This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
His other words and actions, however, so far outweigh all his good qualities, that it is thought he abused his power, and was justly cut off. For he not only obtained excessive honours, such as the consulship every year, the dictatorship for life, and the censorship, but also the title of emperor, 1 and the surname of FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY, 2 besides having his statue amongst the kings, 3 and a lofty couch in the theatre. He even suffered some honours to be decreed to him, which were unbefitting the most exalted of mankind: such as a gilded chair of state in the senate-house and on his tribunal, a consecrated chariot, and banners in the Circensian procession, temples, altars, statues among the gods, a bed of state in the temples, a priest, and a college of priests dedicated to himself, like those of Pan; and that one of the months should be called by his name. There were, indeed, no honours which he did not either assume himself, or grant to others, at his will and pleasure. In his third and fourth consulship, he used only the title of the office, being content with the power of dictator, which was conferred upon him with the consulship; and in both years he substituted other consuls in his room, during the three last months; so that in the intervals he held no assemblies of the people, for the election of magistrates, excepting only tribunes and ediles of the people; and appointed officers, under the name of praefects, instead of praetors, to administer the affairs of the city during his absence. The office of consul having become vacant, by the sudden death of one of the consuls the day before the calends of January [the 1st Jan.], he conferred it on a person who requested it of him, for a few hours. Assuming the same licence, and regardless of the customs of his country, he appointed magistrates to hold their offices for terms of years. He granted the insignia of the consular dignity to ten persons of praetorian rank. He admitted into the senate some men who had made free of the city, and even natives of Gaul, who were semi-barbarians. He likewise appointed to the management of the mint, and the public revenue of the state, some servants of his own household; and entrusted the command of three legions, which he left at Alexandria, to an old catamite of his, the son of his freed-man Rufinus.
1 The title of emperor was not new in Roman history; 1. It was sometimes given by the acclamations of the soldiers to those who commanded them. 2. It was synonymous with conqueror, and the troops hailed him by that title after a victory. In both these cases it was merely titular, and not permanent, and was generally written after the proper name, as Cicero imperator, Lentulo imperatore. 3. It assumed a permanent and royal character first in the person of Julius Caesar, and was then generally prefixed to the emperor's name in inscriptions, as IMP. Caesar. DIVI. etc.
3 Statues were placed in the Capitol of each of the seven kings of Rome, to which an eighth was added in honour of Brutus, who expelled the last. The statue of Julius Caesar was afterwards raised near them.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.