This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
But as the senate declined to interpose in the business, and his enemies declared that they would enter into no compromise where the safety of the republic was at stake, he advanced into Hither-Gaul,1 and, having gone to the circuit for the administration of justice, made a halt at Ravenna, resolved to have recourse to arms if the senate should proceed to extremity against the tribunes of the people who had espoused his cause. This was indeed his pretext for the civil war; but it is supposed that there were other motives for his conduct. Cneius Pompey used frequently to say, that he sought to throw every thing into confusion, because he was unable, with all his private wealth, to complete the works he had begun, and answer, at his return, the vast expectations which he had excited in the people. Others pretend that he was apprehensive of being called to account for what he had done in his protests of the tribunes; Marcus Cato having sometimes declared, and that, too, with an oath, that he would prefer an impeachment against him, as soon as he disbanded his ·army. A report likewise prevailed, that if he returned as a private person, he would, like Milo, have to plead his cause before the judges, surrounded by armed men. This conjecture is rendered highly probable by Asinius Pollio, who informs us that Caesar, upon viewing the vanquished and slaughtered enemy in the field of Pharsalia, expressed himself in these very words: " This was their intention: I, Caius Caesar, after all the great achievements I had performed, must have been condemned, had I not summoned the army to my aid !" Some think, that having contracted from long habit an extraordinary love of power, and having weighed his own and his enemies' strength, he embraced that occasion of usurping the supreme power; which indeed he had coveted from the time of his youth. This seems to have been the opinion entertained by Cicero, who tells us, in the third book of his Offices, that Caesar used to have frequently in his mouth two verses of Euripides, which he thus translates: “Nam si violandum est jus, regnandi gratia
Violandum est: aiis rebus pietatem colas.
” “Be just, unless a kingdom tempts to break the laws,
For sovereign power alone can justify the cause.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.