Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War

By Ramon L. Jiménez | Go to book overview

Epilogue

Cicero

In contrast to his grudging tribute to Pompey on his death in 48, Cicero reacted to Caesar's murder with satisfaction, if not elation, and his letters during the following weeks referred to the good that had been done. "Nothing so far gives me pleasure except the Ides of March," he wrote to Atticus in April. 1 Although he claimed that his single regret was that Antony was not dead too, he acknowledged that the deed had left the government unstable and the public confused.

It may have been that the assassins were among those most confused, and in the days after Caesar's funeral, those who had not fled to their country homes took care to hide themselves and protect their families and property. Although they had not been arrested, they were no doubt surprised at the hostile reaction among a great many Romans. Even those who were not part of the plot, but only sympathetic to it, were vilified and attacked, and Cicero had to defend his own home on the Palatine Hill from arsonists. One unlucky soul, the poet Helvius Cinna, was mistaken for another Cinna who had made a bitter speech against Caesar the day before the funeral, and was literally torn to pieces by a mob.

Within a few weeks, as Antony and Dolabella asserted their Consular authority, Trebonius and Decimus Brutus retreated to the provinces assigned to them by Caesar, the former to Asia and the latter to Nearer Gaul. Despite a law requiring Marcus Brutus and Cassius, as praetores, to remain in the capital, Antony allowed them to seclude themselves in the country. The main motivation behind the conspiracy, personal hatred of Caesar, began to dissipate after his death, and none of the conspirators had a plan for what was to happen next. Although the Senate had satisfied itself with its amnesty, there was still widespread indignation over Caesar's murder, and agitation to punish the assassins continued.

As senior Consul and engineer of the compromise, Antony took control of the Senate, armed with Caesar's secret plans, which he refused to make public. Deeply suspicious of him, Cicero saw no advantage in attending and little chance of a return to normal Republican government. Reconciliation between those he called the "Liberators" and those outraged at Caesar's murder seemed an impossibility. To Atticus he quoted a mutual friend as saying, "If a

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Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Part One - The Rise of Caesar 1
  • Prologue - Three Men 3
  • I - Sulla Against Caesar 7
  • II - Rome and Its Neighbors 15
  • III - Pompey and Cicero Conquer Rome 25
  • IV - The Road to Gaul and Back 43
  • Part Two Caesar and Pompey 63
  • V - Across the Rubicon 65
  • VI - The First Spanish Campaign 81
  • VII - The Siege of Massilia 99
  • VIII - Curio in Africa 115
  • IX - The Campaign in Macedonia 129
  • X - The Battle of Pharsalus 147
  • Part Three - Caesar and Cleopatra 165
  • XI - The Alexandrian War 167
  • XII - Veni, Vidi, Vici 187
  • XIII - The Last Campaign 205
  • XIV - The Ides of March 223
  • Epilogue 243
  • Notes 251
  • Selected Sources 261
  • Index of Persons 269
  • General Index 277
  • About the Author *
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