Julius Caesar   
60-44 B.C.

58-51 B.C.

Conquest of Gaul

Vercingetorix
Vercingetorix Throws Down His Arms
at the Feet of Julius Caesar

Lionel Royer, 1899

The first thing Caesar did, upon being taken into the triumvirate, was to obtain the consulship, and begin his schemes for empire. He procured a law for dividing certain lands among the poor citizens. He deliberated with his confederates about sharing the foreign provinces of the empire between them. The partition was soon made; Pompey chose Spain; for being fatigued with conquests and military fame, he was willing to take his pleasures at Rome.
Crassus chose Syria for his part of the empire. To Caesar was left the province of Gaul; composed of many fierce and powerful nations.

It would be impossible to enumerate all the battles which Caesar fought, and the states he subdued, in his expeditions into Gaul and Britain, which continued eight years. The Helvetians were the first that were brought into subjection, with the loss of 200000 men; those who remained after the carnage, were sent by Caesar in safety to the forests from whence they had issued. The Germans were next cut off to the number of 30000, their monarchs narrowly escaping in a little boat across the Rhine.

The Belgae were cut off with such great slaughter, that marshes and deep rivers were rendered passable by the heaps of slain. The Nervians fell upon the Romans with such fury, that their army was in danger of being routed; but Caesar hastily catching up a buckler, rushed through his army into the midst of the enemy, by which means he so turned the fate of the day, that the barbarians were cut off.

The Celtic Gauls, who were powerful at sea, were next brought under subjection. After them the Suevi, Menapii, and all the nations from the Mediterranean to the British sea. From thence he crossed over into Britain.

The Britons being terrified at Caesar's power, sent to desire a peace, which was granted them, and some hostages delivered. A storm soon destroying a great part of his fleet, they took advantage of the disaster, and marched against him with a powerful army. But being overthrown, they were obliged once more to sue for peace : which Caesar granted them and then returned to the continent. Thus, in less than nine years he conquered, together with Britain, all the country which extends from the Mediterranean to the North sea.

54-49 B.C.

The Crossing of the Rubicon or Alea Jacta Est

Caesar who began to be sensible of the jealousies of Pompey, took occasion to solicit the consulship, together with the prolongation of his government in Gaul, desirous of trying whether Pompey would thwart or promote his schemes.

The senate, now devoted to Pompey, ordered the two legions which were in Caesar's army, belonging to Pompey, to return home, in order to diminish Caesar's power. Caesar easily saw their motives; but as his plans were not ready for execution, he sent them home, having attached the officers to him with benefits, and the soldiers with a bounty. The next step the senate took was to recall Caesar from his government, as his time was nearly expired. But Curio, his friend, in the senate, proposed that Caesar should not leave his army till Pompey had set him the example.

This perplexed Pompey; but one of the senate declaring Caesar was past the Alps, and marching with his whole army towards Rome, the consul immediately quitting the senate, went with his colleague forth from the city, to a house where Pompey resided. He presented him with a sword, commanded him to march against Caesar, and fight in the defence of the Commonwealth. Pompey declared he was ready to obey.

Caesar who was instructed in all that passed by his partisans at Rome, though he was still in Gaul, was willing to give his aims all the appearance of justice. He agreed to lay down his employment when Pompey should do the same. But the senate rejected all his propositions, relying on Pompey. Caesar was still unwilling to come to an open rupture with the state. Finding, however, all hopes of accommodation fruitless, he passed the Alps with his third legion, and stopped at Ravenna, a city of Cisalpine Gaul; from whence he once more wrote a letter to the consuls, declaring that he was ready to resign all command, if Pompey would do the same. But the senate decreed that Caesar should lay down his government, and if he refused, that he should be declared an enemy to the Commonwealth.

Caesar seemed no way disturbed at these violent proceedings; and the night before his intended expedition into Italy, he sat down to a table, cheerfully conversing on the subjects of literature and philosophy. Having ordered his chariot to be prepared, he immediately set out for Arminium, a city upon the confines of Italy, whither he had despatched a part of his army.

This journey by night he performed with great diligence, - he came up with his army, which consisted of about 5000 men near the Rubicon, a little river which separates Italy from Gaul, and which terminated the limits of his command. The Romans had ever been taught to consider this river as, the sacred boundary of their domestic empire. Caesar, when he advanced at the head of his army to the river, stopped short upon the bank, as if impressed with terror at the greatness of his enterprise.

He pondered for some time in fixed melancholy, looking upon the river, and debating with himself whether he should venture in. If I pass this river, said he to one of his generals, what miseries shall I bring upon my country ! and if I stop I am undone. Thus saying he plunged in, crying out, that the die was cast, and all was now over; his soldiers followed him with equal promptitude, and quickly arriving at Arminium, made themselves masters of the place without any resistance (49 B.C.).

This unexpected enterprise excited the utmost terror in Rome, everyone imagining that Caesar was leading his army to lay the city in ruins.

49 B.C.

Corfinium

Pompey, being in no capacity to resist Caesar at Rome, after he had passed the Rubicon, resolved to lead his forces to Capua, where he commanded the two legions that served under Caesar in Gaul. Caesar, after having attempted to bring Pompey to an accommodation, resolved to pursue him into Capua before he could collect his forces.

Corfinium was the first city that attempted to stop Caesar's march. It was defended by Domitius, who had been appointed by the senate to succeed him in Gaul, and was garrisoned by twenty cohorts. Caesar, however, quickly invested it; and, though Domitius sent frequently to Pompey, exhorting him to come and raise the siege, at last endeavored to escape privately.

His intentions happened to be divulged. The garrison were resolved to consult their own safety, by delivering him up to the besiegers. Caesar readily accepted their offers. Lentulus the consul came out to implore forgiveness for himself and his confederates. To this Caesar generously replied, that he came into Italy not to injure the liberties of Rome and its citizens, but to restore them. This reply being carried into the city, the senators, and the knights, with their children, and some officers of the garrison, came out to claim the protection of the conqueror, who just glancing at their ingratitude gave them their liberty.

49-48 B.C.

Caesar walks towards Pompey

Pompey, unable to continue in Rome, was compelled to leave the whole of Italy at the mercy of his rival, without a town or an army to oppose his progress.

Caesar finding that he could not follow Pompey, for want of shipping, went back to Rome, to take possession of the public treasures, which his opponent, by a most unaccountable oversight, had neglected taking with him. However, upon his coming up to the door of the treasury, Metellus, the tribune, who guarded it, refused to let him pass; but Caesar, with more than usual emotion, laying his hand upon his sword, threatened to strike him dead. And know, young man, (cried he,) that it is easier to do this, than to say it. This menace had its effect; Metellus retired, and Caesar took out of the treasury, to the amount of 3000 pounds weight of gold, besides an immense quantity of silver.

Having provided for continuing the war, he departed from Rome, resolved to subdue Pompey's lieutenants, Afranius and Petreius, who had been long in Spain at the head of a veteran army that had been victorious under all its commanders.

His first conflict with Afranius and Petreius was unfavorable; but by various stratagems he reduced them at last to such an extremity of hunger and drought that they were obliged to yield.

Thus in the space of forty days, he became master of all Spain, and returned again victorious to Rome. The citizens upon this occasion created him dictator and consul; but the first office he laid down after eleven days.

48 B.C.

Battle of Dyrrhachium

Caesar
Caesar

While Caesar was employed in subduing Spain, Pompey was equally active in making preparations in Epirus and Greece to oppose him.

All the monarchs of the East had declared in Pompey's favor, and sent very large supplies. He was master of nine effective Italian legions, and had a fleet of 500 large ships under the conduct of Bibulus, an active and experienced commander. Added to these, he was supplied with large sums of money, and all the necessaries for an army from the tributary provinces.

He had attacked Antony and DolabelLa, who commanded for Caesar in that part of the empire, with such success that the former was obliged to fly, and the latter was taken prisoner. Crowds of distinguished citizens and nobles from Rome came every day to join him. He had at one time above 200 senators in his camp, among whom were Cicero and Cato, whose approbation of his cause was equivalent to an army.

The first place, in which both armies came in sight of each other, was on the opposite banks of the river Apsus. Both were commanded by the two greatest generals then in the world; the one renowned for his conquest of the East, the other celebrated for his victories over the western parts of the empire. A battle was eagerly desired by the soldiers; but neither general was willing to hazard it upon this occasion. Pompey could not rely upon his new levies; and Caesar would not venture an engagement till he was joined by the rest of his forces.

Caesar had waited the coming up of the remainder of his army. He was soon relieved, by the landing of the troops which he had long expected.

Pompey, being compelled to retreat, led his forces to Asparagus, where he was sure of being supplied with every thing necessary for his army, by the numerous fleets, which he employed along the coasts of Epirus.

Caesar's men daily carried on their works to straiten the enemy; those of Pompey did the same to enlarge themselves. These last had the advantage of numbers, and severely galled the enemy by their slingers and archers. Caesar was indefatigable; he caused blinds or mantles to be made of skins of beasts, to cover his men while at work; he cut off all the water from the enemy's camp, and forage from the horses.

Pompey resolved to break through his lines, and gain some other part of the country. Accordingly, he ordered his best light infantry and archers on board his ships, with directions to attack Caesar's entrenchments by sea, where they were least defended.

This was done with effect. Caesar being thus frustrated in his views of blocking up the enemy, and perceiving the loss he had sustained, resolved to force Pompey to a battle, though upon disadvantageous terms.

The engagement began by an attempt to cut off a legion posted in a wood, and this brought on a general battle. The conflict was for some time carried on with great ardor, and with equal fortune; but Caesar's army, being entangled in the entrenchments of the old camps lately abandoned, began to fall into disorder; upon which Pompey, pressing his advantage, they at last fled with great precipitation. Great numbers perished in the trenches and on the barks of the river, or were pressed to death. Pompey pursued his successes to the very camp of Caesar.

10 July 48 B.C.

Caesar retreat

After his defeat at Dyrrachium, which was by no means decisive, Caesar marched with all his forces united directly to Gomphi, a town which he took in the province of Thessaly.

The news of his defeat at Dyrrachium had reached the place before him; the inhabitants, therefore, who had before promised him obedience, shut their gates against him.

Caesar was not to be injured with impunity, and having represented to his soldiers the great advantage of forcing a place so very rich, he got ready the machines for scaling, and made an assault with such vigor, that the town was taken in a few hours. Caesar left it to be plundered, and went forward to Metropolis, which yielded at his approach.

By this means he soon became possessed of all Thessaly, except Larissa, which was garrisoned by Scipio with his legion, who commanded for Pompey.

During the interval, Pompey's officers continually solicited their commander to come to a battle, and incessantly teazing him with importunities to engage, he at length resolved to renounce his own judgment and give up all schemes of prudence, for those dictated by avarice and ambition.

9 August 48 B.C.

Battle of Pharsalus

Pompey, advancing into Thessaly, within a few days after the taking of Gomphi, by Caesar, descended upon the plains of Pharsalia, where he was joined by Scipio, his lieutenant, with the troops under his command. There he waited the approach of Caesar, resolved to engage, and decide the fate of the kingdom by a single battle.

Caesar had employed all his art for some time in sounding the inclinations of his men; and finding his army once more resolute, he advanced towards the plains of Pharsalia, where Pompey was now encamped, and prepared to oppose him.

The approach of these two great armies, composed of the best troops in the world, together with the greatness of the prize at stake, filled all minds with anxiety. Pompey's soldiers, being the most numerous, turned all their thoughts to the enjoyment of their victory; while those of Caesar's considered only the means of obtaining it. Pompey's men depended upon their numbers and their many generals; Caesar's, upon their own discipline, and the conduct of their single commander. Pompey's partizans hoped much from the justice of their cause; Caesar's, alleged the frequent proposals which they had made for peace, without effect.

Thus the views, hopes, and motives, of both, were different; but their hatred and ambition were the same. Caesar, who was ever foremost in offering battle, led out his army in array to meet the enemy; but Pompey, either suspecting his troops, or dreading the event, kept his advantageous situation for some time. He indeed drew out of his camp occasionally, but always kept himself under his trenches, at the foot of the hill near which he was posted.

Caesar, being unwilling to attack him at a disadvantage, resolved to decamp the next day, hoping to harass his antagonist, and thus force him from his post.

Accordingly the order for marching was given, and the tents struck, when word was brought him that Pompey's army had quitted their entrenchments, so that he could engage them with less disadvantage; whereupon he caused his troops, that were upon their march to halt, and with a countenance of joy, informed them, that the happy time was come, for which they had so long wished, and which was to crown their glory and terminate their fatigues.

He drew up his troops in order, and advanced towards the place of battle. His forces did not amount to above half those of Pompey : the army of the one amounting to above 45000 foot, and 7000 horse; and that of the other, not exceeding 22000 foot, and about 1000 horse.

This disproportion, particularly in the cavalry, had filled Caesar with apprehensions; on which account he had, some days before, picked out the strongest and nimblest of his foot soldiers, and accustomed them to fight between the ranks of his cavalry. By their assistance, his thousand horse was a match for Pompey's seven thousand, and had actually gained the advantage in a skirmish.

Pompey had strong expectations of success; presuming, that as soon as the armies formed, his cavalry would outflank and surround the enemy.

Labienus commended this scheme of Pompey. To increase the confidence of the army still more, he took an oath never to return to the camp but with victory. Under these advantageous circumstances, Pompey led his troops to battle.

Pompey's order of battle was good, and well judged. In the centre, and on the two flanks, he placed all his veterans, and distributed his new raised troops between the wing and the main body. The Syrian legions were placed in the centre, under the command of Scipio; the Spaniards, on whom he greatly relied, were put on the right, under the command of Domitius and AEnobarbus; and on the left were stationed the two legions which Caesar had restored in the beginning of the war, led on by Pompey himself; because, from thence he intended to make the attack which was to gain the day : for the same reason he had there assembled all his horse, slingers, and archers, of which his right wing had no need, being covered by the river Enipeus.

Caesar divided his army into three bodies, under three commanders : Domitius Calvinus being placed in the centre, and Mark Antony on the left, while he himself led on the right wing, which was to oppose the left, commanded by Pompey. It is remarkable, that Pompey chose to put himself at the head of those troops which were disciplined and instructed by Caesar. Caesar, on the contrary, placed himself at the head of the tenth legion, that had gained all its merit and fame by his own training.

As he observed the enemy's numerous cavalry to be all drawn to one spot, he guessed at Pompey's intention, to obviate which, he made a draught of six cohorts from his rear line, and forming them into a separate body, concealed them behind his right wing, with instructions not to throw their javelins at the approach of Pompey's horse, as was customary, but to keep them in their hands, and to push them directly in the faces and the eyes of the horsemen, who, being composed of the younger part of the Roman nobility, valued themselves much upon their beauty, and dreaded a scar in the face more than a wound in the body. He lastly placed the cavalry so as to cover the right of the tenth legion, ordering his third line not to march till they had received the signal from him.

As the armies approached, the two generals went from rank to rank encouraging their men, warming their hopes, and lessening their apprehensions. Pompey represented to his men, that the glorious occasion which they had long desired, was now before them. And indeed, cried he, what advantage over an enemy could you wish for, which you do not now possess ? Your numbers, your vigor, a late victory, - all assure a speedy conquest of those harassed and broken troops, composed of men worn out with age, and impressed with terrors of a recent defeat : but there is still a stronger bulwark for our protection than the superiority of our strength; - the justice of our cause.

"You are engaged in the defence of liberty and your country; you are supported by its laws, and followed by its magistrates; you have the world spectators of your conduct, and wishing you success. On the contrary, he whom you oppose is a robber, an oppressor of his country, and almost already sunk with the consciousness of his crimes, as well as the success of his arms. Show then, on this occasion, all that ardor, and detestation of tyranny, that should animate Romans, and do justice to mankind.

Caesar, on his side, went among his men with that steady serenity for which he was so much admired in the midst of danger. He dwelt on his frequent and unsuccessful endeavors for peace. He talked with terror of the blood which he was going to shed, and pleaded only the necessity which urged him to it. He deplored the many brave men that were to fall on both sides, and the wounds of his country, whoever should be victorious.

His soldiers answered his speech with looks of ardor and impatience; which observing, he gave the signal to begin. The word on Pompey's side, was, Hercules the invincible; that on Caesar's, Venus the victorious. There was only as much space between the armies as to give room for fighting; wherefore Pompey ordered his men to receive the first shock without moving out of their places, expecting the enemy's ranks to be put into disorder by their motion.

Caesar's soldiers rushed on with their usual impetuosity, but perceiving the enemy motionless, they all stopt short as if by general consent, and halted in the midst of their career. A terrible pause ensued, in which both armies continued to gaze upon each other with mutual terror, and dreadful severity. At length Caesar's men, having taken breath, ran furiously upon the enemy, first discharging their javelins and then drawing their swords.

The same method was observed by Pompey's troops, who as vigorously sustained the attack. His cavalry, also, were ordered to charge at the very onset, which, with the multitude of archers and slingers, soon obliged Caesar's men to give ground; Caesar immediately ordered the six cohorts that were placed as a reinforcement, to advance, and strike at the enemy's faces.

This had its desired effect; the cavalry, which were but just now sure of victory, received an immediate check; the unusual mode of fighting pursued by the cohorts, their aiming entirely at the visages of the assailants, and the horrible, disfiguring wounds they made, all contributed to intimidate them so much, that instead of defending their persons, their only endeavor was to save their faces.

A total rout ensued of their whole body, which fled in great disorder to the neighboring mountains; while the archers and slingers, who were thus abandoned, were cut to pieces. Caesar now commanded the cohorts to follow up their success, and advancing, charged Pompey's troops upon the flank : this charge, the enemy withstood sometime with great bravery, till he brought up his third line, which had not yet engaged. Pompey's infantry being thus doubly attacked in front by fresh troops, and in rear by the victorious cohorts, could no longer resist, but fled to their camp.

Caesar, being convinced that the victory was certain, with his usual clemency, cried out, to pursue the strangers, but to spare the Romans; upon which they all laid down their arms and received quarter. The greatest slaughter was among the auxiliaries, who fled on all hands, but principally went for safety to the camp.

The battle had now lasted from the break of day till noon; the conquerors, being encouraged by the example of their general, who called upon them to follow and strike the decisive blow. The cohorts, who were left to defend the camp, made a formidable resistance; but nothing could check the ardor of Caesar's victorious army : they were at last driven from their trenches, and all fled to the mountains.

Caesar seeing the field strewed with his fallen countrymen, was strongly affected at so melancholy a prospect, and cried out, They would have it so. Upon entering the enemy's camp, everything gave proofs of the highest luxury, and seemed rather the preparatives for a banquet or the rejoicings for a victory, than the dispositions for a battle.

Caesar, in the defeat of Pompey, gained the most complete victory that had ever been obtained; and by his great clemency after the battle, seemed to have deserved it. His loss amounted to only 200 men, and that of Pompey to 15000, as well Romans as auxiliaries. 24000 men surrendered themselves prisoners of war, and the greater part of them entered into Caesar's army.

As to the senators and Roman knights, who fell into his hands, he generously gave them liberty to retire wherever they thought proper. Letters, which Pompey had received from several persons, who wished to be thought neutral, he burnt without reading them, as Pompey had done upon a former occasion. Thus having performed all the duties of a general and a statesman, he sent for the legions which had passed the night in the camp, to relieve those who had accompanied him in the pursuit, and arrived the same day at Larissa.

Pompey, who had formerly shown such courage and conduct, when he saw his cavalry routed, on which he had placed his sole dependence, lost his reason. Instead of thinking how to remedy this disorder, he returned to the camp; there he remained for some moments without speaking, till being told the camp was attacked : What, says he, are we pursued to our very entrenchments ? and immediately quitting his armor for a habit more suitable to his circumstances, he fled away on horseback to Larissa.

28 September 48 B.C.

The death of Pompey

After Pompey was defeated by Caesar in the battle of Pharsalia, overwhelmed by his misfortunes, he took flight into Egypt, where he died in a most cruel manner.

Pompey passed along the vale of Tempe, and pursuing the river Peneus, at last reached a fisherman's hut, in which he passed the night. From thence he went on board a little bark, and keeping along the seashore, he descried a ship of some burthen, which seemed preparing to sail. In this he embarked; the master of the vessel slill paying him the homage which was due to his former station.

From the mouth of the river Peneus he sailed to Amphipolis, where finding his affairs desperate, he steered to Lesbos, to take in his wife Cornelia, whom he had left there at a distance from the dangers of the war. She, who had long flattered, herself with the hopes of victory, felt the reverse of her fortune in an agony of distress. She was desired by the messenger, whose tears more than words proclaimed the greatness of her misfortunes, to hasten, if she expected to see Pompey; informing her, that he had but one ship, and that not his own. Her grief became insupportable; she fainted, and lay some time without any signs of life.

At length recovering, and reflecting that it was now no time for vain lamentations, she ran quite through the city to the seaside. Pompey embraced her without speaking a word, and for some time supported her in his arms in silent despair.

Having taken Cornelia, he continued his course, steering to the southeast, and stopping only to take in provisions at the ports which he passed.

He at last determined to apply to Ptolemy, a king of Egypt, to whose father Pompey had been a considerable benefactor. Ptolemy, who was a minor, had not the government in his own hands; but he and his kingdom were under the direction of Photimus, an eunuch, and Theodotus, a rhetorician.

These advised, that Pompey should be invited on shore, and there slain. Accordingly, Achillas, the commander of the forces, and Septimius, a Roman by birth, and who had formerly been a centurion in Pompey's army, were appointed to carry this plan into execution. Attended by three or four more, they went into a little bark, and rowed off from land towards Pompey's ship, that lay about a mile from the shore.

Pompey, after taking leave of Cornelia, who wept at his departure, and having repeated two verses of Sophocles, signifying, that he who trusts his freedom to a tyrant, from that moment becomes a slave, gave his hand to Achillas, and stept into the bark with only two attendants. They had rowed from the ship some distance; and, as they all kept profound silence, Pompey, willing to begin the discourse, accosted Septimius, whose face he recollected : Methinks, friend, said he, you and I were once fellow-soldiers together. Septimius gave only a nod, without uttering a word, or returning the least civility. Pompey, therefore, took out a paper, in which he had minuted a speech he intended to make to the king, and began reading it.

In this manner they approached the shore; and Cornelia, whose concern had never suffered her to lose sight of her husband, began to hope, when she perceived the people on the strand coming down along the coasts as if willing to receive him. But her hopes were soon destroyed; for, that instant, as Pompey rose, supporting himself upon his freed-man's arm, Septimius stabbed him in the back, and was instantly seconded by Achillas.

Pompey, perceiving his death inevitable, only disposed himself to meet it with decency; and covering his face with his robe, without speaking a word, resigned himself to his fate with a sigh. At this horrid sight, Cornelia shrieked so loud as to be heard on shore; but the danger she was in did not allow the mariners time to look on : they immediately set sail, and the wind proving favorable, they fortunately escaped the pursuit of the Egyptian galleys.

In the mean time, Pompey's murderers, having cut off his head, caused it to be embalmed, the better to preserve its features, designing it for a present to Caesar. The body was thrown naked on the strand, and exposed to the view of all those whose curiosity led them that way. However, his faithful freedman Philip, still kept near it; and when the crowd was dispersed, he washed it in the sea; and looking round for materials to burn it, he perceived the wrecks of a fishing boat; of these he composed a pile. While he was thus employed, he was accosted by an old Roman soldier, who had served under Pompey in his youth. Who art thou, said he, that art making these humble preparations for Pompey's funeral ? Philip having answered, that he was one of his freedmen, Alas, replied the soldier, permit me to share in this honor also : among all the miseries of my exile it will be my last sad comfort, that I have been able to assist at the funeral of my old commander, and touch the body of the bravest general that ever Rome produced. They joined in giving the corpse the last rites; and after this, collecting his ashes, they buried them under a little earth, scraped together with their hands; over which was afterwards placed the following inscription : He whose merits deserve a temple, can now scarce find a tomb.

48-47 B.C.

Cleopatra

Caesar pursued Pompey to Alexandria, where the head of that unhappy man, presented as a grateful offering, gave him the first intelligence of his fate. He wept and turned with horror from the sight. He caused every honor to be paid to his memory, and from that time showed the utmost beneficence to the partizans of his unfortunate rival.

The sovereignty of Egypt was in dispute between Ptolemy and his sister Cleopatra. The latter, though married to her brother, and joint heir by her father's will, was ambitious of undivided authority; and Caesar, captivated by her charms, decided the contest in her favor. A war ensued, in which Ptolemy was killed, and Egypt subdued by the Roman arms.

47 B.C.

Veni, vidi, vici

A revolt of the Asiatic provinces, under Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates, was signally chastised; and the report was conveyed by Caesar to the Roman senate in three words : Veni, vidi, vici, - I came, I saw, I conquered. Caesar returned to Rome, which needed his presence; for Italy was divided, and the partizans of Pompey were yet formidable.

Caesar had been, during his absence, created consul for five years, dictator for one year, and tribune of the people for life. But Antony, who in the mean time governed in Rome for him, had filled the city with riot and debauchery, and many commotions ensued, which nothing but the arrival of Caesar could appease. By his moderation and humanity he soon restored tranquillity to the city.

46 B.C.

Cato the Younger

Caesar having by gentle means restored his authority at Rome, proceeded to Africa, where Pompey's party had found time to rally under Scipio and Cato, assisted by Juba, king of Mauritania; he landed with a small party in Africa, and the rest of his army followed him.

Scipio soon received a complete and final overthrow, with little or no loss to the victor. Juba and Petreius, his generals, killed each other in despair. Scipio, attempting to escape by sea into Spain, fell in among the enemy, and was slain; so that, of all the generals of that party, Cato was now the only one remaining.

This extraordinary man, whom no prosperity could elate and no misfortune depress, having retired to Africa, after the battle of Pharsalia, had led the wretched remains of that defeat through burning deserts, and tracts infested with serpents, and was now in the city of Utica. Still in love with even the show of Roman liberty, he had formed the principal citizens into a senate, and conceived a resolution of defending the town.

But the enthusiasm of liberty subsiding among his followers, he was resolved no longer to persuade men to be free, who seemed naturally prone to slavery. He therefore desired some of his friends to save themselves by sea, and bade others rely on Caesar's clemency; observing, that as to himself he was at last victorious. After supping cheerfully among his friends, he retired to his apartment, where he behaved with unusual tenderness to his son and to all his friends.

When he came into his bed-chamber, he laid himself down, and took up Plato's dialogue on the immortality of the soul; and having read it for some time, happening to cast his eyes to the head of his bed, he was much surprised not to find his sword there, which had been taken away by his son's order, while they were at supper.

He called his domestics, and demanded his sword. His son came in, and with tears besought him to change his resolution; but receiving a stern reprimand, he desisted from his persuasions. His sword being brought him, he seemed satisfied, and cried out, Now again, I am master of myself. He was no sooner alone, than he stabbed himself through the breast.

Upon the death of Cato, the war in Africa being completed, Caesar returned in triumph to Rome; and it seemed as if he had abridged all his former triumphs only to increase the splendor of this. The citizens were astonished at the magnificence of the procession, and the number of countries he had subdued. It lasted four days : the first was for Gaul, the second for Egypt, the third for his victories in Asia, and the fourth for that over Juba in Africa. His veteran soldiers, all scarred with wounds, and now laid up for life, followed their triumphant general crowned with laurels, and conducted him to the capitol.

The people, intoxicated with pleasure, thought their freedom too small a return for such benefits : they seemed eager to find new modes of homage, and epithets of adulation for their great leader. He was created Magister Morum, or master of the morals of the people : he received the title of Emperor and Father of his Country : his person was declared sacred : and in short, upon him alone were devolved for life all the great dignities of the state.

He began his empire by repressing vice and encouraging virtue. He committed the power of judicature to the senators and the knights alone; and by law restrained the scandalous luxuries of the rich. He proposed rewards to all such as had many children, and took the most prudent method to repeople the city, which had been exhausted in the late commotions.

46-44 B.C.

The Julian Monarchy

Le Temple de Saturne
The clemency of Caesar Abel de Pujol
Musée des beaux-arts de Valenciennes

Caesar, having restored prosperity once more to Rome, again found himself under a necessity of going into Spain to oppose an army which had been raised there under the two sons of Pompey, and Labienus, his former general. He proceeded upon this expedition with his usual celerity, and arrived in Spain before the enemy thought he had departed from Rome.

Gnaeus and Sextus, Pompey's sons, profiting by their unhappy father's example, resolved to protract the war. Caesar, after taking many cities, compelled them to come to a battle upon the plains of Munda, and a dreadful conflict ensued. The first shock was so violent, that Caesar's men, who had hitherto been used to conquer, now began to waver. Caesar threw himself several times into the very thickest of the fight : What, cried he, are you going to give up your general, who is grown grey, in fighting at your head, to a parcel of boys ? Fired by these words, the tenth legion pressed forward and obliged the enemy to yield; the battle was decided in favor of Caesar.

Thirty thousand men were killed on the side of the Pompeys, among whom was Labienus, whom Caesar ordered to be buried with the funeral honors of a general officer. Gnaeus Pompey escaped with a few horsemep to the seaside, but finding his passage intercepted by Caesar's lieutenant, he was obliged to seek for a retreat in an obscure cavern. He was quickly discovered by some of Caesar's troops, who presently cut off his head and brought it to the conqueror. His brother Sextus concealed himself so well that he escaped all pursuit, and afterwards became very noted and formidable for his piracies.

Caesar, by this last victory in Spain, subdued all his avowed enemies. The rest of his life was employed for the advantage of the state. He adorned the city with magnificent buildings; he rebuilt Carthage and Corinth, sending colonies to both cities; he undertook to level several mountains in Italy, to drain the Pontine marshes near Rome, and designed to cut through the isthmus of the Peloponnesus.

Thus, with a mind that could never remain inactive, he pondered mighty projects and designs, beyond the limits of the longest life; but the greatest was his intended expedition against the Parthians, by which he designed to revenge the death of Crassus, who having penetrated too far into their country, was overthrown, taken prisoner, and put to a cruel death by having molten gold poured down his throat, as a punishment for his avarice.

From thence Caesar intended to pass through Hyrcania, and enter Scythia along the banks of the Caspian sea, then to open a way through the immeasurable forests of Germany into Gaul, and so to return to Rome. These were the aims of ambition; the jealousies of a few individuals frustrated them all.

Caesar having been made dictator, and received from the senate accumulated honors, it began to be rumored that he intended to make himself king; and though in fact he was possessed of the power, the people, who had an utter aversion to the name, could not bear his assuming the title.

When informed of the jealousies of many persons who envied his power, he was heard to say, that he had rather die at once by treason than to live continually in the apprehension of it. When advised by some to beware of Brutus, in whom he had for some time reposed the greatest confidence, he opened his breast all scarred with wounds, saying, Can you think Brutus cares for such poor pillage as this ?

44 B.C.

The Death of Caesar

A deep conspiracy was laid against Caesar, composed of no less than sixty senators. They were more formidable, as they were generally, of his own party, who having been raised above other citizens, felt more strongly the weight of a single superior. At the head of this conspiracy was Brutus, (whose life Caesar had spared after the battle of Pharsalia,) and Cassius, (who was pardoned soon after.)

The conspirators, to give a color of justice to their proceedings, deferred the execution of their designs to the Ides of March, the day on which the crown was to be offered to Caesar. The augurs had foretold that this day would be fatal to him; and the night preceding, he heard his wife Calpurnia, lamenting in her sleep ; being awakened she confessed to him that she dreamed of his being assassinated in her arms.

These omens in some measure began to shake his intentions of going to the senate that day; but one of the conspirators coming in, prevailed upon him to keep his resolution, telling him of the reproach that would attend his staying at home till his wife had lucky dreams, and of the preparations that were made for his appearance. As he went along to the senate, a slave, who hastened to him with information of the conspiracy, attempted to come near him, but could not for the crowd.

Artemidorus, a Greek philosopher, who had discovered the whole plot, delivered him a memorial containing the heads of the information; but Caesar gave it with other papers to one of his secretaries without reading, as was usual. But at length entering the senate-house, where the conspirators were prepared to receive him, he met one Spurina, an augur, who had foretold his danger; to whom he said, smiling, Well, Spurina, the Ides of March are come. Yes, replied the augur, but they are not yet past.

As soon as he had taken his place, the conspirators came near him, under the pretence of saluting him; and Cimber approached him in a suppliant posture. All the conspirators seconded him with great earnestness; and Cimber took hold of the bottom of his robe, holding him, to prevent his rising : this was the signal agreed on. Casca, who was behind, stabbed him in the shoulder; Caesar instantly turned round, and, with the steel of his tablet, wounded him in the arm : the conspirators were not alarmed; and inclosing him, he received a second stab from an unknown hand, in the breast, while Cassius wounded him in the face. He still defended himself with great vigor, rushing upon them, and throwing down such as opposed him, till he saw Brutus among the conspirators, who struck his dagger into his thigh.

From that moment Caesar thought no more of defending himself; but looking upon this conspirator, cried out, And you too, my son ? Then covering his head, and spreading his robe before him, in order to fall with greater decency, he sunk down at the base of Pompey's statue, after receiving 23 wounds, from hands which he vainly supposed he had disarmed by his benefits.

Caesar was killed in the fiftysixth year of his age, and about fourteen years after he began the conquest of the world.

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