[Sidenote: Jealousies awakened by Caesar’s power.] [Sidenote: The Roman Constitution.] [Sidenote: Struggles and Conflicts.]
His prosperity and power awakened, of course, a secret jealousy and ill will. Those who were disappointed in their expectations of his favor murmured. Others, who had once been his rivals, hated him for having triumphed over them. Then there was a stern spirit of democracy, too, among certain classes of the citizens of Rome which could not brook a master. It is true that the sovereign power in the Roman commonwealth had never been shared by all the inhabitants. It was only in certain privileged classes that the sovereignty was vested; but among these the functions of government were divided and distributed in such a way as to balance one interest against another, and to give all their proper share of influence and authority. Terrible struggles and conflicts often occurred among these various sections of society, as one or another attempted from time to time to encroach upon the rights or privileges of the rest. These struggles, however, ended usually in at last restoring again the equilibrium which had been disturbed. No one power could ever gain the entire ascendency; and thus, as all monarchism seemed excluded from their system, they called it a republic. Caesar, however, had now concentrated in himself all the principal elements of power, and there began to be suspicions that he wished to make himself in name and openly, as well as secretly and in fact, a king.
[Sidenote: Roman repugnance to royalty.] [Sidenote: Firmness of the Romans.]
The Romans abhorred the very name of king. They had had kings in the early periods of their history, but they made themselves odious by their pride and their oppressions, and the people had deposed and expelled them. The modern nations of Europe have several times performed the same exploit, but they have generally felt unprotected and ill at ease without a personal sovereign over them and have accordingly, in most cases, after a few years, restored some branch of the expelled dynasty to the throne The Romans were more persevering and firm. They had managed their empire now for five hundred years as a republic, and though they had had internal dissensions, conflicts, and quarrels without end, had persisted so firmly and unanimously in their detestation of all regal authority, that no one of the long line of ambitious and powerful statesmen, generals, or conquerors by which the history of the empire had been signalized, had ever dared to aspire to the name of king.
[Sidenote: Caesar’s ambitious plans.]
There began, however, soon to appear some indications that Caesar, who certainly now possessed regal power, would like the regal name. Ambitious men, in such cases, do not directly assume themselves the titles and symbols of royalty. Others make the claim for them, while they faintly disavow it, till they have opportunity to gee what effect the idea produces on the public mind. The following incidents occurred which it was thought indicated such a design on the part of Caesar.