Prefix There is very little to say about the story of LITTLE BLACK SAMBO. Once upon a time there was an English lady in India, where black children abound and tigers are everyday affairs, who had two little girls. To amuse these little gir... Read more of THE STORY OF LITTLE BLACK SAMBO at Children Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
Privacy
Home - Ancient States



Most Viewed

Jewish History From The Babylonian Captivity To The Birth Of Christ

The Antediluvian World

The Hebrew Race From Abraham To The Sale Of Joseph

The Civil Wars Between Caesar And Pompey

Grecian Civilization Before The Persian Wars

Rome In Its Infancy Under Kings

The Conquest Of Canaan To The Establishment Of The Kingdom Of David


Least Viewed

Jewish History From The Babylonian Captivity To The Birth Of Christ

The Antediluvian World

The Hebrew Race From Abraham To The Sale Of Joseph

The Civil Wars Between Caesar And Pompey

Grecian Civilization Before The Persian Wars

Rome In Its Infancy Under Kings

The Conquest Of Canaan To The Establishment Of The Kingdom Of David





The Civil Wars Between Caesar And Pompey








The condition of Rome when Caesar returned, crowned with glory,
from his Gallic campaign, in which he had displayed the most consummate
ability, was miserable enough. The constitution had been assailed by all
the leading chieftains, and even Cicero could only give vent to his
despair and indignation in impotent lamentations. The cause of liberty was
already lost. Caesar had obtained the province of Gaul for ten years,
against all former precedent, and Pompey had obtained the extension of his
imperium for five additional years. Both these generals thus had armies
and an independent command for a period which might be called
indefinite--that is, as long as they could maintain their authority in a
period of anarchy. Rome was disgraced by tumults and assassinations;
worthless people secured the highest offices, and were the tools of the
two great generals, who divided between them the empire of the world. All
family ties between these two generals were destroyed by the death of
Julia. The feud between Clodius and Milo, the one a candidate for the
praetorship, and the other for the consulship, was most disgraceful, in the
course of which Clodius was slain. Each wanted an office as the means of
defraying enormous debts. Pompey, called upon by the Senate to relieve the
State from anarchy, was made sole consul--another unprecedented thing. The
trial of Milo showed that Pompey was the absolute master at Rome, and it
was his study to maintain his position against Caesar.

It was plain that the world could not have two absolute masters,
for both Pompey and Caesar aspired to universal sovereignty. One must
succumb to the other--be either anvil or hammer. Neither would have been
safe without their unities and their armed followers. And if both were
destroyed, the State would still be convulsed with factions. All true
constitutional liberty was at an end, for both generals and demagogues
could get such laws passed as they pleased, with sufficient money to bribe
those who controlled the elections. It was a time of universal corruption
and venality. Money was the mainspring of society. Public virtue had
passed away,--all elevated sentiment,--all patriotism,--all self-sacrifice.
The people cared but little who ruled, if they were supplied with corn and
wine at nominal prices. Patrician nobles had become demagogues, and
demagogues had power in proportion to their ability or inclination to
please the people. Cicero despaired of the State, and devoted himself to
literature. There yet remained the aristocratic party, which had wealth
and prestige and power, and the popular party, which aimed to take these
privileges away, but which was ruled by demagogues more unprincipled than
the old nobility. Pompey represented the one, and Caesar the other, though
both were nobles.

Both these generals had rendered great services. Pompey had subdued the
East, and Caesar the West. Pompey had more prestige, Caesar more genius.
Pompey was a greater tactician, Caesar a greater strategist. Pompey was
proud, pompous, jealous, patronizing, self-sufficient, disdainful. Caesar
was politic, intriguing, patient, lavish, unenvious, easily approached,
forgiving, with great urbanity and most genial manners. Both were
ambitious, unscrupulous, and selfish. Cicero distrusted both, flattered
each by turns, but inclined to the side of Pompey as more conservative,
and less dangerous. The Senate took the side of Pompey, the people that of
Caesar. Both Caesar and Pompey had enjoyed power so long, that neither would
have been contented with private life.

In the year B.C. 49, Caesar's proconsular imperium was to terminate
one year after the close of the Gallic war. He wished to be re-elected
consul, and also secure his triumph. But he could not, according to law,
have the triumph without disbanding the army, and without an army he would
not be safe at Rome, with so many enemies. Neither could he be elected
consul, according to the forms, while he enjoyed his imperium, for it had
long been the custom that no one could sue for the consulship at the head
of an army. He, therefore, could neither be consul nor enjoy a triumph,
legitimately, without disbanding his army. Moreover, the party of Pompey,
being then in the ascendant at Rome, demanded that Caesar should lay down
his imperium. The tribunes, in the interests of Caesar, opposed the decree
of the Senate; the reigning consuls threatened the tribunes, and they fled
to Caesar's camp in Cisalpine Gaul. It should, however, be mentioned, that
when the consul Marcellus, an enemy of Caesar, proposed in the Senate that
he should lay down his command, Curio, the tribune, whose debts Caesar had
paid, moved that Pompey should do the same; which he refused to do, since
the election of Caesar to the consulship would place the whole power of the
republic in his hands. Caesar made a last effort to avoid the inevitable
war, by proposing to the Senate to lay down his command, if Pompey would
also; but Pompey prevaricated, and the compromise came to nothing. Both
generals distrusted each other, and both were disloyal to the State. The
Senate then appointed a successor to Caesar in Gaul, ordered a general levy
of troops throughout Italy, and voted money and men to Pompey. Caesar had
already crossed the Rubicon, which was high treason, before his last
proposal to compromise, and he was on his way to Rome. No one resisted
him, for the people had but little interest in the success of either
party. Pompey, exaggerating his popularity, thought he had only to stamp
the ground, and an army would appear, and when he discovered that his
rival was advancing on the Flaminican way, fled hastily from Rome with
most of the senators, and went to Brundusium. Caesar did not at once seize
the capital, but followed Pompey, and so vigorously attacked him, that he
quit the town and crossed over to Illyricum. Caesar had no troops to pursue
him, and therefore retraced his steps, and entered Rome, after an absence
of ten years, at the head of a victorious army, undisputed master of
Italy.

But Pompey still controlled his proconsular province of Spain,
where seven legions were under his lieutenants, and Africa also was
occupied by his party. Caesar, after arranging the affairs of Italy,
marched through Gaul into Spain to fight the generals of Pompey. That
campaign was ended in forty days, and he became master of Spain. While in
Spain he was elected to his second consulship, and also made dictator. He
returned to Rome as rapidly as he had marched into Spain, and enacted some
wholesome laws, among others that by which the inhabitants of Cisalpine
Gaul, the northern part of Italy, obtained citizenship. After settling the
general affairs of Italy, he laid down the dictatorship, and went, to
Brundusium, and collected his forces from various parts for a decisive
conflict with Pompey, who had remained, meanwhile, in Macedonia,
organizing his army. He collected nine legions, with auxiliary forces,
while his fleet commanded the sea. He also secured vast magazines of corn
in Thessaly, Asia, Egypt, Crete, and Cyrene.

Caesar was able to cross the sea with scarcely more than fifteen
thousand men, on account of the insufficiency of his fleet, and he was
thrown upon a hostile shore, cut off from supplies, and in presence of a
vastly superior force. But his troops were veterans, and his cause was
strengthened by the capture of Apollonia. He then advanced north to seize
Dyrhachiuim, where Pompey's stores were deposited, but Pompey reached the
town before him, and both armies encamped on the banks of the river Apsus,
the one on the left and the other on the right bank. There Caesar was
joined by the remainder of his troops, brought over with great difficulty
from Brundusium by Marcus Antonius, his most able lieutenant and devoted
friend. Pompey was also re-enforced by two legions from Syria, led by his
father-in-law, Scipio. Both parties abstained from attacking each other
while these re-enforcements were being brought forward, and Caesar even
made a last effort at compromise, while the troops on each side exchanged
mutual courtesies.

Pompey avoided a pitched battle, and intrenched himself on a hill
near Dyrhachium. Caesar surrounded him with lines of circumvallation.
Pompey broke through them, and compelled Caesar to retire, with
considerable loss. He retreated to Thessaly, followed by Pompey, who, had
he known how to pursue his advantage, might, after this last success--the
last he ever had--have defeated Caesar. He had wisely avoided a pitched
battle until his troops should become inured to service, or until he
should wear out his adversary; but now, puffed up with victory and
self-confidence, and unduly influenced by his officers, he concluded to
risk a battle. Caesar was encamped on the plain of Pharsalia, and Pompey on
a hill about four miles distant. The steep bank of the river Enipeus
covered the right of Pompey's line and the left of Caesar's. The infantry
of the former numbered forty-five thousand; that of the latter, twenty-two
thousand, but they were veterans. Pompey was also superior in cavalry,
having seven thousand, while Caesar had only one thousand. With these,
which formed the strength of Pompey's force, he proposed to outflank the
right of Caesar, extended on the plain. To guard against this movement,
Caesar withdrew six cohorts from his third line, and formed them into a
fourth in the rear of his cavalry on the right. The battle commenced by a
furious assault on the lines of Pompey by Caesar's veterans, who were
received with courage. Meanwhile Pompey's cavalry swept away that of
Caesar, and was advancing to attack the rear, when they received,
unexpectedly, the charge of the cohorts which Caesar had posted there, The
cavalry broke, and fled to the mountains. The six cohorts then turned upon
the slingers and archers, who had covered the attack of the cavalry,
defeated them, and fell upon the rear of Pompey's left. Caesar then brought
up his third line, and decided the battle. Pompey had fled when he saw the
defeat of his cavalry. His camp was taken and sacked, and his troops, so
confident of victory, were scattered, surrounded, and taken prisoners.
Caesar, with his usual clemency, spared their lives, nor had he any object
to destroy them. Among those who surrendered after this decisive battle
was Junius Brutus, who was not only pardoned, but admitted to the closest
friendship.

Pompey, on his defeat, fled to Larissa, embarked with his
generals, and sailed to Mitylene. As he had still the province of Africa
and a large fleet, it was his policy to go there; but he had a silly
notion that his true field of glory was the East, and he saw no place of
refuge but Egypt. That kingdom was then governed by the children of
Ptolemy Auletes, Cleopatra and Ptolemy, neither of whom were adults, and
who, moreover, were quarreling with each other for the undivided
sovereignty of Egypt. At this juncture, Pompey appeared on the coast, on
which Ptolemy was encamped. He sent a messenger to the king, with the
request that he might be sheltered in Alexandria. To grant it would
compromise Ptolemy with Caesar; to refuse it would send Pompey to the camp
of Cleopatra in Syria. He was invited to a conference, and his minister
Achillus was sent out in a boat to bring him on shore. Pompey, infatuated,
imprudently trusted himself in the boat, in which he recognized an old
comrade, Septimius, who, however, did not return his salutation. On
landing, he was stabbed by Septimius, who had persuaded Ptolemy to take
his life, in order to propitiate Caesar and gain the Egyptian crown. Thus
ingloriously fell the conqueror of Asia, and the second man in the empire,
by treachery.

On the flight of Pompey from the fatal battle-field, Caesar pressed
in pursuit, with only one legion and a troop of cavalry. Fearing a new war
in Asia, Caesar waited to collect his forces, and then embarked for Egypt.
He arrived at Alexandria only a few days after the murder of his rival,
and was met by an officer bearing his head. He ordered it to be burned
with costly spices, and placed the ashes in a shrine, dedicated to
Nemesis. He then demanded ten million drachmas, promised by the late king,
and summoned the contending sovereigns to his camp. Cleopatra captivated
him, and he decided that both should share the throne, but that the
ministers of Ptolemy should be deposed, which was reducing the king to a
cipher. But the fanaticism of the Alexandrians being excited, and a
collision having taken place between them and his troops, Caesar burned the
Egyptian fleet, and fortified himself at Pharos, awaiting re-enforcements.
Ptolemy, however, turned against him, when he had obtained his release,
and perished in an action on the banks of the Nile. Cleopatra was restored
to the throne, under the protection of Rome.

Pharnaces, son of Mithridates, rewarded by Pompey with the throne
of the Bosphorus for the desertion of his father, now made war against
Rome. Galvinus, sent against him, sustained a defeat, and Caesar rapidly
marched to Asia to restore affairs. It was then he wrote to the Senate
that brief, but vaunting letter: "Veni, vidi, vici." He already
meditated those conquests in the East which had inflamed the ambition of
his rival. He caught the spirit of Oriental despotism. He was not proof
against the flatteries of the Asiatics. But his love for Cleopatra worked
a still greater change in his character, even as it undermined the respect
of his countrymen. History brands with infamy that unfortunate connection,
which led to ostentation, arrogance, harshness, impatience, and contempt
of mankind--the same qualities which characterized Napoleon on his return
from Egypt.

In September, B.C. 47, Caesar returned to Italy, having been
already named dictator by a defeated and obsequious Senate. Cicero was
among the first to meet him, and was graciously pardoned. The only severe
measure which he would allow was the confiscation of the property of
Pompey and his sons, whose statues, however, he replaced. He now ruled
absolutely, but under the old forms, and was made tribune for life. The
Senate nominated him consul for five years, and he was also named
dictator.

The only foes who now seriously stood out against him were the
adherents of Pompey, who had time, during his absence in the East, to
reorganize their forces, and it was in Africa that the last conflict was
to be fought. The Pompeians were commanded by Scipio, who fixed his
head-quarters at Hadrumentum, with an army of ten legions, a large force
of Numidian cavalry, and one hundred and twenty elephants. But Caesar
defeated this large army with a vastly inferior force, and the rout was
complete. Scipio took ship for Spain, but was driven back, as Marius had
been on the Italian coasts when pursued by the generals of Sulla, and
ended his life by suicide. Cato, the noblest Roman of his day, whose march
across the African desert was one of the great feats of his age, might
have escaped, and would probably have been pardoned: but the lofty stoic
could not endure the sight of the prostration of Roman liberties, and,
fortifying his courage with the Phaedon of Plato, also fell upon his
sword. The Roman republic ended with his death.

After reducing Numidia to a Roman province, Caesar returned to
Italy with immense treasures, and was everywhere received with unexampled
honors. At Rome he celebrated a fourfold triumph--for victories in Gaul,
Egypt, Africa, and the East--and the Senate decreed that his image in ivory
should be carried in procession with those of the gods. His bronze statue
was set upon a globe in the capitol, as the emblem of universal
sovereignty. All the extravagant enthusiasm which marked the French people
for the victories of Napoleon, and all the servility which unbounded power
everywhere commands, were bestowed upon the greatest conqueror the ancient
world ever saw. A thanksgiving was decreed for forty days; the number of
the lictors was doubled; he was made dictator for ten years, with the
command of all the armies of the State, and the presidency of the public
festivals. He also was made censor for three years, by which he regulated
the Senate according to his sovereign will. His triumphs were followed by
profuse largesses to the soldiers and people, and he also instituted
magnificent games under an awning of silk, at the close of which the
Forum Julium was dedicated.

Such were his unparalleled honors and powers. All the great
offices of the State were invested and united in him, and nothing was
wanted to complete his aggrandizement but the name of emperor. But we turn
from these, the usual rewards of conquerors, to glance at the services he
rendered to civilization, which constitute his truest claim to
immortality. One of the greatest was the reform of the calendar, for the
Roman year was ninety days in advance of the true meaning of that word.
The old year had been determined by lunar months rather than by the
apparent path of the sun among the fixed stars which had been determined
by the ancient astronomers, and was one of the greatest discoveries of
ancient science. The Roman year consisted of three hundred and fifty-five
days, so that January was an autumn month. Caesar inserted the regular
intercalary month of twenty-three days, and two additional ones of
sixty-seven days. These were added to the three hundred and sixty-five
days, making a year of transition of four hundred and forty-five days, by
which January was brought back to the first month of the year, after the
winter solstice. And to prevent the repetition of the error, he directed
that in future the year should consist of three hundred and sixty-five
days and one quarter of a day, which he effected by adding one day to the
months of April, June, September, and November, and two days to the months
of January, Sextilis, and December, making an addition of ten days to the
old year of three hundred and fifty-five, and he provided for a uniform
intercalation of one day in every fourth year. Caesar was a student of
astronomy, and always found time for its contemplation. He even wrote an
essay on the motion of the stars, assisted in his observation by
Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer. He took astronomy out of the hands
of priests, and made it a matter of civil legislation. He was drawn away
from legislation to draw the sword once more against the relics of the
Pompeian party, which had been collected in Spain. On the field of Munda
was fought his last great battle, contested with unusual fury, and
attended with savage cruelties. Thirty thousand of his opponents fell in
this battle, and Sextus Pompey alone, of all the marked men, escaped to
the mountains, and defied pursuit. On this victory he celebrated his last
triumph, and the supple Senate decreed to him the title of Imperator. He
was made consul for ten years, dictator for life, his person was decreed
inviolable, and he was surrounded by a guard of nobles and senators. He
also received the insignia of royalty, a golden chair and a diadem set
with gems, and was allowed to wear the triumphal robe of purple whenever
he appeared in public. The coins were stamped with his image, his statue
was placed in the temples, and his friends obtained all the offices of the
State. He adopted Octavius, his nephew, for his heir, and paved the way
for an absolute despotism under his successors. The measure of his glory
and ambition was full. He was the undisputed master of the world.

He then continued his reforms and improvements, as Napoleon did after his
coronation as emperor. He gave the Roman franchise to various States and
cities out of Italy, and colonized new cities. He excluded judices from
all ranks but those of senators and knights, and enacted new laws for the
security of persons and property. He gave unbounded religious toleration,
and meditated a complete codification of the Roman law. He founded a
magnificent public library, appointed commissioners to make a map of the
whole empire, and contemplated the draining of the Pontine marshes.

After these works of legislation and public improvement, he
prepared for an expedition to Parthia, in which he hoped to surpass the
conquests of Alexander in the East. But his career was suddenly cut off by
his premature death. The nobles whom he humiliated, and the Oriental
despotism he contemplated, caused a secret hostility which he did not
suspect amid the universal subserviency to his will. Above all, the title
of king, the symbol of legitimate sovereignty, to which he aspired,
sharpened the daggers of the few remaining friends of the liberty which
had passed away for ever. All the old party of the State concocted the
conspiracy, some eighty nobles, at the head of which were Brutus and
Cassius. On the fifteenth day of March, B.C. 44, the Ides of March, the
day for which the Senate was convened for his final departure for the
East, he was stabbed in the senate-house, and he fell, pierced with
wounds, at the foot of Pompey's statue, in his fifty-sixth year, and
anarchy, and new wars again commenced.

The concurrent voices of all historians and critics unite to give
Caesar the most august name of all antiquity. He was great in every
thing,--as orator, as historian, as statesman, as general, and as lawgiver.
He had genius, understanding, memory, taste, industry, and energy. He
could write, read, and dictate at the same time. He united the bravery of
Alexander with the military resources of Hannibal. He had a marvelous
faculty of winning both friends and enemies. He was generous, magnanimous,
and courteous. Not even his love for Cleopatra impaired the energies of
his mind and body. He was not cruel or sanguinary, except when urged by
reasons of State. He pardoned Cicero, and received Brutus into intimate
friendship. His successes were transcendent, and his fortune never failed
him. He reached the utmost limit of human ambition, and was only hurled
from his pedestal of power by the secret daggers of fanatics, who saw in
his elevation the utter extinction of Roman liberty. But liberty had
already fled, and a degenerate age could only be ruled by a despot. It
might have been better for Rome had his life been prolonged when all
constitutional freedom had become impossible. But he took the sword, and
Nemesis demanded that he should perish by it, as a warning to all future
usurpers who would accomplish even good ends by infamous means. Vulgar
pity compassionates the sad fate of the great Julius; but we can not
forget that it was he who gave the last blow to the constitution and
liberties of his country. The greatness of his gifts and services pale
before the gigantic crime of which he stands accused at the bar of all the
ages, and the understanding of the world is mocked when his usurpation is
justified.





Next: The Civil Wars Following The Death Of Caesar

Previous: Rome From The Death Of Sulla To The Great Civil Wars Of Caesar And Pompey



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 8105