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    Not Peer Reviewed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


    XXVIII. Now Caesar had of long time determined to destroy Pompey, and Pompey him also. For Crassus being killed amongst the Parthians, who only did see that one of them two must needs fall, nothing kept Caesar from being the greatest person, but because he destroyed not Pompey, that was the greater: neither did anything let Pompey to withstand that it should not come to pass, but because he did not first overcome

    The discord betwixt Caesar and Pompey, and the cause of the civil wars.

    Caesar, whom only he feared. For till then, Pompey had not long feared him, but always before set light by him, thinking it an easy matter for him to put him down when he would, sith he had brought him to that greatness he was come unto. But Caesar contrarily, having had that drift in his head from the beginning, like a wrestler that studieth for tricks to overthrow his adversary, he went far from Rome,

    Caesar's craftiness.

    to exercise himself in the wars of Gaul; where he did train his army, and presently by his valiant deeds did increase his fame and honor. By these means became Caesar as famous as Pompey in his doings, and lacked no more to put his enterprise in execution, but some occasions of color, which Pompey partly gave him, and partly also the time delivered him, but chiefly, the hard fortune and ill government at that time of the commonwealth at Rome.

    The people's voices bought at Rome for money.

    For they that made suit for honor and offices bought the voices of the people with ready money, which they gave out openly to usury, without shame or fear. Thereupon the common people that had sold their voices for money, came to the market-place at the day of election, to fight for him that had hired them: not with their voices, but with their bows, slings, and swords. So that the assembly seldom times brake up, but the pulpit for orations was defiled and sprinkled with the blood of them that were slain in the market-place, the city remaining all that time without government of magistrate, like a ship left without a pilot. Insomuch as men of deep judgment and discretion, seeing such fury and madness of the people, thought themselves happy if the commonwealth were no worse troubled than with the absolute state of a monarchy and sovereign lord to govern them. Furthermore, there were many that were not afraid to speak it openly, that there was no other help to remedy the troubles of the commonwealth, but by the authority of one man only, that should command them all: and that this medicine must be ministered by the hands of him that was the gentlest physician, meaning covertly Pompey. Now Pompey used many fine speeches, making semblance as though he would none of it, and yet cunningly underhand did lay all the irons in the fire he could, to bring it to pass that he might be chosen Dictator. Cato finding the mark he shot at, and fearing lest in the end the people should be compelled to make him Dictator, he persuaded the Senate rather to make him sole Consul, that, contenting himself with that more just and lawful government, he should not covet the other unlawful. The Senate, following his counsel, did not only make him Consul, but further did prorogue his government of the provinces he had.

    Pompey governed Spain and Africa.

    For he had two provinces, all Spain and Africk, the which he governed by his lieutenants: and further, he received yearly of the common treasure, to pay his soldiers, a thousand talents.

    Caesar sueth the second time to be Consul, and to have his government prorogued.