[Illustration: COLOSSAL STATUE OF POMPEIUS OF THE PALAZZO SPADA AT ROME.]
POMPEIUS AND CAESAR.
Pompeius was coming home for his triumph, every one had hopes from him, for things were in a very bad state. There had been a great disturbance at Julius Caesar’s house. Every year there was a festival in honor of Cybele, the Bona Dea, or Good Goddess, to which none but women were admitted, and where it was sacrilege for a man to be seen. In the midst of this feast in Caesar’s house, a slave girl told his mother Aurelia that there was a man among the ladies. Aurelia shut the doors, took a torch and ran through the house, looking in every one’s face for the offender, who was found to be Publius Clodius, a worthless young man, who had been in Catilina’s conspiracy, but had given evidence against him. He escaped, but was brought to trial, and then borrowed money enough of Crassus the rich, to bribe the judges and avoid the punishment he deserved. Caesar’s wife, the sister of Pompeius was free of blame in the matter, but he divorced her, saying that Caesar’s wife must be free from all suspicion; and this, of course, did not bring her brother home in a friendly spirit to Caesar.
Pompeius’ triumph was the most magnificent that had ever yet been seen. It lasted two days, and the banners that were carried in the procession, bore the names of nine hundred cities and one thousand fortresses which he had conquered. All the treasures of Mithridates—statues, jewels, and splendid ornaments of gold and silver worked with precious stones—were carried along; and it was reckoned that he had brought home 20,000 talents—equal to L5,000,000—for the treasury. He was admired, too, for refusing any surname taken from his conquests, and only wearing the laurel wreath of a victor in the Senate.
Pompeius and Caesar were the great rival names at this time. Pompeius’ desire was to keep the old framework, and play the part of Sulla as its protector, only without its violence and bloodshed. Caesar saw that it was impossible that things should go on as they were, and had made up his mind to take the lead and mould them afresh; but this he could not do while Pompeius was looked up to as the last great conqueror. So Caesar meant to serve his consulate, take some government where he could grow famous and form an army, and then come home and mould everything anew. After a year’s service in Spain as propraetor, Caesar came back and made friends with Pompeius and Crassus, giving his daughter Julia in marriage to Pompeius, and forming what was called a triumvirate, or union of three men. Thus he easily obtained the consulship, and showed himself the friend of the people by bringing in an Agrarian Law for dividing the public lands in Campania among the poorer citizens, not forgetting Pompeius’ old soldiers; also taking other measures which might make the Senate recollect that Sulla had foretold that he would be another Marius and more.