The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



of Mytilene (b. c. 80), and was rewarded by the Roman general with a civic crown for saving the life of a fellow-soldier. He next served under P. Sulpicius, in Cilicia, in b. c. 78, but had scarcely entered upon the campaign before news reached him of the death of Sulla, whereupon he immedi­ately returned to Rome.

M. Aemilius Lepidus, the consul, had already attempted to rescind the acts of Sulla. He was opposed by his colleague Q. Catulus, and the state was once more in arms. This was a tempting op­portunity for the leaders of the popular party to make an effort to recover their former power, and many, who were less sagacious and long-sighted than the youthful Caesar, eagerly availed them­selves of it. But he saw that the time had not yet come ; he had not much confidence in Lepidus, and therefore remained neutral.

Caesar was now twenty-two years of age, and, according to the common practice of the times, he accused, in the following year (b. c. 77), Cn. Dolabella of extortion in his province of Mace­donia. Cn. Dolabella, who had been consul in 81, belonged to Sulla's party, which was an ad­ditional reason for his being singled out by Cae­sar; but, for the same reason, he was defended by Cotta and Hortensius, and acquitted by the judges, who were now, in accordance with one of Sulla's laws, chosen from the senate. Caesar, however, gained great fame by this prosecution, and shewed that he possessed powers of oratory which bid fair to place him among the first speakers at Rome. The popularity he had gained induced him, in the following year (b. c. 76), at the request of the Greeks, to accuse C. Antonius (afterwards consul in b. c. 63) of extortion in Greece; but he too escaped conviction. To render himself still more perfect in oratory, he went to Rhodes in the winter of the same year, to study nnder Apollonius Molo, who was also one of Cicero's teachers; but in his voyage thither he was captured off Miletus, near the island of Pharmacusa, by pi­rates, with whom the seas of the Mediterranean then swarmed. In this island he was detained by them till he could obtain fifty talents from the neighbouring cities for his ransom. Immedi­ately he had obtained his liberty, he manned some Milesian vessels, overpowered the pirates, and conducted them as prisoners to Pergamus, where he shortly afterwards crucified them—a pu­nishment he had frequently threatened them with in sport when he was their prisoner. He then repair­ed to Rhodes, where he studied under Apollonius for a short time, but soon afterwards crossed over into Asia, on the outbreak of the Mithridatic war again in b. c. 74. Here, although he held no pub­lic office, he collected troops on his own authority, and repulsed the commander of the king, and then returned to Rome in the same year, in consequence of having been elected pontiff, in his absence, in the place of his uncle C. Aurelius Cotta.

On his return to Rome, Caesar used every means to increase his popularity. His affable manners, and still more his unbounded liberality, won the hearts of the people. As his private fortune was not large, he soon had recourse to the usurers, who looked for repayment to the offices which he was sure to obtain from the people. It was about this time that the people elected him to the office of military tribune instead of his competitor, C. Popilius ; but he probably served for only a short time, as he is


not mentioned during the next three years (b. c.' 73-71) as serving in any of the wars which were carried on at that time against Mithridates, Spar-tacus, and Sertorius.

The year b. c. 70 was a memorable one, as some of Sulla's most important alterations in the consti­tution were then repealed. This was chiefly owing to Pompey, who was then consul with M. Crassus. Pompey had been one of Sulla's steady supporters, and was now at the height of his glory; but his great power had raised him many enemies among the aristocracy, and he was thus led to join to some extent the popular party. It was Pompey's doing that the tribunicial power was restored in this year; and it was also through his support that the law of L. Aurelius Cotta, Caesar's uncle, was carried, by which the judicia were taken away from the senate, who had possessed them exclu­sively for ten years, and were shared between the senate, equites, and tribuni aerarii. These mea­sures were also strongly supported by Caesar, who thus came into close connexion with Pompey. He also spoke in favour of the Plotia lex for recalling from exile those who had joined M. Lepidus in b. c. 78, and had fled to Sertorius after the death of the latter.

Caesar obtained the quaestorship in B. c. 68. In this year he lost his aunt Julia, the widow of Marius, and his own wife Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna. He pronounced orations over both of them in the forum, in which he took the opportu­nity of passing a panegyric upon the former leaders of the popular party. The funeral of his aunt pro­duced a great sensation at Rome, as he caused the images of Marius, who had been declared an enemy of the state, to be carried in the procession : they were welcomed with loud acclamations by the peo­ple, who were delighted to see their former favou­rite brought, as it were, into public again. After the funeral of his wife, he went, as quaestor to Antistius Vetus, into the province of further Spain.

On his return to Rome, in b. c. 67, Caesar married Pompeia, the daughter of Q. Pompeius Rufus and Cornelia, the daughter of the dictator Sulla. This marriage with one of the Pom-peian house was doubtless intended to cement his union still more closely with Pompey, who was now more favourably inclined than ever to the popular party. Caesar eagerly promoted all his views, and rendered him most efficient assistance; for he saw, that if the strength of the aristocracy could be broken by means of Pompey, he himself would soon rise to power, secure as he was of the favour of the people. He accordingly supported the proposal of the tribune Gabinius for conferring upon Pompey the command of the war against the pirates with unlimited powers: this measure was viewed with the utmost jealousy by the aristocracy, and widened still further the breach between them and Pompey. In the same year, Caesar was elected one of the superintendents of the Appian Way, and acquired fresh popularity by expending upon its repairs a large sum of money from his private purse.

In the following year, b. c. 66, Caesar again assisted Pompey by supporting, along with Ci­cero, the Manilian law, by which the Mithridatic war was committed to Pompey. At the end of this year, the first Catilinarian conspiracy, as it is called, was formed, in which Caesar is said by some writers to have taken an active part. But

About | First



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of