Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Plutarch
Editor: John D. Cox
Not Peer Reviewed

Life of Caesar


XLVIII.Caesar afterwards giving freedom unto the Thessalians, in respect of the victory which he wan in their country, he followed after Pompey. When he came into Asia, he gave freedom also unto the Guidians for Theopompus' sake, who had gathered the fables together. He did release Asia also the third part of the tribute which the inhabitants paid unto the Romans. Then he came into Alexandria after Pompey was slain: and detested Theodotus that presented him Pompey's head, and turned his head aside because he would not see it. Notwithstanding, he took his seal, and beholding it, wept.

Caesar's clemency in victory.

Furthermore, he courteously used all Pompey's friends and familiars, who wandering up and down the country, were taken of the king of Egypt, and wan them all to be at his commandment. Continuing these courtesies, he wrote unto his friends at Rome. that the greatest pleasure he took of his victory was, that he daily saved the lives of some of his countrymen that bare arms against him.

The cause of Caesar's war in Alexandria.

And for the war he made in Alexandria, some say he needed not to have done it, but that he willingly did it for the love of Cleopatra: wherein he wan little honor, and besides did put his person in great danger. Others do lay the fault Upon the king of Egypt's ministers, but specially on

Pothinus the eunuch caused Pompey to be slain.

Pothinus the eunuch, who bearing the greatest sway of all the king's servants, after he had caused Pompey to be slain, and driven Cleopatra from the court, secretly laid wait all the ways he could, how he might likewise kill Caesar. Wherefore Caesar, hearing an inkling of it, began thenceforth to spend all the night long in feasting and banqueting, that his person might be in the better safety. But besides all this, Pothinus the eunuch spake many things openly, not to be borne, only to shame Caesar, and to stir up the people to envy him. For he made his soldiers have the worst and oldest wheat that could be gotten: then, if they did complain of it, he told them they must be contented, seeing they eat at another man's cost. And he would serve them also at the table in treen and earthen dishes, saying, 'that Caesar had away all their gold and silver, for a debt that the king's father (that then reigned) did owe unto him :' which was a thousand seven hundred and fifty myriads ; whereof Caesar had before forgiven seven hundred and fifty thousand unto his children. Howbeit then he asked a million to pay his soldiers withal Thereto Pothinus answered him, that at that time he should do better to follow his other causes of greater importance, and afterwards that he should at more leisure recover his debt, with the king's good will and favor. Caesar replied unto him, and said, that he would not ask counsel of the Egyptians for his affairs, but would be paid: and thereupon secretly sent for Cleopatra, which was in the country, to come unto him.