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For, only a few days before he entered upon the edileship, he incurred a suspicion of having engaged in a conspiracy with Marcus Crassus, a man of consular rank; to whom were joined Publius Sylla and Lucius Autronius, who, after they had been chosen consuls, were convicted of bribery. The plan of the conspirators was to fall upon the senate at the opening of the new year, and murder as many of them as should be thought necessary; upon which, Crassus was to assume the office of dictator, and appoint Caesar his master of the horse.1 When the commonwealth had been thus ordered according to their pleasure, the consulship was to have been restored to Sylla and Autronius. Mention is made of this plot by Tanusius Geminus2 in his history, by Marcus Bibulus in his edicts, 3 and by Curio, the father, in his orations. 4 Cicero likewise seems to hint at this in a letter to Axius, where he says, that Caesar had in his consulship secured to himself that arbitrary power 5 to which he had aspired when he was edile. Tanusius adds, that Crassus, from remorse or fear, did not appear upon the day appointed for the massacre of the senate; for which reason Caesar omitted to give the signal, which, according to the plan concerted between them, he was to have made. The agreement, Curio says, was that he should shake off the toga from his shoulder. We have the authority of the same Curio, and of M. Actorius Naso, for his having been likewise concerned in another conspiracy with young Cneius Piso; to whom, upon a suspicion of some mischief being meditated in the city, the province of Spain was decreed out of the regular course.6 It is said to have been agreed between them, that Piso should head a revolt in the provinces, whilst the other should attempt to stir up an insurrection at Rome, using as their instruments the Lambrani, and the tribes beyond the Po. But the execution of this design was frustrated in both quarters by the death of Piso.
1 The proper office of the master of the horse was to command the knights, and execute the orders of the dictator. He was usually nominated from amongst persons of consular and pratorian dignity; and had the use of a horse, which the dictator had not, without the order of the people.
6 An honourable banishment.
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