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exercise of their dictatorial powers was the publication of an edict and a provisional list of men to be thus "proscribed.” The first list had been forwarded to Pedius before the actual publication of the edict,' and Cicero, who was at Tusculum, soon learnt that his own name, and those of his brother and nephew, were on it. The last scene shall be told in the words of Plutarch. “While the conference between the triumvirs was going
on Cicero was in his villa at Tusculum with his Death of brother. When they heard of the proscription Cicero. they resolved to remove to his seaside villa at
Astura, and thence to take ship and join Brutus in Macedonia : for there were great reports of his success there. They travelled in litters overpowered by distress; and whenever there was a halt in the journey, the two litters were placed side by side and the brothers mingled their lamentations. Quintus was the more cast down of the two and was haunted with the idea of their want of money, for he had brought nothing, he said, with him, and Cicero himself was poorly provided for a journey. It would be better, therefore, he thought, for Cicero to precede him in his flight, while he went home, collected what was necessary, and hurried after him. This course was resolved upon, and the brothers parted with embraces and tears. Not many days after this Quintus was betrayed by his slaves and was put to death with his son. But Cicero reached Astura, found a vessel, embarked, and sailed with a favourable wind as far as Circeii. The pilots wished to put out to sea from that place at once : but whether it was that he feared the sea or had not yet given up all trust in the promise of Octavian, he disembarked and travelled a hundred furlongs upon the road to Rome.
But once more, almost beside himself with distress and indecision, he returned to the sea-coast at Astura and there spent the night in terrified and hopeless reflexions. One of his ideas was to go to Octavian's house in disguise and kill himself at the hearth-altar and thus bring a curse upon it. But from undertaking this journey also he was deterred by a dread of being
1 The edict was not put up till the triumvirs entered Rome; but Cicero's name was among those forwarded before (App. B. C. iv. 4). For the text of the edict, see App. iv. 8-11.
put to torture; and with his mind still dazed with confused and contradictory designs, he put himself in the hands of his servants to be conveyed by sea to Caieta, as he had property there and an agreeable summer retreat, when the Etesian winds are at their pleasantest. In this spot there stands a temple of Apollo just above the sea : from it a flock of ravens rose and flew towards Cicero's ship as it was being rowed to land, and settling down upon the yard-arm on both sides of the mast, some of them began uttering loud cries and others pecking at the ends of the ropes. Everybody thought this a bad omen. Cicero, however, disembarked and went to the lodge and lay down to get some rest. But most of the ravens lighted down about the window uttering cries of distress, and one of them settling on the bed, where Cicero was lying with his head covered, gradually drew off the covering from his face with its beak. The servants, seeing this, thought that they would be base indeed if they endured to be spectators of their master's murder, and did nothing to protect him, while even animals were helping him and sympathizing in his undeserved misfortune, and so, partly by entreaties and partly by compulsion, they got him again into his litter and began carrying him down to the
“ Meanwhile the executioners arrived, Herennius the centurion and Popillus the military tribune (whom he once defended on a charge of parricide) with their attendants. Finding the doors locked, they broke into the house ; but when Cicero was not to be seen, and those indoors denied knowing anything about him, it is said that a young man named Philologus—a freedman of Quintus, whom Cicero had educated in polite learning and philosophy-told the tribune about the litter which was being carried through woodland and over-shadowed paths towards the sea. So the tribune, taking a small party with him, ran round to the entrance to the grounds, while Herennius ran down the pathway. Cicero perceived him coming and ordered his servants to set down the litter. Cicero himself, with his left hand as usual on his chin, sat gazing steadfastly on the executioners, unwashed, with streaming
locks, his brow contracted with his anxieties. It was more than those present could endure, and they covered their faces while Herennius Besides Atticus, who still claims a considerable share of the
correspondence, the majority of letters in these Cicero's cor- last months are addressed to Plancus, Decimus respondents. Brutus, Lepidus, Cassius, and M. Brutus. There
is one to Antony, afterwards quoted by him against Cicero in the senate, and some few to Dolabella. This is hardly the time at which a final review of ANTONY'S
character should be made, for the test of Marcus Antonius,
his real worth as a statesman and ruler b. B.c. 83.
came in the period following Cicero's
death. Yet in spite of personal prejudice Cicero does not seem to have made a mistaken estimate of him. In B.C. 51 he had foreseen that he and his brothers were likely to be important personages in the Cæsarian era, and had warned his friend Thermus not to offend them. Marcus had been through the regular official round. He had served with Gabinius in Syria and Egypt (B.C. 57-56), had been quæstor and legatus to Iulius Cæsar in Gaul (B.C. 54-52), and was one of the tribunes of B.C. 50-49 who vetoed the fatal motion in January, B.C. 49, for his recall
. His greatness then began. After Pompey's flight and Cæsar's departure for Spain, he was left in charge of Italy with the rank of proprætor. In B.C. 48 he joined Cæsar in Epirus with reinforcements, fought at Pharsalia, and was sent back after the victory to take over again the management of Rome and Italy; and when Cæsar was named Dictator in B.C. 47 Antony was named his Master of the Horse. Thus far his energy and courage had put him in the front rank of Cæsar's younger officers. But from this time his weaknesses as well as his strength began to shew themselves. He was not successful in his government at Rome during Cæsar's absence in Alexandria, and the disorders which grew to a dangerous height under his administration, both in the city and among the veteran legions, were only suppressed by the return of the Dictator. His wild debaucheries seem to have contributed to weaken his influence, and his financial embarrassments, partly at least to be attributed to them, caused him to attempt their relief by dealing with confiscated properties in a way which brought him into collision with Cæsar. A
i Vol. ii., p. 157.
coldness appears to have arisen between them, and Lepidus took his place as Master of the Horse. But this coldness, whatever its nature and cause, disappeared upon Cæsar's return from Spain in B.C. 45, and Antony was named consul as Cæsar's colleague for B.C. 44. In spite of Cicero's invectives against him in the last months of the orator's life, Antony does not seem to have treated him with personal disrespect or harshness : and this Cicero often acknowledges, scandalized as he was by his conduct whilst in charge of Italy. He was in fact not unkindly by nature, capable of genuine affection and even passion (he ended, we all know, in throwing away the world for a woman's smile), good-natured, and florid in person as well as in style of speech and writing. But with some amiable qualities, he was without virtues. In a ruler good-natured indulgence to followers means often suffering to the ruled. In a competitor for empire, reckless gallantry is by itself no match for self-control and astuteness. In the end the unimpassioned youth, whom we find him here treating with disdain, out-manæuvred him and outbid him for popular favour, and finally even beat him in war.
In these letters, in spite of their hostility, we learn of what was perhaps his greatest military achievement, his masterly retreat from Mutina and his rally in Gallia Narbonensis. DOLABELLA is on a much lower plane than Antony, and
would not be much worth our attention were P. Cornelius
it not for his peculiar connexion with Cicero. Dolabella, b. about B.C. 70.
He was one of the wildest and most extra
vagant of the young nobles of the day, but was apparently possessed of some oratorical ability. As was the fashion of the time, he trusted to this ability to bring him office and means to escape from his embarrassments, and in order to make himself a name as an orator and man of affairs commenced a prosecution of a man of high rank for malversation in his province. The person he selected was Appius Claudius, Cicero's predecessor in Cilicia. This happened to be particularly inconvenient to Cicero, who, besides wishing to stand well with Claudius, found that just about the time the prosecution was to begin (early in B.C. 50) his wife had consented to Dolabella's marriage with Tullia. It is not quite clear what Cicero's views on the subject were.
was killing him, as he thrust out his head from the litter and received the stroke. He was in his sixty-fourth year. By the command of Antony the man cut off his head and the hands with which he had written the Philippics ! The character and aims of Cicero will have been abund.
antly illustrated for the reader of these letters. Estimate of Cicero's char
That controversies should rage round his memory is only what must always be the case
with a man who takes an active share in political life. Enmities and their expression in invective are more interesting to many than praise, and therefore more lasting. It is an easy task, moreover, to find faults in a character so impulsive, so many-sided, and so complex as that of Cicero. But the one view which I think inadmissible is the Mommsenian one of sheer contempt. Perhaps Cicero was not so important a figure in Roman politics as he thought himself: that he was of no importance is disproved both by the warmth of his friends and the rancour of his enemies. If he lacked originality as a writer or philosopher, neither did he pretend to any. He wished to interpret the Greek philosophers to his countrymen : he did it imperfectly, but he did it as no one else could or did. The magic of style has found its way to the intelligence and taste of mankind, as many a more learned and accurate man would have failed and has failed to do. He composed speeches which are often unfair, overstrained, and disingenuous, but they remain
among the first in the world. He wrote letters incessantly: they are sometimes insincere, sometimes weak and tiresome, but taken as a whole they are scarcely surpassed by any existing collection. Signor E. Mase-Dari has lately written a volume tending to throw a doubt on his financial purity, especially in his administration of Cilicia. The attempt is, I think, a failure; and though Cicero was a man habitually embarrassed in regard to ready money, it seems that the Roman system of investment-of short loans and accommodation money—is more accountable for this than personal extravagance or reckless contraction of debt. In politics he doubtless made the mistake of putting confidence
Plutarch, Cicero, xlvii.-xlviii. There is also a somewhat similar account by Livy preserved by Seneca, Suasoria, i. 7.