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About this text

  • Title: Life of Caesar
  • Editor: John D. Cox

  • Copyright John D. Cox. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Plutarch
    Editor: John D. Cox
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Life of Caesar

    14

    XIV.

    Caesar's first Consulship with Calpurnius Bibulus.

    Thus Caesar, being brought unto the assembly of the election, in the middest of these two noble persons whom he had before reconciled together, he was there chosen Consul with Calphurnius Bibulus, without gainsaying or contradiction of; any man. Now when he was entered into his office,

    Caesar's laws. Lex agraria.

    he began to put forth laws meeter for a seditious Tribune of the people than for a Consul: because by them he preferred the division of lands, and distributing of corn to every citizen gratis, to please them withal. But when the noblemen of the Senate were against his device, he, desiring no better occasion, began to cry out and to protest, that by the overhardness and austerity of the Senate, they drave him against his will to lean unto the people: and thereupon, having Crassus on the one side of him and Pompey on the other, he asked them openly in the assembly, if they did give their consent unto the laws which he had put forth. They both answered, they did. Then he prayed them to stand by him against those that threatened him with force of sword to let him. Crassus gave him his word, he, would; Pompey also did the like, and added thereunto, that he would come with his sword and target both, against them that would withstand him with their swords. These words offended much the Senate, being far unmeet for his gravity, and undecent for the majesty and honor he carried, and most of all uncomely for the presence of the Senate whom he should have reverenced: and were speeches fitter for a rash light-headed youth, than for his person. Howbeit the common people on the other side, they rejoiced.

    Caesar married his daughter Julia to Pompey.

    Then Caesar, because he would be more assured of Pompey's power and friendship, he gave him his daughter Julia in marriage, which was made sure before unto Servilius Caepio, and promised him in exchange Pompey's daughter, who was sure also unto Faustus, the son of Sylla. And shortly after also,

    Caesar married Calphurnia the daughter of Piso.

    Caesar self did marry Calphurnia, the daughter of Piso, whom he caused to be made Consul, to succeed him the next year following. Cato then cried out with open mouth, and called the gods to witness, that it was a shameful matter, and not to be suffered, that they should in that sort make havoc of the Empire of Rome, by such horrible bawdy matches, distributing among themselves, through those wicked marriages, the governments of the provinces, and of great armies. Calphurnius Bibulus, fellow-Consul with Caesar, perceiving that he did contend in vain, making all the resistance he could to withstand this law, and that oftentimes he was in danger to be slain with Cato in the market-place and assembly; he kept close in his house all the rest of his Consulship. When Pompey had married Julia,

    Pompey by force of arms authorized Caesar's laws.

    he filled all the market-place with soldiers, and by open force authorized the laws which Caesar made in the behalf of the people. Furthermore, he procured that Caesar had Gaul on this side and beyond the Alps, and all Illyria, with four legions granted him for five years.

    Caesar sent Cato to prison.

    Then Cato standing up to speak against it, Caesar bad his officers lay hold on him, and carry him to prison, thinking he would have appealed unto the Tribunes. But Cato said never a word, when he went his way. Caesar perceiving then, that not only the Senators and nobility were offended, but that the common people also, for the reverence they bare unto Cato's virtues, were ashamed, and went away with silence; he himself secretly did pray one of the Tribunes that he would take Cato from the officers. But after he had played this part, there were few Senators that would be President of the Senate under him, but left the city, because they could not away with his doings. And of them there was an old man called Considius, that on a time boldly told him, the rest durst not come to council because they were afraid of his soldiers. Caesar answered him again: "and why then dost not thou keep thee at home, for the same fear?" Considius replied, "because my age taketh away fear from me: for having so short a time to live, I have no care to prolong it further." The shamefullest part that Caesar played while he was Consul seemeth to be this: when he chose P. Clodius Tribune of the people, that had offered his wife such dishonor, and profaned the holy ancient mysteries of the women, which were celebrated in his own house. Clodius sued to be Tribune to no other end, but to destroy Cicero: and

    Caesar, by Clodius, drave Cicero out of Italy.

    Caesar self also departed not from Rome to his army before he had set them together by the ears, and driven Cicero out of Italy.