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mutual hatred against Caius, and on that aecount were not averse to a mutual kindness one towards another.
9. When Minucianus and Cherea had met together, and saluted one another (as they had been used in former conversations to give the upper hand to Minucianus, both on account of his eminent dignity, for he was the noblest of all the citizens, and highly commended by all men, especially when he made speeches to them,) Minucianus began first, and asked Cherea, what was the watch-word he had received that day from Caius : for the affront, which was offered Cherea in giving the watch-words, was famous over the city. But, Cherea made no delay, so long as to reply to that question, out of the joy he had that Minucianus would have such confidence in him as to discourse with him. “But do thou," said he, “ give me the watch-word of liberty. And I return thee my thanks, that thou hast so greatly encouraged me to exert myself after an extraordinary manner; nor do I stand in need of many words to encourage me, since both thou and I are of the same mind, and partakers of the same resolutions, and this before we have conferred together. I have indeed but one sword girt on, but this one will serve us both. Come on, therefore, let us set about the work. Do thou go first, is thou hast a mind, and bid me follow thee, or else I will go first, and thou shalt assist me, and we will assist one another, and trust one another. Nor is there a necessity for even one word to such as have a mind to dispose of such works, by which mind the sword uses to be successful. I am zealous about this action, nor am I solicitous what I may myself undergo : for I am not at leisure to consider the dangers that may come upon myself, so deeply am I troubled at the slavery our once free country is now under, and at the contempt cast upon our excellent laws, and at the destruction which hangs over all men by the means of Caius. I wish that I may be judged by thee, and that thou mayest esteem me worthy of credit in these matters, seeing we are both of the same opinion, and there is herein no difference between us.”
10. When Minucianus saw the vehemency with which Cherea delivered himself, he gladly embraced him, and encouraged him in his bold attempt, commending him, and embracing him ; so he let him go with his good wishes; and some affirm, that he thereby confirmed. Minucianus, in the prosecution of what had been agreed among them; for,
as Cherea entered into the court, the report runs, that a voice came from among the multitude to encourage him, which bid him finish what he was about, and take the opportunity that providence afforded; and that Cherea at first suspected that some one of the conspirators had betrayed him, and he was caught, but at length perceived that it was by way of exhortation. Whether somebody, * that was conscious of what he was about, gave a signal for his encouragement, or whether it were God himself who looks upon the actions of men, that encouraged him to go on boldly in his design, is uncertain. The plot was now communicated to a great many, and they were all in their armour ; some of the conspirators being senators, and some of the equestrian order, and as many of the soldiery as were made acquainted with it; for there was not one of them who would not reckon it a part of his happiness to kill Caius, and on that account they were all very zealous in the affair, by what means soever any one could come at it, that he might not be behindhand in these virtuous designs, but might be ready with all his alacrity or power, both by words and actions, to complete this slaughter of a tyrant. And besides these Callistus also, who was a freed-man of Caius, and was the only man that had arrived at the greatest degree of power under him : such a power, indeed, as was in a manner equal to the power of the tyrant himself, by the dread that all men had of him, and by the great riches he had acquired; for he took bribes most plenteously, and committed injuries without bounds, and was more extravagant in the use of his power in unjust proceedings than any other. He also knew the disposition of Caius to be implacable, and never to be turned from what he had resolved on. He had withall many other reasons why he thought himself in danger, and the vastness of his wealth was not one of the least of them: on which account he privately ingratiated himself with Claudius, and transferred his courtship to him, out of this hope, that in case, upon the remo. val of Caius, the government should come to him, his interest in such changes should lay a foundation for his preserying his dignity under bim, since he laid in beforehand a stock
* Just s'ich a voice as this is related to be, come, and that from an unknown original also, to the famous Polycarp, as he was going to niartyrdom, bidding him “play the man ;" as the church of Smyr nà assures us in their account of that his martyrdom, $ 9.
of merit, and did Claudius good offices in his promotion. He had also the boldness to pretend, that he had been persuaded to make away Claudius by poisoning him, but had still invented ten thousand excuses for delaying to do it. But it seems probable to me, that Callistus only counterfeited this, in order to ingratiate himself with Claudius ; for, if Caius had been in earnest resolved to take off Claudius, he would not have admitted of Callistus's excuses ; nor would Callistus, if he had been enjoined to do such an act as was desired by Caius, have put it off, nor, if he had disobeyed those injunctions of his master, had he escaped immediate punishment ; while Claudius was preserved from the madness of Caius by a certain divine providence, and Callistus pretended to such a piece of merit as he no way deserved.
11. However, the execution of Cherea's designs was put off from day to day, by the sloth of many therein concerned; for, as to Cherea himself, he would not willingly make any delay in that execution, thinking every time a fit time for it; for frequent annortunities offered themselves; as when Caius went up to the canito! to sacrifice for his daughter, or wheir tre stood upon his royal palace, and threw gold and silver pieces of money among the people he might be pushed down headlong, because the top of the palace, that looks toward the market-place, was very high ; and also when he celebrated the mysteries which he had appointed at that time ; for he was then no way secluded from the people, but solicitous to do every thing carefully and decently, and was free from all suspicion, that he should be then assaulted by any body; and though the gods should afford him no divine assistance to enable him to take away his life, yet had he strength himself sufficient to despatch Caius even without à sword. Thus was Cherea angry at his fellow-conspirators, for fear they should suffer a proper opportunity to pass by; and they were themselves sensible, that he had just cause to be angry at them, and that his eagerness was for their advantage : yet did they desire he would have a little longer patience, lest, upon any disappointment they might meet with, they should put the city into disorder, and an inquisition should be made after the conspiracy, and should render the conrage of those that were to attack Caius without success, while he would then secure himself more carefully than ever against them; that it would, therefore, be the best to set about the work when the shows were exhibited in the palace. These shows were acted in honour of that Caesar,* who first of all changed the popular government, and transferred it to himself: galleries being fixed before the palace, where the Romans, that were patricians, became spectators, together with their children, and their wives, and Caesar himself was to he also a spectator; and they reckoned among those many ten thousands, who would there be crowded into a narrow compass, they should have a favourable opportunity to make their attempt upon him as he came in ; because his guards that should protect him, if any of them should have a mind to do it, would not be here able to give him any as. sistance.
12. Cherea consented to this delay; and, when the shows were exhibited, it was resolved to do the work the first day. But fortune, which allowed a farther delay to his slaughter, was too hard for their foregoing resolution; and, as three days of the regular time for these shows were now over, they had much ado to get the business done on the last day. Then Cherea called the conspirators together, and spake thus to them : “ So much time passed away without effect is a reproach to us, as delaying to go through such a virtuous des sign as we are engaged in ; but more fatal will this delay prove if we be discovered, and the design be frustrated; for Caius will then become more cruel in his unjust proceedings. Do not we see how long we deprive all our friends of their liberty, and give Caius leave still to tyrannise over them? while we ought to have procured them security for the future, and, by laying a foundation for the happiness of others, gain to ourselves great admiration and honour for all time to come.” Now, while the conspirators had nothing tolerable to say by way of contradiction, and yet did not quite relish what they were doing, but stood silent and astonished, he said farther," 0, my brave comrades, why do we make such delays? Do not you see that this is the last day of these shows, and that Caius is about to go to sea ? for he is preparing to sail to Alexandria, in order to see Egypt. Is it, therefore, for your honour to let a man go out of your hands, who is a reproach to mankind, and to permit him to go after a pompous manner, triumphing both at land and sea ?
* Here Josephus supposes that it was Augustus, and not Julius Caesar, who first changed the Roman commonwealth into a monarchy; for these shows were in honour of Augustus, as we shall learn in the next section but one.
Shall we not be justly ashamed of ourselves, if we give leave to some Egyptian or other, who shall think his injuries insufferable to free men, to kill him ? As for myself, I will no longer bear your slow proceedings, but will expose myself to the dangers of the enterprise this very day, and bear cheerfully whatsoever shall be the consequence of the attempt ; nor, let them be ever so great, will I put them off any longer ; for to a wise and courageous man what can be more miserable than, that while I am alive, any one else should kill Caius, and deprive me of the honour of so virtuous an action ?"
13. When Cherea had spoken thus, he zealously set about the work, and inspired courage in the rest to go on with it, and they were all eager to go to it without farther delay. So he was at the palace in the morning, with his equestrian sword girt on him ; for it was the custom that the tribunes should ask for the watch-word with their swords on, and this was the day on which Cherea was, by custom, to receive the watch-word; and the multitude were already come to the palace, to be soon enough for seeing the shows, and that in great crowds, and one tumultuously crushing another, while Caius was delighted with this eagerness of the multitude ; for which reason there was no order observed in the seating men, nor was any peculiar place appointed for the senators, or for the equestrian order; but they sat at random, men and women together, and the free men were mixed with the slaves. So Caius came out in a solemn manner, and offered sacrifice to Augustus Caesar, in whose honour indeed these shows were celebrated. Now it happened, upon the fall of a certain priest, that the garment of Asprenas, a senator, was filled with blood, which made Caius laugh, although this was an evident omen to Asprenas, for he was slain at the same time with Caius. It is also related, that Caius was that day, contrary to his usual custom, so very affable and good natured in his conversation, that every one of those that were present were astonished at it. After the sacrifice was over, Cajus betook himself to see the shows. and sat down for that purpose, as did also the principal of his friends sit near him. Now, the parts of the theatre were so fastened together, as it used to be every year, in the manner following: it had two doors, the one door led to the open air, the other was for going into, or going out of the cloisters, that those within the theatre might not be there dis