29 Oct Suetonius: The Life of Julius Caesar
Caius Suetonius Tranquillus (c.69-c.130 A.D.) was born in Italy, the son of a military tribune of equestrian rank. He practised as an advocate in Rome during the reign of Trajan (98-117). He became a close friend of the Younger Pliny, and may have served on his staff when he was proconsul of Bithynia Pontus in 111-12. After Pliny’s death, he found a new patron in Septicius Clarus, the prefect of the praetorian guard, and when Hadrian succeeded Trajan in 117, he entered the imperial service, and took on responsibilities for libraries, archives and cultural matters more generally. In about 121 he became Hadrian’s private secretary (‘magister epistolarum’), dealing with the Emperor’s correspondence, but about a year later he was dismissed, together with his patron Septicius Clarus, for associating too freely with the Empress Vibia Sabina without her husband’s permission. After this he concentrated on his own literary pursuits.
Suetonius is mainly known as the author of the “De Vita Caesarum”, better known as “The Twelve Caesars”, dedicated to his friend Septicius Clarus, in which he provides biographies of Julius Caesar and the first eleven emperors. i.e. from Augustus to Domitian. These biographies are not structured chronologically, and are not concerned with historical analysis of such matters as imperial defence or the administration of the state, but concentrate on the details of each Caesar’s life in accordance with a set formula in which Suetonius addresses the following topics: family background, a summary of life before accession, appearance, personality, private life, public actions and the circumstances of death. His biographies are full of pieces of scandalous gossip, which have contributed significantly to the impression of decadence with which the period of the Early Empire was viewed by the men of succeeding centuries, entirely reliant as they were on such literary sources, until the development of the science of archaeology in the Mid-Nineteenth Century. While Suetonius’ work is free from the bias of the senatorial class that pervades much historical writing (e.g. that of Tacitus), and his personal sketches of the emperors are invaluable, he often makes no attempt to gauge the authenticity or otherwise of the rumours which he relates, and fails to indicate the sources upon which he draws for his anecdotes, thus making it almost impossible for judgments to be made about their reliability. On the other hand, he was reputed to have taken some trouble to check the facts wherever possible, and sometimes even quotes conflicting evidence without bias, which was certainly not the practice of Tacitus or later historians.
Although Suetonius writes in a very brief and precise style, thus often bordering on the obscure, and without ornament, his prose is exciting and immensely readable, and, as a result, has become one of the classics of Latin literature. Of his writing, the article about him in the “Encyclopedia Britannica” states: “Suetonius wrote with firmness and brevity. He loved the mot juste, and his use of vocabulary enhanced his pictorial vividness. Above all, he was unrhetorical, unpretentious and capable of moulding complex events into lucid expression.”
His life of Julius Caesar, which is translated below, does provide us with some fascinating material, much of which is not available from other surviving sources. His view of Caesar is a remarkably dispassionate one. He highlights his many personal strengths and draws attention to his loyalty to his friends and his policy of clemency towards those who fought against him. On the other hand he does not seek to hide weaknesses, such as his vanity and his reputation for promiscuousness. He is also pretty clear that Caesar did seek the position of monarch – whether that involved the title of’ ‘king’ or not – and thus brought upon himself the denouement of the Ides of March. As with his contemporaries, Tacitus and Plutarch, he was writing at a time when the official culture was in favour of a significant degree of freedom of speech, and he was able to take advantage of this relative liberality in his style of writing. It is also worth remarking that of the four main historical sources for Caesar’s life, beyond his own commentaries and the contemporary work of Sallust and Cicero’s letters, his is the only one which is written in Latin. The other sources, Plutarch, Appian and Cassius Dio all wrote in Greek.
The text for this translation is taken from the version edited by Alexander Ihm, which is available on the invaluable Perseus.tufts. edu. website. In the translation below Latin main verbs are highlighted by the use of italic script.
(N.B. As in the case of Plutarch’s biography of Caesar, it is likely that the early chapters dealing with his family background and the circumstances of his childhood have not survived.)
Chapter 1. He lost his father when he was in his sixteenth year; the next year (lit. under the following consuls), having been nominated as high-priest of Jupiter, (and) after he had repudiated Cossutia, from an equestrian family, but very rich, to whom he had been betrothed as a boy, he married (lit. led [home as] a wife) Cornelia, daughter of that (Lucius Cornelius) Cinna (who was) consul four times, by whom he had (lit. there was born to him) (a daughter) Julia soon (afterwards); nor could he by any means be forced by the dictator (Lucius Cornelius) Sulla (Felix) to divorce her. Therefore, having been stripped of his priesthood, his wife’s dowry, and his family inheritances, he was held to be (one) of the opposing faction, so that he was also compelled to withdraw from public (view), and, although suffering from a quartan fever, to change his place of hiding almost every night, and he (only) saved himself from those searching (for him) by bribes, until, by means of the Vestal virgins and by means of his close kinsmen Mamercus Aemilius (Lepidus) and (Gaius) Aurelius Cotta also, he obtained a pardon. It is quite well known that Sulla, when he had refused to oblige (lit. denied) (a number of) the most devoted and most eminent men (of his party) who were pleading (on his behalf) and they were (still) arguing obstinately (with him), after he had at last been overcome, cried out, either through divine inspiration or through some kind of foresight, “Let them have their way and keep (him) with them, while they should just know that that man whom they so much desire (to keep) safe, will, at some time or another, be the ruin of the ‘optimates’ (i.e. the party of the aristocracy), whom they have been upholding together with me; for there are many Mariuses in this Caesar.”
Chapter 2. He served his first military campaign in Asia on the staff of the governor Marcus (Minucius) Thermus; having been sent by him to Bithynia with the purpose of summoning a fleet, he loitered at the court of Nicomedes, so that there was (lit. not without) a rumour of his virtue having been prostituted to the king; he increased (the strength of) this rumour by revisiting Bithynia again within a few days for the sake of the enforcement of a payment which was owed to a certain freedman (who was) his client. During the rest of the campaign his reputation was (seen) in a more favourable (light), and at the storming of Mytilene he was awarded the civic crown by Thermus.
Chapter 3. He also served under (Publius) Servilius (Vatia) Isauricus in Cilicia, but (only) for a short time. For, having learned of the death of Sulla, and at the same time with hope (arising) from the fresh agitation which was being set in motion by Marcus (Aemilius) Lepidus, he hastily returned to Rome. And yet he refrained from an alliance with Lepidus, although he was induced by considerable offers, distrusting both his ability and the situation, which he had found less (promising) than his expectation.
Chapter 4. Then, when the civil disturbance had been put to rest, he prosecuted (Gnaeus) Cornelius Dolabella, an ex-consul and the celebrant of a triumph, for extortion. On his acquittal, he decided to withdraw to Rhodes, both to evade any ill-will and, by means of leisure and rest, to study under (lit. give his attention to) Apollonius Molo, the most renowned teacher of oratory at that time. While he was crossing over to that place, when the winter months (had) already (begun), he was captured by pirates near the island of Pharmacussa, and he remained with them, in a state of (lit. not without) the greatest vexation, for nearly forty days with (only) one physician and two body-servants. For he had immediately despatched the rest of his companions and servants at the outset with the purpose of raising the money, with which he might be ransomed. Then, when he had been put ashore, after fifty talents had been paid out, he did not hesitate, as soon as he had launched a fleet, to pursue the departing (pirates) instantly, and, when they had been brought into his power, (to) inflict upon them the punishment with which he had often threatened them in jest. As Mithridates was ravaging the neighbouring districts, lest he seemed to be inactive amid the danger of (Rome’s) allies, he crossed over from Rhodes, from which he had proceeded, to Asia, and, when he had levied (a band of) auxiliaries, and he had expelled the king’s prefect from the province, he kept the wavering and irresolute city-states in their allegiance.
Chapter 5. In the office of military tribune, which was the first honour that befell (to him) through the votes of the people on his return to Rome, he most strenuously supported those who were taking action to restore the power of the tribunes, whose authority Sulla had diminished. He effected through the bill of (Aulus) Plotius the recall to citizenship of Lucius (Cornelius) Cinna, his wife’s brother, and also (of those), who together with him having followed Lepidus in his civil discord, had fled to (Quintus) Sertorius after the consul’s death, and he himself even made a speech on that matter.
Chapter 6. (When he was) a quaestor, he pronounced the funeral oration on his aunt Julia and his wife Cornelia, who had died, in accordance with custom from the rostra. And indeed in the eulogy of his aunt he spoke in the following terms concerning her birth and (that) of his father on both sides (of the family): The stock of my aunt Julia (was) derived, on her mother’s (side), from kings, and, on her father’s (side), was connected with the immortal gods. For, the Marcii Reges, under which name her mother was (born), are (descended) from Ancus Marcius; the Julii, of which tribe our family is a (branch), (are descended) from Venus. So there exists in our stock both the sanctity of kings, who flourish most strongly among men, and the veneration attached to gods, in whose power kings themselves are (placed).”
In place of Cornelia, he married (lit. led [home as a wife]) Pompeia, the daughter of Quintus Pompeius (Rufus), (and) the granddaughter of Lucius Sulla; he then divorced (lit. effected a divorce from) her, suspecting that she had committed adultery (lit. had been debauched by) Publius Clodius (Pulcher), concerning whom there was so widespread a rumour that he had reached her (quarters) during public (religious) ceremonies (dressed) in female clothing, that the Senate decreed (that there should be) an investigation of these sacred rites having been profaned.
Chapter 7. Further Spain came his way (lit. fell to his lot) as quaestor; when he was going around the (provincial) circuit under the praetor’ commission to administer justice and he had come to Gades (i.e. Cadiz), having noticed a statue of Alexander the Great in the temple of Hercules, he sighed deeply, and, as if tired of his own inactivity, in that while nothing memorable had been done by him at an age when Alexander had conquered the world, he immediately insisted upon his discharge, in order to seize the opportunity of (undertaking) matters of greater importance in the city as soon as possible. Moreover, when he had been disturbed during the next night by a dream – for it had seemed during the stillness (of the night) that he had violated (lit. inflicted debauchery on) his mother – the diviners had encouraged him towards the fullest hopes, (by) interpreting that mastery of the world was being portended, since the mother whom he had seen subjected to him was none other than the Earth, which was regarded as the parent of everyone.
Chapter 8. Departing, therefore, before his time (was completed), he went to the Latin colonies, which were in a state of agitation about seeking citizenship, and he might have stirred (them) on to some rash act, if the consuls had not kept the legions, which had been levied (for service) in Cilicia, (there) for a time on account of that very (danger).
Chapter 9. For this reason (lit. Not otherwise than for this [reason]) he was soon devising more (daring actions) in the city: only a few day before he entered upon his aedileship, he came under the suspicion that he had conspired with the ex-consul Marcus (Licinius) Crassus, (and) likewise Publius (Cornelius) Sulla and Lucius Autronius (Paetus), who had been condemned for bribery after their election to the consulship, to attack the Senate at the beginning of the year, and, after they had slaughtered (those) whom it seemed good (to them to kill), Crassus would assume the dictatorship and he himself would be named (as) master of the horse, and once the republic had been ordered in accordance with their will, Sulla and Autronius would be restored to the consulship. Tanusius Geminus mentioned this conspiracy in his history, Marcus (Calpurnius) Bibulus in his edicts, (and) Gaius (Scribonius) Curio, the father, in his speeches. (Marcus Tullius) Cicero, also, seems to hint at this in a certain letter to (Quintus) Axius, where he says that Caesar had secured in his consulship that sovereignty that he had planned (when he was) aedile. Tanusius adds that Crassus, either through bad conscience or fear, did not appear on the day appointed for the massacre, and that, for this reason, Caesar did not then give the signal which he had agreed would be given by him; moreover, Curio says that he had arranged he would slip his toga from his shoulder. The same Curio, and Marcus Actorius Naso as well, are the authorities (for saying) that he had also conspired with the young Gnaeus (Calpurnius) Piso, to whom, because of the suspicion of some conspiracy in the city, the province of Spain had been irregularly assigned unasked; and (it is said) that it had been agreed (between them) that they should rise in revolution at the same time, he (i.e. Piso) outside (the city), (and) he himself (i.e. Caesar) in Rome, by means of the Ambrani and the Transpadani (i.e. the tribes beyond the Po); (but) the plan (was) frustrated by Piso’s death.
Chapter 10. (When he was) aedile, he decorated not only the comitium (i.e. the building in which the assembly of the people met) and the forum and its basilicas, but also the Capitol, constructing temporary colonnades, in which part of the equipment (for public shows) was displayed, with an abundant supply of these materials. Moreover, he laid on shows of wild beast hunting and public games, both with his colleague and separately, in which it came to pass that he alone received the credit for all their common expenditure, and his colleague Marcus Bibulus did not conceal that what had befallen Pollux had happened to him: for, just as the temple erected in the forum to the twin brothers was called Castor’s only, so his own and Caesar’s liberality was declared (to be) Caesar’s alone. In addition, Caesar also added a gladiatorial show, but with somewhat fewer pairs than he had planned; for, since the troop which he had procured from all quarters in so great a number had alarmed his enemies, (a law) was decreed concerning the number of gladiators, beyond which (number) no one was allowed (lit. it was not permitted to anyone) to keep more in Rome.
Chapter 11. Having won the support of the people, he sought to arrange, through a section of the tribunes, that Egypt should be assigned to him (as) a province by an ordinance of the people, obtaining this opportunity of an irregular command because the people of Alexandria had expelled their king (i.e. Ptolemy XII Auletes), who had been named (as) an ally and friend (of the Roman people), and this action had been generally condemned. He did not succeed, (however), as the aristocratic faction opposed (him): in order to diminish their authority, in return, he restored the trophies of Gaius Marius with regard to Jugurtha and with regard to the Cimbri and the Teutoni, previously demolished by Sulla, and, in relation to the court set up to try (lit. concerning) murderers, he also treated those as (lit. [being] in the ranks of) murderers, who during the proscription had received payments for bringing in the heads of Roman citizens, although they had been excepted under the Cornelian laws.
Chapter 12. He also bribed someone to bring an impeachment for high treason against Gaius Rabirius, by whose special assistance the Senate had some years previously, repressed the seditious tribuneship of Lucius (Appuleius) Saturninus, and, having been chosen by lot (as) judge in the case of the accused, he condemned (him) so eagerly that, when he appealed to the people, nothing went so much in his favour as the bitterness of his judge.
Chapter 13. Having given up (all) hope of the province (of Egypt), he sought the office of pontifex maximus (i.e. chief pontiff or priest)), (but) not without the most lavish bribery; contemplating the magnitude of his debt in relation to this, when he was going down to the people’s assembly in the morning, he warned his mother, as she was kissing (him), that he would not return home except as the pontiff. And, indeed, he prevailed over his two most powerful competitors, and much his superiors both in age and rank (i.e. Quintus Lutatius Catulus and Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus) to such an extent that he polled (lit. carried) more votes in their tribes than both (polled) in all (the tribes).
Chapter 14. After he had been elected praetor, when the conspiracy of (Lucius Sergius) Catilina had been detected, (and) the Senate had resolved (to inflict) the ultimate penalty upon the associates in the plot, he alone proposed that, with their goods having been confiscated, they should be separated and kept in custody by the municipal towns, And, indeed, he inspired such fear among those who were urging severer (measures) (by) repeatedly pointing out what great ill-will from the Roman people would await them in the future, that it did not displease Decimus (Junius) Silanus, the consul-designate, to soften his sentence by interpretation – because it was shameful to alter (it) – as though it had been understood in a more harsh sense than he had meant. In fact, he would have prevailed, as many had already gone over to him, and (Quintus Tullius) Cicero, the consul’s brother among them, if a speech of Marcus (Porcius) Cato had not strengthened (the resolve of) the wavering body. Yet not even then did he cease to obstruct the business, until a band of Roman knights, who stood around in arms as a guard, threatened (him with) death if he persisted so extravagantly, (and) even directing drawn swords right at him, so that those nearest (to him deserted (him) as he was sitting beside them, while a few provided protection by surrounding (him) or by throwing down their togas. Then, clearly afraid, he did stop, but for the remaining period of the year he kept away from the Senate-house.
Chapter 15. On the first day of his praetorship, he summoned Quintus Catulus to (attend) an inquiry of the people concerning the rebuilding of the Capitol, proposing a decree by which he transferred this commission to someone else; but, being unable to withstand (lit. unequal to) the plotting of the aristocratic faction, whom, having abandoned the duty of escorting the new consuls, he perceived had flocked together in great numbers, and with the purpose of obstinately resisting (it), he therefore dropped this (course of) action.
Chapter 16. Then, when (Quintus) Caecilius Metellus (Nepos), a tribune of the people, proposed the most violent laws against the veto of his colleagues, he showed himself (to be) a most tenacious agent and champion (of these proposals), until both were suspended by a decree of the Senate from the administration of public affairs. Nevertheless, having dared to remain in office and to administer justice, when he learned that (some were) ready to prevent (him) by force of arms, after he had dismissed his lictors and laid aside his robe of office, he secretly took refuge in his house, intending to remain in retirement (lit. to keep quiet) due to the conditions of the times. He also checked the mob, which two days afterwards flocked (to him) of its own accord and unasked, and, in a somewhat riotous fashion, promised him their support in vindicating his honour. Since this had happened contrary to expectation, the Senate, having assembled in haste on account of the same tumult, gave him their thanks by means of some of their foremost members, and, after he had been summoned to the Senate-house, (and) applauded in the most fulsome terms, restored (him) to his former position, having rescinded their earlier decree.
Chapter 17. He fell back again into another difficulty, when he was named among the associates of Catilina both by the informer Lucius Vettius before the quaestor Novius Niger, and in the Senate by Quintus Curius, to whom a reward had been agreed at the public expense, because he had been the first to expose the plans of the conspirators. Curius said that he had learned (of this) from Catilina, (and) Vettius even promised (to provide a letter) given to Catilina (in) his handwriting. But Caesar, considering that this could by no means be endured, when he had proved, by appealing to the testimony of Cicero that he had brought certain (particulars) of the conspiracy to him voluntarily, ensured that the reward should not be awarded to Curius. (As for) Vettius, when his surety had been secured and his goods seized, (and) after he had been roughly handled and almost torn to pieces at the meeting before the rostra, he threw (him) into prison; (he treated) the quaestor Novius in the same (way), because he had allowed a magistrate of higher rank to be arraigned before him.
Chapter 18. Having been allotted Further Spain after his praetorship, he rid himself of (lit. set aside) his creditors, who were seeking to detain (him), by the intervention of guarantors, and he set out, contrary to custom and law, before the (arrangements for the) provinces had been set in order: (it is) uncertain whether (he did this) through fear of prosecution (while he was still) a private (citizen), or in order to bring assistance more promptly to those allies who were appealing (for his help). But, since, as the day of the assembly for the elections had already been announced, account of his candidacy could not be considered, and many (people) were speaking against his intriguing to be exempted from the laws, he was forced to forgo a triumph lest he should be excluded from the consulship.
Chapter 19. Of his two competitors for the consulship, Lucius Lucceius and Marcus Bibulus, he allied with (lit. attached himself to) Lucceius, having agreed that he, since he was inferior in influence but strong in funds, should distribute money through the centuries in their common names. When they learned of this arrangement, the ‘optimates’, whom fear had seized that (there was) nothing (which) he would not dare (to do when he was) in the highest office with a colleague (who was) in harmony and consenting (with him), were the instigators for Bibulus to offer as much as (the other had), and most of them contributed money (for this purpose), while not even Cato could deny that bribery should happen for the public welfare.
So, he (i.e. Caesar) was appointed consul with Bibulus. For the same reason care was taken by the ‘optimates’ that provincial assignments with the least responsibilities, that is ‘forests and cattle-drifts’, should be assigned to the future consuls. Very greatly incensed by this insult, he sought, through (the performance of) all (possible) services, the good-will of Gnaeus Pompeius (Magnus), who had been alienated by the senators, because his settlements were being confirmed rather slowly; and he reconciled with Pompeius Marcus Crassus, an old enemy from their consulship (i.e. in 70 B.C.), which had generated extreme discord between them; and he entered an alliance with both of them, in order that nothing should be done with regard to public affairs which was displeasing to any of the three.
Chapter 20. When he entered into office, he first of all arranged that the daily proceedings of both the Senate and of the people’s (assembly) should be recorded and made public. He also revived an old custom that, during the months in which he did not have the ‘fasces’, an attendant should go before him, (and) the lictors should follow behind (him). Then, having promulgated an agrarian law, he drove from the forum by (force of) arms his colleague, who was announcing unfavourable omens, and who had made a complaint in the Senate on the following day, and, when no one was found who would venture to make some reference to such a disturbing event or propose any (motion of censure), (although) there had often been many such decrees in relation to milder disturbances, he drove (him) into such (a state of) desperation that, until he departed from office, (he did) nothing, (while) concealed at home, other than announce unfavourable omens through his edicts.
From that time (onwards) he managed everything with regard to public affairs and (he did so) in accordance with his will, so that a number of witty (fellows), when they signed (and sealed) any (document) for the sake of acting as a witness, wrote, by way of jest, “Done, not when Caesar and Bibulus, but when Julius and Caesar, were consuls,” specifying the same man twice, by his name and by his surname, so that these lines were soon widely reported: “Something happened recently, not under Bibulus, but under Caesar; for I remember nothing being done when Bibulus was consul.”
The plain of Stellas, which had been consecrated (to the gods) by our ancestors, and the Campanian lands, which had been reserved for revenue in support of the state he divided without (casting) lots among twenty thousand citizens who had (lit. to whom there were) three or more children. He relieved the tax-collectors, who were seeking some remission, of a third of their obligation, and he warned them publicly not to bid too recklessly in relation to contracts for future revenues. Furthermore, he freely granted anything else which anyone wanted (lit. which was pleasing to anyone), without any opposition (lit. with no one speaking against), or, if anyone attempted (to do so), by intimidating (that person). He ordered that Marcus Cato, who was attempting to obstruct (the proceedings), should be dragged from the senate-house and led off to prison. When Lucius (Licinius) Lucullus resisted too freely, he filled (him) with such fear of a malicious prosecution that he fell on his knees before him of his own accord. When Cicero deplored, in some trial, the (terrible) state of the times, he transferred his enemy Publius Clodius, who had already been striving unsuccessfully for a long time to go across from the patricians to (being) a plebeian, (and he did so) on the same day and at the ninth hour (i.e. after the the normal time for close of business in the people’s assembly). Finally, (taking action against) all of the opposing faction, (he persuaded) an informer, (i.e. Lucius Vettius) who had been induced by a reward, to declare publicly that he had been solicited by certain (persons) for the purpose of arranging Pompeius’ death, and, having been brought before the rostra, to name the parties in the plot; but, after one or two had been named to no effect, and not without suspicion of fraud, despairing of the outcome of his over hasty design, he is supposed to have had the informer taken off.
Chapter 21. At about the same time he married (lit. led [home] as a wife) Calpurnia, the daughter of Lucius (Calpurnius) Piso, who was to succeed him in the consulship, and gave his own (daughter) in marriage to Gnaeus Pompeius, after she had repudiated her former fiance, (Quintus) Servilus Caepio, by whose conspicuous services he had certainly opposed Bibulus shortly beforehand. And, after this relationship (had been formed), he began to ask Pompeius for his opinion first in the Senate, although he used (to ask) Crassus (first), and it was the custom that the consul should preserve throughout (lit. in the whole of) the year that order of asking opinions which he had established on the Kalends of January.
Chapter 22. So, with the support of his father-in-law and son-in-law, he chose the Gauls out of all the abundance of provinces (as) the most likely to provide him with wealth and a suitable opportunity and subject for triumphs. At first, indeed, he received, by a law of (Publius) Vatinius, (only) Cisalpine Gaul, with the addition of Illyricum; (but) soon Gallia Comata (i.e. Transalpine Gaul) (was assigned) also by the Senate, as the senators feared that, if they themselves denied (it), the people would give this as well. Transported with joy at this (success), he could not refrain from boasting a few days afterwards in a well attended Senate-house that, (as) he (had) obtained (all) that he had desired, despite the reluctance and lamentations of his adversaries, he would therefore from that (time) proceed to leap upon their heads; and, when someone said, by way of an insult, that this would not be easy for any woman (to do), he replied, as if in jest: “Semiramis also reigned in Syria, and the Amazons held sway over half of Asia.”
Chapter 23. Having completed his consulship, when the praetors Gaius Memmius and Lucius Domitius (Ahenobarbus) moved an inquiry into the proceedings of the previous year, he laid the matter before (lit. referred the matter to) the Senate; but, when it did not take (it) up, after three days of fruitless wrangling, he left for his province. Then, his quaestor was immediately arraigned on several charges as an example (of what was to happen to him). Then, after he himself had also been prosecuted by the tribune of the people, Lucius Antistius, by appealing to the (whole) college (of tribunes), he finally ensured that he should not be brought to trial (lit. that he should not become a defendant), on the grounds that (lit. since) he was absent on public business (lit. for the sake of the republic). Therefore, for the purpose of (his own) security during his important business in the time following, he was always careful to put annual magistrates under an obligation (to him), and not to assist any electoral candidates, or allow (them) to attain office, other than (those) who had undertaken to support him during his absence; for the purpose of such an agreement, he did not hesitate to exact from some (of them) an oath or even a written contract.
Chapter 24. But, when Lucius Domitius, a candidate for the consulship, openly threatened that he would effect (as) consul what he had been unable to do (as) praetor, and deprive him of his armies, he brought Crassus and Pompeius to the city of Luca (i.e. Lucca), (which lay) in his province, pressing (them) to seek a second (term as consul), and he arranged, by means of the two of them, that his command should be prolonged for five years. With this assurance, he added to the legions which he had received from the state others at his own personal expense, one having even been recruited from the men of Transalpine (Gaul), with a Gallic name too – for it was called ‘The Larks’ -, which, having been trained and equipped in Roman discipline and style, he afterwards presented all of them with citizenship. And, after that, he did not lose any opportunity for a war, not even an unjust or a dangerous (one), with both allied, and hostile and barbarous, tribes having been deliberately provoked, such that the Senate on one occasion decreed that commissioners should be sent in order to explore the condition of the Gallic (provinces), and some (e.g. Cato) (even) proposed that he should be handed over to the enemy. But, with his campaigns turning out (so) successfully, he obtained public thanksgivings more often, and for more days, than anyone ever (had before).
Chapter 25. The whole of Gaul, which is bounded by the Pyrenean forest and the Alps and the Cevennes mountain(-range), (and) by the rivers Rhine and Rhone, and extends in a circuit of about three thousand, two hundred (lit. two and thirty hundred) miles (lit. thousand paces) he reduced to the form of a province, with the exception of some well-deserving allied states, and he imposed upon it forty million (lit. four hundred [times a hundred thousand]) (sesterces) by way (lit. in the name) of tribute. He was the first of the Romans, after a bridge had been built, to attack the Germans who live across the Rhine; and he both attacked the Britons, who were previously unknown, and, having defeated (them), he exacted money and hostages (from them); amid such great successes, he experienced seriously adverse fortunes but three times: in Britain, when his fleet was almost destroyed by the force of a storm; in Gaul, when a legion was routed at Gergovia; and on the border with the Germans, when his legates (Quintus) Titurius (Sabinus) and (Lucius) Aurunculeius (Cotta) were slain in an ambush.
Chapter 26. Within this same space of time, he lost first his mother, then his daughter, and not long afterwards his granddaughter. Meanwhile, amid the alarm of the republic at the murder of Publius Clodius, when the Senate had voted that (only) one consul, and Gnaeus Pompeius in particular, should be appointed, (and) when the tribunes of the people were wishing to appoint (him as) Pompeius’ colleague, he urged that they should rather propose the following, (namely) that, whenever the term of his command was coming close to being completed, he should be granted the right to stand for a second consulship in his absence, so that he should not, for that reason, have to depart (from his province) prematurely and with the war still unfinished. When he had attained this (object), aiming higher still, but full of hope, he omitted nothing by way of bribery or in relation to any kind of service, (both) in his public capacity and on a private basis. From (the proceeds of) his spoils, he began (to build) a forum, for which the ground cost a hundred million (lit. a thousand [times a hundred thousand]) sesterces. He announced a (gladiatorial) show and a banquet for the people in memory of his daughter, (something) which no one (had done) before him. So that there should be the highest possible expectation of these (events), although the materials for (lit. the things pertaining to) the banquet had been contracted to the meat-sellers of the markets, he prepared (some of them) in his house as well. He gave orders that famous gladiators, if at any time they should be fighting amid hostile spectators, should be taken away and reserved (for another occasion). He had the novices trained, not in a school or by professional trainers, but in their homes by Roman knights and even by senators (who were) skilled in arms, striving through his requests, as is shown by his letters, that they should undertake the training of each one of them, and themselves give lessons (to them while they were) exercising. He doubled the pay of the legionaries in perpetuity. He also supplied corn, whenever there was an abundance (of it) without any limit or measure, and sometimes gave individual slaves to each man from his stock of captives (lit. his booty).
Chapter 27. Moreover, so as to retain Pompeius’ friendship and good-will, he offered him in marriage his sister’s granddaughter, Octavia, who was married to Gaius (Claudius) Marcellus, and he sought in marriage to himself his daughter (who had been) promised to Faustus (Cornelius) Sulla. Indeed after all (those) around him (i.e. Pompeius), and also a great part of the Senate, had been put under an obligation to him by a free or a cheap loan, he honoured (those) of every other kind of class, who came to wait (upon him), either having been invited or of their own accord, with very rich gifts, (and) in addition (he included) the freedmen and young slaves of each one, according as to whether he was favoured by his master or patron. Next, he was the sole and most ready (source of) assistance to those facing prosecution, or to those involved in debt, or to prodigal youth, except (those) whom the burden of their guilt or their poverty or their wantonness pressed more heavily (upon them) than it was possible for them to be helped by him; he told such people quite openly that what they needed was (lit. that there was a need [to them] of) a civil war.
Chapter 28. He sought to attract (the support of) kings and provinces throughout the world with no less zeal, offering thousands of prisoners to some as a gift, and sending auxiliary troops to others, whenever they wanted (them) and for as long as they wanted (them), without the authority of the Senate and people (of Rome), and, in addition, embellishing the most important cities of Italy and (the provinces of) Gaul and Spain, as well as of Asia and Greece, with outstanding (public) works; eventually, when everyone was astounded and was wondering what the purpose of them could be (lit. was considering in what direction these things were going), the consul Marcus Claudius Marcellus, after he had given advance notice in his edict that he would be putting forward (a measure) of the greatest importance to the state, brought a motion before the Senate that a successor to him should be appointed before his term of office (had expired), since, now that the war had been completed, there was peace, and the victorious army ought to be disbanded; also that no account should be taken (of him) in the election, if he were absent, since Pompeius had not afterwards annulled the decree of the people. It had, in fact, happened that he, (while) proposing a law concerning the privileges of magistrates, had not indeed made an exception of Caesar, through an oversight, in that clause whereby he removed the right to stand for office in one’s absence, and then, once the law had been inscribed in bronze and had been stored for safe keeping in the treasury, he corrected the omission. Marcellus, not content with depriving Caesar of his provinces and his (special) privilege, also moved that citizenship should be removed from the colonists whom he had settled at Novum Comum (i.e. Como) through the bill of Vatinius, on the grounds that it had been granted for reasons of vote-winning and (was) outside the law.
Chapter 29. Disturbed by these (measures), and thinking, as they say he was often heard (to remark) (lit. it was often heard [to come] from him), that (it would be) harder for him, as the first (man) in the state, to be dropped down from the first place to the second, than from the second (place) to the lowest, he resisted with the utmost strength, partly through tribunician vetoes, (and) partly through Servius Sulpicius (Rufus), the other consul. In the following year also, when Gaius (Claudius) Marcellus, who had succeeded his cousin Marcus in the consulship, tried the same (approach), he procured by immense bribery his colleague (Lucius) Aemilius Paulus, and Gaius (Scribonius) Curio, the most vehement of the tribunes (as) his protectors.
But, when he saw that everything was being done quite determinedly, and that even the consuls-designate (were) of the opposing faction, he pleaded in a letter to the Senate that his dispensation from the people should not be withdrawn, or (else) that other generals should leave (lit. depart from) their armies as well; trusting, as they were thinking, that he could more readily muster his veterans, whenever he wished (lit. as soon as it was pleasing [to him]), than Pompeius (could muster) his newly(-recruited) troops, he then made an offer to his opponents that, if he were to lay down eight legions and Transalpine Gaul, two legions and the Cisalpine province, or even one legion with Illyricum, should be left to him, until he were elected consul.
Chapter 30. But, when the Senate (decided) not to intervene, and his opponents said that they would make no compromise about the public welfare, he crossed into Hither (i.e. Cisalpine) Gaul, and after he had held assizes, he stopped at Ravenna, intending to vindicate (himself) by war, if anything of a drastic nature was decided upon by the Senate with regard to the tribunes exercising their right of veto on his behalf. And this, indeed, was his pretext for the civil war; but (people) think that he had other reasons (lit. that there were other reasons [to him]). Gnaeus Pompeius frequently used to speak in this way (of him), that, because he could neither complete the (public) works, which he had begun, nor satisfy, through his personal wealth, the expectations of the people, which he had created on his return, he wished to throw everything into turmoil and confusion.
Others say that he dreaded that he should be compelled to render an account of those (things) which he had done in his first consulship contrary to the auspices and the laws and the vetoes (of tribunes); for Marcus Cato repeatedly declared, even on (lit. not without an) oath, that he would indict him (lit. bring an accusation against his name), just as soon as he had disbanded his army; and, also, (people) everywhere proclaimed openly that, if he should return (as) a private (citizen), he should have to defend himself (lit. plead his cause) before the judges, with armed men having been placed around (the court), following the example of (Titus Annius) Milo. (Gaius) Asinius Pollio makes this (view) the more probable, when he reports that he, looking upon his enemies on the battle-field of Pharsalus slain or in flight, said the following (things) word for word: “They would have it (so); despite the very great things which I had done, I, Gaius Caesar, would have been condemned (in court), if I had not sought help from my army.” Some think that he had been captivated by the habit of power, and, having weighed his own and his enemies strength, that he had taken the opportunity of seizing the sole power, which he had desired from his earliest age. Cicero too seemed to have thought this, when he writes in the third book of his ‘Offices’ that Caesar had always in his mouth the lines of Euripides (which) are in his ‘Phoenician Women’: “For, if one must do wrong, wrong (is) most right for the sake of tyranny: in all other things (it is) necessary to live piously,” which he translated thus: “For, if the law must be violated, it should be violated for the sake of being all powerful; in all other things you should cultivate piety.”
Chapter 31. Accordingly, when it had been reported that the veto of the tribunes had been set aside, and that they, themselves, had left the city, having immediately sent some cohorts ahead in secret, lest any suspicion should be occasioned, he was present at a public show for the sake of pretence, and inspected the model, through which he was intending to build a school for gladiators, and, out of custom, he went (lit. devoted himself) to a well-attended banquet. Then, after sunset, having harnessed the mules of a neighbouring bakery to a carriage, he set out on a journey very secretively with a small company; and when, with his lamps having been extinguished, he had lost his way, (after) wandering about for some time, having found a guide, he went by foot along very narrow footpaths, and, overtaking his cohorts at the river Rubicon, which was the boundary of his province, he halted for a while, and, realising how great a (step) he was undertaking, (and) turning to (those) nearest (to him): he said, “Even now, we can go back, but, if we should cross that small bridge, everything must be done (by us) with arms.”
Chapter 32. While he was hesitating, the following portent occurred. A person of exceptional size and beauty suddenly appeared, sitting close-by (and) playing on a pipe; when in addition to shepherds, many of the soldiers also, and among them the trumpeters too, flocked from their posts to listen to him, having snatched a trumpet from one (of them), he sprang forward towards the river, and, commencing the signal for battle with a mighty blast, he strode across to the opposite bank. Then, Caesar exclaimed: “Let us go whither the portents of the gods and the iniquity of our enemies are calling (us). The die is cast, ” said he.
Chapter 33. And so, having taken his army across (the river), (and) having summoned the tribunes of the people, who, after they had been expelled (from the city), had come to meet (him), he besought the loyalty of his soldiers at an assembly, weeping and having torn his robe from his breast. It is even thought that he promised each man an equestrian property; that occurred through a misunderstanding (lit. false belief). For, since in addressing (them) and urging (them) on, (while) pointing to a finger of his left hand, he declared that he would gladly (lit. with a level mind) tear this very ring from his (finger) to satisfy (lit. to do enough for) all (those) through whom he might defend his honour, (those) on the edge of the assembly, for whom it was easier to see (him) while he was haranguing (them) than to hear (him), assumed in relation to his speech what they supposed through their sight; and the report spread about that the right (to wear a knight’s) ring had been promised (them) together with four hundred thousand (sesterces).
Chapter 34. The order and sum total of the things which he did are as follows. He took possession of Picenum, Umbria (and) Etruria, and, when Lucius Domitius, who had been named irregularly (as) his successor and was holding Corfinium with a garrison, had come into his power and had been released (by him), he (then) proceeded along (the coast of) the Upper Sea (i.e. the Adriatic) to Brundisium (i.e. Brindisi), where the consuls and Pompeius had taken refuge, intending to cross over (the sea) as soon as possible. (After) trying in vain, by means of every kind of obstacle, to prevent them from leaving, he directed his march to Rome, and, when he had summoned the senators to discuss public business, he fell upon Pompeius’ strongest forces, which were in Spain under his three legates, Marcus Petreius, Lucius Afranius and Marcus (Terentius) Varro, declaring among his (friends) beforehand, that he was going to (meet) an army without a leader, and would be returning thence to (meet) a leader without an army. And, although he was delayed by the siege of Massilia (i.e. Marseilles), which had closed its gates against him on his march, and an extreme scarcity in his corn supply, he overcame everything in a short (space of time).
Chapter 35. Thence, having revisited the city (of Rome), and having crossed to Macedonia, he eventually routed Pompeius, whom he had besieged for almost four months with mighty earth-works (i.e. at Dyrrachium), at the battle of Pharsalus, and, following (him) in his flight to Alexandria, when he learned that he had been murdered, he waged against King Ptolemy, by whom he saw that an ambush was being laid for him too, a war, (which was) in truth a most difficult (one), (occurring) neither in a (favourable) spot nor at a favourable moment, but during the winter season (lit. the winter of the year) within the city-walls of a very well-supplied and most cunning foe, (while he) himself (was) lacking in every kind of resource, and ill-prepared. Victorious (once more however), he entrusted the kingdom of Egypt to Cleopatra and her younger brother, fearing to make (it) a province, lest, if it were, some day, to get a headstrong governor, it might be the source of a revolution. From Alexandria he crossed to Syria, and thence to Pontus, being spurred on by the news of Pharnaces, the son of Mithridates the Great, who had been making war (on his neighbours), and was already flushed with numerous successes, (but) whom he destroyed in a single battle five days after he had arrived (in the country) and four days after he came in sight of him, (while) frequently remarking on the good fortune of Pompeius, whose conspicuous military reputation had come about in relation to such a feeble kind of foe. From there, he overcame (Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius) Scipio (Nasica) and (King) Juba, who had been reviving the remnants of their faction in Africa, (and) the sons of Pompeius in Spain.
Chapter 36. In all the civil wars, he did not suffer any disaster, except through his legates, of whom Gaius Curio perished in Africa, Gaius Antonius fell into the hands (lit. power) of his adversaries in Illyricum, (and) Publius (Cornelius) Dolabella lost a fleet off the same Illyricum (and) Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus an army in Pontus. He himself always fought with great success, the issue (being) never in doubt except twice; once, at Dyrrachium (i.e. Durazzo), when, after he had been put to flight, and Pompeius did not pursue (him), he said that he did not know how to be victorious, (and) again in Spain, in the final battle, when, having despaired of his situation, he even thought of taking his own life (lit. inflicting death [upon himself]).
Chapter 37. After the war had been completed, he celebrated a triumph on five occasions, four times in the same month after the defeat of Scipio, but with (a few) days intervening, and once again after Pompeius’ sons had been overcome. The first and most magnificent triumph he performed (was) the Gallic (one), the Alexandrian (one) following (it), then the :Pontic, next to this the African, and lastly the Spanish. each one with its different equipment and pageantry.
Riding through the Velabrum (i.e. low ground lying between the north-west slope of the Palatine and the Capitoline) on the day of his Gallic triumph, he was all but thrown out of his chariot when its axle broke, and he ascended the Capitol by torchlight with forty elephants carrying lamp-stands on his right and on his left. In his Pontic triumph, among the items of the procession he displayed an inscription of three words, “I CAME, I SAW, I CONQUERED,” indicating not the events of the war, like the other things, but a token that it had been speedily accomplished.
Chapter 38. To each infantryman in his veteran legions, he gave by way of (lit. in the name of) booty, twenty-four thousand sesterces over and above the two (thousand) sesterces, which he had paid them at the outset of the civil war. He also assigned (them) land, but not (fields) side-by-side, so that no one should be expelled from his property. To the people, besides the the ten pecks of corn and as many pounds of of olive-oil, he distributed to each (citizen) the three hundred sesterces, which he had formerly promised, and a hundred thousand more than this to each man on account of the delay. He also remitted a year’s rent (to tenants) in Rome (who paid) up to two thousand sesterces, (and to tenants) in Italy (who paid) not beyond five hundred sesterces. He added a banquet and a distribution of meat, and, after his Spanish victory, two (public) dinners; for, since he regarded the first (of these) as having been given too sparingly and not in accordance with his liberality, he provided another most plentiful (one) five days afterwards.
Chapter 39. He organised public shows of various kinds: a contest of gladiators, (and) also stage-plays in every ward throughout the city and (performed) too by actors of every tongue, as well as races in the circus (i.e. horse and chariot races), athletic (contests) (and) a mock sea-battle. In a (gladiatorial) contest in the forum Furius Leptinus, of praetorian stock, and Quintus Calpenus, a former senator and barrister (lit. pleader of [legal] causes), fought to the death. The sons of distinguished (men) from Asia and Bithynia performed the Pyrrhic dance.
In the stage-plays, Decimus Laberius, a Roman knight, acted in his own farce, and, having been presented with five hundred (thousand) sesterces and a gold ring (i.e. his equestrian status which he had thereby forfeited was restored), he passed from the stage through the orchestra, taking his place in the fourteen rows (i.e. the seats reserved for knights). For the races, the length of the circus, having been extended at both ends, and a canal having been dug (lit. added) around it (lit. in a circle), young men of the highest rank, drove four-horse and two-horse chariots, and horses used for vaulting. Two troops of older and younger boys played the game of Troy.
The hunting of wild beasts (was) presented for five days, and. last of all, a battle (was fought) separated into two battle-lines with five hundred foot-soldiers, twenty elephants and three hundred horsemen engaging on both sides (lit. on this side and that). For, in order that (lit. by which means) (the battle) might be fought with more space, the turning-posts (were) removed, and in their place two camps were pitched right opposite (one another). The athletes competed for three days in a temporary stadium, constructed in the region of the Field of Mars.
A lake having been dug for the naval battle in the Lesser Codeta (i.e. a meadow beyond the Tiber), biremes, triremes and quadriremes of the Tyrian and Egyptian fleets fought each other with a great number of fighting (men). To all these shows, so many people flocked from every quarter that most of the strangers had to stay in tents erected in the streets or along the roads, and, on a number of occasions, many at the head of the throng were crushed and killed, and among these (there were) two senators.
Chapter 40. Turning from this to the need to reform the state of the republic, he corrected the calendar, which had, for some time, been so confused through the fault of the pontiffs by their freedom to intercalate (months), that neither did the harvest festivals coincide with the summer nor the vintage (festivals) with the autumn, and he adjusted the year to the sun’s course, (ordaining) that it should consist of three hundred and sixty-five days, and that, with the abolition of the intercalary month, one day should be added every fourth year. Furthermore, so that (lit. by which means) a better reckoning of the seasons in respect of the new year might correspond with the next Kalends of January, he inserted two other (months) between the month of November and (that) of December; and that year, in which these (arrangements were made (i.e. 46 B.C.) consisted of fifteen months, including the intercalary (month), which had occurred in accordance with the (former) practice.
Chapter 41. He made good (the number in) the Senate, he enrolled (additional) patricians, (and) he increased the number of praetors, aediles (and) quaestors, as well as of minor officials; he reinstated (those who had been) degraded by the action of the censors or found guilty of bribery by the verdict of the jurors. He shared (the right of) elections with the people, (in such a way) that, with the exception of candidates for the consulship, with regard to the remaining number of candidates, half should be appointed on the basis of (those) whom the people wanted, (and) the other (half) on the basis of (those) whom he himself had nominated. And he circulated in brief notes by means of bills distributed around each tribe (the following): “Caesar the dictator to this or that tribe. I commend this man and that man to you, so that they may hold their positions by your vote.” He admitted to office even the sons of (those who had been) proscribed. He returned the right to try cases to two classes of jurors, (those) from the equestrian, and from the senatorial, orders; he removed the tribunes of the treasury, which was the third (class).
He administered the census of the people in neither the accustomed manner nor place, but, street by street, by means of the principal (inhabitants) of each quarter (of the city), and he revised (the number of) those receiving corn at the public (expense) from three hundred and twenty thousand to a hundred and fifty (thousand); and, so that any new gatherings could not be called at any time for the purpose of enrolment, he arranged that a substitution by lot (held) by the praetor should occur every year to (fill) the places of those who had died with (names) of those who were not on the list.
Chapter 42. Moreover, in order that the population of the city, which had been drained, with eighty thousand citizens having been distributed among overseas colonies (i.e. mainly Carthage and Corinth), should be sufficient, he decreed that no citizen of more than twenty years (of age) or less than forty, who was not detained by the military oath of allegiance, should be absent from Italy for more than three years continuously, neither should any son of a senator journey abroad, unless (he were) on the staff of, or a companion of, a magistrate, nor should those who made their business as cattle-breeders have among their graziers less than a third part of free-born youths. And he conferred citizenship upon all who practised medicine in Rome and (who were) teachers of the liberal arts, so that (lit. by which means) they might both more readily live in the city themselves and that others might wish (to do so too).
With regard to money owed, having disappointed (lit. set aside) the expectation of a cancellation (lit. fresh tablets), which was frequently entertained, he decreed in the end that debtors should satisfy (lit. make amends to) their creditors according to a valuation of their estates at the price which they purchased them before the civil war, with a deduction from the total of the loan being made, if anything had been paid out by way of (lit. in the name of) interest or pledged (by bankers); on this basis around a quarter (lit. a fourth part) of the loan was wiped out. He dissolved all guilds, except those (which had been) founded in ancient times. He increased the penalties for crimes, and, since the wealthy involved themselves in (lit. rendered themselves liable [to the consequences of] crime, because they went into exile with their property unimpaired, he punished the murderers of freemen (with the confiscation of) all their goods, and others by (the loss) of one half.
Chapter 43. He dispensed justice very conscientiously and strictly. He even expelled from the senatorial order (those who had been) convicted of extortion. He annulled the marriage of a man of praetorian rank, who had immediately married (lit. led [home as a wife]) (a woman) two days after she had been divorced from her husband, although there was no (lit. without any) suspicion of adultery.
He imposed tolls upon foreign goods. He banned the use of litters (for travel), as well as (the wearing) of purple robes and pearls, except in the case of certain persons and (certain) ages, and on fixed days. He especially enforced the sumptuary laws by placing watchmen around the market to seize and bring to him foodstuffs (sold) contrary to (what had been) forbidden, sometimes despatching his lictors and soldiers to remove from the dining-room (food which had been) served already, if any (of it) had escaped the notice of his watchmen.
Chapter 44. For, with regard to the embellishment and development of the city, (and) likewise with regard to the protection and extension of the empire, he designed more and greater (projects) on a daily basis; in the first place, after he had filled up and levelled the lake, in which he had exhibited the sea-battle, to construct a temple of Mars, of which there would not be a greater one anywhere, and a theatre of vast size, sloping down from the Tarpeian rock; the reduction of the civil law to fixed limits and, from the immense and diffuse mass of the laws, to gather together all the best and the most essential (ones) into the fewest possible (number) of books; to make available for public use the greatest libraries of Greek and Roman (books) that he could (provide), having assigned the charge of preparing and arranging (them) to Marcus Varro; to drain the Pomptine marshes; to let (the water) out of Lake Fucinus; to build a road from the Upper Sea (i.e. the Adriatic), across the ridge of the Appennines as far as the Tiber; to dig (a canal) through the Isthmus (of Corinth); to check the Dacians, who had poured (lit. poured themselves out) into Pontus and Thrace; then, to make war upon the Parthians by way of Lesser Armenia, but not to undertake a (pitched) battle (with them) unless he had tested (them) out beforehand,
His death prevented (him) undertaking and contemplating these (schemes). Before I speak of this, it will not be amiss to set out briefly such (matters) as relate to his appearance, his dress, his way of life, his character, and no less (those things) which (relate) to his civil and military endeavours.
Chapter 45. He is reputed to have been of tall stature, of pale complexion, with shapely limbs, with a somewhat full face and keen black eyes, (and) of sound health, except that at the end of his life he whenwas accustomed to faint suddenly and also to suffer from nightmares during his sleep. He was also seized twice by an epileptic fit (lit. election fever) during active service. (He was) somewhat fastidious about his own person, such that he was not only carefully trimmed and shaved, but even, as some reproached (him), he (had his body hair) plucked, and, indeed, he bore the disfigurement of his baldness with great difficulty, as he found (this) exposed (him) to the gibes of his detractors. And for this reason he was accustomed to comb forward his scanty hair from the crown (of his head), and, of all the honours decreed to him by the Senate and people, he received or made use of nothing else more gladly than the right to wear a laurel wreath at all times.
They say too that (he was) remarkable for his dress: for he used to wear the (senator’s tunic) with the broad purple stripe with fringed (sleeves reaching) to his wrists, and a belt always girded over it, and indeed rather a loose (one); (and they say) that from this emanated Sulla’s remark, when he frequently warned the ‘optimates’ that they should beware of “that ill-girt boy.”
Chapter 46. At first, he lived in a modest house in the Suburra (i.e. a district of the city between the Celian and Esquiline hills), but after (he attained) the office of pontifex maximus, in an official residence on the Sacred Way. Many have made it known that he was very devoted to elegance and luxury: that, having begun (to build) a country-house on his estate at Nemi, and having finished (it) at great cost, he totally demolished (it) because it did not correspond entirely to his intentions, although he was still poor and in debt; (and) that he carried around (with him) on his campaigns tesselated and mosaic floors (for his tent).
Chapter 47. (It is said) that he invaded Britain in the hope of (obtaining) pearls, and that, sometimes, when comparing their size, he ascertained their weight with his own hand; that he always most eagerly procured gems, embossed art work, statues, (and) portraits of ancient workmanship; (that he also procured)) upright and cultivated slaves at an enormous price, and that he was even so ashamed of this that he forbade (them) to be entered in his account books.
Chapter 48. (It is further reported) that in the provinces he entertained at two dining-tables, at one of which his officers and Greek (companions), and at the other of which Romans of the highest rank, together with the most eminent provincials, reclined. He managed his domestic arrangements, in small as well as important matters, so punctiliously and strictly that he threw his baker into prison (lit. bound his baker with shackles) for serving his guests with bread (which was) different from what (was served) to him, and he inflicted capital punishment upon a favourite freedman (of his) for committing adultery with the wife of a Roam knight, even though no one had complained.
Chapter 49. In fact, nothing damaged his reputation for chastity except his intimate relationship with Nicomedes, as he was exposed to deep and lasting opprobrium and to insults from all quarters. I pass over these notorious lines of Licinius Calvus: “Whatever Bithynia and the unnatural abuser of Caesar ever had.” I pass over (too) the accusations of Dolabella and the elder Curio (lit. Curio the father), in which Dolabella calls him “the rival of the queen and the inner bed-frame of the royal couch,” and Curio “the brothel of Nicomedes and the stew of Bithynia.”
I also take no account of (lit. cause to be despatched) the edicts of Bibulus, in which he advertised his colleague (as) a queen, and that previously a king had served as the object of his love, and now it was a kingdom. At this time, as Marcus (Junius) Brutus declares, a certain Octavius, talking away rather freely in a crowded assembly due to the weakness of his mind, when he had called Pompeius “king”, greeted him (i.e. Caesar) (as) “queen”. But Gaius Memmius also taunted (him) that he acted as a cup-bearer (lit. ladle and wine) to Nicomedes with the rest of his catamites at a well-attended banquet, when a number of merchants from the city, the names of whom he records, reclined (as guests). Indeed, Cicero, not content that he had written in certain letters, that he (i.e. Caesar), having been conducted by attendants to the royal bed-chamber, lay on a golden couch in purple vestments, and that the virginity (lit. prime of life) of this offspring of Venus, was defiled in Bithynia, also, when he (i.e. Caesar), defending the cause of Nysa, the daughter of Nicomedes in the Senate, was relating the (number of) services of the king to him, said (to him): “Away with all that, I pray you, since it is well-known what (service) he gave you, and what you gave him in return.” Finally, in his Gallic triumph, his soldiers, among their other songs, of the kind that those following the chariot sing in jest, also publicly chanted this very vulgar verse: “Caesar subdued the Gauls, Nicomedes subdued Caesar; lo! Caesar, who subdued the Gauls, is now triumphing, (but) Nicomedes, who subdued Caesar, is not triumphing.”
Chapter 50. It is the established view that he was unbridled and extravagant in his amorous intrigues, and that he seduced the wives of many illustrious women, among them Postumia, (the wife) of Servius Sulpicius, Lollia, (the wife) of Aulus Gabinius, Tertulla, (the wife) of Marcus Crassus, (and) even Mucia, (the wife) of Gnaeus Pompeius. For, undoubtedly, Pompeius was taken to task (lit. reproach was conveyed to Pompeius) by the Curiones, father and son, and by many (others), because, through a lust for power, he had afterwards married (lit. received into matrimony) the daughter of a man, on whose account he had divorced a wife after (she had borne him) three children, and whom he had been used, with a groan, to call “Aegisthus (i.e. the man who seduced Agamemnon’s wife while he was engaged in the siege of Troy).”
But before (all) others, he loved Servilia, the mother of Marcus Brutus, for whom in his first consulship he bought a pearl (for) six million (lit. sixty [times a hundred thousand]) sesterces, and, during the civil war, on top of other gifts, he knocked down (for her) some of the finest estates at a minimal (price); indeed, when many expressed surprise at the lowness (of the price), Cicero remarked very wittily: “(It was) bought at a better (price) than you think, as a third has been deducted.” For Servilia was thought to be giving her daughter Tertia to Caesar as a mistress
Chapter 51. That he did not refrain from (affairs with) married (women) is shown, perhaps, by this couplet, likewise shouted out by his soldiers during his Gallic triumph: “Citizens, look after your wives: we are bringing (with us) a bald-headed adulterer. The borrowed gold you got here (in Rome, Caesar), you wasted in Gaul on debauchery.”
Chapter 52. He had love affairs, too, with queens, among whom (were) Eunoe the Moor, the wife of Bogudes, upon whom and upon her husband he bestowed very many splendid presents, as (Marcus Actorius) Naso writes; but (he) especially (loved) Cleopatra, with whom he often spun out his banquets until dawn (lit. first light), and he journeyed through Egypt with her in her state barge almost as far as Ethiopia, until his army refused to follow, (and), finally, after she had been called to the city (of Rome by him), he did not send her back, until (she had been) loaded with honours and privileges, and he allowed (her) to call the son (who had been) born (to her) by his name. In fact, some Greek (writers) related that he (was) also like Caesar both in appearance and carriage. Marcus Antonius also declared to the Senate that he had been acknowledged by him, as Gaius Matius, and Gaius Oppius and Caesar’s other friends knew; of these, Gaius Oppius, as if the circumstances required defence and advocacy, published a book, (saying that he) was not Caesar’s son, whom Cleopatra was affirming (as such).
Helvius Cinna, a tribune of the people, admitted to several (people) that he had drawn up and had ready a bill, which Caesar had ordered (him) to propose, when he, himself, was absent, that he should be allowed (lit. it should be permitted [to him]) to marry (lit. lead [home] in marriage) what wives (he wished) and as many as he wished. But, lest there should be any doubt at all that he was excited by his evil reputation for both shameless vice and adultery, the elder Curio (lit. Curio the father) calls him in one of his speeches, “every man’s woman and every woman’s man.”
Chapter 53. Not even his enemies denied that he was very sparing of wine. There is (a saying) of Marcus Cato that, “Caesar (was) of all men the only (one) to have undertaken to overthrow the republic (when) sober.” Now, on the subject of food, Gaius Oppius tells (us) that he was so indifferent (to it) that he relates that, on one occasion, when rancid oil had been served by his host instead of fresh (oil), and the other (guests) were rejecting (it), (he) alone partook even more plentifully (than usual), lest he should seem to be accusing his host of carelessness or boorishness.
Chapter 54. Neither during his commands nor during his magistracies did he show this abstinence. For, as certain (men) have testified in their records, (as) proconsul in Spain, he accepted money from the allies, which he had obtained by begging for assistance (in paying) his debts, and he plundered in a hostile manner a number of the towns of the Lusitanians, although they were not declining his commands, and opened their gates (to him) as he arrived. In Gaul, he pillaged shrines and temples of the gods which were filled with offerings, (and) he sacked cities more often for the sake of booty than because of any offence; for this reason it happened that he had an abundance of (lit. he was overflowing with) gold, and sold (it) by lot throughout Italy and the provinces at the rate of three thousand sesterces a pound (i.e. at about half the usual price). In his first consulship, having stolen three thousand pounds of gold from the Capitol, he replaced (it) with the same weight of gilded bronze. He gave alliances and thrones at a price, such that he extorted nearly six thousand talents from Ptolemy alone in his own name and (that) of Pompeius. Later on, indeed, he met (lit. sustained) both the cost of the civil wars and the expenses of his triumphs and entertainments by the most bare-faced pillage and sacrilege.
Chapter 55. In eloquence and in the business of war he either equalled or surpassed (the reputation) of the most celebrated (men). After his prosecution of Dolabella, he was without doubt numbered with the leading orators. At any rate, Cicero, (when) discussing orators in his ‘Brutus,’ says that he does not see to whom Caesar ought to yield (the palm), and says that he possessed an elegant as well as a brilliant, and even a grand and, in some sense, a noble style of speaking; and to Cornelius Nepos he wrote of him thus: Well then (lit, What!), what orator, of (all) those who have done nothing else (in their lives), would you place above him? Who (is) sharper or more concise in his expressions? Who (is) more polished or more elegant?
At least, (when) still in his youth, he seems to have imitated the kind of eloquence of (Gaius Julius) Caesar Strabo (Vopiscus), from whose speech, which is entitled ‘On the Sardinians,’ he transferred certain certain words to a trial address of his own. Moreover, he is said to have delivered (his speech) in a highly pitched voice, in a manner and bearing (which were) impassioned (but) not without charm.
He left (behind him) a number of speeches, among which some are attributed (to him) without sufficient evidence (lit. rashly). (Imperator Caesar) Augustus thinks, not without good reason, that (his speech) ‘For Quintus Metellus’ (i.e. Metellus Nepos) had been taken down by shorthand-writers following imperfectly the words of his speech, rather than published by himself; for, in some copies, I find that it is not even entitled ‘For Metellus’ but ‘Which he wrote for Metellus,’ although the discourse is from the pen (lit. person) of Caesar, vindicating Metellus and himself against the charges of their common detractors.
Likewise, Augustus also considers spurious (lit. to be scarcely his) ‘the Address to my soldiers in Spain,’ of which, however, it is said that (there are) two (sections): one, as if it is made for the earlier battle, (and) the other for the later (one), in which (Gaius) Asinius Pollio says that he did not even have time for a harangue, due to the enemy’s sudden attack.
Chapter 56. He left commentaries on his campaigns in the Gallic (war) and in the civil war against the Pompeians. For the author of the Alexandrian, African and Spanish is uncertain: some think (it was) Oppius, others (that it was) Hirtius, who also supplied the final book, (which was) unfinished. Of Caesar’s ‘Commentaries’ Cicero in his ‘Brutus’ speaks thus: “He wrote commentaries which were worthy of high esteem: they are plain, straightforward, yet eloquent, (as they are) stripped of all ornament of rhetoric, like a garment; but, while he wanted others to have ready (material), from which (those) who wish to write history might draw, he perhaps did a favour to silly (people), who may wish to warm up those (narratives) with a curling-iron, yet he has deterred sensible men from writing (on the subject).”
Of these same ‘Commentaries” Hirtius declares thus: “They are so highly rated in the judgment of all (men) that an opportunity to writers appears to have been withheld, not offered. Moreover, our admiration for this feat is greater than other (people’s); for, others (know) how well and (how) faultlessly he wrote them out, (but) we know also how easily and speedily (he did so).
Asinius Pollio thinks that (they were) composed with too little care and too little (regard) for the unvarnished truth, since in many cases Caesar believed too readily (lit. rashly) (the things) which had been done by others, and gave a faulty account of (the things) which had been done by himself, either deliberately or even due to a memory lapse (lit. making a mistake in his memory); and he thinks that he had been intending to rewrite and correct (them).
He also left two books ‘On Analogy,’ and the same number of ‘Treatises against Cato,’ and, in addition, a poem, which he entitled ‘The Journey.’ Of these books, he wrote the first in crossing the Alps, when he was returning to his army from Hither (i.e. Cisalpine) Gaul, after he had held the assizes (there), (and) the following (ones) at the time of the battle of Munda; (he wrote) the last, while he was going on a twenty-four day (journey) from the city (of Rome) to Further Spain. Letters of his to the Senate also survive, which he seems to have been the first to convert to pages and the form of a note-book, when previously consuls and generals despatched their reports (written) right across the sheet. There also exist (his letters) to Cicero, as well as to his intimates on private matters, in which, if there was anything quite confidential that had to be conveyed, he wrote that in cipher, that is when he had arranged the order of letters (in the alphabet) so that no word could be made out: if anyone wishes to decipher these and to get at their meaning, he must substitute the fourth letter of the alphabet, that is D for A, and so with the others. Certain writings from his boyhood and from his early youth are mentioned, such as ‘The Praises of Hercules’, a tragedy (called) ‘Oedipus’ and ‘Collected Sayings’: Augustus forbade all of these books to be published in a short and simple letter which he sent to Pompeius Macer, to whom he had assigned the organisation of his libraries.
Chapter 57. He was highly skilled in (the use of) arms and horsemanship, and could endure (lit. was enduring of) fatigue beyond (all) belief. On the march he used to go ahead, sometimes on horseback, (but) more often on foot, with his head exposed, whether there was sun or rain; he completed the longest journeys with incredible speed, without baggage (lit, unencumbered) in a hired travelling-carriage at the rate of a hundred miles (lit. thousand paces) each day, crossing any rivers, if they blocked his path (lit. delayed [him]) by swimming or supporting himself on inflated skins, so that he very often arrived before the messengers (whom he had sent to warn) of his (coming).
Chapter 58. In the conduct of his campaigns, (it is) uncertain (whether he was) more cautious or more daring: he never marched his army through routes (which were) exposed to ambush unless he had carefully reconnoitred the situation on the ground, nor did he cross over to Britain until he had explored in person (lit. by himself) the harbours, the (best) sailing (route) and (point of) access to the island. And, after the siege of his camp in Germany had been reported (to him), he made his way to his (men) through the enemy’s outposts in Gallic dress. He crossed from Brundisium to Dyrrachium in winter-time between the opposing fleets, and, when the troops whom he had ordered to follow (him) delayed, (and,) when he had, many times, sent (messengers) in vain to summon (them), at last he boarded a small boat alone himself at night in secret, with his head muffled up, nor did he reveal who he was, or allow the helmsman to give way to the adverse storm-wind until he had almost been overwhelmed by the waves.
Chapter 59. He was never deterred or put off from starting anything by any unfavourable omens. (Once), when the victim escaped as he was sacrificing, he did not postpone his expedition against Scipio and Juba. Even when he fell on disembarking from the ship, turning the omen for the better, he said: “I hold you fast, Africa.” Moreover, in order to ridicule the prophecies, in which the name of the Scipiones was said (to be) fortunate and invincible in that province, he kept with him in his camp a certain most contemptible (fellow) of the Cornelian tribe, who had the nickname ‘Salvito’ (i.e. “Greetings!” and “Be off with you!”) on account of the scandal of his life.
Chapter 60. He undertook battles not only when one had been decided, but on a sudden opportunity, and often immediately at the end of a march, sometimes during the foulest weather, when one would least suppose he would make a move; not until his latest years did he become more hesitant to engage in battle, thinking that the more often he had been victorious, the less he should tempt fate, and that he could not possibly gain as much by victory as defeat could take away (from him). He never routed an enemy without also setting (lit. but that he also set) his camp on fire: thus he gave no opportunity (to rally) to a panic-stricken (enemy); when the (outcome of) battle was uncertain, he sent away the horses, his own amongst the first, so that (lit. by which means), with that aid to flight having been removed, the greater necessity of standing firm could be imposed upon (his men).
Chapter 61. Moreover, he rode (lit. made use of) a remarkable horse, with feet (that were) almost human and hooves cloven like (lit. in the measure of) toes; since the soothsayers had declared that (this horse,) which (had been) born at his (stable), indicated the rule of the world for its master, he reared (it) with great care, and was the first to mount (it), as it would not endure another rider; afterwards, too, he dedicated a statue of this (horse) before the temple of Venus Genetrix.
Chapter 62. He often single-handedly revived his battle-line, after it had given way, stopping (those) fleeing, and taking hold of individuals, and, after clutching (them) by the throat, turning (them) to (face) the enemy, and even, when many of them were so terrified that, when an eagle-bearer had been delayed, he threatened him with its point, (while) another left the standard in his hand, when he detained (him).
Chapter 63. The following instances of his resolution will appear no less, and even more (remarkable). After the battle of Pharsalus, when, after his troops had been sent ahead into Asia, he was crossing the straits of the Hellespont in a small ferryboat, he did not flee from Lucius Cassius (Longinus) (N.B. It was actually his brother Gaius) of the opposing faction, (who was) in his way with ten warships, but, coming up alongside, and actually encouraging (him) to surrender, he (i.e. Cassisus) gave himself up to him (as) a suppliant.
Chapter 64. At Alexandria, during the assault of a bridge, having been forced by a sudden sortie of the enemy into a skiff, when, after many (others) had hurled themselves into the same (craft), he had plunged into the sea, he escaped to the nearest ship, by swimming for two hundred paces, lifting up his left (hand out of the water) lest some papers, which he was holding, got wet, (and) dragging with his teeth his general’s cloak, lest the enemy should acquire (it) as spoil.
Chapter 65. He esteemed his soldiery neither for their characters nor their good fortune, but solely for their prowess (lit. strength), and he treated (them) with an equal (measure of) severity and indulgence. For he did not closely control (them) everywhere and all the time, but (only) when the enemy were close at hand: then, indeed, (he was) such a strict enforcer of discipline, that he would not announce the time of a march or of a battle, but, (keeping them) ready and alert, he would suddenly lead (them) out at any moment wherever he might wish. Mostly he did this too without reason, especially on rainy or festive days. And, warning (them) repeatedly that they must keep a close watch on him, he would suddenly steal away by day or night, and increase the (length of the) march so as to exhaust those following (him) too slowly.
Chapter 66. Indeed, when they were afraid due to a report of the enemy’s troop numbers, he strengthened their resolve not by denying or by discounting (the rumours) but by exaggerating and fabricating (them) over and above (the truth). Accordingly, when the anticipation of Juba’s arrival was terrifying (to them), having summoned his soldiers to a meeting, he said (to them): “You should know that in a very few days the King will be here, with ten legions (of infantry), thirty (thousand) cavalry, a hundred thousand light-armed (men) and three hundred elephants. So some of you should cease to ask further questions or make surmises, and should believe me, as I do have the knowledge (required); or, indeed, I shall order (them) to be put aboard some worn-out old craft to be conveyed by any old (lit. whatever) wind to any old (lit. whatever) lands.”
Chapter 67. He did not take notice of all their offences, nor punish (them) to rule, but, (although he was) the strictest investigator and avenger of deserters and mutineers, he would connive at other (faults). And sometimes after a great battle and a (great) victory, having relieved (them) of all military duties, he allowed (them) every kind of licence to revel in all directions, being accustomed to boast that his soldiers could fight well even (when) reeking of perfume. In the assembly he addressed them, not (as) “soldiers”, but by the more flattering name “comrades”, and he kept (them) so well cared-for, that he equipped (them) with arms inlaid with silver and gold, both for show, and at the same time so that (lit. by which means) they might be the more tenacious of them in battle through fear of loss. He also loved (them) to so great an extent, that, when he heard of the disaster to Titurius, he let his beard and his hair grow long, and he did not have (them) cut until he had avenged (them).
Chapter 68. By these means, he made (them) both absolutely devoted to him and most valiant. When he had begun the civil war, the centurions of every legion offered (to provide) a horseman each from his own resources, (and) all the soldiers (offered) their services freely, both without rations (lit. corn) and (without) pay, while the richer took upon themselves the care of the poorer. Nor during so very long a period (of time) did anyone ever desert (him), (and) many, having been captured, refused that their lives should be spared on the condition that they should be willing to serve against him. They bore hunger and other hardships (lit. necessities), not only when they were being besieged, but also when they were besieging others, with such great determination, that Pompeius, when he saw at the fortifications of Dyrrachium a kind of bread (made) from grass, by which they were being fed (lit. sustained), said that he was fighting (lit. that there was to him a battle) with wild beasts, and gave orders that it should be quickly removed and not shown to anyone, lest the spirits of his own men should be broken by the endurance and resolve of the enemy.
(The fact) that, after their only defeat (lit. adverse battle) before Dyrrachium, they demanded punishment of themselves of their own accord serves as such testimony of with what great courage they fought, that their commander considered that they were more in need of being consoled than of being punished. In their other battles they easily overcame the countless forces of their enemies in many places, (although being) themselves fewer (in numbers). Furthermore, one cohort of the sixth legion, having been stationed in a redoubt, withstood four of Pompeius’ legions for some hours, although almost all were wounded by a multitude of the enemy’s arrows, of which a hundred and thirty thousand were found within the ramparts. Nor (is it) to be wondered at, if one considers the deeds of individual (soldiers), either Cassius Scaeva, a centurion, or Gaius Acilius, a (rank-and-file) soldier, nor do I make reference to many (others). Scaeva, with (one) eye lost, wounded in the thigh and shoulder, (and) his shield pierced with a hundred and twenty blows, maintained his guard of the gate of a fortress in his charge. Acilius, in the naval battle off Massilia, having laid hold of the stern of (one) of the enemy’s (ships) with his right hand, and having had it lopped off, rivalling that famous exploit of Cynegirus among the Greeks, boarded the ship, driving (all) before (him) with the boss (of his shield).
Chapter 69. They did not cause any mutiny at all during then ten years of the Gallic wars, (and only) on occasions in the civil (wars), but in such a way that they quickly returned to duty, not so much due to the indulgence of their general than due to his authority. For he never gave way (to them) when they were being insubordinate and even always went against (them); and, indeed, he effected the discharge of the whole ninth legion in disgrace (lit. with ignominy) before Placentia, although Pompeius was still in the field (lit. in arms), and he reinstated (them) with reluctance, and (only) after many abject entreaties, and not without punishment being exacted on the ringleaders.
Chapter 70. Moreover, when the men of the tenth legion at Rome were demanding their discharge and rewards with enormous threats and also great danger to the city, while the war in Africa was then raging, he hesitated neither to appear (before them), although his friends were trying to deter (him from doing so), nor to disband (them); but with one word, by which he called them “Quirites” (i.e. “citizens”) instead of “Soldiers”, he so easily brought (them) round and changed (their attitude), that they immediately replied that they were his soldiers, and followed (him) to Africa of their own accord, although he had refused (their service); and so also he punished all the most insubordinate with (the loss of) a third part of the booty and the land destined (for them).
Chapter 71. So, even as a young man, he did not lack devotion and fidelity (lit. devotion and fidelity were not lacking) to his clients. Since he had defended Masintha, a noble youth, against King Hiempsal so strenuously that he seized the son of King Juba by the beard during a scuffle, then also, when he had been declared tributary (to Hiempsal) and (his adversaries) were dragging (him) off, he forcibly rescued (him) and concealed (him) in his own house for a considerable time, and, then, as he was setting out for Spain after his praetorship he carried (him) away in the midst of the attentions of those escorting (him) and the ‘fasces’ of the lictors.
Chapter 72. He always treated his friends with such great kindness and indulgence, that, when Gaius Oppius was accompanying him on a journey through a forest and was seized with a sudden illness, he gave up (to him) the small hut, which was the only one (available), and he himself lay on the ground and in the open air (lit. under the sky). Moreover, when he became powerful in the state, he advanced some of (his friends), even (those of) the humblest rank, to the highest offices, (and) when he was criticised for it, he openly confessed that, if he were to employ the assistance of robbers and cut-throats in defending his honour, he would also repay such men with equal gratitude.
Chapter 73. He never entertained such deep resentments against anyone that he did not willingly renounce (them) when the opportunity offered. In the case of Gaius Memmius, to whose very virulent speeches (against him) he had replied with no less bitterness, he was later even a supporter (of his) in his candidature for the consulship. When Gaius Calvus, after some scurrilous epigrams (about him) sought to take steps to (effect) a reconciliation through his friends, he wrote (to him) first and of his own accord. When (Gaius) Valerius Catullus, by whom he did not disguise (the fact) that a lasting stain had been inflicted on his (name) through his verses about Mamurra, offered an apology (lit. gave his satisfaction), he invited (him) to dinner the same day, and continued to welcome his father (as) his guest-friend.
Chapter 74. But in avenging (wrongs he was) most lenient by nature, (and,) when he had got in his power the pirates, by whom he had been captured, (it is said) that he had them crucified (lit. fastened to a cross), as he had sworn (to do so) beforehand, but he ordered that they should have their throats cut first, and (then) crucified (lit. fastened [to a cross]); he could never decide to harm Cornelius Phagites, whose nightly traps, (when he was) sick and in hiding, he had once escaped with some difficulty by paying a bribe, so that he should not be handed over to Sulla; (and) he punished the slave Philemon, his secretary, who had promised to his enemies his death through poison, with a death not more painful than a simple (one). Having been cited (as) a witness against Publius Clodius, the paramour of his wife Pompeia, (who had been) accused on the same charges of the pollution of sacred ceremonies, he denied that he knew anything, although both his mother Aurelia and his sister Julia had reported everything in (good) faith before the same jurors; and, on being asked, why, therefore, had he repudiated his wife, he said: “Since it is necessary that (members of) my (family) should be free from suspicion as much as from judicial accusation.”
Chapter 75. He certainly showed admirable self-restraint and clemency, both in his conduct of the civil war and in (the hour of) victory. When Pompeius declared that he would regard as enemies those who failed (to take up arms) for the republic, he himself announced that (those who were) neutral and of neither faction would, in his case, be counted as (lit. be in the number of) his friends. Moreover, to all those whom he had given the rank (of centurion) on Pompeius’ recommendation, he gave the opportunity of transferring to him. When terms of surrender were being considered at Ilerda, (and) when, amidst constant familiarity and intercourse between both sides, Afranius and Petreius, by a sudden change of heart (lit. repentance), had put to death any of Julius’ men seized within their camp, he could not bring himself to copy the treachery (which had been) committed against himself. At the battle of Pharsalus, he cried out (to his soldiers) that they should spare their fellow-citizens, and then allowed anyone of his own men to save any one (man) that he wished from the opposing faction. And it will be found that no one lost his life other than in battle, at least with the exception of Afranius, Faustus and the young Lucius (Julius) Caesar; and (people) think that not even these (men) were killed at his wish, even though both the former of them had taken up arms again (against him) after obtaining his pardon, and Caesar (i.e. Lucius), (after) having put to death his freedmen and slaves in a cruel manner by fire and sword, had butchered the wild beasts which he had procured for the entertainment of the people. Finally, at the very end of his life, he even allowed all (those) whom he had not yet pardoned to return to Italy, and take up magistracies and (military) commands; and he even replaced the statues of Lucius Sulla and Pompeius, which had been thrown down by the people; and, if, after this, anything of a dangerous nature were either plotted or uttered against him, he preferred to check (it) rather than to punish (it). Accordingly, he took no further action against any conspiracies (which had been) detected and nocturnal meetings than to demonstrate by proclamation that they were known to him, and to those speaking harshly (about him) he thought (it was) enough to give notice in public that they should not persist (in this conduct), and he bore with understanding (lit. with an affable mind) his reputation being damaged by the scurrilous book of Aulus Caecina and the very abusive lampoons of Pitholaus.
Chapter 76. Yet his other actions and sayings so eclipse (these things) that it is thought that he both abused his power and was justly slain. For not only did he receive excessive honours: successive consulships, a dictatorship for life and the prefecture of (public) morals, as well as the forename ‘Imperator’, the surname ‘Father of his Country’, a statue among the kings, (and) a raised platform at the orchestra (of the theatre); but he also allowed (honours) to be decreed to him (which were) too splendid for the human condition: a golden chair in the Senate-house and at the front of the tribunal (i.e. the seat of judgment), a ceremonial chariot and litter (to carry his statue) in the procession at the Circus, temples, altars, statues beside (those of) the gods, a special priest, lupercals, and the naming of a month after his name (i.e. July); in fact, (there were) not any honours (which) he did not take or assume (lit. confer [on himself]). He held his third and fourth consulships in name only, (being) content with the power of the dictatorship which had been conferred (upon him) together with the consulships, and in both years he substituted two consuls for himself during the final three months, such that in the meantime he held no elections except (those) for tribunes and aediles of the people, and he appointed prefects, in place of the praetors, to manage the affairs of the city. Moreover, on the sudden death of a consul (i.e. Quintus Fabius Maximus) on the day before the Kalends of January, he gave the vacant office for a few hours to (someone) seeking (it) (i.e. Gaius Caninius Rebilus). With the same licence, and disregarding the customs of his country, he appointed magistrates for several years (ahead), assigned the insignia of consular office upon ten men of praetorian rank, (and) admitted into the Senate-house (men who had been) given citizenship and a number (of men) from the semi-barbarous Gauls. Furthermore, he put his own special servants in charge of the mint and the public revenues. He entrusted the care and command of three legions, which he had left at Alexandria, to his favourite Rufio, the son of a freedman of his.
Chapter 77. He openly spouted forth utterances of no less presumption, as Titus Ampius writes: that the republic was nothing, just a name without a body or form. That Sulla did not know his letters (i.e. his political alphabet) to have laid down his dictatorship. That men ought now to be more circumspect in speaking with him, and should regard what he was saying as law. And he went so far in his arrogance that, once, when a soothsayer reported that the entrails (were) dire and that (there was) no heart, he said that they would be more favourable when he wished; and that it should not be regarded as a portent if a beast’s heart was lacking.
Chapter 78. But he stirred up a particular and deadly hatred against himself by this means. When all the members of the Senate (lit. conscript fathers) were approaching him with many highly honourable decrees before the temple of Venus Genetrix, he received (them) seated. Some think that that he was held back by (Lucius) Cornelius Balbus, when he attempted to rise; others (think) that he did not try (to rise) at all, but actually frowned at Gauis Trebatius (lit. looked at Gaius Trebatius with a less than friendly expression), when he advised (him) to rise. And this action of his seemed all the more intolerable because, when he himself was celebrating a triumph and was riding past the tribunician benches, he was so incensed that one of the college, Pontius Aquila, had not risen up for him, that he cried out: “So then, tribune Aquila, take back the government from me!” and, for the next few days, he could not stop promising any (favour) to anyone, without (adding) the proviso: “but only if I am allowed (lit. it is permitted [to me]) by Pontius Aquila.”
Chapter 79. To so extraordinary an insult towards the Senate, (which he) despised, he added an act of even greater arrogance. For, when, as he was returning (to the city) during the sacred rites of the Latin (festival) amid the extravagant and unprecedented acclamations of the people, someone from the crowd had placed upon his statue a laurel wreath with a white fillet attached (to it), and the tribunes of the people Epidius Marullus and Caesetius Flavus had ordered that the fillet should be removed from the wreath and that the the man should be taken off to prison, after the tribunes had been severely rebuked, he deprived (them) of their office, either grieving that the hint of kingship had been received with such little favour, or, as he asserted, that the glory of refusing (it) had been taken from him. Nor, from that (time onwards), could he ever dispel the infamy of aspiring to the name of king, although he both replied to the people, when they hailed him (as) king, that he was Caesar, not king, and at the Lupercalia, when a diadem was placed on his head several times by the consul Antonius on the rostra, he rejected (it) and sent (it) to (the temple of) Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitol. Indeed, the report had even spread abroad in various (forms) that he would move to Alexandria or Ilium, taking the resources of the state at the same time, draining Italy of levies, and entrusting the charge of the city to his friends; moreover, that, at the next (meeting of the) Senate, the quindecemvir Lucius (Aurelius) Cotta would announce the decision that, since it was written in the books of the Fates (i.e. the Sibylline Books) that the Parthians could not be conquered except by a king, Caesar should be called king.
Chapter 80. For this reason, the business of bringing the conspiracy to maturity was resolved upon, lest it would be necessary to assent (to this suggestion).
Therefore, the groups of plotters (which had) previously (been) formed separately, and which two or three had often undertaken, all gathered together into one (conspiracy), as not even the people were now happy with the current situation, but were secretly and openly disparaging his tyranny and demanding champions (of their liberty). On the election of foreigners to the Senate this placard was posted up: “May good be done! Let no one be willing to show a new senator the way to the Senate-house!” The following (verses) too were sung everywhere: “Caesar leads the Gauls in his triumph, (he leads them) to the Senate-house: (then) the Gauls took off their trousers, (and) put on the (tunic) with a broad (purple) stripe.” When, as Quintus Maximus, suffect-consul for three months, was entering the theatre, his lictor ordered that attention should be paid (to him), the shout was raised by everyone that he was not the consul. At the next election after the tribunes Caesetius and Marullus (had been) removed, several votes were discovered from (people) proclaiming them (as) consuls. Some wrote under the statue of Lucius Brutus: “Would that you were alive (now)!” Likewise, under the statue of Caesar himself (they wrote) : “Because he drove out the kings, Brutus was made the first consul: because he drove out the consuls, this man is made the king at last.” There was a conspiracy against him involving more than sixty (people), with Gaius Cassius and Marcus and Decimus Brutus (as) the leaders of the conspiracy. After first hesitating whether they should hurl (him) over the bridge on the Field of Mars, as he was calling for the votes in the separate enclosures at the tribal assembly, and then butcher (him after he had been) pushed over, or whether they should attack (him) in the Sacred Way or at the entrance to the theatre, when (a meeting of) the Senate was called for the Ides of March in the Hall of Pompeius, they readily adopted (lit. expressed a preference for) that time and place.
Chapter 81. Now, Caesar’s approaching murder was foretold by unmistakable portents. A few months previously, when the settlers assigned to the colony of Capua by the Julian law were demolishing some very old tombs in order to build country-houses, and were doing this with the more vigour because, (while they were) rummaging around, they discovered a number of vases of ancient workmanship, there was found in a grave, in which Capys, the founder of Capua, was said to have been buried, a bronze tablet inscribed with Greek letters and words with this meaning: “Whenever the bones of Capys shall be uncovered, it will come to pass that a descendant of Iulus will be slain by the hands of his kinsmen, and he will be avenged by terrible disasters throughout Italy.” Lest anyone should think (it) a myth or a lie, the authority for this tale is (Lucius) Cornelius Balbus, Caesar’s most intimate friend. In his final days he learned that the herds of horses, which he had dedicated to the river Rubicon during his crossing (of it), and (which) he had let loose to wander around without a keeper, were refusing to graze and were weeping copiously. And, when he was offering sacrifice, the soothsayer Spurinna warned (him to) beware of a danger, which would not be deferred beyond the Ides of March. Furthermore, on the day before the Ides of the same month, birds of various kinds from a neighbouring grove, pursuing a small king-bird (i.e. probably a wren) which had flown (lit. brought itself) into the Hall of Pompeius with a twig of laurel (in it beak), tore it apart. Indeed, on that very night, before which the day of his murder dawned, it seemed to him in a dream that, at one moment, he was flying above the clouds, and that, at another, he was clasping Jupiter by the hand (lit. was joining his right [hand) with Jupiter); and his wife Calpurnia imagined (in a dream) that the pediment of their house was collapsing and that her husband was being stabbed (while) in her arms (lit. on her bosom); and, all of a sudden, the door of their bed-chamber flew open of its own accord.
Hesitating for some time, on account of these things and because of his poor health, as to whether he should remain (lit. keep himself) (at home) and put off what he had planned to do in the Senate, at last, with Decimus Brutus encouraging (him) not to disappoint the well-attended (meeting) which had been awaiting (him) for quite some time, he went forth at around the fifth hour, and, when a note, revealing (lit. [which was] an indication of) the plot, was handed (to him) by someone on the way, he put (it) together with the other notes which he was holding in his left hand, as though he was intending to read (them) soon. Then, after several victims had been slaughtered, although he could not obtain any satisfactory outcomes, he entered the Senate-house in defiance of favourable omens, laughing at Spurinna and deriding (him) as a false (prophet), because the Ides had come (lit were present) without any harm (having been done) to him: although he said that they had indeed come, but they had not gone past.
Chapter 82. As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered around (him) on the pretext of paying their respects, and, at once, (Lucius) Tillius Cimber, who had undertaken the initial part (of the assault), approached quite close (to him), as though he was intending to ask (him) something, and, when he declined and, with a gesture, put (him) off to another time, he seized his toga by both shoulders; then, when he shouted out: “Why, this is violence!” one of the Cascae wounded (him) from behind just below the throat. Caesar, having caught hold of Casca’s arm, stabbed (it) with his stylus, but, as he tried to leap up, he was inmpeded by another wound; and, when he noticed that he was beset on all sides by drawn daggers, he wrapped his head in his toga, (and) at the same time, drew down its folds with his left hand to the bottom of his legs, so that (lit. by which means) he might fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And so he was stabbed with twenty-three thrusts, only uttering one groan at the first blow and no word, although some (authors) have related that, when Marcus Brutus fell upon (him), he did exclaim: “You too, my child?” When everyone had fled (the scene), he lay (there) lifeless for some time, until, three of his slaves, having placed him on a litter, carried (him) back home with an arm hanging down. And among so many wounds, as his physician Antistius calculated, not one was found to be lethal, except the second (one), which he received in the area of his breast.
The conspirators had had (lit. There had been to the conspirators) a plan to drag the body of the dead (man) to the Tiber, confiscate his property and rescind his decrees, but they forebore through fear of Marcus Antonius, the consul, and Lepidus, the master of the horse.
Chapter 83. Then, at the request of his father-in-law, Lucius Piso, his will, which he had made at his (house) at Lavicum on the preceding Ides of September and entrusted to the chief of the Vestal Virgins, was unsealed and read in Antonius’ house. Quintus (Aelius) Tubero relates that, from his first consulship right up the outbreak of the civil war, it was his custom that Gnaeus Pompeius was written down by him (as) his heir, and that this was read out to his soldiers at their assemblies. But in his last will, he named three heirs, his sisters’ grandsons, Gaius Octavius for three-quarters, and Lucius Pinarius (Scarpus) and Quintus Pedius for the remaining quarter; at the end of the document (lit. tablet) he also adopted Gaius Octavius into his family and (gave him) his name; and he named several of his assassins as guardians of his son, if one were to be born to him, (and) also Decimus Brutus among his secondary heirs. To the (Roman) people he bequeathed his gardens by the Tiber for public use and three hundred sesterces to each man.
Chapter 84. When the funeral was announced, a pyre was constructed in the Field of Mars, near to the tomb of (his daughter) Julia, and on the rostra (was) placed a gilded shrine in the likeness of the temple of Venus Genetrix (i.e. the Mother); and within (this was) an ivory couch covered with golden and purple (cloth), and at its head a trophy (i.e. a memorial pillar) with the (blood-stained) clothing in which he had been slain. Because the (length of the) day did not seem to be adequate for (all those) carrying offerings, the order was given to bring (them) to the Field (of Mars), regardless of any order (of precedence), by whatever streets of the city each one wished. While some wanted to burn it in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitol (and) others in the Hall of Pompeius, suddenly two beings, girt with swords and brandishing a pair of darts, set fire (to it) with lighted tapers, and, at once, the crowd of bystanders heaped up dry branches and seats from the tribunal, together with the benches, as well as whatever else was there as an offering. Then, the musicians and the professional actors tore off their clothing, which they had taken from the equipment of his triumphs for present use, and, (which) having rent (it) asunder, they threw into the fire, and the legionaries of his veterans soldiers (hurled in) their armour, adorned in which they were celebrating his funeral; many women also (offered up) the jewels, which they were wearing, and the amulets and mantles of their children.
At the height of this public mourning a large number of foreign people went around lamenting, each (nation) in accordance with its own custom, especially the Jews, who even flocked to the funeral-pyre for several nights continuously.
Chapter 85. Immediately after the funeral, the common people ran to the houses of Brutus and Cassius with firebrands, and, after they had been repelled with difficulty, they slew (Gaius) Helvius Cinna, through a mistake about his name, as though he were (Lucius) Cornelius (Cinna), whom they were looking for, because he had made a bitter speech about Caesar the previous day, and, having set his head upon a spear, they paraded (it) around. 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 its foot, they continued for a long time to sacrifice, to make vows, and to settle some of their disputes by an oath pledged in the name of Caesar.
Chapter 86. Caesar left in (the minds of) some of his (friends) the suspicion that he did not wish to live any longer or to take any precautions, because he was enjoying declining (lit. less favourable) health, and, for that reason, he had disregarded both what portents were warning and what his friends were telling (him). There are (some) who think that, because he had put his trust in that latest decree of the Senate and its oath, he even dismissed his bodyguard of Spaniards who were accompanying him with (drawn) swords. Others, on the contrary, believe that he preferred to expose himself once (and for all) to the plots which were threatening (him) on every side rather than to be always anxious and on his guard. Some say also that he was wont to declare (as follows): that it was not as important for him as (it was) for the republic that he should be safe; that he had acquired his fill (lit. an abundance) of power and glory; (and) that, if anything befell him, the republic would not be at peace, but would be exposed to civil war in considerably worse circumstances.
Chapter 87. This (one) thing is clearly agreed amongst almost everyone, that such a death as befell him (was) almost in accordance with this view. For once, when he had read in Xenophon that Cyrus in his last illness had commissioned the arrangements for his funeral, rejecting such a slow kind of death, he chose for himself a sudden and a swift (one); and on the day before (the one on) which he was killed, in a conversation which had arisen at a dinner at the house of Marcus Lepidus as to what death (lit. termination of life) was most to be desired, he had expressed a preference for a sudden and unexpected (one).
Chapter 88. He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and was reckoned in the number of the gods, not only through the mouth of the decision-makers but also in the belief of the common people. For, at the first of the games which his heir Augustus arranged to be consecrated to him, a comet (lit. a hairy star) shone for seven successive days, rising at about the eleventh hour (i.e. about an hour before sunset), and it was believed that it was the soul of Caesar, who had been received into heaven; and for this reason a star is set upon the top of the head of his statue.
It was decided that the senate-house, in which he was slain, should be blocked up, that the Ides of March should be called (the Day) of Parricides, and that the Senate should never be called on that day.
Chapter 89. Moreover, hardly any (lit. almost none) of his assassins survived (him) for more than three years, or died a natural death. Having all been condemned (by the Senate), some perished in (one) way, (others) by another, some by shipwreck, others in battle; some did away with themselves by that very dagger with which they had impiously slain Caesar.