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[147] While they were in this temper and were already near to violence, somebody raised above the bier an image of Cæsar himself made of wax.1 The body itself, as it lay on its back on the couch, could not be seen. The image was turned round and round by a mechanical device, showing the twenty-three wounds in all parts of the body and on the face, which gave him a shocking appearance. The people could no longer bear the pitiful sight presented to them. They groaned, and, girding themselves, they burned the senate-chamber where Cæsar was slain, and ran hither and thither searching for the murderers, who had fled some time previously. They were so mad with rage and grief that like wild beasts they tore in pieces the tribune Cinna on account of his similarity of name to the praetor Cinna who had made a speech against Cæsar, not waiting to hear any explanation about the simhilarity of name, so that no part of him was ever found for burial.2 They carried fire to the houses of the other murderers, but the domestics valiantly fought them off and the neighbors besought them to desist. So the people abstained from the use of fire, but they threatened to come back with arms on the following day.3

1 Waxen images of the deceased were common in the funerals of distinguished persons in Rome.

2 Suetonius (Jul. 85) and Valerius Maximus (ix. 9) agreed with Appian that this victim of error was the tribune Cinna, whose surname was Helvius. Plutarch says that he was a poet, or rather a man of a poetical turn.

3 Merivale (Hist. of the Romans under the Empire, ii. 84) considers this report of Antony's funeral oration " no rhetorical fiction, but a fair representation both in manner and substance of the actual harangue." Cicero bore testimony to the effectiveness of Antony's discourse when he spoke of it in the second Philippic (36) as " that beautiful encomium, that mournful dirge, that appeal to passion," adding: "thou, thou I say, didst light the fire that half consumed his body and burned down the house of L. Bellienus. Thou didst precipitate upon our homes that mob of abandoned men, mostly slaves, whom we drove back by force and violence."

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  • Cross-references to this page (3):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), FUNUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TRIBUS
    • Smith's Bio, Cinna, C. He'lvius
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
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