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176. Though occupying the highest rank as a general, Cæsar was more a statesman than a warrior, and desired to base his government, not upon military power, but upon the confidence of the people. He was already in his fortieth year when he first assumed the command of an army. Still, his great works as a ruler had all to be executed in the brief intervals of military affairs. The five and a half years which followed his accession to supreme power were occupied by seven important campaigns; and he was about undertaking an expedition against Parthia, to avenge the overthrow of Crassus, when a violent death ended his career. It is said that he desired, before his departure, to receive the title of king.
A conspiracy had already been formed among his personal enemies. It was now strengthened by the accession of several honest republicans, who dreamed that the death of the dictator would restore freedom to the state. At the festival of the Lupercalia, Feb. 15, B. C. 44, the crown was offered to Cæsar, by Antony, his colleague in the consulship; but, perceiving the consternation of the people, he declined it. On the 15th of the following month, in spite of many warnings, Cæsar repaired to the Senate-house. He had just taken his seat, when one of the conspirators stooped and touched his robe. At this signal, Casca stabbed him in the shoulder; others thronged around with their drawn swords or daggers.
Instead of the flattering crowd, nothing but murderous faces and the gleam of steel met his eye on every side. Still he stood at bay, wounding one assailant with his stylus, throwing back another, and disarming a third, until he received a wound from the hand of Brutus, whom, though an adherent of Pompey, he had honored with his confidence and loaded with benefits. Then drawing his mantle about him, with the reproachful exclamation, "And thou, Brutus!" he fell at the base of Pompey's statue and expired.
177. Brutus, raising aloft his bloody dagger, cried aloud to Cicero, Rejoice, father of our country, for Rome is free!" Never was rejoicing more unfounded. If Brutus and his accomplices could have restored to the Roman people the simple and self-denying virtues of the olden time, Rome would indeed have been free. But Cæsar understood the times. better than his assassins. In cutting off the only man who was capable of ruling with clear insight, firmness, and beneficence, they had plunged the state again into the horrors of civil war, and made it the easy prey of a less able and less liberal despot. Senate and people were at first paralyzed by the suddenness of the change, and by fear of a return to the old scenes of proscription. Antony, now sole consul, had time to possess himself of Cæsar's papers and treasures; and by his funeral oration over the body of the dictator-especially by reading his will, in which all the Roman people were remembered with great liberality-he roused the indignant passions of the crowd against the murderers.
Antony was for a time the most popular man in Rome, but a rival soon appeared in the person of Octavia'nus, the grand-nephew and adopted son of Julius Cæsar. This young man, who had been educated with great care under the eye of his adoptive father, arrived from the camp at Apollonia and claimed his inheritance, out of which he carefully distributed the legacies to soldiers and people. Cicero was led to look upon him as the hope of the state, and in his third great series of orations, called the Philip'pics, he destroyed the popularity of Antony and his influence with the Senate. Two of Antony's legions deserted to Octavian, and Antony himself, in two battles, was routed and driven across the Alps.
178. The two consuls for the year 43 B. C. were slain in the battle before Mu'tina. Octavian, returning to Rome, compelled the popular assembly to elect him to that office, though he was only nineteen years of age. He was appointed to carry on the war against Antony, who had now been joined by Lepidus-formerly master of the horse to Julius ·Cæsar-and was now descending from the Alps with a formidable army of seventeen legions. But the Senate, almost equally afraid of Antony and Octavian, revoked the outlawry of the former; and the latter, disgusted with its vacillations, resolved upon a league with the two commanders, whose forces alone could give him victory over the assassins.
On a small island in the Reno, near Bono'nia (Bologna), the three met, and the Second Triumvirate, of Antony, Cæsar Octavianus, and Lepidus, was then formed, B. C. 43, proposing to share between them for five years the government of the Roman world. A proscription followed, in which Cicero, though the friend of Cæsar, was sacrificed to the hatred of Antony. The illustrious orator was murdered near his own villa at Forʼmiæ, and his head and right hand were nailed to the rostrum at Rome, from which he had so often discoursed of the sacred rights of citizens. Two thousand knights and three hundred senators perished in this proscription. Those who could escape took refuge with Sextus Pompey in Sicily, or with Brutus and Cassius in Greece.
179. Antony and Octavian crossed the Adriatic, and defeated the last of the conspirators in two battles at Philippi, in the autumn of 42 B. C. Both Brutus and Cassius ended their lives by suicide. Cæsar returned to Italy, where a new civil war was stirred up by Fulvia, the wife of Antony, and Lucius, his brother. Lucius Antonius threw himself into Perusia, where he was besieged and taken by Octavian. The common citizens were spared, but 300 or 400 nobles were slain at the altar of Julius Cæsar, on the anniversary of his death, March 15, B. C. 40. Fulvia died in Greece, and a new agreement between the triumvirs, called the Peace of Brundisium, was sealed by the marriage of Antony with Octavia, the sister of the younger Cæsar.
In the new division of the civilized world, Antony received the East; Octavian, Italy and Spain; and Lepidus, Africa. Sextus Pompey, whose
fleets, commanding the sea, threatened the capital with famine, was admitted, next year, to a sort of partnership with the triumvirate, in which he received the islands of the western Mediterranean, on condition of his supplying Rome with grain. The conditions of this treaty were never fulfilled, and a two years' war between Pompey and Octavian was the result. It was ended B. C. 36, by a great sea-fight off Nau'lochus. Agrippa, the intimate friend of Cæsar, routed the forces of Pompey, who fled in despair to Asia, and the following year was captured and put to death. His land forces, deserted by their leader, prevailed upon Lepidus to become their general, and declare war against Octavian. But the young Cæsar acted with an intrepidity worthy of his name. He went unarmed and alınost alone into the camp of Lepidus, and by his eloquence persuaded them to desert their unworthy commander and be faithful to himself.
180. Lepidus being degraded, the two remaining members of the triumvirate continued three years at the head of affairs. But an alliance so purely selfish could not be permanent. Antony neglected his noble wife for the enchantments of the Egyptian queen, on whom he bestowed Phonicia, Cole-Syria, and other dominions of Rome. He wasted the forces committed to him in expeditions which resulted only in loss and disgrace; and he laid aside the simple dignity of a Roman citizen for the arrogant ceremony of an Eastern monarch.
In 32 B. C., war was declared against Cleopatra, and in September of the following year the forces of the two triumvirs met off Actium, in Acarnania. Antony had collected a vast fleet and army; but his officers, disgusted by his weak self-indulgence, were ready to be drawn over to the side of Octavian. Disheartened by many desertions, Antony took no active part in the battle, but while those of his forces who still faithfully adhered to him were fighting bravely in his defense, he drew off with a portion of his fleet, and followed Cleopatra to Egypt. His land army, after waiting a week for its fugitive commander, surrendered to Octavian.
From this moment Cæsar was master of the Roman world. The final blow was given the next year in Egypt, where Antony was defeated before Alexandria, and deserted by his fleet and army. Cleopatra negotiated to betray him, but when she found that Octavian wanted to capture her, that she might adorn his triumph, she ended her life by the poison of an asp. Antony, in despair, had already killed himself, and Egypt became a Roman province. Octavian, returning to Rome the following year, celebrated a three-fold triumph, and the gates of Janus were closed the third time, in token of universal peace, B. C. 29.
Cæsar crosses the Rubicon, and in three months becomes master of Italy. He subdues the Pompeians in Spain, becomes dictator, and afterward consul; pursues Pompey into Greece; is defeated at Dyrrhachium, but victorious at Pharsalia,
B. C. 48. Pompey is slain in Egypt. Cæsar re-establishes Cleopatra under the Roman protectorate; re-conquers Pontus; quells a mutiny in his Gallic legions, and overthrows the Pompeians at Thapsus, in Africa. He celebrates four triumphs at Rome; reforms the calendar; finally crushes the Pompeians in Spain; is invested with sovereign powers, and organizes a cosmopolitan empire. On the eve of departure for Asia, he is murdered in the Senate-house by sixty conspirators. Antony aims to succeed him, but Octavian receives his inheritance. Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus form the Second Triumvirate, B. C. 43. In the proscription which follows, Cicero is killed. Brutus and Cassius are defeated at Philippi, B. C. 42. A dispute in the triumvirate is ended by the Peace of Brundisium, and the marriage of Antony and Octavia. Lepidus is degraded from the triumvirate, B. C. 35; the two remaining colleagues quarrel, and the battle of Actium makes Octavian supreme ruler of the empire, B. C. 31.
III. THE ROMAN EMPIRE.
181. FIRST PERIOD, B. C. 31-A. D. 192. The empire founded by Cæsar Octavianus was an absolute monarchy under the form of a republic. Many of the high offices, which had been borne by different persons, were now concentrated in one; but he declined the name dictator, which had been abused by Marius and Sulla, and was careful to be elected only for limited periods, and in the regular manner. The title Imperator, which hẹ bore for life, had always belonged to generals of consular rank during the time of their command. The name Augustus, by which he is henceforth to be known, was a title of honor bestowed by the Senate, and made hereditary in his family. As chief, or "Prince of the Senate," he had the right to introduce subjects for discussion; and as pontifex maximus, or high priest of the state, he had a controlling influence in all sacred affairs.
He lived in the style of a wealthy senator in his house on the Palatine, walked abroad without retinue, and carefully avoided kingly pomp. The popular assemblies still appointed consuls, prætors, quæstors, ædiles, and tribunes, but the successful candidate was always recommended by the emperor, if he did not himself accept the appointment. These old-fashioned dignities were now little more than empty names, the real power having passed, under Augustus himself, to new officers, especially to the præfect of the city and the commander of the Prætorian Guard. * The people, meanwhile, were satisfied with liberal distributions of corn, wine, and oil, and amused by a constant succession of games.
182. In seven centuries the Roman dominion had grown from the few acres on the Palatine Hill, to embrace the Mediterranean with all its coasts, from the Atlantic to the Euphrates, and from the African Desert to the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euxine. The twenty-seven provinces,
*This guard consisted of 10,000 Italian soldiers, quartered near Rome for the security of the emperor's person. And so great was its influence, that, in the later days of the empire, it often assumed to dispose of the crown without reference to Senate or people.
reorganized by Augustus, were divided between himself and the Senate according to their condition. Those which were securely at peace were called Senatorial Provinces, and governed by proconsuls appointed by the legislative body; those which demanded the presence of an army were Imperial Provinces, and were managed either by the emperor in person or by his legates.
The standing army, which maintained order in the entire empire, consisted, in the time of Augustus, of twenty-five legions, each legion numbering, in horse, foot, and artillery, a little less than 7,000 men. This force of 175,000 was distributed along the Rhine, the Danube, and the Euphrates, or in Britain, Spain, and Africa, according to the danger from the outer barbarians. While internal peace was maintained by the wise management of Augustus, the natural boundaries of the empire above mentioned were only gained and kept by active war. Northern and northwestern Spain, the Alpine provinces of Rhætia and Vindelic'ia, and the Danubian countries Noricum, Pannonia, and Moe'sia, required almost unremitted warfare of more than twenty years, B. C. 12-A. D. 9.
183. The Germans, east of the Rhine and north of the Danube, though often defeated, were never subdued. Drusus, a step-son of Augustus, was the first Roman general who descended the Rhine to the German Ocean. He built two bridges and more than fifty fortresses along the river, and imposed a tribute upon the Frisians north of its mouth. Drusus died in his third campaign, B. C. 9, and was succeeded by his brother Tiberius, who after many years, A. D. 4, seemed to have subdued the tribes between the Rhine and the Elbe.
But his successor, Qu. Varus, attempted to establish the same arrogant.and arbitrary rule which he had exercised over the slavish Syrians a people crushed by nearly two. thousand years of despotism, Assyrian, Egyptian, Persian, and Macedonian. The freespirited Germans rose in revolt, under their princely leader, Armin'ius (Herman). Arminius had been educated at Rome, and had thoroughly learned the tactics of the legions; but Roman refinement never weakened his German fidelity to fatherland. Private wrong was now added" to national oppression, and he deeply laid and firmly executed his plan for the destruction of the Roman army and the deliverance of Germany.
Coin of Drusus, twice the size of the original.