Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Life of Caesar


LVII. This notwithstanding, the Romans, inclining to Caesar's prosperity and taking the bit in the mouth, supposing that to be ruled by one man alone, it would be a good mean for them to take breath a little, after so many troubles and miseries as they had abidden in these civil wars, they chose him perpetual Dictator.

Caesar Dictator perpetual.

This was a plain tyranny: for to this absolute power of Dictator, they added this, never to be afraid to be deposed. Cicero pronounced before the Senate, that they should give him such honors as were meet for amen: howbeit others afterwards added too honors beyond all reason. For men striving who should most honor him, they made him hateful and troublesome to themselves that most favored him, by reason of the unmeasurable greatness and honors which they gave him. Thereupon it is reported, that even they that most hated him were no less favorers and furtherers of his honors than they that most flattered him,- because they might have greater occasions to rise, and that it might appear they had just cause and color to attempt that they did against him. And now for himself, after he had ended his civil wars, he did so honorably behave himself, that there was no fault to be found in him: and therefore methinks, amongst other honors they gave him, he rightly deserved this, that

The temple of clemency dedicated unto Caesar, for his coutesy.

they should build him a temple of Clemency, to thank him for his courtesy he had used unto them in his victory. For he pardoned many of them that had borne arms against him, and furthermore, did prefer some of them to honor and office in the commonwealth: as, amongst others,

Cassius and Brutus Praetors.

Cassius and Brutus, both the which were made Praetors. And, where Pompey's images had been thrown down, he caused them to be set up again: whereupon Cicero said then, that, Caesar setting up Pompey's images again, he made his own to stand the surer. And when some of his friends did counsel him to have a guard for the safety of his person, and some also did offer themselves to serve him, he would never consent to it, but said:

Caesar;s saying of death.

"It was better to die once, than always to be afraid of death." But to

Goodwill of subjects, the best guard and safety for princes.

win himself the love and goodwill of the people, as the honorablest guard and best safety he could have, he made common feasts again and general distributions of corn. Furthermore, to gratify the soldiers also, he replenished many cities again with inhabitants, which before had been destroyed, and placed them there that had no place to repair unto: of the which the noblest and chiefest cities were these two, Carthage and Corinth: and it chanced also, that like as aforetime they had been both taken and destroyed together, even so were they both set on foot again, and replenished with people, at one self time.