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Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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

    7

    VII.

    The death of Metellus chief Bishop of Rome.

    At that time the chief bishop Metellus died, and two of the notables, men of the city, and of the greatest authority (Isauricus and Catulus), contended for his room : Caesar, notwithstanding their contention, would give neither of them both place, but presented himself to the people, and made suit for it as they did. The suit being equal betwixt either of them, Catulus, because he was a man of greater calling and dignity than the other, doubting the uncertainty of the election, sent unto Caesar a good sum of money, to make him leave off his suit. But Caesar sent him word again, that he would lend a greater sum than that, to maintain the suit against him. When the day of the election came, his mother bringing him to the door of his house, Caesar, weeping, kissed her, and said: " Mother, this day thou shalt see thy son chief Bishop of Rome, or banished from Rome." In fine, when the voices of the people were gathered together, and the strife well debated, Caesar wan the victory, and

    Caesar made chief Bishop of Rome.

    made the Senate and noblemen all afraid of him, for that they thought that thenceforth he would make the people do what he thought good.

    Caesar suspected to be confederate with Catiline in his conspiracy.

    Then Catulus and Piso fell flatly out with Cicero, and condemned him for that he did not bewray Caesar, when he knew that he was of conspiracy with Catiline, and had opportunity to have done it. For when Catiline was bent and determined, not only to overthrow the state of the commonwealth, but utterly to destroy the Empire of Rome, he escaped out of the hands of justice for lack of sufficient proof, before his full treason and determination was known. Notwithstanding, he left Lentulus and Cethegus in the city, companions of his conspiracy: unto whom, whether Caesar did give any secret help or comfort, it is not well known. Yet this is manifest, that when they were convinced in open Senate, Cicero being at that time Consul, asking every man's opinion in the Senate what punishment they should have, and every one of them, till it came to Caesar, gave sentence they should die:

    Caesar went about to deliver the conspirators.

    Caesar then rising up to speak, made an oration (penned and premeditated before) and said, that it was neither lawful, nor yet their custom did bear it, to put men of such nobility to death (but in an extremity) without lawful inditement and condemnation. And therefore, that if they were put in prison in some city of Italy, where Cicero thought best, until that Catiline were overthrown, the Senate then might at their pleasure quickly take such order therein, as might appear best unto their wisdoms.