Early Britain—Roman Britain eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 195 pages of information about Early BritainRoman Britain.
help for the tempest-tossed commonwealth.  Accordingly he threw in his lot with the revolutionary Marian movement, broke off a wealthy matrimonial engagement arranged for him by his parents to become the son-in-law of Cinna, and in the very thick of the Sullan proscriptions, braved the Dictator by openly glorying in his connection with the defeated reformers.  How he escaped with his life, even at the intercession, if it was indeed made, of the Vestals, is a mystery; for Sulla (who had little regard for religious, or any other, scruples) was deliberately extirpating every soul whom he thought dangerous to the plutocracy, and is said to have pronounced “that boy” as “more to be dreaded than many a Marius.”  He did, however, escape; but till the vanquished party recovered in some degree from this ruthless massacre of their leaders, he could take no prominent part in politics.  The minor offices of Quaestor, Aedile, and Praetor he filled with credit, and meanwhile seemed to be giving himself up to shine in Society, which was not, in Rome, then at its best; and his reputation for intrigue, his skill at the gaming-table, and his fashionable swagger were the envy of all the young bloods of the day.

A. 7.—­The Catiline conspiracy (B.C. 63), and the irregular executions that followed its suppression, at length gave him his opportunity.  While the Senate was hailing Cicero as “the Father of his country” for the stern promptitude which enabled him, as Consul, to say “Vixere” ["They have lived”] in answer to the question as to the doom of the conspirators, Caesar had electrified the assembly by his denunciation of the view that, in whatsoever extremity, the blood of Roman citizens might be shed by a Roman Consul, secretly and without legal warrant.  Henceforward he took his place as the special leader on whom popular feeling at Rome more and more pinned its hopes.  As Pontifex Maximus he gained (B.C. 63) a shadowy but far from unreal religious influence; as Pro-praetor he solidified the Roman dominion in Spain (where he had already been Quaestor); and on his return (B.C. 60) reconciled Crassus, the head of the moneyed interest, with Pompey, the darling of the Army, and by their united influence was raised next year to the Consulship.

A. 8.—­A Roman Consul invariably, after the expiration of his year of office, was sent as Pro-consul to take charge of one of the Provinces, practically having a good deal of personal say as to which should be assigned to him.  Caesar thus chose for his proconsular government the district of Gaul then under Roman dominion, i.e. the valley of the Po, and that of the Rhone.  In making this choice Caesar was actuated by the fact that in Gaul he was more likely than anywhere else to come in for active service.  Unquiet neighbours on the frontier, Germans and Helvetians, were threatening invasion, and would have to be repelled.  And this would give the Pro-consul the chance of doing what Caesar specially desired, of raising and training

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Early Britain—Roman Britain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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