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leaving the court of Nicomedes in Bithynia, where he had remained longer than was consistent with his good fame. The caution and boldness of his character now began to be developed. He refused to become a partizan with Lepidus, knowing him to be too rash a leader of the city factions. But he hesitated not to bring an accusation in the Forum against Dolabella, a man of consular rank, and who had obtained a triumph. He charged him with corruption in his office while he held the province of Macedonia. Cæsar endeavoured to make good his cause, by the evidence of witnesses whom he had brought from Greece, and gained much reputation as an orator on this occasion. But his accusation failed, owing to the superior and more practised eloquence of Hortensius and Cotta, the advocates of Dolabella.
7. To escape the odium of this failure, the young orator resolved to take refuge at Rhodes, and especially because this place was the residence of Apollonius, then famous as a teacher of rhetoric. On his voyage he was captured by pirates, and remained a prisoner with them for five weeks, till the sum necessary for his ransom could be procured from the cities of Asia. The place of his detention was the Isle of Pharmacusa, now called Parmosa, opposite Miletus, or Malta. This captivity he bore with much vexation, his only attendants being a physician and two servants. When the pirates demanded twenty talents for his ransom, he laughingly told them they had not asked enough, and did not know who he was, promising to pay them fifty. All the time that he remained with them, he acted rather as their master than their captive, ordering them to keep silence whenever they disturbed his sleep, and calling them fools and barbarians at other times, when they showed no signs of admiration at his poems or speeches, which he read to them. But he joined in their sports with readiness—only threatening them, when they became too familiar, that he should crucify them. The barbarians mistook, it seems, his threat for a joke, and for a proof of his being at ease among them. No sooner, however, had he regained his liberty, than he proceeded to put his threat into execution. Gathering together what vessels he could, at Miletus, he attacked the pirates while they lay at anchor, took them all prisoners, and inflicted upon them the cruel punishment with which he had jocosely threatened them during his detention.
8. Cæsar then returned to Rhodes, and so studiously did he apply himself to the arts of rhetoric, during his sojourn there, that, on his return to Rome, it contributed greatly to make him a favourite with the multitude. He neglected no means of ingratiating himself with the inferior classes of the people, as he hoped by their assistance, to subdue the opposition which he met with from the aristocracy of Rome, who were already jealous of his pretensions. He endeavoured thus to turn his talents of persuasion to good account, by promoting the cause of the tribunes, and obtaining for them the restoration of those powers of which they had been deprived in the time of Sylla. He also frequently pleaded in the Forum ; and, by the suavity and softness of his manners, subdued the prejudices of some of his superiors. The citizens he took care to gratify by the sight of his splendid equipage, but still more by the hospitality of his house and his table. His enemies flattered themselves that his prodigality would prove his ruin; and he had, by the prosecution of his various schemes to obtain popularity and influence, involved himself in debts to so great an amount, that, before he came into any public office, he owed his creditors, if we may believe the authority of Plutarch, a thousand and three hundred talents, or above 500,0001. of our present money. Before he was consul (if another of the ancient historians is to be credited), he owed about four times as much. Crassus at this time became his surety for about a fifth part of his debts. These facts are sufficient proofs not only of the prodigality of our hero, but of the large expectations which Crassus himself, and the rest of his creditors, must have entertained of his future greatness, as well as of the confidence, almost unbounded, which they must have placed in his abilities and merits.
9. When he entered upon his quæstorship, he may be said to have fairly commenced his official career. This was in his thirtieth year. He now took an opportunity which was afforded him by his office, of exalting his family and pretensions in the eyes of the public. Having lost his wife Cornelia, the daughter of Cinna, and his aunt Julia, he determined to pronounce, according to custom, funeral orations for them in the Rostra. Among the praises of the
latter, he artfully, and pompously contrived, thus to set forth his own genealogy ;-—“My aunt Julia,” said he, “ derived her descent by her mother from a race of kings, and by her father from the immortal gods; for the Marcii, from which she was descended, deduce their pedigree from Ancus Martius; and the Julii, which is that of her father, from the goddess Venus. We therefore unite in our descent, the sacred majesty of kings, the greatest among human kind, and the divine majesty of the gods to whom kings are subject.”
10. In the room of Cornelia, by whom he had a daughter, named Julia, who become the wife of Pompey, he espoused the daughter of Q. Pompeius, and grand-daughter of L. Sylla ; but this lady he afterwards divorced, upon suspicion of her having had an intrigue with Publius Clodius. The daughter of L. Piso Calphurnia, was his next wife. By the aid of these marriages, at different times, he strengthened his alliance with the most powerful persons in the Roman state.
11. His rising ambition visibly betrayed itself in a remarkable mamicr, while he was discharging the duties of his quæstorship in Spain (B.C. 66). As he was going the circuit of the country administering justice, he arrived at Gades, and seeing in the temple of Hercules a statue of Alexander the Great, lie fetched a deep sigh, and dis covered much vexation at the thought, that he himself had performed so little, at an age when Alexander had conquered the world. He therefore resolved to request his discharge, with the view of embracing the first occasion that might present itself, of doing something in the city, which might promote his views. For this purpose, he quitted the province before the usual term of service in his office had expired, and returned to Rome.
12. Among other schemes, which about this time tended to further his popularity, was
he adopted during thic period of his ædileship (B.C. 05). He spared no expense to render the games and amusements of the people as gratifying and splendid as possible". In the
* The fondness of the Roman people for sights of this kind, may be judged of by the following facts: Pompey, in his second consulship (2.0. 57), exhibited 500 lions, which were all dispatched in five days; also 18 elephants. Cæsar, after the conclusion of the civil wars, not only
sports which he exhibited on this occasion, he not only provided the usual displays of wild beasts hunted in the circus, but he made the whole furniture of the theatre of solid silver, so that the animals of the forest were now, for the first time, seen treading on that metal.
Cæsar not only showed his magnificence in this way, but contrived a spectacle that was still more likely to raise an enthusiasm in his favour. The statues of Marius, and the trophies and standards which that general had gained in his wars with Jugurtha and the Cimbri, had been treated with dishonour by Sylla. During the darkness of night, Cæsar caused these to be placed in the Capitol; and when morning came, the people were astonished and deliglited, at beholding again these beautiful monuments of their past glory, brought to light, and glittering with gold. To no purpose did his enemies exclaim, that in this work Cæsar was preparing his road to tyranny, by acting in opposition to a formal decree of the senate. The loud shouts of the populace silenced all such murmurs, and testified their applause of a man, whom they thus declared worthy to be a leader of the party of Marius.
13. Shortly after this (B.C. 63), the conspiracy of Catiline was discovered and exposed by Cicero, who in his office as consul, and in his four celebrated orations on the subject, unmasked the traitor and his accomplices. The design of this conspiracy was to extirpate the senate, to plunder the treasury, and to set Rome on fire. Many of the greatest persons in the city were suspected to be privately engaged in it, and, among others, there were strong suspicions of Crassus and of Cæsar. The latter made a speech in favour of sparing the lives of some of those against whom a sentence of death had been voted. Among other sophistries, he used this argument, that to the wretched, death was no punishment, but that it put an end to all human miseries*,-a sentiment betraying that total unbelief of a state of future punishment, which there is reason to think was secretly cherished by all the leading men of this age, notwithstanding their outward profession of a contrary faith, in the religion of their country.
gratified the people by all the usual performances of the circus, upon a very grand scale, but caused the hunting of wild beasts to be kept up successively for five days, and at last a battle was fought by 500 foot soldiers, 20 elephants, and 30 horse on each side. An artificial lake was also constructed, in which the Tyrian and Egyptian fleets, consisting of ships of two, three, and four banks of oars, with a number of men on board, afforded an animated representation of a sea-fight.
Cæsar's speech on this occasion, and his well-known designs, might justly have thrown some suspicion on his conduct; but he indignantly denied the accusation which certain witnesses brought against him, and appealed to Cicero, alleging that he had himself given information to the consul, as to many particulars of the conspiracy. So strong, however, was the feeling against him, on the part of some of the Roman knights, that they guarded all the avenues of the senate house, and he had some difficulty in escaping their swords. He gave up his opposition to the votes of the senate on this point, but did not venture to show himself again in the senate house, until he entered upon
his prætorship with the new year (B.C. 62).
14. From this period, however, Cæsar's course became more favourable to the advancement of his fortunes. His office as prætor enabled him with effect to punish Vettius and Curius, his chief accusers; and at the end of his prætorship, he received by allotment his proconsular province of Spain. Here he gained fame by his military and political actions. During his journey thither, it is related that he declared to some of his companions, “ that he would rather be the first man in a cottage of the Alps, than the second at Rome." But the day of bis obtaining this distinction, was not far distant. He conquered the barbarians in Lusitania by his arms, and civilized them by his laws; and having subdued the whole country as far as the been saluted by his victorious soldiers as Imperator or general, he made haste to Rome at the end of his year, resolving to scek, at the same time, for the honour of a triumph and a consulship. According to the usual forms, he could not obtain the former if he had first entered the city, nor the latter while he was without; and as the senate, led by Cato, resisted any change, he determined to forego his
" In luctu atqne miseriis mortem ærumnarum requiem, non cruciatum esse; cam cuncta mortalium mala dissolvere : ultra neque curæ, neque gaudio locum esse."-SALLUST.