Consequently, Caesar canvassed by proxy for a consulship, and likewise for an extension of time in which to hold his own provinces. At first, then, Pompey held his peace, while Marcellus and Lentulus opposed these plans; they hated Caesar on other grounds, and went beyond all bounds in their efforts to bring dishonour and abuse upon him.
For instance, the inhabitants of Novum Comum, a colony recently established by Caesar in Gaul, were deprived of citizenship by them; and Marcellus, while he was consul, beat with rods a senator of Novum Comum who had come to Rome, telling him besides that he put these marks upon him to prove that he was not a Roman, and bade him go back and show them to Caesar. But after the consulship of Marcellus, Caesar having now sent his Gallic wealth for all those in public life to draw from in copious streams, and having freed Curio the tribune from many debts,
and having given Paulus the consul fifteen hundred talents, out of which he adorned the forum with the Basilica,1
a famous monument, erected in place of the Fulvia,—under these circumstances Pompey took fright at the coalition, and openly now, by his own efforts and those of his friends, tried to have a successor appointed to Caesar in his government, and sent a demand to him for the return of the soldiers whom he had lent him for his Gallic contests.2
Caesar sent the soldiers back, after making a present to each man of two hundred and fifty drachmas.
But the officers who brought these men to Pompey spread abroad among the multitude stories regarding Caesar which were neither reasonable nor true, and ruined Pompey himself with vain hopes. They told him that Caesar's army yearned for him, and that while he was with difficulty controlling affairs in the city owing to the disease of envy which festered in the body politic, the forces in Gaul were ready to serve him, and had but to cross into Italy when they would at once be on his side; so obnoxious to them had Caesar become by reason of the multitude of his campaigns, and so suspicious of him were they made by their fear of a monarchy.
All this fed Pompey's vanity, and he neglected to provide himself with soldiers, as though he had no fears; while with speeches and resolutions of the senate he was carrying the day against Caesar, as he supposed, although he was merely getting measures rejected about which Caesar cared naught. Nay, we are told that one of the centurions sent to Rome by Caesar, as he stood in front of the senate-house and learned that the senate would not give Caesar an extension of his term of command, slapped the handle of his sword and said:
‘But this will give it’