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history. Rather than proclaim a new civil war, which would have enabled Antony to declare him a public enemy, he resolved to throw himself upon the support of Cæsar's partisans in Italy. Crossing the Adriatic with only a few attendants, he landed, not at Brundisium, but at the obscure town of Lupia, and there remained quiet to learn the course that events had taken. Here he was joined by his mother Atia and his step-father Philippus, and the tidings of Cæsar's will determined him, in spite of their earnest dissuasion, to claim his inheritance and to assume his adoptive name, C. JULIUS CÆSAR OCTAVIANUS. Received with enthusiasm by the garrison of Brundisium, he boldly sent forward his claims to Rome; but still he declined the services of the veterans who flocked around him, and journeyed leisurely onwards. At Puteoli he visited and conversed with Cicero, who was rejoiced to welcome a rival to the hated Antony. He reached Rome on the 27th of April, and, as he entered the city, a peculiar effulgence about the sun was interpreted as a welcome from heaven. This omen was but one of many, which are said to have attended his whole course, from the morning of his birth, on the very day on which the Senate was discussing the fate of the Catilinarian conspirators, when an astrologer declared that the Lord of the World was born.
Octavian at once took the formal steps for claiming Cæsar's inheritance, but preserved an impenetrable reserve concerning the succession to his honours. The necessity of obtaining a Lex Curiata to sanction his adoption gave occasion to his haranguing the people, and his praises of the late Dictator excited Cicero's anxiety; but his bearing conciliated the Senate. Antony hastened back to Rome, where he arrived in May, and an interview with Octavian revealed to him the unsuspected force of his rival's character. He refused to pay over Cæsar's money, on the grounds that it was public money and was all spent, and that but for him the will would have been set aside. He claimed Octavian's gratitude, and appealed to his fears, urging him not to assume a name that would bring on him so many enemies. Octavian at once sold his own property, and, gathering all he could obtain from his friends, discharged his uncle's legacies. This act at once exhibited to the Senate his firm resolution, and laid the basis of his popularity in the gratitude of every Roman citizen. A splendid opportunity now occurred for showing himself to the people as an heir worthy of Cæsar. On the morning of Pharsalia, when the consul gave his watchword of Venus Genetrix, he had vowed to taili a temple and celebrate annual games to his ancestral goddess. The temple was erected and endowed, but the priests had neglected the games, which Octavian now undertook to celebrate at his own charge. In spite of the opposition of Antony, he broaght forth the golden throne and jewelled crown, which the Senate had appointed to be exhibited in Cæsar's honour at all pat se festivals. The signs of heaven were once more vouchsafed. A amet of unprecedented brightness displayed its white scimitar in the sky for seven out of the eleven days of the festival. It was bailed as the Julian Star, and the token that the murdered hero had been raised, like Romulus, to the society of the gods. The statue of the new god Dives JULIUS was set up in the temple of Vents, a ritual was framed for his worship, and the month Quincte is was henceforth called Julius in his honour. *
The Senate could not refuse to sanction the clearly revealed will of heaven, but the conspirators could not mistake the probable oasequences. Since their first flight from the city, they seem to hare lingered in its neighbourhood, and Brutus and Cassius, who were still prætors, were certainly at Rome in April. Trebonius and Cimber had set out for their provinces of Asia and Bithynia, and Decimus Brutus had assumed his government of Cisalpine Gaul; but an army and people both devoted to Cæsar precluded the thought of repeating the passage of the Rubicon. Meanwhile Antony had obtained from the Senate a new allotment of the provinces. He and Dolabella were to receive Macedonia and Syria on the expiration of their consulships, though these provinces had been promised to Brutus and Cassius; and the appearance of compensation was made to them by a commission to collect corn on the coasts of the Mediterranean, which would have the effect of removing them from Rome (June, B.C. 44). Of their indecision at this crisis, we owe a vivid picture to Cicero, who himself left Italy in disgust, but was driven back by adverse winds, and returned to Rome on the 31st of August. In the interval, Antony had been intriguing to obtain the province of Cisalpine Gaul, with the command of the six legions destined for the Parthian War, which he proposed to recal from Macedonia to Italy; and his purpose had been accomplished by an affected reconciliation with Octavian, who seems to have consented, for the immediate object of crushing Decimus Brutus (July, B.C. 44). M. Brutus and
* It should be remembered that the epithet Divus means, not simply divine, but drified. It was never prefixed to an emperor's name till after his decease. (On the whole subject, see the article Apotheosis in Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities.)
Cassius left Rome, after an impotent protest against Antony's usurpation; and Cicero had met them at Velia.
Antony was now prepared for the decisive conflict with his one formidable enemy in the Senate. He sent a special invitation to Cicero for the meeting of the 1st of September; but the orator stayed at home to forge some of those thunderbolts, of which we have seen him write, and preferred to let his foe commence the fight by a coarse invective against the skulker. Antony threatened to send workmen to pull down about Cicero's ears the house on the Palatine, which Clodius had once before demolished. He then retired to revel at his Tiburtine villa. His colleague Dolabella summoned the Senate for the following day (Sept. 2); and then Cicero came forward to deliver the first of those great orations, which he entitled Philippics, in imitation of those launched by Demosthenes against the Macedonian.* “They pretended, like their immortal prototypes, to be the last indignant assertion of a country's freedom against a daring aggressor; ” but they fall immeasurably below their original, both in dignity and practical character. Apart from the native faults of imitation by an inferior artist, the meanness of Antony imparts a corresponding tone to Cicero's invectives. In the first Philippic, however, Cicero was content with attacking the public conduct of Antony, who rejoined, on the 19th of September, with a bitter invective on the orator's whole career. Cicero was absent, and the antagonists never again met face to face, till Antony glutted his revenge by gazing on his victim's severed head.
He had meanwhile to prepare for a war not of words. The profound dissimulation of Octavian should warn us against accepting his denial of the charge that he suborned assassins against Antony. Both left Rome, Antony to secure the doubtful fidelity of the four Macedonian legions, which had landed at Brundisium in October ; Octavian to levy a force from the colonies of Cæsar's veterans in Campania. Antony had succeeded in quelling a mutiny, and after starting the army for Ariminum, had returned to Rome, to lay his complaints of Octavius before the Senate, when he received the alarming news that two of his legions had deserted to Octavian, and shut themselves up in Alba. His only hope was in obtaining military command of Cisalpine Gaul, where his remaining legions, with the forces that Lepidus and Pollio were bringing from Spain, and Plancus from Transalpine Gaul, might enable him to crush Decimus Brutus, and then to make head
* See Vol. II., pp. 15, foll.
against Octavian. On the other hand, the force commanded by the latter, amounting to four legions, with a fifth in process of levying, left the Senate no choice but to accept him as their captain on his arrival at Rome. Thus strangely were the parts of the leading actors shifted. The Senate, which had rejoiced in Cæsar's murder, was leagued with his heir against the consul with whom they had lately acted, and who, in the assumed character of Cæsar's true representative, was trying to wrest Cisalpine Gaul from one of Cæsar's murderers. But the party of the Senate had another leader, besides their champion in the field. It was at this crisis (Nov. B.C. 44), that Cicero threw off all remains of vacillation, and, while he laboured in private and in the Senate-house to fortify the Senators in the resolution to resist Antony to the last, fulminated against him the celebrated “Second Philippic,” which, in spite of the extravagance of its invective, is the greatest work of the great master. * The last attack which Antony had made upon him had removed all dread of offending him by removing all hope of reconciliation.
“Then farewell hope : and with it farewell fear!” 6. The desponding patriot has at length roused himself to declare deadly war against his country's foe. Long had he hesitated, long had he schemed for his personal safety, amidst the ruin which he saw too clearly closing around the commonwealth. But all timid, all wavering, all selfish counsels he discarded for ever. The attack he had just sustained had lashed him to frenzy. He beheld all his danger, and he resolved to meet it without shrinking. Rome should be saved, or he should perish with her. He had saved her once before, and no man-he believed—could save her except himself. Or, if he did not really cherish the hope of saving her, he would at least destroy her tyrant with her, and build his own fame upon the overthrow of a personal enemy. The death-struggle to which he had now pledged himself, the fanatic rage he breathed against the object of his hate, the vast interests at stake, the awful scene of murder which had just closed, and the train of proscription, massacre, and civil war, the anarchy crowned by tyranny which loomed in the distance, all combined to invest with solemn interest this divine effort of expiring liberty."! This is a tribute, not more eloquent than true, to the motives of the great man, whose statesmanship some affect to despise, and to denounce his spirit as pusillanimous, but who crushed Catiline, withstood Clodius, and opposed Antony at the climax of his power. It is well, after the event, to echo the levities of the satirist who lived in an age when all sympathy for moral greatness had well nigh perished, and to read in this great speech a fruitless provocation of the dagger of Antony; but the reason for its proving fruitless is overlooked. The smooth, deep perfidy of Octavian was an element on which Cicero could not calculate, or foresee that after striking hands with the tyrant against whom he had drawn the sword, he would seal the compact with the blood of the friend and counsellor, who had given him his generous confidence, and whom he continued to address as his father. The freedom with which Cicero uttered his final judgment on the usurpation of the dead Cæsar ought to have enhanced the value of his affection for his heir, whom he seems to have cherished as the child of his own consulship and the destined saviour of the state from another and worser Catiline. History does not scruple to proclaim that there are unpardonable sins in her judgment, which deals with character, not destiny. Among these are deliberate perfidy, and wanton bloodshed for selfish objects, with whatever success they may be gilded over; and the sacrifice of Cicero forms an ineffaceable stain upon the memory of Augustus. The truth is, that Octavian's professions of friendship to Cicero were sheer hypocrisy; and, in the light of his secret designs, he read in the censures of Julius a condemnation of himself, which his own conscience made keener than the invectives against Antony.
* The Second Philippic was never delivered : and both its length and many characteristics of its style seem to prove that it was never intended for delivery.
+ Merivale, Vol. II. p. 115.
At the crisis itself, the publication of the Second Philippic, fol. lowed by the delivery of the Third and Fourth, produced a decisive effect on public feeling. The reputation of Antony was annihilated, the confidence of the Senate restored, and the December of B.C. 44 saw Cicero in a position almost as proud as that of his consulship. Octavian offered to lead his troops in the name of the Senate to the relief of Decimus Brutus, whom Antony was now besieging in Mutina (Modena); and, in the Fifth Philippic, delivered in the debate on this proposal, Cicero contrasted Octavian's patriotic devotion with his uncle's first great mistake of preferring his own aggrandisement to the approval of his fellow-citizens (Dec. 20, B.C. 44). The Senate, however, resolved first to try negociation, and Cicero addressed his Sixth Philippic to the people, begging them to rely on his vigilance. He had become, as he jocosely says, a mob orator in his old age.
On the 1st of January, B.C. 43, the consuls Hirtius and Pansa,