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A History of Rome to 565 A. D. by Boak

Added Transalpine Gaul and another legion


style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER XIV

THE RIVALRY OF POMPEY AND CAESAR: CAESAR'S DICTATORSHIP; 59-44 B. C.

I. CAESAR CONSUL: 59 B. C.

*A rule of force.* At the beginning of his consulship Caesar tried to induce the Senate to approve his measures, but, when they failed to do so, he carried them directly to the Assembly. And when Bibulus and Cato essayed to obstruct legislation in the Comitia he crushed all opposition by the aid of Pompey's veterans. Bibulus, protesting against the illegality of Caesar's proceedings, shut himself up in his own house. Thus Caesar carried two land laws for the benefit of the soldiers of Pompey, induced the Senate to ratify the latter's eastern settlement, and secured for the equestrians, whose cause was championed by Crassus, the remission of one third of the contract price for the revenues of Asia.

*The Vatinian Law.* A lucky chance enabled Caesar to secure his own future by an extended military command. The Senate had taken pains to render him harmless by assigning as the consular provinces for 58 the care of forests and country roads in Italy, but in February, 59, the death of Metellus Celer, proconsul of Cisalpine Gaul, left vacant a post of considerable importance in view of the imminent danger of war breaking

out in Transalpine Gaul. Accordingly a law proposed by the tribune Vatinius transferred to Caesar the command of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum, with a garrison of three legions, for a term of five years beginning 1 March, 59. To this the Senate, at the suggestion of Pompey, added Transalpine Gaul and another legion.

*The banishment of Cicero, 58 B. C.* Caesar's consulship had been an open defiance of constitutional precedent, and had revealed the fact that the triumvirate was stronger than the established organs of government, and that the Roman Empire was really controlled by three men. Well might Cato say that the coalition was the beginning of the end of the Republic. Within the triumvirate itself Pompey was the dominant figure owing to his military renown and the influence of his veterans. Caesar appeared as his agent, yet displayed far greater political insight and succeeded in creating for himself a position which would enable him to play a more independent role in the future. The coalition did not break up at the end of Caesar's consulship; its members determined to retain their control of the state policy, and to this end secured for 58 B. C. the election of two consuls in whom they had confidence. To cement the alliance Pompey married Caesar's daughter Julia, and Caesar married the daughter of Piso, one of the consuls-elect. To secure themselves from attack they felt it necessary to remove from the city their two ablest opponents, Cato and Cicero. The latter had refused all proposals to join their side, and had sharply criticized them on several public occasions. His banishment was secured through the agency of the tribune Clodius, whose transfer from patrician to plebeian status Caesar had facilitated. Clodius was a man of ill repute who hated Cicero because the latter had testified against him when he was on trial for sacrilege. Early in 58 B. C. Clodius carried a bill which outlawed any person who had put to death Roman citizens without regular judicial proceedings. This law was aimed at Cicero for his share in the execution of the Catalinarian conspirators. Finding that he could not rely upon the support of his friends, Cicero went into exile without awaiting trial. He was formally banished, his property was confiscated, and he himself sought refuge in Thessalonica, where the governor of Macedonia offered him protection. Cato was entrusted with a special mission to accomplish the incorporation of Cyprus, then ruled by one of the Egyptian Ptolemies, into the Roman Empire, and his Stoic conception of duty prevented him from refusing the appointment. Caesar remained with his army in the vicinity of Rome until after Cicero's banishment and then set out for his province.


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