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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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

    60

    60LX.But the chiefest cause that made him mortally hated was the covetous desire he had to be called king: which first gave the people just cause, and next his secret enemies honest color, to bear him ill-will. This notwithstanding, they that procured him this honor and dignity gave it out among the people that it was written in the Sybilline prophecies, 'how the Romans might overcome the Parthians, if they made war with them and were led by a king, but otherwise that they were unconquerable.' And furthermore they were so bold besides, that, Caesar returning to Rome from the city of Alba, when they came to salute him, they called him king. But the people being offended, and Caesar also angry, he said he was not called king, but Caesar. Then every man keeping silence, he went his way heavy and sorrowful. When they had decreed divers honors for him in the Senate, the Consuls and Praetors, accompanied with the whole assembly of the Senate, went unto him in the marketplace, where he was set by the pulpit for orations, to tell him what honors they had decreed for him in his absence. But he, sitting still in his majesty, disdaining to rise up unto them when they came in, as if they had been private men, answered them: 'that his honors had more need to be cut off than enlarged.' This did not only offend the Senate but the common people also, to see that he should so lightly esteem of the magistrates of the commonwealth: insomuch as every man that might lawfully go his way departed thence very sorrowfully. Thereupon also Caesar rising departed home to his house, and tearing open his doublet-collar, making his neck bare, he cried out aloud to his friends, 'that his throat was ready to offer to any man that would come and cut it.' Notwithstanding it is reported, that afterwards, to excuse his folly, he imputed it to his disease, saying, 'that their wits are not perfit which have this disease of the falling evil, when standing on their feet they speak to the common people, but are soon troubled with a trembling of their body, and a sudden dimness and giddiness.' But that was not true, for he would have risen up to the Senate, but Cornelius Balbus one of his friends (or rather a flatterer) would not let him, saying: "What, do you not remember that you are Caesar, and will you not let them reverence you and do their duties?"