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[109] When Cæsar perceived this he repented, and, reflecting that this was the first severe and arbitrary act that he had done without military authority and in time of peace, it is said that he ordered his friends to protect him, since he had given his enemies the handle they were seeking against him. But when they asked him if he would bring together again his Spanish cohorts as a body-guard, he said, "There is nothing more unlucky than perpetual watching; that is the part of one who is always afraid." Nor were the attempts to claim royal honors for him brought to an end even thus, for, while he was in the forum looking at the games of the Lupercal, seated on his golden chair before the rostra, Antony, his colleague in the consulship, who was running naked and anointed, as was the priests' custom at that festival,1 sprang upon the rostra and put a diadem on his head. At this sight some few clapped their hands, but the greater number groaned, and Cæsar threw off the diadem. Antony again put it on him and again Cæsar threw it off. While they were thus contending the people remained silent, being in suspense to see how it would end. When they saw that Cæsar prevailed they shouted for joy, and at the same time applauded him because he did not accept it.2

1 At the Lupercalia the priests of Pan (Luperci) ran through the city naked, except for a goatskin tied about the loins, bearing a strap cut from the hide of the sacrificial goat, with which they slapped married women who placed themselves in the way. This was supposed to be a cure for barrenness.

2 Suetonius, Velleius, Plutarch, and Cicero in his second Philippic mention this affair. Plutarch says that Antony offered the diadem to Cæsar three times. Suetonius says several times. Velleius says that "he put it away, but in such a manner that he did not seem offended." The words that Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Casca in the play of Julius Cœsar (Act 1, Sc. 2), were evidently taken from Plutarch and Velleius.

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