History of Julius Caesar eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 157 pages of information about History of Julius Caesar.
the assembly on great occasions.  This pulpit was adorned with the brazen beaks of ships which had been taken by the Romans in former wars The name of such a beak was rostrum; in the plural, rostra.  The pulpit was itself, therefore, called the Rostra, that is, The Beaks; and the people were addressed from it on great public occasions.[2] Caesar pronounced a splendid panegyric upon the wife of Marius, at this her funeral, from the Rostra, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators, and he had the boldness to bring out and display to the people certain household images of Marius, which had been concealed from view ever since his death.  Producing them again on such an occasion was annulling, so far as a public orator could do it, the sentence of condemnation which Sylla and the patrician party had pronounced against him, and bringing him forward again as entitled to public admiration and applause.  The patrician partisans who were present attempted to rebuke this bold maneuver with expressions of disapprobation, but these expressions were drowned in the loud and long-continued bursts of applause with which the great mass of the assembled multitude hailed and sanctioned it.  The experiment was very bold and very hazardous, but it was triumphantly successful.

[Footnote 2:  In modern books this pulpit is sometimes called the Rostrum, using the word in the singular.]

[Sidenote:  Caesar’s oration on his wife.] [Sidenote:  Alarm of the patricians.]

A short time after this Caesar had another opportunity for delivering a funeral oration; it was in the case of his own wife, the daughter of Cinna, who had been the colleague and coadjutor of Marius during the days of his power.  It was not usual to pronounce such panegyrics upon Roman ladies unless they had attained to an advanced age.  Caesar, however, was disposed to make the case of his own wife an exception to the ordinary rule.  He saw in the occasion an opportunity to give a new impulse to the popular cause, and to make further progress in gaining the popular favor.  The experiment was successful in this instance too.  The people were pleased at the apparent affection which his action evinced; and as Cornelia was the daughter of Cinna, he had opportunity, under pretext of praising the birth and parentage of the deceased, to laud the men whom Sylla’s party had outlawed and destroyed.  In a word, the patrician party saw with anxiety and dread that Caesar was rapidly consolidating and organizing, and bringing back to its pristine strength and vigor, a party whose restoration to power would of course involve their own political, and perhaps personal ruin.

[Sidenote:  Caesar in office.] [Sidenote:  Shows and entertainments.]

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History of Julius Caesar from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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