Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

History of Julius Caesar by Jacob Abbott

Part 1 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 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.






[Illustration: THE PIRATES AT ANCHOR.]



It is the object of this series of histories to present a clear,
distinct, and connected narrative of the lives of those great personages
who have in various ages of the world made themselves celebrated as
leaders among mankind, and, by the part they have taken in the public
affairs of great nations, have exerted the widest influence on the
history of the human race. The end which the author has had in view is
twofold: first, to communicate such information in respect to the
subjects of his narratives as is important for the general reader to
possess; and, secondly, to draw such moral lessons from the events
described and the characters delineated as they may legitimately teach
to the people of the present age. Though written in a direct and simple
style, they are intended for, and addressed to, minds possessed of some
considerable degree of maturity, for such minds only can fully
appreciate the character and action which exhibits itself, as nearly all
that is described in these volumes does, in close combination with the
conduct and policy of governments, and the great events of
international history.






[Illustration: ANCIENT ROME.]




[Sidenote: Three great European nations of antiquity.]

There were three great European nations in ancient days, each of which
furnished history with a hero: the Greeks, the Carthaginians, and
the Romans.

[Sidenote: Alexander.]

Alexander was the hero of the Greeks. He was King of Macedon, a country
lying north of Greece proper. He headed an army of his countrymen, and
made an excursion for conquest and glory into Asia. He made himself
master of all that quarter of the globe, and reigned over it in Babylon,
till he brought himself to an early grave by the excesses into which his
boundless prosperity allured him. His fame rests on his triumphant
success in building up for himself so vast an empire, and the admiration
which his career has always excited among mankind is heightened by the
consideration of his youth, and of the noble and generous impulses
which strongly marked his character.

[Sidenote: Hannibal.]
[Sidenote: His terrible energy.]

The Carthaginian hero was Hannibal. We class the Carthaginians among the
European nations of antiquity; for, in respect to their origin, their
civilization, and all their commercial and political relations, they
belonged to the European race, though it is true that their capital was
on the African side of the Mediterranean Sea. Hannibal was the great
Carthaginian hero. He earned his fame by the energy and implacableness
of his hate. The work of his life was to keep a vast empire in a state
of continual anxiety and terror for fifty years, so that his claim to
greatness and glory rests on the determination, the perseverance, and
the success with which he fulfilled his function of being, while he
lived, the terror of the world.

[Sidenote: Julius Caesar.]

The Roman hero was Caesar. He was born just one hundred years before the
Christian era. His renown does not depend, like that of Alexander, on
foreign conquests, nor, like that of Hannibal, on the terrible energy of
his aggressions upon foreign foes, but upon his protracted and dreadful
contests with, and ultimate triumphs over, his rivals and competitors at
home. When he appeared upon the stage, the Roman empire already
included nearly all of the world that was worth possessing. There were
no more conquests to be made. Caesar did, indeed, enlarge, in some
degree, the boundaries of the empire; but the main question in his day
was, who should possess the power which preceding conquerors
had acquired.

[Sidenote: The ancient Roman empire.]
[Sidenote: The provinces.]

The Roman empire, as it existed in those days, must not be conceived of
by the reader as united together under one compact and consolidated
government. It was, on the other hand, a vast congeries of nations,
widely dissimilar in every respect from each other, speaking various
languages, and having various customs and laws. They were all, however,
more or less dependent upon, and connected with, the great central
power. Some of these countries were provinces, and were governed by
officers appointed and sent out by the authorities at Rome. These
governors had to collect the taxes of their provinces, and also to
preside over and direct, in many important respects, the administration
of justice. They had, accordingly, abundant opportunities to enrich
themselves while thus in office, by collecting more money than they paid
over to the government at home, and by taking bribes to favor the rich
man's cause in court. Thus the more wealthy and prosperous provinces
were objects of great competition among aspirants for office at Rome.
Leading men would get these appointments, and, after remaining long
enough in their provinces to acquire a fortune, would come back to Rome,
and expend it in intrigues and maneuvers to obtain higher offices still.

[Sidenote: Foreign wars.]
[Sidenote: The victorious general.]

Whenever there was any foreign war to be carried on with a distant
nation or tribe, there was always a great eagerness among all the
military officers of the state to be appointed to the command. They each
felt sure that they should conquer in the contest, and they could enrich
themselves still more rapidly by the spoils of victory in war, than by
extortion and bribes in the government of a province in peace. Then,
besides, a victorious general coming back to Rome always found that his
military renown added vastly to his influence and power in the city. He
was welcomed with celebrations and triumphs; the people flocked to see
him and to shout his praise. He placed his trophies of victory in the
temples, and entertained the populace with games and shows, and with
combats of gladiators or of wild beasts, which he had brought home with
him for this purpose in the train of his army. While he was thus
enjoying his triumph, his political enemies would be thrown into the
back ground and into the shade; unless, indeed, some one of them might
himself be earning the same honors in some other field, to come back in
due time, and claim his share of power and celebrity in his turn. In
this case, Rome would be sometimes distracted and rent by the conflicts
and contentions of military rivals, who had acquired powers too vast for
all the civil influences of the Republic to regulate or control.

[Illustration: ROMAN PLEBEIANS.]

[Sidenote: Military rivals.]
[Sidenote: Marius and Sylla.]
[Sidenote: The patricians and plebeians.]
[Sidenote: Civil contests.]
[Sidenote: Quarrel about the command of the army.]
[Sidenote: Sylla's violence.]

There had been two such rivals just before the time of Caesar, who had
filled the world with their quarrels. They were Marius and Sylla. Their
very names have been, in all ages of the world, since their day, the
symbols of rivalry and hate. They were the representatives respectively
of the two great parties into which the Roman state, like every other
community in which the population at large have any voice in governing,
always has been, and probably always will be divided, the upper and the
lower; or, as they were called in those days, the patrician and the
plebeian. Sylla was the patrician; the higher and more aristocratic
portions of the community were on his side. Marius was the favorite of
the plebeian masses. In the contests, however, which they waged with
each other, they did not trust to the mere influence of votes. They
relied much more upon the soldiers they could gather under their
respective standards and upon their power of intimidating, by means of
them, the Roman assemblies. There was a war to be waged with
Mithridates, a very powerful Asiatic monarch, which promised great
opportunities for acquiring fame and plunder. Sylla was appointed to the
command. While he was absent, however, upon some campaign in Italy,
Marius contrived to have the decision reversed, and the command
transferred to him Two officers, called tribunes, were sent to Sylla's
camp to inform him of the change. Sylla killed the officers for daring
to bring him such a message, and began immediately to march toward Rome.
In retaliation for the murder of the tribunes, the party of Marius in
the city killed some of Sylla's prominent friends there, and a general
alarm spread itself throughout the population. The Senate, which was a
sort of House of Lords, embodying mainly the power and influence of the
patrician party, and was, of course, on Sylla's side, sent out to him,
when he had arrived within a few miles of the city, urging him to come
no further. He pretended to comply; he marked out the ground for a camp;
but he did not, on that account, materially delay his march. The next
morning he was in possession of the city. The friends of Marius
attempted to resist him, by throwing stones upon his troops from the
roofs of the houses. Sylla ordered every house from which these
symptoms of resistance appeared to be set on fire. Thus the whole
population of a vast and wealthy city were thrown into a condition of
extreme danger and terror, by the conflicts of two great bands of armed
men, each claiming to be their friends.

[Sidenote: Defeat of Marius.]

Marius was conquered in this struggle, and fled for his life. Many of
the friends whom he left behind him were killed. The Senate were
assembled, and, at Sylla's orders, a decree was passed declaring Marius
a public enemy, and offering a reward to any one who would bring his
head back to Rome.

[Sidenote: His flight.]

Marius fled, friendless and alone, to the southward, hunted every where
by men who were eager to get the reward offered for his head. After
various romantic adventures and narrow escapes, he succeeded in making
his way across the Mediterranean Sea, and found at last a refuge in a
hut among the ruins of Carthage. He was an old man, being now over
seventy years of age.

[Sidenote: Return of Marius.]
[Sidenote: He marches against Rome.]

Of course, Sylla thought that his great rival and enemy was now finally
disposed of, and he accordingly began to make preparations for his
Asiatic campaign. He raised his army, built and equipped a fleet, and
went away. As soon as he was gone, Marius's friends in the city began to
come forth, and to take measures for reinstating themselves in power.
Marius returned, too, from Africa, and soon gathered about him a large
army. Being the friend, as he pretended, of the lower classes of
society, he collected vast multitudes of revolted slaves, outlaws, and
other desperadoes, and advanced toward Rome. He assumed, himself, the
dress, and air, and savage demeanor of his followers. His countenance
had been rendered haggard and cadaverous partly by the influence of
exposures, hardships, and suffering upon his advanced age, and partly by
the stern and moody plans and determinations of revenge which his mind
was perpetually revolving. He listened to the deputations which the
Roman Senate sent out to him from time to time, as he advanced toward
the city, but refused to make any terms. He moved forward with all the
outward deliberation and calmness suitable to his years, while all the
ferocity of a tiger was burning within.

[Sidenote: Executions by order of Marius.]

As soon as he had gained possession of the city, he began his work of
destruction. He first beheaded one of the consuls, and ordered his head
to be set up, as a public spectacle, in the most conspicuous place in
the city. This was the beginning. All the prominent friends of Sylla,
men of the highest rank and station, were then killed, wherever they
could be found, without sentence, without trial, without any other
accusation, even, than the military decision of Marius that they were
his enemies, and must die. For those against whom he felt any special
animosity, he contrived some special mode of execution. One, whose fate
he wished particularly to signalize, was thrown down from the
Tarpeian Rock.

[Sidenote: The Tarpeian Rock.]

The Tarpeian Rock was a precipice about fifty feet high, which is still
to be seen in Rome, from which the worst of state criminals were
sometimes thrown. They were taken up to the top by a stair, and were
then hurled from the summit, to die miserably, writhing in agony after
their fall, upon the rocks below.

[Sidenote: The story of Tarpeia.]
[Sidenote: Subterranean passages.]

The Tarpeian Rock received its name from the ancient story of Tarpeia.
The tale is, that Tarpeia was a Roman girl, who lived at a time in the
earliest periods of the Roman history, when the city was besieged by an
army from are of the neighboring nations. Besides their shields, the
story is that the soldiers had golden bracelets upon their arms. They
wished Tarpeia to open the gates and let them in. She promised to do so
if they would give her their bracelets; but, as she did not know the
name of the shining ornaments, the language she used to designate them
was, "Those things you have upon your arms." The soldiers acceded to her
terms; she opened the gates, and they, instead of giving her the
bracelets, threw their _shields_ upon her as they passed, until the poor
girl was crushed down with them and destroyed. This was near the
Tarpeian Rock, which afterward took her name. The rock is now found to
be perforated by a great many subterranean passages, the remains,
probably, of ancient quarries. Some of these galleries are now walled
up; others are open; and the people who live around the spot believe, it
is said, to this day, that Tarpeia herself sits, enchanted, far in the
interior of these caverns, covered with gold and jewels, but that
whoever attempts to find her is fated by an irresistible destiny to lose
his way, and he never returns. The last story is probably as true as
the other.

[Sidenote: Escape of Sylla's wife.]

Marius continued his executions and massacres until the whole of Sylla's
party had been slain or put to flight. He made every effort to discover
Sylla's wife and child, with a view to destroying them also, but they
could not be found. Some friends of Sylla, taking compassion on their
innocence and helplessness, concealed them, and thus saved Marius from
the commission of one intended crime. Marius was disappointed, too, in
some other cases, where men whom he had intended to kill destroyed
themselves to baffle his vengeance. One shut himself up in a room with
burning charcoal, and was suffocated with the fumes. Another bled
himself to death upon a public altar, calling down the judgments of the
god to whom he offered this dreadful sacrifice, upon the head of the
tyrant whose atrocious cruelty he was thus attempting to evade.

[Sidenote: Illness of Marius.]
[Sidenote: Sylla outlawed.]

By the time that Marius had got fairly established in his new position,
and was completely master of Rome, and the city had begun to recover a
little from the shock and consternation produced by his executions, he
fell sick. He was attacked with an acute disease of great violence. The
attack was perhaps produced, and was certainly aggravated by, the great
mental excitements through which he had passed during his exile, and in
the entire change of fortune which had attended his return. From being
a wretched fugitive, hiding for his life among gloomy and desolate
ruins, he found himself suddenly transferred to the mastery of the
world. His mind was excited, too, in respect to Sylla, whom he had not
yet reached or subdued, but who was still prosecuting his war against
Mithridates. Marius had had him pronounced by the Senate an enemy to his
country, and was meditating plans to reach him in his distant province,
considering his triumph incomplete as long as his great rival was at
liberty and alive. The sickness cut short these plans, but it only
inflamed to double violence the excitement and the agitations which
attended them.

[Sidenote: Marius delirious.]
[Sidenote: Death of Marius.]

As the dying tyrant tossed restlessly upon his bed, it was plain that
the delirious ravings which he began soon to utter were excited by the
same sentiments of insatiable ambition and ferocious hate whose calmer
dictates he had obeyed when well. He imagined that he had succeeded in
supplanting Sylla in his command, and that he was himself in Asia at the
head of his armies. Impressed with this idea, he stared wildly around;
he called aloud the name of Mithridates; he shouted orders to imaginary
troops; he struggled to break away from the restraints which the
attendants about his bedside imposed, to attack the phantom foes which
haunted him in his dreams. This continued for several days, and when at
last nature was exhausted by the violence of these paroxysms of phrensy,
the vital powers which had been for seventy long years spending their
strength in deeds of selfishness, cruelty, and hatred, found their work
done, and sunk to revive no more.

[Sidenote: Return of Sylla.]
[Sidenote: Marius's son.]
[Sidenote: Proscriptions and massacres of Sylla.]

Marius left a son, of the same name with himself, who attempted to
retain his father's power; but Sylla, having brought his war with
Mithridates to a conclusion, was now on his return from Asia, and it was
very evident that a terrible conflict was about to ensue. Sylla advanced
triumphantly through the country, while Marius the younger and his
partisans concentrated their forces about the city, and prepared for
defense. The people of the city were divided, the aristocratic faction
adhering to the cause of Sylla, while the democratic influences sided
with Marius. Political parties rise and fall, in almost all ages of the
world, in alternate fluctuations, like those of the tides. The faction
of Marius had been for some time in the ascendency, and it was now its
turn to fall. Sylla found, therefore, as he advanced, every thing
favorable to the restoration of his own party to power. He destroyed the
armies which came out to oppose him. He shut up the young Marius in a
city not far from Rome, where he had endeavored to find shelter and
protection, and then advanced himself and took possession of the city.
There he caused to be enacted again the horrid scenes of massacre and
murder which Marius had perpetrated before, going, however, as much
beyond the example which he followed as men usually do in the commission
of crime. He gave out lists of the names of men whom he wished to have
destroyed, and these unhappy victims of his revenge were to be hunted
out by bands of reckless soldiers, in their dwellings, or in the places
of public resort in the city, and dispatched by the sword wherever they
could be found. The scenes which these deeds created in a vast and
populous city can scarcely be conceived of by those who have never
witnessed the horrors produced by the massacres of civil war. Sylla
himself went through with this work in the most cool and unconcerned
manner, as if he were performing the most ordinary duties of an officer
of state. He called the Senate together one day, and, while he was
addressing them, the attention of the Assembly was suddenly distracted
by the noise of outcries and screams in the neighboring streets from
those who were suffering military execution there. The senators started
with horror at the sound. Sylla, with an air of great composure and
unconcern, directed the members to listen to him, and to pay no
attention to what was passing elsewhere. The sounds that they heard
were, he said, only some correction which was bestowed by his orders on
certain disturbers of the public peace.

[Sidenote: Executions.]
[Sidenote: Extent of Sylla's proscriptions.]
[Sidenote: Man's nature.]

Sylla's orders for the execution of those who had taken an active part
against him were not confined to Rome. They went to the neighboring
cities and to distant provinces, carrying terror and distress every
where. Still, dreadful as these evils were, it is possible for us, in
the conceptions which we form, to overrate the extent of them. In
reading the history of the Roman empire during the civil wars of Marius
and Sylla, one might easily imagine that the whole population of the
country was organized into the two contending armies, and were employed
wholly in the work of fighting with and massacring each other. But
nothing like this can be true. It is obviously but a small part, after
all, of an extended community that can be ever actively and personally
engaged in these deeds of violence and blood. Man is not naturally a
ferocious wild beast. On the contrary, he loves, ordinarily, to live in
peace and quietness, to till his lands and tend his flocks, and to enjoy
the blessings of peace and repose. It is comparatively but a small
number in any age of the world, and in any nation, whose passions of
ambition, hatred, or revenge become so strong as that they love
bloodshed and war. But these few, when they once get weapons into their
hands, trample recklessly and mercilessly upon the rest. One ferocious
human tiger, with a spear or a bayonet to brandish, will tyrannize as he
pleases over a hundred quiet men, who are armed only with shepherds'
crooks, and whose only desire is to live in peace with their wives and
their children.

[Sidenote: Husbandmen.]
[Sidenote: How the Roman edifices were built.]
[Sidenote: Standing armies.]

Thus, while Marius and Sylla, with some hundred thousand armed and
reckless followers, were carrying terror and dismay wherever they went,
there were many millions of herdsmen and husbandmen in the Roman world
who were dwelling in all the peace and quietness they could command,
improving with their peaceful industry every acre where corn would ripen
or grass grow. It was by taxing and plundering the proceeds of this
industry that the generals and soldiers, the consuls and praetors, and
proconsuls and propraetors, filled their treasuries, and fed their
troops, and paid the artisans for fabricating their arms. With these
avails they built the magnificent edifices of Rome, and adorned its
environs with sumptuous villas. As they had the power and the arms in
their hands, the peaceful and the industrious had no alternative but to
submit. They went on as well as they could with their labors, bearing
patiently every interruption, returning again to till their fields after
the desolating march of the army had passed away, and repairing the
injuries of violence, and the losses sustained by plunder, without
useless repining. They looked upon an armed government as a necessary
and inevitable affliction of humanity, and submitted to its destructive
violence as they would submit to an earthquake or a pestilence. The
tillers of the soil manage better in this country at the present day.
They have the power in their own hands, and they watch very narrowly to
prevent the organization of such hordes of armed desperadoes as have
held the peaceful inhabitants of Europe in terror from the earliest
periods down to the present day.

[Sidenote: Julius Caesar.]
[Sidenote: Sylla's animosity against him.]
[Sidenote: Caesar refuses to repudiate his wife.]
[Sidenote: His flight.]

When Sylla returned to Rome, and took possession of the supreme power
there, in looking over the lists of public men, there was one whom he
did not know, at first what to do with. It was the young Julius Caesar,
the subject of this history. Caesar was, by birth, patrician, having
descended from a long line of noble ancestors. There had been, before
his day, a great many Caesars who had held the highest offices of the
state, and many of them had been celebrated in history. He naturally,
therefore, belonged to Sylla's side, as Sylla was the representative of
the patrician interest. But then Caesar had personally been inclined
toward the party of Marius. The elder Marius had married his aunt, and,
besides, Caesar himself had married the daughter of Cinna, who had been
the most efficient and powerful of Marius's coadjutors and friends.
Caesar was at this time a very young man, and he was of an ardent and
reckless character, though he had, thus far, taken no active part in
public affairs. Sylla overlooked him for a time, but at length was about
to put his name on the list of the proscribed. Some of the nobles, who
were friends both of Sylla and of Caesar too, interceded for the young
man; Sylla yielded to their request, or, rather, suspended his
decision, and sent orders to Caesar to repudiate his wife, the daughter
of Cinna. Her name was Cornelia. Caesar absolutely refused to repudiate
his wife. He was influenced in this decision partly by affection for
Cornelia, and partly by a sort of stern and indomitable
insubmissiveness, which formed, from his earliest years, a prominent
trait in his character, and which led him, during all his life, to brave
every possible danger rather than allow himself to be controlled. Caesar
knew very well that, when this his refusal should be reported to Sylla,
the next order would be for his destruction. He accordingly fled. Sylla
deprived him of his titles and offices, confiscated his wife's fortune
and his own patrimonial estate, and put his name upon the list of the
public enemies. Thus Caesar became a fugitive and an exile. The
adventures which befell him in his wanderings will be described in the
following chapter.

[Sidenote: Sylla made dictator.]
[Sidenote: He resigns his power.]

Sylla was now in the possession of absolute power. He was master of
Rome, and of all the countries over which Rome held sway. Still he was
nominally not a magistrate, but only a general returning victoriously
from his Asiatic campaign, and putting to death, somewhat irregularly,
it is true, by a sort of martial law persons whom he found, as he said,
disturbing the public peace. After having thus effectually disposed of
the power of his enemies, he laid aside, ostensibly, the government of
the sword, and submitted himself and his future measures to the control
of law. He placed himself ostensibly at the disposition of the city.
They chose him dictator, which was investing him with absolute and
unlimited power. He remained on this, the highest pinnacle of worldly
ambition, a short time, and then resigned his power, and devoted the
remainder of his days to literary pursuits and pleasures. Monster as he
was in the cruelties which he inflicted upon his political foes, he was
intellectually of a refined and cultivated mind, and felt an ardent
interest in the promotion of literature and the arts.

[Sidenote: Opinion of mankind in regard to Marius and Sylla.]

The quarrel between Marius and Sylla, in respect to every thing which
can make such a contest great, stands in the estimation of mankind as
the greatest personal quarrel which the history of the world has ever
recorded. Its origin was in the simple personal rivalry of two ambitious
men. It involved, in its consequences, the peace and happiness of the
world. In their reckless struggles, the fierce combatants trampled on
every thing that came in their way, and destroyed mercilessly, each in
his turn, all that opposed them. Mankind have always execrated their
crimes, but have never ceased to admire the frightful and almost
superhuman energy with which they committed them.



[Sidenote: Caesar's resolution.]

Caesar does not seem to have been much disheartened and depressed by his
misfortunes. He possessed in his early life more than the usual share of
buoyancy and light-heartedness of youth, and he went away from Rome to
enter, perhaps, upon years of exile and wandering, with a determination
to face boldly and to brave the evils and dangers which surrounded him,
and not to succumb to them.

[Sidenote: His person and character.]

Sometimes they who become great in their maturer years are thoughtful,
grave, and sedate when young. It was not so, however, with Caesar. He
was of a very gay and lively disposition. He was tall and handsome in
his person, fascinating in his manners, and fond of society, as people
always are who know or who suppose that they shine in it. He had seemed,
in a word, during his residence at Rome, wholly intent upon the
pleasures of a gay and joyous life, and upon the personal observation
which his rank, his wealth, his agreeable manners and his position in
society secured for him. In fact, they who observed and studied his
character in these early years, thought that, although his situation was
very favorable for acquiring power and renown, he would never feel any
strong degree of ambition to avail himself of its advantages. He was too
much interested, they thought, in personal pleasures ever to become
great, either as a military commander or a statesman.

[Sidenote: Sylla's estimation of Caesar.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's friends intercede for him.]

Sylla, however, thought differently. He had penetration enough to
perceive, beneath all the gayety and love of pleasure which
characterized Caesar's youthful life, the germs of a sterner and more
aspiring spirit, which, he was very sorry to see, was likely to expend
its future energies in hostility to him. By refusing to submit to
Sylla's commands, Caesar had, in effect, thrown himself entirely upon
the other party, and would be, of course, in future identified with
them. Sylla consequently looked upon him now as a confirmed and settled
enemy. Some friends of Caesar among the patrician families interceded in
his behalf with Sylla again, after he had fled from Rome. They wished
Sylla to pardon him, saying that he was a mere boy and could do him no
harm. Sylla shook his head, saying that, young as he was, he saw in him
indications of a future power which he thought was more to be dreaded
than that of many Mariuses.

[Sidenote: Caesar's studies.]
[Sidenote: His ambition to be an orator.]

One reason which led Sylla to form this opinion of Caesar was, that the
young nobleman, with all his love of gayety and pleasure, had not
neglected his studies, but had taken great pains to perfect himself in
such intellectual pursuits as ambitious men who looked forward to
political influence and ascendency were accustomed to prosecute in those
days He had studied the Greek language, and read the works of Greek
historians; and he attended lectures on philosophy and rhetoric, and was
obviously interested deeply in acquiring power as a public speaker. To
write and speak well gave a public man great influence in those days.
Many of the measures of the government were determined by the action of
great assemblies of the free citizens, which action was itself, in a
great measure, controlled by the harangues of orators who had such
powers of voice and such qualities of mind as enabled them to gain the
attention and sway the opinions of large bodies of men.

[Sidenote: The Forum.]
[Sidenote: Its porticoes and statues.]
[Sidenote: Attractions of the Forum.]

It most not be supposed, however, that this popular power was shared by
all the inhabitants of the city. At one time, when the population of the
city was about three millions the number of free citizens was only three
hundred thousand. The rest were laborers, artisans, and slaves, who had
no voice in public affairs. The free citizens held very frequent public
assemblies. There were various squares and open spaces in the city where
such assemblies were convened, and where courts of justice were held.
The Roman name for such a square was _forum_. There was one which was
distinguished above all the rest, and was called emphatically The Forum.
It was a magnificent square, surrounded by splendid edifices, and
ornamented by sculptures and statues without number. There were ranges
of porticoes along the sides, where the people were sheltered from the
weather when necessary, though it is seldom that there is any necessity
for shelter under an Italian sky. In this area and under these porticoes
the people held their assemblies, and here courts of justice were
accustomed to sit. The Forum was ornamented continually with new
monuments, temples, statues, and columns by successful generals
returning in triumph from foreign campaigns, and by proconsuls and
praetors coming back enriched from their provinces, until it was
fairly choked up with its architectural magnificence, and it had at last
to be partially cleared again, as one would thin out too dense a forest,
in order to make room for the assemblies which it was its main function
to contain.

[Illustration: A ROMAN FORUM]

[Sidenote: Harangues and political discussions.]

The people of Rome had, of course, no printed books, and yet they were
mentally cultivated and refined, and were qualified for a very high
appreciation of intellectual pursuits and pleasures. In the absence,
therefore, of all facilities for private reading, the Forum became the
great central point of attraction. The same kind of interest which, in
our day, finds its gratification in reading volumes of printed history
quietly at home, or in silently perusing the columns of newspapers and
magazines in libraries and reading-rooms, where a whisper is seldom
heard, in Caesar's day brought every body to the Forum, to listen to
historical harangues, or political discussions, or forensic arguments in
the midst of noisy crowds. Here all tidings centered; here all questions
were discussed and all great elections held. Here were waged those
ceaseless conflicts of ambition and struggles of power on which the fate
of nations, and sometimes the welfare of almost half mankind depended.
Of course, every ambitious man who aspired to an ascendency over his
fellow-men, wished to make his voice heard in the Forum. To calm the
boisterous tumult there, and to hold, as some of the Roman orators could
do, the vast assemblies in silent and breathless attention, was a power
as delightful in its exercise as it was glorious in its fame. Caesar had
felt this ambition, and had devoted himself very earnestly to the study
of oratory.

[Sidenote: Apollonius.]
[Sidenote: Caesar studies under him.]

His teacher was Apollonius, a philosopher and rhetorician from Rhodes.
Rhodes is a Grecian island, near the southwestern coast of Asia Minor
Apollonius was a teacher of great celebrity, and Caesar became a very
able writer and speaker under his instructions. His time and attention
were, in fact, strangely divided between the highest and noblest
intellectual avocations, and the lowest sensual pleasures of a gay and
dissipated life. The coming of Sylla had, however, interrupted all; and,
after receiving the dictator's command to give up his wife and abandon
the Marian faction, and determining to disobey it, he fled suddenly from
Rome, as was stated at the close of the last chapter, at midnight, and
in disguise.

[Sidenote: Caesar's wanderings.]
[Sidenote: He is seized by a centurion.]

He was sick, too, at the time, with an intermittent fever. The paroxysm
returned once in three or four days, leaving him in tolerable health
during the interval. He went first into the country of the Sabines,
northeast of Rome, where he wandered up and down, exposed continually to
great dangers from those who knew that he was an object of the great
dictator's displeasure, and who were sure of favor and of a reward if
they could carry his head to Sylla He had to change his quarters every
day, and to resort to every possible mode of concealment. He was,
however, at last discovered, and seized by a centurion. A centurion was
a commander of a hundred men; his rank and his position therefore,
corresponded somewhat with those of a _captain_ in a modern army. Caesar
was not much disturbed at this accident. He offered the centurion a
bribe sufficient to induce him to give up his prisoner, and so escaped.

[Sidenote: Caesar in Asia Minor.]
[Sidenote: He joins the court of Nicomedes.]

The two ancient historians, whose records contain nearly all the
particulars of the early life of Caesar which are now known, give
somewhat contradictory accounts of the adventures which befell him
during his subsequent wanderings. They relate, in general, the same
incidents, but in such different connections, that the precise
chronological order of the events which occurred can not now be
ascertained. At all events, Caesar, finding that he was no longer safe
in the vicinity of Rome, moved gradually to the eastward, attended by a
few followers, until he reached the sea, and there he embarked on board
a ship to leave his native land altogether. After various adventures and
wanderings, he found himself at length in Asia Minor, and he made his
way at last to the kingdom of Bithynia, on the northern shore. The name
of the king of Bithynia was Nicomedes. Caesar joined himself to
Nicomedes's court, and entered into his service. In the mean time, Sylla
had ceased to pursue him, and ultimately granted him a pardon, but
whether before or after this time is not now to be ascertained. At all
events, Caesar became interested in the scenes and enjoyments of
Nicomedes's court, and allowed the time to pass away without forming any
plans for returning to Rome.

[Sidenote: Cilicia.]
[Sidenote: Character of its inhabitants.]

On the opposite side of Asia Minor, that is, on the southern shore,
there was a wild and mountainous region called Cilicia. The great chain
of mountains called Taurus approaches here very near to the sea, and the
steep conformations of the land, which, in the interior, produce lofty
ranges and summits, and dark valleys and ravines, form, along the line
of the shore, capes and promontories, bounded by precipitous sides, and
with deep bays and harbors between them. The people of Cilicia were
accordingly half sailors, half mountaineers. They built swift galleys,
and made excursions in great force over the Mediterranean Sea for
conquest and plunder. They would capture single ships, and sometimes
even whole fleets of merchantmen. They were even strong enough on many
occasions to land and take possession of a harbor and a town, and hold
it, often, for a considerable time, against all the efforts of the
neighboring powers to dislodge them. In case, however, their enemies
became at any time too strong for them, they would retreat to their
harbors, which were so defended by the fortresses which guarded them,
and by the desperate bravery of the garrisons, that the pursuers
generally did not dare to attempt to force their way in; and if, in any
case, a town or a port was taken, the indomitable savages would continue
their retreat to the fastnesses of the mountains, where it was utterly
useless to attempt to follow them.

[Sidenote: The Cilicians wanting in poets and historians.]
[Sidenote: Robbers and pirates.]

But with all their prowess and skill as naval combatants, and their
hardihood as mountaineers, the Cilicians lacked one thing which is very
essential in every nation to an honorable military fame. They had no
poets or historians of their own, so that the story of their deeds had
to be told to posterity by their enemies. If they had been able to
narrate their own exploits, they would have figured, perhaps, upon the
page of history as a small but brave and efficient maritime power,
pursuing for many years a glorious career of conquest, and acquiring
imperishable renown by their enterprise and success. As it was, the
Romans, their enemies, described their deeds and gave them their
designation. They called them robbers and pirates; and robbers and
pirates they must forever remain.

[Sidenote: Depredations of the Cilicians.]

And it is, in fact, very likely true that the Cilician commanders did
not pursue their conquests and commit their depredations on the rights
and the property of others in quite so systematic and methodical a
manner as some other conquering states have done. They probably seized
private property a little more unceremoniously than is customary; though
all belligerent nations, even in these Christian ages of the world, feel
at liberty to seize and confiscate private property when they find it
afloat at sea, while, by a strange inconsistency, they respect it on
the land. The Cilician pirates considered themselves at war with all
mankind, and, whatever merchandise they found passing from port to port
along the shores of the Mediterranean, they considered lawful spoil.
They intercepted the corn which was going from Sicily to Rome, and
filled their own granaries with it. They got rich merchandise from the
ships of Alexandria, which brought, sometimes, gold, and gems, and
costly fabrics from the East; and they obtained, often, large sums of
money by seizing men of distinction and wealth, who were continually
passing to and fro between Italy and Greece, and holding them for a
ransom. They were particularly pleased to get possession in this way of
Roman generals and officers of state, who were going out to take the
command of armies, or who were returning from their provinces with the
wealth which they had accumulated there.

[Sidenote: Expeditions sent against them.]
[Sidenote: Boldness and courage of the Cilicians.]

Many expeditions were fitted out and many naval commanders were
commissioned to sup press and subdue these common enemies of mankind, as
the Romans called them. At one time, while a distinguished general,
named Antonius, was in pursuit of them at the head of a fleet, a party
of the pirates made a descent upon the Italian coast, south of Rome, at
Nicenum, where the ancient patrimonial mansion of this very Antonius was
situated, and took away several members of his family as captives, and
so compelled him to ransom them by paying a very large sum of money. The
pirates grew bolder and bolder in proportion to their success. They
finally almost stopped all intercourse between Italy and Greece, neither
the merchants daring to expose their merchandise, nor the passengers
their persons to such dangers. They then approached nearer and nearer to
Rome, and at last actually entered the Tiber, and surprised and carried
off a Roman fleet which was anchored there. Caesar himself fell into the
hands of these pirates at some time during the period of his wanderings.

[Sidenote: They capture Caesar.]

The pirates captured the ship in which he was sailing near Pharmacusa, a
small island in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea. He was not at
this time in the destitute condition in which he had found himself on
leaving Rome, but was traveling with attendants suitable to his rank,
and in such a style and manner as at once made it evident to the pirates
that he was a man of distinction. They accordingly held him for ransom,
and, in the mean time, until he could take measures for raising the
money, they kept him a prisoner on board the vessel which had
captured him.

[Sidenote: Caesar's air of superiority.]
[Sidenote: His ransom.]

In this situation, Caesar, though entirely in the power and at the mercy
of his lawless captors, assumed such an air of superiority and command
in all his intercourse with them as at first awakened their
astonishment, then excited their admiration, and ended in almost
subjecting them to his will. He asked them what they demanded for his
ransom. They said twenty talents, which was quite a large amount, a
talent itself being a considerable sum of money. Caesar laughed at this
demand, and told them it was plain that they did not know who he was, He
would give them _fifty_ talents. He then sent away his attendants to the
shore, with orders to proceed to certain cities where he was known, in
order to procure the money, retaining only a physician and two servants
for himself. While his messengers were gone, he remained on board
the ship of his captors, assuming in every respect the air and manner of
their master. When he wished to sleep, if they made a noise which
disturbed him, he sent them orders to be still. He joined them in their
sports and diversions on the deck, surpassing them in their feats, and
taking the direction of every thing as if he were their acknowledged
leader. He wrote orations and verses which he read to them, and if his
wild auditors did not appear to appreciate the literary excellence of
his compositions, he told them that they were stupid fools without any
taste, adding, by way of apology, that nothing better could be expected
of such barbarians.

The pirates asked him one day what he should do to them if he should
ever, at any future time, take them prisoners. Caesar said that he would
crucify every one of them.

[Sidenote: Caesar at liberty.]
[Sidenote: He captures the pirates in his turn.]

The ransom money at length arrived. Caesar paid it to the pirates, and
they, faithful to their covenant, sent him in a boat to the land. He was
put ashore on the coast of Asia Minor. He proceeded immediately to
Miletus, the nearest port, equipped a small fleet there, and put
to sea. He sailed at once to the roadstead where the pirates had been
lying, and found them still at anchor there, in perfect security.[1] He
attacked them, seized their ships, recovered his ransom money, and took
the men all prisoners. He conveyed his captives to the land, and there
fulfilled his threat that he would crucify them by cutting their
throats and nailing their dead bodies to crosses which his men erected
for the purpose along the shore.

[Footnote 1: See Frontispiece]

[Sidenote: Caesar at Rhodes.]

During his absence from Rome Caesar went to Rhodes, where his former
preceptor resided, and he continued to pursue there for some time his
former studies. He looked forward still to appearing one day in the
Roman Forum. In fact, he began to receive messages from his friends at
home that they thought it would be safe for him to return. Sylla had
gradually withdrawn from power, and finally had died. The aristocratical
party were indeed still in the ascendency, but the party of Marius had
begun to recover a little from the total overthrow with which Sylla's
return, and his terrible military vengeance, had overwhelmed them.
Caesar himself, therefore, they thought, might, with prudent management,
be safe in returning to Rome.

[Sidenote: He returns to Rome.]
[Sidenote: Caesar impeaches Dolabella.]
[Sidenote: Excitement in consequence.]

He returned, but not to be prudent or cautious; there was no element of
prudence or caution in his character. As soon as he arrived, he openly
espoused the popular party. His first public act was to arraign the
governor of the great province of Macedonia, through which he had passed
on his way to Bithynia. It was a consul whom he thus impeached, and a
strong partisan of Sylla's. His name was Dolabella. The people were
astonished at his daring in thus raising the standard of resistance to
Sylla's power, indirectly, it is true, but none the less really on that
account. When the trial came on, and Caesar appeared at the Forum, he
gained great applause by the vigor and force of his oratory. There was,
of course, a very strong and general interest felt in the case; the
people all seeming to understand that, in this attack on Dolabella,
Caesar was appearing as their champion, and their hopes were revived at
having at last found a leader capable of succeeding Marius, and building
up their cause again. Dolabella was ably defended by orators on the
other side, and was, of course, acquitted, for the power of Sylla's
party was still supreme. All Rome, however, was aroused and excited by
the boldness of Caesar's attack, and by the extraordinary ability which
he evinced in his mode of conducting it. He became, in fact, at once one
of the most conspicuous and prominent men in the city.

[Sidenote: Caesar's increasing power.]

Encouraged by his success, and the applauses which he received, and
feeling every day a greater and greater consciousness of power, he
began to assume more and more openly the character of the leader of the
popular party. He devoted himself to public speaking in the Forum, both
before popular assemblies and in the courts of justice, where he was
employed a great deal as an advocate to defend those who were accused of
political crimes. The people, considering him as their rising champion,
were predisposed to regard every thing that he did with favor, and there
was really a great intellectual power displayed in his orations and
harangues. He acquired, in a word, great celebrity by his boldness and
energy, and his boldness and energy were themselves increased in their
turn as he felt the strength of his position increase with his growing

[Sidenote: Death of Marius's wife.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's panegyric on Marius's wife.]
[Sidenote: Its success.]

At length the wife of Marius, who was Caesar's aunt, died. She had lived
in obscurity since her husband's proscription and death, his party
having been put down so effectually that it was dangerous to appear to
be her friend. Caesar, however, made preparations for a magnificent
funeral for her. There was a place in the Forum, a sort of pulpit, where
public orators were accustomed to stand in addressing the assembly on
great occasions. This pulpit was adorned with the brazen beaks of ships
which had been taken by the Romans in former wars The name of such a
beak was _rostrum_; in the plural, _rostra_. The pulpit was itself,
therefore, called the _Rostra_, that is, The Beaks; and the people were
addressed from it on great public occasions.[2] Caesar pronounced a
splendid panegyric upon the wife of Marius, at this her funeral, from
the Rostra, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators, and he
had the boldness to bring out and display to the people certain
household images of Marius, which had been concealed from view ever
since his death. Producing them again on such an occasion was annulling,
so far as a public orator could do it, the sentence of condemnation
which Sylla and the patrician party had pronounced against him, and
bringing him forward again as entitled to public admiration and
applause. The patrician partisans who were present attempted to rebuke
this bold maneuver with expressions of disapprobation, but these
expressions were drowned in the loud and long-continued bursts of
applause with which the great mass of the assembled multitude hailed and
sanctioned it. The experiment was very bold and very hazardous, but it
was triumphantly successful.

[Footnote 2: In modern books this pulpit is sometimes called the
Rostrum, using the word in the singular.]

[Sidenote: Caesar's oration on his wife.]
[Sidenote: Alarm of the patricians.]

A short time after this Caesar had another opportunity for delivering a
funeral oration; it was in the case of his own wife, the daughter of
Cinna, who had been the colleague and coadjutor of Marius during the
days of his power. It was not usual to pronounce such panegyrics upon
Roman ladies unless they had attained to an advanced age. Caesar,
however, was disposed to make the case of his own wife an exception to
the ordinary rule. He saw in the occasion an opportunity to give a new
impulse to the popular cause, and to make further progress in gaining
the popular favor. The experiment was successful in this instance too.
The people were pleased at the apparent affection which his action
evinced; and as Cornelia was the daughter of Cinna, he had opportunity,
under pretext of praising the birth and parentage of the deceased, to
laud the men whom Sylla's party had outlawed and destroyed. In a word,
the patrician party saw with anxiety and dread that Caesar was rapidly
consolidating and organizing, and bringing back to its pristine strength
and vigor, a party whose restoration to power would of course involve
their own political, and perhaps personal ruin.

[Sidenote: Caesar in office.]
[Sidenote: Shows and entertainments.]

Caesar began soon to receive appointments to public office, and thus
rapidly increased his influence and power. Public officers and
candidates for office were accustomed in those days to expend great sums
of money in shows and spectacles to amuse the people. Caesar went beyond
all limits in these expenditures. He brought gladiators from distant
provinces, and trained them at great expense, to fight in the enormous
amphitheaters of the city, in the midst of vast assemblies of men. Wild
beasts were procured also from the forests of Africa, and brought over
in great numbers, under his direction, that the people might be
entertained by their combats with captives taken in war, who were
reserved for this dreadful fate. Caesar gave, also, splendid
entertainments, of the most luxurious and costly character, and he
mingled with his guests at these entertainments, and with the people at
large on other occasions, in so complaisant and courteous a manner as to
gain universal favor.

[Sidenote: Caesar's extravagances.]
[Sidenote: His embarrassments.]

He soon, by these means, not only exhausted all his own pecuniary
resources, but plunged himself enormously into debt. It was not
difficult for such a man in those days to procure an almost unlimited
credit for such purposes as these, for every one knew that, if he
finally succeeded in placing himself, by means of the popularity thus
acquired, in stations of power, he could soon indemnify himself and all
others who had aided him. The peaceful merchants, and artisans, and
husbandmen of the distant provinces over which he expected to rule,
would yield the revenues necessary to fill the treasuries thus
exhausted. Still, Caesar's expenditures were so lavish, and the debts he
incurred were so enormous, that those who had not the most unbounded
confidence in his capacity and his powers believed him irretrievably

The particulars, however, of these difficulties, and the manner in which
Caesar contrived to extricate himself from them, will be more fully
detailed in the next chapter.



[Sidenote: Caesar's rise to power.]

From this time, which was about sixty-seven years before the birth of
Christ, Caesar remained for nine years generally at Rome, engaged there
in a constant struggle for power. He was successful in these efforts,
rising all the time from one position of influence and honor to another,
until he became altogether the most prominent and powerful man in the
city. A great many incidents are recorded, as attending these contests,
which illustrate in a very striking manner the strange mixture of rude
violence and legal formality by which Rome was in those days governed.

[Sidenote: Government of Rome.]
[Sidenote: Bribery and corruption.]
[Sidenote: Public amusements.]

Many of the most important offices of the state depended upon the votes
of the people; and as the people had very little opportunity to become
acquainted with the real merits of the case in respect to questions of
government, they gave their votes very much according to the personal
popularity of the candidate. Public men had very little moral principle
in those days, and they would accordingly resort to any means whatever
to procure this personal popularity. They who wanted office were
accustomed to bribe influential men among the people to support them,
sometimes by promising them subordinate offices, and sometimes by the
direct donation of sums of money; and they would try to please the mass
of the people, who were too numerous to be paid with offices or with
gold, by shows and spectacles, and entertainments of every kind which
they would provide for their amusement.

This practice seems to us very absurd; and we wonder that the Roman
people should tolerate it, since it is evident that the means for
defraying these expenses must come, ultimately, in some way or other,
from them. And yet, absurd as it seems, this sort of policy is not
wholly disused even in our day. The operas and the theaters, and other
similar establishments in France, are sustained, in part, by the
government; and the liberality and efficiency with which this is done,
forms, in some degree, the basis of the popularity of each succeeding
administration. The plan is better systematized and regulated in our
day, but it is, in its nature, substantially the same.

[Sidenote: Amusements for the people.]

In fact, furnishing amusements for the people, and also providing
supplies for their wants, as well as affording them protection, were
considered the legitimate objects of government in those days. It is
very different at the present time, and especially in this country. The
whole community are now united in the desire to confine the functions of
government within the narrowest possible limits, such as to include only
the preservation of public order and public safety. The people prefer to
supply their own wants and to provide their own enjoyments, rather than
to invest government with the power to do it for them, knowing very well
that, on the latter plan, the burdens they will have to bear, though
concealed for a time, must be doubled in the end.

[Sidenote: Provided by the government.]
[Sidenote: How the people were supported.]
[Sidenote: Agrarian laws.]

It must not be forgotten, however, that there were some reasons in the
days of the Romans for providing public amusements for the people on an
extended scale which do not exist now. They had very few facilities then
for the private and separate enjoyments of home, so that they were much
more inclined than the people of this country are now to seek pleasure
abroad and in public. The climate, too, mild and genial nearly all the
year, favored this. Then they were not interested, as men are now, in
the pursuits and avocations of private industry. The people of Rome were
not a community of merchants, manufacturers, and citizens, enriching
themselves, and adding to the comforts and enjoyments of the rest of
mankind by the products of their labor. They were supported, in a great
measure, by the proceeds of the tribute of foreign provinces, and by the
plunder taken by the generals in the name of the state in foreign wars.
From the same source, too--foreign conquest--captives were brought home,
to be trained as gladiators to amuse them with their combats, and
statues and paintings to ornament the public buildings of the city. In
the same manner, large quantities of corn, which had been taken in the
provinces, were often distributed at Rome. And sometimes even land
itself, in large tracts, which had been confiscated by the state, or
otherwise taken from the original possessors, was divided among the
people. The laws enacted from time to time for this purpose were called
Agrarian laws; and the phrase afterward passed into a sort of proverb,
inasmuch as plans proposed in modern times for conciliating the favor of
the populace by sharing among them property belonging to the state or to
the rich, are designated by the name of _Agrarianism_.

[Sidenote: Government of Rome.]
[Sidenote: Its foreign policy.]

Thus Rome was a city supported, in a great measure, by the fruits of its
conquests, that is, in a certain sense, by plunder. It was a vast
community most efficiently and admirably organized for this purpose; and
yet it would not be perfectly just to designate the people simply as a
band of robbers. They rendered, in some sense, an equivalent for what
they took, in establishing and enforcing a certain organization of
society throughout the world, and in preserving a sort of public order
and peace. They built cities, they constructed aqueducts and roads; they
formed harbors, and protected them by piers and by castles; they
protected commerce, and cultivated the arts, and encouraged literature,
and enforced a general quiet and peace among mankind, allowing of no
violence or war except what they themselves created. Thus they
_governed_ the world, and they felt, as all governors of mankind always
do, fully entitled to supply themselves with the comforts and
conveniences of life, in consideration of the service which they
thus rendered.

[Sidenote: Caesar's policy.]

Of course, it was to be expected that they would sometimes quarrel among
themselves about the spoils. Ambitious men were always arising, eager to
obtain opportunities to make fresh conquests, and to bring home new
supplies, and those who were most successful in making the results of
their conquests available in adding to the wealth and to the public
enjoyments of the city, would, of course, be most popular with the
voters. Hence extortion in the provinces, and the most profuse and
lavish expenditure in the city, became the policy which every great man
must pursue to rise to power.

[Sidenote: His success.]

Caesar entered into this policy with his whole soul, founding all his
hopes of success upon the favor of the populace. Of course, he had many
rivals and opponents among the patrician ranks, and in the Senate, and
they often impeded and thwarted his plans and measures for a time,
though he always triumphed in the end.

[Sidenote: He is made quaestor.]
[Sidenote: Caesar leaves Spain.]
[Sidenote: His project.]

One of the first offices of importance to which he attained was that of
_quaestor_, as it was called, which office called him away from Rome
into the province of Spain, making him the second in command there. The
officer first in command in the province was, in this instance, a
praetor. During his absence in Spain, Caesar replenished in some degree
his exhausted finances, but he soon became very much discontented with
so subordinate a position. His discontent was greatly increased by his
coming unexpectedly, one day, at a city then called Hades--the present
Cadiz--upon a statue of Alexander, which adorned one of the public
edifices there. Alexander died when he was only about thirty years of
age, having before that period made himself master of the world. Caesar
was himself now about thirty-five years of age, and it made him very sad
to reflect that, though he had lived five years longer than Alexander,
he had yet accomplished so little. He was thus far only the second in a
province, while he burned with an insatiable ambition to be the first in
Rome. The reflection made him so uneasy that he left his post before his
time expired, and went back to Rome, forming, on the way, desperate
projects for getting power there.

[Sidenote: Caesar accused of treason.]

His rivals and enemies accused him of various schemes, more or less
violent and treasonable in their nature, but how justly it is not now
possible to ascertain. They alleged that one of his plans was to join
some of the neighboring colonies, whose inhabitants wished to be
admitted to the freedom of the city, and, making common cause with them,
to raise an armed force and take possession of Rome. It was said that,
to prevent the accomplishment of this design, an army which they had
raised for the purpose of an expedition against the Cilician pirates was
detained from its march, and that Caesar, seeing that the government
were on their guard against him, abandoned the plan.

They also charged him with having formed, after this, a plan within the
city for assassinating the senators in the senate house, and then
usurping, with his fellow-conspirators, the supreme power. Crassus, who
was a man of vast wealth and a great friend of Caesar's, was associated
with him in this plot, and was to have been made dictator if it had
succeeded. But, notwithstanding the brilliant prize with which Caesar
attempted to allure Crassus to the enterprise, his courage failed him
when the time for action arrived. Courage and enterprise, in fact, ought
not to be expected of the rich; they are the virtues of poverty.

[Sidenote: He is made aedile.]
[Sidenote: Gladiatorial shows.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's increasing popularity.]

Though the Senate were thus jealous and suspicious of Caesar, and were
charging him continually with these criminal designs, the people were on
his side; and the more he was hated by the great, the more strongly he
became intrenched in the popular favor. They chose him _aedile_. The
aedile had the charge of the public edifices of the city, and of the
games spectacles, and shows which were exhibited in them. Caesar
entered with great zeal into the discharge of the duties of this office.
He made arrangements for the entertainment of the people on the most
magnificent scale, and made great additions and improvements to the
public buildings, constructing porticoes and piazzas around the areas
where his gladiatorial shows and the combats with wild beasts were to be
exhibited. He provided gladiators in such numbers, and organized and
arranged them in such a manner, ostensibly for their training, that his
enemies among the nobility pretended to believe that he was intending to
use them as an armed force against the government of the city. They
accordingly made laws limiting and restricting the number of the
gladiators to be employed. Caesar then exhibited his shows on the
reduced scale which the new laws required, taking care that the people
should understand to whom the responsibility for this reduction in the
scale of their pleasures belonged. They, of course, murmured against the
Senate, and Caesar stood higher in their favor than ever.

[Sidenote: Caesar thwarted.]
[Sidenote: His resentment.]
[Sidenote: The statutes of Marius restored.]
[Sidenote: Rage of the patricians.]

He was getting, however, by these means, very deeply involved in debt;
and, in order partly to retrieve his fortunes in this respect, he made
an attempt to have Egypt assigned to him as a province. Egypt was then
an immensely rich and fertile country. It had, however, never been a
Roman province. It was an independent kingdom, in alliance with the
Romans, and Caesar's proposal that it should be assigned to him as a
province appeared very extraordinary. His pretext was, that the people
of Egypt had recently deposed and expelled their king, and that,
consequently, the Romans might properly take possession of it. The
Senate, however, resisted this plan, either from jealousy of Caesar or
from a sense of justice to Egypt; and, after a violent contest, Caesar
found himself compelled to give up the design. He felt, however, a
strong degree of resentment against the patrician party who had thus
thwarted his designs. Accordingly, in order to avenge himself upon them,
he one night replaced certain statues and trophies of Marius in the
Capitol, which had been taken down by order of Sylla when he returned to
power. Marius, as will be recollected, had been the great champion of
the popular party, and the enemy of the patricians; and, at the time of
his down-fall, all the memorials of his power and greatness had been
every where removed from Rome, and among them these statues and
trophies, which had been erected in the Capitol in commemoration of some
former victories, and had remained there until Sylla's triumph, when
they were taken down and destroyed. Caesar now ordered new ones to be
made, far more magnificent than before. They were made secretly, and put
up in the night. His office as aedile gave him the necessary authority.
The next morning, when the people saw these splendid monuments of their
great favorite restored, the whole city was animated with excitement and
joy. The patricians, on the other hand, were filled with vexation and
rage. "Here is a single officer," said they, "who is attempting to
restore, by his individual authority, what has been formally abolished
by a decree of the Senate. He is trying to see how much we will bear. If
he finds that we will submit to this, he will attempt bolder measures
still." They accordingly commenced a movement to have the statues and
trophies taken down again, but the people rallied in vast numbers in
defense of them. They made the Capitol ring with their shouts of
applause; and the Senate, finding their power insufficient to cope with
so great a force, gave up the point, and Caesar gained the day.

[Sidenote: The Good Goddess.]

Caesar had married another wife after the death of Cornelia. Her name
was Pompeia, He divorced Pompeia about this time, under very
extraordinary circumstances. Among the other strange religious
ceremonies and celebrations which were observed in those days, was one
called the celebration of the mysteries of the Good Goddess. This
celebration was held by females alone, every thing masculine being most
carefully excluded. Even the pictures of men, if there were any upon the
walls of the house where the assembly was held, were covered. The
persons engaged spent the night together in music and dancing and
various secret ceremonies, half pleasure, half worship, according to the
ideas and customs of the time.

[Sidenote: Clodius.]
[Sidenote: Caesar divorces his wife.]

The mysteries of the Good Goddess were to be celebrated one night at
Caesar's house, he himself having, of course, withdrawn. In the
middle of the night, the whole company in one of the apartments were
thrown into consternation at finding that one of their number was a man.
He had a smooth and youthful-looking face, and was very perfectly
disguised in the dress of a female. He proved to be a certain Clodius, a
very base and dissolute young man, though of great wealth and high
connections. He had been admitted by a female slave of Pompeia's, whom
he had succeeded in bribing. It was suspected that it was with Pompeia's
concurrence. At any rate, Caesar immediately divorced his wife. The
Senate ordered an inquiry into the affair, and, after the other members
of the household had given their testimony, Caesar himself was called
upon, but he had nothing to say. He knew nothing about it. They asked
him, then, why he had divorced Pompeia, unless he had some evidence for
believing her guilty, He replied, that a wife of Caesar must not only be
without crime, but without suspicion.

[Sidenote: Quarrel of Clodius and Milo.]
[Sidenote: Violence of the time.]

Clodius was a very desperate and lawless character, and his subsequent
history shows, in a striking point of view, the degree of violence and
disorder which reigned in those times. He became involved in a bitter
contention with another citizen whose name was Milo, and each, gaining
as many adherents as he could, at length drew almost the whole city into
their quarrel. Whenever they went out, they were attended with armed
bands, which were continually in danger of coming into collision. The
collision at last came, quite a battle was fought, and Clodius was
killed. This made the difficulty worse than it was before. Parties were
formed, and violent disputes arose on the question of bringing Milo to
trial for the alleged murder. He was brought to trial at last, but so
great was the public excitement, that the consuls for the time
surrounded and filled the whole Forum with armed men while the trial was
proceeding, to ensure the safety of the court.

[Sidenote: Conspiracy of Catiline.]
[Sidenote: Warm debate in the Senate.]
[Sidenote: Caesar in danger of violence.]

In fact, violence mingled itself continually, in those times, with
almost all public proceedings, whenever any special combination of
circumstances occurred to awaken unusual excitement. At one time, when
Caesar was in office, a very dangerous conspiracy was brought to light,
which was headed by the notorious Catiline. It was directed chiefly
against the Senate and the higher departments of the government; it
contemplated, in fact, their utter destruction, and the establishment of
an entirely new government on the ruins of the existing constitution.
Caesar was himself accused of a participation in this plot. When it was
discovered, Catiline himself fled; some of the other conspirators were,
however, arrested, and there was a long and very excited debate in the
Senate on the question of their punishment. Some were for death. Caesar,
however, very earnestly opposed this plan, recommending, instead, the
confiscation of the estates of the conspirators, and their imprisonment
in some of the distant cities of Italy. The dispute grew very warm,
Caesar urging his point with great perseverance and determination, and
with a degree of violence which threatened seriously to obstruct the
proceedings, when a body of armed men, a sort of guard of honor
stationed there, gathered around him, and threatened him with their
swords. Quite a scene of disorder and terror ensued. Some of the
senators arose hastily and fled from the vicinity of Caesar's seat to
avoid the danger. Others, more courageous, or more devoted in their
attachment to him, gathered around him to protect him, as far as they
could, by interposing their bodies between his person and the weapons of
his assailants. Caesar soon left the Senate, and for a long time would
return to it no more.

[Sidenote: Caesar's struggle for the office of pontifex maximus.]

Although Caesar was all this time, on the whole, rising in influence and
power, there were still fluctuations in his fortune, and the tide
sometimes, for a short period, went strongly against him. He was at one
time, when greatly involved in debt, and embarrassed in all his affairs,
a candidate for a very high office, that of Pontifex Maximus, or
sovereign pontiff. The office of the pontifex was originally that of
building and keeping custody of the bridges of the city, the name being
derived from the Latin word _pons_, which signifies bridge. To this,
however, had afterward been added the care of the temples, and finally
the regulation and control of the ceremonies of religion, so that it
came in the end to be an office of the highest dignity and honor. Caesar
made the most desperate efforts to secure his election, resorting to
such measures, expending such sums, and involving himself in debt to
such an extreme, that, if he failed, he would be irretrievably ruined.
His mother, sympathizing with him in his anxiety, kissed him when he
went away from the house on the morning of the election, and bade hem
farewell with tears. He told her that he should come home that night the
pontiff, or he should never come home at all. He succeeded in gaining
the election.

[Sidenote: He is deposed.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's forbearance.]
[Sidenote: He is restored to office.]

At one time Caesar was actually deposed from a high office which he
held, by a decree of the Senate. He determined to disregard this decree,
and go on in the discharge of his office as usual. But the Senate, whose
ascendency was now, for some reason, once more established, prepared to
prevent him by force of arms. Caesar, finding that he was not
sustained, gave up the contest, put off his robes of office, and went
home. Two days afterward a reaction occurred. A mass of the populace
came together to his house, and offered their assistance to restore his
rights and vindicate his honor. Caesar, however, contrary to what every
one would have expected of him, exerted his influence to calm and quiet
the mob, and then sent them away, remaining himself in private as
before. The Senate had been alarmed at the first outbreak of the tumult,
and a meeting had been suddenly convened to consider what measures to
adopt in such a crisis. When, however, they found that Caesar had
himself interposed, and by his own personal influence had saved the city
from the danger which threatened it, they were so strongly impressed
with a sense of his forbearance and generosity, that they sent for him
to come to the senate house, and, after formally expressing their
thanks, they canceled their former vote, and restored him to his office
again. This change in the action of the Senate does not, however,
necessarily indicate so great a change of individual sentiment as one
might at first imagine. There was, undoubtedly, a large minority who
were averse to his being deposed in the first instance but, being
outvoted, the decree of deposition was passed. Others were, perhaps,
more or less doubtful. Caesar's generous forbearance in refusing the
offered aid of the populace carried over a number of these sufficient to
shift the majority, and thus the action of the body was reversed. It is
in this way that the sudden and apparently total changes in the action
of deliberative assemblies which often take place, and which would
otherwise, in some cases, be almost incredible, are to be explained.

[Sidenote: Caesar implicated in Catiline's conspiracy.]
[Sidenote: He arrests Vettius.]

After this, Caesar became involved in another difficulty, in consequence
of the appearance of some definite and positive evidence that he was
connected with Catiline in his famous conspiracy. One of the senators
said that Catiline himself had informed him that Caesar was one of the
accomplices of the plot. Another witness, named Vettius, laid an
information against Caesar before a Roman magistrate, and offered to
produce Caesar's handwriting in proof of his participation in the
conspirator's designs Caesar was very much incensed, and his manner of
vindicating himself from these serious charges was as singular as many
of his other deeds. He arrested Vettius, and sentenced him to pay a
heavy fine, and to be imprisoned; and he contrived also to expose him,
in the course of the proceedings, to the mob in the Forum, who were
always ready to espouse Caesar's cause, and who, on this occasion, beat
Vettius so unmercifully, that he barely escaped with his life. The
magistrate, too, was thrown into prison for having dared to take an
information against a superior officer.

[Sidenote: Caesar's embarrassment.]
[Sidenote: Spain is assigned to him.]

At last Caesar became so much involved in debt, through the boundless
extravagance of his expenditures, that something must be done to
replenish his exhausted finances. He had, however, by this time, risen
so high in official influence and power, that he succeeded in having
Spain assigned to him as his province, and he began to make preparations
to proceed to it. His creditors, however, interposed, unwilling to let
him go without giving them security. In this dilemma, Caesar succeeded
in making an arrangement with Crassus, who has already been spoken of as
a man of unbounded wealth and great ambition, but not possessed of any
considerable degree of intellectual power. Crassus consented to give the
necessary security, with an understanding that Caesar was to repay him
by exerting his political influence in his favor. So soon as this
arrangement was made, Caesar set off in a sudden and private manner, as
if he expected that otherwise some new difficulty would intervene.

[Sidenote: The Swiss hamlet.]

He went to Spain by land, passing through Switzerland on the way. He
stopped with his attendants one night at a very insignificant village of
shepherds' huts among the mountains. Struck with the poverty and
worthlessness of all they saw in this wretched hamlet, Caesar's friends
were wondering whether the jealousy, rivalry, and ambition which reigned
among men every where else in the world could find any footing there,
when Caesar told them that, for his part, he should rather choose to be
first in such a village as that than the second at Rome. The story has
been repeated a thousand times, and told to every successive generation
now for nearly twenty centuries, as an illustration of the peculiar type
and character of the ambition which controls such a soul as that
of Caesar.

[Sidenote: Caesar's ambition.]

Caesar was very successful in the administration of his province; that
is to say, he returned in a short time with considerable military glory,
and with money enough to pay all his debts, and famish him with means
for fresh electioneering.

[Sidenote: Manner of choosing the consuls.]
[Sidenote: Pompey and Crassus.]

He now felt strong enough to aspire to the office of consul, which was
the highest office of the Roman state. When the line of kings had been
deposed, the Romans had vested the supreme magistracy in the hands of
two consuls, who were chosen annually in a general election, the
formalities of which were all very carefully arranged. The current of
popular opinion was, of course, in Caesar's favor, but he had many
powerful rivals and enemies among the great, who, however, hated and
opposed each other as well as him. There was at that time a very bitter
feud between Pompey and Crassus, each of them struggling for power
against the efforts of the other. Pompey possessed great influence
through his splendid abilities and his military renown. Crassus, as has
already been stated, was powerful through his wealth. Caesar, who had
some influence with them both, now conceived the bold design of
reconciling them, and then of availing himself of their united aid in
accomplishing his own particular ends.

[Sidenote: The first triumvirate.]

He succeeded perfectly well in this management. He represented to them
that, by contending against each other, they only exhausted their own
powers, and strengthened the arms of their common enemies. He proposed
to them to unite with one another and with him, and thus make common
cause to promote their common interest and advancement. They willingly
acceded to this plan, and a triple league was accordingly formed, in
which they each bound themselves to promote, by every means in his
power, the political elevation of the others, and not to take any public
step or adopt any measures without the concurrence of the three. Caesar
faithfully observed the obligations of this league so long as he could
use his two associates to promote his own ends, and then he
abandoned it.

[Sidenote: Caesar a candidate for the consulship.]

Having, however, completed this arrangement, he was now prepared to push
vigorously his claims to be elected consul. He associated with his own
name that of Lucceius, who was a man of great wealth, and who agreed to
defray the expenses of the election for the sake of the honor of being
consul with Caesar. Caesar's enemies, however, knowing that they
probably could not prevent his election, determined to concentrate their
strength in the effort to prevent his having the colleague he desired.
They made choice, therefore, of a certain Bibulus as their candidate.
Bibulus had always been a political opponent of Caesar's, and they
thought that, by associating him with Caesar in the supreme magistracy,
the pride and ambition of their great adversary might be held somewhat
in check. They accordingly made a contribution among themselves to
enable Bibulus to expend as much money in bribery as Lucceius, and the
canvass went on.

[Sidenote: Caesar assumes the whole power.]
[Sidenote: He imprisons Cato.]

It resulted in the election of Caesar and Bibulus. They entered upon the
duties of their office; but Caesar, almost entirely disregarding his
colleague, began to assume the whole power, and proposed and carried
measure after measure of the most extraordinary character, all aiming at
the gratification of the populace. He was at first opposed violently
both by Bibulus and by many leading members of the Senate, especially by
Cato, a stern and inflexible patriot, whom neither fear of danger nor
hope of reward could move from what he regarded his duty. But Caesar was
now getting strong enough to put down the opposition which he
encountered with out much scruple as to the means. He ordered Cato on
one occasion to be arrested in the Senate and sent to prison. Another
influential member of the Senate rose and was going out with him. Caesar
asked him where he was going. He said he was going with Cato. He would
rather, he said, be with Cato in prison, than in the Senate with Caesar.

[Sidenote: Bibulus retires to his house.]
[Sidenote: The year of "Julius and Caesar."]

Caesar treated Bibulus also with so much neglect, and assumed so
entirely the whole control of the consular power, to the utter exclusion
of his colleague, that Bibulus at last, completely discouraged and
chagrined, abandoned all pretension to official authority, retired to
his house, and shut himself up in perfect seclusion, leaving Caesar to
his own way. It was customary among the Romans, in their historical and
narrative writings, to designate the successive years, not by a
numerical date as with us, but by the names of the consuls who held
office in them. Thus, in the time of Caesar's consulship, the phrase
would have been, "In the year of Caesar and Bibulus, consuls," according
to the ordinary usage; but the wags of the city, in order to make sport
of the assumptions of Caesar and the insignificance of Bibulus, used to
say, "In the year of Julius and Caesar, consuls," rejecting the name of
Bibulus altogether, and taking the two names of Caesar to make out the
necessary duality.



[Sidenote: Caesar aspires to be a soldier.]
[Sidenote: His success and celebrity.]

In attaining to the consulship, Caesar had reached the highest point of
elevation which it was possible to reach as a mere citizen of Rome. His
ambition was, however, of course, not satisfied. The only way to acquire
higher distinction and to rise to higher power was to enter upon a
career of foreign conquest. Caesar therefore aspired now to be a
soldier. He accordingly obtained the command of an army, and entered
upon a course of military campaigns in the heart of Europe, which he
continued for eight years. These eight years constitute one of the most
important and strongly-marked periods of his life. He was triumphantly
successful in his military career, and he made, accordingly, a vast
accession to his celebrity and power, in his own day, by the results of
his campaigns. He also wrote, himself, an account of his adventures
during this period, in which the events are recorded in so lucid and in
so eloquent a manner, that the narrations have continued to be read by
every successive generation of scholars down to the present day, and
they have had a great influence in extending and perpetuating his fame.

[Sidenote: Scenes of Caesar's exploits.]
[Sidenote: Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul.]

The principal scenes of the exploits which Caesar performed during the
period of this his first great military career, were the north of Italy,
Switzerland, France, Germany, and England, a great tract of country,
nearly all of which he overran and conquered. A large portion of this
territory was called Gaul in those days; the part on the Italian side of
the Alps being named Cisalpine Gaul, while that which lay beyond was
designated as Transalpine. Transalpine Gaul was substantially what is
now France. There was a part of Transalpine Gaul which had been already
conquered and reduced to a Roman province. It was called The Province
then, and has retained the name, with a slight change in orthography, to
the present day. It is now known as Provence.

[Sidenote: Condition of Gaul in Caesar's day.]
[Sidenote: Singular cavalry.]

The countries which Caesar went to invade were occupied by various
nations and tribes, many of which were well organized and war-like, and
some of them were considerably civilized and wealthy. They had extended
tracts of cultivated land, the slopes of the hills and the mountain
sides being formed into green pasturages, which were covered with flocks
of goats, and sheep, and herds of cattle, while the smoother and more
level tracts were adorned with smiling vineyards and broadly-extended
fields of waving grain. They had cities, forts, ships, and armies. Their
manners and customs would be considered somewhat rude by modern nations,
and some of their usages of war were half barbarian. For example, in one
of the nations which Caesar encountered, he found, as he says in his
narrative, a corps of cavalry, as a constituent part of the army, in
which, to every horse, there were _two_ men, one the rider, and the
other a sort of foot soldier and attendant. If the battle went against
them, and the squadron were put to their speed in a retreat, these
footmen would cling to the manes-of the horses, and then, half running,
half flying, they would be borne along over the field, thus keeping
always at the side of their comrades, and escaping with them to a place
of safety.

[Sidenote: Caesar's plans.]

But, although the Romans were inclined to consider these nations as only
half civilized, still there would be great glory, as Caesar thought, in
subduing them, and probably great treasure would be secured in the
conquest, both by the plunder and confiscation of governmental
property, and by the tribute which would be collected in taxes from the
people of the countries subdued. Caesar accordingly placed himself at
the head of an army of three Roman legions, which he contrived, by means
of a great deal of political maneuvering and management, to have raised
and placed under his command. One of these legions, which was called the
tenth legion, was his favorite corps, on account of the bravery and
hardihood which they often displayed. At the head of these legions,
Caesar set out for Gaul. He was at this time not far from forty years
of age.

[Sidenote: His pretexts.]

Caesar had no difficulty in finding pretexts for making war upon any of
these various nations that he might desire to subdue. They were, of
course, frequently at war with each other, and there were at all times
standing topics of controversy and unsettled disputes among them. Caesar
had, therefore, only to draw near to the scene of contention, and then
to take sides with one party or the other, it mattered little with
which, for the affair almost always resulted, in the end, in his making
himself master of both. The manner, however, in which this sort of
operation was performed, can best be illustrated by an example, and we
will take for the purpose the case of Ariovistus.

[Sidenote: Ariovistus.]
[Sidenote: The Aeduans.]

Ariovistus was a German king. He had been nominally a sort of ally of
the Romans. He had extended his conquests across the Rhine into Gaul,
and he held some nations there as his tributaries. Among these, the
Aeduans were a prominent party, and, to simplify the account, we will
take their name as the representative of all who were concerned. When
Caesar came into the region of the Aeduans, he entered into some
negotiations with them, in which they, as he alleges, asked his
assistance to enable them to throw off the dominion of their German
enemy. It is probable, in fact, that there was some proposition of this
kind from them, for Caesar had abundant means of inducing them to make
it, if he was disposed, and the receiving of such a communication
furnished the most obvious and plausible pretext to authorize and
justify his interposition.

Caesar accordingly sent a messenger across the Rhine to Ariovistus,
saying that he wished to have an interview with him on business of
importance, and asking him to name a time which would be convenient to
him for the interview, and also to appoint some place in Gaul where he
would attend.

[Sidenote: Caesar's negotiations with Ariovistus.]

To this Ariovistus replied, that if he had, himself, any business with
Caesar, he would have waited upon him to propose it; and, in the same
manner, if Caesar wished to see him, he must come into his own
dominions. He said that it would not be safe for him to come into Gaul
without an army, and that it was not convenient for him to raise and
equip an army for such a purpose at that time.

[Sidenote: His message.]

Caesar sent again to Ariovistus to say, that since he was so unmindful
of his obligations to the Roman people as to refuse an interview with
him on business of common interest, he would state the particulars that
he required of him. The Aeduans, he said, were now his allies, and under
his protection; and Ariovistus must send back the hostages which he held
from them, and bind himself henceforth not to send any more troops
across the Rhine, nor make war upon the Aeduans, or injure them in any
way. If he complied with these terms, all would be well. If he did not,
Caesar said that he should not himself disregard the just complaints of
his allies.

[Sidenote: Ariovistus's spirited reply to Caesar.]

Ariovistus had no fear of Caesar. Caesar had, in fact, thus far, not
begun to acquire the military renown to which he afterward attained
Ariovistus had, therefore, no particular cause to dread his power. He
sent him back word that he did not understand why Caesar should
interfere between him and his conquered province.

"The Aeduans," said he, "tried the fortune of war with me, and were
overcome; and they must abide the issue. The Romans manage their
conquered provinces as they judge proper, without holding themselves
accountable to any one. I shall do the same with mine. All that I can
say is, that so long as the Aeduans submit peaceably to my authority,
and pay their tribute, I shall not molest them; as to your threat that
you shall not disregard their complaints, you must know that no one has
ever made war upon me but to his own destruction, and, if you wish to
see how it will turn out in your case, you may make the experiment
whenever you please."

[Sidenote: Preparations for war.]

Both parties immediately prepared for war. Ariovistus, instead of
waiting to be attacked, assembled his army, crossed the Rhine, and
advanced into the territories from which Caesar had undertaken to
exclude him.

[Sidenote: Panic in the Roman army.]

As Caesar, however, began to make his arrangements for putting his army
in motion to meet his approaching enemy, there began to circulate
throughout the camp such extraordinary stories of the terrible strength
and courage of the German soldiery as to produce a very general panic.
So great, at length, became the anxiety and alarm, that even the
officers were wholly dejected and discouraged; and as for the men, they
were on the very eve of mutiny.

[Sidenote: Caesar's address.]

When Caesar understood this state of things, he called an assembly of
the troops, and made an address to them. He told them that he was
astonished to learn to what an extent an unworthy despondency and fear
had taken possession of their minds, and how little confidence they
reposed in him, their general. And then, after some further remarks
about the duty of a soldier to be ready to go wherever his commander
leads him, and presenting also some considerations in respect to the
German troops with which they were going to contend, in order to show
them that they had no cause to fear, he ended by saying that he had not
been fully decided as to the time of marching, but that now he had
concluded to give orders for setting out the next morning at three
o'clock, that he might learn, as soon as possible, who were too cowardly
to follow him. He would go himself, he said, if he was attended by the
tenth legion alone He was sure that they would not shrink from any
undertaking in which he led the way.

[Sidenote: Effect of Caesar's address.]
[Sidenote: Proposals for an interview.]

The soldiers, moved partly by shame, partly by the decisive and
commanding tone which their general assumed, and partly reassured by the
courage and confidence which he seemed to feel, laid aside their fears,
and vied with each other henceforth in energy and ardor. The armies
approached each other. Ariovistus sent to Caesar, saying that now, if he
wished it, he was ready for an interview. Caesar acceded to the
suggestion, and the arrangements for a conference were made, each party,
as usual in such cases, taking every precaution to guard against the
treachery of the other.

Between the two camps there was a rising ground, in the middle of an
open plain, where it was decided that the conference should be held.
Ariovistus proposed that neither party should bring any foot soldiers to
the place of meeting, but cavalry alone; and that these bodies of
cavalry, brought by the respective generals, should remain at the foot
of the eminence on either side, while Caesar and Ariovistus themselves,
attended each by only ten followers on horseback, should ascend it. This
plan was acceded to by Caesar, and a long conference was held in this
way between the two generals, as they sat upon their horses, on the
summit of the hill.

[Sidenote: Conference between Caesar and Ariovistus.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's messenger seized.]

The two generals, in their discussion, only repeated in substance what
they had said in their embassages before, and made no progress toward
coming to an understanding. At length Caesar closed the conference and
withdrew. Some days afterward Ariovistus sent a request to Caesar,
asking that he would appoint another interview, or else that he would
depute one of his officers to proceed to Ariovistus's camp and receive a
communication which he wished to make to him. Caesar concluded not to
grant another interview, and he did not think it prudent to send any one
of his principal officers as an embassador, for fear that he might be
treacherously seized and held as a hostage. He accordingly sent an
ordinary messenger, accompanied by one or two men. These men were all
seized and put in irons as soon as they reached the camp of Ariovistus,
and Caesar now prepared in earnest for giving his enemy battle.

[Sidenote: Defeat of the Germans.]

He proved himself as skillful and efficient in arranging and managing
the combat as he had been sagacious and adroit in the negotiations which
preceded it. Several days were spent in maneuvers and movements, by
which each party endeavored to gain some advantage over the other in
respect to their position in the approaching struggle. When at length
the combat came, Caesar and his legions were entirely and triumphantly
successful. The Germans were put totally to flight. Their baggage and
stores were all seized, and the troops themselves fled in dismay by all
the roads which led back to the Rhine; and there those who succeeded in
escaping death from the Romans, who pursued them all the way, embarked
in boats and upon rafts, and returned to their homes. Ariovistus himself
found a small boat, in which, with one or two followers, he succeeded in
getting across the stream.

[Sidenote: Release of Caesar's messenger.]

As Caesar, at the head of a body of his troops, was pursuing the enemy
in this their flight, he overtook one party who had a prisoner with them
confined by iron chains fastened to his limbs, and whom they were
hurrying rapidly along. This prisoner proved to be the messenger that
Caesar had sent to Ariovistus's camp, and whom he had, as Caesar
alleges, treacherously detained. Of course, he was overjoyed to be
recaptured and set at liberty. The man said that three times they had
drawn lots to see whether they should burn him alive then, or reserve
the pleasure for a future occasion, and that every time the lot had
resulted in his favor.

[Sidenote: Results of the victory.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's continued success.]

The consequence of this victory was, that Caesar's authority was
established triumphantly over all that part of Gaul which he had thus
freed from Ariovistus's sway. Other parts of the country, too, were
pervaded by the fame of his exploits, and the people every where began
to consider what action it would be incumbent on them to take, in
respect to the new military power which had appeared so suddenly among
them. Some nations determined to submit without resistance, and to seek
the conqueror's alliance and protection. Others, more bold, or more
confident of their strength, began to form combinations and to arrange
plans for resisting him. But, whatever they did, the result in the end
was the same. Caesar's ascendency was every where and always gaining
ground. Of course, it is impossible in the compass of a single chapter,
which is all that can be devoted to the subject in this volume, to give
any regular narrative of the events of the eight years of Caesar's
military career in Gaul. Marches, negotiations, battles, and victories
mingled with and followed each other in a long succession, the
particulars of which it would require a volume to detail, every thing
resulting most successfully for the increase of Caesar's power and the
extension of his fame.

[Sidenote: Account of northern nations.]
[Sidenote: Their strange customs.]
[Sidenote: Well-trained horses.]

Caesar gives, in his narrative, very extraordinary accounts of the
customs and modes of life of some of the people that he encountered.
There was one country, for example, in which all the lands were common,
and the whole structure of society was based on the plan of forming the
community into one great martial band. The nation was divided into a
hundred cantons, each containing two thousand men capable of bearing
arms. If these were all mustered into service together, they would form,
of course, an army of two hundred thousand men. It was customary,
however, to organize only one half of them into an army, while the rest
remained at home to till the ground and tend the flocks and herds. These
two great divisions interchanged their work every year, the soldiers
becoming husbandmen, and the husbandmen soldiers. Thus they all became
equally inured to the hardships and dangers of the camp, and to the more
continuous but safer labors of agricultural toil. Their fields were
devoted to pasturage more than to tillage, for flocks and herds could be
driven from place to place, and thus more easily preserved from the
depredations of enemies than fields of grain. The children grew up
almost perfectly wild from infancy, and hardened themselves by bathing
in cold streams, wearing very little clothing, and making long hunting
excursions among the mountains. The people had abundance of excellent
horses, which the young men were accustomed, from their earliest years,
to ride without saddle or bridle, the horses being trained to obey
implicitly every command. So admirably disciplined were they, that
sometimes, in battle, the mounted men would leap from their horses and
advance as foot soldiers to aid the other infantry, leaving the horses
to stand until they returned. The horses would not move from the spot;
the men, when the object for which they had dismounted was accomplished,
would come back, spring to their seats again, and once more become a
squadron of cavalry.

[Sidenote: Caesar's popularity with the army.]
[Sidenote: Caesar's military habits.]
[Sidenote: His bridge across the Rhine.]

Although Caesar was very energetic and decided in the government of his
army, he was extremely popular with his soldiers in all these campaigns.
He exposed his men, of course, to a great many privations and hardships,
but then he evinced, in many cases, such a willingness to bear his share
of them, that the men were very little inclined to complain. He moved
at the head of the column when his troops were advancing on a march,
generally on horseback, but often on foot; and Suetonius says that he
used to go bareheaded on such occasions, whatever was the state of the
weather, though it is difficult to see what the motive of this
apparently needless exposure could be, unless it was for effect, on some
special or unusual occasion. Caesar would ford or swim rivers with his
men whenever there was no other mode of transit, sometimes supported, it
was said, by bags inflated with air, and placed under his arms. At one
time he built a bridge across the Rhine, to enable his army to cross
that river. This bridge was built with piles driven down into the sand,
which supported a flooring of timbers. Caesar, considering it quite an
exploit thus to bridge the Rhine, wrote a minute account of the manner
in which the work was constructed, and the description is almost exactly
in accordance with the principles and usages of modern carpentry.

[Sidenote: System of posts.]
[Sidenote: Their great utility.]

After the countries which were the scene of these conquests were pretty
well subdued, Caesar established on some of the great routes of travel a
system of posts, that is, he stationed supplies of horses at intervals
of from ten to twenty miles along the way, so that he himself, or the
officers of his army, or any couriers whore he might have occasion to
send with dispatches could travel with great speed by finding a fresh
horse ready at every stage. By this means he sometimes traveled himself
a hundred miles in a day. This system, thus adopted for military
purposes in Caesar's time, has been continued in almost all countries of
Europe to the present age, and is applied to traveling in carriages as
well as on horseback. A family party purchase a carriage, and arranging
within it all the comforts and conveniences which they will require on
the journey, they set out, taking these post horses, fresh at each
village, to draw them to the next. Thus they can go at any rate of speed
which they desire, instead of being limited in their movements by the
powers of endurance of one set of animals, as they would be compelled to
be if they were to travel with their own. This plan has, for some
reason, never been introduced into America, and it is now probable that
it never will be, as the railway system will doubtless supersede it.

[Sidenote: Caesar's invasion of Britain.]
[Sidenote: His pretext for it.]

One of the most remarkable of the enterprises which Caesar undertook
during the period of these campaigns was his excursion into Great
Britain. The real motive of this expedition was probably a love of
romantic adventure, and a desire to secure for himself at Rome the glory
of having penetrated into remote regions which Roman armies had never
reached before. The pretext, however, which he made to justify his
invading the territories of the Britons was, that the people of the
island were accustomed to come across the Channel and aid the Gauls in
their wars.

[Sidenote: Caesar consults the merchants.]

In forming his arrangements for going into England, the first thing was,
to obtain all the information which was accessible in Gaul in respect to
the country. There were, in those days, great numbers of traveling
merchants, who went from one nation to another to purchase and sell,
taking with them such goods as were most easy of transportation. These
merchants, of course, were generally possessed of a great deal of
information in respect to the countries which they had visited, and
Caesar called together as many of them as he could find, when he had
reached the northern shores of France, to inquire about the modes of
crossing the Channel, the harbors on the English side, the geographical
conformation of the country, and the military resources of the people.
He found, however, that the merchants could give him very little
information. They knew that Britain was an island, but they did not know
its extent or its boundaries; and they could tell him very little of the
character or customs of the people. They said that they had only been
accustomed to land upon the southern shore, and to transact all their
business there, without penetrating at all into the interior of
the country.

[Sidenote: Volusenus.]

Caesar then, who, though undaunted and bold in emergencies requiring
prompt and decisive action, was extremely cautious and wary at all other
times, fitted up a single ship, and, putting one of his officers on
board with a proper crew, directed him to cross the Channel to the
English coast, and then to cruise along the land for some miles in each
direction, to observe where were the best harbors and places for
landing, and to examine generally the appearance of the shore. This
vessel was a galley, manned with numerous oarsmen, well selected and
strong, so that it could retreat with great speed from any sudden
appearance of danger The name of the officer who had the command of it
was Volusenus. Volusenus set sail, the army watching his vessel with
great interest as it moved slowly away from the shore. He was gone five
days, and then returned, bringing Caesar an account of his discoveries.

[Sidenote: Caesar collects vessels.]

In the mean time, Caesar had collected a large number of sailing vessels
from the whole line of the French shore, by means of which he proposed
to transport his army across the Channel. He had two legions to take
into Britain, the remainder of his forces having been stationed as
garrisons in various parts of Gaul. It was necessary, too, to leave a
considerable force at his post of debarkation, in order to secure a safe
retreat in case of any disaster on the British side. The number of
transport ships provided for the foot soldiers which were to be taken
over was eighty. There were, besides these, eighteen more, which were
appointed to convey a squadron of horse. This cavalry force was to
embark at a separate port, about eighty miles distant from the one from
which the infantry were to sail.

[Sidenote: Embarkation of the troops.]

At length a suitable day for the embarkation arrived; the troops were
put on board the ships, and orders were given to sail. The day could not
be fixed beforehand, as the time for attempting to make the passage must
necessarily depend upon the state of the wind and weather. Accordingly,
when the favorable opportunity arrived, and the main body of the army
began to embark it took some time to send the orders to the port where
the cavalry had rendezvoused; and there were, besides, other causes of
delay which occurred to detain this corps, so that it turned out, as we
shall presently see, that the foot soldiers had to act alone in the
first attempt at landing on the British shore.

[Sidenote: Sailing of the fleet.]
[Sidenote: Preparations of the Britons.]

It was one o'clock in the morning when the fleet set sail. The Britons
had, in the mean time, obtained intelligence of Caesar's threatened
invasion, and they had assembled in great force, with troops, and

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest