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in the leaders of the losing side. But it was really because he believed their side to be the side of right and justice. He had no personal aim in the choice, beyond the advantages which he would share with all his fellow citizens, and the primary desire to be allowed to live and enjoy the position to which his talents had raised him. His vacillation is never in his conviction as to right and wrong :
but that which arose from his innate faculty of seeing every side of a question and all possible contingencies. To a nervous temperament such as his it was impossible that the dangers to himself and his family should not loom large before his eyes. But when the time came to act, he usually shewed far more resolution than his own language allows us to expect. If we had as much self-revelation from the other men of his days as we have from him, we should probably find no less vacillation, and certainly no greater conscientious
His almost savage expressions of joy at the murder of Cæsar do not present his character in an amiable light. But then in his eyes Cæsar had ruined the state.
The constitution needed reform : Cæsar had destroyed it. Social and political life needed purifying : Cæsar had used some of the most reprobate members of society to put an end to all political and social freedom. That may not be the true state of the case as we see it, but it is what Cicero saw and believed. Cæsar was a tyrannus. Even when he did well, he did it in the wrong way, and could give no security that it would not be wholly undone by a successor. The only security for justice was law-abiding and constitutional government, and that Cæsar had made for ever impossible. By a convention as old as the Republic, "lynching" was the proper punishment of a man who set himself up as rex, and that Cæsar practically, and almost even in name, had done.
The last months of Cicero's life are not marred by the vacillations of former periods. From the 1st of September, B.C. 44, his aim is single and continuous. He was resolved to resist to the death the attempt to perpetuate Cæsarism after Cæsar's death, and to use all his powers of eloquence and persuasion to rouse the loyalist party to make a stand for liberty. And when one after the other his hopes failed and his supports fell away, he met death with a courage which did not belie his life and his philosophy.
He had been consulted, and wrote to Terentia leaving the matter in her hands. Yet when he found it an accomplished fact, he felt much annoyed, especially as in the meanwhile he had been visited by Tiberius Nero with a proposal for Tullia's hand, and would have preferred him. The marriage, however, had taken place, and he was obliged to make the best of it, and consoled himself in B.C. 50-49 with the reflexion that, as Dolabella took Cæsar's side in the Civil War, he might prove a protection to his wife's family, which perhaps turned out to be the case. But neither was the marriage a happy one, owing to Dolabella's gross misbehaviour, nor had Cicero any reason to approve his son-in-law's public conduct. He was tribune in B.C. 47, whilst Cæsar was in Alexandria, and produced much uproar in Rome by proposing a law for the abolition of debts. Though his conduct was condoned by Cæsar, who took him on his campaigns in Africa and Spain (B.C. 46-45), he never shewed any qualities fitting him for public life. However, his behaviour in the field may be supposed to have earned Cæsar's regard, for he promised him the consulship for half the year B.C. 44, when he himself should have gone on the Getic and Parthian expeditions. Antony objected to such a colleague and went so far as to attempt to invalidate the election—as he had threatened to do—by announcing bad omens. The decision of the augurs on the point was not given when Cæsar was assassinated, and in the confusion that followed Dolabella assumed the insignia of the consulship. Two years before this his conduct had been so outrageous that Cicero had induced Tullia—somewhat unwillingly, it seems—to divorce him. But the strangest part of the business to our feelings is the cordial and almost affectionate manner in which Cicero continues to address him. This is raised to absolute adulation --in spite of a private grievance as to the failure to repay Tullia's dowry—by his belief that after Cæsar's death Dolabella meant to take the constitutional side. He had at first openly shewn his sympathy with the assassins, and a few weeks later had suppressed the riots which took place round the column and altar placed over the spot where Cæsar's body had been burnt, by executing-in what appears a most arbitrary manner-a number of citizens and slaves. But this show of republican ardour soon disappeared. He shared with Antony in the plunder of the temple of Ops, obtained a nomination to the province of Syria, left Rome while still consulto take possession before Cassius could get there, and on his way through Asia barbarously murdered the governor of Asia, Trebonius (February, B.C. 43). Trebonius was in Asia with the express understanding that he was to collect forces and money for the republican party; and this act of Dolabella's was a declaration of hostility to it. The senate declared him a hostis and Cassius was commissioned to crush him. Rumour of his fall (he committed suicide while blockaded in Laodicea) reached Rome before the correspondence closes, but no official confirmation of it. Dolabella's private character was bad, and there is nothing in his public conduct to make up for it. But the chief figures in the last stage of the correspond
ence are the two Bruti, Marcus and Deci. C. Cassius Lon- mus, Gaius Cassius, Plancus and Lepidus. ginus, b. B.C. 83. With Cassius Cicero's intimacy seems to
have begun in B.C. 46, when they were both living in Rome by Cæsar's indulgence, and both of them with feelings of very doubtful loyalty to his régime. Cassius had distinguished himself after the fall of Crassus—whose
? The family ties uniting the leaders of the anti-Cæsarian party will be seen by the annexed table :
Q. SERVILIUS CÆPIO.TLIVIA, sisterTM. Porcius Cato.
of M. Livius
SERVILIUS M. IUNIUST SERVI-7M. IUNIUS CÆPIO, who SILANUS,
BRUTUS, adopted M. Cos. B.c.
CATO UTI-FATILIA. PORCIA
= L. B.C. 46.
T. PI, B,C. Brutus. 62.
M. IUNIUS IUNIA=M. ÆMILIUS TERTIA=C. Cassius
b. B.C. 83,
ob. B.C. 42. 25.
M. Iunius BRUTUS=PORCIA=M. BIBULUS.
quæstor he was—by successfully getting the remains of the Roman army back to Antioch, and repelling an attack of the Parthians on that town in the following year (B.C. 52). His success made Cicero's year in Cilicia (B.C. 51-50) safe as far as the Parthians were concerned. But he does not speak with much cordiality about it, or as if he knew Cassius at all intimately. Cassius was in command of a fleet off Sicily when the battle of Pharsalia took place. When he heard of it he sailed towards the Hellespont, apparently with a view of intercepting Cæsar, but almost immediately surrendered to him. After the Alexandrian War he seems to have returned to Rome and turned his attention to philosophy, adopting the doctrines of the Epicurean School. His letter (vol. iii., P. 194) shews the zeal of a late convert, as Cicero implies that he was (vol. iii., p. 174). He was never a hearty Cæsarian, though, like others, he submitted. In B.C. 46-45, when Cæsar was going to Spain to attack the sons of Pompey, he seems to have excused himself from fighting against old friends, and consequently to have received a hint that he had better go on a tour that would keep him from Rome during Cæsar's absence. On Cæsar's return, however, in the middle of B.C. 45, he appears to have been treated respectfully and nominated as prætor for B.C. 44, though he was annoyed at the preference being given to his brother-in-law M. Brutus, who was prætor urbanus. They were also to be consuls in B.C. 41, their proper year. To assign his personal annoyance as to the urban prætorship as the motive for his promotion of the conspiracy does not seem reasonable, in face of the evidence of his profound discontent at the Cæsarian régime. He of course accepted office by Cæsar's favour, but he probably regarded that office as no more than his due, and the influence which gave it him as an unconstitutional exercise of prerogative, with which he could have dispensed if the state of the Republic had been normal. On the whole his share in the crime of the Ides of March is not aggravated by the additional stigma of ingratitude to the same extent as some of the others. His letters from Syria are short and soldierlike. Without being a man of great ability, he evidently possessed energy and military capacity.
PLANCUS was only accidentally of interest to Cicero. He
was one of Cæsar's legati in Gaul who stood by him in the
Civil War. He fought with success at L. Munatius
Ilerda in B.C. 49 (Cæs. B. C. i. 40) and in Plancus and M. Æmilius Lepidus. the African campaign of B.C. 46 (Cæs. Afr.
iv.), and was to be rewarded by the governorship of Celtic Gaul in B.C. 44-43, and the consulship in B.C. 42. His connexion with Antony afterwards, his long residence with him in Egypt, and his ultimate betrayal of his secrets to Augustus made the court historian Paterculus particularly fierce in denouncing him as inflicted with a kind of disease of treason, and as the most shifty of men. His letters to Cicero do not do much to relieve his character, clever and graphic as they are. He was influenced, it seems, almost entirely by personal considerations. If he did not resist Antony, he feared he should lose his province; if he did so unsuccessfully, he feared he might lose the consulship of B.C. 42. He therefore is vehement in his professions of loyalty to the senate, as long as it seemed that their generals were winning He allowed Decimus Brutus to join forces with him, and was urgent that Octavian should do the same. But when he found that Antony had been joined by Lepidus and Pollio, he accepted the compromise offered him, and saved his consulship, if not his honour.
LEPIDUS was another man whom the chances of civil war had brought to a higher position than he had strength or character to maintain. He happened to be prætor in B.C. 49, and to do Cæsar some service in securing his nomination as Dictator to hold the consular election. He was rewarded by the governorship of Hispania Citerior in B.C. 48-47, and the consulship of B.c. 46 as colleague of Cæsar himself. Cæsar does not seem to have employed him in a military capacity, but to have left him at home to keep order in Rome: and when Cæsar was again appointed Dictator after Thapsus, and again for life after Munda, Lepidus was named his second in command or Master of the Horse. Though he still held that office in B.C. 44, he was not to accompany Cæsar in the Parthian War, but was to hold the combined provinces of Narbonensis and Hispania Citerior. He used the troops collected for those provinces to keep order in Rome after the assassination. He did not, however, stay long in Rome. Having secured his own election as Pontifex