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To afford room for this engagement, the goals were removed, and in their space two camps were pitched, directly opposite to each other. Wrestlers likewise performed for three days successively, in a stadium provided for the purpose in the Campus Martius. A lake having been dug in the little Codeta, 1 ships of the Tyrian and Egyptian fleets, containing two, three, and four banks of oars, with a number of men on board, afforded an animated representation of a sea-fight.
To these various diversions there flocked such crowds of spectators from all parts, that most of the strangers were obliged to lodge in tents erected in the streets, or along the roads near the city. Several in the throng were squeezed to death, amongst whom were two senators. Turning afterwards his attention to the regulation of the commonwealth, he corrected the calendar, 2 which had for Edition: current; Page: [ 28 ] some time become extremely confused, through the unwarrantable liberty which the pontiffs had taken in the article of intercalation.
To such a height had this abuse proceeded, that neither the festivals designed for the harvest fell in summer, nor those for the vintage in autumn. He accommodated the year to the course of the sun, ordaining that in future it should consist of three hundred and sixty-five days without any intercalary month; and that every fourth year an intercalary day should be inserted. That the year might thenceforth commence regularly with the calends, or first of January, he inserted two months between November and December; so that the year in which this regulation was made consisted of fifteen months, including the month of intercalation, which, according to the division of time then in use, happened that year.
The choice of magistrates he so divided with the people, that, excepting only the candidates for the consulship, they nominated one half of them, and he the other. I recommend to you — naming likewise the persons , that by the favour of your votes they may attain to the honours for which they sue. The trial of causes he restricted to two orders of judges, the equestrian and senatorial; excluding the tribunes of the treasury who had before made a third class. The revised census of the people he ordered to be taken neither in the usual manner or place, but street by street, by the principal inhabitants of the several quarters of the city: and he reduced the number of those who received corn at the public cost, from three hundred and twenty, to a hundred and fifty, thousand.
He likewise made all those who practised physic in Rome, and all teachers of the liberal arts, free of the city, in order to fix them in it, and induce others to settle there. With respect to debts, he disappointed the expectation which was generally entertained, that they would be totally cancelled; and ordered that the debtors should satisfy their creditors, according to the valuation of their estates, at the rate at which they were purchased before the commencement of the civil war; deducting from the debt what had been paid for interest either in money or by bonds; by virtue of which provision about a fourth part of the debt was lost.
He dissolved all the guilds, except such as were of ancient foundation. Crimes were punished with greater severity: and the rich being more easily induced to commit them because they were only liable to banishment, without the forfeiture of their property, he stripped murderers, as Cicero observes, of their whole estates, and other offenders of one half.
He was extremely assiduous and strict in the administration of justice. He imposed duties on the importation of foreign goods. The use of litters for travelling, purple robes, and jewels, he permitted only to persons of a certain age and station, and on particular days. He enforced a rigid execution of the sumptuary laws; placing officers about the markets, to seize upon all meats exposed to sale contrary to the rules, and bring them to him; sometimes sending his lictors and soldiers to Edition: current; Page: [ 30 ] carry away such victuals as had escaped the notice of the officers, even when they were upon the table.
His thoughts were now fully employed from day to day on a variety of great projects for the embellishment and improvement of the city, as well as for guarding and extending the bounds of the empire. In the first place, he meditated the construction of a temple to Mars, which should exceed in grandeur every thing of that kind in the world. For this purpose, he intended to fill up the lake on which he had entertained the people with the spectacle of a sea-fight.
He also projected a most spacious theatre adjacent to the Tarpeian mount; and also proposed to reduce the civil law to a reasonable compass, and out of that immense and undigested mass of statutes to extract the best and most necessary parts into a few books; to make as large a collection as possible of works in the Greek and Latin languages, for the public use; the province of providing and putting them in proper order being assigned to Marcus Varro. He intended likewise to drain the Pomptine marshes, to cut a channel for the discharge of the waters of the lake Fucinus, to form a road from the Upper Sea through the ridge of the Appenine to the Tiber; to make a cut through the isthmus of Corinth, to reduce the Dacians, who had over-run Pontus and Thrace, within their proper limits, and then to make war upon the Parthians, through the Lesser Armenia, but not to risk a general engagement with them, until he had made some trial of their prowess in war.
But in the midst of all his undertakings and projects, he was carried off by death; before I speak of which, it may not be improper to give an account of his person, dress, and manners, together with what relates to his pursuits, both civil and military. It is said that he was tall, of a fair complexion, round limbed, rather full faced, with eyes black and piercing; and that he enjoyed excellent health, except towards the close of his life, when he was subject to sudden fainting-fits, and disturbance in his sleep.
He was likewise twice seized with the falling sickness while engaged in active service. He was so nice in the care of his person, that he not only kept the hair of his head closely cut and had his face smoothly shaved, but Edition: current; Page: [ 31 ] even caused the hair on other parts of the body to be plucked out by the roots, a practice for which some persons rallied him.
His baldness gave him much uneasiness, having often found himself upon that account exposed to the jibes of his enemies.
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He therefore used to bring forward the hair from the crown of his head; and of all the honours conferred upon him by the senate and people, there was none which he either accepted or used with greater pleasure, than the right of wearing constantly a laurel crown. It is said that he was particular in his dress. For he used the Latus Clavus 1 with fringes about the wrists, and always had it girded about him, but rather loosely.
He first inhabited a small house in the Suburra, 2 but after his advancement to the pontificate, he occupied a palace belonging to the state in the Via Sacra. Many writers say that he liked his residence to be elegant, and his entertainments sumptuous; and that he entirely took down a villa near the grove of Aricia, which he had built from the foundation and finished at a vast expense, because it did not exactly suit his taste, although he had at that time but slender means, and was in debt; and that he carried about in his expeditions tesselated and marble slabs for the floor of his tent.
They likewise report that he invaded Britain in hopes of finding pearls, 3 the size of which he would compare together, and ascertain the weight by poising them in his hand; that he would purchase, at any cost, gems, carved works, statues, and pictures, executed by the eminent masters of antiquity; and that he would give for young and handy slaves a price so extravagant, that he forbad its being entered in the diary of his expenses. We are also told, that in the provinces he constantly maintained two tables, one for the officers of the army, and the gentry of the country, and the other for Romans of the highest rank, and provincials of the first distinction.
He was so very exact in the management of his domestic affairs, both little and great, that he once threw a baker into prison, for serving him with a finer sort of bread than his guests; and put to death a freed-man, who was a particular favourite, for debauching the lady of a Roman knight, although no complaint had been made to him of the affair. The only stain upon his chastity was his having cohabited with Nicomedes; and that indeed stuck to him all the days of his life, and exposed him to much bitter raillery.
I will not dwell upon those well-known verses of Calvus Licinius:. Caius Memmius likewise upbraided him with serving the king at table, among the rest of his catamites, in the presence of a large company, in which were some merchants from Rome, the names of whom he mentions.
It is admitted by all that he was much addicted to women, as well as very expensive in his intrigues with them, and that he debauched many ladies of the highest quality; among whom were Posthumia, the wife of Servius Sulpicius; Lollia, the wife of Aulus Gabinius; Tertulla, the wife of Marcus Crassus; and Mucia, the wife of Cneius Pompey.
That he had intrigues likewise with married women in the provinces, appears from this distich, which was as much repeated in the Gallic triumph as the former:—. It is acknowledged even by his enemies, that in regard to wine, he was abstemious. But his abstinence did not extend to pecuniary advantages, either in his military commands, or civil offices; for we have the testimony of some writers, that he took money from the proconsul, who was his predecessor in Spain, and from the Roman allies in that quarter, for the discharge of his debts; and plundered at the point of the sword some towns of the Lusitanians, notwithstanding they attempted no resistance, and opened their gates to him upon his arrival before them.
In Gaul, he rifled the chapels and temples of the gods, which were filled with rich offerings, and demolished cities oftener for the sake of their spoil, than for any ill they had done. By this means gold became so plentiful with him, that he exchanged it through Italy and the provinces of the empire for three thousand sesterces the pound. He bartered likewise to foreign nations and princes, for gold, the titles of allies and kings; and squeezed out of Ptolemy alone near six thousand talents, in the name of himself and Pompey.
He afterwards supported the expense of the civil wars, and of his triumphs and public spectacles, by the most flagrant rapine and sacrilege. In eloquence and warlike achievements, he equalled at least, if he did not surpass, the greatest of men. After his prosecution of Dolabella, he was indisputably reckoned one of the most distinguished advocates.
Of all the orators, who, during the whole course of their lives, have done nothing else, which can you prefer to him? Which of them is more pointed or terse in his periods, or employs more polished and elegant language? In his delivery he is said to have had a shrill voice, and his action was animated, but not ungraceful.
He has left behind him some speeches, among which are ranked a few that are not genuine, such as that on behalf of Quintus Metellus. These Augustus supposes, with reason, to be rather the production of blundering short-hand writers, who were not able to keep pace with him in the delivery, than publications of his own. He has likewise left Commentaries of his own actions both in the war in Gaul, and in the civil war with Pompey; for the author of the Alexandrian, African, and Spanish wars is not known with any certainty.
Some think they are the production of Oppius, and some of Hirtius; the latter of whom composed the last book, which is imperfect, of the Gallic war. In having thus prepared materials for others who might be inclined to write his history, he may perhaps have encouraged some silly creatures to enter upon such a work, who will needs be dressing up his actions in all the extravagance and Edition: current; Page: [ 37 ] bombast; but he has discouraged wise men from ever attempting the subject.
Yet, with respect to this work, we have more reason to admire him than others; for they only know how well and correctly he has written, but we know, likewise, how easily and quickly he did it. He has left behind him likewise two books on Analogy, with the same number under the title of Anti-Cato, and a poem entitled The Itinerary. Of these books, he composed the first two in his passage over the Alps, as he was returning to the army after making his circuit in Hither-Gaul; the second work about the time of the battle of Munda: and the last during the four-and-twenty days he employed in his journey from Rome to Farther-Spain.
There are extant some letters of his to the senate, written in a manner never practised by any before him; for they are distinguished into pages in the form of a memorandum book: whereas the consuls and commanders till then, used constantly in their letters to continue the line quite across the sheet, without any folding or distinction of pages.www.gtentechnologies.com/wp-includes/2020-01-18/hasi-gay-dating.php
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There are extant likewise some letters from him to Cicero, and others to his friends, concerning his domestic affairs; in which, if there was occasion for secrecy, he wrote in cyphers; that is, he used the alphabet in such a manner, that not a single word could be made out. The way to decipher those epistles was to substitute the fourth for the first letter, as d for a, and so for the other letters respectively.
He was perfect in the use of arms, an accomplished rider, and able to endure fatigue beyond all belief. On a march, he used to go at the head of his troops, sometimes on horseback, but oftener on foot, with his head bare in all kinds of weather. He would travel post in a light carriage 1 without baggage, at the rate of a hundred miles a day; and if he was stopped by floods in the rivers, he swam across, or floated on skins inflated with wind, so that he often anticipated intelligence of his movements.
In his expeditions, it is difficult to say whether his caution or his daring was most conspicuous. He never marched his army by roads which were exposed to ambuscades, without having previously examined the nature of the ground by his scouts. Nor did he cross over to Britain, before he had carefully examined, in person, 3 the navigation, the harbours, and the most convenient point of landing in the island.
He was never deterred from any enterprise, nor retarded in the prosecution of it, by superstition. He not only fought pitched battles, but made sudden attacks when an opportunity offered; often at the end of a march, and sometimes during the most violent storms, when nobody could imagine he would stir. Nor was he ever backward in fighting, until towards the end of his life. He then was of opinion, that the oftener he had been crowned with success, the less he ought to expose himself to new hazards; and that nothing he could gain by a victory would compensate for what he might lose by a miscarriage.
He never defeated the enemy without driving them from their camp; and giving them no time to rally their forces. When the issue of a battle was doubtful, he sent away all the horses, and his own first, that having no means of flight, they might be under the greater necessity of standing their ground. He rode a very remarkable horse, with feet almost like those of a man, the hoofs being divided in such a manner as to have some resemblance to toes.
This horse he had bred himself, and the soothsayers having interpreted these circumstances into an omen that its owner would be master of the world, he brought him up with particular care, and broke him in himself, as the horse would suffer no one else to mount him. He often rallied his troops, when they were giving way, by his personal efforts: stopping those who fled, keeping others in their ranks, and seizing them by their throat turned them towards the enemy; although numbers were so terrified, that an eagle-bearer, 1 thus stopped, made a thrust at him with Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] the spear-head; and another, upon a similar occasion, left the standard in his hand.
The following instances of his resolution are equally, and even more remarkable. After the battle of Pharsalia, having sent his troops before him into Asia, as he was passing the straits of the Hellespont in a ferry-boat, he met with Lucius Cassius, one of the opposite party, with ten ships of war; and so far from endeavouring to escape, he went alongside his ship, and calling upon him to surrender, Cassius humbly gave him his submission.
LXV He never valued a soldier for his moral conduct or his means, but for his courage only; and treated his troops with a mixture of severity and indulgence; for he did not always keep a strict hand over them, but only when the enemy was near. Then indeed he was so strict a disciplinarian, that he would give no notice of a march or a battle until the moment of action, in order that the troops might hold themselves in readiness for any sudden movement; and he would frequently draw them out of the camp without any necessity for it, especially in rainy weather, and upon holy-days.
Sometimes, giving them orders not to lose sight of him, he would suddenly depart by day or by night, and lengthen the marches in order to tire them out, as they followed him at a distance. When at any time his troops were dispirited by reports of the great force of the enemy, he rallied their courage, not by denying the truth of what was said, or by diminishing the facts, but, on the contrary, by exaggerating every particular.
Let none of you, therefore, presume to make further enquiry, or indulge in conjectures, but take my word for what I tell you, which I have from undoubted intelligence; otherwise I shall put them aboard an old crazy vessel, and leave them exposed to the mercy of the winds, to be transported to some other country. He neither noticed all their transgressions, nor punished them according to strict rule. But for deserters and mutineers he made the most diligent enquiry, and their punishment was most severe: other delinquencies he would connive at.
He loved his troops to such a degree, that when he heard of the defeat of those under Titurius, he neither cut his hair nor shaved his beard, until he had revenged it upon the enemy; by which means he engaged their devoted affection, and raised their valour to the highest pitch. Upon his entering on the civil war, the centurions of every legion offered, each of them, to maintain a horseman at his own expense, and the whole army agreed to serve gratis, without either corn or pay; those amongst them who were rich, charging themselves with the maintenance of the poor.
No one of them, during the whole course of the war, deserted to the enemy; and many of those who were made prisoners, though they were offered their lives, upon condition of bearing arms against him, refused to accept the terms. With what bravery they fought, one instance affords sufficient proof; which is, that after an unsuccessful engagement at Dyrrachium, they called for punishment; insomuch that their general found it more necessary to comfort than to punish them.
In other battles, in different quarters, they defeated with ease immense armies of the enemy, although they were much inferior to them in number. In short, one cohort of the sixth legion held out a fort against four legions belonging to Pompey, during several hours; being almost every one of them wounded by the vast number of arrows discharged against them, and of which there were found within the ramparts a hundred and thirty thousand. They never once mutinied during all the ten years of the Gallic war, but were sometimes refractory in the course of the civil war.
However, they always returned quickly to their duty, and that not through the indulgence, but in submission to the authority, of their general; for he never yielded to them when they were insubordinate, but constantly resisted their demands. He disbanded the whole ninth legion with ignominy at Placentia, although Pompey was still in arms, and would Edition: current; Page: [ 43 ] not receive them again into his service, until they had not only made repeated and humble entreaties, but until the ringleaders in the mutiny were punished.
When the soldiers of the tenth legion at Rome demanded their discharge and rewards for their service, with violent threats and no small danger to the city, although the war was then raging in Africa, he did not hesitate, contrary to the advice of his friends, to meet the legion, and disband it. He nevertheless punished the most mutinous among them, with the loss of a third of their share in the plunder, and the land destined for them. In the service of his clients, while yet a young man, he evinced great zeal and fidelity.
He always treated his friends with such kindness and good-nature, that when Caius Oppius, in travelling with him through a forest, was suddenly taken ill, he resigned to him the only place there was to shelter them at night, and lay upon the ground in the open air. The resentment he entertained against any one was never so implacable that he did not very willingly renounce it when opportunity offered. Although Caius Memmius had published some extremely virulent speeches against him, and he had answered him with equal acrimony, yet he afterwards assisted him with his vote and interest, when he stood candidate for the consulship.
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Calvus, after publishing some scandalous epigrams upon him, endeavoured to effect a reconciliation by the intercession of friends, he wrote to him, of his own accord, the first letter. And when Valerius Catullus, who had, as he himself observed, fixed such a stain upon his character in his verses upon Mamurra as never could be obliterated, he begged his pardon, invited him to supper the same day; and continued to take up his lodging with his father occasionally, as he had been accustomed to do.
His temper was also naturally averse to severity in retaliation. After he had captured the pirates, by whom he had been taken, having sworn that he would crucify them, he did so indeed; but he first ordered their throats to be cut. Philemon, his amanuensis, who had promised his enemies to poison him, he put to death without torture. And being asked why then he had divorced his wife? Both in his administration and his conduct towards the vanquished party in the civil war, he showed a wonderful moderation and clemency. And finally, a little before his death, he permitted all whom he had not before pardoned, to return into Italy, and to bear offices both civil and military.
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He even replaced the statues of Sylla and Pompey, which had been thrown down by the populace. And after this, whatever was devised or uttered, he chose rather to check than to punish it. Accordingly, having detected certain conspiracies and nocturnal assemblies, he went no farther than to intimate by a proclamation that he knew of them; and as to those who indulged themselves in the liberty of reflecting severely upon him, he only warned them in a public speech not to persist in their offence.
His other words and actions, however, so far outweigh all his good qualities, that it is thought he abused his power, and was justly cut off. For he not only obtained excessive honours, such as the consulship every year, the dictatorship for life, and the censorship, but also the title of emperor, 1 Edition: current; Page: [ 46 ] and the surname of Father of his country, 2 besides having his statue amongst the kings, 3 and a lofty couch in the theatre.
He even suffered some honours to be decreed to him, which were unbefitting the most exalted of mankind; such as a gilded chair of state in the senate-house and on his tribunal, a consecrated chariot, and banners in the Circensian procession, temples, altars, statues among the gods, a bed of state in the temples, a priest, and a college of priests dedicated to himself, like those of Pan; and that one of the months should be called by his name. There were, indeed, no honours which he did not either assume himself, or grant to others, at his will and pleasure.
The office of consul having become vacant, by the sudden death of one of the consuls the day before the calends of January [the 1st Jan. Assuming the same licence, and regardless of the customs of his country, he appointed magistrates to hold their offices for terms of years. He admitted into the senate some men who had been made free of the city, and even natives of Gaul, who were semi-barbarians. Edition: current; Page: [ 47 ] He likewise appointed to the management of the mint, and the public revenue of the state, some servants of his own household; and entrusted the command of three legions, which he left at Alexandria, to an old catamite of his, the son of his freed-man Rufinus.
Sylla was an ignorant fellow to abdicate the dictatorship. Men ought to consider what is becoming when they talk with me, and look upon what I say as a law. But what brought upon him the greatest odium, and was thought an unpardonable insult, was his receiving the whole body of the conscript fathers sitting, before the temple of Venus Genitrix, when they waited upon him with a number of decrees, conferring on him the highest dignities.
Some say that, on his attempting to rise, he was held down by Cornelius Balbus; others, that he did not attempt to rise at all, but frowned on Caius Trebatius, who suggested to him that he should stand up to receive the senate. To this extraordinary mark of contempt for the senate, he added another affront still more outrageous. A report was very current, that he had a design of withdrawing to Alexandria or Ilium, whither he proposed to transfer the imperial power, to drain Italy by new levies, and to leave the government of the city to be administered by his friends.
For this reason the conspirators precipitated the execution of their design, 4 that they might not be obliged to give their assent to the proposal. Instead, therefore, of caballing any longer separately, in small parties, they now united their counsels; the people themselves being dissatisfied with the present state of affairs, both privately and publicly Edition: current; Page: [ 49 ] condemning the tyranny under which they lived, and calling on patriots to assert their cause against the usurper.
About sixty persons were engaged in the conspiracy against him, of whom Caius Cassius, and Marcus and Decimus Brutus were the chief. It was at first debated amongst them, whether they should attack him in the Campus Martius when he was taking the votes of the tribes, and some of them should throw him off the bridge, whilst others should be ready to stab him upon his fall; or else in the Via Sacra, or at the entrance of the theatre. But after public notice had been given by proclamation for the senate to assemble upon the ides of March [15th March], in the senate-house built by Pompey, they approved both of the time and place, as most fitting for their purpose.
A few days likewise before his death, he was informed that the horses, which, upon his crossing the Rubicon, he had consecrated, and turned loose to graze without a keeper, abstained entirely from eating, and shed floods of tears. The soothsayer Spurinna, observing certain ominous appearances in a sacrifice which he was offering, advised him to beware of some danger, which threatened to befall him before the ides of March were past.
Also, in the night on which the day of his murder dawned, he dreamt at one time that he was soaring above the clouds, and, at another, that he had joined hands with Jupiter. His wife Calpurnia fancied in her sleep that the pediment of the house was falling down, and her husband stabbed on her bosom; immediately upon which the chamber doors flew open. On account of these omens, as well as his infirm health, he was in some doubt whether he should not remain at home, and defer to some other opportunity the business which he intended to propose to the senate; but Decimus Brutus advising him not to disappoint the senators, who were numerously assembled, and waited his coming, he was prevailed upon to go, and accordingly Edition: current; Page: [ 51 ] set forward about the fifth hour.
In his way, some person having thrust into his hand a paper, warning him against the plot, he mixed it with some other documents which he held in his left hand, intending to read it at leisure. Victim after victim was slain, without any favourable appearances in the entrails; but still, disregarding all omens, he entered the senate-house, laughing at Spurinna as a false prophet, because the ides of March were come, without any mischief having befallen him.
Finding himself now attacked on all hands with naked poniards, he wrapped the toga 2 about his head, and at the same moment drew the skirt round his legs with his left hand, that he might fall more decently with the lower part of his body covered. Thou, my son! Among so many wounds, there was none that was mortal, in the opinion of the surgeon Antistius, except the second, which he received in the breast. He had made it on the ides [13th] of the preceding September, at his Lavican villa, and committed it to the custody of the chief of the Vestal Virgins. Quintus Tubero informs us, that in all the wills he had signed, from the time of his first consulship to the breaking out of the civil war, Cneius Pompey was appointed his heir, and that this had been publicly notified to the army.
But in his last will, he named three heirs, the grandsons of his sisters; namely, Caius Octavius for three fourths of his estate, and Lucius Pinarius and Quintus Pedius for the remaining fourth. Other heirs [in remainder] were named at the close of the will, in which he also adopted Caius Octavius, who was to assume his name, into his family; and nominated most of those who were concerned in his death among the guardians of his son, if he should have any; as well as Decimus Brutus Edition: current; Page: [ 53 ] amongst his heirs of the second order.
He bequeathed to the Roman people his gardens near the Tiber, and three hundred sesterces each man. Notice of his funeral having been solemnly proclaimed, a pile was erected in the Campus Martius, near the tomb of his daughter Julia; and before the Rostra was placed a gilded tabernacle, on the model of the temple of Venus Gonitrix; 1 within which was an ivory bed, covered with purple and cloth of gold. At the head was a trophy, with the [blood-stained] robe in which he was slain. It being considered that the whole day would not suffice for carrying the funeral oblations in solemn procession before the corpse, directions were given for every one, without regard to order, to carry them from the city into the Campus Martius, by what way they pleased.
Instead of a funeral panegyric, the consul Antony ordered a herald to proclaim to the people the decree of the senate, in which they had bestowed upon him all honours, divine and human; with the oath by which they had engaged themselves for the defence of his person; and to these he added only a few words of his own.
The magistrates and others who had formerly filled the highest offices, carried the bier from the Rostra into the Forum. The throng around immediately heaped upon it dry faggots, the tribunals and benches of the adjoining courts, and whatever else came to hand Then the musicians and players stripped off the dresses they wore on the present occasion, taken from the wardrobe of his triumph at spectacles, rent them, and threw them into the flames. The legionaries, also, of his Edition: current; Page: [ 54 ] veteran bands, cast in their armour, which they had put on in honour of his funeral.
In this public mourning there joined a multitude of foreigners, expressing their sorrow according to the fashion of their respective countries; but especially the Jews, 2 who for several nights together frequented the spot where the body was burnt.
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The populace ran from the funeral, with torches in their hands, to the houses of Brutus and Cassius, and were repelled with difficulty. They afterwards erected in the Forum a column of Numidian marble, formed of one stone nearly twenty feet high, and inscribed upon it these words, To the Father of his Country. Others are of opinion, that thinking himself secure in the late decree of the senate, and their oaths, he dismissed his Spanish guards who attended him with drawn swords.
Others again suppose, that he chose rather to face at once the dangers which threatened him on all sides, than to be for ever on the watch against them. Some tell us that he used to say, the commonwealth was more interested in the safety of his person than himself: for that he had for some time been satiated with power and glory; but that the commonwealth, if any thing should befall him, would have no rest, and, involved in another civil war, would be in a worse state than before. This, however, was generally admitted, that his death was in many respects such as he would have chosen.
And the day before he died, the conversation at supper, in the house of Marcus Lepidus, turning upon what was the most eligible way of dying, he gave his opinion in favour of a death that is sudden and unexpected. He died in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and was ranked amongst the Gods, not only by a formal decree, but in the belief of the vulgar. The senate-house in which he was slain, was ordered to be shut up, 1 and a decree made that the ides of March should be called parricidal, and the senate should never more assemble on that day.
Scarcely any of those who were accessary to his murder, survived him more than three years, or died a natural death. So sudden a transition from prosperity to the ruin of public freedom, without the intervention of any foreign enemy, excites a reasonable conjecture, that the constitution in which it could take place, however vigorous in appearance, must have lost that soundness of political health which had enabled it to endure through so many ages.
A short view of its preceding state, and of that in which it was at the time of the revolution now mentioned, will best ascertain the foundation of such a conjecture.
Though the Romans, upon the expulsion of Tarquin, made an essential change in the political form of the state, they did not carry their detestation of regal authority so far as to abolish the religious institutions of Numa Pompilius, the second of their kings, according to which, the priesthood, with all the influence annexed to that order, was placed in the hands of the aristocracy. By this wise policy a restraint was put upon the fickleness and violence of the people in matters of government, and a decided superiority given to the Senate both in the deliberative and executive parts of administration.
This advantage was afterwards indeed diminished by the creation of Tribunes of the people; a set of men whose ambition often embroiled the Republic in civil dissensions, and who at last abused their authority to such a degree, that they became instruments of aggrandizement to any leading men in the state who could purchase their friendship.
In general, however, the majority of the Tribunes being actuated by views which comprehended the interests of the multitude, rather than those of individuals, they did not so much endanger the liberty, as they interrupted the tranquillity, of the public; and when the occasional commotions subsided, there remained no permanent ground for the establishment of personal usurpation.
In every government, an object of the last importance to the peace and welfare of society is the morals of the people; and in proportion as a community is enlarged by propagation, or the accession of a multitude of new members, a more strict attention is requisite to guard against that dissolution of manners to which a crowded and extensive capital has a natural tendency. Of this Edition: current; Page: [ 57 ] the Romans became sensible in the growing state of the Republic.
In the year of the City , two magistrates were first created for taking an account of the number of the people, and the value of their estates; and soon after, they were invested with the authority not only of inspecting the morals of individuals, but of inflicting public censure for any licentiousness of conduct, or violation of decency. Thus both the civil and religious institutions concurred to restrain the people within the bounds of good order and obedience to the laws: at the same time that the frugal life of the ancient Romans proved a strong security against those vices which operate most effectually towards sapping the foundations of a state.
The veneration for the constitution, usually a powerful check to treasonable designs, had been lately violated by the usurpations of Marius and Sylla. The salutary terrors of religion no longer predominated over the consciences of men. The shame of public censure was extinguished in general depravity. An eminent historian, who lived at that time, informs us, that venality universally prevailed amongst the Romans; and a writer who flourished soon after, observes, that luxury and dissipation had encumbered almost all so much with debt, that they beheld with a degree of complacency the prospect of civil war and confusion.
The extreme degree of profligacy at which the Romans were now arrived is in nothing more evident, than that this age gave birth to the most horrible conspiracy which occurs in the annals of human kind, viz. The causes which prompted to this tremendous project, it is generally admitted, were luxury, prodigality, irreligion, a total corruption of manners, and above all, as the immediate cause, the pressing necessity in which the conspirators were involved by their extreme dissipation.
But during nine years in which he held that province, he acquired such riches as must have rendered him, without competition, the most opulent person in the state. If nothing more, therefore, than a Edition: current; Page: [ 58 ] splendid establishment had been the object of his pursuit, he had attained to the summit of his wishes. But when we find him persevering in a plan of aggrandizement beyond this period of his fortunes, we can ascribe his conduct to no other motive than that of outrageous ambition. He projected the building of a new Forum at Rome, for the ground only of which he was to pay , pounds; he raised legions in Gaul at his own charges: he promised such entertainments to the people as had never been known at Rome from the foundation of the city.
All these circumstances evince some latent design of procuring such a popularity as might give him an uncontrolled influence in the management of public affairs. Yet, that there was reason for such an apprehension, the positive declaration of L. The proposed impeachment was founded upon a notorious charge of prosecuting measures destructive of the interests of the commonwealth, and tending ultimately to an object incompatible with public freedom.
For it is said, that he purchased the friendship of Curio, at the commencement of the civil war, with a bribe little short of half a million sterling. He was now no longer amenable either to the tribunal of the Senate or the power of the laws, but triumphed at once over his enemies and the constitution of his country. Of his private life either before or after this period, little is transmitted in history. Henceforth, however, he seems to have lived chiefly at Rome, near which he had a small villa, upon an eminence, commanding a beautiful prospect.
His time was almost entirely occupied with public affairs, in the management of which, though he employed many agents, he appears to have had none in the character of actual minister. He was in general easy of access: but Cicero, in a letter to a friend, complains of having been treated with the indignity of waiting a considerable time amongst a crowd in an anti-chamber, before he could have an audience.
He returned the visits of those who waited upon him, and would sup at their houses. At table, and in the use of wine, he was habitually temperate. Upon the whole, he added nothing to his own happiness by all the dangers, the fatigues, and the perpetual anxiety which he had incurred in the pursuit of unlimited power. His health was greatly impaired: his former cheerfulness of temper, though not his magnanimity, appears to have forsaken him; and we behold in his fate a memorable example of illustrious talents rendered, by inordinate ambition, destructive to himself, and irretrievably pernicious to his country.
From beholding the ruin of the Roman Republic, after intestine divisions, and the distractions of civil war, it will afford some relief to take a view of the progress of literature, which flourished even during those calamities. The commencement of literature in Rome is to be dated from the reduction of the Grecian States, when the conquerors imported into their own country the valuable productions of the Greek language, and the first essay of Roman genius was in dramatic composition. His style, like that of Andronicus, was rough and unpolished, in conformity to the language of those times; but for grandeur of sentiment and energy of expression, he was admired by the greatest poets in the subsequent ages.
Accius and Pacuvius are mentioned by Quintilian as writers of extraordinary merit. Of twenty-five comedies written by Plautus, the number transmitted to posterity is nineteen; and of a hundred and eight which Terence is said to have translated from Menander, there now remain only six. Excepting a few inconsiderable fragments, the writings of all the other authors have perished. The early period of Roman literature was distinguished for the introduction of satire by Lucilius, an author celebrated for writing with remarkable ease, but whose compositions, in the opinion of Horace, though Quintilian thinks otherwise, were debased with a mixture of feculency.
Whatever may have been their merit, they also have perished, with the works of a number of orators, who adorned the advancing state of letters in the Roman Republic. It is observable, that during this whole period, of near two centuries and a half, there appeared not one historian of eminence sufficient to preserve his name from oblivion. His commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars are written with a purity, precision, and perspicuity, which command approbation.
They are elegant without affectation, and beautiful without ornament. Of the two books which he composed on Analogy, and those under the title of Anti Cato, scarcely any fragment is preserved; but we may be assured of the justness of the observations on language, which were made by an author so much distinguished by the excellence of his own compositions. His poem entitled The Journey, which was probably an entertaining narrative, is likewise totally lost. The most illustrious prose writer of this or any other age is M.
Tullius Cicero; and as his life is copiously related in biographical works, it will be sufficient to mention his writings. He also published a poem of the heroic kind, in honour of his countryman C. Marius, who was born at Arpinum, the birth-place of Cicero. From a little specimen which remains of it, describing a memorable omen given to Marius from an oak at Arpinum, there is reason to believe that his poetical genius was scarcely inferior to his oratorical, had it been cultivated with equal industry.
He composed in the Greek language, and in the style and manner of Isocrates, a Commentary or Memoirs of the Transactions of his Consulship. This he sent to Atticus, with a desire, if he approved it, to publish it in Athens and the cities of Greece. He sent a copy of it likewise to Posidonius of Rhodes, and requested of him to undertake the same subject in a more elegant and masterly manner.
But the latter returned for answer, that, instead of being encouraged to write by the perusal of his tract, he was quite deterred from attempting it. Upon the plan of those Memoirs, he afterwards composed a Latin poem in three books, in which he carried down the history to the end of his exile, but did not publish it for several years, from motives of delicacy.
The three books were severally inscribed to the three Muses; but of this work there now remain only a few fragments, scattered in different parts of his other writings. He published, about the same time, a collection of the principal speeches which he had made in his consulship, under the title of his Consular Orations. They consisted originally of twelve; but four are entirely lost, and some of the rest are imperfect.
He now published also, in Latin verse, a translation of the Prognostics of Aratus, of which work no more than two or three small fragments now remain. A few years after, he put the last hand to his Dialogues upon the Character and Idea of the perfect Orator. This admirable work remains entire; a monument both of the astonishing industry and transcendent abilities of its author.
He calls it a great and a laborious work, yet worthy of his pains, if he could succeed in it. It was comprised in six books, and survived him for several ages, though it is now unfortunately lost. From the fragments which remain, it appears to have been a masterly production, in which all the important questions in politics and morality were discussed with elegance and accuracy.
Amidst all the anxiety for the interests of the Republic, which occupied the thoughts of this celebrated personage, he yet found leisure to write several philosophical tracts, which still subsist, to the gratification of the literary world. In elucidating this important subject, he not only delivers the opinions of all the philosophers who had written anything concerning it, but weighs and compares attentively all the arguments with each other; forming upon the whole such a rational and perfect system of natural religion, as never before was presented to the consideration of mankind, and approaching nearly to revelation.
He now likewise composed in two books, a discourse on Divination, in which he discusses at large all the arguments that may be advanced for and against the actual existence of such a species of knowledge. This book, considered merely as an essay, is one of the most entertaining productions of ancient times; but, beheld as a picture drawn from life, exhibiting the real characters and sentiments of men of the first distinction for virtue and wisdom in the Roman Republic, it becomes doubly interesting to every reader of observation and taste.
He was employing himself also on a history of his own times, or rather of his own conduct; full of free and severe reflections on those who had abused their power to the oppression of the Republic. Dion Cassius says, that he delivered this book sealed up to his son, with strict orders not to read or publish it till after his death; but from this time he never saw his son, and it is probable that he left the work unfinished.
Afterwards, however, some copies of it were circulated; from which his commentator, Asconius, has quoted several particulars. During a voyage which he undertook to Sicily, he wrote his treatise on Topics, or the Art of finding Arguments on any Question.
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The last Edition: current; Page: [ 63 ] work composed by Cicero appears to have been his Offices, written for the use of his son, to whom it is addressed.