Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Caesar: A Sketch by James Anthony Froude

Part 1 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Produced by Eric Eldred, Robert Connal
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.

[Illustration: Julius Caesar]






_"Pardon, gentles all
The flat unraised spirit that hath dared
On this unworthy scaffold to bring forth
So great an object."_



I have called this work a "sketch" because the materials do not exist for
a portrait which shall be at once authentic and complete. The original
authorities which are now extant for the life of Caesar are his own
writings, the speeches and letters of Cicero, the eighth book of the
"Commentaries" on the wars in Gaul and the history of the Alexandrian war,
by Aulus Hirtius, the accounts of the African war and of the war in Spain,
composed by persons who were unquestionably present in those two
campaigns. To these must be added the "Leges Juliae" which are preserved
in the Corpus Juris Civilis. Sallust contributes a speech, and Catullus a
poem. A few hints can be gathered from the Epitome of Livy and the
fragments of Varro; and here the contemporary sources which can be
entirely depended upon are brought to an end.

The secondary group of authorities from which the popular histories of the
time have been chiefly taken are Appian, Plutarch, Suetonius, and Dion
Cassius. Of these the first three were divided from the period which they
describe by nearly a century and a half, Dion Cassius by more than two
centuries. They had means of knowledge which no longer exist--the
writings, for instance, of Asinius Pollio, who was one of Caesar's
officers. But Asinius Pollio's accounts of Caesar's actions, as reported
by Appian, cannot always be reconciled with the Commentaries; and all
these four writers relate incidents as facts which are sometimes
demonstrably false. Suetonius is apparently the most trustworthy. His
narrative, like those of his contemporaries, was colored by tradition. His
biographies of the earlier Caesars betray the same spirit of animosity
against them which taints the credibility of Tacitus, and prevailed for so
many years in aristocratic Roman society. But Suetonius shows nevertheless
an effort at veracity, an antiquarian curiosity and diligence, and a
serious anxiety to tell his story impartially. Suetonius, in the absence
of evidence direct or presumptive to the contrary, I have felt myself able
to follow. The other three writers I have trusted only when I have found
them partially confirmed by evidence which is better to be relied upon.

The picture which I have drawn will thus be found deficient in many
details which have passed into general acceptance, and I have been unable
to claim for it a higher title than that of an outline drawing.



Free Constitutions and Imperial Tendencies.--Instructiveness of Roman
History.--Character of Historical Epochs.--The Age of Caesar.--Spiritual
State of Rome.--Contrasts between Ancient and Modern Civilization.


The Roman Constitution.--Moral Character of the Romans.--Roman Religion.--
Morality and Intellect.--Expansion of Roman Power.--The Senate.--Roman
Slavery.--Effects of Intercourse with Greece.--Patrician Degeneracy.--The
Roman Noble.--Influence of Wealth.--Beginnings of Discontent.


Tiberius Gracchus.--Decay of the Italian Yeomanry.--Agrarian Law.--Success
and Murder of Gracchus.--Land Commission.--Caius Gracchus.--Transfer of
Judicial Functions from the Senate to the Equites.--Sempronian Laws.--Free
Grants of Corn.--Plans for Extension of the Franchise.--New Colonies.--
Reaction.--Murder of Caius Gracchus


Victory of the Optimates.--The Moors.--History of Jugurtha.--The Senate
corrupted.--Jugurthine War.--Defeat of the Romans.--Jugurtha comes to
Rome.--Popular Agitation.--The War renewed.--Roman Defeats in Africa and
Gaul.--Caecilius Metellus and Caius Marius.--Marriage of Marius.--The
Caesars.--Marius Consul.--First Notice of Sylla.--Capture and Death of


Birth of Cicero.--The Cimbri and Teutons.--German Immigration into Gaul.--
Great Defeat of the Romans on the Rhone.--Wanderings of the Cimbri.--
Attempted Invasion of Italy.--Battle of Aix.--Destruction of the
Teutons.--Defeat of the Cimbri on the Po.--Reform in the Roman Army.--
Popular Disturbances in Rome.--Murder of Memmius.--Murder of Saturninus
and Glaucia


Birth and Childhood of Julius Caesar.--Italian Franchise.--Discontent of
the Italians.--Action of the Land Laws.--The Social War.--Partial
Concessions.--Sylla and Marius.--Mithridates of Pontus.--First Mission of
Sylla into Asia.


War with Mithridates.--Massacre of Italians in Asia.--Invasion of
Greece.--Impotence and Corruption of the Senate.--End of the Social War.--
Sylla appointed to the Asiatic Command.--The Assembly transfer the Command
to Marius.--Sylla marches on Rome.--Flight of Marius.--Change of the
Constitution.--Sylla sails for the East.--Four Years' Absence.--Defeat of
Mithridates.--Contemporary Incidents at Rome.--Counter Revolution.--
Consulship of Cinna.--Return of Marius.--Capitulation of Rome.--Massacre
of Patricians and Equites.--Triumph of Democracy.


The Young Caesar.--Connection with Marius.--Intimacy with the Ciceros.--
Marriage of Caesar with the Daughter of Cinna.--Sertorius.--Death of
Cinna.--Consulships of Norbanus and Scipio.--Sylla's Return.--First
Appearance of Pompey.--Civil War.--Victory of Sylla.--The Dictatorship and
the Proscription.--Destruction of the Popular Party and Murder of the
Popular Leaders.--General Character of Aristocratic Revolutions.--The
Constitution remodelled.--Concentration of Power in the Senate.--Sylla's
General Policy.--The Army.--Flight of Sertorius to Spain.--Pompey and
Sylla.--Caesar refuses to divorce his Wife at Sylla's Order.--Danger of
Caesar.--His Pardon.--Growing Consequence of Cicero.--Defence of
Roscius.--Sylla's Abdication and Death


Sertorius in Spain.--Warning of Cicero to the Patricians.--Leading
Aristocrats.--Caesar with the Army in the East.--Nicomedes of Bithynia.--
The Bithynian Scandal.--Conspiracy of Lepidus.--Caesar returns to Rome.--
Defeat of Lepidus.--Prosecution of Dolabella.--Caesar taken by Pirates.--
Senatorial Corruption.--Universal Disorder.--Civil War in Spain.--Growth
of Mediterranean Piracy.--Connivance of the Senate.--Provincial
Administration.--Verres in Sicily.--Prosecuted by Cicero.--Second War
with Mithridates.--First Success of Lucullus.--Failure of Lucullus, and
the Cause of it.--Avarice of Roman Commanders.--The Gladiators.--The
Servile War.--Results of the Change in the Constitution introduced by


Caesar Military Tribune.--Becomes known as a Speaker.--Is made Quaestor.--
Speech at his Aunt's Funeral.--Consulship of Pompey and Crassus.--Caesar
marries Pompey's Cousin.--Mission to Spain.--Restoration of the Powers of
the Tribunes.--The Equites and the Senate.--The Pirates.--Food Supplies
cut off from Rome.--The Gabinian Law.--Resistance of the Patricians.--
Suppression of the Pirates by Pompey.--The Manilian Law.--Speech of
Cicero.--Recall of Lucullus.--Pompey sent to command in Asia.--Defeat and
Death of Mithridates.--Conquest of Asia by Pompey


History of Catiline.--A Candidate for the Consulship.--Catiline and
Cicero.--Cicero chosen Consul.--Attaches Himself to the Senatorial
Party.--Caesar elected Aedile.--Conducts an Inquiry into the Syllan
Proscriptions.--Prosecution of Rabirius.--Caesar becomes Pontifex
Maximus--and Praetor.--Cicero's Conduct as Consul.--Proposed Agrarian
Law.--Resisted by Cicero.--Catiline again stands for the Consulship.--
Violent Language in the Senate.--Threatened Revolution.--Catiline again
defeated.--The Conspiracy.--Warnings sent to Cicero.--Meeting at
Catiline's House.--Speech of Cicero in the Senate.--Cataline joins an Army
of Insurrection in Etruria.--His Fellow-conspirators.--Correspondence with
the Allobroges.--Letters read in the Senate.--The Conspirators seized.--
Debate upon their Fate.--Speech of Caesar.--Caesar on a Future State.--
Speech of Cato--and of Cicero.--The Conspirators executed untried.--Death
of Catiline.


Preparations for the Return of Pompey.--Scene in the Forum.--Cato and
Metellus.--Caesar suspended from the Praetorship.--Caesar supports
Pompey.--Scandals against Caesar's Private Life.--General Character of
them.--Festival of the Bona Dea.--Publius Clodius enters Caesar's House
dressed as a Woman.--Prosecution and Trial of Clodius.--His Acquittal, and
the Reason of it.--Successes of Caesar as Propraetor in Spain.--Conquest
of Lusitania.--Return of Pompey to Italy.--First Speech in the Senate.--
Precarious Position of Cicero.--Cato and the Equites.--Caesar elected
Consul.--Revival of the Democratic Party.--Anticipated Agrarian Law.--
Uneasiness of Cicero.


The Consulship of Caesar.--Character of his Intended Legislation.--The
Land Act first proposed in the Senate.--Violent Opposition.--Caesar
appeals to the Assembly.--Interference of the Second Consul Bibulus.--The
Land Act submitted to the People.--Pompey and Crassus support it.--Bibulus
interposes, but without Success.--The Act carried--and other Laws.--The
Senate no longer being Consulted.--General Purpose of the Leges Juliae.--
Caesar appointed to Command in Gaul for Five Years.--His Object in
accepting that Province.--Condition of Gaul, and the Dangers to be
apprehended from it.--Alliance of Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus.--The
Dynasts.--Indignation of the Aristocracy.--Threats to repeal Caesar's
Laws.--Necessity of Controlling Cicero and Cato.--Clodius is made
Tribune.--Prosecution of Cicero for Illegal Acts when Consul.--Cicero's
Friends forsake him.--He flies, and is banished.


Caesar's Military Narrative.--Divisions of Gaul.--Distribution of
Population.--The Celts.--Degree of Civilization.--Tribal System.--The
Druids.--The AEdui and the Sequani.--Roman and German Parties.--Intended
Migration of the Helvetii.--Composition of Caesar's Army.--He goes to
Gaul.--Checks the Helvetii.--Returns to Italy for Larger Forces.--The
Helvetii on the Saone.--Defeated, and sent back to Switzerland.--Invasion
of Gaul by Ariovistus.--Caesar invites him to a Conference.--He refuses.--
Alarm in the Roman Army.--Caesar marches against Ariovistus.--Interview
between them.--Treachery of the Roman Senate.--Great Battle at Colmar.--
Defeat and Annihilation of the Germans.--End of the First Campaign.--
Confederacy among the Belgae.--Battle on the Aisne.--War with the
Nervii.--Battle of Maubeuge.--Capture of Namur.--The Belgae conquered.--
Submission of Brittany.--End of the Second Campaign.


Cicero and Clodius.--Position and Character of Clodius.--Cato sent to
Cyprus.--Attempted Recall of Cicero defeated by Clodius.--Fight in the
Forum.--Pardon and Return of Cicero.--Moderate Speech to the People.--
Violence in the Senate.--Abuse of Piso and Gabinius.--Coldness of the
Senate toward Cicero.--Restoration of Cicero's House.--Interfered with by
Clodius.--Factions of Clodius and Milo.--Ptolemy Auletes expelled by his
Subjects.--Appeals to Rome for Help.--Alexandrian Envoys assassinated.--
Clodius elected aedile.--Fight in the Forum.--Parties in Rome.--Situation
of Cicero.--Rally of the Aristocracy.--Attempt to repeal the Leges
Juliae.--Conference at Lucca.--Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus.--Cicero
deserts the Senate.--Explains his Motives.--Confirmation of the Ordinances
of Lucca.--Pompey and Crassus Consuls.--Caesar's Command prolonged for
Five Additional Years.--Rejoicings in Rome.--Spectacle in the


Revolt of the Veneti.--Fleet prepared in the Loire.--Sea-fight at
Quiberon.--Reduction of Normandy and of Aquitaine.--Complete Conquest of
Gaul.--Fresh Arrival of Germans over the Lower Rhine.--Caesar orders them
to retire, and promises them Lands elsewhere.--They refuse to go--and are
destroyed.--Bridge over the Rhine.--Caesar invades Germany.--Returns after
a Short Inroad.--First Expedition into Britain.--Caesar lands at Deal, or
Walmer.--Storm and Injury to the Fleet.--Approach of the Equinox.--
Further Prosecution of the Enterprise postponed till the following Year.--
Caesar goes to Italy for the Winter.--Large Naval Preparations.--Return of
Spring.--Alarm on the Moselle.--Fleet collects at Boulogne.--Caesar sails
for Britain a Second Time.--Lands at Deal.--Second and more Destructive
Storm.--Ships repaired, and placed out of Danger.--Caesar marches through
Kent.--Crosses the Thames, and reaches St. Albans.--Goes no further, and
returns to Gaul.--Object of the Invasion of Britain.--Description of the
Country and People.


Distribution of the Legions after the Return from Britain.--Conspiracy
among the Gallic Chiefs.--Rising of the Eburones.--Destruction of Sabinus,
and a Division of the Roman Army.--Danger of Quintus Cicero.--Relieved by
Caesar in Person.--General Disturbance.--Labienus attacked at
Lavacherie.--Defeats and kills Induciomarus.--Second Conquest of the
Belgae.--Caesar again crosses the Rhine.--Quintus Cicero in Danger a
Second Time.--Courage of a Roman Officer.--Punishment of the Revolted
Chiefs.--Execution of Acco.


Correspondence of Cicero with Caesar.--Intimacy with Pompey and Crassus.--
Attacks on Piso and Gabinius.---Cicero compelled to defend Gabinius--and
Vatinius.--Dissatisfaction with his Position.--Corruption at the Consular
Elections.--Public Scandal.--Caesar and Pompey.--Deaths of Aurelia and
Julia.--Catastrophe in the East.--Overthrow and Death of Crassus.--
Intrigue to detach Pompey from Caesar.---Milo a Candidate for the
Consulship.--Murder of Clodius.--Burning of the Senate-house.--Trial and
Exile of Milo.--Fresh Engagements with Caesar.--Promise of the Consulship
at the End of his Term in Gaul.


Last Revolt of Gaul.--Massacre of Romans at Gien.--Vercingetorix.--Effect
on the Celts of the Disturbances at Rome.--Caesar crosses the Cevennes.--
Defeats the Arverni.--Joins his Army on the Seine.--Takes Gien, Nevers,
and Bourges.--Fails at Gergovia.--Rapid March to Sens.--Labienus at
Paris.--Battle of the Vingeanne.--Siege of Alesia.--Caesar's Double
Lines.--Arrival of the Relieving Army of Gauls.--First Battle on the
Plain.--Second Battle.--Great Defeat of the Gauls.--Surrender of
Alesia.--Campaign against the Carnutes and the Bellovaci.--Rising on the
Dordogne.--Capture of Uxellodunum.--Caesar at Arras.--Completion of the


Bibulus in Syria.--Approaching Term of Caesar's Government.--Threats of
Impeachment.--Caesar to be Consul or not to be Consul?--Caesar's Political
Ambition.--Hatred felt toward him by the Aristocracy.--Two Legions taken
from him on Pretense of Service against the Parthians.--Caesar to be
recalled before the Expiration of his Government.--Senatorial Intrigues.--
Curio deserts the Senate.--Labienus deserts Caesar.--Cicero in Cilicia.--
Returns to Rome.--Pompey determined on War.--Cicero's Uncertainties.--
Resolution of the Senate and Consuls.--Caesar recalled.--Alarm in Rome.--
Alternative Schemes.--Letters of Cicero.--Caesar's Crime in the Eyes of
the Optimates.


Caesar appeals to his Army.--The Tribunes join him at Rimini.--Panic and
Flight of the Senate.--Incapacity of Pompey.--Fresh Negotiations.--
Advance of Caesar.--The Country Districts refuse to arm against him.--
Capture of Corfinium.--Release of the Prisoners.--Offers of Caesar.--
Continued Hesitation of Cicero.--Advises Pompey to make Peace.--Pompey,
with the Senate and Consuls, flies to Greece.--Cicero's Reflections.--
Pompey to be another Sylla.--Caesar Mortal, and may die by more Means than


Pompey's Army in Spain.--Caesar at Rome.--Departure for Spain.--Marseilles
refuses to receive him.--Siege of Marseilles.--Defeat of Pompey's
Lieutenants at Lerida.--The whole Army made Prisoners.--Surrender of
Varro.--Marseilles taken.--Defeat of Curio by King Juba in Africa.--
Caesar named Dictator.--Confusion in Rome.--Caesar at Brindisi.--Crosses
to Greece in Midwinter.--Again offers Peace.--Pompey's Fleet in the
Adriatic.--Death of Bibulus.--Failure of Negotiations.--Caelius and Milo
killed.--Arrival of Antony in Greece with the Second Division of Caesar's
Army.--Siege of Durazzo.--Defeat and Retreat of Caesar.--The Senate and
Pompey.--Pursuit of Caesar.--Battle of Pharsalia.--Flight of Pompey.--The
Camp taken.--Complete Overthrow of the Senatorial Faction.--Cicero on the
Situation once more.


Pompey flies to Egypt.--State of Parties in Egypt.--Murder of Pompey.--His
Character.--Caesar follows him to Alexandria.--Rising in the City.--
Caesar besieged in the Palace.--Desperate Fighting.--Arrival of
Mithridates of Pergamus.--Battle near Cairo, and Death of the Young
Ptolemy.--Cleopatra.--The Detention of Caesar enables the Optimates to
rally.--Ill Conduct of Caesar's Officers in Spain.--War with Pharnaces.--
Battle of Zela, and Settlement of Asia Minor.


The Aristocracy raise an Army in Africa.--Supported by Juba.--Pharsalia
not to end the War.--Caesar again in Rome.--Restores Order.--Mutiny in
Caesar's Army.--The Mutineers submit.--Caesar lands in Africa.--
Difficulties of the Campaign.--Battle of Thapsus.--No more Pardons.--
Afranius and Faustus Sylla put to Death.--Cato kills himself at Utica.--
Scipio killed.--Juba and Petreius die on each other's Swords.--A Scene in
Caesar's Camp.


Rejoicings in Rome.--Caesar Dictator for the Year.--Reforms the
Constitution.--Reforms the Calendar--and the Criminal Law.--
Dissatisfaction of Cicero.--Last Efforts in Spain of Labienus and the
Young Pompeys.--Caesar goes thither in Person, accompanied by Octavius.--
Caesar's Last Battle at Munda.--Death of Labienus.--Capture of Cordova.--
Close of the Civil War.--General Reflections.


Caesar once more in Rome.--General Amnesty.--The Surviving Optimates
pretend to submit.--Increase in the Number of Senators.--Introduction of
Foreigners.--New Colonies.--Carthage.--Corinth.--Sumptuary Regulations.--
Digest of the Law.--Intended Parthian War.--Honors heaped on Caesar.--The
Object of them.--Caesar's Indifference.--Some Consolations.--Hears of
Conspiracies, but disregards them.--Speculations of Cicero in the Last
Stage of the War.--Speech in the Senate.--A Contrast, and the Meaning of
it.--The Kingship.--Antony offers Caesar the Crown, which Caesar
refuses.--The Assassins.--Who they were.--Brutus and Cassius.--Two
Officers of Caesar's among them.--Warnings.--Meeting of the
Conspirators.--Caesar's Last Evening.--The Ides of March.--The
Senate-house.--Caesar killed.


Consternation in Rome.--The Conspirators in the Capitol.--Unforeseen
Difficulties.--Speech of Cicero.--Caesar's Funeral.--Speech of Antony.--
Fury of the People.--The Funeral Pile in the Forum.--The King is dead, but
the Monarchy survives.--Fruitlessness of the Murder.--Octavius and
Antony.--Union of Octavius, Antony, and Lepidus.--Proscription of the
Assassins.--Philippi, and the end of Brutus and Cassius.--Death of
Cicero.--His Character.


General Remarks on Caesar.--Mythological Tendencies.--Supposed Profligacy
of Caesar.--Nature of the Evidence.--Servilia.--Cleopatra.--Personal
Appearance of Caesar.--His Manners in Private Life.--Considerations upon
him as a Politician, a Soldier, and a Man of Letters.--Practical Justice
his Chief Aim as a Politician.--Universality of Military Genius.--Devotion
of his Army to him, how deserved.--Art of reconciling Conquered
Peoples.--General Scrupulousness and Leniency.--Oratorical and Literary
Style.--Cicero's Description of it.--His Lost Works.--Cato's Judgment on
the Civil War.--How Caesar should be estimated.--Legend of Charles V.--
Spiritual Condition of the Age in which Caesar lived.--His Work on Earth
to establish Order and Good Government, to make possible the Introduction
of Christianity.--A Parallel.



To the student of political history, and to the English student above all
others, the conversion of the Roman Republic into a military empire
commands a peculiar interest. Notwithstanding many differences, the
English and the Romans essentially resemble one another. The early Romans
possessed the faculty of self-government beyond any people of whom we have
historical knowledge, with the one exception of ourselves. In virtue of
their temporal freedom, they became the most powerful nation in the known
world; and their liberties perished only when Rome became the mistress of
conquered races, to whom she was unable or unwilling to extend her
privileges. If England was similarly supreme, if all rival powers were
eclipsed by her or laid under her feet, the Imperial tendencies, which are
as strongly marked in us as our love of liberty, might lead us over the
same course to the same end. If there be one lesson which history clearly
teaches, it is this, that free nations cannot govern subject provinces. If
they are unable or unwilling to admit their dependencies to share their
own constitution, the constitution itself will fall in pieces from mere
incompetence for its duties.

We talk often foolishly of the necessities of things, and we blame
circumstances for the consequences of our own follies and vices; but there
are faults which are not faults of will, but faults of mere inadequacy to
some unforeseen position. Human nature is equal to much, but not to
everything. It can rise to altitudes where it is alike unable to sustain
itself or to retire from them to a safer elevation. Yet when the field is
open it pushes forward, and moderation in the pursuit of greatness is
never learnt and never will be learnt. Men of genius are governed by their
instinct; they follow where instinct leads them; and the public life of a
nation is but the life of successive generations of statesmen, whose
horizon is bounded, and who act from day to day as immediate interests
suggest. The popular leader of the hour sees some present difficulty or
present opportunity of distinction. He deals with each question as it
arises, leaving future consequences to those who are to come after him.
The situation changes from period to period, and tendencies are generated
with an accelerating force, which, when once established, can never be
reversed. When the control of reason is once removed, the catastrophe is
no longer distant, and then nations, like all organized creations, all
forms of life, from the meanest flower to the highest human institution,
pass through the inevitably recurring stages of growth and transformation
and decay. A commonwealth, says Cicero, ought to be immortal, and for ever
to renew its youth. Yet commonwealths have proved as unenduring as any
other natural object:

Everything that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
And this huge state presenteth nought but shows,
Whereon the stars in silent influence comment.

Nevertheless, "as the heavens are high above the earth, so is wisdom above
folly." Goethe compares life to a game at whist, where the cards are dealt
out by destiny, and the rules of the game are fixed: subject to these
conditions, the players are left to win or lose, according to their skill
or want of skill. The life of a nation, like the life of a man, may be
prolonged in honor into the fulness of its time, or it may perish
prematurely, for want of guidance, by violence or internal disorders. And
thus the history of national revolutions is to statesmanship what the
pathology of disease is to the art of medicine. The physician cannot
arrest the coming on of age. Where disease has laid hold upon the
constitution he cannot expel it. But he may check the progress of the evil
if he can recognize the symptoms in time. He can save life at the cost of
an unsound limb. He can tell us how to preserve our health when we have
it; he can warn us of the conditions under which particular disorders will
have us at disadvantage. And so with nations: amidst the endless variety
of circumstances there are constant phenomena which give notice of
approaching danger; there are courses of action which have uniformly
produced the same results; and the wise politicians are those who have
learnt from experience the real tendencies of things, unmisled by
superficial differences, who can shun the rocks where others have been
wrecked, or from foresight of what is coming can be cool when the peril is
upon them.

For these reasons, the fall of the Roman Republic is exceptionally
instructive to us. A constitutional government the most enduring and the
most powerful that ever existed was put on its trial, and found wanting.
We see it in its growth; we see the causes which undermined its strength.
We see attempts to check the growing mischief fail, and we see why they
failed. And we see, finally, when nothing seemed so likely as complete
dissolution, the whole system changed by a violent operation, and the
dying patient's life protracted for further centuries of power and

Again, irrespective of the direct teaching which we may gather from them,
particular epochs in history have the charm for us which dramas have--
periods when the great actors on the stage of life stand before us with
the distinctness with which they appear in the creations of a poet. There
have not been many such periods; for to see the past, it is not enough for
us to be able to look at it through the eyes of contemporaries; these
contemporaries themselves must have been parties to the scenes which they
describe. They must have had full opportunities of knowledge. They must
have had eyes which could see things in their true proportions. They must
have had, in addition, the rare literary powers which can convey to others
through the medium of language an exact picture of their own minds; and
such happy combinations occur but occasionally in thousands of years.
Generation after generation passes by, and is crumbled into sand as rocks
are crumbled by the sea. Each brought with it its heroes and its villains,
its triumphs and its sorrows; but the history is formless legend,
incredible and unintelligible; the figures of the actors are indistinct as
the rude ballad or ruder inscription, which may be the only authentic
record of them. We do not see the men and women, we see only the outlines
of them which have been woven into tradition as they appeared to the loves
or hatreds of passionate admirers or enemies. Of such times we know
nothing, save the broad results as they are measured from century to
century, with here and there some indestructible pebble, some law, some
fragment of remarkable poetry which has resisted decomposition. These
periods are the proper subject of the philosophic historian, and to him we
leave them. But there are others, a few, at which intellectual activity
was as great as it is now, with its written records surviving, in which
the passions, the opinions, the ambitions of the age are all before us,
where the actors in the great drama speak their own thoughts in their own
words, where we hear their enemies denounce them and their friends praise
them; where we are ourselves plunged amidst the hopes and fears of the
hour, to feel the conflicting emotions and to sympathize in the struggles
which again seem to live: and here philosophy is at fault. Philosophy,
when we are face to face with real men, is as powerless as over the Iliad
or King Lear. The overmastering human interest transcends explanation. We
do not sit in judgment on the right or the wrong; we do not seek out
causes to account for what takes place, feeling too conscious of the
inadequacy of our analysis. We see human beings possessed by different
impulses, and working out a pre-ordained result, as the subtle forces
drive each along the path marked out for him; and history becomes the more
impressive to us where it least immediately instructs.

With such vividness, with such transparent clearness, the age stands
before us of Cato and Pompey, of Cicero and Julius Caesar; the more
distinctly because it was an age in so many ways the counterpart of our
own, the blossoming period of the old civilization, when the intellect was
trained to the highest point which it could reach, and on the great
subjects of human interest, on morals and politics, on poetry and art,
even on religion itself and the speculative problems of life, men thought
as we think, doubted where we doubt, argued as we argue, aspired and
struggled after the same objects. It was an age of material progress and
material civilization; an age of civil liberty and intellectual culture;
an age of pamphlets and epigrams, of salons and of dinner-parties, of
senatorial majorities and electoral corruption. The highest offices of
state were open in theory to the meanest citizen; they were confined, in
fact, to those who had the longest purses, or the most ready use of the
tongue on popular platforms. Distinctions of birth had been exchanged for
distinctions of wealth. The struggles between plebeians and patricians for
equality of privilege were over, and a new division had been formed
between the party of property and a party who desired a change in the
structure of society. The free cultivators were disappearing from the
soil. Italy was being absorbed into vast estates, held by a few favored
families and cultivated by slaves, while the old agricultural population
was driven off the land, and was crowded into towns. The rich were
extravagant, for life had ceased to have practical interest, except for
its material pleasures; the occupation of the higher classes was to obtain
money without labor, and to spend it in idle enjoyment. Patriotism
survived on the lips, but patriotism meant the ascendency of the party
which would maintain the existing order of things, or would overthrow it
for a more equal distribution of the good things which alone were valued.
Religion, once the foundation of the laws and rule of personal conduct,
had subsided into opinion. The educated, in their hearts, disbelieved it.
Temples were still built with increasing splendor; the established forms
were scrupulously observed. Public men spoke conventionally of Providence,
that they might throw on their opponents the odium of impiety; but of
genuine belief that life had any serious meaning, there was none remaining
beyond the circle of the silent, patient, ignorant multitude. The whole
spiritual atmosphere was saturated with cant--cant moral, cant political,
cant religious; an affectation of high principle which had ceased to touch
the conduct, and flowed on in an increasing volume of insincere and unreal
speech. The truest thinkers were those who, like Lucretius, spoke frankly
out their real convictions, declared that Providence was a dream, and that
man and the world he lived in were material phenomena, generated by
natural forces out of cosmic atoms, and into atoms to be again resolved.

Tendencies now in operation may a few generations hence land modern
society in similar conclusions, unless other convictions revive meanwhile
and get the mastery of them; of which possibility no more need be said
than this, that unless there be such a revival in some shape or other, the
forces, whatever they be, which control the forms in which human things
adjust themselves, will make an end again, as they made an end before, of
what are called free institutions. Popular forms of government are
possible only when individual men can govern their own lives on moral
principles, and when duty is of more importance than pleasure, and justice
than material expediency. Rome at any rate had grown ripe for judgment.
The shape which the judgment assumed was due perhaps, in a measure, to a
condition which has no longer a parallel among us. The men and women by
whom the hard work of the world was done were chiefly slaves, and those
who constitute the driving force of revolutions in modern Europe lay then
outside society, unable and perhaps uncaring to affect its fate. No change
then possible would much influence the prospects of the unhappy bondsmen.
The triumph of the party of the constitution would bring no liberty to
them. That their masters should fall like themselves under the authority
of a higher master could not much distress them. Their sympathies, if they
had any, would go with those nearest their own rank, the emancipated
slaves and the sons of those who were emancipated; and they, and the poor
free citizens everywhere, were to a man on the side which was considered
and was called the side of "the people," and was, in fact, the side of


The Roman Constitution had grown out of the character of the Roman nation.
It was popular in form beyond all constitutions of which there is any
record in history. The citizens assembled in the Comitia were the
sovereign authority in the State, and they exercised their power
immediately and not by representatives. The executive magistrates were
chosen annually. The assembly was the supreme Court of Appeal; and without
its sanction no freeman could be lawfully put to death. In the assembly
also was the supreme power of legislation. Any consul, any praetor, any
tribune, might propose a law from the Rostra to the people. The people if
it pleased them might accept such law, and senators and public officers
might be sworn to obey it under pains of treason. As a check on
precipitate resolutions, a single consul or a single tribune might
interpose his veto. But the veto was binding only so long as the year of
office continued. If the people were in earnest, submission to their
wishes could be made a condition at the next election, and thus no
constitutional means existed of resisting them when these wishes showed

In normal times the Senate was allowed the privilege of preconsidering
intended acts of legislation, and refusing to recommend them if
inexpedient, but the privilege was only converted into a right after
violent convulsions, and was never able to maintain itself. That under
such a system the functions of government could have been carried on at
all was due entirely to the habits of self-restraint which the Romans had
engraved into their nature. They were called a nation of kings, kings over
their own appetites, passions, and inclinations. They were not
imaginative, they were not intellectual; they had little national poetry,
little art, little philosophy. They were moral and practical. In these two
directions the force that was in them entirely ran. They were free
politically, because freedom meant to them not freedom to do as they
pleased, but freedom to do what was right; and every citizen, before he
arrived at his civil privileges, had been schooled in the discipline of
obedience. Each head of a household was absolute master of it, master over
his children and servants, even to the extent of life and death. What the
father was to the family, the gods were to the whole people, the awful
lords and rulers at whose pleasure they lived and breathed. Unlike the
Greeks, the reverential Romans invented no idle legends about the
supernatural world. The gods to them were the guardians of the State,
whose will in all things they were bound to seek and to obey. The forms in
which they endeavored to learn what that will might be were childish or
childlike. They looked to signs in the sky, to thunder-storms and comets
and shooting stars. Birds, winged messengers, as they thought them,
between earth and heaven, were celestial indicators of the gods' commands.
But omens and auguries were but the outward symbols, and the Romans, like
all serious peoples, went to their own hearts for their real guidance.
They had a unique religious peculiarity, to which no race of men has
produced anything like. They did not embody the elemental forces in
personal forms; they did not fashion a theology out of the movements of
the sun and stars or the changes of the seasons. Traces may be found among
them of cosmic traditions and superstitions, which were common to all the
world; but they added of their own this especial feature: that they built
temples and offered sacrifices to the highest human excellences, to
"Valor," to "Truth," to "Good Faith," to "Modesty," to "Charity," to
"Concord." In these qualities lay all that raised man above the animals
with which he had so much in common. In them, therefore, were to be found
the link which connected him with the divine nature, and moral qualities
were regarded as divine influences which gave his life its meaning and its
worth. The "Virtues" were elevated into beings to whom disobedience could
be punished as a crime, and the superstitious fears which run so often
into mischievous idolatries were enlisted with conscience in the direct
service of right action.

On the same principle the Romans chose the heroes and heroines of their
national history. The Manlii and Valerii were patterns of courage, the
Lucretias and Virginias of purity, the Decii and Curtii of patriotic
devotion, the Reguli and Fabricii of stainless truthfulness. On the same
principle, too, they had a public officer whose functions resembled those
of the Church courts in mediaeval Europe, a Censor Morum, an inquisitor
who might examine into the habits of private families, rebuke
extravagance, check luxury, punish vice and self-indulgence, nay, who
could remove from the Senate, the great council of elders, persons whose
moral conduct was a reproach to a body on whose reputation no shadow could
be allowed to rest.

Such the Romans were in the day when their dominion had not extended
beyond the limits of Italy; and because they were such they were able to
prosper under a constitution which to modern experience would promise only
the most hopeless confusion.

Morality thus engrained in the national character and grooved into habits
of action creates strength, as nothing else creates it. The difficulty of
conduct does not lie in knowing what it is right to do, but in doing it
when known. Intellectual culture does not touch the conscience. It
provides no motives to overcome the weakness of the will, and with wider
knowledge it brings also new temptations. The sense of duty is present in
each detail of life; the obligatory "must" which binds the will to the
course which right principle has marked out for it produces a fibre like
the fibre of the oak. The educated Greeks knew little of it. They had
courage and genius and enthusiasm, but they had no horror of immorality as
such. The Stoics saw what was wanting, and tried to supply it; but though
they could provide a theory of action, they could not make the theory into
a reality, and it is noticeable that Stoicism as a rule of life became
important only when adopted by the Romans. The Catholic Church effected
something in its better days when it had its courts which treated sins as
crimes. Calvinism, while it was believed, produced characters nobler and
grander than any which Republican Rome produced. But the Catholic Church
turned its penances into money payments. Calvinism made demands on faith
beyond what truth would bear; and when doubt had once entered, the spell
of Calvinism was broken. The veracity of the Romans, and perhaps the happy
accident that they had no inherited religious traditions, saved them for
centuries from similar trials. They had hold of real truth unalloyed with
baser metal; and truth had made them free and kept them so. When all else
has passed away, when theologies have yielded up their real meaning, and
creeds and symbols have become transparent, and man is again in contact
with the hard facts of nature, it will be found that the "Virtues" which
the Romans made into gods contain in them the essence of true religion,
that in them lies the special characteristic which distinguishes human
beings from the rest of animated things. Every other creature exists for
itself, and cares for its own preservation. Nothing larger or better is
expected from it or possible to it. To man it is said, you do not live for
yourself. If you live for yourself you shall come to nothing. Be brave, be
just, be pure, be true in word and deed; care not for your enjoyment, care
not for your life; care only for what is right. So, and not otherwise, it
shall be well with you. So the Maker of you has ordered, whom you will
disobey at your peril.

Thus and thus only are nations formed which are destined to endure; and as
habits based on such convictions are slow in growing, so when grown to
maturity they survive extraordinary trials. But nations are made up of
many persons in circumstances of endless variety. In country districts,
where the routine of life continues simple, the type of character remains
unaffected; generation follows on generation exposed to the same
influences and treading in the same steps. But the morality of habit,
though the most important element in human conduct, is still but a part of
it. Moral habits grow under given conditions. They correspond to a given
degree of temptation. When men are removed into situations where the use
and wont of their fathers no longer meets their necessities; where new
opportunities are offered to them; where their opinions are broken in upon
by new ideas; where pleasures tempt them on every side, and they have but
to stretch out their hand to take them--moral habits yield under the
strain, and they have no other resource to fall back upon. Intellectual
cultivation brings with it rational interests. Knowledge, which looks
before and after, acts as a restraining power, to help conscience when it
flags. The sober and wholesome manners of life among the early Romans had
given them vigorous minds in vigorous bodies. The animal nature had grown
as strongly as the moral nature, and along with it the animal appetites;
and when appetites burst their traditionary restraints, and man in himself
has no other notion of enjoyment beyond bodily pleasure, he may pass by an
easy transition into a mere powerful brute. And thus it happened with the
higher classes at Rome after the destruction of Carthage. Italy had fallen
to them by natural and wholesome expansion; but from being sovereigns of
Italy, they became a race of imperial conquerors. Suddenly, and in
comparatively a few years after the one power was gone which could resist
them, they became the actual or virtual rulers of the entire circuit of
the Mediterranean. The south-east of Spain, the coast of France from the
Pyrenees to Nice, the north of Italy, Illyria and Greece, Sardinia,
Sicily, and the Greek Islands, the southern and western shores of Asia
Minor, were Roman provinces, governed directly under Roman magistrates. On
the African side Mauritania (Morocco) was still free. Numidia (the modern
Algeria) retained its native dynasty, but was a Roman dependency. The
Carthaginian dominions, Tunis and Tripoli, had been annexed to the Empire.
The interior of Asia Minor up to the Euphrates, with Syria and Egypt, were
under sovereigns called Allies, but, like the native princes in India,
subject to a Roman protectorate. Over this enormous territory, rich with
the accumulated treasures of centuries, and inhabited by thriving,
industrious races, the energetic Roman men of business had spread and
settled themselves, gathering into their hands the trade, the financial
administration, the entire commercial control of the Mediterranean basin.
They had been trained in thrift and economy, in abhorrence of debt, in
strictest habits of close and careful management. Their frugal education,
their early lessons in the value of money, good and excellent as those
lessons were, led them, as a matter of course, to turn to account their
extraordinary opportunities. Governors with their staffs, permanent
officials, contractors for the revenue, negotiators, bill-brokers,
bankers, merchants, were scattered everywhere in thousands. Money poured
in upon them in rolling streams of gold. The largest share of the spoils
fell to the Senate and the senatorial families. The Senate was the
permanent Council of State, and was the real administrator of the Empire.
The Senate had the control of the treasury, conducted the public policy,
appointed from its own ranks the governors of the provinces. It was
patrician in sentiment, but not necessarily patrician in composition. The
members of it had virtually been elected for life by the people, and were
almost entirely those who had been quaestors, aediles, praetors, or
consuls; and these offices had been long open to the plebeians. It was an
aristocracy, in theory a real one, but tending to become, as civilization
went forward, an aristocracy of the rich. How the senatorial privileges
affected the management of the provinces will be seen more particularly as
we go on. It is enough at present to say that the nobles and great
commoners of Rome rapidly found themselves in possession of revenues which
their fathers could not have imagined in their dreams, and money in the
stage of progress at which Rome had arrived was convertible into power.

The opportunities opened for men to advance their fortunes in other parts
of the world drained Italy of many of its most enterprising citizens. The
grandsons of the yeomen who had held at bay Pyrrhus and Hannibal sold
their farms and went away. The small holdings merged rapidly into large
estates bought up by the Roman capitalists. At the final settlement of
Italy, some millions of acres had been reserved to the State as public
property. The "public land," as the reserved portion was called, had been
leased on easy terms to families with political influence, and by lapse of
time, by connivance and right of occupation, these families were beginning
to regard their tenures as their private property, and to treat them as
lords of manors in England have treated the "commons." Thus everywhere the
small farmers were disappearing, and the soil of Italy was fast passing
into the hands of a few territorial magnates, who, unfortunately (for it
tended to aggravate the mischief), were enabled by another cause to turn
their vast possessions to advantage. The conquest of the world had turned
the flower of the defeated nations into slaves. The prisoners taken either
after a battle or when cities surrendered unconditionally were bought up
steadily by contractors who followed in the rear of the Roman armies. They
were not ignorant like the negroes, but trained, useful, and often
educated men, Asiatics, Greeks, Thracians, Gauls, and Spaniards, able at
once to turn their hands to some form of skilled labor, either as clerks,
mechanics, or farm-servants. The great landowners might have paused in
their purchases had the alternative lain before them of letting their
lands lie idle or of having freemen to cultivate them. It was otherwise
when a resource so convenient and so abundant was opened at their feet.
The wealthy Romans bought slaves by thousands. Some they employed in their
workshops in the capital. Some they spread over their plantations,
covering the country, it might be, with olive gardens and vineyards,
swelling further the plethoric figures of their owners' incomes. It was
convenient for the few, but less convenient for the Commonwealth. The
strength of Rome was in her free citizens. Where a family of slaves was
settled down, a village of freemen had disappeared; the material for the
legions diminished; the dregs of the free population which remained behind
crowded into Rome, without occupation except in politics, and with no
property save in their votes, of course to become the clients of the
millionaires, and to sell themselves to the highest bidders. With all his
wealth there were but two things which the Roman noble could buy,
political power and luxury; and in these directions his whole resources
were expended. The elections, once pure, became matters of annual bargain
between himself and his supporters. The once hardy, abstemious mode of
living degenerated into grossness and sensuality.

And his character was assailed simultaneously on another side with equally
mischievous effect. The conquest of Greece brought to Rome a taste for
knowledge and culture; but the culture seldom passed below the surface,
and knowledge bore but the old fruit which it had borne in Eden. The elder
Cato used to say that the Romans were like their slaves--the less Greek
they knew the better they were. They had believed in the gods with pious
simplicity. The Greeks introduced them to an Olympus of divinities whom
the practical Roman found that he must either abhor or deny to exist. The
"Virtues" which he had been taught to reverence had no place among the
graces of the new theology. Reverence Jupiter he could not, and it was
easy to persuade him that Jupiter was an illusion; that all religions were
but the creations of fancy, his own among them. Gods there might be, airy
beings in the deeps of space, engaged like men with their own enjoyments;
but to suppose that these high spirits fretted themselves with the affairs
of the puny beings that crawled upon the earth was a delusion of vanity.
Thus, while morality was assailed on one side by extraordinary
temptations, the religious sanction of it was undermined on the other.
The, Romans ceased to believe, and in losing their faith they became as
steel becomes when it is demagnetized; the spiritual quality was gone out
of them, and the high society of Rome itself became a society of powerful
animals with an enormous appetite for pleasure. Wealth poured in more and
more, and luxury grew more unbounded. Palaces sprang up in the city,
castles in the country, villas at pleasant places by the sea, and parks,
and fish-ponds, and game-preserves, and gardens, and vast retinues of
servants. When natural pleasures had been indulged in to satiety,
pleasures which were against nature were imported from the East to
stimulate the exhausted appetite. To make money--money by any means,
lawful or unlawful--became the universal passion. Even the most cultivated
patricians were coarse alike in their habits and their amusements. They
cared for art as dilettanti, but no schools either of sculpture or
painting were formed among themselves. They decorated their porticos and
their saloons with the plunder of the East. The stage was never more than
an artificial taste with them; their delight was the delight of
barbarians, in spectacles, in athletic exercises, in horse-races and
chariot-races, in the combats of wild animals in the circus, combats of
men with beasts on choice occasions, and, as a rare excitement, in fights
between men and men, when select slaves trained as gladiators were matched
in pairs to kill each other. Moral habits are all-sufficient while they
last; but with rude strong natures they are but chains which hold the
passions prisoners. Let the chain break, and the released brute is but the
more powerful for evil from the force which his constitution has
inherited. Money! the cry was still money!--money was the one thought from
the highest senator to the poorest wretch who sold his vote in the
Comitia. For money judges gave unjust decrees and juries gave corrupt
verdicts. Governors held their provinces for one, two, or three years;
they went out bankrupt from extravagance, they returned with millions for
fresh riot. To obtain a province was the first ambition of a Roman noble.
The road to it lay through the praetorship and the consulship; these
offices, therefore, became the prizes of the State; and being in the gift
of the people, they were sought after by means which demoralized alike the
givers and the receivers. The elections were managed by clubs and
coteries; and, except on occasions of national danger or political
excitement, those who spent most freely were most certain of success.

Under these conditions the chief powers in the Commonwealth necessarily
centred in the rich. There was no longer an aristocracy of birth, still
less of virtue. The patrician families had the start in the race. Great
names and great possessions came to them by inheritance. But the door of
promotion was open to all who had the golden key. The great commoners
bought their way into the magistracies. From the magistracies they passed
into the Senate; and the Roman senator, though in Rome itself and in free
debate among his colleagues he was handled as an ordinary man, when he
travelled had the honors of a sovereign. The three hundred senators of
Rome were three hundred princes. They moved about in other countries with
the rights of legates, at the expense of the province, with their trains
of slaves and horses. The proud privilege of Roman citizenship was still
jealously reserved to Rome itself and to a few favored towns and colonies;
and a mere subject could maintain no rights against a member of the
haughty oligarchy which controlled the civilized world. Such generally the
Roman Republic had become, or was tending to become, in the years which
followed the fall of Carthage, B.C. 146. Public spirit in the masses was
dead or sleeping; the Commonwealth was a plutocracy. The free forms of the
constitution were themselves the instruments of corruption. The rich were
happy in the possession of all that they could desire. The multitude was
kept quiet by the morsels of meat which were flung to it when it
threatened to be troublesome. The seven thousand in Israel, the few who in
all states and in all times remained pure in the midst of evil, looked on
with disgust, fearing that any remedy which they might try might be worse
than the disease. All orders in a society may be wise and virtuous, but
all cannot be rich. Wealth which is used only for idle luxury is always
envied, and envy soon curdles into hate. It is easy to persuade the masses
that the good things of this world are unjustly divided, especially when
it happens to be the exact truth. It is not easy to set limits to an
agitation once set on foot, however justly it may have been provoked, when
the cry for change is at once stimulated by interest and can disguise its
real character under the passionate language of patriotism. But it was not
to be expected that men of noble natures, young men especially whose
enthusiasm had not been cooled by experience, would sit calmly by while
their country was going thus headlong to perdition. Redemption, if
redemption was to be hoped for, could come only from free citizens in the
country districts whose manners and whoso minds were still uncontaminated,
in whom the ancient habits of life still survived, who still believed in
the gods, who were contented to follow the wholesome round of honest
labor. The numbers of such citizens were fast dwindling away before the
omnivorous appetite of the rich for territorial aggrandizement. To rescue
the land from the monopolists, to renovate the old independent yeomanry,
to prevent the free population of Italy, out of which the legions had been
formed which had built up the Empire, from being pushed out of their
places and supplanted by foreign slaves, this, if it could be done, would
restore the purity of the constituency, snatch the elections from the
control of corruption, and rear up fresh generations of peasant soldiers
to preserve the liberties and the glories which their fathers had won.


Tiberius Gracchus was born about the year 164 B.C. He was one of twelve
children, nine of whom died in infancy, himself, his brother Caius, and
his sister Cornelia being the only survivors. His family was plebeian, but
of high antiquity, his ancestors for several generations having held the
highest offices in the Republic. On the mother's side he was the grandson
of Scipio Africanus. His father, after a distinguished career as a soldier
in Spain and Sardinia, had attempted reforms at Rome. He had been censor,
and in this capacity he had ejected disreputable senators from the Curia;
he had degraded offending equites; he had rearranged and tried to purify
the Comitia. But his connections were aristocratic. His wife was the
daughter of the most illustrious of the Scipios. His own daughter was
married to the second most famous of them, Scipio Africanus the Younger.
He had been himself in antagonism with the tribunes, and had taken no part
at any time in popular agitations.

The father died when Tiberius was still a boy, and the two brothers grew
up under the care of their mother, a noble and gifted lady. They displayed
early remarkable talents. Tiberius, when old enough, went into the army,
and served under his brother-in-law in the last Carthaginian campaign. He
was first on the walls of the city in the final storm. Ten years later he
went to Spain as Quaestor, where he carried on his father's popularity,
and by taking the people's side in some questions fell into disagreement
with his brother-in-law. His political views had perhaps already inclined
to change. He was still of an age when indignation at oppression calls out
a practical desire to resist it. On his journey home from Spain he
witnessed scenes which confirmed his conviction and determined him to
throw all his energies into the popular cause. His road lay through
Tuscany, where he saw the large-estate system in full operation--the
fields cultivated by the slave gangs, the free citizens of the Republic
thrust away into the towns, aliens and outcasts in their own country,
without a foot of soil which they could call their own. In Tuscany, too,
the vast domains of the landlords had not even been fairly purchased. They
were parcels of the _ager publicus_, land belonging to the State,
which, in spite of a law forbidding it, the great lords and commoners had
appropriated and divided among themselves. Five hundred acres of State
land was the most which by statute any one lessee might be allowed to
occupy. But the law was obsolete or sleeping, and avarice and vanity were
awake and active. Young Gracchus, in indignant pity, resolved to rescue
the people's patrimony. He was chosen tribune in the year 133. His brave
mother and a few patricians of the old type encouraged him, and the battle
of the revolution began. The Senate, as has been said, though without
direct legislative authority, had been allowed the right of reviewing any
new schemes which were to be submitted to the assembly. The constitutional
means of preventing tribunes from carrying unwise or unwelcome measures
lay in a consul's veto, or in the help of the College of Augurs, who could
declare the auspices unfavorable, and so close all public business. These
resources were so awkward that it had been found convenient to secure
beforehand the Senate's approbation, and the encroachment, being long
submitted to, was passing by custom into a rule. But the Senate, eager as
it was, had not yet succeeded in engrafting the practice into the
constitution. On the land question the leaders of the aristocracy were the
principal offenders. Disregarding usage, and conscious that the best men
of all ranks were with him, Tiberius Gracchus appealed directly to the
people to revive the agrarian law. His proposals were not extravagant.
That they should have been deemed extravagant was a proof of how much some
measure of the kind was needed. Where lands had been enclosed and money
laid out on them he was willing that the occupants should have
compensation. But they had no right to the lands themselves. Gracchus
persisted that the _ager publicus_ belonged to the people, and that
the race of yeomen, for whose protection the law had been originally
passed, must be re-established on their farms. No form of property gives
to its owners so much consequence as land, and there is no point on which
in every country an aristocracy is more sensitive. The large owners
protested that they had purchased their interests on the faith that the
law was obsolete. They had planted and built and watered with the sanction
of the government, and to call their titles in question was to shake the
foundations of society. The popular party pointed to the statute. The
monopolists were entitled in justice to less than was offered them. They
had no right to a compensation at all. Political passion awoke again after
the sleep of a century. The oligarchy had doubtless connived at the
accumulations. The suppression of the small holdings favored their
supremacy, and placed the elections more completely in their control.
Their military successes had given them so long a tenure of power that
they had believed it to be theirs in perpetuity; and the new sedition, as
they called it, threatened at once their privileges and their fortunes.
The quarrel assumed the familiar form of a struggle between the rich and
the poor, and at such times the mob of voters becomes less easy to
corrupt. They go with their order, as the prospect of larger gain makes
them indifferent to immediate bribes. It became clear that the majority of
the citizens would support Tiberius Gracchus, but the constitutional forms
of opposition might still be resorted to. Octavius Caecina, another of the
tribunes, had himself large interests in the land question. He was the
people's magistrate, one of the body appointed especially to defend their
rights, but he went over to the Senate, and, using a power which
undoubtedly belonged to him, he forbade the vote to be taken.

There was no precedent for the removal of either consul, praetor, or
tribune, except under circumstances very different from any which could as
yet be said to have arisen. The magistrates held office for a year only,
and the power of veto had been allowed them expressly to secure time for
deliberation and to prevent passionate legislation. But Gracchus was young
and enthusiastic. Precedent or no precedent, the citizens were omnipotent.
He invited them to declare his colleague deposed. They had warmed to the
fight, and complied. A more experienced statesman would have known that
established constitutional bulwarks cannot be swept away by a momentary
vote. He obtained his agrarian law. Three commissioners were appointed,
himself, his younger brother, and his father-in-law, Appius Claudius, to
carry it into effect; but the very names showed that he had alienated his
few supporters in the higher circles, and that a single family was now
contending against the united wealth and distinction of Rome. The issue
was only too certain. Popular enthusiasm is but a fire of straw. In a year
Tiberius Gracchus would be out of office. Other tribunes would be chosen
more amenable to influence, and his work could then be undone. He
evidently knew that those who would succeed him could not be relied on to
carry on his policy. He had taken one revolutionary step already; he was
driven on to another, and he offered himself illegally to the Comitia for
re-election. It was to invite them to abolish the constitution and to make
him virtual sovereign; and that a young man of thirty should have
contemplated such a position for himself as possible is of itself a proof
of his unfitness for it. The election-day came. The noble lords and
gentlemen appeared in the Campus Martius with their retinues of armed
servants and clients; hot-blooded aristocrats, full of disdain for
demagogues, and meaning to read a lesson to sedition which it would not
easily forget. Votes were given for Gracchus. Had the hustings been left
to decide the matter, he would have been chosen; but as it began to appear
how the polling would go, sticks were used and swords; a riot rose, the
unarmed citizens were driven off, Tiberius Gracchus himself and three
hundred of his friends were killed and their bodies were flung into the

Thus the first sparks of the coming revolution were trampled out. But
though quenched and to be again quenched with fiercer struggles, it was to
smoulder and smoke and burst out time after time, till its work was done.
Revolution could not restore the ancient character of the Roman nation,
but it could check the progress of decay by burning away the more
corrupted parts of it. It could destroy the aristocracy and the
constitution which they had depraved, and under other forms present for a
few more centuries the Roman dominion. Scipio Africanus, when he heard in
Spain of the end of his brother-in-law, exclaimed, "May all who act as he
did perish like him!" There were to be victims enough and to spare before
the bloody drama was played out. Quiet lasted for ten years, and then,
precisely when he had reached his brother's age, Caius Gracchus came
forward to avenge him, and carry the movement through another stage. Young
Caius had been left one of the commissioners of the land law; and it is
particularly noticeable that though the author of it had been killed, the
law had survived him being too clearly right and politic in itself to be
openly set aside. For two years the commissioners had continued to work,
and in that time forty thousand families were settled on various parts of
the _ager publicus_, which the patricians had been compelled to
resign. This was all which they could do. The displacement of one set of
inhabitants and the introduction of another could not be accomplished
without quarrels, complaints, and perhaps some injustice. Those who were
ejected were always exasperated. Those who entered on possession were not
always satisfied. The commissioners became unpopular. When the cries
against them became loud enough, they were suspended, and the law was then
quietly repealed. The Senate had regained its hold over the assembly, and
had a further opportunity of showing its recovered ascendency when, two
years after the murder of Tiberius Gracchus, one of his friends introduced
a bill to make the tribunes legally re-eligible. Caius Gracchus actively
supported the change, but it had no success; and, waiting till times had
altered, and till he had arrived himself at an age when he could carry
weight, the young brother retired from politics, and spent the next few
years with the army in Africa and Sardinia. He served with distinction; he
made a name for himself both as a soldier and an administrator. Had the
Senate left him alone, he might have been satisfied with a regular career,
and have risen by the ordinary steps to the consulship. But the Senate saw
in him the possibilities of a second Tiberius; the higher his reputation,
the more formidable he became to them. They vexed him with petty
prosecutions, charged him with crimes which had no existence, and at
length by suspicion and injustice drove him into open war with them. Caius
Gracchus had a broader intellect than his brother, and a character
considerably less noble. The land question he perceived was but one of
many questions. The true source of the disorders of the Commonwealth was
the Senate itself. The administration of the Empire was in the hands of
men totally unfit to be trusted with it, and there he thought the reform
must commence. He threw himself on the people. He was chosen tribune in
123, ten years exactly after Tiberius. He had studied the disposition of
parties. He had seen his brother fall because the equites and the
senators, the great commoners and the nobles, were combined against him.
He revived the agrarian law as a matter of course, but he disarmed the
opposition to it by throwing an apple of discord between the two superior
orders. The high judicial functions in the Commonwealth had been hitherto
a senatorial monopoly. All cases of importance, civil or criminal, came
before courts of sixty or seventy jurymen, who, as the law stood, must be
necessarily senators. The privilege had been extremely lucrative. The
corruption of justice was already notorious, though it had not yet reached
the level of infamy which it attained in another generation. It was no
secret that in ordinary causes jurymen had sold their verdicts; and, far
short of taking bribes in the direct sense of the word, there were many
ways in which they could let themselves be approached and their favor
purchased. A monopoly of privileges is always invidious. A monopoly in the
sale of justice is alike hateful to those who abhor iniquity on principle
and to those who would like to share the profits of it. But this was not
the worst. The governors of the provinces, being chosen from those who had
been consuls or praetors, were necessarily members of the Senate.
Peculation and extortion in these high functions were offences in theory
of the gravest kind; but the offender could only be tried before a limited
number of his peers, and a governor who had plundered a subject state,
sold justice, pillaged temples, and stolen all that he could lay hands on,
was safe from punishment if he returned to Rome a millionaire and would
admit others to a share in his spoils. The provincials might send
deputations to complain, but these complaints came before men who had
themselves governed provinces or else aspired to govern them. It had been
proved in too many instances that the law which professed to protect them
was a mere mockery.

Caius Gracchus secured the affections of the knights to himself, and some
slightly increased chance of an improvement in the provincial
administration, by carrying a law in the assembly disabling the senators
from sitting on juries of any kind from that day forward, and transferring
the judicial functions to the equites. How bitterly must such a measure
have been resented by the Senate, which at once robbed them of their
protective and profitable privileges, handed them over to be tried by
their rivals for their pleasant irregularities, and stamped them at the
same time with the brand of dishonesty! How certainly must such a measure
have been deserved when neither consul nor tribune could be found to
interpose his veto! Supported by the grateful knights, Caius Gracchus was
for the moment all-powerful. It was not enough to restore the agrarian
law. He passed another, aimed at his brother's murderers, which was to
bear fruit in later years, that no Roman citizen might be put to death by
any person, however high in authority, without legal trial, and without
appeal, if he chose to make it, to the sovereign people. A blow was thus
struck against another right claimed by the Senate, of declaring the
Republic in danger, and the temporary suspension of the constitution.
These measures might be excused, and perhaps commended; but the younger
Gracchus connected his name with another change less commendable, which
was destined also to survive and bear fruit. He brought forward and
carried through, with enthusiastic clapping of every pair of hands in Rome
that were hardened with labor, a proposal that there should be public
granaries in the city, maintained and filled at the cost of the State, and
that corn should be sold at a rate artificially cheap to the poor free
citizens. Such a law was purely socialistic. The privilege was confined to
Rome, because in Rome the elections were held, and the Roman constituency
was the one depositary of power. The effect was to gather into the city a
mob of needy, unemployed voters, living on the charity of the State, to
crowd the circus and to clamor at the elections, available no doubt
immediately to strengthen the hands of the popular tribune, but certain in
the long-run to sell themselves to those who could bid highest for their
voices. Excuses could be found, no doubt, for this miserable expedient in
the state of parties, in the unscrupulous violence of the aristocracy, in
the general impoverishment of the peasantry through the land monopoly, and
in the intrusion upon Italy of a gigantic system of slave labor. But none
the less it was the deadliest blow which had yet been dealt to the
constitution. Party government turns on the majorities at the
polling-places, and it was difficult afterward to recall a privilege which
once conceded appeared to be a right. The utmost that could be ventured in
later times with any prospect of success was to limit an intolerable evil;
and if one side was ever strong enough to make the attempt, their rivals
had a bribe ready in their hands to buy back the popular support. Caius
Gracchus, however, had his way, and carried all before him. He escaped the
rock on which his brother had been wrecked. He was elected tribune a
second time. He might have had a third term if he had been contented to be
a mere demagogue. But he, too, like Tiberius, had honorable aims. The
powers which he had played into the hands of the mob to obtain he desired
to use for high purposes of statesmanship, and his instrument broke in his
hands. He was too wise to suppose that a Roman mob, fed by bounties from
the treasury, could permanently govern the world. He had schemes for
scattering Roman colonies, with the Roman franchise, at various points of
the Empire. Carthage was to be one of them. He thought of abolishing the
distinction between Romans and Italians, and enfranchising the entire
peninsula. These measures were good in themselves--essential, indeed, if
the Roman conquests were to form a compact and permanent dominion. But the
object was not attainable on the road on which Gracchus had entered. The
vagabond part of the constituency was well contented with what it had
obtained--a life in the city, supported at the public expense, with
politics and games for its amusements. It had not the least inclination to
be drafted off into settlements in Spain or Africa, where there would be
work instead of pleasant idleness. Carthage was still a name of terror. To
restore Carthage was no better than treason. Still less had the Roman
citizens an inclination to share their privileges with Samnites and
Etruscans, and see the value of their votes watered down. Political storms
are always cyclones. The gale from the east to-day is a gale from the west
to-morrow. Who and what were the Gracchi, then?--the sweet voices began to
ask--ambitious intriguers, aiming at dictatorship or perhaps the crown.
The aristocracy were right after all; a few things had gone wrong, but
these had been amended. The Scipios and Metelli had conquered the world:
the Scipios and Metelli were alone fit to govern it. Thus when the
election time came round, the party of reform was reduced to a minority of
irreconcilable radicals who were easily disposed of. Again, as ten years
before, the noble lords armed their followers. Riots broke out and
extended day after day. Caius Gracchus was at last killed, as his brother
had been, and under cover of the disturbance three thousand of his friends
were killed along with him. The power being again securely in their hands,
the Senate proceeded at their leisure, and the surviving patriots who were
in any way notorious or dangerous were hunted down in legal manner and put
to death or banished.


Caius Gracchus was killed at the close of the year 122. The storm was
over. The Senate was once more master of the situation, and the optimates,
"the best party in the State," as they were pleased to call themselves,
smoothed their ruffled plumes and settled again into their places. There
was no more talk of reform. Of the Gracchi there remained nothing but the
forty thousand peasant-proprietors settled on the public lands; the jury
law, which could not be at once repealed for fear of the equites; the corn
grants, and the mob attracted by the bounty, which could be managed by
improved manipulation; and the law protecting the lives of Roman citizens,
which survived in the statute-book, although the Senate still claimed the
right to set it aside when they held the State to be in danger. With these
exceptions, the administration fell back into its old condition. The
tribunes ceased to agitate. The consulships and the praetorships fell to
the candidates whom the Senate supported. Whether the oligarchy had learnt
any lessons of caution from the brief political earthquake which had
shaken but not overthrown them remained to be seen. Six years after the
murder of Caius Gracchus an opportunity was afforded to this distinguished
body of showing on a conspicuous scale the material of which they were now

Along the south shore of the Mediterranean, west of the Roman province,
extended the two kingdoms of the Numidians and the Moors. To what race
these people belonged is not precisely known. They were not negroes. The
negro tribes have never extended north of the Sahara. Nor were they
Carthaginians or allied to the Carthaginians. The Carthaginian colony
found them in possession on its arrival. Sallust says that they were
Persians left behind by Hercules after his invasion of Spain. Sallust's
evidence proves no more than that their appearance was Asiatic, and that
tradition assigned them an Asiatic origin. They may be called generically
Arabs, who at a very ancient time had spread along the coast from Egypt to
Morocco. The Numidians at this period were civilized according to the
manners of the age. They had walled towns; they had considerable wealth;
their lands were extensively watered and cultivated; their great men had
country houses and villas, the surest sign of a settled state of society.
Among the equipments of their army they had numerous elephants (it may be
presumed of the African breed), which they and the Carthaginians had
certainly succeeded in domesticating. Masinissa, the king of this people,
had been the ally of Rome in the last Carthaginian war; he had been
afterward received as "a friend of the Republic," and was one of the
protected sovereigns. He was succeeded by his son Micipsa, who in turn had
two legitimate children, Hiempsal and Adherbal, and an illegitimate nephew
Jugurtha, considerably older than his own boys, a young man of striking
talent and promise. Micipsa, who was advanced in years, was afraid that if
he died this brilliant youth might be a dangerous rival to his sons. He
therefore sent him to serve under Scipio in Spain, with the hope, so his
friends asserted, that he might there perhaps be killed. The Roman army
was then engaged in the siege of Numantia. The camp was the lounging-place
of the young patricians who were tired of Rome and wished for excitement.
Discipline had fallen loose; the officers' quarters were the scene of
extravagance and amusement. Jugurtha recommended himself on the one side
to Scipio by activity and good service, while on the other he made
acquaintances among the high-bred gentlemen in the mess-rooms. He found
them in themselves dissolute and unscrupulous. He discovered, through
communications which he was able with their assistance to open with their
fathers and relatives at Rome, that a man with money might do what he
pleased. Micipsa's treasury was well supplied, and Jugurtha hinted among
his comrades that if he could be secure of countenance in seizing the
kingdom, he would be in a position to show his gratitude in a substantial
manner. Some of these conversations reached the ears of Scipio, who sent
for Jugurtha and gave him a friendly warning. He dismissed him, however,
with honor at the end of the campaign. The young prince returned to Africa
loaded with distinctions, and the king, being now afraid to pass him over,
named him as joint-heir with his children to a third part of Numidia. The
Numidians perhaps objected to being partitioned. Micipsa died soon after.
Jugurtha at once murdered Hiempsal, claimed the sovereignty, and attacked
his other cousin. Adherbal, closely besieged in the town of Cirta, which
remained faithful to him, appealed to Rome; but Jugurtha had already
prepared his ground, and knew that he had nothing to fear. The Senate sent
out commissioners. The commissioners received the bribes which they
expected. They gave Jugurtha general instructions to leave his cousin in
peace; but they did not wait to see their orders obeyed, and went quietly
home. The natural results immediately followed. Jugurtha pressed the siege
more resolutely. The town surrendered; Adherbal was taken, and was put to
death after being savagely tortured; and there being no longer any
competitor alive in whose behalf the Senate could be called on to
interfere, he thought himself safe from further interference.
Unfortunately in the capture of Citra a number of Romans who resided there
had been killed after the surrender, and after a promise that their lives
should be spared. An outcry was raised in Rome, and became so loud that
the Senate was forced to promise investigation; but it went to work
languidly, with reluctance so evident as to rouse suspicion.
Notwithstanding the fate of the Gracchi and their friends, Memmius, a
tribune, was found bold enough to tell the people that there were men in
the Senate who had taken bribes.

The Senate, conscious of its guilt, was now obliged to exert itself. War
was declared against Jugurtha, and a consul was sent to Africa with an
army. But the consul, too, had his fortune to make, and Micipsa's
treasures were still unexpended. The consul took with him a staff of young
patricians, whose families might be counted on to shield him in return for
a share of the plunder. Jugurtha was as liberal as avarice could desire,
and peace was granted to him on the easy conditions of a nominal fine, and
the surrender of some elephants, which the consul privately restored.

Public opinion was singularly patient. The massacre six years before had
killed out the liberal leaders, and there was no desire on any side as yet
to renew the struggle with the Senate. But it was possible to presume too
far on popular acquiescence. Memmius came forward again, and in a
passionate speech in the Forum exposed and denounced the scandalous
transaction. The political sky began to blacken again. The Senate could
not face another storm with so bad a cause, and Jugurtha was sent for to
Rome. He came, with contemptuous confidence, loaded with gold. He could
not corrupt Memmius, but he bought easily the rest of the tribunes. The
leaders in the Curia could not quarrel with a client of such delightful
liberality. He had an answer to every complaint, and a fee to silence the
complainer. He would have gone back in triumph, had he not presumed a
little too far. He had another cousin in the city who he feared might one
day give him trouble, so he employed one of his suite to poison him. The
murder was accomplished successfully; and for this too he might no doubt
have secured his pardon by paying for it; but the price demanded was too
high, and perhaps Jugurtha, villain as he was, came at last to disdain the
wretches whom he might consider fairly to be worse than himself. He had
come over under a safe-conduct, and he was not detained. The Senate
ordered him to leave Italy; and he departed with the scornful phrase on
his lips which has passed into history: "Venal city, and soon to perish if
only it can find a purchaser." [1]

A second army was sent across, to end the scandal. This time the Senate
was in earnest, but the work was less easy than was expected. Army
management had fallen into disorder. In earlier times each Roman citizen
had provided his own equipments at his own expense. To be a soldier was
part of the business of his life, and military training was an essential
feature of his education. The old system had broken down; the peasantry,
from whom the rank and file of the legions had been recruited, were no
longer able to furnish their own arms. Caius Gracchus had intended that
arms should be furnished by the government, that a special department
should be constituted to take charge of the arsenals and to see to the
distribution. But Gracchus was dead, and his project had died with him.
When the legions were enrolled, the men were ill armed, undrilled, and
unprovided--a mere mob, gathered hastily together and ignorant of the
first elements of their duty. With the officers it was still worse. The
subordinate commands fell to young patricians, carpet knights who went on
campaigns with their families of slaves. The generals, when a movement was
to be made, looked for instruction to their staff. It sometimes happened
that a consul waited for his election to open for the first time a book of
military history or a Greek manual of the art of war.[2]

[Sidenote: B.C 109.]
An army so composed and so led was not likely to prosper. The Numidians
were not very formidable enemies, but, after a month or two of
manoeuvring, half the Romans were destroyed and the remainder were obliged
to surrender. About the same time, and from similar causes, two Roman
armies were cut to pieces on the Rhone. While the great men at Rome were
building palaces, inventing new dishes, and hiring cooks at unheard-of
salaries, the barbarians were at the gates of Italy. The passes of the
Alps were open, and if a few tribes of Gauls had cared to pour through
them, the Empire was at their mercy. Stung with these accumulating
disgraces, and now really alarmed, the Senate sent Caecilius Metellus, the
best man that they had and the consul for the year following to Africa.
Metellus was an aristocrat, and he was advanced in years; but he was a man
of honor and integrity. He understood the danger of further failure; and
he looked about for the ablest soldier that he could find to go with him,
irrespective of his political opinions.

Caius Marius was at this time forty-eight years old. Two thirds of his
life were over, and a name which was to sound throughout the world and be
remembered through all ages had as yet been scarcely heard of beyond the
army and the political clubs in Rome. He was born at Arpinum, a Latin
township, seventy miles from the capital, in the year 157. His father was
a small farmer, and he was himself bred to the plough. He joined the army
early, and soon attracted notice by his punctual discharge of his duties.
In a time of growing looseness, Marius was strict himself in keeping
discipline and in enforcing it as he rose in the service. He was in Spain
when Jugurtha was there, and made himself especially useful to Scipio; he
forced his way steadily upward, by his mere soldierlike qualities, to the
rank of military tribune. Rome, too, had learned to know him, for he was
chosen tribune of the people the year after the murder of Caius Gracchus.
Being a self-made man, he belonged naturally to the popular party. While
in office he gave offence in some way to the men in power, and was called
before the Senate to answer for himself. But he had the right on his side,
it is likely, for they found him stubborn and impertinent, and they could
make nothing of their charges against him. He was not bidding at this
time, however, for the support of the mob. He had the integrity and sense
to oppose the largesses of corn; and he forfeited his popularity by trying
to close the public granaries before the practice had passed into a
system. He seemed as if made of a block of hard Roman oak, gnarled and
knotted, but sound in all its fibres. His professional merit continued to
recommend him. At the age of forty he became praetor, and was sent to
Spain, where he left a mark again by the successful severity by which he
cleared the province of banditti. He was a man neither given himself to
talking nor much talked about in the world; but he was sought for wherever
work was to be done, and he had made himself respected and valued in high
circles, for after his return from the peninsula he had married into one
of the most distinguished of the patrician families.

The Caesars were a branch of the Gens Julia, which claimed descent from
Iulus the son of Aeneas, and thus from the gods. Roman etymologists could
arrive at no conclusion as to the origin of the name. Some derived it from
an exploit on an elephant-hunt in Africa--Caesar meaning elephant in
Moorish; some to the entrance into the world of the first eminent Caesar
by the aid of a surgeon's knife;[3]some from the color of the eyes
prevailing in the family. Be the explanation what it might, eight
generations of Caesars had held prominent positions in the Commonwealth.
They had been consuls, censors, praetors, aediles, and military tribunes,
and in politics, as might be expected from their position, they had been
moderate aristocrats. Like other families they had been subdivided, and
the links connecting them cannot always be traced. The pedigree of the
Dictator goes no further than to his grandfather, Caius Julius. In the
middle of the second century before Christ, this Caius Julius, being
otherwise unknown to history, married a lady named Marcia, supposed to be
descended from Ancus Marcius, the fourth king of Rome. By her he had three
children, Caius Julius, Sextus Julius, and a daughter named Julia. Caius
Julius married Aurelia, perhaps a member of the consular family of the
Cottas, and was the father of the Great Caesar. Julia became the wife of
Caius Marius, a _mesalliance_ which implied the beginning of a
political split in the Caesar family. The elder branches, like the
Cromwells of Hinchinbrook, remained by their order. The younger attached
itself for good or ill to the party of the people.

Marius by this marriage became a person of social consideration. His
father had been a client of the Metelli; and Caecilius Metellus, who must
have known Marius by reputation and probably in person, invited him to go
as second in command in the African campaign. He was moderately
successful. Towns were taken; battles were won: Metellus was
incorruptible, and the Numidians sued for peace. But Jugurtha wanted
terms, and the consul demanded unconditional surrender. Jugurtha withdrew
into the desert; the war dragged on; and Marius, perhaps ambitious,
perhaps impatient at the general's want of vigor, began to think that he
could make quicker work of it. The popular party were stirring again in
Rome, the Senate having so notoriously disgraced itself. There was just
irritation that a petty African prince could defy the whole power of Rome
for so many years; and though a democratic consul had been unheard of for
a century, the name of Marius began to be spoken of as a possible
candidate. Marius consented to stand. The law required that he must be
present in person at the election, and he applied to his commander for
leave of absence. Metellus laughed at his pretensions, and bade him wait
another twenty years. Marius, however, persisted, and was allowed to go.
The patricians strained their resources to defeat him, but he was chosen
with enthusiasm. Metellus was recalled, and the conduct of the Numidian
war was assigned to the new hero of the "populares."

A shudder of alarm ran, no doubt, through the senate-house when the
determination of the people was known. A successful general could not be
disposed of so easily as oratorical tribunes. Fortunately Marius was not a
politician. He had no belief in democracy. He was a soldier, and had a
soldier's way of thinking on government and the methods of it. His first
step was a reformation in the army. Hitherto the Roman legions had been no
more than the citizens in arms, called for the moment from their various
occupations, to return to them when the occasion for their services was
past. Marius had perceived that fewer men, better trained and disciplined,
could he made more effective and be more easily handled. He had studied
war as a science. He had perceived that the present weakness need be no
more than an accident, and that there was a latent force in the Roman
State which needed only organization to resume its ascendency. "He
enlisted," it was said, "the worst of the citizens," men, that is to say,
who had no occupation and who became soldiers by profession; and as
persons without property could not have furnished themselves at their own
cost, he must have carried out the scheme proposed by Gracchus, and
equipped them at the expense of the State. His discipline was of the
sternest. The experiment was new; and men of rank who had a taste for war
in earnest, and did not wish that the popular party should have the whole
benefit and credit of the improvements, were willing to go with him; among
them a dissipated young patrician called Lucius Sylla, whose name also was
destined to be memorable.

By these methods and out of these materials an army was formed such as no
Roman general had hitherto led. It performed extraordinary marches,
carried its water-supplies with it in skins, and followed the enemy across
sandy deserts hitherto found impassable. In less than two years the war
was over. The Moors to whom Jugurtha had fled surrendered him to Sylla,
and he was brought in chains to Rome, where he finished his life in a

So ended a curious episode in Roman history, where it holds a place beyond
its intrinsic importance, from the light which it throws on the character
of the Senate and on the practical working of the institutions which the
Gracchi had perished in unsuccessfully attempting to reform.

[1] "Urbem venalem, et mature perituram, si emptorem invenenit."--Sallust,
_De Bello Jugurthino_, c. 35. Livy's account of the business,
however, differs from Sallust's, and the expression is perhaps not

[2] "At ego scio, Quirites, qui, postquam consules facti sunt, acta
majorum, et Graecorum militaria praecepta legere coeperint. Homines
praeposteri!"--Speech of Marius, Sallust, _Jugurtha_, 85.

[3] "Caesus ab utero matris."


The Jugurthine war ended in the year 106 B.C. At the same Arpinum which
had produced Marius another actor in the approaching drama was in that
year ushered into the world, Marcus Tullius Cicero. The Ciceros had made
their names, and perhaps their fortunes, by their skill in raising
_cicer_, or vetches. The present representative of the family was a
country gentleman in good circumstances given to literature, residing
habitually at his estate on the Liris and paying occasional visits to
Rome. In that household was born Rome's most eloquent master of the art of
using words, who was to carry that art as far, and to do as much with it,
as any man who has ever appeared on the world's stage.

Rome, however, was for the present in the face of enemies who had to be
encountered with more material weapons. Marius had formed an army barely
in time to save Italy from being totally overwhelmed. A vast migratory
wave of population had been set in motion behind the Rhine and the Danube.
The German forests were uncultivated. The hunting and pasture grounds were
too strait for the numbers crowded into them, and two enormous hordes were
rolling westward and southward in search of some new abiding-place. The
Teutons came from the Baltic down across the Rhine into Luxemburg. The
Cimbri crossed the Danube near its sources into Illyria. Both Teutons and
Cimbri were Germans, and both were making for Gaul by different routes.
The Celts of Gaul had had their day. In past generations they had held the
German invaders at bay, and had even followed them into their own
territories. But they had split among themselves. They no longer offered a
common front to the enemy. They were ceasing to be able to maintain their
own independence, and the question of the future was whether Gaul was to
be the prey of Germany or to be a province of Rome.

Events appeared already to have decided. The invasion of the Teutons and
the Cimbri was like the pouring in of two great rivers. Each division
consisted of hundreds of thousands. They travelled with their wives and
children, their wagons, as with the ancient Scythians and with the modern
South African Dutch, being at once their conveyance and their home. Gray-
haired priestesses tramped along among them, barefooted, in white linen
dresses, the knife at their girdle; northern Iphigenias, sacrificing
prisoners as they were taken to the gods of Valhalla. On they swept,
eating up the country, and the people flying before them. In 113 B.C. the
skirts of the Cimbri had encountered a small Roman force near Trieste, and
destroyed it. Four years later another attempt was made to stop them, but
the Roman army was beaten and its camp taken. The Cimbrian host did not,
however, turn at that time upon Italy. Their aim was the south of France.
They made their way through the Alps into Switzerland, where the Helvetii
joined them, and the united mass rolled over the Jura and down the bank of
the Rhone. Roused at last into exertion, the Senate sent into Gaul the
largest force which the Romans had ever brought into the field. They met
the Cimbri at Orange, and were simply annihilated. Eighty thousand Romans
and forty thousand camp-followers were said to have fallen. The numbers in
such cases are generally exaggerated, but the extravagance of the report
is a witness to the greatness of the overthrow. The Romans had received a
worse blow than at Cannae. They were brave enough, but they were commanded
by persons whose recommendations for command were birth or fortune;
"preposterous men," as Marius termed them, who had waited for their
appointment to open the military manuals.

Had the Cimbri chosen at this moment to recross the Alps into Italy, they
had only to go and take possession, and Alaric would have been antedated
by five centuries. In great danger it was the Senate's business to suspend
the constitution. The constitution was set aside now, but it was set aside
by the people themselves, not by the Senate. One man only could save the
country, and that man was Marius. His consulship was over, and custom
forbade his re-election. The Senate might have appointed him dictator, but
would not. The people, custom or no custom, chose him consul a second
time--a significant acknowledgment that the Empire, which had been won by
the sword, must be held by the sword, and that the sword itself must be
held by the hand that was best fitted to use it. Marius first triumphed
for his African victory, and, as an intimation to the Senate that the
power for the moment was his and not theirs, he entered the Curia in his
triumphal dress. He then prepared for the barbarians who, to the alarmed
imagination of the city, were already knocking at its gates. Time was the
important element in the matter. Had the Cimbri come at once after their
victory at Orange, Italy had been theirs. But they did not come. With the
unguided movements of some wild force of nature they swerved away through
Aquitaine to the Pyrenees. They swept across the mountains into Spain.
Thence, turning north, they passed up the Atlantic coast and round to the
Seine, the Gauls flying before them; thence on to the Rhine, where the
vast body of the Teutons joined them and fresh detachments of the
Helvetii. It was as if some vast tide-wave had surged over the country and
rolled through it, searching out the easiest passages. At length, in two
divisions, the invaders moved definitely toward Italy, the Cimbri
following their old tracks by the eastern Alps toward Aquileia and the
Adriatic, the Teutons passing down through Provence and making for the
road along the Mediterranean. Two years had been consumed in these
wanderings, and Marius was by this time ready for them. The Senate had
dropped the reins, and no longer governed or misgoverned; the popular
party, represented by the army, was supreme. Marius was continued in
office, and was a fourth time consul. He had completed his military
reforms, and the army was now a professional service, with regular pay.
Trained corps of engineers were attached to each legion. The campaigns of
the Romans were thenceforward to be conducted with spade and pickaxe as
much as with sword and javelin, and the soldiers learnt the use of tools
as well as arms. Moral discipline was not forgotten. The foulest of human
vices was growing fashionable in high society in the capital. It was not
allowed to make its way into the army. An officer in one of the legions, a
near relative of Marius, made filthy overtures to one of his men. The man
replied with a thrust of his sword, and Marius publicly thanked and
decorated him.

The effect of the change was like enchantment. The delay of the Germans
made it unnecessary to wait for them in Italy. Leaving Catulus, his
colleague in the consulship, to check the Cimbri in Venetia, Marius went
himself, taking Sylla with him, into the south of France. As the barbarian
host came on, he occupied a fortified camp near Aix. He allowed the
enormous procession to roll past him in their wagons toward the Alps.
Then, following cautiously, he watched his opportunity to fall on them.
The Teutons were brave, but they had no longer mere legionaries to fight
with, but a powerful machine, and the entire mass of them, men, women, and
children, in numbers which however uncertain were rather those of a nation
than an army, were swept out of existence.

The Teutons were destroyed on the 20th of July, 102. In the year following
the same fate overtook their comrades. The Cimbri had forced the passes
through the mountains. They had beaten the unscientific patrician Catulus,
and had driven him back on the Po. But Marius came to his rescue. The
Cimbri were cut to pieces near Mantua, in the summer of 101, and Italy was

The victories of Marius mark a new epoch in Roman history. The legions
were no longer the levy of the citizens in arms, who were themselves the
State for which they fought. The legionaries were citizens still. They had
votes, and they used them; but they were professional soldiers with the
modes of thought which belong to soldiers, and beside the power of the
hustings was now the power of the sword. The constitution remained to
appearance intact, and means were devised sufficient to encounter, it
might be supposed, the new danger. Standing armies were prohibited in
Italy. Victorious generals returning from campaigns abroad were required
to disband their legions on entering the sacred soil. But the materials of
these legions remained a distinct order from the rest of the population,
capable of instant combination, and in combination irresistible save by
opposing combinations of the same kind. The Senate might continue to
debate, the Comitia might elect the annual magistrates. The established
institutions preserved the form and something of the reality of power in a
people governed so much by habit as the Romans. There is a long twilight
between the time when a god is first suspected to be an idol and his final
overthrow. But the aristocracy had made the first inroad on the
constitution by interfering at the elections with their armed followers
and killing their antagonists. The example once set could not fail to be
repeated, and the rule of an organized force was becoming the only
possible protection against the rule of mobs, patrician or plebeian.

The danger from the Germans was no sooner gone than political anarchy
broke loose again. Marius, the man of the people, was the saviour of his
country. He was made consul a fifth time and a sixth. The party which had
given him his command shared, of course, in his pre-eminence. The
elections could be no longer interfered with or the voters intimidated.
The public offices were filled with the most violent agitators, who
believed that the time had come to revenge the Gracchi and carry out the
democratic revolution, to establish the ideal Republic and the direct rule
of the citizen assembly. This, too, was a chimera. If the Roman Senate
could not govern, far less could the Roman mob govern. Marius stood aside
and let the voices rage. He could not be expected to support a system
which had brought the country so near to ruin. He had no belief in the
visions of the demagogues, but the time was not ripe to make an end of it
all. Had he tried, the army would not have gone with him, so he sat still
till faction had done its work. The popular heroes of the hour were the
tribune Saturninus and the praetor Glaucia. They carried corn laws and
land laws--whatever laws they pleased to propose. The administration
remaining with the Senate, they carried a vote that every senator should
take an oath to execute their laws under penalty of fine and expulsion.
Marius did not like it, and even opposed it, but let it pass at last. The
senators, cowed and humiliated, consented to take the oath, all but one,
Marius's old friend and commander in Africa, Caecilius Metellus. No stain
had ever rested on the name of Metellus. He had accepted no bribes. He had
half beaten Jugurtha, for Marius to finish; and Marius himself stood in a
semi-feudal relation to him. It was unlucky for the democrats that they
had found so honorable an opponent. Metellus persisted in refusal.
Saturninus sent a guard to the senate-house, dragged him out, and expelled
him from the city. Aristocrats and their partisans were hustled and killed
in the street. The patricians had spilt the first blood in the massacre in
121: now it was the turn of the mob.

Marius was an indifferent politician. He perceived as well as any one that
violence must not go on, but he hesitated to put it down. He knew that the
aristocracy feared and hated him. Between them and the people's consul no
alliance was possible. He did not care to alienate his friends, and there
may have been other difficulties which we do not know in his way. The army
itself was perhaps divided. On the popular side there were two parties: a
moderate one, represented by Memmius, who, as tribune, had impeached the
senators for the Jugurthine infamies; the other, the advanced radicals,
led by Glaucia and Saturninus. Memmius and Glaucia were both candidates
for the consulship; and as Memmius was likely to succeed, he was murdered.

Revolutions proceed like the acts of a drama, and each act is divided into
scenes which follow one another with singular uniformity. Ruling powers
make themselves hated by tyranny and incapacity. An opposition is formed
against them, composed of all sorts, lovers of order and lovers of
disorder, reasonable men and fanatics, business-like men and men of
theory. The opposition succeeds; the government is overthrown; the victors
divide into a moderate party and an advanced party. The advanced party go
to the front, till they discredit themselves with crime or folly. The
wheel has then gone round, and the reaction sets in. The murder of Memmius
alienated fatally the respectable citizens. Saturninus and Glaucia were
declared public enemies. They seized the Capitol, and blockaded it.
Patrician Rome turned out and besieged them, and Marius had to interfere.
The demagogues and their friends surrendered, and were confined in the
Curia Hostilia till they could be tried. The noble lords could not allow
such detested enemies the chance of an acquittal. To them a radical was a
foe of mankind, to be hunted down like a wolf, when a chance was offered
to destroy him. By the law of Caius Gracchus no citizen could be put to
death without a trial. The persons of Saturninus and Glaucia were doubly
sacred, for one was tribune and the other praetor. But the patricians were
satisfied that they deserved to be executed, and in such a frame of mind
it seemed but virtue to execute them. They tore off the roof of the senate
house, and pelted the miserable wretches to death with stones and tiles.


Not far from the scene of the murder of Glaucia and Saturninus there was
lying at this time in his cradle, or carried about in his nurse's arms, a
child who, in his manhood, was to hold an inquiry into this business, and
to bring one of the perpetrators to answer for himself. On the 12th of the
preceding July, B.C. 100,[1] was born into the world Caius Julius Caesar,
the only son of Caius Julius and Aurelia, and nephew of the then Consul
Marius. His father had been praetor, but had held no higher office.
Aurelia was a strict stately lady of the old school, uninfected by the
lately imported fashions. She, or her husband, or both of them, were rich;
but the habits of the household were simple and severe, and the connection
with Marius indicates the political opinions which prevailed in the

No anecdotes are preserved, of Caesar's childhood. He was taught Greek by
Antonius Gnipho, an educated Gaul from the north of Italy. He wrote a poem
when a boy in honor of Hercules. He composed a tragedy on the story of
Oedipus. His passionate attachment to Aurelia in after-years shows that
between mother and child the relations had been affectionate and happy.
But there is nothing to indicate that there was any early precocity of
talent; and leaving Caesar to his grammar and his exercises, we will
proceed with the occurrences which he must have heard talked of in his
father's house, or seen with his eyes when he began to open them. The
society there was probably composed of his uncle's friends; soldiers and
statesmen who had no sympathy with mobs, but detested the selfish and
dangerous system on which the Senate had carried on the government, and
dreaded its consequences. Above the tumults of the factions in the Capitol
a cry rising into shrillness began to be heard from Italy. Caius Gracchus
had wished to extend the Roman franchise to the Italian States, and the
suggestion had cost him his popularity and his life. The Italian provinces
had furnished their share of the armies which had beaten Jugurtha, and had
destroyed the German invaders. They now demanded that they should have the
position which Gracchus designed for them: that they should be allowed to
legislate for themselves, and no longer lie at the mercy of others, who
neither understood their necessities nor cared for their interests. They
had no friends in the city, save a few far-sighted statesmen. Senate and
mob had at least one point of agreement, that the spoils of the Empire
should be fought for among themselves; and at the first mention of the
invasion of their monopoly a law was passed making the very agitation of
the subject punishable by death.

Political convulsions work in a groove, the direction of which varies
little in any age or country. Institutions once sufficient and salutary
become unadapted to a change of circumstances. The traditionary holders of
power see their interests threatened. They are jealous of innovations.
They look on agitators for reform as felonious persons desiring to
appropriate what does not belong to them. The complaining parties are
conscious of suffering and rush blindly on the superficial causes of their
immediate distress. The existing authority is their enemy; and their one
remedy is a change in the system of government. They imagine that they see
what the change should be, that they comprehend what they are doing, and
know where they intend to arrive. They do not perceive that the visible
disorders are no more than symptoms which no measures, repressive or
revolutionary, can do more than palliate. The wave advances and the wave
recedes. Neither party in the struggle can lift itself far enough above
the passions of the moment to study the drift of the general current. Each
is violent, each is one-sided, and each makes the most and the worst of
the sins of its opponents. The one idea of the aggressors is to grasp all
that they can reach. The one idea of the conservatives is to part with
nothing, pretending that the stability of the State depends on adherence
to the principles which have placed them in the position which they hold;
and as various interests are threatened, and as various necessities arise,
those who are one day enemies are frightened the next into unnatural
coalitions, and the next after into more embittered dissensions.

To an indifferent spectator, armed especially with the political
experiences of twenty additional centuries, it seems difficult to
understand how Italy could govern the world. That the world and Italy
besides should continue subject to the population of a single city, of its
limited Latin environs, and of a handful of townships exceptionally
favored, might even then be seen to be plainly impossible. The Italians
were Romans in every point, except in the possession of the franchise.
They spoke the same language; they were subjects of the same dominion.
They were as well educated, they were as wealthy, they were as capable as
the inhabitants of the dominant State. They paid taxes, they fought in the
armies; they were strong; they were less corrupt, politically and morally,
as having fewer temptations and fewer opportunities of evil; and in their
simple country life they approached incomparably nearer to the old Roman
type than the patrician fops in the circus or the Forum, or the city mob
which was fed in idleness on free grants of corn. When Samnium and Tuscany
were conquered, a third of the lands had been confiscated to the Roman
State, under the name of _Ager Publicus_. Samnite and Etruscan
gentlemen had recovered part of it under lease, much as the descendants of
the Irish chiefs held their ancestral domains as tenants of the
Cromwellians. The land law of the Gracchi was well intended, but it bore
hard on many of the leading provincials, who had seen their estates
parcelled out, and their own property, as they deemed it, taken from them
under the land commission. If they were to be governed by Roman laws, they
naturally demanded to be consulted when the laws were made. They might
have been content under a despotism to which Roman and Italian were
subject alike. To be governed under the forms of a free constitution by
men no better than themselves was naturally intolerable.

[Sidenote: B.C. 95.]
[Sidenote: B.C. 91.]
The movement from without united the Romans for the instant in defence of
their privileges. The aristocracy resisted change from instinct; the mob,
loudly as they clamored for their own rights, cared nothing for the rights
of others, and the answer to the petition of the Italians, five years
after the defeat of the Cimbri, was a fierce refusal to permit the
discussion of it. Livius Drusus, one of those unfortunately gifted men who
can see that in a quarrel there is sometimes justice on both sides, made a
vain attempt to secure the provincials a hearing, but he was murdered in
his own house. To be murdered was the usual end of exceptionally
distinguished Romans, in a State where the lives of citizens were
theoretically sacred. His death was the signal for an insurrection, which
began in the mountains of the Abruzzi and spread over the whole peninsula.

The contrast of character between the two classes of population became at
once uncomfortably evident. The provincials had been the right arm of the
Empire. Rome, a city of rich men with families of slaves, and of a crowd
of impoverished freemen without employment to keep them in health and
strength, could no longer bring into the field a force which could hold
its ground against the gentry and peasants of Samnium. The Senate enlisted
Greeks, Numidians, any one whose services they could purchase. They had to
encounter soldiers who had been trained and disciplined by Marius, and
they were taught by defeat upon defeat that they had a worse enemy before
them than the Germans. Marius himself had almost withdrawn from public
life. He had no heart for the quarrel, and did not care greatly to exert
himself. At the bottom, perhaps, he thought that the Italians were in the
right. The Senate discovered that they were helpless, and must come to
terms if they would escape destruction. They abandoned the original point
of difference, and they offered to open the franchise to every Italian
state south of the Po which had not taken arms or which returned
immediately to its allegiance. The war had broken out for a definite
cause. When the cause was removed no reason remained for its continuance.
The Italians were closely connected with Rome. Italians were spread over
the Roman world in active business. They had no wish to overthrow the
Empire if they were allowed to share in its management. The greater part
of them accepted the Senate's terms; and only those remained in the field
who had gone to war in the hope of recovering the lost independence which
their ancestors had so long heroically defended.

The panting Senate was thus able to breathe again. The war continued, but
under better auspices. Sound material could now be collected again for the
army. Marius being in the background, the chosen knight of the
aristocracy, Lucius Sylla, whose fame in the Cimbrian war had been only
second to that of his commander's, came at once to the front.

Sylla, or Sulla, as we are now taught to call him, was born in the year
138 B.C. He was a patrician of the purest blood, had inherited a moderate
fortune, and had spent it like other young men of rank, lounging in
theatres and amusing himself with dinner-parties. He was a poet, an
artist, and a wit, but each and everything with the languor of an amateur.
His favorite associates were actresses, and he had neither obtained nor
aspired to any higher reputation than that of a cultivated man of fashion.
His distinguished birth was not apparent in his person. He had red hair,
hard blue eyes, and a complexion white and purple, with the colors so ill-
mixed that his face was compared to a mulberry sprinkled with flour.
Ambition he appeared to have none; and when he exerted himself to be
appointed quaestor to Marius on the African expedition, Marius was
disinclined to take him as having no recommendation beyond qualifications
which the consul of the plebeians disdained and disliked.

Marius, however, soon discovered his mistake. Beneath his constitutional
indolence Sylla was by nature a soldier, a statesman, a diplomatist. He
had been too contemptuous of the common objects of politicians to concern
himself with the intrigues of the Forum, but he had only to exert himself
to rise with easy ascendency to the command of every situation in which he
might be placed. He had entered with military instinct into Marius's
reform of the army, and became the most active and useful of his officers.
He endeared himself to the legionaries by a tolerance of vices which did
not interfere with discipline; and to Sylla's combined adroitness and
courage Marius owed the final capture of Jugurtha.

Whether Marius became jealous of Sylla on this occasion must be decided by
those who, while they have no better information than others as to the
actions of men, possess, or claim to possess, the most intimate
acquaintance with their motives. They again served together, however,
against the Northern invaders, and Sylla a second time lent efficient help
to give Marius a victory. Like Marius, he had no turn for platform oratory
and little interest in election contests and intrigues. For eight years he
kept aloof from politics, and his name and that of his rival were alike
for all that time almost unheard of. He emerged into special notice only
when he was praetor in the year 93 B.C., and when he characteristically
distinguished his term of office by exhibiting a hundred lions in the
arena matched against Numidian archers. There was no such road to
popularity with the Roman multitude. It is possible that the little
Caesar, then a child of seven, may have been among the spectators, making
his small reflections on it all.

[Sidenote: B.C. 120.]
In 92 Sylla went as propraetor to Asia, where the incapacity of the
Senate's administration was creating another enemy likely to be
troublesome. Mithridates, "child of the sun," pretending to a descent from
Darius Hystaspes, was king of Pontus, one of the semi-independent
monarchies which had been allowed to stand in Asia Minor. The coast-line
of Pontus extended from Sinope to Trebizond, and reached inland to the
line of mountains where the rivers divide which flow into the Black Sea
and the Mediterranean. The father of Mithridates was murdered when he was
a child, and for some years he led a wandering life, meeting adventures
which were as wild and perhaps as imaginary as those of Ulysses. In later
life he became the idol of Eastern imagination, and legend made free with
his history; but he was certainly an extraordinary man. He spoke the
unnumbered dialects of the Asiatic tribes among whom he had travelled. He
spoke Greek with ease and freedom. Placed, as he was, on the margin where
the civilizations of the East and the West were brought in contact, he was
at once a barbarian potentate and an ambitious European politician. He was
well informed of the state of Rome, and saw reason, perhaps, as well he
might, to doubt the durability of its power. At any rate, he was no sooner
fixed on his own throne than he began to annex the territories of the
adjoining princes. He advanced his sea frontier through Armenia to Batoum,
and thence along the coast of Circassia. He occupied the Greek settlements
on the Sea of Azof. He took Kertch and the Crimea, and with the help of
pirates from the Mediterranean he formed a fleet which gave him complete
command of the Black Sea. In Asia Minor no power but the Roman could
venture to quarrel with him. The Romans ought in prudence to have
interfered before Mithridates had grown to so large a bulk, but money
judiciously distributed among the leading politicians had secured the
Senate's connivance; and they opened their eyes at last only when
Mithridates thought it unnecessary to subsidize them further, and directed
his proceedings against Cappadocia, which was immediately under Roman
protection. He invaded the country, killed the prince whom Rome had
recognized, and placed on the throne a child of his own, with the evident
intention of taking Cappadocia for himself.

This was to go too far. Like Jugurtha, he had purchased many friends in
the Senate, who, grateful for past favors and hoping for more, prevented
the adoption of violent measures against him; but they sent a message to
him that he must not have Cappadocia, and Mithridates, waiting for a
better opportunity, thought proper to comply. Of this message the bearer
was Lucius Sylla. He had time to study on the spot the problem of how to
deal with Asia Minor. He accomplished his mission with his usual
adroitness and apparent success, and he returned to Rome with new honors
to finish the Social war.

It was no easy work. The Samnites were tough and determined. For two years
they continued to struggle, and the contest was not yet over when news
came from the East appalling as the threatened Cimbrian invasion, which
brought both parties to consent to suspend their differences by mutual

[1] I follow the ordinary date, which has been fixed by the positive

Book of the day: