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Book II
Chs. 29‑58

This webpage reproduces a section of
The Roman History

by
C. Velleius Paterculus

published in the Loeb Classical Library,
1924

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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Book II
Chs. 94‑131

Velleius Paterculus, Roman History

p177 Book II: Chapters 59‑93

59 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Caesar's will was then opened, by which he adopted Gaius Octavius, the grandson of his sister Julia. Of the origin of Octavius I must now say a few words, even if the account comes before its proper place. Gaius Octavius, his father, though not of patrician birth, 2 was descended from a very prominent equestrian family, and was himself a man of dignity, of upright and blameless life, and of great wealth. Chosen praetor at the head of the poll among a list of candidates of noble birth, this distinction won for him a marriage alliance with Atia, a daughter of Julia. After he had filled the office of praetor, the province of Macedonia fell to his lot, where he was honoured with the title of imperator. He was returning thence to sue for the consulship when he died on the way, leaving a son still in his early teens.163 3 Though he had been reared in the house of his stepfather, Philippus, Gaius Caesar, his great-uncle, loved this boy as his own son. At the age of eighteen Octavius followed Caesar to Spain in his campaign there, and Caesar kept him with him thereafter as his p179companion, allowing him to share the same roof and ride in the same carriage, and though he was still a boy, honoured him with the pontificate. 4 When the civil war was over, with a view to training his remarkable talents by liberal studies, he sent him to Apollonia to study, with the intention of taking him with him as his companion in his contemplated wars with the Getae and the Parthians. 5 At the first announcement of his uncle's death, although the centurions of the neighbouring legions at once proffered their own services and those of their men, and Salvidienus and Agrippa advised him to accept the offer, he made such haste to arrive in the city that he was already at Brundisium when he learned the details of the assassination and the terms of his uncle's will. 6 As he approached Rome an enormous crowd of his friends went out to meet him, and at the moment of his entering the city, men saw above his head the orb of the sun with a circle about it, coloured like the rainbow,164 seeming thereby to place a crown upon the head of one destined soon to greatness.

60 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] His mother Atia and Philippus his stepfather disliked the thought of his assuming the name of Caesar, whose fortune had aroused such jealousy, but the fates that preside over the welfare of the commonwealth and of the world took into their own keeping the second founder and preserver of the Roman name. 2 His divine soul therefore spurned the counsels of human wisdom, and he determined to pursue the highest goal with danger rather than a lowly estate and safety. He preferred to trust the judgement concerning himself of a great-uncle who was Caesar, rather than that of a stepfather, saying that he had no right to think himself p181unworthy of the name of which Caesar had thought him worthy. 3 On his arrival, Antony, the consul, received him haughtily — out of fear, however, rather than contempt — and grudgingly gave him, after he had secured admission to Pompey's gardens, a few moments' conversation with himself; and it was not long before Antony began wickedly to insinuate that an attempt had been made upon his life through plots fostered by Octavius. In this matter, however, the untrustworthiness of the character of Antony was disclosed, to his discredit. 4 Later the mad ambition of Antony and Dolabella, the consuls, for the attainment of an unholy despotism, burst into view. The seven hundred thousand sestertiaa deposited by Gaius Caesar in the temple of Ops were seized by Antony; the records of his acts were tampered with by the insertion of forged grants of citizenship and immunity; and all his documents were garbled for money considerations, the consul bartering away the public interests. 5 Antony resolved to seize the province of Gaul, which had been assigned by decree to Decimus Brutus, the consul designate, while Dolabella had the provinces beyond the sea assigned to himself. Between men by nature so unlike and with such different aims there grew up a feeling of hatred, and in consequence, the young Gaius Caesar was the object of daily plots on the part of Antony.

61 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The state languished, oppressed by the tyranny of Antony. All felt resentment and indignation, but no one had the power to resist, until Gaius Caesar,165 who had just entered his nineteenth year, with marvellous daring and supreme success, showed by his individual sagacity a courage in the state's p183behalf which exceeded that of the senate. 2 He summoned his father's veterans first from Calatia then from Casilinum;b other veterans followed their example, and in a short time they united to form a regular army. Not long afterwards, when Antony had met the army which he had ordered to assemble at Brundisium from the provinces beyond the sea, two legions, the Martian and the fourth, learning of the feeling of the senate and the spirit shown by this courageous youth, took up their standards and went over to Caesar. 3 The senate honoured him with an equestrian statue, which is still standing upon the rostra and testifies to his years by its inscription. This is an honour which in three hundred years had fallen to the lot of Lucius Sulla, Gnaeus Pompeius, and Gaius Caesar, and to these alone. The senate commissioned him, with the rank of propraetor, to carry on the war against Antony in conjunction with Hirtius and Pansa, the consuls designate. 4 Now in his twentieth year, he conducted the war at Mutina with great bravery, and the siege of Decimus Brutus there was raised. Antony was compelled to abandon Italy in undisguised and disgraceful flight. Of the two consuls, the one died upon the field of battle, and the other of his wound a few days afterwards.166

62 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Before the defeat of Antony the senate, chiefly on the motion of Cicero, passed all manner of resolutions complimentary to Caesar and his army. But, now that their fears had vanished, their real feelings broke through their disguise, and the Pompeian party once more took heart. 2 By vote of the senate, Brutus and Cassius were now confirmed in possession of the provinces which they p185had seized upon their own authority without any decree of the senate; the armies which had gone over to them were formally commended; 3 and Brutus and Cassius were given all authority and jurisdiction beyond the sea. It is true that these two men had issued manifestoes — at first in real fear of armed violence at the hands of Antony, and later to increase Antony's unpopularity, with the pretence of fear — manifestos in which they declared that for the sake of ensuring harmony in the republic they were even ready to live in perpetual exile, that they would furnish no grounds for civil war, and that the consciousness of the service they had rendered by their act was ample reward. But, when they had once left Rome and Italy behind them, by deliberate agreement and without government sanction they had taken possession of provinces and armies, and under the pretence that the republic existed wherever they were, they had gone so far as to receive from the quaestors, with their own consent, it is true, the moneys which these men were conveying to Rome from the provinces across the sea. 4 All these acts were now included in the decrees of the senate and formally ratified. Decimus Brutus was voted a triumph, presumably because, thanks to another's services, he had escaped with his life. Hirtius and Pansa were honoured with a public funeral. 5 Of Caesar not a word was said. The senate even went so far as to instruct its envoys, who had been sent to Caesar's army, to confer with the soldiers alone, without the presence of their general. But the ingratitude of the senate was not shared by the army; for, though Caesar himself pretended not to see the slight, the soldiers refused to listen to p187any orders without the presence of their commander. 6 It was at this time that Cicero, with his deep-seated attachment for the Pompeian party, expressed the opinion, which said one thing and meant another, to the effect that Caesar "should be commended and then — elevated."167

63 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile Antony in his flight had crossed the Alps, and at first made overtures to Marcus Lepidus which were rejected. Now Lepidus had surreptitiously been made pontifex in Caesar's place, and, though the province of Spain had been assigned to him, was still lingering in Gaul. Later, however, Antony showed himself several times to the soldiers of Lepidus, and being, when sober, better than most commanders, whereas none could be worse than Lepidus, he was admitted by the soldiers through a breach which they made in the fortifications in the rear of the camp. Antony still permitted Lepidus to hold the nominal command, while he himself held the real authority. 2 At the time when Antony entered the camp, Juventius Laterensis, who had strongly urged Lepidus not to ally himself with Antony now that he had been declared an enemy of the state, finding his advice of no avail ran himself through with his own sword, consistent unto death. Later Plancus and Pollio both handed over their armies to Antony. 3 Plancus, with his usual loose idea of loyalty, after a long debate with himself as to which party to follow, and much difficulty in sticking to his resolutions when formed, now pretended to co-operate with his colleague, Decimus Brutus, the consul designate, thus seeking to ingratiate himself with the senate in his dispatches, and again betrayed him. But Asinius Pollio, steadfast p189in his resolution, remained loyal to the Julian party and continued to be an adversary of the Pompeians.

64 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Decimus Brutus, first abandoned by Plancus, and later actually the object of his plots, deserted little by little by his army, and now a fugitive, was slain by the emissaries of Antony in the house of a noble named Camelus with whom he had taken refuge. He thus met his just deserts and paid the penalty of his treason to Gaius Caesar by whom he had been treated so well. 2 He who had been the foremost of all Caesar's friends became his assassin, and while he threw upon Caesar the odious responsibility for the fortune of which he himself had reaped the benefits, he thought it fair to retain what he had received at Caesar's hands, and for Caesar, who had given it all, to perish.

3 This is the period when Cicero in a series of speeches branded the memory of Antony for all time to come. Cicero assailed Antony with his brilliant and god-given tongue, whereas Cannutius the tribune tore him to pieces with the ravening of a mad dog. Each paid with his life for his defence of liberty. 4 The proscription was ushered in by the slaying of the tribune; it practically ended with the death of Cicero, as though Antony were now sated with blood. Lepidus was now declared by the senate an enemy of the state, as Antony had been before him.

65 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then began an interchange of letters between Lepidus, Caesar, and Antony, and terms of agreement were suggested. Antony reminded Caesar how hostile to him the Pompeian party was, to what a height they had now risen, and how p191zealously Cicero was extolling Brutus and Cassius. Antony threatened to join forces with Brutus and Cassius, who had now control of seventeen legions, if Caesar rejected this friendly gesture, and said that Caesar was under greater obligations to avenge a father than he to avenge a friend. 2 Then began their partnership in political power, and, on the urgent advice and entreaty of the armies, a marriage alliance was also made between Antony and Caesar, in which Antony's stepdaughter was betrothed to Caesar. Caesar, with Quintus Pedius as colleague, entered on the consulship168 one day before the completion of his twentieth year on the twenty-second of September, seven hundred and nine years after the founding of the city and seventy-two, Marcus Vinicius, before the beginning of your consulship.

3 This year saw Ventidius169 joining the robes of the consular office to those of praetor in the very city in which he had been led in triumph among the Picentine captives. He also lived to celebrate a triumph of his own.

66 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then the vengeful resentment of Antony and Lepidus — for each of them had been declared public enemies, as has already been stated, and both preferred to hear accounts of what they had suffered, rather than of what they had deserved, at the hands of the senate — renewed the horror of the Sullan proscription. Caesar protested, but without avail, being but one against two. 2 The climax of the shame of this time was that Caesar should be forced to proscribe any one, or that any one should p193proscribe the name of Cicero. By the crime of Antony, when Cicero was beheaded the voice of the people was severed, nor did anyone raise a hand in defence of the man who for so many years had protected the interests both of the state and of the private citizen. 3 But you accomplished nothing, Mark Antony — for the indignation that surges in my breast compels me to exceed the bounds I have set for my narrative — you accomplished nothing, I say, by offering a reward for the sealing of those divine lips and the severing of that illustrious head, and by encompassing with a death-fee the murder of so great a consul and of the man who once had saved the state. 4 You took from Marcus Cicero a few anxious days, a few senile years, a life which would have been more wretched under your domination than was his death in your triumvirate; but you did not rob him of his fame, the glory of his deeds and words, nay you but enhanced them. 5 He lives and will continue to live in the memory of the ages, and so long as this universe shall endure — this universe which, whether created by chance, or by divine providence, or by whatever cause, he, almost alone of all the Romans, saw with the eye of his mind, grasped with his intellect, illumined with his eloquence — so long shall it be accompanied throughout the ages by the fame of Cicero. All posterity will admire the speeches that he wrote against you, while your deed to him will call forth their execrations, and the race of man shall sooner pass from the world than the name of Cicero be forgotten.

67 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] No one has even been able to deplore the fortunes of this whole period with such tears as the theme deserves, much less can one now describe it p195in words. One thing, however, demands comment, that 2 toward the proscribed their wives showed the greatest loyalty, their freedmen not a little, their slaves some, their sons none. So hard is it for men to brook delays in the realization of their ambitions, whatever they might be. 3 That no sacred tie might escape inviolate, and, as it were, as an inducement and invitation to such atrocities, Antony had Lucius Caesar, his uncle, placed upon the list, and Lepidus his own brother Paulus. Plancus also had sufficient influence to cause his brother Plancus Plotius to be enrolled among the proscribed. 4 And so the troops who followed the triumphal car of Lepidus and Plancus kept repeating among the soldiers' jests, but amid the execrations of the citizens, the following line:

Brothers-german our two consuls triumph over, not the Gauls.170

68 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Let me now relate a matter which I omitted in its proper place, for the person involved does not permit the deed to rest in obscurity. This person is Marcus Caelius, a man closely resembling Curio in eloquence and in spirit, though more than his peer in either, and quite as clever in his worthlessness. Being quite as bankrupt in property as in character and unable to save himself by paying even a reasonable proportion of his debts, 2 he came forward in his praetorship, at the time when Caesar was fighting for the control of affairs on the field of Pharsalus,171 as the author of a law for the cancellation of debts, nor could he be deterred from his course by the authority of either the senate or the consul. p197Calling to his aid Milo Annius,172 who was hostile to the Caesarian party because he had failed to secure from them his recall, he stirred up a sedition in the city, and openly raised armed bands in the country. He was first banished from the state and was later overcome at Thurii by the army of the consul, on the order of the senate. 3 A like fortune attended a similar attempt by Milo. While besieging Compsa, a city of the Hirpini, he was struck by a stone, and thus the restless man, too reckless to be called brave, paid the penalty he owed to Publius Clodius and to his country, against which he was bearing arms.

4 While engaged in supplying omissions I should note the intemperate and untimely display of independence shown towards Caesar by Marullus Epidius and Flavus Caesetius, tribunes of the people,173 who in charging him with the desire for the kingship, came near feeling the effects of his absolute power. Though Caesar was constantly provoked by them, 5 the only outcome of his wrath was that he was satisfied to brand them through the employment of his power as censor, and refrained from punishing them as dictator by banishing them from the state; and he expressed his great regret that he had no alternative but to depart from his customary clemency or suffer loss of dignity. But I must now return to the regular order of my narrative.

69 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile in Asia, Dolabella, who succeeded Gaius Trebonius as governor, had surprised the latter at Smyrna and had put him to death, a man who had showed the basest ingratitude in return for Caesar's kindness, and had shared in the murder of him to whom he owed his advancement p199to the consulship. 2 Dolabella had already occupied Asia and had passed over into Syria when Gaius Cassius, taking over their strong legions from Statius Murcus and Crispus Marcius, both praetorians who had been saluted as imperator by their troops, shut him up in Laodicea and by taking that city had caused his death; for Dolabella had promptly offered his neck to the sword of his own slave. Cassius also gained control of ten legions in that part of the empire. Marcus Brutus had raised his strength to seven legions by wresting their troops, by voluntary transfer of allegiance, 3 from Gaius Antonius, the brother of Marcus Antonius, in Macedonia, and from Vatinius in the vicinity of Dyrrachium. Brutus had been obliged to offer battle to Antony, but Vatinius he had overwhelmed by the weight of his own reputation, since Brutus was preferable to any general, while no man could rank lower than Vatinius, 4 whose deformity of body was rivalled to such an extent by the baseness of his character, that his spirit seemed to be housed in an abode that was thoroughly worthy of it.

5 By the Pedian law, proposed by Pedius, Caesar's colleague in the consulship, a decree of banishment was passed upon all the assassins of Caesar. At this time Capito, my uncle, a man of senatorial rank, assisted Agrippa in securing the condemnation of Gaius Cassius. 6 While all this was taking place in Italy, Cassius in a vigorous and successful campaign had taken Rhodes, an undertaking of great difficulty. Brutus had meanwhile conquered the Lycians. The armies of both then crossed into Macedonia, where Cassius, contrary to his nature, uniformly outdid even Brutus in clemency. One will hardly find men p201who were ever attended by a more favourable fortune than Brutus and Cassius, or who were more quickly deserted by her, as though she were weary.

70 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then Caesar and Antonius transported their armies to Macedonia, and met Brutus and Cassius in battle174 near the city of Philippi. The wing under the command of Brutus, after defeating the enemy, captured Caesar's camp; for Caesar was performing his duties as commander although he was in the poorest of health, and had been urged not to remain in camp by Artorius his physician, who had been frightened by a warning which had appeared to him in his sleep. On the other hand, the wing commanded by Cassius had been routed and roughly handled, and had retreated with much loss to higher ground. 2 Then Cassius, judging his colleague's success by his own fortune, sent a veteran with instructions to report to him what was the large force of men which was now bearing down in his direction. As the orderly was slow in reporting, and the force approaching at a run was now close, while their identity and their standards could not be recognized for the dust, imagining that the troops rushing on him were those of the enemy, he covered his head with his military cloak and undismayed presented his neck to the sword of his freedman. 3 The head of Cassius had scarcely fallen when the orderly arrived with the report that Brutus was victorious. But when he saw his commander lying prostrate, he uttered the words, "I shall follow him whose death my tardiness has caused," and fell upon his sword.

4 A few days later Brutus met the enemy, and was beaten in battle. In retreat he withdrew at nightfall to a hill, and there prevailed upon Strato of Aegaeae, p203one of his household, to lend him his hand in his resolve to die. 5 Raising his left arm above his head, and with his right holding the point of Strato's sword he brought it close to the left nipple, at the place where the heart beats, and throwing himself upon the sword he died at once, transfixed by the stroke.

71 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Messalla, a young man of brilliant parts, was next in authority to Brutus and Cassius in their camp. Although there were those who urged him to take command, he preferred to owe his safety to the kindness of Caesar than to try once again the doubtful hope of arms. Caesar, on his side, found no greater pleasure in his victories than in granting life to Corvinus, nor was there ever a better example of loyal gratitude than that shown by Corvinus to Caesar. No other war cost the blood of so many illustrious men. In that battle the son of Cato fell; 2 the same fortune carried off Lucullus and Hortensius, the sons of eminent citizens. Varro, when about to die, in mockery of Antony, with the utmost freedom of speech prophesied for Antony the death he deserved, a prophecy which came true. Drusus Livius, the father of Julia Augusta, and Quintilius Varus, without making any appeal for mercy, ended their lives. Livius died by his own hand in his tent; Varus first covered himself with the insignia of his offices and then forced his freedman to commit the deed.

72 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] This was the end reserved by fortune for the party of Marcus Brutus. He was in his thirty-seventh year, and had kept his soul free from corruption until this day, which, through the rashness of a single act, bereft him, together with his life, of all his virtuous qualities. 2 Cassius was as much the p205better general as Brutus was the better man. Of the two, one would rather have Brutus as a friend, but would stand more in fear of Cassius as an enemy. The one had more vigour, the other more virtue.c As it was better for the state to have Caesar rather than Antony as emperor, so, had Brutus and Cassius been the conquerors, it would have been better for is to be ruled by Brutus rather than by Cassius.

3 Gnaeus Domitius, father of Lucius Domitius our late contemporary,175 a man of eminent and noble simplicity, and grandfather of Gnaeus Domitius, a young man of distinction in our own day, seized a number of ships, and relying on himself to lead his party, accompanied by a large number of companions who followed his lead, entrusted himself to the fortunes of flight. 4 Statius Murcus, who had had charge of the fleet and the patrolling of the seas, sought Sextus Pompey, son of Pompeius Magnus, with that portion of the army and of the fleet which had been entrusted to him. Pompey had returned from Spain and seized Sicily. 5 The proscribed whom fortune had spared, at least from immediate peril, now flocked to him from the camp of Brutus, from Italy, and from other parts of the world. For men who had now no legal status any leader would do, since fortune gave them no choice, but held out a place of refuge, and as they fled from the storm of death any shelter served as a harbour.

73 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Sextus was a young man without education, barbarous in his speech, vigorous in initiative, energetic and prompt in action as he was swift in expedients, in loyalty a marked contrast to his father, the freedman of his own freedmen and slave of his own slaves, envying those in high places only p207to obey those in the lowest. 2 The senate, which still consisted almost entirely of Pompeians, in the period which followed the flight of Antony from Mutina, and at the very time at which it had assigned to Brutus and Cassius the provinces across the sea, had recalled Sextus for Spain — where Pollio Asinius the praetorian had distinguished himself in his campaigns against him — restored him to his father's property, and had entrusted to him the guarding of the coast. 3 Seizing Sicily, as we have said, and admitting into his army slaves and runaways, he had raised his legions to their full complement. He supported himself and his army on plunder, and through the agency of Menas and Menecrates, his father's freedmen, who were in charge of his fleet, he infested the seas by predatory and piratical expeditions; nor was he ashamed thus to infest with piracy and its atrocities the sea which had been freed from it by his father's arms and leadership.

74 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] After the defeat of the party of Brutus and Cassius, Antony remained behind with the intention of visiting the provinces beyond the sea. Caesar returned to Italy, which he found in a much more troubled condition than he had expected. 2 Lucius Antonius, the consul, who shared the faults of his brother but possessed none of the virtues which he occasionally showed, by making charges against Caesar before the veterans at one moment, and at the next inciting to arms those who had lost their farms when the division of lands was ordered and colonists assigned, had collected a large army.176 In another quarter Fulvia, the wife of Antony, who p209had nothing of the woman in her except her sex, was creating general confusion by armed violence. 3 She had taken Praeneste as her base of operations; Antonius, beaten on all sides by the forces of Caesar, had taken refuge in Perusia; Plancus, who abetted the faction of Antony, offered the hope of assistance, rather than gave actual help. 4 Thanks to his own valour and his usual good fortune, Caesar succeeded in storming Perusia. He released Antonius unharmed; and the cruel treatment of the people of Perusia was due rather to the fury of the soldiery than to the wish of their commander. The city was burned. The fire was begun by Macedonicus, a leading man of the place who, after setting fire to his house and contents, ran himself through with his sword and threw himself into the flames.

75 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] At the same period war broke out in Campania at the instigation of the ex-praetor and pontiff, Tiberius Claudius Nero, father of Tiberius Caesar, and a man of noble character and high intellectual training, who now came forward as the protector of those who had lost their lands. This war also was quickly extinguished and its embers scattered by the arrival of Caesar.

2 Who can adequately express his astonishment at the changes of fortune, and the mysterious vicissitudes in human affairs? Who can refrain from hoping for a lot different from that which he now has, or from dreading the one that is the opposite of what he expects? 3 Take for example Livia. She, the daughter of the brave and noble Drusus Claudianus, most eminent of Roman women in birth, in sincerity, and in beauty, she, whom we later saw as the wife of Augustus, and as his priestess and daughter p211after his deification, was then a fugitive before the arms and forces of the very Caesar who was soon to be her husband, carrying in her bosom her infant of two years, the present emperor Tiberius Caesar, destined to be the defender of the Roman empire and the son177 of this same Caesar. Pursuing by-paths that she might avoid the swords of the soldiers, and accompanied by but one attendant, so as the more readily to escape detection in her flight, she finally reached the sea, and with her husband Nero made her escape by ship to Sicily.

76 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] I shall not deprive my own grandfather of the honourable mention which I should give to a stranger. Gaius Velleius, chosen to a most honourable position among the three hundred and sixty judges178 by Gnaeus Pompey, prefect of engineers under Pompey, Marcus Brutus, and Tiberius Nero, and a man second to none, on the departure from Naples of Nero, whose partisan he had been on account of his close friendship, finding himself unable to accompany him on account of his age and infirmities, 2 ran himself through with his sword in Campania.

Caesar allowed Fulvia to depart from Italy unharmed, and with her Plancus who accompanied the woman in her flight. As for Pollio Asinius, after he with his seven legions had long kept Venetia under the control of Antony, and after he had accomplished several brilliant exploits in the vicinity of Altinum and other cities of that region, when he was on his way to join Antony with these legions he won Domitius over to the cause of Antony by his counsel and by the pledge of immunity. Up to this time Domitius, who, as we have already said, had quitted the camp of Brutus after that leader's death and p213had established himself in command of a fleet of his own, had remained at large. 3 In view of this act of Pollio any fair judge will see that he rendered as great a service to Antony as Antony rendered to him. The return of Antony to Italy and Caesar's preparations against him gave rise to fears of war, but a peace was arranged at Brundisium.179

4 It was at this time that the criminal designs of Rufus Salvidienus were revealed. This man, sprung from the most obscure origin, was not satisfied with having received the highest honours in the state, and to have been the first man of equestrian rank after Gnaeus Pompey and Caesar180 himself to be elected consul, but aspired to mount to a height where he might see both Caesar and the republic at his feet.

77 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then in response to a unanimous demand on the part of the people, who were now pinched by the high price of grain because the sea was infested by pirates, a peace was arranged181 with Pompey also, in the neighbourhood of Misenum. Pompey entertained Caesar and Antony at dinner on board his ship, on which occasion he remarked, not without point, that he was giving the dinner on "his own keels,"182 thereby recalling the name of the quarter in which stood his father's house, now in the possession of Antony. 2 By the terms of this treaty it was agreed that Sicily and Achaea should be conceded to Pompey, but his restless soul would not let him abide by the agreement. There was only one benefit which he rendered to his country by attending the conference, namely, the stipulation that all those who had been proscribed, or who for any other reason had taken refuge with him, p215should be granted a safe return. Among other illustrious men, Nero Claudius, Marcus Silanus, Sentius Saturninus, Arruntius and Titius were thereby restored to the state. As to Statius Murcus, however, who had doubled Pompey's forces by joining him with his strong fleet,183 Pompey had already put him to death in Sicily as the result of false accusations which had been brought against him, Menas and Menecrates having expressed a dislike for such a man as their colleague.

78 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] It was during this period that Marcus Antonius espoused Octavia, the sister of Caesar. Pompey had now returned to Sicily, and Antony to the provinces across the sea, which Labienus had thrown into a panic in consequence of the great movements he had set on foot; for he had gone from the camp of Brutus to the Parthians, had led a Parthian army into Syria, and had slain a lieutenant of Antony. Thanks to the courageous generalship of Ventidius, Labienus perished in the battle184 and with him the forces of the Parthians, including the most distinguished of their young men, Pacorus, son of the Parthian king.

2 During this time Caesar, wishing to keep his soldiers from being spoiled by idleness, the great enemy of discipline, was making frequent expeditions in Illyricum and Dalmatia and thus hardening his army by endurance of danger and experience in warfare. 3 At this time also Calvinus Domitius, who, after filling the consulship, was now governor of Spain, executed a rigorous act of discipline comparable with the severity of the older days, in that he caused p217a chief centurion by the name of Vibillius to be beaten to death185 for cowardly flight from the line of battle.

79 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] As Pompey's fleet was growing daily, and his reputation as well, Caesar resolved to take up the burden of this new war. Marcus Agrippa was charged with constructing the ships, collecting soldiers and rowers, and familiarizing them with naval contests and manoeuvres. He was a man of distinguished character, unconquerable by toil, loss of sleep or danger, well disciplined in obedience, but to one man alone, yet eager to command others; in whatever he did he knew no such thing as delay, but with him action went hand in hand with conception. 2 Building an imposing fleet in lakes Avernus and Lucrinus, by daily drills he brought the soldiers and the oarsmen to a thorough knowledge of fighting on land and at sea. With this fleet Caesar made war on Pompey in Sicily,186 after he had espoused Livia, who was given to him in marriage by her former husband187 under circumstances which augured well for the state. 3 But this man, unconquerable by human power, received at this time a heavy blow at the hands of fortune, since the greater part of his fleet was wrecked and scattered in the vicinity of Velia and Cape Palinurus by a violent scirocco. This delayed finishing the war, which, however, was subsequently carried on with shifting and sometimes doubtful fortune. 4 For Caesar's fleet was again buffeted by a storm in the same locality, and although the issue was favourable in the first naval battle, at Mylae, under the leadership p219of Agrippa, a serious defeat was received near Tauromenium beneath the very eyes of Caesar, in consequence of the unexpected arrival of Pompey's fleet, and Caesar's own person was endangered. The legions which were with Cornificius, Caesar's lieutenant, came near being crushed by Pompey as soon as they landed. 5 But fortune's caprice at this critical period was soon amended by bravery in action; when the fleets on both sides had been drawn up for battle,188 Pompey lost almost all his ships, and fled to Asia, where, wavering between the rôle of general and suppliant, now endeavouring to retain his dignity and now pleading for his life, he was slain by Titius on the orders of Marcus Antonius, whose aid he had sought. 6 The hatred which Titius brought upon himself by this act lasted for a long time; indeed, afterwards, when he was celebrating games in Pompey's theatre, he was driven amid the execrations of the people from the spectacle which he himself was giving.

80 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] While engaged in his war with Pompey, Caesar had summoned Lepidus from Africa with twelve legions of half the usual strength. This man, the most fickle of mankind, who had not earned the long-continued kindness of fortune through any qualities of his own, being nearer to the army of Pompey, annexed it to his own, though it was following not his orders but Caesar's, and owned loyalty to him. 2 His numbers now swollen to twenty legions, he went to such lengths of madness that, though but a useless partner in another's victory, a victory which he had long delayed in refusing to agree to Caesar's plans and always insisting upon something different from that which suited others, 3 he claimed the victory as entirely his own and had p221the effrontery to order Caesar out of Sicily. The Scipios and the other Roman generals of the olden time never dared or carried out a braver act than did Caesar at this juncture. For although he was unarmed and dressed in his travelling cloak, carrying nothing except his name, he entered the camp of Lepidus, and, avoiding the weapons which were hurled at him by the orders of that scoundrel, though his cloak was pierced by a lance, he had the courage to carry off the eagle of a legion. 4 Then could one know the difference between the two commanders. Though armed, the soldiers followed Caesar who was unarmed, while Lepidus, in the tenth year after arriving at a position of power which his life had done nothing to deserve, now deserted both by his soldiers and by fortune, wrapping himself in a dark cloak and lurking in the rear of the crowd that thronged to Caesar, thus threw himself at Caesar's feet. He was granted his life and the control of his own property, but was shorn of the high position which he had shown himself unable to maintain.

81 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] There followed a sudden mutiny of the army; for it happens not infrequently that when soldiers observe their own numbers they break discipline and do not endure to ask for what they think they can exact. 2 The mutiny was broken up partly by severity, partly by liberality on the part of the emperor,189 and considerable additions were at the same time made to the Campanian colony by placing veterans on the lands of that colony190 p223which had been left public. Lands in Crete191 were given in return for these, which yielded a richer revenue of a million two hundred thousand sesterces,192 and an aqueduct was promised which is to‑day a remarkable agency of health as well as an ornament to the landscape.d

3 In this war Agrippa by his remarkable services earned the distinction of a naval crown,193 with which no Roman had as yet been decorated. Caesar, on his victorious return to the city, made the announcement that he meant to set apart for public use certain houses which he had secured by purchase through his agents in order that there might be a free area about his own residence. He further promised to build a temple of Apollo with a portico about it, a work which he constructed with rare munificence.

82 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] In the summer in which Caesar so successfully ended the war in Sicily, fortune, though kind in the case of Caesar and the republic, vented her anger in the east. For Antony with thirteen legions after passing through Armenia and then through Media, in an endeavour to reach Parthia by this route, found himself confronted by their king.194 2 First of all he lost two legions with all their baggage and engines, and Statianus his lieutenant; later he himself with the greatest risk to his entire army, on several occasions encountered perils from which he dared not hope that escape was possible. After losing not less than a fourth part of his soldiers, p225he was saved through the fidelity and by the suggestion of a captive, who was nevertheless a Roman. This man had been made prisoner in the disaster to the army of Crassus, but had not changed his allegiance with his fortune. He came by night to a Roman outpost and warned them not to pursue their intended course but to proceed by a detour through the forest. 3 It was this that saved Marcus Antonius and his many legions; and yet, even so, not less than a fourth part of these soldiers and of his entire army was lost, as we have already stated, and of the camp-followers and slaves a third, while hardly anything of the baggage was saved. Yet Antonius called this flight of his a victory, because he had escaped with his life! Three summers later195 he returned to Armenia, obtained possession of the person of Artavasdes its king by deceit, and bound him with chains, which, however, out of regard for the station of his captive, were of gold. 4 Then as his love for Cleopatra became more ardent and his vices grew upon him — for these are always nourished by power and licence and flattery — he resolved to make war upon his country. He had previously given orders that he should be called the new Father Liber, and indeed in a procession at Alexandria he had impersonated Father Liber, his head bound with the ivy wreath, his person enveloped in the saffron robe of gold, holding in his hand the thyrsus, wearing the buskins, and riding in the Bacchic chariot.

83 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] In the midst of these preparations for war Plancus went over to Caesar, not through any conviction that he was choosing the right, nor from any love of the republic or of Caesar, for he was p227always hostile to both, but because treachery was a disease with him. He had been the most grovelling flatterer of the queen, a client196 with less self-respect than a slave; he had also been a secretary to Antony and was the author or the abettor of his vilest acts; 2 for money he was ready to do all things for all men; and at a banquet he had played the role of Glaucus the Nereid, performing a dance in which his naked body was painted blue, his head encircled with reeds, at the same time wearing a fish's tail and crawling upon his knees. Now, inasmuch as he had been coldly treated by Antony because of unmistakable evidence of his venal rapacity, he deserted to Caesar. Afterwards he even went so far as to interpret the victor's clemency as a proof of his own merit, claiming that Caesar had approved that which he had merely pardoned. It was the example of this man, his uncle, that Titius soon afterwards followed.197 3 The retort of Coponius, who was the father-in‑law of Publius Silius and a dignified praetorian, was not so far from the mark when he said, as Plancus in the senate fresh from his desertion was heaping upon the absent Antony many unspeakable charges, "By Hercules, Antony must have done a great many things before you left him."

84 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then, in the consulship of Caesar and Messala Corvinus,198 the decisive battle took place at Actium. The victory of the Caesarian party was a certainty long before the battle. On the one side commander and soldiers alike were full of ardour, on the other was general dejection; on the one side the rowers were strong and sturdy, on the other weakened by privations; on the one side ships of moderate size, not too large for speed, on the other p229vessels of a size that made them more formidable in appearance only; no one was deserting from Caesar to Antony, while from Antony to Caesar someone or other was deserting daily; 2 and King Amyntas had embraced the better and more advantageous side. As for Dellius, consistent to his habit, he now went over from Antony to Caesar as he had deserted from Dolabella to Cassius and from Cassius to Antony. The illustrious Gnaeus Domitius, who was the only one of the party of Antony who refused to salute the queen except by name, went over to Caesar at great and imminent risk to himself. Finally, before the eyes of Antony and his fleet, Marcus Agrippa had stormed Leucas, had captured Patrae, had seized Corinth, and before the final conflict had twice defeated the fleet of the enemy.

85 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Then came the day of the great conflict, on which Caesar and Antony led out their fleets and fought, the one for the safety, the other for the ruin, of the world. 2 The command of the right wing of Caesar's fleet was entrusted to Marcus Lurius, of the left to Arruntius, while Agrippa had full charge of the entire conflict at sea. Caesar, reserving himself for that part of the battle to which fortune might summon him, was present everywhere. The command of Antony's fleet was entrusted to Publicola and Sosius. On the land, moreover, the army of Caesar was commanded by Taurus, that of Antony by Canidius. 3 When the conflict began, on the one side was everything — commander, rowers, and soldiers; on the other, soldiers alone. Cleopatra took the initiative in the flight; Antony chose to be the companion of the fleeing queen rather p231than of his fighting soldiers, and the commander whose duty it would have been to deal severely with deserters, now became a deserter from his own army. Even without their chief 4 his men long continued to fight bravely, and despairing of victory they fought to the death. Caesar, desiring to win over by words those whom he might have slain with the sword, kept shouting and pointing out to them that Antony had fled, and kept asking them for whom and with whom they were fighting. 5 But they, after fighting long for their truant commander, reluctantly surrendered their arms and yielded the victory, Caesar having promised them pardon and their lives before they could bring themselves to sue for them. It was evident that the soldiers had played the part of the good commander while the commander had played that of the cowardly soldier, 6 so that one might question whether in case of victory he would have acted according to Cleopatra's will or his own, since it was by her will that he had resorted to flight. The land army likewise surrendered when Canidius had hurried after Antony in precipitate flight.

86 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Who is there who, in the compass of so brief a work, would attempt to state what blessings this day conferred upon the world, or to describe the change which took place in the fortunes of the state? 2 Great clemency was shown in the victory; no one was put to death, and but few banished who could not bring themselves even to become suppliants. From this display of mercy on the part of the commander it may be inferred how moderate a use Caesar would have made of the victory, had he been allowed to do so, whether at the beginning of his triumvirate or on the plain of p233Philippi. But, in the case of Sosius, it was the pledged word of Lucius Arruntius, a man famous for his old-time dignity, that saved him; later, Caesar preserved him unharmed, but only after long resisting his general inclination to clemency. 3 The remarkable conduct of Asinius Pollio should not be passed by nor the words which he uttered. For although he had remained in Italy after the peace of Brundisium, and had never seen the queen nor taken any active part in Antony's faction after this leader had become demoralized by his passion for her, when Caesar asked him to go with him to the war at Actium he replied: "My services to Antony are too great, and his kindness to me too well known; accordingly I shall hold aloof from your quarrel and shall be the prize of the victor."

87 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The following year Caesar followed Cleopatra and Antony to Alexandria and there put the finishing touch upon the civil wars. Antony promptly ended his life,199 thus by his death redeeming himself from the many charges of lack of manhood. As for Cleopatra, baffling the vigilance of her guards she caused an asp to be smuggled in to her, and ended her life by its venomous sting untouched by a woman's fears. 2 It was in keeping with Caesar's fortune and his clemency that not one of those who had borne arms against him was put to death by him, or by his order. It was the cruelty of Antony that ended the life of Decimus Brutus. In the case of Sextus Pompey, though Caesar was his conqueror, it was likewise Antony who deprived him of his life, even though he had given his word that he would not degrade p235him from his rank. 3 Brutus and Cassius, without waiting to discover the attitude of their conquerors, died voluntary deaths. Of the end of Antony and Cleopatra we have already told. As for Canidius, he showed more fear in the face of death than was consistent with his lifelong utterances.200 The last of Caesar's assassins to pay the penalty of death was Cassius of Parma, as Trebonius had been the first.

88 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] While Caesar was engaged in giving the finishing touch to the war at Actium and Alexandria, Marcus Lepidus, a young man whose good looks exceeded his prudence — son of the Lepidus who had been one of the triumvirs201 for the re-establishment of order in the state and of Junia the sister of Brutus — had formed plans for the assassination of Caesar as soon as he should return to the city. 2 The guards of the city were at that time under the charge of Gaius Maecenas, of equestrian rank, but none the less of illustrious lineage, a man who was literally sleepless when occasion demanded, and quick to foresee what was to be done and skilful in doing it, but when any relaxation was allowed him from business cares would almost outdo a woman in giving himself up to indolence and soft luxury. He was not less loved by Caesar than Agrippa, though he had fewer honours heaped upon him, since he lived thoroughly content with the narrow stripe of the equestrian order.202 He might have achieved a position no less high than Agrippa, but had not the same ambition for it. 3 Quietly and carefully concealing his activity he unearthed the plans of the hot-headed youth, and by crushing Lepidus with wonderful swiftness and without p237causing disturbance to either men or things he extinguished the portentous beginnings of a new and reviving civil war. Lepidus himself paid the penalty for his ill-advised plot. Servilia his wife must be placed on a parity with the wife of Antistius already mentioned,203 for by swallowing live coals she compensated for her untimely death by the lasting memory of her name.

89 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] As for Caesar's return to Italy and to Rome — the procession which met him, the enthusiasm of his reception by men of all classes, ages, and ranks, and the magnificence of his triumphs and of the spectacles which he gave — all this it would be impossible adequately to describe even within the compass of a formal history, to say nothing of a work so circumscribed as this. There is nothing that man can desire from the gods, 2 nothing that the gods can grant to a man, nothing that wish can conceive or good fortune bring to pass, which Augustus on his return to the city did not bestow upon the republic, the Roman people, and the world. 3 The civil wars were ended after twenty years, foreign wars suppressed, peace restored, the frenzy of arms everywhere lulled to rest; validity was restored to the laws, authority to the courts, and dignity to the senate; the power of the magistrates was reduced to its former limits, with the sole exception that two were added to the eight existing praetors. The old traditional form of the republic was restored. 4 Agriculture returned to the fields, respect to religion, to mankind freedom from anxiety, and to each citizen his property rights were now assured; old laws were usefully emended, and new laws passed for the general good; the p239revision of the senate, while not too drastic, was not lacking in severity. The chief men of the state who had won triumphs and had held high office were at the invitation of Augustus induced to adorn the city. In the case of the consulship only, Caesar was not able to have his way, 5 but was obliged to hold that office consecutively until the eleventh time in spite of his frequent efforts to prevent it; but the dictatorship which the people persistently offered him, he as stubbornly refused. To tell of the wars waged under his command, of the pacification of the world by his victories, 6 of his many works at home and outside of Italy would weary a writer intending to devote his whole life to this one task. As for myself, remembering the proposed scope of my work, I have confined myself to setting before the eyes and minds of my readers a general picture of his principate.

90 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] When the civil wars had been extinguished, as we have already told, and the rent limbs of the state itself began to heal, the provinces, also, torn asunder by the long series of wars began to knit together. Dalmatia, in rebellion for one hundred and twenty years, was pacified to the extent of definitely recognizing the sovereignty of Rome. The Alps, filled with wild and barbarous tribes, were subdued. The provinces of Spain were pacified after heavy campaigns conducted with varied success now by Caesar in person, now by Agrippa, whom the friendship of the emperor had raised to a third consulship and soon afterwards to a share in the emperor's tribunician power. 2 Roman armies had been sent into these provinces for the first time in the consulship of Scipio and Sempronius p241Longus,204 in the first year of the Second Punic war, two hundred and fifty years ago, under the command of Gnaeus Scipio, the uncle of Africanus. For a period of two hundred years the struggle was kept up with so much bloodshed on both sides that the Roman people, by the loss of its commanders and armies, often suffered disgrace, and sometimes its empire was really endangered. 3 These, namely, were the provinces that brought death to the Scipios; that taxed the endurance of our ancestors in the disgraceful ten years' war under Viriathus; that shook the Roman people with the panic of the Numantine war; here occurred the disgraceful surrender of Quintus Pompeius, whose terms the senate disavowed, and the more shameful capitulation of Mancinus, which was also disavowed, and its maker ignominiously handed over to the enemy; it was Spain that destroyed so many commanders who were consulars or praetorians, and which in the days of our fathers raised Sertorius to such a height of power that for a period of five years it was not possible to decide whether there was greater strength in the arms of the Spaniard or the Roman, and which of the two peoples was destined to obey the other. 4 These, then, were the provinces, so extensive, so populous, and so warlike, which Caesar Augustus, about fifty years ago, brought to such a condition of peace, that whereas they had never before been free from serious wars, they were now, under the governorship of Gaius Antistius and then of Publius Silius and of their successors, exempt even from brigandage.

91 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] While the pacification of the west was going on, in the east the Parthian king restored to p243Augustus the Roman standards which Orodes had taken at the time of Crassus' disaster,205 and those which his son Phraates had captured on the defeat of Antony. This title of Augustus was deservedly given him206 on the motion of Plancus with the unanimous acclaim of the entire senate and the Roman people. 2 Yet there were those who did not like this prosperous state of affairs. For example, Lucius Murena and Fannius Caepio had entered into a plot to assassinate Caesar, but were seized by state authority and themselves suffered by law what they had wished to accomplish by violence.207 They were two men quite diverse in character, for Murena, apart from this act, might have passed as a man of good character, while Caepio, even before this, had been of the worst. 3 Shortly afterwards a similar attempt was made by Rufus Egnatius,208 a man who in all respects resembled a gladiator rather than a senator. Securing the favour of the people in his aedileship by putting out fires with his own gang of slaves, he increased it daily to such an extent that the people gave him the praetorship immediately after the aedileship. It was not long before he dared to become a candidate for the consulship, but he was overwhelmed by the general knowledge of his shameless deeds and crimes, and the state of his property came to be as desperate as his mind. Therefore, collecting about him men of his own kind, he resolved to assassinate Caesar in order that he might die after getting rid of him whose existence was not compatible with his own. 4 Such men are so constituted that each would prefer to fall in a general cataclysm than to perish alone, and, though suffering the same fate in the end, to be p245less conspicuous in dying. He, however, was not more successful than the rest in concealing his designs, and after being thrust into prison with his fellow conspirators, died the death his life richly deserved.

92 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] The remarkable conduct of an excellent man, Gaius Sentius Saturninus, who was consul about this time,209 must not be cheated of its due record. Caesar was absent from the city engaged in regulating the affairs of Asia and of the orient, 2 and in bringing to the countries of the world by his personal presence the blessings of Augustan peace. On this occasion Sentius, chancing thus to be sole consul with Caesar absent, adopting the rigorous regime of the older consuls, pursued a general policy of old-fashioned severity and great firmness, bringing to light the fraudulent tricks of the tax-collectors, punishing their avarice, and getting the public moneys into the treasury. But it was particularly in holding the elections that he played the consul. 3 For in the case of candidates for the quaestorship whom he thought unworthy, he forbade them to offer their names, and when they insisted upon doing so, he threatened them with the exercise of his consular authority if they came down to the Campus Martius.210 4 Egnatius, who was now at the height of popular favour, and was expecting to have his consulship follow his praetorship as his praetorship had followed his aedileship, he forbade to become a candidate, and failing in this, he swore that, even if Egnatius were elected consul by the votes of the people, he would refuse to report his election. 5 This conduct I consider as comparable with any of the celebrated acts of the consuls of the olden days. But we are naturally more inclined to p247praise what we have heard than what has occurred before our eyes; we regard the present with envy, the past with veneration, and believe that we are eclipsed by the former, but derive instruction from the latter.

93 1   [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Some three years before the plot of Egnatius was exposed, about the time of the conspiracy of Murena and Caepio, fifty years from the present date, Marcus Marcellus died,211 the son of Octavia, sister of Augustus, after giving a magnificent spectacle to commemorate his aedileship and while still quite a youth. People thought that, if anything should happen to Caesar, Marcellus would be his successor in power, at the same time believing, however, that this would not fall to his lot without opposition from Marcus Agrippa. He was, we are told, a young man of noble qualities, cheerful in mind and disposition, and equal to the station for which he was being reared. 2 After his death Agrippa, who had set out for Asia on the pretext of commissions from the emperor, but who, according to current gossip, had withdrawn, for the time being, on account of his secret animosity for Marcellus, now returned from Asia and married Julia the daughter of Caesar,212 who had been the wife of Marcellus, a woman whose many children213 were to be blessings neither to herself nor to the state.


The Editor's Notes:

163 Literally "still wearing the praetexta."

164 See note on text.

165 From the period of his adoption Octavius is regularly spoken of as Gaius Caesar, and Julius Caesar, who was really his great-uncle, as his father.

166 March 4 B.C. Pansa was mortally wounded at Forum Gallorum. Hirtius fell a few days later in an assault upon Antony's camp.

167 The equivocation is on the verb tollere which means, on the one hand, to "lift up" or "extol," on the other to "remove."

168 43 B.C.

169 Consul suffectus in 43 B.C., after Octavianus resigned the office. Ventidius and his mother had been made prisoners in the Social War, and had been led in triumph by (p191)Pompeius Strabo in 89 B.C. Ventidius celebrated his own triumph in 38 B.C.

170 Germanus means "full-brother" as opposed to half (p195)brother. The same pun is found in Quint. III.8.29 "Germanum Cimber occidit."

171 48 B.C.

172 For his conviction for the slaying of Clodius see Chap. XLVII.

173 44 B.C.

174 42 B.C.

175 Literally "whom we lately saw."

176 41 B.C.

177 By legal adoption.

178 In Pompey's time the iudices were chosen from the senators, knights, and tribuni aerarii, in equal proportion.

179 40 B.C.

180 i.e. Octavianus.

181 39 B.C.

182 Carinae, which also means "keels," was also a residential quarter in Rome between the Caelian and Esquiline Hills, now S. Pietro in Vincoli.

183 Statius Murcus had been made prefect of the fleet by Cassius. After the defeat of the republicans at Philippi, he carried his fleet over to Sextus Pompey in Sicily.

184 38 B.C.

185 This punishment was called fustuarium and was inflicted on Roman soldiers for desertion. When a soldier was condemned, the tribune touched him slightly with a stick, upon which all the soldiers of the legion fell upon him with sticks and stones and generally killed him on the spot (Smith, Dict. Ant.).

186 38 B.C.

187 Tiberius Claudius Nero, to whom she had already borne a son, the future Emperor Tiberius.

188 Battle of Naulochus, 36 B.C.

189 Octavianus was not princeps formally until 27 B.C.

190 The statement of Dio XLIX.14 is the basis for supplying the missing words: "In this way Caesar calmed the soldiers temporarily. The money he gave them at once and the lands not much later. And since what was still held by the government at the time did not suffice he bought more in addition, especially considerable from the Campanians dwelling in Capua since their city needed a number of (p221)settlers. To them he also gave in return the so‑called Julian supply of water, one of their chief sources of pride at all times, and the Gnosian territory from which they still gather harvests." (Tr. by H. B. Foster.)

191 At Gnosos. See previous note.

192 About £10,000 or $50,000.

Thayer's Note: A reminder that this equivalent dates to 1924 (notice the pound at $5); in 2003, the figure would be about $500,000 or £320,000.

193 Corona classica or navalis: a chaplet of gold with (p223)beaks of ships worked into the design, presented to the admiral who had destroyed a hostile fleet. Agrippa is represented on a bronze medallion wearing such a chaplet.

194 36‑35 B.C.

195 34 B.C.

196 Clients were freemen who were nevertheless dependent upon the rich or powerful. Velleius' point seems to be that the only difference between the status of Plancus and that of the slave is that Plancus was born free.

197 See Chap. LXXIX.

198 31 B.C.

199 30 B.C.

200 His boasts that he did not fear death.

201 With Antony and Octavian.

202 As contrasted with the broad purple band of the senatorial order.

203 Chap. XXVI.

204 218 B.C.

205 Referred to in Chap. XLVI.

206 27 B.C.

207 22 B.C.

208 19 B.C.

209 Consul 19 B.C.

210 Where the elections took place.

211 23 B.C.

212 Daughter of Augustus and his first wife Scribonia.

213 The children of Julia and Agrippa were: Julia, who became the wife of Aemilius Paullus, banished by Augustus, her grandfather, to the island of Tremerus for adulterous intercourse with C. Silanus; Agrippina, the wife of Germanicus, banished by Tiberius to the island of Pandateria; Gaius and Lucius, adopted by Augustus, with the intention that they should succeed him (their untimely deaths are narrated in Chap. CII); and Agrippa Postumus, adopted by Augustus in A.D. 4, but later banished by him to (p247)the island of Planasia where he was murdered by a centurion on the succession of Tiberius.


Thayer's Notes:

a Very roughly equivalent, in 2003, to about $350,000 or £225,000; assuming the figure, and its translation, are right. See Plut. Apophth. Rom., Aug. 1, and the note and further reference there.

b Towns of Campania — a point of pride, of course, with Velleius and his friend Vinucius to whom his book is dedicated, both Campanians; one of a fair number of Campanian references in the History.

Casilinum was by far the larger and better-known town; it is the modern Capua (the ancient Capua being the nearby S. Maria di Capua Vetere).

Calatia is only 10 km away; it should not be confused with Calatia, more properly Caiatia, a Samnite city in the valley of the Volturno, now Caiazzo.

c One of Velleius' more felicitous verbal conceits, even more striking in Latin. Vis and virtus are both cognates of vir, man, and bring out the two almost polar aspects of masculinity in the Roman mind.

d This is the only passage I know of in which a Roman author expresses the modern romantic view that these utilitarian structures are beautiful as well.


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