Pompeius and Caesar in Juxtaposition
Among the democratic chiefs, who from the time of the consulate of Caesar were recognized officially, so to speak, as the joint rulers of the commonwealth, as the governing "triumvirs," Pompeius according to public opinion occupied decidedly the first place. It was he who was called by the Optimates the "private dictator"; it was before him that Cicero prostrated himself in vain; against him were directed the sharpest sarcasms in the wall-placards of Bibulus, and the most envenomed arrows of the talk in the saloons of the opposition. This was only to be expected. According to the facts before the public Pompeius was indisputably the first general of his time; Caesar was a dexterous party-leader and party-orator, of undeniable talents, but as notoriously of unwarlike and indeed of effeminate temperament. Such opinions had been long current; it could not be expected of the rabble of quality that it should trouble itself about the real state of things and abandon once established platitudes because of obscure feats of heroism on the Tagus. Caesar evidently played in the league the mere part of the adjutant who executed for his chief the work which Flavius, Afranius, and other less capable instruments had attempted and not performed. Even his governorship seemed not to alter this state of things. Afranius had but recently occupied a very similar position, without thereby acquiring any special importance; several provinces at once had been of late years repeatedly placed under one governor, and often far more than four legions had been united in one hand; as matters were again quiet beyond the Alps and prince Ariovistus was recognized by the Romans as a friend and neighbour, there was no prospect of conducting a war of any moment there. It was natural to compare the position which Pompeius had obtained by the Gabinio-Manilian law with that which Caesar had obtained by the Vatinian; but the comparison did not turn out to Caesar's advantage. Pompeius ruled over nearly the whole Roman empire; Caesar over two provinces. Pompeius had the soldiers and the treasures of the state almost absolutely at his disposal; Caesar had only the sums assigned to him and an army of 24,000 men. It was left to Pompeius himself to fix the point of time for his retirement; Caesar's command was secured to him for a long period no doubt, but yet only for a limited term. Pompeius, in fine, had been entrusted with the most important undertakings by sea and land; Caesar was sent to the north, to watch over the capital from upper Italy and to take care that Pompeius should rule it undisturbed.
Pompeius and the Capital
But when Pompeius was appointed by the coalition to be ruler of the capital, he undertook a task far exceeding his powers. Pompeius understood nothing further of ruling than may be summed up in the word of command. The waves of agitation in the capital were swelled at once by past and by future revolutions; the problem of ruling this city—which in every respect might be compared to the Paris of the nineteenth century—without an armed force was infinitely difficult, and for that stiff and stately pattern-soldier altogether insoluble. Very soon matters reached such a pitch that friends and foes, both equally inconvenient to him, could, so far as he was concerned, do what they pleased; after Caesar's departure from Rome the coalition ruled doubtless still the destinies of the world, but not the streets of the capital. The senate too, to whom there still belonged a sort of nominal government, allowed things in the capital to follow their natural course; partly because the section of this body controlled by the coalition lacked the instructions of the regents, partly because the angry opposition kept aloof out of indifference or pessimism, but chiefly because the whole aristocratic corporation began to feel at any rate, if not to comprehend, its utter impotence. For the moment therefore there was nowhere at Rome any power of resistance in any sort of government, nowhere a real authority. Men were living in an interregnum between the ruin of the aristocratic, and the rise of the military, rule; and, if the Roman commonwealth has presented all the different political functions and organizations more purely and normally than any other in ancient or modern times, it has also exhibited political disorganization-anarchy— with an unenviable clearness. It is a strange coincidence that in the same years, in which Caesar was creating beyond the Alps a workto last for ever, there was enacted in Rome one of the most extravagant political farces that was ever produced upon the stage of the world's history. The new regent of the commonwealth did not rule, but shut himself up in his house and sulked in silence. The former half-deposed government likewise did not rule, but sighed, sometimes in private amidst the confidential circles of the villas, sometimes in chorus in the senate-house. The portion of the burgesses which had still at heart freedom and order was disgusted with the reign of confusion, but utterly without leaders and counsel it maintained a passive attitude-not merely avoiding all political activity, but keeping aloof, as far as possible, from the political Sodom itself.
On the other hand the rabble of every sort never had better days, never found a merrier arena. The number of little great men was legion. Demagogism became quite a trade, which accordingly did not lack its professional insignia—the threadbare mantle, the shaggy beard, the long streaming hair, the deep bass voice; and not seldom it was a trade with golden soil. For the standing declamations the tried gargles of the theatrical staff were an article in much request;(1) Greeks and Jews, freedmen and slaves, were the most regular attenders and the loudest criers in the public assemblies; frequently, even when it came to a vote, only a minority of those voting consisted of burgesses constitutionally entitled to do so. "Next time," it is said in a letter of this period, "we may expect our lackeys to outvote the emancipation-tax." The real powers of the day were the compact and armed bands, the battalions of anarchy raised by adventurers of rank out of gladiatorial slaves and blackguards. Their possessors had from the outset been mostly numbered among the popular party; but since the departure of Caesar, who alone understood how to impress the democracy, and alone knew how to manage it, all discipline had departed from them and every partisan practised politics at his own hand. Even now, no doubt, these men fought with most pleasure under the banner of freedom; but, strictly speaking, they were neither of democratic nor of anti-democratic views; they inscribed on the— in itself indispensable—banner, as it happened, now the name of the people, anon that of the senate or that of a party-chief; Clodius for instance fought or professed to fight in succession for the ruling democracy, for the senate, and for Crassus. The leaders of these bands kept to their colours only so far as they inexorably persecuted their personal enemies—as in the case of Clodius against Cicero and Milo against Clodius—while their partisan position served them merely as a handle in these personal feuds. We might as well seek to set a charivari to music as to write the history of this political witches' revel; nor is it of any moment to enumerate all the deeds of murder, besiegings of houses, acts of incendiarism and other scenes of violence within a great capital, and to reckon up how often the gamut was traversed from hissing and shouting to spitting on and trampling down opponents, and thence to throwing stones and drawing swords.
The principal performer in this theatre of political rascality was that Publius Clodius, of whose services, as already mentioned,(2) the regents availed themselves against Cato and Cicero. Left to himself, this influential, talented, energetic and— in his trade—really exemplary partisan pursued during his tribunate, of the people (696) an ultra-democratic policy, gave the citizens corn gratis, restricted the right of the censors to stigmatize immoral burgesses, prohibited the magistrates from obstructing the course of the comitial machinery by religious formalities, set asidethe limitswhich had shortly before (690), for the purpose of checking the system of bands, been imposed on the right of association of the lower classes, and reestablished the "street-clubs" (-collegia compitalicia-) at that time abolished, which were nothing else than a formal organization—subdivided according to the streets, and with an almost military arrangement—of the whole free or slave proletariate of the capital. If in addition the further law, which Clodius had likewise already projected and purposed to introduce when praetor in 702, should give to freedmen and to slaves living in de facto possession of freedom the same political rights with the freeborn, the author of all these brave improvements of the constitution might declare his work complete, and as a second Numa of freedom and equality might invite the sweet rabble of the capital to see him celebrate high mass in honour of the arrival of the democratic millennium in the temple of Liberty which he had erected on the site of one of his burnings at the Palatine. Of course these exertions in behalf of freedom did not exclude a traffic in decrees of the burgesses; like Caesar himself, Caesar's ape kept governorships and other posts great and small on sale for the benefit of his fellow-citizens, and sold the sovereign rights of the state for the benefit of subject kings and cities.
Quarrel of Pompeius with Clodius
At all these things Pompeius looked on without stirring. If he did not perceive how seriously he thus compromised himself, his opponent perceived it. Clodius had the hardihood to engage in a dispute with the regent of Rome on a question of little moment, as to the sending back of a captive Armenian prince; and the variance soon became a formal feud, in which the utter helplessness of Pompeius was displayed. The head of the state knew not how to meet the partisan otherwise than with his own weapons, only wielded with far less dexterity. If he had been tricked by Clodius respecting the Armenian prince, he offended him in turn by releasing Cicero, who was preeminently obnoxious to Clodius, from the exile into which Clodius had sent him; and he attained his object so thoroughly, that he converted his opponent into an implacable foe. If Clodius made the streets insecure with his bands, the victorious general likewise set slaves and pugilists to work; in the frays which ensued the general naturally was worsted by the demagogue and defeated in the street, and Gaius Cato was kept almost constantly under siege in his garden by Clodius and his comrades. It is not the least remarkable feature in this remarkable spectacle, that the regent and the rogue amidst their quarrel vied in courting the favour of the fallen government; Pompeius, partly to please the senate, permitted Cicero's recall, Clodius on the other hand declared the Julian laws null and void, and called on Marcus Bibulus publicly to testify to their having been unconstitutionally passed.
Naturally no positive result could issue from this imbroglio of dark passions; its most distinctive character was just its utterly ludicrous want of object. Even a man of Caesar's genius had to learn by experience that democratic agitation was completely worn out, and that even the way to the throne no longer lay through demagogism. It was nothing more than a historical makeshift, if now, in the interregnum between republic and monarchy, some whimsical fellow dressed himself out with the prophet's mantle and staff which Caesar had himself laid aside, and the great ideals of Gaius Gracchus came once more upon the stage distorted into a parody; the so-called party from which this democratic agitation proceeded was so little such in reality, that afterwards it had not even a part falling to it in the decisive struggle. It cannot even be asserted that by means of this anarchical state of things the desire after a strong government based on military power had been vividly kindled in the minds of those who were indifferent to politics. Even apart from the fact that such neutral burgesses were chiefly to be sought outside of Rome, and thus were not directly affected by the rioting in the capital, those minds which could be at all influenced by such motives had been already by their former experiences, and especially by the Catilinarian conspiracy, thoroughly converted to the principle of authority; but those that were really alarmed were affected far more emphatically by a dread of the gigantic crisis inseparable from an overthrow of the constitution, than by dread of the mere continuance of the— at bottom withal very superficial—anarchy in the capital. The only result of it which historically deserves notice was the painful position in which Pompeius was placed by the attacks of the Clodians, and which had a material share in determining his farther steps.
Pompeius in Relation to the Gallic Victories of Caesar
Little as Pompeius liked and understood taking the initiative, he was yet on this occasion compelled by the change of his position towards both Clodius and Caesar to depart from his previous inaction. The irksome and disgraceful situation to which Clodius had reduced him, could not but at length arouse even his sluggish nature to hatred and anger. But far more important was the change which took place in his relation to Caesar. While, of the two confederate regents, Pompeius had utterly failed in the functions which he had undertaken, Caesar had the skill to turn his official position to an account which left all calculations and all fears far behind. Without much inquiry as to permission, Caesar had doubled his army by levies in his southern province inhabited in great measure by Roman burgesses; had with this army crossed the Alps instead of keeping watch over Rome from Northern Italy; had crushed in the bud a new Cimbrian invasion, and within two years (696, 697) had carried the Roman arms to the Rhine and the Channel. In presence of such facts even the aristocratic tactics of ignoring and disparaging were baffled. He who had often been scoffed at as effeminate was now the idol of the army, the celebrated victory- crowned hero, whose fresh laurels outshone the faded laurels of Pompeius, and to whom even the senate as early as 697 accorded the demonstrations of honour usual after successful campaigns in richer measure than had ever fallen to the share of Pompeius. Pompeius stood towards his former adjutant precisely as after the Gabinio-Manilian laws the latter had stood towards him. Caesar was now the hero of the day and the master of the most powerful Roman army; Pompeius was an ex-general who had once been famous. It is true that no collision had yet occurred between father-in-law and son-in-law, and the relation was externally undisturbed; but every political alliance is inwardly broken up, when the relative proportions of the power of the parties are materially altered. While the quarrel with Clodius was merely annoying, the change in the position of Caesar involved a very serious danger for Pompeius; just as Caesar and his confederates had formerly sought a military support against him, he found himself now compelled to seek a military support against Caesar, and, laying aside his haughty privacy, to come forward as a candidate for some extraordinary magistracy, which would enable him to hold his place by the side of the governor of the two Gauls with equal and, if possible, with superior power. His tactics, like his position, were exactly those of Caesar during the Mithradatic war. To balance the military power of a superior but still remote adversary by the obtaining of a similar command, Pompeius required in the first instance the official machinery of government. A year and a half ago this had been absolutely at his disposal. The regents then ruled the state both by the comitia, which absolutely obeyed them as the masters of the street, and by the senate, which was energetically overawed by Caesar; as representative of the coalition in Rome and as its acknowledged head, Pompeius would have doubtless obtained from the senate and from the burgesses any decree which he wished, even if it were against Caesar's interest. But by the awkward quarrel with Clodius, Pompeius had lost the command of the streets, and could not expect to carry a proposal in his favour in the popular assembly. Things were not quite so unfavourable for him in the senate; but even there it was doubtful whether Pompeius after that long and fatal inaction still held the reins of the majority firmly enough in hand to procure such a decree as he needed.
The Republican Opposition among the Public
The position of the senate also, or rather of the nobility generally, had meanwhile undergone a change. From the very fact of its complete abasement it drew fresh energy. In the coalition of 694 various things had come to light, which were by no means as yet ripe for it. The banishment of Cato and Cicero— which public opinion, however much the regents kept themselves in the background and even professed to lament it, referred with unerring tact to its real authors—and the marriage-relationship formed between Caesar and Pompeius suggested to men's minds with disagreeable clearness monarchical decrees of banishment and family alliances. The larger public too, which stood more aloof from political events, observed the foundations of the future monarchy coming more and more distinctly into view. From the moment when the public perceived that Caesar's object was not a modification of the republican constitution, but that the question at stake was the existence or non-existence of the republic, many of the best men, who had hitherto reckoned themselves of the popular party and honoured in Caesar its head, must infallibly have passed over to the opposite side. It was no longer in the saloons and the country houses of the governing nobilityalone that men talked of the "three dynasts," of the "three- headed monster." The dense crowds of people listened to the consular orations of Caesar without a sound of acclamation or approval; not a hand stirred to applaud when the democratic consul entered the theatre. But they hissed when one of the tools of the regents showed himself in public, and even staid men applauded when an actor utteredan anti-monarchic sentence or an allusion against Pompeius. Nay, when Cicero was to be banished, a great number of burgesses— it is said twenty thousand—mostly of the middle classes, put on mourning after the example of the senate. "Nothing is now more popular," it is said in a letter of this period, "than hatred of the popular party."
Attempts of the Regents to Check It
The regents dropped hints, that through such opposition the equites might easily lose their new special places in the theatre, and the commons their bread-corn; people were therefore somewhat more guarded perhaps in the expression of their displeasure, but the feeling remained the same. The lever of material interests was applied with better success. Caesar's gold flowed in streams. Men of seeming riches whose finances were in disorder, influential ladies who were in pecuniary embarrassment, insolvent young nobles, merchants and bankers in difficulties, either went in person to Gaul with the view of drawing from the fountain-head, or applied to Caesar's agents in the capital; and rarely was any man outwardly respectable—Caesar avoided dealings with vagabonds who were utterly lost—rejected in either quarter. To this fell to be added the enormous buildings which Caesar caused to be executed on his account in the capital—and by which a countless number of men of all ranks from the consular down to the common porter found opportunity of profiting—as well as the immense sums expended for public amusements. Pompeius did the same on a more limited scale; to him the capital was indebted for the first theatre of stone, and he celebrated its dedication with a magnificence never seen before. Of course such distributions reconciled a number of men who were inclined towards opposition, more especially in the capital, to the new order of things up to a certain extent; but the marrow of the opposition was not to be reached by this system of corruption. Every day more and more clearly showed how deeply the existing constitution had struck root among the people, and how little, in particular, the circles more aloof from direct party-agitation, especially the country towns, were inclined towards monarchy or even simply ready to let it take its course.
Increasing Importance of the Senate
If Rome had had a representative constitution, the discontent of the burgesses would have found its natural expression in the elections, and have increased by so expressing itself; under the existing circumstances nothing was left for those true to the constitution but to place themselves under the senate, which, degraded as it was, still appeared the representative and champion of the legitimate republic. Thus it happened that the senate, now when it had been overthrown, suddenly found at its disposal an army far more considerable and far more earnestly faithful, than when in its power and splendour it overthrew the Gracchi and under the protection of Sulla's sword restored the state. The aristocracy felt this; it began to bestir itself afresh. Just at this time Marcus Cicero, after having bound himself to join the obsequious party in the senate and not only to offer no opposition, but to work with all his might for the regents, had obtained from them permission to return. Although Pompeius in this matter only made an incidental concession to the oligarchy, and intended first of all to play a trick on Clodius, and secondly to acquire in the fluent consular a tool rendered pliant by sufficient blows, the opportunity afforded by the return of Cicero was embraced for republican demonstrations, just as his banishment had been a demonstration against the senate. With all possible solemnity, protected moreover against the Clodians by the band of Titus Annius Milo, the two consuls, following out a resolution of the senate, submitted a proposal to the burgesses to permit the return of the consular Cicero, and the senate called on all burgesses true to the constitution not to be absent from the vote. An unusual number of worthy men, especially from the country towns, actually assembled in Rome on the day of voting (4 Aug. 697). The journey of the consular from Brundisium to the capital gave occasion to a series of similar, but not less brilliant manifestations of public feeling. The new alliance between the senate and the burgesses faithful to the constitution was on this occasion as it were publicly proclaimed, and a sort of review of the latter was held, the singularly favourable result of which contributed not a little to revive the sunken courage of the aristocracy.
Helplessness of Pompeius
The helplessness of Pompeius in presence of these daring demonstrations, as well as the undignified and almost ridiculous position into which he had fallen with reference to Clodius, deprived him and the coalition of their credit; and the section of the senate which adhered to the regents, demoralized by the singular inaptitude of Pompeius and helplessly left to itself, could not prevent the republican-aristocratic party from regaining completely the ascendency in the corporation. The game of this party really at that time (697) was still by no means desperate for a courageous and dexterous player. It had now—what it had not possessed for a century past—a firm support in the people; if it trusted the people and itself, it might attain its object in the shortest and most honourable way. Why not attack the regents openly and avowedly? Why should not a resolute and eminent man at the head of the senate cancel the extraordinary powers as unconstitutional, and summon all the republicans of Italy to arms against the tyrants and their following? It was possible perhaps in this way once more to restore the rule of the senate. Certainly the republicans would thus play a bold game; but perhaps in this case, as often, the most courageous resolution might have been at the same time the most prudent. Only, it is true, the indolent aristocracy of this period was scarcely capable of so simple and bold a resolution. There was however another way perhaps more sure, at any rate better adapted to the character and nature of these constitutionalists; they might labour to set the two regents at variance and through this variance to attain ultimately to the helm themselves. The relations between the two men ruling the state had become altered and relaxed, now that Caesar had acquired a standing of preponderant power by the side of Pompeius and had compelled the latter to canvass for a new position of command; it was probable that, if he obtained it, there would arise in one way or other a rupture and struggle between them. If Pompeius remained unsupported in this, his defeat was scarcely doubtful, and the constitutional party would in that event find themselves after the close of the conflict under the rule of one master instead of two. But if the nobility employed against Caesar the same means by which the latter had won his previous victories, and entered into alliance with the weaker competitor, victory would probably, with a general like Pompeius, and with an army such as that of the constitutionalists, fall to the coalition; and to settle matters with Pompeius after the victory could not— judging from the proofs of political incapacity which he had already given-appear a specially difficult task.
Attempts of Pompeius to Obtain a Command through the Senate
Administration of the Supplies of Corn
Things had taken such a turn as naturally to suggest an understanding between Pompeius and the republican party. Whether such an approximation was to take place, and what shape the mutual relations of the two regents and of the aristocracy, which had become utterly enigmatical, were next to assume, fell necessarily to be decided, when in the autumn of 697 Pompeius came to the senate with the proposal to entrust him with extraordinary official power. He based his proposal once more on that by which he had eleven years before laid the foundations of his power, the price of bread in the capital, which had just then—as previously to the Gabinian law—reached an oppressive height. Whether it had been forced up by special machinations, such as Clodius imputed sometimes to Pompeius, sometimes to Cicero, and these in their turn charged on Clodius, cannot be determined; the continuance of piracy, the emptiness of the public chest, and the negligent and disorderly supervision of the supplies of corn by the government were already quite sufficient of themselves, even without political forestalling, to produce scarcities of bread in a great city dependent almost solely on transmarine supplies. The plan of Pompeius was to get the senate to commit to him the superintendence of the matters relating to corn throughout the whole Roman empire, and, with a view to this ultimate object, to entrust him on the one hand with the unlimited disposal of the Roman state- treasure, and on the other hand with an army and fleet, as well as a command which not only stretched over the whole Roman empire, but was superior in each province to that of the governor—in short he designed to institute an improved edition of the Gabinian law, to which the conduct of the Egyptian war just then pending(3) would therefore quite as naturally have been annexed as the conduct of the Mithradatic war to the razzia against the pirates. However much the opposition to the new dynasts had gained ground in recent years, the majority of the senate was still, when this matter came to be discussed in Sept. 697, under the constraint of the terror excited by Caesar. It obsequiously accepted the project in principle, and that on the proposition of Marcus Cicero, who was expected to give, and gave, in this case the first proof of the pliableness learned by him in exile. But in the settlement of the details very material portions were abated from the original plan, which the tribune of the people Gaius Messius submitted. Pompeius obtained neither free control over the treasury, nor legions and ships of his own, nor even an authority superior to that of the governors; but they contented themselves with granting to him, for the purpose of his organizing due supplies for the capital, considerable sums, fifteen adjutants, and in allaffairs elating to the supply of grain full proconsular power throughout the Roman dominions for the next five years, and with having this decree confirmed by the burgesses. There were many different reasons which led to this alteration, almost equivalent to a rejection, of the original plan: a regard to Caesar, with reference to whom the most timid could not but have the greatest scruples in investing his colleague not merely with equal but with superior authority in Gaul itself; the concealed opposition of Pompeius' hereditary enemy and reluctant ally Crassus, to whom Pompeius himself attributed or professed to attribute primarily the failure of his plan; the antipathy of the republican opposition in the senate to any decree which really or nominally enlarged the authority of the regents; lastly and mainly, the incapacity of Pompeius himself, who even after having been compelled to act could not prevail on himself to acknowledge his own action, but chose always to bring forward his real design as it were in incognito by means of his friends, while he himself in his well-known modesty declared his willingness to be content with even less. No wonder that they took him at his word, and gave him the less.
Pompeius was nevertheless glad to have found at any rate a serious employment, and above all a fitting pretext for leaving the capital. He succeeded, moreover, in providing it with ampler and cheaper supplies, although not without the provinces severely feeling the reflex effect. But he had missed his real object; the proconsular title, which he had a right to bear in all the provinces, remained an empty name, so long as he had not troops of his own at his disposal. Accordingly he soon afterwards got a second proposition made to the senate, that it should confer on him the charge of conducting back the expelled king of Egypt, if necessary by force of arms, to his home. But the more that his urgent need of the senate became evident, the senators received his wishes with a less pliant and less respectful spirit. It was immediately discovered in the Sibylline oracles that it was impious to send a Roman army to Egypt; whereupon the pious senate almost unanimously resolved to abstain from armed intervention. Pompeius was already so humbled, that he would have accepted the mission even without an army; but in his incorrigible dissimulation he left this also to be declared merely by his friends, and spoke and voted for the despatch of another senator. Of course the senate rejected a proposal which wantonly risked a life so precious to his country; and the ultimate issue of the endless discussions was the resolution not to interfere in Egypt at all (Jan. 698).
Attempt at an Aristocratic Restoration
Attack on Caesar's Laws
These repeated repulses which Pompeius met with in the senate and, what was worse, had to acquiesce in without retaliation, were naturally regarded—come from what side they would—by the public at large as so many victories of the republicans and defeats of the regents generally; the tide of republican opposition was accordingly always on the increase. Already the elections for 698 had gone but partially according to the minds of the dynasts; Caesar's candidates for the praetorship, Publius Vatinius and Gaius Alfius, had failed, while two decided adherents of the fallen government, Gnaeus Lentulus Marcellinus and Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus, had been elected, the former as consul, the latter as praetor. But for 699 there even appeared as candidate for the consulship Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, whose election it was difficult to prevent owing to his influence in the capital and his colossal wealth, and who, it was sufficiently well known, would not be content with a concealed opposition. The comitia thus rebelled; and the senate chimed in. It solemnly deliberated over an opinion, which Etruscan soothsayers of acknowledged wisdom had furnished respecting certain signs and wonders at its special request. The celestial revelation announced that through the dissension of the upper classes the whole power over the army and treasure threatened to pass to one ruler, and the state to incur loss of freedom—it seemed that the gods pointed primarily at the proposal of Gaius Messius. The republicans soon descended from heaven to earth. The law as to the domain of Capua and the other laws issued by Caesar as consul had been constantly described by them as null and void, and an opinion had been expressed in the senate as early as Dec. 697 that it was necessary to cancel them on account of their informalities. On the 6th April 698 the consular Cicero proposed in a full senate to put the consideration of the Campanian land distribution in the order of the day for the 15th May. It was the formal declaration of war; and it was the more significant, that it came from the mouth of one of those men who only show their colours when they think that they can do so with safety. Evidently the aristocracy held that the moment had come for beginning the struggle not with Pompeius against Caesar, but against the -tyrannis- generally. What would further follow might easily be seen. Domitius made no secret that he intended as consul to propose to the burgesses the immediate recall of Caesar from Gaul. An aristocratic restoration was at work; and with the attack on the colony of Capua the nobility threw down the gauntlet to the regents.
Conference of the Regents at Luca
Caesar, although receiving from day to day detailed accounts of the events in the capital and, whenever military considerations allowed, watching their progress from as near a point of his southern province as possible, had not hitherto, visibly at least interfered in them. But now war had been declared against him as well as his colleague, in fact against him especially; he was compelled to act, and he acted quickly. He happened to be in the very neighbourhood; the aristocracy had not even found it advisable to delay the rupture, till he should have again crossed the Alps. In the beginning of April 698 Crassus left the capital, to concert the necessary measures with his more powerful colleague; he found Caesar in Ravenna. Thence both proceeded to Luca, and there they were joined by Pompeius, who had departed from Rome soon after Crassus (11 April), ostensibly for the purpose of procuring supplies of grain from Sardinia and Africa. The most noted adherents of the regents, such as Metellus Nepos the proconsul of Hither Spain, Appius Claudius the propraetor of Sardinia, and many others, followed them; a hundred and twenty lictors, and upwards of two hundred senators were counted at this conference, where already the new monarchical senate was represented in contradistinction to the republican. In every respect the decisive voice lay with Caesar. He used it to re-establish and consolidate the existing joint rule on a new basis of more equal distribution of power of most importance in a military point of view, next to that of the two Gauls, were assigned to his two colleagues—that of the two Spains to Pompeius, that of Syria to Crassus; and these offices were to be secured to them by decree of the people for five years (700-704), and to be suitably provided for in a military and financial point of view. On the other hand Caesar stipulated for the prolongation of his command, which expired with the year 700, to the close of 705, as well as for the prerogative of increasing his legions to ten and of charging the pay for the troops arbitrarily levied by him on the state-chest. Pompeius and Crassus were moreover promised a second consulship for the next year (699) before they departed for their governorships, while Caesar kept it open to himself to administer the supreme magistracy a second time after the termination of his governorship in 706, when the ten years' interval legally requisite between two consulships should have in his case elapsed. The military support, which Pompeius and Crassus required for regulating the affairs of the capital all the more that the legions of Caesar originally destined for this purpose could not now be withdrawn from Transalpine Gaul, was to be found in new legions, which they were to raise for the Spanish and Syrian armies and were not to despatch from Italy to their several destinations until it should seem to themselves convenient to do so. The main questions were thus settled; subordinate matters, such as the settlement of the tactics to be followed against the opposition in the capital, the regulation of the candidatures for the ensuing years, and the like, did not long detain them. The great master of mediation composed the personal differences which stood in the way of an agreement with his wonted ease, and compelled the most refractory elements to act in concert. An understanding befitting colleagues was reestablished, externally at least, between Pompeius and Crassus. Even Publius Clodius was induced to keep himself and his pack quiet, and to give no farther annoyance to Pompeius—not the least marvellous feat of the mighty magician.
Designs of Caesar in This Arrangement
That this whole settlement of the pending questions proceeded, not from a compromise among independent and rival regents meeting on equal terms, but solely from the good will of Caesar, is evident from the circumstances. Pompeius appeared at Luca in the painful position of a powerless refugee, who comes to ask aid from his opponent. Whether Caesar chose to dismiss him and to declare the coalition dissolved, or to receive him and to let the league continue just as it stood—Pompeius was in either view politically annihilated. If he did not in this case break with Caesar, he became the powerless client of his confederate. If on the other hand he did break with Caesar and, which was not very probable, effected even now a coalition with the aristocracy, this alliance between opponents, concluded under pressure of necessity and at the last moment, was so little formidable that it was hardly for the sake of averting it that Caesar agreed to those concessions. A serious rivalry on the part of Crassus with Caesar was utterly impossible. It is difficult to say what motives induced Caesar to surrender without necessity his superior position, and now voluntarily to concede—what he had refused to his rival even on the conclusion of the league of 694, and what the latter had since, with the evident design of being armed against Caesar, vainly striven in different ways to attain without, nay against, Caesar's will—the second consulate and military power. Certainly it was not Pompeius alone that was placed at the head of an army, but also his old enemy and Caesar's ally throughout many years, Crassus; and undoubtedly Crassus obtained his respectable military position merely as a counterpoise to the new power of Pompeius. Nevertheless Caesar was a great loser, when his rival exchanged his former powerlessness for an important command. It is possible that Caesar did not yet feel himself sufficiently master of his soldiers to lead them with confidence to a warfare against the formal authorities of the land, and was therefore anxious not to be forced to civil war now by being recalled from Gaul; but whether civil war should come or not, depended at the moment far more on the aristocracy of the capital than on Pompeius, and this would have been at most a reason for Caesar not breaking openly with Pompeius, so that the opposition might not be emboldened by this breach, but not a reason for conceding to him what he did concede. Purely personal motives may have contributed to the result; it may be that Caesar recollected how he had once stood in a position of similar powerlessness in presence of Pompeius, and had been saved from destruction only by his—pusillanimous, it is true, rather than magnanimous—retirement; it is probable that Caesar hesitated to breakthe heart of his beloved daughter who was sincerely attached to her husband—in his soul there was room for much besides the statesman. But the decisive reason was doubtless the consideration of Gaul. Caesar—differing from his biographers—regarded the subjugation of Gaul not as an incidental enterprise useful to him for the gaining of the crown, but as one on which depended the external security and the internal reorganization, in a word the future, of his country. That he might be enabled to complete this conquest undisturbed and might not be obliged to take in hand just at once the extrication of Italian affairs, he unhesitatingly gave up his superiority over his rivals and granted to Pompeius sufficient power to settle matters with the senate and its adherents. This was a grave political blunder, if Caesar had no other object than to become as quickly as possible king of Rome; but the ambition of that rare man was not confined to the vulgar aim of a crown. He had the boldness to prosecute side by side, and to complete, two labours equally vast—the arranging of the internal affairs of Italy, and the acquisition and securing of a new and fresh soil for Italian civilization. These tasks of course interfered with each other; his Gallic conquests hindered much more than helped him on his way to the throne. It was fraught to him with bitter fruit that, instead of settling the Italian revolution in 698, he postponed it to 706. But as a statesman as well as a general Caesar was a peculiarly daring player, who, confiding in himself and despising his opponents, gave them always great and sometimes extravagant odds.
The Aristocracy Submits
It was now therefore the turn of the aristocracy to make good their high gage, and to wage war as boldly as they had boldly declared it. But there is no more pitiable spectacle than when cowardly men have the misfortune to take a bold resolution. They had simply exercised no foresight at all. It seemed to have occurred to nobody that Caesar would possibly stand on his defence, or that Pompeius and Crassus would combine with him afresh and more closely than ever. This seems incredible; but it becomes intelligible, when we glance at the persons who then led the constitutional opposition in the senate. Cato was still absent;(4) the most influential man in the senate at this time was Marcus Bibulus, the hero of passive resistance, the most obstinate and most stupid of all consulars. They had taken up arms only to lay them down, so soon as the adversary merely put his hand to the sheath; the bare news of the conferences in Luca sufficed to suppress all thought of a serious opposition and to bring the mass of the timid—that is, the immense majority of the senate— back to their duty as subjects, which in an unhappy hour they had abandoned. There was no further talk of the appointed discussion to try the validity of the Julian laws; the legions raised by Caesar on his own behalf were charged by decree of the senate on the public chest; the attempts on occasion of regulating the next consular provinces to take away both Gauls or one of them by decree from Caesar were rejected by the majority (end of May 698). Thus the corporation did public penance. In secret the individual lords, one after another, thoroughly frightened at their own temerity, came to make their peace and vow unconditional obedience— none more quickly than Marcus Cicero, who repented too late of his perfidy, and in respect of the most recent period of his life clothed himself with titles of honour which were altogether more appropriate than flattering.(5) Of course the regents agreed to be pacified; they refused nobody pardon, for there was nobody who was worth the trouble of making him an exception. That we may see how suddenly the tone in aristocratic circles changed after the resolutions of Luca became known, it is worth while to compare the pamphlets given forth by Cicero shortly before with the palinode which he caused to be issued to evince publicly his repentance and his good intentions.(6)
Settlement of the New Monarchical Rule
The regents could thus arrange Italian affairs at their pleasure and more thoroughly than before. Italy and the capital obtained practically a garrison although not assembled in arms, and one of the regents as commandant. Of the troops levied for Syria and Spain by Crassus and Pompeius, those destined for the east no doubt took their departure; but Pompeius caused the two Spanish provinces to be administered by his lieutenants with the garrison hitherto stationed there, while he dismissed the officers and soldiers of the legions which were newly raised—nominally for despatch to Spain—on furlough, and remained himself with them in Italy.
Doubtless the tacit resistance of public opinion increased, the more clearly and generally men perceived that the regents were working to put an end to the old constitution and with as much gentleness as possible to accommodate the existing condition of the government and administration to the forms of the monarchy; but they submitted, because they were obliged to submit. First of all all the more important affairs, and particularly all that related to military matters and external relations, were disposed of without consulting the senate upon them, sometimes by decree of the people, sometimes by the mere good pleasure of the rulers. The arrangements agreed on at Luca respecting the military command of Gaul were submitted directly to the burgesses by Crassus and Pompeius, those relating to Spain and Syria by the tribune of the people Gaius Trebonius, and in other instances the more important governorships were frequently filled up by decree of the people. That the regents did not need the consent of the authorities to increase their troops at pleasure, Caesar had already sufficiently shown: as little did they hesitate mutually to borrow troops; Caesar for instance received such collegiate support from Pompeius for the Gallic, and Crassus from Caesar for the Parthian, war. The Transpadanes, who possessed according to the existing constitution only Latin rights, were treated by Caesar during his administration practically as full burgesses of Rome.(7) While formerly the organization of newly-acquired territories had been managed by a senatorial commission, Caesar organized his extensive Gallic conquests altogether according to his own judgment, and founded, for instance, without having received any farther full powers burgess-colonies, particularly Novum-Comum (Como) with five thousand colonists. Piso conducted the Thracian, Gabinius the Egyptian, Crassus the Parthian war, without consulting the senate, and without even reporting, as was usual, to that body; in like manner triumphs and other marks of honour were accorded and carried out, without the senate being asked about them. Obviously this did not arise from a mere neglect of forms, which would be the less intelligible, seeing that in the great majority of cases no opposition from the senate was to be expected. On the contrary, it was a well-calculated design to dislodge the senate from the domain of military arrangements and of higher politics, and to restrict its share of administration to financial questions and internal affairs; and even opponents plainly discerned this and protested, so far as they could, against this conduct of the regents by means of senatorial decrees and criminal actions. While the regents thus in the main set aside the senate, they still made some use of the less dangerous popular assemblies—care was taken that in these the lords of the street should put no farther difficulty in the way of the lords of the state; in many cases however they dispensed even with this empty shadow, and employed without disguise autocratic forms.
The Senate under the Monarchy
Cicero and the Majority
The humbled senate had to submit to its position whether it would or not. The leader of the compliant majority continued to be Marcus Cicero. He was useful on account of his lawyer's talent of finding reasons, or at any rate words, for everything; and there was a genuine Caesarian irony in employing the man, by means of whom mainly the aristocracy had conducted their demonstrations against the regents, as the mouthpiece of servility. Accordingly they pardoned him for his brief desire to kick against the pricks, not however without having previously assured themselves of his submissiveness in every way. His brother had been obliged to take the position of an officer in the Gallic army to answer in some measure as a hostage for him; Pompeius had compelled Cicero himself to accept a lieutenant-generalship under him, which furnished a handle for politely banishing him at any moment. Clodius had doubtless been instructed to leave him meanwhile at peace, but Caesar as little threw off Clodius on account of Cicero as he threw off Cicero on account of Clodius; and the great saviour of his country and the no less great hero of liberty entered into an antechamber-rivalry in the headquarters of Samarobriva, for the befitting illustration of which there lacked, unfortunately, a Roman Aristophanes. But not only was the same rod kept in suspense over Cicero's head, which had once already descended on him so severely; golden fetters were also laid upon him. Amidst the serious embarrassment of his finances the loans of Caesar free of interest, and the joint overseership of those buildings which occasioned the circulation of enormous sums in the capital, were in a high degree welcome to him; and many an immortal oration for the senate was nipped in the bud by the thought of Caesar's agent, who might present a bill to him after the close of the sitting. Consequently he vowed "in future to ask no more after right and honour, but to strive for the favour of the regents," and "to be as flexible as an ear-lap." They used him accordingly as—what he was good for— an advocate; in which capacity it was on various occasions his lot to be obliged to defend his very bitterest foes at a higher bidding, and that especially in the senate, where he almost regularly served as the organ of the dynasts and submitted the proposals "to which others probably consented, but not he himself"; indeed, as recognized leader of the majority of the compliant, he obtained even a certain political importance. They dealt with the other members of the governing corporation accessible to fear, flattery, or gold in the same way as they had dealt with Cicero, and succeeded in keeping it on the whole in subjection.
Cato and the Minority
Certainly there remained a section of their opponents, who at least kept to their colours and were neither to be terrified nor to be won. The regents had become convinced that exceptional measures, such as those against Cato and Cicero, did their cause more harm than good, and that it was a lesser evil to tolerate an inconvenient republican opposition than to convert their opponents into martyrs for the republic Therefore they allowed Cato to return (end of 698) and thenceforward in the senate and in the Forum, often at the peril of his life, to offer a continued opposition to the regents, which was doubtless worthy of honour, but unhappily was at the same time ridiculous. They allowed him on occasion of the proposals of Trebonius to push matters once more to a hand-to-hand conflict in the Forum, and to submit to the senate a proposal that the proconsul Caesar should be given over to the Usipetes and Tencteri on account of his perfidious conduct toward those barbarians.(8) They were patient when Marcus Favonius, Cato's Sancho, after the senate had adopted the resolution to charge the legions of Caesar on the state-chest, sprang to the door of the senate-house and proclaimed to the streets the danger of the country; when the same person in his scurrilous fashion called the white bandage, which Pompeius wore round his weak leg, a displaced diadem; when the consular Lentulus Marcellinus, on being applauded, called out to the assembly to make diligent use of this privilege of expressing their opinion now while they were still allowed to do so; when the tribune of the people Gaius Ateius Capito consigned Crassus on his departure for Syria, with all the formalities of the theology of the day, publicly to the evil spirits. These were, on the whole, vain demonstrations of an irritated minority; yet the little party from which they issued was so far of importance, that it on the one hand fostered and gave the watchword to the republican opposition fermenting in secret, and on the other hand now and then dragged the majority of the senate, which ithal cherished at bottom quite the same sentiments with reference to the regents, into an isolated decree directed against them. For even the majority felt the need of giving vent, at least sometimes and in subordinate matters to their suppressed indignation, and especially—after the manner of those who are servile with reluctance—of exhibiting their resentment towards the great foes in rage against the small. Wherever it was possible, a gentle blow was administered to the instruments of the regents; thus Gabinius was refused the thanksgiving-festival that he asked (698); thus Piso was recalled from his province; thus mourning was put on by the senate, when the tribune of the people Gaius Cato hindered the elections for 699 as long as the consul Marcellinus belonging to the constitutional party was in office. Even Cicero, however humbly he always bowed before the regents, issued an equally envenomed and insipid pamphlet against Caesar's father-in-law. But both these feeble signs of opposition by the majority of the senate and the ineffectual resistance of the minority show only the more clearly, that the government had now passed from the senate to the regents as it formerly passed from the burgesses to the senate; and that the senate was already not much more than a monarchical council of state employed also to absorb the anti-monarchical elements. "No man," the adherents of the fallen government complained, "is of the slightest account except the three; the regents are all-powerful, and they take care that no one shall remain in doubt about it; the whole senate is virtually transformed and obeys the dictators; our generation will not live to see a change of things." They were living in fact no longer under the republic, but under monarchy.
Continued Oppositon at the Elections
But if the guidance of the state was at the absolute disposal of the regents, there remained still a political domain separated in some measure from the government proper, which it was more easy to defend and more difficult to conquer; the field of the ordinary elections of magistrates, and that of the jury-courts. That the latter do not fall directly under politics, but everywhere, and above all in Rome, come partly under the control of the spirit dominating state-affairs, is of itself clear. The elections of magistrates certainly belonged by right to the government proper of the state; but, as at this period the state was administered substantially by extraordinary magistrates or by men wholly without title, and even the supreme ordinary magistrates, if they belonged to the anti-monarchical party, were not able in any tangible way to influence the state-machinery, the ordinary magistrates sank more and more into mere puppets—as, in fact, even those of them who were most disposed to opposition described themselves frankly and with entire justice as powerless ciphers—and their elections therefore sank into mere demonstrations. Thus, after the opposition had already been wholly dislodged from the proper field of battle, hostilities might nevertheless be continued in the field of elections and of processes. The regents spared no pains to remain victors also in this field. As to the elections, they had already at Luca settled between themselves the lists of candidates for the next years, and they left no means untried to carry the candidates agreed upon there. They expended their gold primarily for the purpose of influencing the elections. A great number of soldiers were dismissed annually on furlough from the armies of Caesar and Pompeius to take part in the voting at Rome. Caesar was wont himself to guide, and watch over, the election movements from as near a point as possible of Upper Italy. Yet the object was but very imperfectly attained. For 699 no doubt Pompeius and Crassus were elected consuls, agreeably to the convention of Luca, and Lucius Domitius, the only candidate of the opposition who persevered was set aside; but this had been effected only by open violence, on which occasion Cato was wounded and other extremely scandalous incidents occurred. In the next consular elections for 700, in spite of all the exertions of the regents, Domitius was actually elected, and Cato likewise now prevailed in the candidature for the praetorship, in which to the scandal of the whole burgesses Caesar's client Vatinius had during the previous year beaten him off the field. At the elections for 701 the opposition succeeded in so indisputably convicting the candidates of the regents, along with others, of the most shameful electioneering intrigues that the regents, on whom the scandal recoiled, could not do otherwise than abandon them. These repeated and severe defeats of the dynasts on the battle-field of the elections may be traceable in part to the unmanageableness of the rusty machinery, to the incalculable accidents of the polling, to the opposition at heart of the middle classes, to the various private considerations that interfere in such cases and often strangely clash with those of party; but the main cause lies elsewhere. The elections were at this time essentially in the power of the different clubs into which the aristocracy had grouped themselves; the system of bribery was organized by them on the most extensive scale and with the utmost method. The same aristocracy therefore, which was represented in the senate, ruled also the elections; but while in the senate it yielded with a grudge, it worked and voted here—in secret and secure from all reckoning—absolutely against the regents. That the influence of the nobility in this field was by no means broken by the strict penal law against the electioneering intrigues of the clubs, which Crassus when consul in 699 caused to be confirmed by the burgesses, is self-evident, and is shown by the elections of the succeeding years.
And in the Courts
The jury-courts occasioned equally great difficulty to the regents. As they were then composed, while the senatorial nobility was here also influential, the decisive voice lay chiefly with the middle class. The fixing of a high-rated census for jurymen by a law proposed by Pompeius in 699 is a remarkable proof that the opposition to the regents had its chief seat in the middle class properly so called, and that the great capitalists showed themselves here, as everywhere, more compliant than the latter. Nevertheless the republican party was not yet deprived of all hold in the courts, and it was never weary of directing political impeachments, not indeed against the regents themselves, but against their prominent instruments. This warfare of prosecutions was waged the more keenly, that according to usage the duty of accusation belonged to the senatorial youth, and, as may readily be conceived, there was more of republican passion, fresh talent, and bold delight in attack to be found among these youths than among the older members of their order. Certainly the courts were not free; if the regents were in earnest, the courts ventured as little as the senate to refuse obedience. None of their antagonists were prosecuted by the opposition with such hatred—so furious that it almost passed into a proverb—as Vatinius, by far the most audacious and unscrupulous of the closer adherents of Caesar; but his master gave the command, and he was acquitted in all the processes raised against him. But impeachments by men who knew how to wield the sword of dialectics and the lash of sarcasm as did Gaius Licinius Calvus and Gaius Asinius Pollio, did not miss their mark even when they failed; nor were isolated successes wanting. They were mostly, no doubt, obtained over subordinate individuals, but even one of the most high-placed and most hated adherents of the dynasts, the consular Gabinius, was overthrown in this way. Certainly in his case the implacable hatred of the aristocracy, which as little forgave him for the law regarding the conducting of the war with the pirates as for his disparaging treatment of the senate during his Syrian governorship, was combined with the rage of the great capitalists, against whom he had when governor of Syria ventured to defend the interests of the provincials, and even with the resentment of Crassus, with whom he had stood on ceremony in handing over to him the province. His only protection against all these foes was Pompeius, and the latter had every reason to defend his ablest, boldest, and most faithful adjutant at any price; but here, as everywhere, he knew not how to use his power and to defend his clients, as Caesar defended his; in the end of 700 the jurymen found Gabinius guilty of extortions and sent him into banishment.
On the whole, therefore, in the sphere of the popular elections and of the jury-courts it was the regents that fared worst. The factors which ruled in these were less tangible, and therefore more difficult to be terrified or corrupted than the direct organs of government and administration. The holders of power encountered here, especially in the popular elections, the tough energy of a close oligarchy—grouped in coteries—which is by no means finally disposed of when its rule is overthrown, and which is the more difficult to vanquish the more covert its action. They encountered here too, especially in the jury-courts, the repugnance of the middle classes towards the new monarchical rule, which with all the perplexities springing out of it they were as little able to remove. They suffered in both quarters a series of defeats. The election-victories of the opposition had, it is true, merely the value of demonstrations, since the regents possessed and employed the means of practically annulling any magistrate whom they disliked; but the criminal trials in which the opposition carried condemnations deprived them, in a way keenly felt, of useful auxiliaries. As things stood, the regents could neither set aside nor adequately control the popular elections and the jury-courts, and the opposition, however much it felt itself straitened even here, maintained to a certain extent the field of battle.
Literature of the Opposition
It proved, however, yet a more difficult task to encounter the opposition in a field, to which it turned with the greater zeal the more it was dislodged from direct political action. This was literature. Even the judicial opposition was at the same time a literary one, and indeed pre-eminently so, for the orations were regularly published and served as political pamphlets. The arrows of poetry hit their mark still more rapidly and sharply. The lively youth of the high aristocracy, and still more energetically perhaps the cultivated middle class in the Italian country towns, waged the war of pamphlets and epigrams with zeal and success. There fought side by side on this field the genteel senator's son Gaius Licinius Calvus (672-706) who was as much feared in the character of an orator and pamphleteer as of a versatile poet, and the municipals of Cremona and Verona Marcus Furius Bibaculus (652-691) and Quintus Valerius Catullus (667-c. 700) whose elegant and pungent epigrams flew swiftly like arrows through Italy and were sure to hit their mark. An oppositional tone prevails throughout the literature of these years. It is full of indignant sarcasm against the "great Caesar," "the unique general," against the affectionate father-in-law and son-in-law, who ruin the whole globe in order to give their dissolute favourites opportunity to parade the spoils of the long-haired Celts through the streets of Rome, to furnish royal banquets with the booty of the farthest isles of the west, and as rivals showering gold to supplant honest youths at home in the favour of their mistresses. There is in the poems of Catullus(9) and the other fragments of the literature of this period something of that fervour of personal and political hatred, of that republican agony overflowing in riotous humour or in stern despair, which are more prominently and powerfully apparent in Aristophanes and Demosthenes.
The most sagacious of the three rulers at least saw well that it was as impossible to despise this opposition as to suppress it by word of command. So far as he could, Caesar tried rather personally to gain over the more notable authors. Cicero himself had to thank his literary reputation in good part for the respectful treatment which he especially experienced from Caesar; but the governor of Gaul did not disdain to conclude a special peace even with Catullus himself through the intervention of his father who had become personally known to him in Verona; and the young poet, who had just heaped upon the powerful general the bitterest and most personal sarcasms, was treated by him with the most flattering distinction. In fact Caesar was gifted enough to follow his literary opponents on their own domain and to publish— as an indirect way of repelling manifold attacks—a detailed report on the Gallic wars, which set forth before the public, with happily assumed naivete, the necessity and constitutional propriety of his military operations. But it is freedom alone that is absolutely and exclusively poetical and creative; it and it alone is able even in its most wretched caricature, even with its latest breath, to inspire fresh enthusiasm. All the sound elements of literature were and remained anti-monarchical; and, if Caesar himself could venture on this domain without proving a failure, the reason was merely that even now he still cherished at heart the magnificent dream of a free commonwealth, although he was unable to transfer it either to his adversaries or to his adherents. Practical politics was not more absolutely controlled by the regents than literature by the republicans.(10)
New Exceptional Measures Resolved on
It became necessary to take serious steps against this opposition, which was powerless indeed, but was always becoming more troublesome and audacious. The condemnation of Gabinius, apparently, turned the scale (end of 700). The regents agreed to introduce a dictatorship, though only a temporary one, and by means of this to carry new coercive measures especially respecting the elections and the jury-courts. Pompeius, as the regent on whom primarily devolved the government of Rome and Italy, was charged with the execution of this resolve; which accordingly bore the impress of the awkwardness in resolution and action that characterized him, and of his singular incapacity of speaking out frankly, even where he would and could command. Already at the close of 700 the demand for a dictatorship was brought forward in the senate in the form of hints, and that not by Pompeius himself. There served as its ostensible ground the continuance of the system of clubs and bands in the capital, which by acts of bribery and violence certainly exercised the most pernicious pressure on the elections as well as on the jury-courts and kept it in a perpetual state of disturbance; we must allow that this rendered it easy for the regents to justify their exceptional measures. But, as may well be conceived, even the servile majority shrank from granting what the future dictator himself seemed to shrink from openly asking. When the unparalleled agitation regarding the elections for the consulship of 701 led to the most scandalous scenes, so that the elections were postponed a full year beyond the fixed time and only took place after a seven months' interregnum in July 701, Pompeius found in this state of things the desired occasion for indicating now distinctly to the senate that the dictatorship was the only means of cutting, if not of loosing the knot; but the decisive word of command was not even yet spoken. Perhaps it would have still remained for long unuttered, had not the most audacious partisan of the republican opposition Titus Annius Milo stepped into the field at the consular elections for 702 as a candidate in opposition to the candidates of the regents, Quintus Metellus Scipio and Publius Plautius Hypsaeus, both men closely connected with Pompeius personally and thoroughly devoted to him.
Killing of Clodius
Milo, endowed with physical courage, with a certain talent for intrigue and for contracting debt, and above all with an ample amount of native assurance which had been carefully cultivated, had made himself a name among the political adventurers of the time, and was the greatest bully in his trade next to Clodius, and naturally therefore through rivalry at the most deadly feud with the latter. As this Achilles of the streets had been acquired by the regents and with their permission was again playing the ultra- democrat, the Hector of the streets became as a matter of course an aristocrat! And the republican opposition, which now would have concluded an alliance with Catilina in person, had he presented himself to them, readily acknowledged Milo as their legitimate champion in all riots. In fact the few successes, which they carried off in this field of battle, were the work of Milo and of his well-trained band of gladiators. So Cato and his friends in return supported the candidature of Milo for the consulship; even Cicero could not avoid recommending one who had been his enemy's enemy and his own protector during many years; and as Milo himself spared neither money nor violence to carry his election, it seemed secured. For the regents it would have been not only a new and keenly-felt defeat, but also a real danger; for it was to be foreseen that the bold partisan would not allow himself as consul to be reduced to insignificance so easily as Domitius and other men of the respectable opposition. It happened that Achilles and Hector accidentally encountered each other not far from the capital on the Appian Way, and a fray arose between their respective bands, in which Clodius himself received a sword-cut on the shoulder and was compelled to take refuge in a neighbouring house. This had occurred without orders from Milo; but, as the matter had gone so far and as the storm had now to be encountered at any rate, the whole crime seemed to Milo more desirable and even less dangerous than the half; he ordered his men to drag Clodius forth from his lurking place and to put him to death (13 Jan. 702).
Anarchy in Rome
The street leaders of the regents' party—the tribunes of the people Titus Munatius Plancus, Quintus Pompeius Rufus, and Gaius Sallustius Crispus—saw in this occurrence a fitting opportunity to thwart in the interest of their masters the candidature of Milo and carry the dictatorship of Pompeius. The dregs of the populace, especially the freedmen and slaves, had lost in Clodius their patron and future deliverer;(11) the requisite excitement was thus easily aroused. After the bloody corpse had been exposed for show at the orators' platform in the Forum and the speeches appropriate to the occasion had been made, the riot broke forth. The seat of the perfidious aristocracy was destined as a funeral pile for the great liberator; the mob carried the body to the senate-house, and set the building on fire. Thereafter the multitude proceeded to the front of Milo's house and kept it under siege, till his band drove off the assailants by discharges of arrows. They passed on to the house of Pompeius and of his consular candidates, of whom the former was saluted as dictator and the latter as consuls, and thence to the house of the interrex Marcus Lepidus, on whom devolved the conduct of the consular elections. When the latter, as in duty bound, refused to make arrangements for the elections immediately, as the clamorous multitude demanded, he was kept during five days under siege in his dwelling house.
Dictatorship of Pompeius
But the instigators of these scandalous scenes had overacted their part. Certainly their lord and master was resolved to employ this favourable episode in order not merely to set aside Milo, but also to seize the dictatorship; he wished, however, to receive it not from a mob of bludgeon-men, but from the senate. Pompeius brought up troops to put down the anarchy which prevailed in the capital, and which had in reality become intolerable to everybody; at the same time he now enjoined what he had hitherto requested, and the senate complied. It was merely an empty subterfuge, that on the proposal of Cato and Bibulus the proconsul Pompeius, retaining his former offices, was nominated as "consul without colleague" instead of dictator on the 25th of the intercalary month(12) (702)—a subterfuge, which admitted an appellation labouring under a double incongruity(13) for the mere purpose of avoiding one which expressed the simple fact, and which vividly reminds us of the sagacious resolution of the waning patriciate to concede to the plebeians not the consulship, but only the consular power.(14)
Changes of in the Arrangement of Magistracies and the Jury-System
Thus in legal possession of full power, Pompeius set to work and proceeded with energy against the republican party which was powerful in the clubs and the jury-courts. The existing enactments as to elections were repeated and enforced by a special law; and by another against electioneering intrigues, which obtained retrospective force for all offences of this sort committed since 684, the penalties hitherto imposed were augmented. Still more important was the enactment, that the governorships, which were by far the more important and especially by far the more lucrative half of official life, should be conferred on the consuls and praetors not immediately on their retirement from the consulate or praetorship, but only after the expiry of other five years; an arrangement which of course could only come into effect after four years, and therefore made the filling up of the governorships for the next few years substantially dependent on decrees of senate which were to be issued for the regulation of this interval, and thus practically on the person or section ruling the senate at the moment. The jury-commissions were left in existence, but limits were put to the right of counter-plea, and—what was perhaps still more important—the liberty of speech in the courts was done away; for both the number of the advocates and the time of speaking apportioned to each were restricted by fixing a maximum, and the bad habit which had prevailed of adducing, in addition to the witnesses as to facts, witnesses to character or -laudatores-, as they were called, in favour of the accused was prohibited. The obsequious senate further decreed on the suggestion of Pompeius that the country had been placed in peril by the quarrel on the Appian Way; accordingly a special commission was appointed by an exceptional law for all crimes connected with it, the members of which were directly nominated by Pompeius. An attempt was also made to give once more a serious importance to the office of the censors, and by that agency to purge the deeply disordered burgess-body of the worst rabble.
All these measures were adopted under the pressure of the sword. In consequence of the declaration of the senate that the country was in danger, Pompeius called the men capable of service throughout Italy to arms and made them swear allegiance for all contingencies; an adequate and trustworthy corps was temporarily stationed at the Capitol; at every stirring of opposition Pompeius threatened armed intervention, and during the proceedings at the trial respecting the murder of Clodius stationed contrary to all precedent, a guard over the place of trial itself.
Humiliation of the Republicans
The scheme for the revival of the censorship failed, because among the servile majority of the senate no one possessed sufficient moral courage and authority even to become a candidate for such an office. On the other hand Milo was condemned by the jurymen (8 April 702) and Cato's candidature for the consulship of 703was frustrated. The opposition of speeches and pamphlets received through the new judicial ordinance a blow from which it never recovered; the dreaded forensic eloquence was thereby driven from the field of politics, and thenceforth felt the restraints of monarchy. Opposition of course had not disappeared either from the minds of the great majority of the nation or even wholly from public life—to effect that end the popular elections, the jury-courts, and literature must have been not merely restricted, but annihilated. Indeed, in these very transactions themselves, Pompeius by his unskilfulness and perversity helped the republicans to gain even under his dictatorship several triumphs which he severely felt. The special measures, which the rulers took to strengthen their power, were of course officially characterized as enactments made in the interest of public tranquillity and order, and every burgess, who did not desire anarchy, was described as substantially concurring in them. But Pompeius pushed this transparent fiction so far, that instead of putting safe instruments into the special commission for the investigation of the last tumult, he chose the most respectable men of all parties, including even Cato, and applied his influence over the court essentially to maintain order, and to render it impossible for his adherents as well as for his opponents to indulge in the scenes of disturbance customary in the courts of this period. This neutrality of the regent was discernible in the judgments of the special court. The jurymen did not venture to acquit Milo himself; but most of the subordinate persons accused belonging to the party of the republican opposition were acquitted, while condemnation inexorably befell those who in the last riot had taken part for Clodius, or in other words for the regents, including not a few of Caesar's and of Pompeius' own most intimate friends—even Hypsaeus his candidate for the consulship, and the tribunes of the people Plancus and Rufus, who had directed the -emeute- in his interest. That Pompeius did not prevent their condemnation for the sake of appearing impartial, was one specimen of his folly; and a second was, that he withal in matters quite indifferent violated his own laws to favour his friends— appearing for example as a witness to character in the trial of Plancus, and in fact protecting from condemnation several accused persons specially connected with him, such as Metellus Scipio. As usual, he wished here also to accomplish opposite things; in attempting to satisfy the duties at once of the impartial regent and of the party-chief, he fulfilled neither the one nor the other, and was regarded by public opinion with justice as a despotic regent, and by his adherents with equal justice as a leader who either could not or would not protect his followers.
But, although the republicans were still stirring and were even refreshed by an isolated success here and there, chiefly through the blunders of Pompeius, the object which the regents had proposed to themselves in that dictatorship was on the whole attained, the reins were drawn tighter, the republican party was humbled, and the new monarchy was strengthened. The public began to reconcile themselves to the latter. When Pompeius not long after recovered from a serious illness, his restoration was celebrated throughout Italy with the accompanying demonstrations of joy which are usual on such occasions in monarchies. The regents showed themselves satisfied; as early as the 1st of August 702 Pompeius resigned his dictatorship, and shared the consulship with his client Metellus Scipio.