are an upright man.
5 "And do not, I beg you, be afraid of the magnitude of the empire. For the greater its extent, the more numerous are the salutary elements it possesses; also, to guard anything is far easier than to acquire it. Toils and dangers are needed to win over what belongs to others, but a little care suffices to retain what is already yours. 6 Moreover, you need not be afraid, either, that you will not live quite safely in that office and enjoy all the blessings which men know, provided that you will consent to administer it as I shall advise you. And do not think that I am shifting the discussion from the subject in hand if I speak to you at considerable length about the office. 7 For of course my purpose in doing this will be, not to hear myself talk, but that you may learn by a strict demonstration that it is both possible and easy, for a man of sense at least, to rule well and without danger.
19 1 "I maintain, therefore, that you ought first and foremost to choose and select with discrimination the entire senatorial body, inasmuch as some who have not been fit have, on account of our dissensions, become senators. Such of them as possess any excellence you ought to retain, but the rest you should erase from the roll. 2 Do not, however, get rid of any good man because of his poverty, but even give him the money he requires. In the place of those who have been dropped introduce the noblest, p123 the best, and the richest men obtainable, selecting them not only from Italy but also from the allies and the subject nations. 3 In this way you will have many assistants for yourself and will have in safe keeping the leading men from all the provinces; thus the provinces, having no leaders of established repute, will not begin rebellions, and their prominent men will regard you with affection because they have been made sharers in your empire.
4 "Take these same measures in the case of the knights also, by enrolling in the equestrian order such men as hold second place in their several districts as regards birth, excellence and wealth. Register as many new members in both classes as you please, without being over particular on the score of their number. For the more men of repute you have as your associates, the easier you will find it, for your own part, to administer everything in time of need and, 5 so far as your subjects are concerned, the more easily will you persuade them that you are not treating them as slaves or as in any way inferior to us, but that you are sharing with them, not only all the other advantages which we ourselves enjoy, but also the chief magistracy as well, and thus make them as devoted to that office as if it were their own. 6 And so far am I from retracting this last statement as rashly made, that I declare that the citizens ought every one actually to be given a share in the government, in order that, being on an equality with us in this respect also, they may be our faithful allies, living as it were in a single city, namely our own, and considering that this is in very truth a city, whereas their own homes are but the countryside and villages.
p125 "But regarding this matter we shall at a later time examine more carefully the question of what measures should be taken to prevent our granting the people every privilege at once. 20 1 As for the matter of eligibility for office, now, we should put men on the roll of knights when they are eighteen years old, for at that age their physical soundness and their mental fitness can best be discerned; but we should not enrol them in the senate until they are twenty-five years old. For is it not disgraceful, and indeed hazardous, to entrust the public business to men younger than this, when we never commit our private affairs to any one before he has reached this age? 2 After they have served as quaestors and aediles or tribunes, let them be praetors when they reach the age of thirty. For it is my opinion that these offices, and that of consul, are the only ones at home which you ought to fill by election, and these merely out of regard for the institutions of our fathers and to avoid the appearance of making a complete change in the constitution. 3 But make all the appointments yourself and do not any longer commit the filling of one or another of these offices either to the plebs or to the people, for they will quarrel over them, or to the senate, for the senators will use them to further their own private ambitions. And do not maintain the traditional powers of these offices, either, for fear history may repeat itself, but preserve the honour attaching to them, at the same time abating their influence to such an extent that, although you will be depriving the office of none of its prestige, you will still be giving no opportunity to those who may desire to stir up a rebellion. 4 Now p127 this will be accomplished if you assign them on appointment chiefly to home affairs and do not permit any of them to have armed forces during their term of office or immediately afterward, but only after the lapse of some time, as much as you think sufficient in each instance. In this way they will never be put in command of legions while still enjoying the prestige of their official titles and thus be led to stir up rebellions, and after they have been private citizens for a time they will be of milder disposition. 5 Let these magistrates conduct such of the festivals as naturally belong to their office, and let them severally sit as judges in all kinds of cases except homicide during their tenure of office in Rome. Courts should be established, to be sure, with the other senators and knights as members, but final authority should rest with these magistrates.
21 1 "As for the prefect of the city, men should be appointed to that office who are leading citizens and have previously passed through the appropriate offices; it should be the prefect's duty, not to govern merely when the consuls are out of town, 2 but in general to be at all times in charge of the affairs of the city, and to decide the cases which come to him from all the other magistrates I have mentioned, whether on appeal or for review, together with those which involve the death penalty; and his jurisdiction should extend, not only to those who live in the city, except such as I shall name, but also to those who dwell outside the city for a distance of one hundred miles.
3 "Let still another magistrate be chosen, this man also from the class described, whose duties shall be to pass upon and supervise all matters pertaining to p129 the families, property, and morals both of the senators and of the knights, alike of the men and of their wives and children. 4 He should personally correct such behaviour as deserves no punishment, yet if neglected becomes the cause of many evils; but above the more important matters of misconduct he should confer with you. For the officer to whom these duties are assigned should be a senator, and in fact the best one after the prefect of the city, rather than one of the knights. 5 As for the title of his office, he would naturally receive one derived from your censorial functions (for it is certainly appropriate that you should be in charge of the censuses), and be called sub-censor. Let these two, the city prefect and the sub-censor, hold office for life, unless one of them becomes demoralized in some way or is incapacitated by sickness or old age. 6 For no harm could result from their holding office for life, since the one would be entirely without armed forces and the other would have but few soldiers and would be acting for the most part under your eyes; 7 whereas the effect of the yearly tenure would be that they would shrink from offending any one and would be afraid to act with energy, since they would be looking ahead to their own retirement to private life and to the exercise of the power of the office by others. They should also draw a salary, not only to compensate them for the loss of their leisure but also to enhance the prestige of their office.
8 "This is the opinion I have to give you in regard p131 to these officials. As for those who have served as praetors, let them hold some office among the subject nations (before they have been praetors I do not think they should have this privilege, but they ought first to serve for one or two terms as lieutenants to the ex-praetors just mentioned); then they should next hold office as consuls, provided that they have proved satisfactory officials to the end of their terms, and after that they should receive the more important governorships. 22 1 I advise you, namely, to arrange these positions as follows. Take Italy as a whole (I mean the part of it which is more than one hundred miles from the city), and all the rest of the territory which owns our sway, the islands and the continents, and divide it into districts, in each case according to races and nations, and take also all the cities that are strong and independent enough to be ruled by one governor with full powers. 2 Then station soldiers in them and send out as governor to each district or independent city one of the ex-consuls, who shall have general charge, and two of the ex-praetors. One of the latter, fresh from the city, should be put in charge of all matters pertaining to persons in private life and of the commissary; the other, a man who has had special training for this work, will administer the public business of the cities and will have command of the soldiers, except in cases that involve disfranchisement or death. 3 Such cases, of course, should be referred to the ex-consul who is governor, and to him alone, except where the persons involved are centurions recruited from the levies or private persons of prominence in their respective communities; as for both these classes, do not allow anybody but yourself to punish them, p133 lest they come to fear some of these officials to such an extent as to take measures, on occasion, against you as well as against them. 4 As for my suggestion that the second of the ex-praetors should be put in charge of the soldiers, it is to be understood as follows: if only a small body of troops is serving abroad in the military posts or at home in a single post, my proposal is satisfactory; but if two citizen legions are wintering in the same province (and more than this number I should not advise you to trust to one commander), 5 it will no doubt be necessary for both the ex-praetors to hold the command over them, each having charge of one, and for each to have his share of authority similarly in matters affecting either the state or private citizens. Let the ex-consul, accordingly, have these duties, and let him also decide the cases which come to him on appeal and those which are referred to him by the praetors for review. 6 And do not be surprised that I recommend to you the dividing of Italy also into these administrative districts. It is large and populous, and so cannot possibly be well administered by the magistrates in the city; for a governor ought always to be present in the district he governs, and no duties should be laid upon our city magistrates which they cannot perform.
23 1 "Let all these men to whom the commands outside the city are assigned receive salaries, the more important officers more, the less important less, and those between an intermediate amount. For they cannot live in a foreign land upon their own resources, nor should they indulge, as they do now, in unlimited and indefinite expenditure. 2 They should hold office not less than three years, unless they are guilty of misconduct, nor more than five. The reason is that p135 offices held for only one year or for short periods merely teach the officials their bare duties and then dismiss them before they can put any of their acquired knowledge into use, while, on the other hand, the longer terms of many years' duration somehow have the effect, in many cases, of filling the officials with conceit and encouraging them to rebellion. 3 Hence, again, I think that the more important posts ought in no case to be given consecutively to the same man. For it makes no difference whether a man is governor in the same province or in several in succession, if he holds office for a period longer than is advisable; besides, appointees improve when there is an interval between their incumbencies during which they return home and resume the life of ordinary citizens.
"As regards the senators, therefore, I declare that they ought to discharge the duties named and in the way described. 24 1 Of the knights the two best should command the bodyguard which protects you, for it is hazardous to entrust it to one man, and sure to lead to confusion to entrust it to more than two. 2 Therefore let the number of these prefects be two, in order that, if one of them feel indisposed, you may still not lack a person to guard you. And men should be appointed to this office who have served in many military campaigns and have, besides, held many administrative positions. 3 And they should have command both of the Pretorians and of all the other soldiers in Italy, with power even to put to death any of them who do wrong, with the exception of the centurions and of those in general who have been assigned to the staffs of magistrates of senatorial rank. 4 For these soldiers should be tried by the p137 senatorial magistrates themselves, in order that the latter, by virtue of the authority they would thus possess of dealing out punishments to them as well as honours, may be able to command their unhesitating support. Over all the other soldiers in Italy, however, the prefects I have mentioned should be in command, having lieutenants under them, and likewise over the Caesarians, both those who are in attendance upon you and such of the others as are of any account. 5 These duties will be both fitting and sufficient for them to discharge, for if they have more responsibilities assigned to them than they are able to carry satisfactorily, there is danger that they may have no time for the essential things, or, if they have, may prove incompetent to exercise oversight over all their duties. 6 These prefects also should hold office for life, like the prefect of the city and the sub-censor. Let another official be appointed to be commander of the night-watch and still another to be commissioner of grain and of the market in general, both of them from the equestrian order and the best men after the prefects, and let them hold their posts for a definite term, like the magistrates elected from the senatorial class. 25 1 The management of the public funds, also, — I mean both those of the people and those of the empire, not only in Rome but also in the rest of Italy and outside Italy, — should be entirely in the hands of the knights, and they, 2 as well as all the other members of the equestrian order who are charged with an administrative position, should be on salary, greater or less in proportion to the dignity and importance of their duties. 3 The reason for the second part of this suggestion is that it is not possible p139 for the knights, since they are poorer than the senators, to meet their expenditures out of their own means, even when their duties keep them in Rome, and for the first point, that it is neither practicable nor to your interest that the same men should be given authority over both the troops and the public funds. 4 And, furthermore, it is well that the whole business of the empire should be transacted by a number of agents, in order that many may at the same time receive the benefits and gain experience in public affairs; for in this way your subjects, reaping a manifold enjoyment of the common blessings, will be more favourably disposed towards you, and you will have at your disposal in the largest measure those who are at any particular time the best men for all urgent needs. 5 One official of the equestrian order is sufficient for each branch of the fiscal service in the city, and, outside the city, for each province, each one of them to have as many subordinates, drawn from the knights and from your own freedmen, as the needs of the case demand; for you need to associate with the officials such assistants in order that your service may offer a prize for merit, and that you may not lack those from whom you may learn the truth, even contrary to their wishes, in case any irregularity is committed.
6 "If any of the knights, after passing through many branches of the service, distinguishes himself enough to become a senator, his age ought not to hinder him at all from being enrolled in the senate. Indeed, some knights should be received into the senate, even if they have seen service only as company commanders in the citizen legions, except such as have served in the rank and file. 7 For it is both a shame p141 and a reproach that men of this sort, who have carried faggots and charcoal, should be found on the roll of the senate; but in the case of knights who began their service with the rank of centurion, there is nothing to prevent the most notable of them from belonging to the senate.
26 1 "With regard, then, to the senators and the knights, this is the advice I have to give you, — yes, and this also, that while they are still children they should attend the schools, and when they come out of childhood into youth they should turn their minds to horses and arms, and have paid public teachers in each of these departments. 2 In this way from their very boyhood they will have had both instruction and practice in all that they will themselves be required to do on reaching manhood, and will thus prove more serviceable to you for every undertaking. For the best ruler, — the ruler who is worth anything, — should not only perform himself all the duties which devolve upon him, but should make provision for the rest also, that they may become as excellent as possible. 3 And this title can be yours, not if you allow them to do whatever they please and then censure those who err, but if, before any mistakes are made, you give them instruction in everything the practice of which will render them more useful both to themselves and to you, and if you afford nobody any excuse whatever, 4 either wealth or nobility of birth or any other attribute of excellence, for affecting indolence or effeminacy or any other behaviour that is counterfeit. For many persons, fearing that, by reason of p143 some such advantage, they may incur jealousy or danger, do many things that are unworthy of themselves, expecting by such behaviour to live in greater security. 5 As a consequence, not only do they, on their part, become objects of pity as being victims of injustice in precisely this respect, that men believe that they are deprived of the opportunity of leading upright lives, but their ruler also, on his part, suffers not only a loss, in that he is robbed of men who might have been good, but also ill-repute, because he is blamed for the others' condition. Therefore never permit this thing to happen, and have no fear, on the other hand, that anyone who has been reared and educated as I propose will ever venture upon a rebellion. 6 On the contrary, it is the ignorant and licentious that you should suspect; for it is such persons who are easily influenced to do absolutely any and every thing, even the most disgraceful and outrageous, first toward themselves and then toward others, whereas those who have been well reared and educated do not deliberately do wrong to anyone else and least of all to the one who has cared for their rearing and education. 7 If, however, one of these does show himself wicked and ungrateful, you have merely to refuse to entrust him with any position of such a kind as will enable him to do any mischief; and if even so he rebels, let him be convicted and punished. You need not, I assure you, be afraid that anyone will blame you for this, provided that you carry out all my injunctions. 8 For in taking vengeance on the wrongdoer you will be guilty of no sin, any more than the physician is who resorts to cautery and surgery; but all men will assuredly say that the offender has got his deserts, p145 because, after partaking of the same rearing and education as the rest, he plotted against you.
"Let this be your procedure, then, in the case of the senators and the knights. 27 1 A standing army also should be supported, drawn from the citizens, the subject nations, and the allies, its size in the several provinces being greater or less according as the necessities of the case demand; 2 and these troops ought always to be under arms and to engage in the practice of warfare continually. They should have winter-quarters constructed for them at the most advantageous points, and should serve for a stated period, so that a portion of life may still be left for them between their retirement from service and old age. 3 The reason for such a standing army is this: far removed as we are from the frontiers of the empire, with enemies living near our borders on every side, we are no longer able at critical times to depend upon expeditionary forces; and if, on the other hand, we permit all the men of military age to have arms and to practise warfare, they will always be the source of seditions and civil wars. 4 If, however, we prevent them from all making arms their profession and afterwards need their aid in war, we shall be exposed to danger, since we shall never have anything but inexperienced and untrained soldiers to depend upon. For these reasons I give it as my opinion that, while in general the men of military age should have nothing to do with arms and walled camps during their lives, the hardiest of them and those most in need of a livelihood should be enlisted as soldiers and given a military training. 5 For they will fight better if they devote their time to this one p147 business, and the rest will find it easier to carry on their farming, seafaring, and the other pursuits appropriate to peace, if they are not compelled to take part in military expeditions but have others to act as their defenders. Thus the most active and vigorous element of the population, which is generally obliged to gain its livelihood by brigandage, will support itself without molesting others, while all the rest will live without incurring dangers.
28 1 "From what source, then, is the money to be provided for these soldiers and for the other expenses that will of necessity be incurred? I shall explain this point also, prefacing it with a brief reminder that even if we have a democracy we shall in any case, of course, need money. For we cannot survive without soldiers, and men will not serve as soldiers without pay. 2 Therefore let us not be oppressed by the idea that the necessity of raising money belongs only to a monarchy, and let us not be led by that consideration to turn our backs upon this form of government, but let us assume in our deliberations that, under whatever form of government we shall live, we shall certainly be constrained to secure funds. 3 My proposal, therefore, is that you shall first of all sell the property that belongs to the state, — and I observe that this has become vast on account of the wars, — reserving only a little that is distinctly useful or necessary to you; and that you lend out all the money thus realized at a moderate rate of interest. 4 In this way not only will the land be put under cultivation, being sold to owners who will cultivate it themselves, but also the latter will acquire a capital and become more prosperous, while the treasury will gain a permanent revenue that will p149 suffice for its needs. In the second place, I advise you to make an estimate of the revenues from this source and of all the other revenues which can with certainty be derived from the mines or any other source, 5 and then to make and balance against this a second estimate of all the expenses, not only those of the army, but also of all those which contribute to the well-being of a state, and furthermore of those which will necessarily be incurred for unexpected campaigns and the other needs which are wont to arise in an emergency. 6 The next step is to provide for any deficiency by levying an assessment upon absolutely all property which produces any profit for its possessors, and by establishing a system of taxes among all the peoples we rule. For it is but just and proper that no individual or district be exempt from these taxes, inasmuch as they are to enjoy the benefits derived from the taxation as much as the rest. 7 And you should appoint tax-collectors to have supervision of this business in each district, and cause them to exact the entire amount that falls due during the term of their supervision from all the sources of revenue. This plan will not only render the work of collection easier for these officials, but will in particular benefit the tax-payers, 8 inasmuch, I mean, as these will bring in what they owe in the small instalments appointed, whereas now, if they are remiss for a brief period, the entire sum is added up and demanded of them in a single payment.
29 1 "I am not unaware that some will object if this system of assessments and taxes is established. But I know this, too, — that if they are subjected to no further abuses and are indeed convinced that all these contributions of theirs will make for their own p151 security and for their fearless enjoyment of the rest of their property, 2 and that, again, the larger part of their contributions will be received by none but themselves, as governors, procurators, or soldiers, they will be exceedingly grateful to you, since they will be giving but a slight portion of the abundance from which they derive the benefit without having to submit to abuses. Especially will this be true if they see that you live temperately and spend nothing foolishly. 3 For who, if he saw that you were quite frugal in your expenditures for the commonwealth, would not willingly contribute, believing that your wealth meant his own security and prosperity?
30 1 "So far as funds are concerned, therefore, a great abundance would be supplied from these sources. And I advise you to conduct as follows the administration of such matters as have not yet been mentioned. Adorn this capital with utter disregard of expense and make it magnificent with festivals of every kind. For it is fitting that we who rule over many people should surpass all men in all things, and brilliance of this sort, also, tends in a way to inspire our allies with respect for us and our enemies with terror. 2 The affairs of the other cities you should order in this fashion: In the first place, the populace should have no authority in any matter, and should not be allowed to convene in any assembly at all; for nothing good would come out of their deliberations and they would always be stirring up a good deal of turmoil. Hence it is my opinion that our populace here in Rome, for that matter, should not come together either as a court or to hold the elections, or indeed in any meeting whose object is p153 to transact business. 3 In the second place, the cities should not indulge in public buildings unnecessarily numerous or large, nor waste their resources on expenditures for a large number and variety of public games, lest they exhaust themselves in futile exertions and be led by unreasonable rivalries to quarrel among themselves. 4 They ought, indeed, to have their festivals and spectacles, — to say nothing of the Circensian games held here in Rome, — but not to such an extent that the public treasury or the estates of private citizens shall be ruined thereby, or that any stranger resident there should be compelled to contribute to their expense, or that maintenance for life should be granted to every one without exception who has won a victory in a contest. 5 For it is unreasonable that the well-to‑do should be put under compulsion to spend their money outside their own countries; and as for the competitors in the games, the prizes which are offered in each event are enough, unless a man wins in the Olympian or Pythian games or in some contest here in Rome. 6 For these are the only victors who ought to receive their maintenance, and then the cities will not be wearing themselves out to no purpose nor will any athlete go into training except those who have a chance of winning; the rest will be able to follow some occasion that will be more profitable both to themselves and to the commonwealth. This is my opinion about these matters. 7 But as to the horse-races in connection with which there are no gymnastic contests, I think that no city but Rome should be permitted to have them, the object being to prevent the wanton dissipation of vast sums of money and to p155 keep the populace from becoming deplorably crazed over such a sport, and, above all, to give those who are serving in the army an abundant supply of the best horses. 8 It is for these reasons, therefore, that I would altogether forbid the holding of such races anywhere else than here in Rome; as to the other games, I have proposed to keep them within bounds, in order that each community, by putting upon an inexpensive basis its entertainments for both eye and ear, may live with greater moderation and less factious strife.
9 "None of the cities should be allowed to have its own separate coinage or system of weights and measures; they should all be required to use ours. They should send no embassy to you, unless its business is one that involves a judicial decision; they should rather make what representations they will to their governor and through him bring to your attention such of their petitions as he shall approve. 10 In this way they will be spared expense and be prevented from resorting to crooked practices to gain their object; and the answers they receive will be uncontaminated by their agents and will involve no expense or red tape.
31 1 "Moreover (to pass to other matters), it seems to me that you would be adopting the best arrangement if you should, in the first place, introduce before the senate the embassies which come from the enemy and from those under treaty with us, whether kings or democracies; for, among other considerations, it is both awe-inspiring and calculated to arouse comment for the impression to prevail that the senate has full authority in all matters and for all men to be fully aware that those envoys who are unfair in their p157 dealings will have many to oppose them. 2 In the second place, you would do well to have all your legislation enacted by the senate, and to enforce no measure whatever upon all the people alike except the decrees of this body. In this way the dignity of the empire would be more securely established and the judgments rendered in accordance with the laws would instantly be free from all dispute or uncertainty in the eyes of all the people. 3 In the third place, it would be well in the case of the members of the senate, their children, and their wives, if ever they are charged with a serious offence for which the penalty on conviction would be disfranchisement, exile, or even death, that you should bring the matter before the senate without prejudgment against the accused, 4 and should commit to that body the entire decision uninfluenced by your opinion. The purpose of this is, that the guilty, thus tried by a jury consisting solely of their peers, may be punished without there being any resentment against you, and that the others, seeing this, may mend their ways through fear of being publicly pilloried themselves.
5 "These suggestions have to do only with those offences regarding which laws have been established and judgments are rendered in accordance with these laws. For as to a charge that some one has vilified you or in some other way has used unseemly language regarding you, I would have you neither listen to the accuser nor follow up the accusation. 6 For it is disgraceful for you to believe that any one has wantonly insulted you if you are indeed doing no p159 wrong and are but conferring benefits upon all, and it is only those who are ruling badly who believe such things; for they draw evidence from their own conscience of the credibility of the alleged slanders. 7 And it is, furthermore, a dangerous thing even to show anger at such imputations (for if they are true, it were better not to be angry, and if they are false, it were better to pretend not to be angry), since many a man in times past has, by adopting this course, caused to be circulated against himself scandals far more numerous and more difficult to bear. 8 This, then, is my advice concerning those who are accused of calumniating you; for you should be superior to any insult and too exalted to be reached by it, and you should never allow yourself even to imagine, or lead others to imagine, that it is possible for any one to treat you with contumely, since you desire that men shall think of you, as they do of the gods, that your sanctity is inviolable. 9 If, however, any one is accused of plotting against you (and such a thing might also happen), refrain, in his case also, from either giving judgment yourself or prejudging the charge (for it is absurd that the same man should be both accuser and judge), but bring him before the senate and let him plead his defence there, and if he is convicted, punish him, moderating the sentence as far as possible, in order that belief in his guilt may be fostered. 10 For most men are very reluctant to believe that an unarmed man is plotting against one who is armed; and the only way you can win them to the belief is by showing, so far as possible, neither resentment nor the desire to exact the utmost when you inflict the penalty. But I make an exception to this rule in p161 the case of a commander of an army who openly revolts; for of course it is fitting that such an one should not be tried at all, but chastised as a public enemy.
32 1 "These matters, then, should be referred by you to the senate, and also those others which are of the greatest importance to the state. For interests which are shared in common should be administered in common. Besides, it is doubtless a quality implanted by nature in all men that they take delight in any marks of esteem received from a superior which imply that they are his equals, and that they not only approve of all decisions made by another in consultation with themselves, as being their own decisions, but also submit to them as having been imposed by their own free choice. 2 Therefore I say that such business ought to be brought before the senate. Furthermore, all the senators alike, that is, all who are present, should vote on all other matters: but when one of their own number is accused, not all of them should do so, unless the one who is on trial is not yet sitting as a senator or is still in the ranks of the ex-quaestors. 3 For it is absurd that one who has not yet been a tribune or an aedile should cast a vote against men who have held those offices, or, worse yet, that any one of the latter should vote against men who have been praetors, or one of these last against men who have been consuls. Rather, let the ex-consuls alone have authority to render decisions in the case of all senators, and let the rest of the senators vote only in the cases of senators of a rank equal or inferior to their own.
33 1 "But do you judge by yourself alone the cases which come to you on appeal or reference from the higher p163 officials and the procurators, from the prefect of the city, the sub-censor, and from the prefects in charge respectively of the grain-supply and the night-watch. For none of these should have such absolute jurisdiction and final authority that an appeal cannot be made from him. 2 Do you, therefore, pass upon these cases and those which involve knights and centurions recruited from the levies and the foremost private citizens, when they are defendants on a charge punishable by death or disfranchisement. For such cases should be committed to you alone, and for the reasons mentioned no one else should judge them solely upon his own responsibility. 3 Indeed, in the rendering of decisions generally you should be brought into consultation, invariably by the senators and knights of highest rank and also, as occasion calls for one or another, by the other senators who are ex-consuls and ex-praetors, the object being twofold: that you on your part may first become more intimately acquainted with their characters and may then be able to put them to the right kind of employment, and that they, on their part, may first become familiar with our habits of mind and your plans before they go out to govern the provinces. 4 Do not, however, ask for a public expression of their opinion on any matter that requires an unusually careful consideration, lest they hesitate to speak freely, since in giving their opinions they follow their superiors in rank; make them, rather, write their opinions on tablets. These you should read in private, that they may become known to no one else, and should then order the writing to be erased forthwith. For the best way for you to get at each man's p165 precise opinion would be to give him the certainty that his vote cannot be detected among the rest.
5 "Moreover, for your judicial work and your correspondence, to help you attend to the decrees of the states and the petitions of private individuals, and for all other business which belongs to the administration of the empire, you must have men chosen from the knights to be your helpers and assistants. For all the details of administration will move along more easily in this way, and you will neither err through relying upon your own judgment nor become exhausted through relying upon your own efforts. 6 Grant to every one who wishes to offer you advice, on any matter whatever, the right to speak freely and without fear of the consequences; for if you are pleased with what he says you will be greatly benefited, and if you are not convinced it will do you no harm. 7 Those who win your favourable opinion for their suggestions you should both commend and honour, since you yourself will gain credit through their discoveries; but do not treat with disrespect or criticise those who fail of your approval, since it is their intentions that you should consider, and their lack of success should not call forth your censure. 8 Guard against this same mistake in matters of warfare, also; give way neither to anger against a man for an unintentional misfortune nor to jealousy for a piece of good fortune, that all may zealously and gladly incur danger for your sake, confident that if they meet with any reverse they will not be punished for it and if they gain success they will not have snares laid for them. 9 There have been many, at any rate, who through fear of jealousy on the p167 part of those in power have chosen to accept defeat rather than achieve success, and as a result have gained safety for themselves while inflicting the loss upon their rulers. Therefore, since you yourself stand to reap the major part of the fruits of both outcomes, the failures as well as the successes, you should never consent to become jealous, nominally of others, but really of yourself.
34 1 "Whatever you wish your subjects to think and do, this you should always say and do yourself. In this way you will be educating them, rather than intimidating them through the punishments prescribed by the laws. The former policy inspires zeal, the latter fear; and one finds it easier to imitate that which is good when he sees it actually practised than to avoid that which is evil when he hears it forbidden by mere words. 2 Be scrupulous yourself in all your actions, showing no mercy to yourself, in the full assurance that all men will forthwith learn of whatever you say or do. For you will live as it were in a theatre in which the spectators are the whole world; and it will not be possible for you to escape detection if you make even the most trivial mistake. 3 Indeed, you will never be alone, but always in the company of many when you do anything; and since the remainder of mankind somehow take the keenest delight in prying into the conduct of their rulers, if once they ascertain that you are recommending to them one course but are yourself taking another, instead of fearing your threats they will imitate your actions.
4 "You should, of course, supervise the lives of your subjects, but do not scrutinise them with too much rigour. Sit in judgment upon all offences reported p169 to you by others, but act as if you were not even aware of offences concerning which no one has made accusation — except in the case of trespasses against the public interest. 5 These ought, of course, to receive proper attention, even if no one files a charge; but as to private shortcomings, while you should indeed have knowledge of them, in order that you may avoid making a mistake some day by employing an unsuitable person as your agent in some matter, yet you shouldn't go so far as to convict those who are guilty of them. 6 For human nature often tempts men to commit many a violation of the law, and if you were to prosecute such offences rigorously, you would leave unpunished few or none of the offenders; but if in a kindly spirit you mix reasonableness with the prescriptions of the law, you may succeed in bringing the offenders to their senses. 7 The law, you know, though it of necessity makes its punishments severe, cannot always conquer nature. And so in the case of some men, if they think that their sins have not been discovered, or if they have been reproved but not unduly, they reform, either because they feel disgraced at having been found out, or because their self-respect keeps them from falling again; 8 whereas, if they have been publicly exposed and have lost all sense of shame, or have been chastised unduly, they overturn and trample under foot all the conventions of the law and become wholly slaves to the impulses of nature. Therefore it is neither easy to punish offenders invariably in all cases nor is it seemly to allow them in particular cases to flaunt their wickedness openly.
9 "Now this is the way I advise you to deal with men's shortcomings, with the exception of those p171 persons who are utterly incorrigible; and you should honour their good actions even beyond the merits of the deeds themselves. For you can best induce men to refrain from evil ways by kindness, and to desire better ways by liberality. 10 You need have no fear that you will ever lack either money or the other means of rewarding those who do good deeds. On the contrary, I fancy that those who will deserve your favours will prove far too few, seeing that you hold empire over so vast an extent of land and sea. Nor need you fear that any who have received your benefactions will ever act ungratefully; 11 for nothing so captivates and conciliates a man, be he foreigner or foe, as being not only the object of no wrongs but, in addition, the recipient of kindness.
35 1 "As regards your subjects, then, you should so conduct yourself, in my opinion. So far as you yourself are concerned, permit no exceptional or prodigal distinction to be given you, through word or deed, either by the senate or by any one else. 2 For whereas the honour which you confer upon others lends glory to them, yet nothing can be given to you that is greater than what you already possess, and, besides, no little suspicion of insincerity would attach to its giving. No subject, you see, is ever supposed to vote any such distinction to his ruler of his free will, and since all such honours as a ruler receives he must receive from himself, he not only wins no commendation for the honour but becomes a laughing-stock besides. 3 You must therefore depend upon your good deeds to provide for you any additional splendour. And you should never permit gold or silver images of yourself to be made, for they are not only costly but also invite p173 destruction and last only a brief time; but rather by your benefactions fashion other images in the hearts of your people, images which will never tarnish or perish. 4 Neither should you ever permit the raising of a temple to you; for the expenditure of vast sums of money on such objects is sheer waste. This money would better be used for necessary objects; for wealth which is really wealth is gathered, not so much by getting largely, as by saving largely. Then, again, from temples comes no enhancement of one's glory. 5 For it is virtue that raises many men to the level of gods, and no man ever became a god by popular vote. Hence, if you are upright as a man and honourable as a ruler, the whole earth will be your hallowed precinct, all cities your temples, and all men your statues, since within their thoughts you will ever be enshrined and glorified. 6 As for those, on the contrary, who administer their realms in any other way, such honours not only do not lend holiness to them, even though shrines are set apart for them in all their cities, but even bring a greater reproach upon them, becoming, as it were, trophies of their baseness and memorials of their injustice; for the longer these temples last, the longer abides the memory of their infamy. 36 1 Therefore, if you desire to become in very truth immortal, act as I advise; and, furthermore, do you not only yourself worship the divine Power everywhere and in every way in accordance with the traditions of our fathers, but compel all others to honour it. 2 Those who attempt to distort our religion with strange rites you should abhor and punish, not merely for the sake of the gods (since if a man despises these he will not pay p175 honour to any other being), but because such men, by bringing in new divinities in place of the old, persuade many to adopt foreign practices, from which spring up conspiracies, factions, and cabals, which are far from profitable to a monarchy. Do not, therefore, permit anybody to be an atheist or a sorcerer. 3 Soothsaying, to be sure, is a necessary art, and you should by all means appoint some men to be diviners and augurs, to whom those will resort who wish to consult them on any matter; that there ought to be no workers in magic at all. For such men, by speaking the truth sometimes, but generally falsehood, often encourage a great many to attempt revolutions. 4 The same thing is done also by many who pretend to be philosophers; hence I advise you to be on your guard against them, too. Do not, because you have had experience of good and honourable men like Areius and Athenodorus, believe that all the rest who claim to be philosophers are like them; for infinite harm, both to communities and to individuals, is worked by certain men who but use this profession as a screen.
37 1 "Now you should be wholly inclined to peace, so far as your purpose is concerned and your desire for nothing more than you now possess, but as regards your military preparations you should be distinctly warlike, in order that, if possible, no one may either wish or attempt to wrong you, but if he should, that he may be punished easily and instantly. 2 And inasmuch as it is necessary, for these and other reasons, that there should be persons who are to keep eyes and ears open to anything which affects your imperial position, in order that you may not be unaware of p177 any situation that requires measures of precaution or correction, you should have such agents, but remember that you should not believe absolutely everything they say, but should carefully investigate their reports. 3 For there are many who, from various motives, — either because they hate others or covet their possessions, or because they want to do a favour to some one else, or because they have demanded money from some one and have not obtained it, — bring false charges against the persons concerned, pretending that they are engaged in sedition or are planning or saying something prejudicial to the ruler. 4 Therefore one ought not to give heed to them forthwith or readily, but rather should prove everything they say. For if you are too slow in placing your trust in one of these men, you will suffer no great harm, but if you are too hasty you may possibly make a mistake which you cannot repair.
5 "Now it is both right and necessary for you to honour the good who are associated with you, both your freedmen and the rest; for this course will bring you credit and a large measure of security. They should not, however, acquire excessive power, but should all be rigorously kept under discipline, so that you shall never be brought into discredit by them. 6 For everything they do, whether good or ill, will be set to your account, and you will yourself be considered by the world to be of a character akin to the conduct which you do not object to in them.
"As regards the men of power and influence, then, you should not permit them to overreach the others, nor yet, on the other hand, to be blackmailed by others; neither let the mere fact that a man p179 possesses power be imputed to him as a crime even though he commit no offence. 7 But in the case of the masses, vindicate them vigorously when they are wronged and be not too ready to give heed to accusations against them; but make the accused persons' actions alone and by themselves the object of your scrutiny, neither harbouring suspicion against whatever is superior nor placing your trust in whatever is inferior. 8 Honour those who are diligent and those who by their skill devise something useful, but abhor those who are slothful or who busy themselves with trivial things, in order that your subjects, cleaving to the former by reason of your emoluments and holding themselves aloof from the latter by reason of your punishments, may become, as you desire, more competent in respect to their private affairs and more serviceable in respect to the interests of the state.
9 "It is well to make the number of disputes on the part of private citizens as few as possible and to render as expeditious as possible their settlement; but it is most important to restrain the rash enterprises of communities, and if they are attempting to coerce others or to go beyond their capacity or means in any undertaking or expenditure, 10 to forbid it, even though in their petitions they invoke blessings upon the empire and pray for your welfare and good fortune. It is important also to eradicate their mutual enmities and rivalries, and not permit them to assume empty titles or to do anything else that will bring them into strife with others. And all will readily yield obedience to you, both individuals and communities, in this and in every other matter, provided that you make no exceptions p181 whatever to this rule as a concession to anybody; for the uneven application of laws nullifies even those which are well established. 11 Consequently you ought not to allow your subjects even to ask you, in the first place, for what you are not going to give them, but should compel them strenuously to avoid at the outset this very practice of petitioning for what is prohibited.
38 1 "So much for these things. And I counsel you never to make full use of your power against your subjects as a body, nor to consider it any curtailment of your power if you do not actually put into effect all the measures you are in a position to enforce; but the greater your ability to do all you desire, the more eager you should be to desire in all things only what is fitting you should desire. 2 Always question your own heart in private whether it is right or not to do a given thing, and what you should do or refrain from doing to cause men to love you, with the purpose of doing the one and avoiding the other. For do not imagine that men will think you are doing your duty if only you hear no word of censure passed upon you; neither must you expect that any man will so abandon his senses as to reproach you openly for anything you do. 3 No one will do this, no matter how flagrantly he has been wronged; on the contrary, many are compelled even to commend their oppressors in public, though they must struggle to keep from showing their resentment. But the ruler must get at the disposition of his subjects, not by what they say, but by what they in all likelihood think.
39 1 "These are the things I would have you do — these and others of like nature; for there are many which p183 I must pass over, since it is impossible to include them all in a single discussion. There is, however, one statement which will serve as a summary with respect both to what has been said and to what has been left unsaid: 2 if you of your own accord do all that you would wish another to do if he became your ruler, you will err in nothing and succeed in everything, and in consequence you will find your life most happy and utterly free from danger. 3 For how can men help regarding you with affection as father and saviour, when they see that you are orderly and upright in your life, successful in war though inclined to peace; when you refrain from insolence and greed; when you meet them on a footing of equality, 4 do not grow rich yourself while levying tribute on them, do not live in luxury yourself while imposing hardships upon them, are not licentious yourself while reproving licentiousness in them, — when, instead of all this, your life is in every way and manner precisely like theirs? Therefore, since you have in your own hands a mighty means of protection, — that you never do wrong to another, — be of good courage and believe me when I tell you that you will never become the object of hatred or of conspiracy. 5 And since this is so, it follows of necessity that you will also lead a happy life; for what condition is happier, what more blissful, when, possessing virtue, to enjoy all the blessing which men can know and to be able to bestow them upon others?
40 1 "Think upon these things and upon all that I have told you, and be persuaded of me, and let not this fortune slip which has chosen you from all mankind and has set you up as their ruler. For, if you p185 prefer the monarchy in fact but fear the title of 'king' as being accursed, you have but to decline this title and still be sole ruler under the appellation of 'Caesar.' 2 And if you require still other epithets, your people will give you that of 'imperator' as they gave it to your father; and they will pay reverence to your august position by still another term of address, so that you will enjoy fully the reality of the kingship without the odium which attaches to the name of 'king.' "
41 1 Maecenas thus brought his speech to an end. And Caesar heartily commended both him and Agrippa for the wealth of their ideas and of their arguments and also for their frankness in expressing them; but he preferred to adopt the advice of Maecenas. He did not, however, immediately put into effect all his suggestions, fearing to meet with failure at some point if he purposed to change the ways of all mankind at a stroke; 2 but he introduced some reforms at the moment and some at a later time, leaving still others for those to effect who should subsequently hold the principate, in the belief that as time passed a better opportunity would be found to put these last into operation. And Agrippa, also, although he had advised against these policies, coöperated with Caesar most zealously in respect to all of them, just as if he had himself proposed them.
3 These and all the rest that I have recorded earlier in this narrative were the acts of Caesar in the year in which he was consul for the fifth time; and he p187 assumed the title of imperator. I do not here refer to the title which had occasionally been bestowed, in accordance with the ancient custom, upon generals in recognition of their victories, — for he had received that many times before this and received it many times afterwards in honour merely of his achievements, 4 so that he won the name of imperator twenty-one times, — but rather the title in its other use, which signifies the possession of the supreme power, in which sense it had been voted to his father Caesar and to the children and descendants of Caesar.
42 1 After this he became censor with Agrippa as his colleague, and in addition to other reforms which he instituted, he purged the senate. For as a result of the civil wars a large number of knights and even of foot-soldiers were in the senate without justification in merit, so that the membership of that body had swollen to a thousand. 2 Now though it was his wish to remove these men, he did not erase any of their names himself, but urged them rather, on the strength of their own knowledge of their families and their lives, to become their own judges; he first persuaded some fifty of them to withdraw from the senate voluntarily, and then compelled one hundred and forty others to imitate their example. 3 He disfranchised none of them, but posted the names of the second group only for he spared the members of the first group the reproach of the publication of their names, because they had not delayed but had straightway obeyed him. So all these men returned to private life of their own free will, so far as appearances were concerned; but Quintus Statilius was deposed, decidedly against his will, from the p189 tribuneship, to which he had been appointed. 4 And Caesar caused some other men to become senators, and he enrolled among the ex-consuls two men of the senatorial class, a certain Gaius Cluvius and Gaius Furnius, because, after they had already been elected consuls, they had been unable to serve, since others had occupied their offices first. 5 And at the same time he increased the number of patrician families, ostensibly with senate's permission, inasmuch as the greater part of the patricians had perished (indeed no class is so wasted in our civil wars as the nobility), and because the patricians are always regarded as indispensable for the perpetuation of our traditional institutions. 6 In addition to these measures he forbade all members of the senate to go outside of Italy, unless he himself should command or permit them to do so. This restriction is still observed down to the present day; for no senator is allowed to leave the country for the purpose of visiting any place except Sicily and Gallia Narbonensis. 7 But in the case of these regions, since they are close at hand and the inhabitants are unarmed and peaceful, those who have any possessions there are conceded the right to repair to them as often as they like without asking permission. 8 And since he saw that many of the senators and others who had been partisans of Antony were still inclined to be suspicious of him, and was fearful lest they might set a revolution on foot, he announced that all the letters that had been found in Antony's strong boxes had been burned. And it is quite true that he had destroyed some of them, but he was very careful to keep the larger part, and afterwards he did not scruple to make use of them, either.
p191 43 1 So much for these matters. Caesar also settled Carthage anew, because Lepidus had laid waste a part of it and by this act, it was held, had abrogated the rights of the earlier colonists. And he sent a summons to Antiochus of Commagene, because he had treacherously murdered an envoy who had been despatched to Rome by his brother, who was at variance with him. Caesar brought him before the senate, and when judgment had been passed against him, put him to death. 2 He also obtained Capreae from the Neapolitans, to whom it originally belonged, giving other territory in exchange. It lies not far from the mainland in the region of Surrentum and is good for nothing, but is renowned even to the present day because Tiberius had a residence there.
1 The conclusion of Agrippa's speech is missing in our MSS., as is also the earlier portion of that of Maecenas together with the introduction to it. Zonaras' brief résumé (down through chap. 17) is as follows: "But Maecenas advised the contrary course, declaring that he (Caesar) had already for a long time been directing the monarchy, and that he must inevitably do one of two things — either remain in the same position or abandon his present course and perish."
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: 16 Apr 11