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 The day before the meeting of the Senate Cæsar went to sup with Lepidus, his master of horse, taking Decimus Brutus Albinus with him to the drinking-bout.1 While they were in their cups the conversation turned on the question, "What is the best kind of death for a man?" Various opinions were given, but Cæsar alone expressed the preference for a sudden death. In this way he foretold his own end, and conversed about what was to happen on the morrow. After the banquet a certain bodily faintness came over him in the night, and his wife, Calpurnia, had a dream, in which she saw him streaming with blood, for which reason she tried to prevent him from going out in the morning. When he offered sacrifice there were many unfavorable signs. He was about to send Antony to dismiss the Senate when Decimus, who was with him, persuaded him, in order not to incur the charge of disregard for the Senate, to go there and dismiss it himself. Accordingly he was borne thither in a litter. Games were going on in Pompey's theatre, and the Senate was about to assemble in one of the adjoining buildings, as was the custom when the games were taking place.2 Brutus and Cassius were early at the portico in front of the theatre, very calmly engaging in public business as prætors with those seeking their services. When they heard of the bad omens at Cæsar's house and that the Senate was to be dismissed, they were greatly disconcerted. While they were in this state of mind a certain person took Casca by the hand and said, "You kept the secret from me, although I am your friend, but Brutus has told me all." Casca was suddenly conscience-stricken and shuddered, but his friend, smiling, continued, "Where shall you get the money to stand for the ædileship?" Then Casca recovered himself. While Brutus and Cassius were conferring and talking together, Popillius Læna, one of the senators, drew them aside and said that he joined them in his prayers3 for what they had in mind, and he urged them to make haste. They were confounded, but remained silent from terror.
2 It was customary for the magistrate who called the meeting of the Senate to designate at the same time the place of meeting. Plutarch says that the place where this meeting was held was a building erected by Pompey as an addition to and ornament of his theatre, and that it contained his own statue. This singular fact proves to Plutarch that Cæsar was led to this place by divine interposition.
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