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THE period of civil strife begun in the last century continued through a large part of this century.
The simple civil and moral organization of a great agricultural city had been succeeded by the social antagonisms of a capital of many nations, and by that demoralization in which the prince and the beggar meet; now everything had come to be on a broader, more abrupt, and fearfully grand scale. When the social war brought all the political and social elements fermenting among the citizens into collision with each other, it laid the foundation for a new revolution. — Mommsen.
After a war with Mithridates, King of Pontus, came the bloody days of the civil wars of Marius and Sulla, when one hundred and fifty thousand Eoman citizens are said to have perished.
When betwixt Marius and fierce Sulla tost,
Locak. Tr. Rowe.
This only was wanting to complete the misfortunes of the Romans, that they should raise an unnatural war among themselves, and that, in the midst of the city and forum, citizens should fight with citizens, like gladiators in an amphitheatre. I should bear the calamity, however, with greater patience if Plebeian leaders or contemptible nobles had been at the head of such atrocity; but even Marius and Sulla (oh, indignity! such men, such generals!) the grace and glory of their age, lent their eminent characters to this worst of evils. — Florus.
I pray that I may be permitted to turn away my eyes from the horrors of the wars of Marius and Sulla. Their frightful history may be found in Appian. — Montesquieu.
The chief interest in the history of Eoman affairs is now connected with the disputes and ambitious struggles of the most famous men of Eome. A period of factions and strife had succeeded the more harmonious times of the republic.
"I see," said Catiline to Cicero, — "I see in the republic a head without a body, and a body without a head; I will be this head which is wanting." This sentence admirably describes Roman society. — Michelet.
But Rome itself was in the most dangerous inclination to change, on account of the unequal distribution of wealth and property, those of highest rank and greatest spirit having impoverished themselves by shows, entertainments, ambition of offices, and sumptuous buildings, and the riches of the city having thus fallen into the hands of mean and low-born persons. So that there wanted but a slight impetus to set all in motion, it being in the power of every daring man to overturn a sickly commonwealth. — Plutarch.
When wealth was once considered an honor, and glory, authority, and power attended on it, virtue lost her influence, poverty was thought a disgrace, and a life of innocence was regarded as a life of ill-nature. From the influence of riches, accordingly, luxury, avarice, and pride prevailed among the youth; they grew at once rapacious and prodigal; they undervalued what was their own, and coveted what was another's; they set at naught modesty and continence; they lost all distinction between sacred and profane, and threw off all consideration and self-restraint.— Sallust.
The fearful anarchy into which Rome was plunged after the time of Sulla showed itself more particularly in the assemblies of the people; for there the place of the free-born Roman citizen was occupied by an idle and hungry populace, which had no idea for anything higher than bread and amusements, and was ever ready to attach itself to those who had the richest rewards to offer. — Schmitz.
The beginning of the decay of the Boman commonwealth may be dated from the time when the soldier began to be distinct from the citizen. The growth of this distinction was gradual. As the area of military operations extended, campaigns were more protracted, and the influence of the central government over the forces in the field became weaker and weaker. Even if a commander started out with no ambitious designs against the liberties of his country, he could not but learn, during years of supreme authority over legions and over provinces, to love the exercise of absolute power. His men, too, cut off from home communications and sympathies, were ready to follow a leader who they knew would reward them. They forgot that they were in the service of the commonwealth, and listened only to the chief whom they had been accustomed to obey, and on whose gratitude they felt that they could rely. — H. Mann.
Eome became mistress of Asia Minor in 64 B. c., and under the famous general, Pompey (the Great), then humbled Armenia (but without annexing it), made Syria a Eoman province, and Palestine (with Judaea) a Eoman dependency, — extending the Eoman power to the Euphrates.
But that which seemed to be his [Pompey's] greatest glory, being one which no other Boman ever attained to, was this, that he made his third triumph over the third division of the world. For others among the Bomans had the honor of triumphing thrice, but his first triumph was over Africa, his second over Europe, and this last over Asia; so that he seemed in these three triumphs to have led the whole world captive. — Plutarch.
In 60 B. c. Pompey, with Caesar, a rising man of Eome, and Crassus, united in a famous political partner- First Tri. ship known as the First Triumvirate. The pur- umvirate. pose of Caesar and Pompey in this union was to get all the power that they could into their own hands.
0 Rome, thyself art cause of all these evils,
Lucan. Tr. Marlowe.
The blood of the Roman and the Italian has mingled in one common current; . . . the contest has ended in raising individual statesmen to a position in which they can array their own private ambition against the general weal. Each great chieftain finds himself at the head of a faction whose interests centre in him alone, who are ready to fight under his banner and for his personal aggrandizement, and have ceased to invoke the watchwords of party or the principles of class. The Triumvirs are now leagued together to undermine the old form of government; by and by they will fly asunder, and challenge each other to mortal duel. Each will try to strengthen himself by an appeal to old names and prejudices, and the shadows of a popular and a Patrician party will again face each other on the field of Pharsalia; but the real contest will be between a Caesar and a Pompeius, no longer between the commons and the nobility. — Merivale.
Cato wisely told those who charged all the calamities of Rome upon the disagreement betwixt Pompey and Caesar [see page 93], that they were in error in charging all the crime upon the last cause ; for it was not their discord and enmity, but their unanimity and friendship, that gave the first and greatest blow to the commonwealth. — Plutarch.
Caesar, in a remarkable campaign of about eight years, Conquest conquered the whole country of Gaul, which beof Gaul. came reduced to a Eoman province in 51 B. c.
Conceive the languid and bloodless figure of Gaul, just escaped from a burning fever; remark how thin and pale she is; how she fears even to move a limb lest she bring on a worse relapse. Liberty was the sweet, cold draught for which she burned, —which was stolen from her. — Orosius (fifth century).
He took more than eight hundred cities by storm; worsted three hundred nations, and encountered at different times three millions of enemies, of whom he slew one million in action, and made prisoners of an equal number. — Plutarch.
OESAR RULER OF THE ROMAN WORLD.
During Caesar's campaign in Gaul and absence from Eome, Pompey intrigued against him, and an increasing rivalry between the two men culminated in the Cesar's bitterest enmity. In 49 B. c. Csesar rebelled, career?Uent crossed the Eubicon, and invaded Italy. Civil war now began between him and the forces of Eome under Pompey. The decisive battle took place at Pharsalia, and ended in the entire overthrow of Pompey.
Until Csesar came, Rome was a minor; by him she attained her majority and fulfilled her destiny. — De Quincey.
There mighty Csesar waits his vital hour,
Impatient for the world, and grasps his promised power.
Virgil. Tr. Dryden.
Lucan. Tr. Marlowe.
Lucan. Tr. Marlowe.
The madness of Caesar and Pompey plunged the city, Italy, the provinces, in short the whole Roman dominion, into an inflammatory disorder, so that it is not rightly called a civil war, nor a social war, nor yet a foreign war, but rather a certain strange compound of them all, and more than a war. — Florus.
The First Triumvirate of Pompey, Csesar, and Crassus was a certain presage of the fall of the republic. Crassus, who would not have had the genius to withstand Csesar, fell in an expedition against the Parthians; and Pompey, who had lost much of his popularity in his later years, was compelled to fly from Rome after Csesar had passed the Rubicon. . . . The rest is soon told. Pompey was defeated at Pharsalia, and murdered in Egypt in 48 B. C, and Csesar became master of the world. — Dyer.