THE plebeians1 and Senate of Rome [in the olden time] were often at strife with each other concerning the enactment of laws, the cancelling of debts, the division of lands, or the election of magistrates. Internal discord did not bring them to blows, however; these were dissensions merely and contests within the law, which they composed by making mutual concessions, and with much respect for
Y.R. 260
each other. Once when the plebeians were going to a war
B.C. 494
they fell into such a controversy, but they did not use the weapons in their hands, but withdrew to the hill, which from this time on was called the Sacred Mount.2 Even then no violence was done, but they created a magistrate for their protection and called him the tribune of the plebs, to serve especially as a check upon the consuls, who were chosen by the Senate, so that the political power should not be exclusively in their hands. Whence arose still greater bitterness, and the magistrates were arrayed in stronger animosity to each other after this event, and the Senate and plebeians took sides with them, each believing that it would prevail over the other by augmenting the power of its own magistrates. In the midst of contests of this kind Marcius Coriolanus, having been banished contrary
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to justice, took refuge with the Volsci and levied war
B.C. 492
against his country.

[2] This is the only case of armed strife that can be found in the ancient seditions, and this was caused by an exile. The sword was never carried into the assembly,

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and there was no civil butchery until Tiberius Gracchus,
B.C. 133
while serving as tribune and bringing forward new laws, was the first to fall a victim to internal commotion; and many others besides, who were assembled with him at the Capitol, were slain around the temple. Sedition did not end with this abominable deed. Repeatedly the parties came into open conflict, often carrying daggers; and occasionally in the temples, or the assemblies, or the forum, some one serving as tribune, or prætor, or consul, or a candidate for those offices, or some person otherwise distinguished, would be slain. Unseemly violence prevailed almost constantly, together with shameful contempt for law and justice. As the evil gained in magnitude open insurrections against the government and large warlike expeditions against the country were undertaken by exiles, or criminals, or persons contending against each other for some office or military command. There were chiefs of factions in different places aspiring to supreme power, some of them refusing to disband the troops intrusted to them by the people, others levying forces against each other on their own account, without public authority. Whichever of them first got possession of the city, the others made war nominally against their adversaries, but actually against their country. They assailed it like a foreign enemy. Ruthless and indiscriminate massacres of citizens were perpetrated. Men were proscribed, others banished, property was confiscated, and some were even subjected to excruciating tortures.
Y.R. 672

[3] No unseemly deed was wanting until, about fifty years after the death of Gracchus, Cornelius Sulla, one of these chiefs of factions, doctoring one evil with another, made himself the absolute master of the state for an indefinite period. Such officials were formerly called dictators -- an office created in the most perilous emergencies for six months only, and long since fallen into disuse. Sulla, although nominally elected, became dictator for life by force and compulsion. Nevertheless he became satiated

B.C. 82
with power and was the first man, so far as I know, holding
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supreme power, who had the courage to lay it down voluntarily
B.C. 79
and to declare that he would render an account of his stewardship to any who were dissatisfied with it. And so, for a considerable period, he walked to the forum as a private citizen in the sight of all and returned home unmolested, so great was the awe of his government still remaining in the minds of the onlookers, or their amazement at his laying it down. Perhaps they were ashamed to call for an accounting, or entertained other good feeling toward him, or a belief that his despotism had been beneficial to the state. Thus there was a cessation of factions for a short time while Sulla lived, and a compensation for the evils which Sulla had wrought.

[4] After his death the troubles broke out afresh and

Y.R. 705
continued until Gaius Cæsar, who had held the command
B.C. 49
in Gaul by election for some years, was ordered by the Senate to lay down his command. He charged that it was not the wish of the Senate, but of Pompey, his enemy, who had command of an army in Italy, and was scheming to depose him. So he sent a proposal that both should retain their armies, so that neither need fear the other's enmity, or that Pompey should dismiss his forces also and live as a private citizen under the laws in like manner with him-self. Both requests being refused, he marched from Gaul against Pompey in the Roman territory, entered it, put him to flight, pursued him into Thessaly, won a brilliant
Y.R. 706
victory over him in a great battle, and followed him to
B.C. 48
Egypt. After Pompey had been slain by the Egyptians Cæsar set to work on the affairs of Egypt and remained there until he had settled the dynasty of that country. Then he returned to Rome. Having overpowered by war his principal rival, who had been surnamed the Great on account of his brilliant military exploits, he now ruled without disguise, nobody daring any longer to dispute him about anything, and was chosen, next after Sulla, dictator for life. Again all civil dissensions ceased until Brutus and Cassius, envious of his great power and desiring to restore the government of their fathers, slew in the Senate this most popular man, who was also the one most experienced in the art
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of government. The people mourned for him greatly.
B.C. 44
They scoured the city in pursuit of his murderers. They buried him in the middle of the forum and built a temple on the place of his funeral pile, and offered sacrifice to him as a god.
Y.R. 711

[5] And now civil discord broke out again worse than

B.C. 43
ever and increased enormously. Massacres, banishments, and proscriptions of both senators and the so-called knights took place straightway, including great numbers of both classes, the chief of factions surrendering their enemies to each other, and for this purpose not sparing even their friends and brothers; so much does animosity toward rivals overpower the love of kindred. So in the course of events the Roman empire was partitioned, as though it had been their private property, by these three men: Antony, Lepidus, and the one who was first called Octavius, but afterward Cæsar from his relationship to the other Cæsar and adoption in his will. Shortly after this division they fell to quarrelling among themselves, as was natural, and Octavius,
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who was the superior in understanding and skill, first
B.C. 36
deprived Lepidus of Africa, which had fallen to his lot, and
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afterward, as the result of the battle of Actium, took from
B.C. 31
Antony all the provinces lying between Syria and the Adriatic gulf. Thereupon, while all the world was filled with astonishment at these wonderful displays of power, he sailed to Egypt and took that country, which was the oldest and at that time the strongest possession of the successors of Alexander, and the only one wanting to complete the Roman empire as it now stands. In consequence of these
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exploits he was at once elevated to the rank of a deity while
B.C. 27
still living, and was the first to be thus distinguished by the Romans, and was called by them Augustus. He assumed to himself an authority like Cæsar's over the country and the subject nations, and even greater than Cæsar's, not needing any form of election, or authorization, or even the pretence of it. His government being strengthened by time and mastery, and himself successful in all things and revered by all, he left a lineage and succession that held the supreme power in like manner after him.

[6] Thus, out of multifarious civil commotions, the Roman state passed into solidarity and monarchy. To show how these things came about I have written and compiled piled this narrative, which is well worth the study of those who wish to know the measureless ambition of men, their dreadful lust of power, their unwearying perseverance, and the countless forms of evil. It is especially necessary for me to describe these things beforehand since they are the preliminaries of my Egyptian history, and end where that begins, for Egypt was seized in consequence of this last civil commotion, Cleopatra having joined forces with Antony. On account of its magnitude I have divided the work, first taking up the events that occurred from the time of Sempronius Gracchus to that of Cornelius Sulla; next, those that followed to the death of Cæsar. The remaining books of the civil wars treat of those waged by the triumvirs against each other and the Roman people, until the end of these conflicts, and the greatest achievement, the battle of Actium, fought by Octavius Cæsar against Antony and Cleopatra together, which will be the beginning of the Egyptian history.

1 δῆμος. The Greek language uses this word for the whole body of free citizens. In Latin the word plebs was used for the commonalty and populus for the whole body of commonalty and aristocracy together. In this translation the word "people" will be used in all cases as the equivalent of δῆμος, except where a distinction between plebs and populus is necessary to a correct understanding of the text.

2 Cf. Livy, ii. 33, 34.

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