The Life of Julius Ceasar
De Vita Caesarum
The Lives of the Caesars The Deified Iulius
. IN the course of his sixteenth year [c. 85/84
B.C.] he lost his father. In the next consulate, having previously been nominated priest of Jupiter [by Marius and Cinna,
Cos. 86], he broke his engagement with Cossutia, a lady of only equestrian rank, but very wealthy, who had been betrothed
to him before he assumed the gown of manhood, and married Cornelia, daughter of that Cinna who was four times consul, by whom
he afterwards had a daughter Julia; and the dictator Sulla could by no means force him to put away his wife. Therefore besides
being punished by the loss of his priesthood, his wife's dowry, and his family inheritances, Caesar was held to be one of
the opposite party. He was accordingly forced to go into hiding, and though suffering from a severe attack of quartan ague,
to change from one covert to another almost every night, and save himself from Sulla's detectives by bribes. But at last,
through the good offices of the Vestal virgins and of his near kinsmen, Mamercus Aemilius and Aurelius Cotta, he obtained
forgiveness. Everyone knows that when Sulla had long held out against the most devoted and eminent men of his party who interceded
for Caesar, and they obstinately persisted, he at last gave way and cried, either by divine inspiration or a shrewd forecast:
'Have your way and take him; only bear in mind that the man you are so eager to save will one day deal the death blow to the
cause of the aristocracy, which you have joined with me in upholding; for in this Caesar there is more than one Marius.'
II. He served his first campaign in Asia on the
personal staff of Marcus Thermus, governor of the province [81 BC]. Being sent by Thermus to Bithynia, to fetch a fleet, he
dawdled so long at the court of Nicomedes that he was suspected of improper relations with the king; and he lent color to
this scandal by going back to Bithynia a few days after his return, with the alleged purpose of collecting a debt for a freedman,
one of his dependents. During the rest of the campaign he enjoyed a better reputation, and at the storming of Mytilene [80
BC] Thermus awarded him the civic crown [a chaplet of oak leaves, given for saving the life of a fellow-citizen, the highest
military award of the Roman state].
III. He served too under Servilius Isauricus in
Cilicia, but only for a short time; for learning of the death of Sulla, and at the same time hoping to profit by a counter-revolution
which Marcus Lepidus was setting on foot, he hurriedly returned to Rome [78 BC]. But he did not make common cause with Lepidus,
although he was offered highly favorable terms, through lack of confidence both in that leader's capacity and in the outlook,
which he found less promising than he had expected.
IV. Then, after the civil disturbance had been
quieted, he brought a charge of extortion against Cornelius Dolabella, an ex-consul who had been honored with a triumph [77
BC]. On the acquittal of Dolabella, Caesar determined to withdraw to Rhodes, to escape from the ill-will which he had incurred,
and at the same time to rest and have leisure to study under Apollonius Molo, the most eminent teacher of oratory of that
time. While crossing to Rhodes [74 BC], after the winter season had already begun, he was taken by pirates near the island
of Pharmacussa and remained in their custody for nearly forty days in a state of intense vexation, attended only by a single
physician and two body-servants; for he had sent off his travelling companions and the rest of his attendants at the outset,
to raise money for his ransom. Once he was set on shore on payment of fifty talents, he did not delay then and there to launch
a fleet and pursue the departing pirates, and the moment they were in his power to inflict on them the punishment which he
had often threatened when joking with them. He then proceeded to Rhodes, but as Mithridates was devastating the neighboring
regions, he crossed over into Asia, to avoid the appearance of inaction when the allies of the Roman people were in danger.
There he levied a band of auxiliaries and drove the king's prefect from the province, thus holding the wavering and irresolute
states to their allegiance.
V. While serving as military tribune, the first
office which was conferred on him by vote of the people after his return to Rome, he ardently supported the leaders in the
attempt to re-establish the authority of the tribunes of the commons, the extent of which Sulla had curtailed. Furthermore,
through a bill proposed by one Plotius [70 B.C.], he effected the recall of his wife's brother Lucius Cinna, as well as of
the others who had taken part with Lepidus in his revolution and after the consul's death had fled to Sertorius; and he personally
spoke in favor of the measure.
VI. When quaestor [67 B.C.], he pronounced the
customary orations from the rostra in praise of his aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia, who had both died. And in the eulogy
of his aunt he spoke in the following terms of her paternal and maternal ancestry and that of his own father: "The family
of my aunt Julia is descended by her mother from the kings, and on her father's side is akin to the immortal Gods; for the
Marcii Reges (her mother's family name) go back to Ancus Marcius, and the Julii, the family of which ours is a branch, to
Venus. Our stock therefore has at once the sanctity of kings, whose power is supreme among mortal men, and the claim to reverence
which attaches to the Gods, who hold sway over kings themselves." In place of Cornelia he took to wife Pompeia, daughter of
Quintus Pompeius and granddaughter of Lucius Sulla. But he afterward divorced her [62 B.C.], suspecting her of adultery with
Publius Clodius; and in fact the report that Clodius had gained access to her in woman's garb during a public religious ceremony
was so persistent, that the senate decreed that the pollution of the sacred rites be judicially investigated.
VII. As quaestor it fell to his lot to serve in
Hispania Ulterior. When he was there, while making the circuit of the towns, to hold court under commission from the praetor,
he came to Gades, and noticing a statue of Alexander the Great in the temple of Hercules, he heaved a sigh, and as if out
of patience with his own incapacity in having as yet done nothing noteworthy at a time of life when Alexander had already
brought the world to his feet, he straightway asked for his discharge, to grasp the first opportunity for greater enterprises
at Rome. Furthermore, when he was dismayed by a dream the following night (for he thought that he had offered violence to
his mother) the soothsayers inspired him with high hopes by their interpretation, which was that he was destined to rule the
world, since the mother whom he had seen in his power was none other than the earth, which is regarded as the common parent
of all mankind.
VIII. Departing therefore before his term was
over, he went to the Latin colonies which were in a state of unrest and meditating a demand for citizenship [those towns beyond
the Po River, such as Verona, Comum, and Cremona, wished to obtain the rights of citizenship, which had been given to many
of the Italian towns at the close of the Social War of 90-88 B.C.] and he might have spurred them on to some rash act, had
not the consuls, in anticipation of that very danger, detained there for a time the legions which had been enrolled for service
IX. For all that he presently made a more daring
attempt at Rome; for a few days before he entered upon his aedileship he was suspected of having made a conspiracy with Marcus
Crassus, an ex-consul, and likewise with Publius Sulla and Lucius Autronius, who, after their election to the consulship,
had been found guilty of corrupt practices [65 B.C.]. The design was to set upon the senate at the opening of the year and
put to the sword as many as they thought good; then Crassus was to usurp the dictatorship, naming Caesar as his master of
horse, and when they had organized the state according to their pleasure, the consulship was to be restored to Sulla and Autronius.
This plot is mentioned by Tanusius Geminus in his History, by Marcus Bibulus in his edicts, and by Gaius Curio the elder in
his speeches. Cicero too seems to hint at it in a letter to Axius, where he says that Caesar in his consulship established
the despotism which he had had in mind when he was aedile. Tanusius adds that Crassus, either conscience-stricken or moved
by fear, did not appear on the day appointed for the massacre, and that therefore Caesar did not give the signal which it
had been agreed that he should give; and Curio says that the arrangement was that Caesar should let his toga fall from his
shoulder. Not only Curio, but Marcus Actorius Naso as well declare that Caesar made another plot with Gnaeus Piso, a young
man to whom the province of Hispania had been assigned unasked and out of the regular order, because he was suspected of political
intrigues at Rome; that they agreed to rise in revolt at the same time, Piso abroad and Caesar at Rome, aided by the Ambrani
and the peoples beyond the Po; but that Piso's death brought both their designs to naught.
X. When aedile [65 B.C.], Caesar decorated not
only the Comitium and the Forum with its adjacent basilicas, but the Capitol as well, building temporary colonnades for the
display of a part of his material. He exhibited combats with wild beasts and stageplays too, both with his colleague and independently.
The result was that Caesar alone took all the credit even for what they spent in common, and his colleague Marcus Bibulus
openly said that his was the fate of Pollux: "For," said he, "just as the temple erected in the Forum to the twin brethren,
bears only the name of Castor, so the joint liberality of Caesar and myself is credited to Caesar alone." Caesar gave a gladiatorial
show besides, but with somewhat fewer pairs of combatants than he had purposed; for the huge band which he assembled from
all quarters so terrified his opponents, that a bill was passed limiting the number of gladiators which anyone was to be allowed
to keep in the city.
XI. Having won the goodwill of the masses, Caesar
made an attempt through some of the tribunes to have the charge of Egypt given him by a decree of the commons, seizing the
opportunity to ask for so irregular an appointment because the citizens of Alexandria had deposed their king, who had been
named by the senate an ally and friend of the Roman people, and their action was generally condemned. He failed however because
of the opposition of the Optimates [a political faction among the Roman nobiles]; wishing therefore to impair their prestige
in every way he could, he restored the trophies commemorating the victories of Gaius Marius over Jugurtha and over the Cimbri
and Teutoni, which Sulla had long since demolished. Furthermore in conducting prosecutions for murder, he included in the
number of murderers even those who had received moneys from the public treasury during the proscriptions for bringing in the
heads of Roman citizens, although they were expressly exempted by the Cornelian laws.
XII. He also bribed a man to bring a charge of
high treason against Gaius Rabirius, who some years before, had rendered conspicuous service to the senate in repressing the
seditious designs of the tribune Lucius Saturninus; and when he had been selected by lot to sentence the accused, he did so
with such eagerness, that when Rabirius appealed to the people, nothing was so much in his favor as the bitter hostility of
XIII. After giving up hope of the special commission,
he announced his candidacy for the office of pontifex maximus, resorting to the most lavish bribery. Thinking on the enormous
debt which he had thus contracted, he is said to have declared to his mother on the morning of the election, as she kissed
him when he was starting for the polls, that he would never return except as pontifex. And in fact he so decisively defeated
two very strong competitors (for they were greatly his superiors in age and rank), that he polled more votes in their tribes
than were cast for both of them in all the tribes.
XIV. When the conspiracy of Catiline was detected
[63 B.C.], and all the rest of the senate favored inflicting the extreme penalty on those implicated in the plot, Caesar,
who was now praetor elect, alone proposed that their goods be confiscated and that they be imprisoned each in a separate town.
Nay, more, he inspired such fear in those who favored severer measures, by picturing the hatred which the Roman commons would
feel for them for all future time, that Decimus Silanus, consul elect, was not ashamed to give a milder interpretation to
his proposal (since it would have been humiliating to change it) alleging that it had been understood in a harsher sense than
he intended. Caesar would have prevailed too, for a number had already gone over to him, including Cicero, the consul's brother,
had not the address of Marcus Cato kept the wavering senate in line. Yet not even then did he cease to delay the proceedings,
but only when an armed troop of Roman knights that stood on guard about the place threatened him with death as he persisted
in his headstrong opposition. They even drew their swords and made such passes at him that his friends who sat next him forsook
him, while a few had much ado to shield him in their embrace or with their robes. Then, in evident fear, he not only yielded
the point, but for the rest of the year kept aloof from the House.
XV. On the first day of his praetorship [62 B.C.]
he called upon Quintus Catulus to render an account to the people touching the restoration of the CapitoI, proposing a bill
for turning over the commission to another [namely, Gnaeus Pompeius]. But he withdrew the measure, since he could not cope
with the united opposition of the optimates, seeing that they had at once dropped their attendance on the newly elected consuls
and hastily gathered in throngs, resolved on an obstinate resistance.
XVI. Nevertheless, when Caecilius Metellus, tribune
of the commons, brought forward some bills of a highly seditious nature in spite of the veto of his colleagues, Caesar abetted
him and espoused his cause in the stubbornest fashion, until at last both were suspended from the exercise of their public
functions by a decree of the senate. Yet in spite of this Caesar had the audacity to continue in office and to hold court,
but when he learned that some were ready to stop him by force of arms, he dismissed his lictors, laid aside his robe of office,
and slipped off privily to his house, intending to remain in retirement because of the state of the times. Indeed, when the
populace on the following day flocked to him quite of their own accord, and with riotous demonstrations offered him their
aid in recovering his position, he held them in check. Since this action of his was wholly unexpected, the senate, which had
been hurriedly convoked to take action about that very gathering, publicly thanked him through its leading men; then summoning
him to the House and lauding him in the strongest terms, they rescinded their former decree and restored him to his rank.
XVII. He again fell into danger by being named
among the accomplices of Catiline, both before the commissioner [quaesitor] Novius Niger by an informer called Lucius Vettius
and in the senate by Quintus Curius, who had been voted a sum of money from the public funds as the first to disclose the
plans of the conspirators. Curius alleged that his information came directly from Catiline, while Vettius actually offered
to produce a letter to Catiline in Caesar's hand writing. But Caesar, thinking that such an indignity could in no wise be
endured, showed by appealing to Cicero's testimony that he had of his own accord reported to the consul certain details of
the plot, and thus prevented Curius from getting the reward. As for Vettius, after his bond was declared forfeit and his goods
seized, he was roughly handled by the populace assembled before the rostra, and all but torn to pieces. Caesar then put him
in prison, and Novius the commissioner went there too, for allowing an official of superior rank to be arraigned before his
XVIII. Being allotted the province of Hispania
Ulterior [61 B.C.] after his praetorship, Caesar got rid of his creditors, who tried to detain him, by means of sureties and
contrary both to precedent and law was on his way before the provinces were provided for [i.e., without waiting for the decrees
of the senate which formally confirmed the appointments of the new governors, and provided them with funds and equipment];
possibly through fear of a private impeachment or perhaps to respond more promptly to the entreaties of our allies for help.
After restoring order in his province, he made off with equal haste, and without waiting for the arrival of his successor,
to sue at the same time for a triumph and the consulship. But inasmuch as the day for the elections had already been announced
and no account could be taken of Caesar's candidacy unless he entered the city as a private citizen, and since his intrigues
to gain exemption from the laws met with general protest, he was forced to forgo the triumph, to avoid losing the consulship.
XIX. [60 B.C.] Of the two other candidates for
this office, Lucius Lucceius and Marcus Bibulus, Caesar joined forces with the former, making a bargain with him that since
Lucceius had less influence but more funds, he should in their common name promise largess to the electors from his own pocket.
When this became known, the optimates authorized Bibulus to promise the same amount, being seized with fear that Caesar would
stick at nothing when he became ohief magistrate, if he had a colleague who was heart and soul with him. Many of them contributed
to the fund, and even Cato did not deny that bribery under such circumstances was for the good of the commonwealth. So Caesar
was chosen consul with Bibulus. With the same motives the optimates took care that provinces of the smallest importance should
be assigned to the newly elected consuls; that is, mere woods and pastures [It seems to designate provinces where the duties
of the governor would be confined to guarding the mountain-pastures and keeping the woods free from bandits. The senate would
not run the risk of letting Caesar secure a province involving the command of an army]. Thereupon Caesar, especially incensed
by this slight, by every possible attention courted the goodwill of Gnaeus Pompeius, who was at odds with the senate because
of its tardiness in ratifying his acts after his victory over king Mithridates [in the Third Mithridatic War]. He also patched
up a peace between Pompeius and Marcus Crassus, who had been enemies since their consulship, which had been one of constant
wrangling. Then [60 B.C.] he so made a compact with both of them, that no step should be taken in public affairs which did
not suit any one of the three.
XX. Caesar's very first enactment after becoming
consul was, that the proceedings both of the senate and of the people should day by day be compiled and published. He also
revived a by-gone custom, that during the months when he did not have the fasces an orderly should walk before him, while
the lictors followed him. He brought forward an agrarian law too, and when his colleague announced adverse omens [Business
could be interrupted or postponed at Rome by the announcement of an augur or a magistrate that he had seen a flash of lightning
or some other adverse sign; sometimes an opponent merely announced that he would 'watch the skies' for such omens], he resorted
to arms and drove him from the Forum; and when next day Bibulus made complaint in the senate and no one could be found who
ventured to make a motion, or even to express an opinion about so high-handed a proceeding (although decrees had often been
passed touching less serious breaches of the peace), Caesar's conduct drove him to such a pitch of desperation, that from
that time until the end of his term he did not leave his house, but merely issued proclamations announcing adverse omens.
From that time on Caesar managed all the affairs
of state alone and after his own pleasure; so that sundry witty fellows, pretending by way of jest to sign and seal testamentary
documents, wrote "Done in the consulship of Julius and Caesar," instead of 'Bibulus and Caesar," writing down the same man
twice, by name and by surname. Presently too the following verses were on everyone's lips:
"In Caesar's year, not Bibulus', an act took place
For naught do I remember done in Bibulus' consulate."
The plain called Stellas, which had been devoted
to public uses by the men of by-gone days, and the Campanian territory, which had been reserved to pay revenues for the aid
of the government, he divided without casting lots [through a special commission of twenty men] among twenty thousand citizens
who had three or more children each. When the publicans asked for relief, he freed them from a third part of their obligation,
and openly warned them in contracting for taxes in the future not to bid too recklessly. He freely granted everything else
that anyone took it into his head to ask, either without opposition or by intimidating anyone who tried to object. Marcus
Cato, who tried to delay proceedings [by making a speech of several hours' duration; Gell. 4.10.8. The senate arose in a body
and escorted Cato to prison, and Caesar was forced to release him], was dragged from the House by a lictor at Caesar's command
and taken off to prison. When Lucius Lucullus was somewhat too outspoken in his opposition, he filled him with such fear of
malicious prosecution [for his conduct during the Third Mithridatic War] that Lucullus actually fell on his knees before him.
Because Cicero, while pleading in court, deplored the state of the times, Caesar transferred the orator's enemy Publius Clodius
that very same day from the patricians to the plebeians [59 B.C.], a thing for which Clodius had for a long time been vainly
striving; and that too at the ninth hour [That is, after the close of the business day, an indication of the haste with which
the adoption was rushed through]. Finally taking action against all the opposition in a body, he bribed an informer to declare
that he had been egged on by certain men to murder Gnaeus Pompeius, and to come out upon the rostra and name the guilty parties
according to a pre-arranged plot. But when the informer had named one or two to no purpose and not without suspicion of double-dealing,
Caesar, hopeless of the success of his over-hasty attempt, is supposed to have had him taken off by poison.
XXI. At about the same time he took to wife Calpurnia,
daughter of Lucius Piso, who was to succeed him in the consulship, and affianced his own daughter Julia to Gnaeus Pompeius,
breaking a previous engagement with Servilius Caepio, although the latter had shortly before rendered him conspicuous service
in his contest with Bibulus. And after this new alliance he began to call upon Pompeius first to give his opinion in the senate,
although it had been his habit to begin with Crassus, and it was the rule for the consul in calling for opinions to continue
throughout the year the order which he had established on the Kalends of January.
XXII. Backed therefore by his father-in-law and
son-in-law, out of all the numerous provinces he made Gallia his choice, as the most likely to enrich him and furnish suitable
material for triumphs. At first, it is true, by the bill of Vatinius he received only Gallia Cisalpina with the addition of
Illyricum; but presently he was assigned Gallia Comata as well by the senate, since the members feared that even if they should
refuse it, the people would give him this also. Transported with joy at this success, he could not keep from boasting a few
days later before a crowded house, that having gained his heart's desire to the grief and lamentation of his opponents, he
would therefore from that time mount on their heads [used in a double sense, one sexual]; and when someone insultingly remarked
that that would be no easy matter for any woman, he replied in the same vein that Semiramis too had been queen in Syria and
the Amazons in days of old had held sway over a great part of Asia.
XXIII. When at the close of his consulship the
praetors Gaius Memmius and Lucius Domitius moved an inquiry into his conduct during the previous year, Caesar laid the matter
before the senate; and when they failed to take it up, and three days had been wasted in fruitless wrangling, went off to
his province. Whereupon his quaestor was at once arraigned on several counts, as a preliminary to his own impeachment. Presently
he himself too was prosecuted by Lucius Antistius, tribune of the commons, and it was only by appealing to the whole college
that he contrived not to be brought to trial, on the ground that he was absent on public service. Then to secure himself for
the future, he took great pains always to put the magistrates for the year under personal obligation, and not to aid any candidates
or suffer any to be elected, save such as guaranteed to defend him in his absence. And he did not hesitate in some cases to
exact an oath to keep this pledge or even a written contract.
XXIV. [55 B.C.] When, however, Lucius Domitius,
candidate for the consulship, openly threatened to effect as consul what he had been unable to do as praetor, and to take
his armies from him, Caesar compelled Pompeius and Crassus to come to Luca, a city in his province, where he prevailed on
them to stand for a second consulship, to defeat Domitius; and he also succeeded through their influence in having his term
as governor of Gallia made five years longer. Encouraged by this, he added to the legions which he had received from the state
others at his own cost, one actually composed of men of Gallia Transalpina and bearing a Gallic name too (for it was called
Alauda [A Celtic word meaning a crested lark (Plin. N.H. 11.37) which was the device on the helmets of the legion]), which
he trained in the Roman tactics and equipped with Roman arms; and later on he gave every man of it citizenship. After that
he did not let slip any pretext for war, however unjust and dangerous it might be, picking quarrels as well with allied, as
with hostile and barbarous nations; so that once the senate decreed that a commission be sent to inquire into the condition
of the Gallic provinces, and some even recommended that Caesar be handed over to the enemy. But as his enterprises prospered,
thanksgivings were appointed in his honor oftener and for longer periods than for anyone before his time.
XXV. [58-49 B.C.] During the nine years of his
command this is in substance what he did. All that part of Gallia which is bounded by the Pyrenees, the Alps and the CÚvennes,
and by the Rhine and Rhone rivers, a circuit of some 3,200 miles [Roman measure, about 3,106 English miles], with the exception
of some allied states which had rendered him good service, he reduced to the form of a province; and imposed upon it a yearly
tribute of 40,000,000 sesterces. He was the first Roman to build a bridge and attack the Germans beyond the Rhine; and he
inflicted heavy losses upon them. He invaded the Britons too, a people unknown before, vanquished them, and exacted moneys
and hostages. Amid all these successes he met with adverse fortune but three times in all: in Britannia, where his fleet narrowly
escaped destruction in a violent storm; in Gallia, when one of his legions was routed at Gergovia; and on the borders of Germania,
when his lieutenants Titurius and Aurunculeius were ambushed and slain.
XXVI. Within this same space of time he lost first
his mother, then his daughter, and soon afterwards his grandchild. Meanwhile, as the community was aghast at the murder of
Publius Clodius, the senate had voted that only one consul should be chosen, and expressly named Gnaeus Pompeius. When the
tribunes planned to make him Pompeius' colleague, Caesar urged them rather to propose to the people that he be permitted to
stand for a second consulship without coming to Rome, when the term of his governorship drew near its end, to prevent his
being forced for the sake of the office to leave his province prematurely and without finishing the war. On the granting of
this, aiming still higher and flushed with hope, he neglected nothing in the way of lavish expenditure or of favors to anyone,
either in his public capacity or privately. He began a forum with the proceeds of his spoils, the ground for which cost more
than a hundred million sesterces. He announced a combat of gladiators and a feast for the people in memory of his daughter,
a thing quite without precedent. To raise the expectation of these events to the highest possible pitch, he had the material
for the banquet prepared in part by his own household, although he had let contracts to the markets as well. He gave orders
too that whenever famous gladiators fought without winning the favor of the people [when ordinarily they would be put to death],
they should be rescued by force and kept for him. He had the novices trained, not in a gladiatorial school by professionals,
but in private houses by Roman knights and even by senators who were skilled in arms, earnestly beseeching them, as is shown
by his own letters, to give the recruits individual attention and personally direct their exercises. He doubled the pay of
the legions for all time. Whenever grain was plentiful, he distributed it to them without stint or measure, and now and then
gave each man a slave from among the captives.
XXVII. Moreover, to retain his relationship and
friendship with Pompeius, Caesar offered him his sister's granddaughter Octavia in marriage, although she was already the
wife of Gaius Marcellus, and asked for the hand of Pompeius' daughter, who was promised to Faustus Sulla. When he had put
all Pompeius' friends under obligation, as well as the great part of the senate, through loans made without interest or at
a low rate, he lavished gifts on men of all other classes, both those whom he invited to accept his bounty and those who applied
to him unasked, including even freedmen and slaves who were special favorites of their masters or patrons. In short, he was
the sole and ever ready help of all who were in legal difficulties or in debt and of young spendthrifts, excepting only those
whose burden of guilt or of poverty was so heavy, or who were so given up to riotous living, that even he could not save them;
and to these he declared in the plainest terms that what they needed was a civil war.
XXVIII. He took no less pains to win the devotion
of princes and provinces all over the world, offering prisoners to some by the thousand as a gift, and sending auxiliary troops
to the aid of others whenever they wished, and as often as they wished, without the sanction of the senate or people, besides
adorning the principal cities of Asia and Graecia with magnificent public works, as well as those of Italia and the provinces
of Gallia and Hispania. At last [51 B.C.], when all were thunder-struck at his actions and wondered what their purpose could
be, the consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus, after first making proclamation that he purposed to bring before the senate a matter
of the highest public moment, proposed that a successor to Caesar be appointed before the end of his term, on the ground that
the war was ended, peace was established, and the victorious army ought to be disbanded; also that no account be taken of
Caesar at the elections, unless he were present, since Pompeius' subsequent action [i.e., in correcting the bill after it
had been passed and filed, as explained in the following sentence] had not annulled the decree of the people. And it was true
that when Pompeius proposed a bill touching the privileges of officials, in the clause where he debarred absentees from candidacy
for office he forgot to make a special exception in Caesar's case, and did not correct the oversight until the law had been
inscribed on a tablet of bronze and deposited in the treasury. Not content with depriving Caesar of his provinces and his
privilege, Marcellus also moved that the colonists whom Caesar had settled in Novum Comum by the bill of Vatinius should lose
their citizenship, on the ground that it had been given from political motives and was not authorized by the law.
XXIX. Greatly troubled by these measures, and
thinking, as they say he was often heard to remark, that now that he was the leading man of the state, it was harder to push
him down from the first place to the second than it would be from the second to the lowest, Caesar stoutly resisted Marcellus,
partly through vetoes of the tribunes and partly through the other consul, Servius Sulpicius. When next year Gaius Marcellus,
who had succeeded his cousin Marcus as consul, tried the same thing, Caesar by a heavy bribe secured the support of the other
consul, Aemilius Paulus, and of Gaius Curio, the most reckless of the tribunes. But seeing that everything was being pushed
most persistently, and that even the consuls elect were among the opposition, he sent a written appeal to the senate, not
to take from him the privilege which the people had granted, or else to compel the others in command of armies to resign also;
feeling sure, it was thought, that he could more readily muster his veterans as soon as he wished, than Pompeius his newly
levied troops. He further proposed a compromise to his opponents, that after giving up eight legions and Gallia Transalpina,
he be allowed to keep two legions and Gallia Cisalpina, or at least one legion and Illyricum, until he was elected consul.
XXX. But when the senate declined to interfere,
and his opponents declared that they would accept no compromise in a matter affecting the public welfare, he crossed to Gallia
Citerior, and after hearing all the legal cases, halted at Ravenna, intending to resort to war if the senate took any drastic
action against the tribunes of the commons who interposed vetoes in his behalf. Now this was his excuse for the civil war,
but it is believed that he had other motives. Gnaeus Pompeius used to declare that since Caesar's own means were not sufficient
to complete the works which he had planned, nor to do all that he had led the people to expect on his return, he desired a
state of general unrest and turmoil. Others say that he dreaded the necessity of rendering an account for what he had done
in his first consulship contrary to the auspices and the laws, and regardless of vetoes; for Marcus Cato often declared, and
took oath too, that he would impeach Caesar the moment he had disbanded his army. It was openly said too that if he was out
of office on his return, he would be obliged, like Milo [who had been accused and tried for the murder of Publius Clodius],
to make his defence in a court hedged about by armed men. The latter opinion is the more credible one in view of the assertion
of Asinius Pollio, that when Caesar at the battle of Pharsalus saw his enemies slain or in flight, he said, word for word:
"They would have it so. Even I, Gaius Caesar, after so many great deeds, should have been found guilty, if I had not turned
to my army for help." Some think that habit had given him a love of power, and that weighing the strength of his adversaries
against his own, he grasped the opportunity of usurping the despotism which had been his heart's desire from early youth.
Cicero too was seemingly of this opinion, when he wrote in the third book of his De Officiis [3.82; cf. 1.26] that Caesar
ever had upon his lips these lines of Euripides [Phoenissae, 524ff.], of which Cicero himself adds a version:
'If wrong may e'er be right, for a throne's sake
wrong most right:---be God in all else feared.'
XXXI. [49 B.C.] Accordingly, when word came that
the veto of the tribunes had been set aside and they themselves had left the city, he at once sent on a few cohorts with all
secrecy, and then, to disarm suspicion, concealed his purpose by appearing at a public show, inspecting the plans of a gladiatorial
school which he intended building, and joining as usual in a banquet with a large company. It was not until after sunset that
he set out very privily with a small company, taking the mules from a bakeshop hard by and harnessing them to a carriage;
and when his lights went out and he lost his way, he was astray for some time, but at last found a guide at dawn and got back
to the road on foot by narrow bypaths. Then, overtaking his cohorts at the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of his province,
he paused for a while, and realizing what a step he was taking, he turned to those about him and said: 'Even yet we may draw
back; but once cross yon little bridge, and the whole issue is with the sword."
XXXII. As he stood in doubt, this sign was given
him. On a sudden there appeared hard by a being of wondrous stature and beauty, who sat and played upon a reed; and when not
only the shepherds flocked to hear him, but many of the soldiers left their posts, and among them some of the trumpeters,
the apparition snatched a trumpet from one of them, rushed to the river, and sounding the war-note with mighty blast, strode
to the opposite bank. Then Caesar cried: " Take we the course which the signs of the gods and the false dealing of our foes
point out. The die is cast [ AIacta alea est,' inquit'].
XXXIII. Accordingly, crossing with his army, and
welcoming the tribunes of the plebeians, who had come to him after being driven from Rome, he harangued the soldiers with
tears, and rending his robe from his breast besought their faithful service. It is even thought that he promised every man
the estate of an eques, but that came of a misunderstanding; for since he often pointed to the finger of his left hand as
he addressed them and urged them on, declaring that to satisfy all those who helped him to defend his honor he would gladly
tear his very ring from his hand, those on the edge of the assembly, who could see him better than they could hear his words,
assumed that he said what his gesture seemed to mean; and so the report went about that he had promised them the right of
the ring and four hundred thousand sesterces as well [The equites as well as senators had the privilege of wearing a gold
ring, and must possess an estate of 400,000 sesterces].
XXXIV. The sum total of his movements after that
is, in their order, as follows: He overran Umbria, Picenum, and Etruria, took prisoner Lucius Domitius, who had been irregularly
named his successor, and was holding Corfinium with a garrison, let him go free, and then proceeded along the Adriatic to
Brundisium, where Pompeius and the consuls had taken refuge, intending to cross the sea as soon as might be. After vainly
trying by every kind of hindrance to prevent their sailing, he marched off to Rome, and after calling the senate together
to discuss public business, went to attack Pompeius' strongest forces, which were in Hispania under command of three of his
lieutenants--Marcus Petreius, Lucius Afranius, and Marcus Varro---saying to his friends before he left "I go to meet an army
without a leader, and I shall return to meet a leader without an army." And in fact, though his advance was delayed by the
siege of Massilia, which had shut its gates against him, and by extreme scarcity of supplies, he nevertheless quickly gained
a complete victory.
XXXV. [48 B.C.] Returning thence to Rome, he crossed
into Macedonia, and after blockading Pompeius for almost four months behind mighty ramparts, finally routed him in the battle
at Pharsalus, followed him in his flight to Alexandria, and when he learned that his rival had been slain, made war on King
Ptolemy, whom he perceived to be plotting against his own safety as well; a war in truth of great difficulty, convenient neither
in time nor place, but carried on during the winter season, within the walls of a well-provisioned and crafty foeman, while
Caesar himself was without supplies of any kind and ill-prepared. Victor in spite of all, he turned over the rule of Egypt
to Cleopatra and her younger brother [47 B.C.], fearing that if he made a province of it, it might one day under a headstrong
governor be a source of revolution. From Alexandria he crossed to Syria, and from there went to Pontus, spurred on by the
news that Pharnaces, son of Mithridates the Great, had taken advantage of the situation to make war, and was already flushed
with numerous successes; but Caesar vanquished him in a single battle within five days after his arrival and four hours after
getting sight of him, often remarking on Pompeius' good luck in gaining his principal fame as a general by victories over
such feeble foemen. Then he overcame Scipio and Juba [46 B.C.], who were patching up the remnants of their party in Africa,
and the sons of Pompeius in Spain [45 B C.].
XXXVI. In all the civil wars he suffered not a
single disaster except through his lieutenants, of whom Gaius Curio perished in Africa, Gaius Antonius fell into the hands
of the enemy in Illyricum, Publius Dolabella lost a fleet also off Illyricum, and Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus an army in Pontus.
Personally he always fought with the utmost success, and the issue was never even in doubt save twice: once at Dyrrachium,
where he was put to flight, and said of Pompeius, who failed to follow up his success, that he did not know how to use a victory;
again in Spain, in the final struggle, when, believing the battle lost, he actually thought of suicide.
XXXVII. Having ended the wars, he celebrated five
triumphs, four in a single month, but at intervals of a few days, after vanquishing Scipio; and another on defeating Pompeius'
sons. The first and most splendid was the Gallic triumph, the next the Alexandrian, then the Pontic, after that the African,
and finally the Hispanic, each differing from the rest in its equipment and display of spoils. As he rode through the Velabrum
on the day of his Gallic triumph, the axle of his chariot broke, and he was all but thrown out; and he mounted the Capitol
by torchlight, with forty elephants bearing lamps on his right and his left. In his Pontic triumph he displayed among the
show-pieces of the procession an inscription of but three words, "I came, I saw, I conquered," [ 'Veni, vidi, vici'] not indicating
the events of the war, as the others did, but the speed with which it was finished.
XXXVIII. To each and every foot-soldier of his
veteran legions he gave twenty-four thousand sesterces by way of plunder, over and above the two thousand apiece which he
had paid them at the beginning of the civil strife. He also assigned them lands, but not side by side, to avoid dispossessing
any of the former owners. To every man of the people, besides ten pecks of grain and the same number of pounds of oil, he
distributed the three hundred sesterces which he had promised at first, and one hundred apiece because of the delay. He also
remitted a year's rent in Rome to tenants who paid two thousand sesterces or less, and in Italy up to five hundred sesterces.
He added a banquet and a dole of meat, and after his Hispanic victory two dinners; for deeming that the former of these had
not been served with a liberality creditable to his generosity, he gave another five days later on a most lavish scale.
XXXIX. He gave entertainments of divers kinds:
a combat of gladiators and also stage-plays in every ward all over the city, performed too by actors of all languages, as
well as races in the circus, athletic contests, and a sham sea-fight. In the gladiatorial contest in the Forum Furius Leptinus,
a man of praetorian stock, and Quintus Calpenus, a former senator and pleader at the bar, fought to a finish. A Pyrrhic dance
was performed by the sons of the princes of Asia and Bithynia. During the plays Decimus Laberius, a Roman eques, acted a farce
of his own composition, and having been presented with five hundred thousand sesterces and a gold ring [in token of his restoration
to the rank of eques, which he forfeited by appearing on the stage], passed from the stage through the orchestra and took
his place in the fourteen rows [the first fourteen rows above the orchestra, reserved for the equites by the law of L. Roscius
Otho, tribune of the plebeians, in 67 B.C.]. For the races the circus was lengthened at either end and a broad canal was dug
all about it; then young men of the highest rank drove four-horse and two-horse chariots and rode pairs of horses, vaulting
from one to the other. The game called Troy was performed by two troops, of younger and of older boys. Combats with wild beasts
were presented on five successive days, and last of all there was a battle between two opposing armies, in which five hundred
foot-soldiers, twenty elephants, and thirty horsemen engaged on each side. To make room for this, the goals were taken down
and in their place two camps were pitched over against each other. The athletic competitions lasted for three days in a temporary
stadium built for the purpose in the region of the Campus Martius. For the naval battle a pool was dug in the lesser Codeta
and there was a contest of ships of two, three, and four banks of oars, belonging to the Tyrian and Egyptian fleets, manned
by a large force of fighting men. Such a throng flocked to all these shows from every quarter, that many strangers had to
lodge in tents pitched in the streets or along the roads, and the press was often such that many were crushed to death, including
XL. Then turning his attention to the reorganisation
of the state, he reformed the calendar, which the negligence of the pontiffs had long since so disordered, through their privilege
of adding months or days at pleasure, that the harvest festivals did not come in summer nor those of the vintage in the autumn;
and he adjusted the year to the sun's course by making it consist of three hundred and sixty-five days, abolishing the intercalary
month, and adding one day every fourth year [the year had previously consisted of 355 days, and the deficiency of about eleven
days was made up by inserting an intercalary month of twenty-two or twenty-three days after February]. Furthermore, that the
correct reckoning of seasons might begin with the next Kalends of January, he inserted two other months between those of November
and December; hence the year in which these arrangements were made was one of fifteen months, including the intercalary month,
which belonged to that year according to the former custom.
XLI. He filled the vacancies in the senate, enrolled
additional patricians, and increased the number of praetors, aediles, and quaestors, as well as of the minor officials; he
reinstated those who had been degraded by official action of the censors or found guilty of bribery by verdict of the jurors.
He shared the elections with the people on this basis: that except in the case of the consulship, half of the magistrates
should be appointed by the people's choice, while the rest should be those whom he had personally nominated. And these he
announced in brief notes like the following, circulated in each tribe: 'Caesar the Dictator to this or that tribe. I commend
to you so and so, to hold their positions by your votes." He admitted to office even the sons of those who had been proscribed.
He limited the right of serving as jurors to two classes, the equestrian and senatorial orders, disqualifying the third class,
the tribunes of the treasury. He made the enumeration of the people neither in the usual manner nor place, but from street
to street aided by the owners of blocks of houses, and reduced the number of those who received grain at public expense from
three hundred and twenty thousand to one hundred and fifty thousand. And to prevent the calling of additional meetings at
any future time for purposes of enrolment, he provided that the places of such as died should be filled each year by the praetors
from those who were not on the list.
XLII. Moreover, to keep up the population of the
city, depleted as it was by the assignment of eighty thousand citizens to colonies across the sea, he made a law that no citizen
older than twenty or younger than forty, who was not detained by service in the army, should be absent from Italia for more
than three successive years; that no senator's son should go abroad except as the companion of a magistrate or on his staff;
and that those who made a business of grazing should have among their herdsmen at least one-third who were men of free birth.
He conferred citizenship on all who practiced medicine at Rome, and on all teachers of the liberal arts, to make them more
desirous of living in the city and to induce others to resort to it. As to debts, he disappointed those who looked for their
cancellation, which was often agitated, but finally decreed that the debtors should satisfy their creditors according to a
valuation of their possessions at the price which they had paid for them before the civil war, deducting from the principal
whatever interest had been paid in cash or pledged through bankers; an arrangement which wiped out about a fourth part of
their indebtedness. He dissolved all collegii [associations], except those of ancient foundation. He increased the penalties
for crimes; and inasmuch as the rich involved themselves in guilt with less hesitation because they merely suffered exile,
without any loss of property, he punished murderers of freemen by the confiscation of all their goods, as Cicero writes, and
others by the loss of one-half.
XLIII. He administered justice with the utmost
conscientiousness and strictness. Those convicted of extortion he even dismissed from the senatorial order. He annulled the
marriage of an ex-praetor, who had married a woman the very day after her divorce, although there was no suspicion of adultery.
He imposed duties on foreign wares. He denied the use of litters and the wearing of scarlet robes or pearls to all except
to those of a designated position and age, and on set days. In particular, he enforced the law against extravagance, setting
watchmen in various parts of the market, to seize and bring to him dainties which were exposed for sale in violation of the
law; and sometimes he sent his lictors and soldiers to take from a dining-room any articles which had escaped the vigilance
of his watchmen, even after they had been served.
XLIV. In particular, for the adornment and convenience
of the city, also for the protection and extension of the Empire, he formed more projects and more extensive ones every day;
first of all, to rear a temple to Mars, greater than any in existence, filling up and levelling the pool in which he had exhibited
the sea-fight, and to build a theater of vast size, sloping down from the Tarpeian Rock; to reduce the civil code to fixed
limites, and of the vast and prolix mass of statutes to include only the best and most essential in a limited number of volumes;
to open to the public the greatest possible libraries of Greek and Latin books, assigning to Marcus Varro the charge of procuring
and classifying them; to drain the Pomptine marshes; to let out the water from Lake Fucinus; to make a highway from the Adriatic
across the summit of the Apennines as far as the Tiber; to cut a canal through the Isthmus; to check the Dacians, who had
poured into Pontus and Thrace; then to make war on the Parthians by way of Lesser Armenia, but not to risk a battle with them
until he had first tested their mettle. All these enterprises and plans were cut short by his death. But before I speak of
that, it will not be amiss to describe briefly his personal appearance, his dress, his mode of life, and his character, as
well as his conduct in civil and military life.
XLV. He is said to have been tall of stature,
with a fair complexion, shapely limbs, a somewhat full face, and keen black eyes; sound of health, except that towards the
end he was subject to sudden fainting fits and to nightmare as well. He was twice attacked by the falling sickness [morbus
comitialis, so-called because an attack was considered sufficient cause for the postponement of elections, or other public
business. This is thought to have been epilepsy.] during his campaigns. He was somewhat overnice in the care of his person,
being not only carefully trimmed and shaved, but even having superfluous hair plucked out, as some have charged; while his
baldness was a disfigurement which troubled him greatly, since he found that it was often the subject of the gibes of his
detractors. Because of it he used to comb forward his scanty locks from the crown of his head, and of all the honors voted
him by the senate and people there was none which he received or made use of more gladly than the privilege of wearing a laurel
wreath at all times. They say, too, that he was remarkable in his dress; that he wore a senator's tunic [Latus clavus, the
broad purple stripe, is also applied to a tunic with the broad stripe. All senators had the right to wear this; the peculiarity
in Caesar's case consisted in the long fringed sleeve.] with fringed sleeves reaching to the wrist, and always had a girdle
[While a girdle was commonly worn with the ordinary tunic, it was not usual to wear one with the latus clavus.] over it, though
rather a loose one; and this, they say, was the occasion of Sulla's mot, when he often warned the nobles to keep an eye on
the ill-girt boy.
XLVI. He lived at first in the Subura in a modest
house, but after he became pontifex maximus, in the official residence on the Sacred Way. Many have written that he was very
fond of elegance and luxury; that having laid the foundations of a countryhouse on his estate at Nemi and finished it at great
cost, he tore it all down because it did not suit him in every particular, although at the time he was still poor and heavily
in debt; and that he carried tesselated and mosaic floors about with him on his campaigns.
XLVII. They say that he was led to invade Britannia
by the hope of getting pearls, and that in comparing their size he sometimes weighed them with his own hand; that he was always
a most enthusiastic collector of gems, carvings, statues, and pictures by early artists; also of slaves of exceptional figure
and training at enormous prices, of which he himself was so ashamed that he forbade their entry in his accounts.
XLVIII. It is further reported that in the provinces
he gave banquets constantly in two dining halls, in one of which his officers or Greek companions, in the other Roman civilians
and the more distinguished of the provincials reclined at table. He was so punctilious and strict in the management of his
household, in small matters as well as in those of greater importance, that he put his baker in irons for serving him with
one kind of bread and his guests with another; and he inflicted capital punishment on a favorite freedman for adultery with
the wife of a Roman eques, although no complaint was made against him.
XLIX. There was no stain on his reputation for
chastity except his intimacy with King Nicomedes, but that was a deep and lasting reproach, which laid him open to insults
from every quarter. I say nothing of the notorious lines of Licinius Calvus:
Whate'er Bithynia had, and Caesar's paramour.
I pass over, too, the invectives of Dolabella
and the elder Curio, in which Dolabella calls him 'the queen's rival, the inner partner of the royal couch,' and Curio, 'the
brothel of Nicomedes and the stew of Bithynia.' I take no account of the edicts of Bibulus, in which he posted his colleague
as 'the queen of Bithynia,' saying that 'of old he was enamored of a king, but now of a king's estate.' At this same time,
so Marcus Brutus declares, one Octavius, a man whose disordered mind made him somewhat free with his tongue, after saluting
Gnaeus Pompeius as Rex [or 'king'] in a crowded assembly, greeted Caesar as Regina ["queen"]. But Gaius Memmius makes the
direct charge that he acted as cup-bearer to Nicomedes with the rest of his wantons at a large dinner-party, and that among
the guests were some merchants from Rome, whose names Memmius gives. Cicero, indeed, is not content with having written in
sundry letters that Caesar was led by the king's attendants to the royal apartments, that he lay on a golden couch arrayed
in purple, and that the virginity of this son of Venus was lost in Bithynia; but when Caesar was once addressing the senate
in defence of Nysa, daughter of Nicomedes, and was enumerating his obligations to the king, Cicero cried: "No more of that,
pray, for it is well known what he gave you, and what you gave him in turn." Finally, in his Gallic triumph his soldiers,
among the bantering songs which are usually sung by those who follow the chariot, shouted these lines, which became a by-word:
"All the Gauls did Caesar vanquish, Nicomedes
Lo! now Caesar rides in triumph, victor over all the Gauls,
Nicomedes does not triumph, who subdued
L. That he was unbridled and extravagant in his
intrigues is the general opinion, and that he seduced many illustrious women, among them Postumia, wife of Servius Sulpicius,
Lollia, wife of Aulus Gabinius, Tertulla, wife of Marcus Crassus, and even Gnaeus Pompeius' wife Mucia. At all events there
is no doubt that Pompeius was taken to task by the elder and the younger Curio, as well as by many others, because through
a desire for power he had afterwards married the daughter of a man on whose account he divorced a wife who had borne him three
children and whom he had often referred to with a groan as an Aegisthus. But beyond all others Caesar loved Servilia, the
mother of Marcus Brutus, for whom in his first consulship he bought a pearl costing six million sesterces. During the civil
war, too, besides other presents, he knocked down some fine estates to her in a public auction at a nominal price, and when
some expressed their surprise at the low figure, Cicero wittily remarked: "It's a better bargain than you think, for there
is a third off'---and in fact it was thought that Servilia was prostituting her own daughter Tertia to Caesar [The word play
is on tertia (pars)--- 'third part'---and Tertia, daughter of Servilia, in a rather low and vulgar sexual jest].
LI. That he did not refrain from intrigues in
the provinces is shown in particular by this couplet, which was also shouted by the soldiers in his Gallic triumph:
'Men of Rome, keep close your consorts, here's
a bald adulterer.
Gold in Gallia you spent in dalliance, which you borrowed here in Rome."
LII. He had love affairs with queens too, including
Eunoe the Mauretanian, wife of Bogudes, on whom, as well as on her husband, he bestowed many splendid presents, as Naso writes;
but above all with Cleopatra, with whom he often feasted until daybreak, and he would have gone through Egypt with her in
her state-barge almost to Aethiopia [i.e., Kush], had not his soldiers refused to follow him. Finally he called her to Rome
and did not let her leave until he had ladened her with high honors and rich gifts, and he allowed her to give his name to
the child which she bore. In fact, according to certain Greek writers, this child was very like Caesar in looks and carriage.
Marcus Antonius declared to the senate that Caesar had really acknowledged the boy, and that Gaius Matius, Gaius Oppius, and
other friends of Caesar knew this. Of these Gaius Oppius, as if admitting that the situation required apology and defence,
published a book, to prove that the child whom Cleopatra fathered on Caesar was not his. Helvius Cinna, tribune of the plebeians,
admitted to several that he had a bill drawn up in due form, which Caesar had ordered him to propose to the people in his
absence, making it lawful for Caesar to marry what wives he wished, and as many as he wished, 'for the purpose of begetting
children' [the words liberorum quaerendorum causa are a legal formula indicating that the purpose of marriage is to beget
legal heirs]. But to remove all doubt that he had an evil reputation both for shameless vice and for adultery, I have only
to add that the elder Curio in one of his speeches calls him "every woman's man and every man's woman."
LIII. That he drank very little wine not even
his enemies denied. There is a saying of Marcus Cato that Caesar was the only man who undertook to overthrow the state when
sober. Even in the matter of food Gaius Oppius tells us that he was so indifferent, that once when his host served stale oil
instead of fresh, and the other guests would have none of it, Caesar partook even more plentifully than usual, not to seem
to charge his host with carelessness or lack of manners.
LIV. Neither when in command of armies nor as
a magistrate at Rome did he show a scrupulous integrity; for as certain men have declared in their memoirs, when he was proconsul
in Hispania, he not only begged money from the allies, to help pay his debts, but also attacked and sacked some towns of the
Lusitanians although they did not refuse his terms and opened their gates to him on his arrival. In Gallia he pillaged shrines
and temples of the gods filled with offerings, and oftener sacked towns for the sake of plunder than for any fault. In consequence
he had more gold than he knew what to do with, and offered it for sale throughout Italia and the provinces at the rate of
three thousand sesterces the pound. In his first consulship he stole three thousand pounds of gold from the Capitol, replacing
it with the same weight of gilded bronze. He made alliances and thrones a matter of barter, for he extorted from Ptolemy alone
in his own name and that of Pompeius nearly six thousand talents, while later on he met the heavy expenses of the civil wars
and of his triumphs and entertainments by the most bare-faced pillage and sacrilege.
LV. In eloquence and in the art of war he either
equalled or surpassed the fame of their most eminent representatives. After his accusation of Dolabella, he was without question
numbered with the leading advocates. At all events, when Cicero reviews the orators in his Brutus, he says that he does not
see to whom Caesar ought to yield the palm, declaring that his style is elegant as well as transparent, even grand and in
a sense noble. Again in a letter to Cornelius Nepos he writes thus of Caesar: "Come now, what orator would you rank above
him of those who have devoted themselves to nothing else? Who has cleverer or more frequent epigrams? Who is either more picturesque
or more choice in diction?" He appears, at least in his youth, to have imitated the manner of Caesar Strabo, from whose speech
entitled Pro Sardis he actually transferred some passages word for word to a trial address of his own. He is said to have
delivered himself in a high-pitched voice with impassioned action and gestures, which were not without grace. He left several
speeches, including some which are attributed to him on insufficient evidence. Augustus had good reason to think that the
speech Pro Quintus Metellus was rather taken down by shorthand writers who could not keep pace with his delivery, than published
by Caesar himself; for in some copies I find that even the title is not Pro Metellus, but, Quam scripsit Metello ["Which he
wrote for Metellus"] although the discourse purports to be from Caesar's lips, defending Metellus and himself against the
charges of their common detractors. Augustus also questions the authenticity of the address Apud milites quoque in Hispania,
although there are two sections of it, one purporting to have been spoken at the first battle, the other at the second when
Asinius Pollio writes that because of the sudden onslaught of the enemy, he actually did not have time to make an harangue.
LVI. He left memoirs too of his deeds in the Gallic
war and in the civil strife with Pompeius; for the author of the Alexandrian, African, and Hispanic Wars is unknown; some
think it was Oppius, others Hirtius, who also supplied the final book of the Gallic War, which Caesar left unwritten. With
regard to Caesar's memoirs Cicero, also in the Brutus speaks in the following terms: "He wrote memoirs which deserve the highest
praise; they are naked in their simplicity, straightforward yet graceful, stripped of all rhetorical adornment, as of a garment;
but while his purpose was to supply material to others, on which those who wished to write history might draw, he haply gratified
silly folk, who will try to use the curling-irons on his narrative, but he has kept men of any sense from touching the subject."
Of these same memoirs Hirtius uses this emphatic language: "They are so highly rated in the judgment of all men, that he seems
to have deprived writers of an opportunity, rather than given them one; yet our admiration for this feat is greater than that
of others; for they know how well and faultlessly he wrote, while we know besides how easily and rapidly he finished his task."
Asinius Pollio thinks that they were put together somewhat carelessly and without strict regard for truth; since in many cases
Caesar was too ready to believe the accounts which others gave of their actions, and gave a perverted account of his own,
either designedly or perhaps from forgetfulness; and he thinks that he intended to rewrite and revise them. He left besides
a work in two volumes De Analogia, the same number of Anti-Catones ['Against Cato'], in addition to a poem, entitled Iter
['The Journey']. He wrote the first of these works while crossing the Alps and returning to his army from Gallia Citerior,
where he heard lawsuits; the second about the time of the battle of Munda, and the third in the course of a twenty-four days'
journey from Rome to Hispania Ulterior. Some letters of his to the senate are also preserved, and he seems to have been the
first to reduce such documents to pages and the form of a note-book [i.e., to book form], whereas previously consuls and generals
sent their reports written right across the sheet [i.e., without columns or margins, but across the sheet without rhyme or
reason]. There are also letters of his to Cicero, as well as to his intimates on private affairs, and in the latter, if he
had anything confidential to say, he wrote it in cipher, that is, by so changing the order of the letters of the alphabet,
that not a word could be made out. If anyone wishes to decipher these, and get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth
letter of the alphabet, namely D, for A, and so with the others. We also have mention of certain writings of his boyhood and
early youth, such as the Laudes Herculis ["Praises of Hercules"], a tragedy Oedipus, and a Dicta Collectanea ["Collection
of Apophthegms"]; but Augustus forbade the publication of all these minor works in a very brief and frank letter sent to Pompeius
Macer, whom he had selected to set his libraries in order.
LVII. He was highly skilled in arms and horsemanship,
and of incredible powers of endurance. On the march he headed his army, sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, bareheaded
both in the heat of the sun and in rain. He covered great distances with incredible speed, making a hundred miles a day in
a hired carriage and with little baggage, swimming the rivers which barred his path or crossing them on inflated skins, and
very often arriving before the messengers sent to announce his coming.
LVIII. In the conduct of his campaigns it is a
question whether he was more cautious or more daring, for he never led his army where ambuscades were possible without carefully
reconnoitering the country, and he did not cross to Britannia without making personal inquiries about the harbors, the course,
and the approach to the island. But on the other hand, when news came that his camp in Germania was beleaguered, he made his
way to his men through the enemies' pickets, disguised as a Gaul. He crossed from Brundisium to Dyrrachium in winter time,
running the blockade of the enemy's fleets; and when the troops which he had ordered to follow him delayed to do so, and he
had sent to fetch them many times in vain, at last in secret and alone he boarded a small boat at night with his head muffled
up; and he did not reveal who he was, or suffer the helmsman to give way to the gale blowing in their teeth, until he was
all but overwhelmed by the waves.
LIX. No regard for religion ever turned him from
any undertaking, or even delayed him. Though the victim escaped as he was offering sacrifice, he did not put off his expedition
against Scipio and Juba. Even when he had a fall as he disembarked, he gave the omen a favorable turn by crying: "I hold you
fast, Africa." Furthermore, to make the prophecies ridiculous which declared that the stock of the Scipios was fated to be
fortunate and invincible in that province, he kept with him in camp a contemptible fellow belonging to the Cornelian family,
to whom the nickname Salvito had been given as a reproach for his manner of life.
LX. He joined battle, not only after planning
his movements in advance but on a sudden opportunity, often immediately at the end of a march, and sometimes in the foulest
weather, when one would least expect him to make a move. It was not until his later years that he became slower to engage,
through a conviction that the oftener he had been victor, the less he ought to tempt fate, and that he could not possibly
gain as much by success as he might lose by a defeat. He never put his enemy to flight without also driving him from his camp,
thus giving him no respite in his panic. When the issue was doubtful, he used to send away the horses, and his own among the
first, to impose upon his troops the greater necessity of standing their ground by taking away that aid to flight.
LXI. He rode a remarkable horse, too, with feet
that were almost human; for its hoofs were cloven in such a way as to look like toes. This horse was foaled on his own place,
and since the soothsayers had declared that it foretold the rule of the world for its master, he reared it with the greatest
care, and was the first to mount it, for it would endure no other rider. Afterwards, too, he dedicated a statue of it before
the temple of Venus Genetrix.
LXII. When his army gave way, he often rallied
it single-handed, planting himself in the way of the fleeing men, laying hold of them one by one, and even catching them by
the throat and forcing them to face the enemy; that, too, when they were in such a panic that an eagle-bearer made a pass
at him with the point [the standard of the legion was a silver eagle with outstretched wings, mounted on a pole which had
a sharp point at the other end, so that it could be set firmly in the ground] as he tried to stop him, while another left
the standard in Caesar's hand when he would hold him back.
LXIII. His presence of mind was no less renowned,
and the instances of it will appear even more striking. After the battle of Pharsalus, when he had sent on his troops and
was crossing the strait of the Hellespont in a small passenger boat, he met Lucius Cassius, of the hostile party, with ten
armored ships, and made no attempt to escape, but went to meet Cassius and actually urged him to surrender; and Cassius sued
for mercy and was taken on board.
LXIV. At Alexandria, while assaulting a bridge,
he was forced by a sudden sally of the enemy to take to a small skiff; when many others threw themselves into the same boat,
he plunged into the sea, and after swimming for two hundred paces, got away to the nearest ship, holding up his left hand
all the way, so as not to wet some papers which he was carrying, and dragging his cloak after him with his teeth, to keep
the enemy from getting it as a trophy.
LXV. He valued his soldiers neither for their
personal character nor their fortune, but solely for their prowess, and he treated them with equal strictness and indulgence;
for he did not curb them everywhere and at all times, but only in the presence of the enemy. Then he required the strictest
discipline, not announcing the time of a march or a battle, but keeping them ready and alert to be led on a sudden at any
moment wheresoever he might wish. He often called them out even when there was no occasion for it, especially on rainy days
and holidays. And warning them every now and then that they must keep close watch on him, he would steal away suddenly by
day or night and make a longer march than usual, to tire out those who were tardy in following.
LXVI. When they were in a panic through reports
about the enemy's numbers, he used to rouse their courage not by denying or discounting the rumours, but by falsely exaggerating
the true danger. For instance, when the anticipation of Juba's coming filled them with terror, he called the soldiers together
and said: "Let me tell you that within the next few days the king will be here with ten legions, thirty thousand horsemen,
a hundred thousand light-armed troops, and three hundred elephants. Therefore some of you may as well cease to ask further
questions or make surmises and may rather believe me, since I know all about it. Otherwise, I shall surely have them shipped
on some worn out craft and carried off to whatever lands the wind may blow them."
LXVII. He did not take notice of all their offences
or punish them by rule, but he kept a sharp look out for deserters and mutineers, and chastised them most severely, shutting
his eyes to other faults. Sometimes, too, after a great victory he relieved them of all duties and gave them full licence
to revel, being in the habit of boasting that his soldiers could fight well even when reeking of perfumes. In the assembly
he addressed them not as "soldiers," but by the more fiattering term "comrades," and he kept them in fine trim, furnishing
them with arms inlaid with silver and gold, both for show and to make them hold the faster to them in battle, through fear
of the greatness of the loss. Such was his love for them that when he heard of the disaster to Titurius, he let his hair and
beard grow long, and would not cut them until he had taken vengeance.
LXVIII. In this way he made them most devoted
to his interests as well as most valiant. When he began the civil war, every centurion of each legion proposed to supply a
horseman from his own savings, and the soldiers one and all offered their service without pay and without rations, the richer
assuming the care of the poorer. Throughout the long struggle not one deserted and many of them, on being taken prisoner,
refused to accept their lives, when offered them on the condition of consenting to serve against Caesar. They bore hunger
and other hardships, both when in a state of siege and when besieging others, with such fortitude, that when Pompeius saw
in the works at Dyrrachium a kind of bread made of herbs, on which they were living, he said that he was fighting wild beasts;
and he gave orders that it be put out of sight quickly and shown to none of his men, for fear that the endurance and resolution
of the foe would break their spirit. How valiantly they fought is shown by the fact that when they suffered their sole defeat
before Dyrrachium, they insisted on being punished, and their commander felt called upon rather to console than to chastise
them. In the other battles they overcame with ease countless forces of the enemy, though decidedly fewer in number themselves.
Indeed one cohort of the sixth legion, when set to defend a redoubt, kept four legions of Pompeius at bay for several hours,
though almost all were wounded by the enemy's showers of arrows, of which a hundred and thirty thousand were picked up within
the ramparts. And no wonder, when one thinks of the deeds of individual soldiers, either of Cassius Scaeva the centurion,
or of Gaius Acilius of the rank and file, not to mention others. Scaeva, with one eye gone, his thigh and shoulder wounded,
and his shield bored through in a hundred and twenty places, continued to guard the gate of a fortress put in his charge.
Acilius in the sea-fight at Massilia grasped the stern of one of the enemy s ships, and when his right hand was lopped off,
rivalling the famous exploit of the Greek hero Cynegirus, boarded the ship and drove the enemy before him with the boss of
LXIX. They did not mutiny once during the ten
years of the Gallic war; in the civil wars they did so now and then, but quickly resumed their duty, not so much owing to
any indulgence of their general as to his authority. For he never gave way to them when they were insubordinate, but always
boldly faced them, discharging the entire ninth legion in disgrace before Placentia, though Pompey was still in the field,
reinstating them unwillingly and only after many abject entreaties, and insisting on punishing the ringleaders.
LXX. Again at Rome, when the men of the Tenth
Legion clamored for their discharge and rewards with terrible threats and no little peril to the city, though the war in Africa
was then raging, he did not hesitate to appear before them, against the advice of his friends, and to disband them. But with
a single word, calling them "citizens," instead of 'soldiers," he easily brought them round and bent them to his will; for
they at once replied that they were his "soldiers" and insisted on following him to Africa, although he refused their service.
Even then he punished the most insubordinate by the loss of a third part of the plunder and of the land intended for them.
LXXI. Even when a young man he showed no lack
of devotion and fidelity to his dependents. He defended Masintha, a youth of high birth, against King Hiempsal [of Numidia]
with such spirit, that in the dispute he caught the king's son Juba by the beard. On Masintha's being declared tributary to
the king, he at once rescued him from those who would carry him off and kept him hidden for some time in his own house; and
when presently he left for Hispania after his praetorship, he carried the young man off in his own litter, unnoticed amid
the crowd that came to see him off and the lictors with their fasces.
LXXII. His friends he treated with invariable
kindness and consideration. When Gaius Oppius was his companion on a journey through a wild, woody country and was suddenly
taken ill, Caesar gave up to him the only shelter there was, while he himself slept on the ground out-of-doors. Moreover,
when he came to power, he advanced some of his friends to the highest positions, even though they were of the humblest origin,
and when taken to task for it, flatly declared that if he had been helped in defending his honor by brigands and cut-throats,
he would have requited even such men in the same way.
LXXIII. On the other hand he never formed such
bitter enmities that he was not glad to lay them aside when opportunity offered. Although Gaius Memmius had made highly caustic
speeches against him, to which he had replied with equal bitterness, he went so far as to support Memmius afterwards in his
suit for the consulship. When Gaius Calvus, after some scurrilous epigrams, took steps through his friends towards a reconciliation,
Caesar wrote to him first and of his own free will. Valerius Catullus, as Caesar himself did not hesitate to say, inflicted
a lasting stain on his name by the verses about Mamurra; yet when he apologised, Caesar invited the poet to dinner that very
same day, and continued his usual friendly relations with Catullus's father.
LXXIV. Even in avenging wrongs he was by nature
most merciful, and when he got hold of the pirates who had captured him, he had them crucified, since he had sworn beforehand
that he would do so, but ordered that their throats be cut first. He could never make up his mind to harm Cornelius Phagites,
although when he was sick and in hiding the man had waylaid him night after night, and even a bribe had barely saved him from
being handed over to Sulla. The slave Philemon, his amanuensis, who had promised Caesar's enemies that he would poison him,
he merely punished by death, without torture. When summoned as a witness against Publius Clodius, the paramour of his wife
Pompeia, charged on the same count with sacrilege, Caesar declared that he had no evidence, although both his mother Aurelia
and his sister Julia had given the same jurors a faithful account of the whole affair; and on being asked why it was then
that he had put away his wife, he replied: "Because I maintain that the members of my family should be free from suspicion,
as well as from accusation."
LXXV. He certainly showed admirable self-restraint
and mercy, both in his conduct of the civil war and in the hour of victory. While Pompeius announced that he would treat as
enemies those who did not take up arms for the government, Caesar gave out that those who were neutral and of neither party
should be numbered with his friends. He freely allowed all those whom he had made centurions on Pompeius' recommendation to
go over to his rival. When conditions of surrender were under discussion at Ilerda, and friendly intercourse between the two
parties was constant, Afranius and Petreius, with a sudden change of purpose, put to death all of Caesar's soldiers whom they
found in their camp; but Caesar could not bring himself to retaliate in kind. At the battle of Pharsalus he cried out, "Spare
your fellow citizens," and afterwards allowed each of his men to save any one man he pleased of the opposite party. And it
will be found that no Pompeian lost his life except in battle, save only Afranius and Faustus, and the young Lucius Caesar;
and it is believed that not even these men were slain by his wish, even though the two former had taken up arms again after
being pardoned, while Caesar had not only cruelly put to death the dictator's slaves and freedmen with fire and sword, but
had even butchered the wild beasts which he had procured for the entertainment of the people. At last, in his later years,
he went so far as to allow all those whom he had not yet pardoned to return to Italy, and to hold magistracies and the command
of armies: and he actually set up the statues of Lucius Sulla and Pompey, which had been broken to pieces by the populace.
After this, if any dangerous plots were formed against him, or slanders uttered, he preferred to quash rather than to punish
them. Accordingly, he took no further notice of the conspiracies which were detected, and of meetings by night, than to make
known by proclamation that he was aware of them; and he thought it enough to give public warning to those who spoke ill of
him, not to persist in their conduct, bearing with good nature the attacks on his reputation made by the scurrilous volume
of Aulus Caecina and the abusive lampoons of Pitholaus.
LXXVI. Yet after all, his other actions and words
so turn the scale, that it is thought that he abused his power and was justly slain. For not only did he accept excessive
honors, such as an uninterrupted consulship, the dictatorship for life, and the censorship of public morals, as well as the
forename Imperator, the surname of Pater Patriae ['Father of his Country'], a statue among those of the kings, and a raised
couch in the orchestra [at the theater]; but he also allowed honors to be bestowed on him which were too great for mortal
man: a golden throne in the Senate and on the judgment seat; a chariot and litter [for carrying his statues among those of
the gods] in the procession at the circus; temples, altars, and statues beside those of the gods; a special priest, an additional
college of the Luperci, and the calling of one of the months by his name. In fact, there were no honors which he did not receive
or confer at pleasure. He held his third and fourth consulships in name only, content with the power of the dictatorship conferred
on him at the same time as the consulships. Moreover, in both years he substituted two consuls for himself for the last three
months, in the meantime holding no elections except for tribunes and plebeian aediles, and appointing praefects instead of
the praetors, to manage the affairs of the city during his absence. When one of the consuls suddenly died the day before the
Kalends of January, he gave the vacant office for a few hours to a man who asked for it. With the same disregard of law and
precedent he named magistrates for several years to come, bestowed the emblems of consular rank on ten ex-praetors, and admitted
to the Senate men who had been given citizenship, and in some cases half-civilized Gauls. He assigned the charge of the mint
and of the public revenues to his own slaves, and gave the oversight and command of the three legions which he had left at
Alexandria to a favorite of his called Rufo, son of one of his freedmen.
LXXVII. No less arrogant were his public utterances,
which Titus Ampius records: that the state was nothing, a mere name without body or form; that Sulla did not know his ABC's
when he laid down his dictatorship; that men ought now to be more circumspect in addressing him, and to regard his word as
law. So far did he go in his presumption, that when a soothsayer once reported of a sacrifice direful innards without a heart,
he said: "They will be more favorable when I wish it; it should not be regarded as a portent, if a beast has no heart" [playing
on the double meaning of cor ('heart')--which was also regarded as the seat of intelligence].
LXXVIII. But it was the following action in particular
that roused deadly hatred against him. When the Senate approached him in a body with many highly honorary decrees, he received
them before the temple of Venus Genetrix without rising. Some think that when he attempted to get up, he was held back by
Cornelius Balbus; others, that he made no such move at all, but on the contrary frowned angrily on Gaius Trebatius when he
suggested that he should rise. And this action of his seemed the more intolerable, because when he himself in one of his triumphal
processions rode past the benches of the tribunes, he was so incensed because a member of the college, Pontius Aquila by name,
did not rise, that he cried: "Come then, Aquila, take back the republic from me, you tribune"; and for several days he would
not make a promise to any one without adding, "That is, if Pontius Aquila will allow me."
LXXIX. To an insult which so plainly showed his
contempt for the Senate he added an act of even greater insolence; for at the Latin Festival, as he was returning to the city,
amid the extravagant and unprecedented demonstrations of the populace, someone in the press placed on his statue a laurel
wreath with a white fillet tied to it [an emblem of royalty]; and when Epidius Marullus and Caesetius Flavus, tribunes of
the plebeians, gave orders that the ribbon be removed from the wreath and the man taken off to prison, Caesar sharply rebuked
and deposed them, either offended that the hint at regal power had been received with so little favor, or, as he asserted,
that he had been robbed of the glory of refusing it. But from that time on he could not rid himself of the odium of having
aspired to the title of monarch, although he replied to the plebeians, when they hailed him as king, "I am Caesar and no king"
[with a pun on rex ('king') as a Roman name], and at the Lupercalia, when the consul Marcus Antonius several times attempted
to place a crown upon his head as he spoke from the rostra, he put it aside and at last sent it to the Capitol, to be offered
to Jupiter Optimus Maximus. Nay, more, the report had spread in various quarters that he intended to move to Ilium or Alexandria,
taking with him the resources of the state, draining Italia by levies, and leaving the charge of the city to his friends;
also that at the next meeting of the Senate Lucius Cotta would announce as the decision of the Fifteen [the quindecimviri
sacris faciundis ('college of fifteen priests') in charge of the Sybilline books], that inasmuch as it was written in the
books of fate that the Parthians could be conquered only by a king, Caesar should be given that title.
LXXX. It was this that led the conspirators to
hasten in carrying out their designs, in order to avoid giving their assent to this proposal. Therefore the plots which had
previously been formed separately, often by groups of two or three, were united in a general conspiracy, since even the populace
no longer were pleased with present conditions, but both secretly and openly rebelled at his tyranny and cried out for defenders
of their liberty. On the admission of foreigners to the Senate, a placard was posted: "God bless the Republic! let no one
consent to point out the Senate to a newly made senator." The following verses too were sung everwhere:---
'Caesar led the Gauls in triumph, led them to
the senate house;
Then the Gauls put off their breeches, and put on the latus clavus.''
When Quintus Maximus, whom he had appointed consul
in his place for three months, was entering the theater, and his lictor called attention to his arrival in the usual manner,
a general shout was raised: "He's no consul!" At the first election after the deposing of Caesetius and Marullus, the tribunes,
several votes were found for their appointment as consuls. Some wrote on the base of Lucius Brutus' statue, "Oh, that you
were still alive"; and on that of Caesar himself:---
'First of all was Brutus consul, since he drove
the kings from Rome;
Since this man drove out the consuls, he at last is made our king."
More than sixty joined the conspiracy against
him, led by Gaius Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus. At first they hesitated whether to form two divisions at the elections
in the Campus Martius, so that while some hurled him from the bridge [the pons suffragiorum, a temporary bridge of planks
over which the voters passed one by one, to cast their ballots] as he summoned the tribes to vote, the rest might wait below
and slay him; or to set upon him in the Via Sacra or at the entrance to the theater. When, however, a meeting of the Senate
was called for the Ides of March in the curia adjoining the Theater of Gnaeus Pompeius, they readily gave that time and place
LXXXI. Now Caesar's approaching murder was foretold
to him by unmistakable signs. A few months before, when the settlers assigned to the colony at Capua by the Julian Law were
demolishing some tombs of great antiquity, to build country houses, and plied their work with the greater vigor because as
they rummaged about they found a quantity of vases of ancient workmanship, there was discovered in a tomb, which was said
to be that of Capys, the founder of Capua, a bronze tablet, inscribed with Greek words and characters to this purport: "Whenever
the bones of Capys shall be moved, it will come to pass that a son of llium shall be slain at the hands of his kindred, and
presently avenged at heavy cost to Italia." And let no one think this tale a myth or a lie, for it is vouched for by Cornelius
Balbus, an intimate friend of Caesar. Shortly before his death, as he was told, the herds of horses which he had dedicated
to the river Rubicon when he crossed it, and had let loose without a keeper, stubbornly refused to graze and wept copiously.
Again, when he was offering sacrifice, the soothsayer Spurinna warned him to beware of danger, which would come not later
than the Ides of March; and on the day before the Ides of that month a little bird called the king-bird flew into the Curia
of Pompeius with a sprig of laurel, pursued by others of various kinds from the grove hard by, which tore it to pieces in
the hall. In fact the very night before his murder he dreamt now that he was flying above the clouds, and now that he was
clasping the hand of Jupiter; and his wife Calpurnia thought that the pediment of their house fell, and that her husband was
stabbed in her arms; and on a sudden the door of the room flew open of its own accord. Both for these reasons and because
of poor health he hesitated for a long time whether to stay at home and put off what he had planned to do in the senate; but
at last, urged by Decimus Brutus not to disappoint the full meeting which had for some time been waiting for him, he went
forth almost at the end of the fifth hour; and when a note revealing the plot was handed him by someone on the way, he put
it with others which he held in his left hand, intending to read them presently. Then, after several victims had been slain,
and he could not get favorable omens, he entered the Senate in defiance of portents, laughing at Spurinna and calling him
a false prophet, because the Ides of March were come without bringing him harm; though Spurinna replied that they had of a
truth come, but they had not gone.
LXXXII. [44 B.C.] As he took his seat, the conspirators
gathered about him as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though
to ask something; and when Caesar with a gesture put him off to another time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders; then
as Caesar cried, "Why, this is violence!" one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught
Casca's arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound. When
he saw that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its
lap to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this
wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some
have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, 'You too, my child?" All the conspirators made off,
and he lay there lifeless for some time, until finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with
one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none turned out to be mortal, in the opinion of the physician Antistius, except
the second one in the breast. The conspirators had intended after slaying him to drag his body to the Tiber, confiscate his
property, and revoke his decrees; but they forebore through fear of Marcus Antonius the consul, and Lepidus, the master of
LXXXIII. Then at the request of his father-in-law,
Lucius Piso, the will was unsealed and read in Antonius' house, which Caesar had made on the preceding Ides of September at
his place near Lavicum [September 18, 45 B.C.], and put in the care of the chief of the Vestals. Quintus Tubero states that
from his first consulship until the beginning of the civil war it was his wont to write down Gnaeus Pompeius as his heir,
and to read this to the assembled soldiers. In his last will, however, he named three heirs, his sisters' grandsons---Gaius
Octavius (to three-fourths of his estate), and Lucius Pinarius and Quintus Pedius (to share the remainder). At the end of
the will, too, he adopted Gaius Octavius into his family and gave him his name. He named several of his assassins among the
guardians of his son, in case one should be born to him, and Decimus Brutus even among his heirs in the second degree. To
the people he left his gardens near the Tiber for their common use and three hundred sesterces to each man.
LXXXIV. When the funeral was announced, a pyre
was erected in the Campus Martius near the tomb of Julia, and on the rostra a gilded shrine was placed, made after the model
of the temple of Venus Genetrix; within was a couch of ivory with coverlets of purple and gold, and at its head a pillar hung
with the robe in which he was slain. Since it was clear that the day would not be long enough for those who offered gifts,
they were directed to bring them to the Campus by whatsoever streets of the city they wished, regardless of any order of precedence.
At the funeral games, to rouse pity and indignation at his death, these words from the Armorum of Pacuvius were sung:----
'Saved I these men that they might murder me?" and words of a like purport from the Electra of Atilius. Instead of a eulogy
the consul Antonius caused a herald to recite the decree of the Senate in which it had voted Caesar all divine and human honors
at once, and likewise the oath with which they had all pledged themselves to watch over his personal safety; to which he added
a very few words of his own. The bier on the rostra was carried down into the Forum by magistrates and ex-magistrates; and
while some were urging that it be burned in the temple of Jupiter of the Capitol, and others in the Curia of Pompeius, on
a sudden two beings [cf. the apparition at the Rubicon] with swords by their sides and brandishing a pair of darts set fire
to it with blazing torches, and at once the throng of bystanders heaped upon it dry branches, the judgment seats with the
benches, and whatever else could serve as an offering. Then the musicians and actors tore off their robes, which they had
taken from the equipment of his triumphs and put on for the occasion, rent them to bits and threw them into the flames, and
the veterans of the legions the arms with which they had adorned themselves for the funeral; many of the women too, offered
up the jewels which they wore and the amulets and robes of their children. At the height of the public grief a throng of foreigners
went about lamenting each after the fashion of his country, above all the Jews, who even flocked to the place for several
LXXXV. Immediately after the funeral the people
ran to the houses of Brutus and Cassius with firebrands, and after being repelled with difficulty, they slew Helvius Cinna
when they met him, through a mistake in the name, supposing that he was Cornelius Cinna, who had the day before made a bitter
indictment of Caesar and for whom they were looking; and they set his head upon a spear and paraded it about the streets.
Afterwards they set up in the Forum a solid column of Numidian marble almost twenty feet high, and inscribed upon it, "To
the Father of his Country." At the foot of this they continued for a long time to sacrifice, make vows, and settle some of
their disputes by an oath in the name of Caesar.
LXXXVI. Caesar left in the minds of some of his
friends the suspicion that he did not wish to live longer and had taken no precautions, because of his failing health; and
that therefore he neglected the warnings which came to him from portents and from the reports of his friends. Some think that
it was because he had full trust in that last decree of the senators and their oath that he dismissed even the armed bodyguard
of Hispanic soldiers that formerly attended him. Others, on the contrary, believe that he elected to expose himself once for
all to the plots that threatened him on every hand, rather than to be always anxious and on his guard. Some, too, say that
he was wont to declare that it was not so much to his own interest as to that of his country that he remain alive; he had
long since had his fill of power and glory; but if aught befell him, the Republic would have no peace, but would be plunged
in civil strife under much worse conditions.
LXXXVII. About one thing almost all are fully
agreed, that he all but desired such a death as he met; for once when he read in Xenophon [Cyropedeia, 8.7] how Cyrus in his
last illness gave directions for his funeral, he expressed his horror of such a lingering kind of end and his wish for one
which was swift and sudden. And the day before his murder, in a conversation which arose at a dinner at the house of Marcus
Lepidus, as to what manner of death was most to be desired, he had given his preference to one which was sudden and unexpected.
LXXXVIII. [44 B.C.] He died in the fifty-sixth
year of his age, and was numbered among the gods, not only by a formal decree, but also in the conviction of the common people.
For at the first of the games which his heir Augustus gave in honor of his apotheosis, a comet shone for seven successive
days, rising about the eleventh hour [about an hour before sunset] and was believed to be the soul of Caesar, who had been
taken to heaven; and this is why a star is set upon the crown of his head in his statue. It was voted that the curia in which
he was slain be walled up, that the Ides of March be called the Day of Parricide, and that a meeting of the senate should
never be called on that day.
LXXXIX. Hardly any of his assassins survived him
for more than three years, or died a natural death. They were all condemned, and they perished in various ways---some by shipwreck,
some in battle; some took their own lives with the self-same dagger with which they had impiously slain Caesar.