Immediately after his praetorship Caesar received Spain as his province, and since he found it hard to arrange matters with his creditors, who obstructed his departure and were clamorous, he had recourse to Crassus, the richest of the Romans, who had need of Caesar's vigour and fire for his political campaign against Pompey. And it was only after Crassus had met the demands of the most importunate and inexorable of these creditors and given surety for eight hundred and thirty talents, that Caesar could go out to his province.1
We are told that, as he was crossing the Alps and passing by a barbarian village which had very few inhabitants and was a sorry sight, his companions asked with mirth and laughter,
‘Can it be that here too there are ambitious strifes for office, struggles for primacy, and mutual jealousies of powerful men?’ Whereupon Caesar said to them in all seriousness,
‘I would rather be first here than second at Rome’
In like manner we are told again that, in Spain, when he was at leisure and was reading from the history of Alexander, he was lost in thought for a long time, and then burst into tears. His friends were astonished, and asked the reason for his tears.
‘Do you not think,’ said he,
‘it is matter for sorrow that while Alexander, at my age, was already king of so many peoples, I have as yet achieved no brilliant success?’