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When he had taken his seat, the conspirators stood round him, under colour of paying their compliments; and immediately Tullius Cimber, who had engaged to commence the assault, advancing nearer than the rest, as if he had some favour to request, Casar made signs that he should defer his petition to some other time. Tullius immediately seized him by the toga, on both shoulders; at which Casar crying out, "Violence is meant!" one of the Cassii wounded him a little below the throat. Caesar seized him by the arm, and ran it through with his style;1 and endeavouring to rush forward, was stopped by another wound. Finding himself now attacked on all hands with naked poniards, he wrapped the toga2 about his head, and at the same moment drew the skirt round his legs with his left hand, that he might fall more decently with the lower part of his body covered.He was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering a groan only, but no cry, at the first wound; although some authors relate, that when Marcus Brutus fell upon him, he exclaimed, "What! art thou, too, one of them!" Thou, my son!" 3 The whole assembly instantly dispersing, he lay for some time after he expired, until three of his slaves laid the body on a litter, and carried it home, with one arm hanging down over the side. Among so many wounds, there was none that was mortal, in the opinion of the surgeon Antistius, except the second, which he received in the breast. The conspirators meant to drag his body into the Tiber as soon.as they had killed him; to confiscate his estate, and rescind all his enactments; but they were deterred by fear of Mark Antony, and Lepidus, Caesar's master of the horse, and abandoned their intentions.
1 The stylus, or graphium, was an iron pen, broad at one end, with a sharp point at the other, used for writing upon waxen tables, the leaves or bark of trees, plates of brass, or lead, etc. For writing upon paper or parchment, the Romans employed a reed, sharpened and split in the point like our pens, called calamus, arundo, or canna. This they dipped in the black liquor emitted by the cuttle fish, which served for ink.
2 It was customary among the ancients, in great extremities to shroud the face. in order to conceal any symptoms of horror or alarm which the countenance might express. The skirt of the toga was drawn round the lower extremities, that there might be no exposure in falling, as the Romans, at this period, wore no covering for the thighs and legs.
3 Caesar's dying apostrophe to Brutus is represented in all the editions of Suetonius as uttered in Greek, but with some variations. The words, as here translated, are καὶ σὺ εἶ ἐκείνων; καὶ σὺ τέκνον. The Salmasian manuscript omits the latter clause. Some commentators suppose that the words "my son," vere not merely expressive of the difference of age, or former familiarity between them, but an avowal that Brutus was the fruit of the connection between Julius and Servilia, mentioned before [see p. 40]. But it appears very improbable that Caesar, who had never before acknowledged Brutus to be his son, should make so unnecessary an avowal, at the moment of his death. Exclusively of this objection, the apostrophe seems too verbose, both for the suddenness and urgency of the occasion. But this is nor all. Can we suppose that Caesar, though a perfect master of Greek, would at such a time have expressed himself in that language, rather than in Latin, his familiar tongue, and in which he spoke with peculiar elegance? Upon the whole, the probability is, that the words uttered by Casar were, Et tu Brute! which, while equally expressive of astonishment with the other version, and even of tenderness, are both more natural, and more emphatic.
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