« НазадПродовжити »
eration had actually arrived. Among the last was Cicero. At the moment of the assassination, he had heard his name pronounced amongst the murderers; and, forgetting his own profound submission to the Emperor, he felt nothing, as he said, but gladness at the scene he stood beholding. Whether he joined the other Senators in their flight, or showed a more undaunted spirit than they who were mostly Cæsar's creatures, he certainly soon followed the conspirators to their place of refuge, not, indeed, with sword or shout, but full of determination to enter upon the course which younger, and, as he believed them, braver, men than he had opened by their blows. While he and they and their adherents were taking counsel together, some urging activity and others recommending the attitude already taken, the streets were full of various rumors. Neither the soldiers nor the citizens, of whom the populace within or near the walls was then composed, would exult in the conspiracy, even though they might not arm themselves against the conspirators; and the day was ended in uncertainty and inaction.
On the morrow, the conspirators descended, together or in part, to the Forum, in order to address the crowds there moving to and fro, in ignorance of what might yet occur, almost of what had actually occurred. Brutus spoke first, to explain the reason of Cæsar's death; but though he was heard in re
4 “ Quid . . . . . præter lætitiam Martiæ consolantur.” Ibid., 4. See quam oculis cepi justo interitu ty- Ad Div., X. 28; Philipp., XII. 13. ranni?” Ad Att., XIV. 14. “ Idus
spectful silence, another of the conspirators, who attacked the memory of the murdered Emperor, excited so great a tumult, that the speaker and all his associates were obliged to hasten back to the Capitol. There Brutus, it is said, dismissed all but the sixty conspirators, fearing an assault or a blockade, in which he knew that no number of old men could be of service. At the same time, a mission was despatched to the partisans of Cæsar, who were already resolved to take possession of their master's authority; and the night wore away in messages and preparations on either side. The city itself was lighted with bonfires; and many of the magistrates remained at their posts as in the day-time.
It is already plain that an enterprise consisting solely in a murder and supported only by a few irresolute and selfish individuals could have no other results than the substitution of anarchy in place of the despotism against which it had been directed. A day or two of indecision followed the first hours after the assassination ; but if there were then any doubt as to the termination of the conspiracy, there can be none to those who now read that Mark Antony, one of the Consuls at the time, had seized the papers of the Emperor," and had been joined by Æmilius Lepidus, then Master of the Knights and long one of Cæsar's most devoted followers, at the head of the only forces in the neighbourhood. The Senate, called together by Antony on the third day, decreed, at his proposal, a general amnesty; but likewise ordered that the institutions and appointments of the Emperor were to remain unaltered, while he himself should be worshipped as a god in heaven. 10 On the next day, the fourth from Cæsar's death, the Senate met again, to vote their thanks to the conspirators for the murder, and to Antony for having prevented the outbreak of a civil war." Such of the conspirators as held any magistracies were solemnly reinstated, and appointed to the provinces to which their offices entitled them. To these, as must be observed, they had been appointed by Cæsar; and it was through recourse to his authority that his murderers were now preserved and honored.
5 Plut., Brut., 18.
8 These had been collected by 6 App., Bell. Civ., II. 125. Lepidus, preparatory to his depart7 Plut., Ant., 15. Cf. App., II. 125. ure for the provinces assigned him
The end, however, was not yet come. It has been mentioned how Mark Antony appeared as the mourner and the orator at Cæsar's funeral ; but it has not been told how the multitude was roused to fury, and how the flames of the burning pile spread about the Forum and roared with awful sound throughout the city. It was the beginning of many strange and dangerous scenes,13 by day and night, in which, as it seemed, the spirit of the murdered might be appeased. In the midst of growing tumults, the conspirators, they even who were among the magistrates of the
year, fled terrified from Rome,14 where Antony remained in power as absolute as that which Cæsar had held a month before 15 The restive servant was soon the wanton master. He seized the treasures collected for the Parthian expedition ; 16 and obtaining sums nearly as enormous in return for the acts he forged in Cæsar's name, under the pretence of finding them amongst the Emperor's papers, he soon bought up his colleague in the consulship, many of the Senators, and more still of the legions and the populace. With formal authority from the Senate to act upon all things “appointed, decreed, and done by the Emperor,” ?? Antony, himself surrounded by guards,18 wreaked all the outrages he chose to inflict upon the Commonwealth, undefended and with senses yet uncollected from its trance, as some had hoped it might be proved, of degradation. “There is now," wrote Cicero, “no shadow, no trace, of legal government.” 19
Meanwhile, the authors of the deed from which these greater dangers had arisen were at a distance, in safety, indeed, but with evident want of confidence, either in themselves or in any of their countrymen. Within two months from the murder, Brutus wrote, in his own name and in that of Cassius, to
14 Plut., Brut., 21. App., Bell. 16 Cic., Philipp., II. 37. Civ., II. 148.
17 See the letters, ap. Cic., Ad 15 Plut., Ant., 15. Dion Cass., Att., XVI. 16. XLIV. 53. Two of his brothers 18 App., Bell. Civ., III. 5. were also in office, the one being a 19 Ad Div., X. 1. See also XII. Prætor, the other a Tribune. Dion 1; Philipp., I. 10, II. 42, V. 4. Cass., XLV. 9.