At length, however, the time arrived when Caesar determined to cause himself to be proclaimed king. He took advantage of a certain remarkable conjuncture of public affairs, which can not here be particularly described, but which seemed to him specially to favor his designs, and arrangements were made for having him invested with the regal power by the Senate. The murmurs and the discontent of the people at the indications that the time for the realization of their fears was drawing nigh, became more and more audible, and at length a conspiracy was formed to put an end to the danger by destroying the ambitious aspirant’s life. Two stern and determined men, Brutus and Cassius, were the leaders of this conspiracy. They matured their plans, organized their band of associates, provided themselves secretly with arms, and when the Senate convened, on the day in which the decisive vote was to have been passed, Caesar himself presiding, they came up boldly around him in his presidential chair, and murdered him with their daggers.
Antony, from whom the plans of the conspirators had been kept profoundly secret, stood by, looking on stupefied and confounded while the deed was done, but utterly unable to render his friend any protection.
Cleopatra immediately fled from the city and returned to Egypt.
Arsinoe had gone away before. Caesar, either taking pity on her misfortunes, or impelled, perhaps, by the force of public sentiment, which seemed inclined to take part with her against him, set her at liberty immediately after the ceremonies of his triumph were over. He would not, however, allow her to return into Egypt, for fear, probably, that she might in some way or other be the means of disturbing the government of Cleopatra. She proceeded, accordingly, into Syria, no longer as a captive, but still as an exile from her native land. We shall hereafter learn what became of her there.
Calpurnia mourned the death of her husband with sincere and unaffected grief. She bore the wrongs which she suffered as a wife with a very patient and unrepining spirit, and loved her husband with the most devoted attachment to the end. Nothing can be more affecting than the proofs of her tender and anxious regard on the night immediately preceding the assassination. There were certain slight and obscure indications of danger which her watchful devotion to her husband led her to observe, though they eluded the notice of all Caesar’s other friends, and they filled her with apprehension and anxiety; and when at length the bloody body was brought home to her from the senate-house, she was overwhelmed with grief and despair.
She had no children. She accordingly looked upon Mark Antony as her nearest friend and protector, and in the confusion and terror which prevailed the next day in the city, she hastily packed together the money and other valuables contained in the house, and all her husband’s books and papers, and sent them to Antony for safe keeping.