Passages From Ancient Historians on Caesar's Assassination
Nicolaus of Damascus, Velleius Paterculus, Dio Cassius, and Suetonius on the Assassination of Julius Caesar on the Ides of March in 44 B.C.
Assassination of Julius Caesar
- Life of Augustus, by Nicolaus of Damascus
Translated by Clayton M. Hall (1923)
(19) From this point my narrative will investigate the manner in which the assassins formed their conspiracy against Caesar and how they worked out the whole affair, and what happened afterward when the whole state was shaken. Accordingly, I shall in the first place rehearse the circumstances of the plot itself, its reasons, and its final momentous outcome. In the next place I shall speak of Octavian on whose account this narrative was undertaken; how he came into power, and now, after he had taken his predecessor's place, he employed himself in deeds of peace and war.
At first a few men started the conspiracy, but afterwards many took part, more than are remembered to have taken part in any earlier plot against a commander. They say that there were more than eighty who had a share in it. Among those who had the most influence were: Decimus Brutus, a particular friend of Caesar, Gaius Cassius, and Marcus Brutus, second to none in the estimation of the Romans at that time. All these were formerly members of the opposite faction, and had tried to further Pompeius' interests, but when he was defeated, they came under Caesar's jurisdiction and lived quietly for the time being; but although Caesar tried to win them over individually by kindly treatment, they never abandoned their hope of doing him harm. He on his part was naturally without grudge against the beaten party, because of a certain leniency of disposition, but they, using to their own advantage his lack of suspicion, by seductive words and pretence of deeds treated him in such a way as to more readily escape detection in their plot. There were various reasons which affected each and all of them and impelled them to lay hands on the man. Some of them had hopes of becoming leaders themselves in his place if he were put out of the way; others were angered over what had happened to them in the war, embittered over the loss of their relatives, property, or offices of state. They concealed the fact that they were angry, and made the pretense of something more seemly, saying that they were displeased at the rule of a single man and that they were striving for a republican form of government. Different people had different reasons, all brought together by whatever pretext they happened upon.
At first the ringleaders conspired; then many more joined, some of their own accord because of personal grievances, some because they had been associated with the others and wished to show plainly the good faith in their long standing friendship, and accordingly became their associates. There were some who were of neither of these types, but who had agreed because of the worth of the others, and who resented the power of one man after the long-standing republican constitution. They were very glad not to start the affair themselves, but were willing to join such company when someone else had initiated proceedings, not even hesitating to pay the penalty if need be. The reputation which had long been attached to the Brutus family was very influential in causing the uprising, for Brutus' ancestors had overthrown the kings who ruled from the time of Romulus, and they had first established republican government in Rome. Moreover, men who had been friends of Caesar were no longer similarly well disposed toward him when they saw people who were previously his enemies saved by him and given honors equal to their own. In fact, even these others were not particularly well disposed toward him, for their ancient grudges took precedence over gratitude and made them forgetful of their good fortune in being saved, while, when they remembered the good things they had lost in being defeated, they were provoked. Many also hated him because they had been saved by him although he had been irreproachable in his behavior toward them in every respect; but nevertheless, the very thought of receiving as a favor the benefits which as victors they would readily have enjoyed, annoyed them very much.
Then there was another class of men, namely those who had served with him, whether as officers or privates, and who did not get a share of glory. They asserted that prisoners of war were enrolled among the veteran forces and that they received identical pay. Accordingly, his friends were incensed at being rated as equal to those whom they themselves had taken prisoners, and indeed they were even outranked by some of them. To many, also, the fact that they benefitted at his hands, both by gifts of property and by appointments to offices, was a special source of grievance, since he alone was able to bestow such benefits, and everyone else was ignored as of no importance. When he became exalted through many notable victories (which was fair enough) and began to think himself superhuman the common people worshipped him, but he began to be obnoxious to the optimates and to those who were trying to obtain a share in the government. And so, every kind of man combined against him: great and small, friend and foe, military and political, every one of whom put forward his own particular pretext for the matter in hand, and as a result of his own complaints each lent a ready ear to the accusations of the others. They all confirmed each other in their conspiracy and they furnished as surety to one another the grievances which they held severally in private against him. Hence, though the number of conspirators became so great, no one dared to give information of the fact. Some say, however, that a little before his death, Caesar received a note in which warning of the plot was given, and that he was murdered with it in his hands before he had a chance to read it, and that it was found among other notes after his death.
(20) However, all this became known subsequently. At that time some wished to gratify him by voting him one honor after another, while others treacherously included extravagant honors, and published them, so that he might become and object of envy and suspicion to all. Caesar was of guileless disposition and was unskilled in political practices by reason of his foreign campaigns, so that he was easily taken in by these people, supposing, naturally enough, that their commendations came rather from men who admired him than from men who were plotting against him.
To those who were in authority this measure was expecially displeasing: that the people were now rendered powerless to make appointments to office, and that Caesar was given the right of investure to bestow upon whomsoever he pleased. An ordinance voted not long before provided this. Furthermore, all sorts of rumors were being bandied about in the crowd, some telling one story, others another. Some said that he had decided to establish a capital of the whole empire in Egypt, and that Queen Cleopatra had lain with him and borne him a son, named Cyrus, there. This he himself refuted in his will as false. Others said that he was going to do the same thing at Troy, on account of his ancient connection with the Trojan race.
Something else, such as it was, took place which especially stirred the conspirators against him. There was a golden statue of him which had been erected on the Rostra by vote of the people. A diadem appeared on it, encircling the head, whereupon the Romans became very suspicious, supposing that it was a symbol of servitude. Two of the tribunes, Lucius and Gaius, came up and ordered one of their subordinates to climb up, take it down, and throw it away. When Caesar discovered what had happened, he convened the Senate in the Temple of Concordia and arraigned the tribunes, asserting that they themselves had secretly placed the diadem on the statue, so that they might have a chance to insult him openly and thus get credit for doing a brave deed by dishonoring the statue, caring nothing either for him or for the Senate. He continued that their action was one which indicated a more serious resolution and plot: if somehow they might slander him to the people as a seeker after unconstitutional power, and thus (themselves stirring up an insurrection) to slay him. After this address, with the concurrence of the Senate he banished them. Accordingly, they went off into exile and other tribunes were appointed in their place. Then the people clamored that he become king and they shouted that there should be no longer any delay in crowning him as such, for Fortune had already crowned him. But Caesar declared that although he would grant the people everything because of their good will toward him, he would never allow this step; and he asked their indulgence for contradicting their wishes in preserving the old form of government, saying that he preferred to hold the office of consul in accordance with the law to being king illegally.
(21) Such was the people's talk at that time. Later, in the course of the winter, a festival was held in Rome, called Lupercalia, in which old and young men together take part in a procession, naked except for a girdle, and anointed, railing that those whom they meet and striking them with pieces of goat hide. When this festival came on Marcus Antonius was chosen director[hegemon]. He proceeded through the Forum, as was the custom, and the rest of the throng followed him. Caesar was sitting in a golden chair on the Rostra, wearing a purple toga. At first Licinius advanced toward him carrying a laurel wreath, though inside it a diadem was plainly visible. He mounted up, pushed up by his colleagues (for the place from which Caesar was accustomed to address the assembly was high), and set the diadem down before Caesar's feet. Thereupon Caesar called Lepidus, the Master of the Horse, to ward him off, but Lepidus hesitated. In the meanwhile Cassius Longinus, one of the conspirators, pretending to be really well disposed toward Caesar so that he might the more readily escape suspicion, hurriedly removed the diadem and placed it in Caesar's lap. Publius Casca was also with him. While Caesar kept rejecting it, and among the shouts of the people, Antonius suddenly rushed up, naked and anointed, just as he was in the procession, and placed it on his head. But Caesar snatched it off, and threw it into the crowd. Those who were standing at some distance applauded this action, but those who were near at hand clamored that he should accept it and not repel the people's favor. Various individuals held different views of the matter. Some were angry, thinking it an indication of power out of place in a democracy; others, thinking to court favor, approved; still others spread the report that Antonius had acted as he did not without Caesar's connivance. There were many who were quite willing that Caesar be made king openly. All sorts of talk began to go through the crowd. When Antonius crowned Caesar a second time, the people shouted in chorus, "Hail, King"; but Caesar still refusing the crown, ordered it to be taken to the Temple of Capitoline Jupiter, saying that it was more appropriate there. Again the same people applauded as before. There is told another story, that Antonius acted thus wishing to ingratiate himself with Caesar, and at the same time was cherishing the hope of being adopted as his son. Finally, he embraced Caesar and gave the crown to some of the men standing near to place it on the head of the statue of Caesar which was near by. This they did. Of all the occurrences of that time this was not the least influential in hastening the action of the conspirators, for it proved to their very eyes the truth of the suspicions they entertained.
(22) Not long after this, the Praetor Cinna propitiated Caesar to the extent of securing a decree which allowed the exiled tribunes to return; though in accordance with the wish of the people they were not to resume their office, but to remain private citizens, yet not excluded from public affairs. Caesar did not prevent their recall, so they returned. Caesar called the annual comitia (for he had the authority of a decree to do so) and appointed Vibius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius as consuls for the ensuing year; for the year after that, Decimus Brutus, one of the conspirators, and Munatius Plancus. Directly after this, another thing happened that greatly aroused the conspirators. Caesar was having a large handsome forum laid out in Rome, and he had called together the artisans and was letting the contracts for its construction. In the meanwhile, up came a procession of Roman nobles, to confer the honors which had just been voted him by common consent. In the lead was the consul (the one who was Caesar's colleague at that time), and he carried the decree with him. In front of him were lictors, keeping the crowd back on either side. With the consul came the praetors, tribunes, quaestors, and all the other officials. Next came the Senate, in orderly formation, and then a multitude of enormous size--never so large. The dignity of the nobles was awe inspiring--they were entrusted with the rule of the whole empire, and yet looked with admiration on another as if he were still greater. Caesar was seated while they advanced and because he was conversing with men standing to one side, he did not urn his head toward the approaching procession or pay any attention to it, but continued to prosecute the business which he had on hand, until one of his friends, nearby, said, 'Look at these people coming up in front of you.' Then Caesar laid down his papers and turned around and listened to what they had come to say. Now among their number were the conspirators, who filled the others with ill-will toward him, though the others were already offended at him because of this incident.
Then those also were excited who wished to lay hands on him not to recover liberty but to destroy the entire extant system; they were looking for an opportunity to overcome one who seemed to be absolutely invincible. For, although he had participated up to this time in three hundred and two battles in both Asia and Europe, it appeared that he had never been worsted. Since, however, he frequently came out by himself and appeared before them, the hope arose that he could be taken by treachery. They tried to bring about, somehow, the dismissal of his bodyguard by flattering him when they addressed him, saying that he ought to be considered sacred in the eyes of all and be called 'pater patriae'; and by proposing decrees to that effect in the hope that he would be thus misled and actually trust to their affection, and that he would dismiss his spearmen in the belief that he was guarded by the good will of everyone. This actually came to pass, and made their task far easier.
(23) The conspirators never met to make their plans in the open, but in secret, a few at a time in each other's houses. As was natural, many plans were proposed and set in motion by them as they considered how and when they should commit the awful deed. Some proposed to attach him while on his way through the 'Via Sacra', for he often walked there; others, at the time of the comitia, when he had to cross a certain bridge to hold the election of magistrates in the field before the city. They would so divide their duties by lot that some should jostle him off the bridge and the others should rush upon him and slay him. Others proposed that he be attacked when the gladiatorial shows were held (they were near at hand), for then, because of these contests no suspicion would be aroused by the sight of men armed for the deed. The majority urged that he be killed during the session of the Senate, for then he was likely to be alone. There was no admittance to non-members, and many of the senators were conspirators, and carried swords under their togas. This plan was adopted.
Fortune [Tyche] had a part in this by causing Caesar himself to set a certain day on which the members of the Senate were to assemble to consider certain motions which he wished to introduce. When the appointed day came the conspirators assembled, prepared in all respects. They met in the portico (stoa) of Pompeius' theater, where they sometimes gathered. Thus the divinity showed the vanity of man's estate--how very unstable it is, and subject to the vagaries of fortune--for Caesar was brought to the house of his enemy, there to lie, a corpse, before the statue of one whom, now dead, he had defeated when he was alive. And Fate [Moira] becomes a still stronger force if indeed one acknowledges her part in these things: on that day his friends, drawing conclusions from certain auguries, tried to prevent him from going to the Senate Room [bouleuterion], as did also his physicians on account of vertigoes to which he was sometimes subject, and from which he was at that time suffering; and especially his wife Calpurnia, who was terrified by a dream that night. She clung to him and said that she would not let him go out on that day. But Brutus, one of the conspirators, though he was at that time thought to be one of his most intimate friends, came up to him and said, 'What do you say, Caesar? Are you going to pay any attention to a woman's dreams and foolish men's omens, a man such as you? Are you going to insult the Senate which has honored you and which you yourself convened, by not going out? No; if you take my advice you will dismiss from your mind the dreams of these people and go, for the Senate has been in session since morning, and is awaiting you.' He was persuaded and went out.
(24) Meanwhile the assassins were making ready, some of them stationing themselves beside his chair, others in front of it, others behind it. The augurs brought forward the victims for him to make his final sacrifice before his entry into the Senate Room. It was manifest that the omens were unfavorable. The augurs substituted one animal after another in the attempt to secure a more auspicious forecast. Finally they said that the indications from the gods where unfavorable and that there was plainly some sort of curse hiding in the victims. In disgust, Caesar turned away toward the setting sun, and the augurs interpreted this action still more unfavorably. The assassins were on hand and were pleased at all this. Caesar's friends begged that he postpone the present session on account of what the soothsayers had said; and for his part, he was just giving the order to do this, but suddenly the attendants came to summon him, saying that the Senate had a quorum. Then Caesar cast a look toward his friends. And Brutus approached him again and said, 'Come Sir, turn your back on these people's nonsense and do not postpone the business that deserves the attention of Caesar and of the great empire, but consider your own worth a favorable omen.' Thus persuading him, he at the same time took him by the hand and led him in, for the Senate-chamber was nearby. Caesar followed in silence. When he came in and the Senate saw him, the members rose out of respect to him. Those who intended to lay hands on him were all about him. The first to come to him was Tullius Cimber, whose brother Caesar had exiled, and stepping forward as though to make an urgent appeal on behalf of his brother, he seized Caesar's toga, seeming to act rather boldly for a suppliant, and thus prevented him from standing up and using his hands if he so wished. Caesar was very angry, but the men held to their purpose and all suddenly bared their daggers and rushed upon him. First Servilius Casca stabbed him on the left shoulder a little above the collar bone, at which he had aimed but missed through nervousness. Caesar sprang up to defend himself against him, and Casca called to his brother, speaking in Greek in his excitement. The latter obeyed him and drove his sword into Caesar's side. A moment before Cassius had struck him obliquely across the face. Decimus Brutus struck him through the thigh. Cassius Longinus was eager to give another stroke, but he missed and struck Marcus Brutus on the hand. Minucius, too, made a lunge at Caesar but he struck Rubrius on the thigh. It looked as if they were fighting over Caesar. He fell, under many wounds, before the statue of Pompey, and there was not one of them but struck him as he lay lifeless, to show that each of them had had a share in the deed, until he had received thirty-five wounds, and breathed his last.
(25) A tremendous uproar arose from those who had no knowledge of the plot and who were rushing terror-stricken from the senate house, thinking that the same awful thing was going to happen to themselves also; and from those of Caesar's associates who were outside and who thought that the whole senate was involved and that a large army was on hand for the purpose; and from those who, ignorant of the affair, were terrified and thrown into confusion from the suddenness of the noise and from what burst upon their view (for all at once the assassins, with bloody daggers in their hands ....). The whole place was full of people running and shouting. There was a crowd, too, in the Theater, which got up and rushed out in disorder (there happened to be a gladiatorial exhibition in progress) knowing nothing definite of what had happened but frightened by the shouting all about them. Some said that the Senate was being slaughtered by gladiators, others that Caesar had been murdered and that his army had started to pillage the city; some got one impression, others another. There was nothing clear to be heard, for there was a continuous tumult until the people saw the assassins and Marcus Brutus trying to stop the outcry and exhorting the people to be of good courage, for that no evil had taken place The sum and substance of his words (as the rest of the assassins also loudly boasted) was that they had slain a tyrant. It was proposed by some of the conspirators that they ought to put out of the way still others who were likely to oppose them and again try to gain control. They say that Marcus Brutus restrained them, declaring that it was not right to kill, for the sake of vague suspicion, people against whom there was no clear charge; and this view prevailed. Then rushing forth the assassins fled in haste through the Forum up to the Capitoline, carrying their swords bare and shouting that they had acted in behalf of common freedom. A great crowd of gladiators and slaves, who had been prepared for the purpose, followed them. There was much running in the streets and through the Forum, now that the news that Caesar had been murdered became known to the throng. The city looked as if it had been occupied by an enemy. After the conspirators had ascended the Capitoline, they distributed themselves in a circle about the place and mounted a guard, fearing that Caesar's soldiers would attack them.
(26) The body of Caesar lay just where it fell, ignominiously stained with blood--a man who had advanced westward as far as Britain and the Ocean, and who had intended to advance eastward against the realms of the Parthians and Indi, so that, with them also subdued, an empire of all land and sea might be brought under the power of a single head. There he lay, no one daring to remain to remove the body. Those of his friends who had been present had run away, and those who were away remained hidden in their houses, or else changed their clothing and went out into the country districts nearby. Not one of his many friends stood by him, either while he was being slaughtered or afterward, except Calvisius Sabinus and Censorinus; but these also, though they offered some slight opposition when Brutus and Cassius and their followers made their attack, had to flee because of the greater number of their opponents. All the others looked out for themselves and some even acquiesced in what had occurred. They say that one of them thus addressed the body: 'Enough of truckling to a tyrant.' A little later, three slaves, who were nearby, placed the body on a litter and carried it home through the Forum, showing, where the covering was drawn back on each side, the hands hanging limp and the wounds on the face. Then no one refrained from tears, seeing him who had lately been honored like a god. Much weeping and lamentation accompanied them from either side, from mourners on the roofs, in the streets, and in the vestibules. When they approached his house, a far greater wailing met their ears, for his wife rushed out with a number of women and servants, calling on her husband and bewailiing her lot in that she had in vain counseled him not to go out on that day. But he had met with a fate far worse than she ever expected.
(26b) These were now preparing for his burial, but the assassins had secured a number of gladiators some time previous to the deed when they were about to attack him and had placed them under arms, between the senate house and the theater in Pompeius' arcade. Decimus Brutus had got them ready under the pretext that he wished to seize one of the gladiators who were assembling in that theater, a man whom he had previously hired. (The contests were taking place at that time, and as he was going to conduct some himself, he pretended that he was jealous of the present exhibitor.) As a matter of fact, this preparation was more with reference to the assassination, so that, in case any resistance should be offered by Caesar's guards, the conspirators should have assistance at hand. With these gladiators and an additional throng of slaves they descended from the Capitoline. Calling together the people, they decided to test them and the magistrates, finding out how they were regarded by them; whether they were looked upon as having ended a tyranny or as murderers . . . . . that still greater ills were likely to burst forth in consequence of the late deed; for the action had taken place with no inconsiderable forethought and preparation on the part of those who accomplished it, and on the part of those against whom the plot was laid; and that there was a considerable number of Caesar's auxiliary troops and important commanders still left, who would take over the task of carrying out his plans. There was profound silence then because of the unusual nature of the situation, for men's minds were confused, everyone watching eagerly to see what bold move might first be made in such a crisis, and be the beginning of a revolution. Meanwhile since the people were quietly awaiting the consequences, Marcus Brutus (honored throughout his whole life because of his discretion and the renown of his ancestors and the fairness which he was supposed to have) made the following speech (See my work, 'Concerning Public Speeches.')
(27) After this harangue the conspirators withdrew again to the Capitoline and took council [sic; ebouleuonto] as to what ought to be done under the present circumstances. They decided to send envoys to Lepidus and Antonius to persuade them to come to them in the temple and there confer with them in planning the future of the state; and to promise them that everything which they possessed from Caesar's hands would be considered as authorized gifts, so that there would be no cause for dissent on these grounds. When the envoys arrived Antonius and Lepidus said that they would answer on the following day. These things were done in the late evening, and a greater confusion laid hold on the city. Everyone saw to his own property, deserting the public interests, for they feared sudden plots and attacks, seeing that the leaders were encamped under arms in opposition to each other; nor was it yet clear to them who would gain complete control. When night came on they dispersed. On the following day the consul Antonius was under arms; and Lepidus, having collected a considerable force of auxiliaries proceeded through the middle of the Forum, having decided to avenge Caesar. when those who had previously been in doubt saw this, they joined Antonius and Lepidus, with their respective retinues under arms, and the result was an army of considerable size. There were some who acted thus through fear, not wishing to seem too delighted at Caesar's death, and at the same time looking to their future interests by joining the consuls.
Many messages were sent to those who had benefitted at Caesar's hands (whether through grants of dwelling places in cities, through grants of land, or allotments of money)saying that everything would be changed unless some strenuous efforts were exerted by them as well. Then his friends received many mournful entreaties, reminding those especially who had once taken the field with him how he had suffered death abandoned by his friends, great as he was. Accordingly, many joined the consuls out of compassion and friendship, finding a chance for private gain as well as what would result from a revolution, especially since the course of their opponents seemed to lack vigor and was not what they previously expected it to be when they believed that the had a stronger force. Now it was openly said that Caesar must be avenged, and that this was the only thing to do, and that his death must not go unpunished. Gathering into groups they expressed various views, some suggesting one course, others another.
However, those who advocated a republican form of government were gratified at the whole change, and only blamed Caesar's murderers because they had not done away with more of the people who were at that time viewed with suspicion, and thus brought about a real liberty; for those who were still left would be likely to give considerable trouble. There were also men who had a reputation for greater foresight, and who had gained knowledge from experience with what had happened before in Sulla's time; they cautioned one another to keep to a middle course, for at the time of Sulla those who were thought to have been destroyed, suddenly took fresh courage and drove out their late conquerors. They declared that Caesar would give his murderers and their companions much trouble, even though he was dead, since here was a large force threatening them, with energetic men in charge of it.
Antonius and his associates before preparing for action sent a legation to parley with the forces on the Capitoline, but later, emboldened by the amount of their arms and the number of their men, they felt justified in taking full charge of the government, and ending the disturbance in the city. First of all they took council (having asked their friends to be present) how they ought to act toward the assassins. Lepidus proposed that they should fight them and avenge Caesar. Hirtius thought that they should discuss the matter with them and come to friendly terms. Someone else, supporting Lepidus, expressed the opposite opinion, saying that it would be sacrilegious to pass by the murder of Caesar unavenged, and furthermore, it would not be safe for all those who had been his friends; 'for even if the murderers are inactive now, yet as soon as they get more power, they will go still further.' Antonius favored the proposal of Hirtius, and voted to save them. There were others who urged that they be dismissed from the city under truce.
(28) After the great Caesar's death and burial, his friends counselled Octavian to cultivate Antonius' friendship, and put him in charge of his interests . . . . [long lacuna, some months]. And though there were many other contributory causes toward disagreement between them, he seemed the more to incite enmity between them,for he was at odds with Octavian, and a partisan of Antonius. Octavian, however, in no wise frightened, because of his high spirit, gave some exhibitions on the occasion of the festival of Venus Genetrix which his father had established. He again approached Antonius with a number of his friends, requesting that permission be given for the throne and wreath to be set up in his father's honor. Antonius made the same threat as before, if he did not drop that proposal and keep quiet. Octavian withdrew and made no opposition to the veto of the consul. When he entered the theater, however, the people applauded him loudly, and his father's soldiers, angered because he had been prevented from paying tribute to the honored memory of his father, gave him, as a mark of their approval, one round of applause after another all through the performance. Then he counted out for the people their allotted money, and that secured him their especial good will.
From that day Antonius was manifestly still more ill disposed toward Octavian, who stood in the way of the people's zeal for him. Octavian saw (what had become very plain to him from the present situation) that he was in need of political authority. He also saw that the consuls, secure in mucy power, were openly resisting nim and appropriating still more power for themselves. Even the city treasury, which his father had filled with funds, they had emptied within two months after Caesar's death, wasting money in large lots on any excuse that offered in the general confusion; and furthermore they were on good terms with the assassins. So Octavian was the only one left to avenge his father, for Antonius let the whole matter pass, and was even in favor of an amnesty for the assassins. A number of men, indeed, joined Octavian, but many joined Antonius and Dolabella also. There were others who, from a middle ground, tried to foment enmity between them, and doing so . . . . . [lacuna] The chief of these were the following men: Publius, Vibius, Lucius and especially Cicero. Octavian was not ignorant of the reason why the associated themselves with him, trying to provoke him against Antonius, but he did not repel them, for he wished to have their assistance and a more powerful guard thrown around him, though he was aware that each of these men was very little concerned over public interests but that they were looking about for an opportunity to acquire public office and supreme power. To their mind, the man who had previously enjoyed that power was out of the way, and Octavian was altogether too young and not likely to hold out against so great a tumult, with one man looking out for one thing, another for another, and all of them aeizing what they could for their own gain. For with all attention to public welfare put away, and with the foremost citizens separated into many factions, and everyone trying to encompass all the power for himself, or at least as much of it as could be detached, the rule showed many strange aspects.
Assassination of Julius Caesar
- The Roman History, by C. Velleius Paterculus
published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1924
But it was the lot of this great man, who behaved with such clemency in all his victories, that his peaceful enjoyment of supreme power should last but five months. For, returning to the city in October, he was slain on the ides of March. Brutus and Cassius were the leaders of the conspiracy. He had failed to win the former by the promise of the consulship, and had offended the latter by the postponement of his candidacy. There were also in the plot to compass his death some of the most intimate of all his friends, who owed their elevation to the success of his party, namely Decimus Brutus, Gaius Trebonius, and others of illustrious name. 4 Marcus Antonius, his colleague in the consulship, ever ready for acts of daring, had brought great odium upon Caesar by placing a royal crown upon his head as he sat on the rostra at the Lupercalia. Caesar put the crown from him, but in such a way that he did not seem to be displeased.
57 In the light of experience due credit should be given to the counsel of Pansa and Hirtius, who had always warned Caesar that he must hold by arms the position which he had won by arms. But Caesar kept reiterating that he would rather die than live in fear, and while he looked for a return for the clemency he had shown, he was taken off his guard by men devoid of gratitude, 2 although the gods gave many signs and presages of the threatened danger. For the soothsayers had warned him beforehand carefully to beware the Ides of March; his wife Calpurnia, terrified by a dream, kept begging him to remain at home on that day; and notes warning him of the conspiracy were handed him, but he neglected to read them at the time. But verily the power of destiny is inevitable; 3 it confounds the judgement of him whose fortune it has determined to reverse.
58 Brutus and Cassius were praetors, and Decimus Brutus was consul designate in the year in which they perpetrated this deed. 2 These three, with the remainder of the group of conspirators, escorted by a band of gladiators belonging to Decimus Brutus, seized the capitol. Thereupon Antonius, as consul, summoned the senate. Cassius had been in favour of slaying Antony as well as Caesar, and of destroying Caesar's will, but Brutus had opposed him, insisting that citizens ought not to seek the blood of any but the "tyrant" - for to call Caesar "tyrant" placed his deed in a better light. 3 Dolabella, whom Caesar had named for the consulship, with the intention of putting him in his own place, had already seized the fasces and the insignia of that office. Having summoned the senate, Antonius, acting as the guarantor of peace, sent his own sons to the capitol as hostages and thus gave his assurance to the slayers of Caesar that they might come down in safety. 4 On the motion of Cicero the famous precedent of the Athenians granting amnesty for past acts was approved by decree of the senate.
Assassination of Julius Caesar
1 All this Caesar did as a preliminary step to his campaign against the Parthians; but a baleful frenzy which fell upon certain men through jealousy of his advancement and hatred of his preferment to themselves caused his death unlawfully, while it added a new name to the annals of infamy; it scattered the decrees to the winds and brought upon the Romans seditions and civil wars once more after a state of harmony. His slayers, to be sure, declared that they had shown themselves at once destroyers of Caesar and liberators of the people: but in reality they impiously plotted against him, and they threw the city into disorder when at last it possessed a stable government. Democracy, indeed, has a fair-appearing name and conveys the impression of bringing equal rights to all through equal laws, but its results are seen not to agree at all with its title. Monarchy, on the contrary, has an unpleasant sound, but is a most practical form of government to live under. For it is easier to find a single excellent man than many of them, and if even this seems to some a difficult feat, it is quite inevitable that the other alternative should be acknowledged to be impossible; for it does not belong to the majority of men to acquire virtue. And again, even though a base man should obtain supreme power, yet he is preferable to the masses of like character, as the history of the Greeks and barbarians and of the Romans themselves proves. For successes have always been greater and more frequent in the case both of cities and of individuals under kings than under popular rule, and disasters do not happen so frequently under monarchies as under mob-rule. Indeed, if ever there has been a prosperous democracy, it has in any case been at its best for only a brief period, so long, that is, as the people had neither the numbers nor the strength sufficient to cause insolence to spring up among them as the result of good fortune or jealousy as the result of ambition. But for a city, not only so large in itself, but also ruling the finest and the greatest part of the known world, holding sway over men of many and diverse natures, possessing many men of great wealth, occupied with every imaginable pursuit, enjoying every imaginable fortune, both individually and collectively,- for such a city, I say, to practise moderation under a democracy is impossible, and still more is it impossible for the people, unless moderation prevails, to be harmonious. Therefore, if Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius had only reflected upon these things, they would never have killed the city's head and protector nor have made themselves the cause of countless ills both to themselves and to all the rest of mankind then living.
3 It happened as follows, and his death was due to the cause now to be given. He had aroused dislike that was not altogether unjustified, except in so far as it was the senators themselves who had by their novel and excessive honours encouraged him and puffed him up, only to find fault with him on this very account and to spread slanderous reports how glad he was to accept them and how he behaved more haughtily as a result of them. It is true that Caesar did now and then err by accepting some of the honours voted him and believing that he really deserved them; yet those were most blameworthy who, after beginning to honour him as he deserved, led him on and brought blame upon him for the measures they had passed. He neither dared, of course, to thrust them all aside, for fear of being thought contemptuous, nor, again, could he be safe in accepting them; for excessive honour and praise render even the most modest men conceited, especially if they seem to be bestowed with sincerity.
4 The privileges that were granted him, in addition to all those mentioned, were as follows in number and nature; for I shall name them all together, even if they were not all proposed or passed at one time. First, then, they voted that he should always ride, even in the city itself, wearing the triumphal dress, and should sit in his chair of state everywhere except at the games; for at those he received the privilege of watching the contests from the tribunes' benches in company with those who were tribunes at the time. And they gave him the right to offer spolia opima, as they are called, at the temple of Jupiter Feretrius, as if he had slain some hostile general with his own hand, and to have lictors who always carried laurel, and after the Feriae Latinae to ride from the Alban Mount into the city on horseback. In addition to these remarkable privileges they named him father of his country, stamped this title on the coinage, voted to celebrate his birthday by public sacrifice, ordered that he should have a statue in the cities and in all the temples of Rome, and they set up two also on the rostra, one representing him as the saviour of the citizens and the other as the deliverer of the city from siege, and wearing the crowns customary for such achievements. They also resolved to build a temple of Concordia Nova, on the ground that it was through his efforts that they enjoyed peace, and to celebrate an annual festival in her honour. When he had accepted these, they assigned to him the charge of filling the Pontine marshes, cutting a canal through the Peloponnesian isthmus, and constructing a new senate-house, since that of Hostilius, although repaired, had been demolished. The reason assigned for its destruction was that a temple of Felicitas was to be built there, which Lepidus, indeed, brought to completion while master of the horse; but their real purpose was that the name of Sulla should not be preserved on it, and that another senate-house, newly constructed, might be named the Julian, even as they had called the month in which he was born July, and one of the tribes, selected by lot, the Julian. And they voted that Caesar should be sole censor for life and should enjoy the immunities granted to the tribunes, so that if any one insulted him by deed or word, that man should be an outlaw and accursed, and further that Caesar's son, should he beget or even adopt one, should be appointed high priest. 6 As he seemed to like all this, a gilded chair was granted him, and a garb that the kings had once used, and body-guard of knights and senators; furthermore they decided that prayers should be offered for him publicly every year, that they should swear by Caesar's Fortune, and should regard as valid all his future acts. 2 Next they bestowed upon him a quadrennial festival, as to a hero, and a third priestly college, which they called the Julian, as overseers of the Lupercalia, and one special day of his own each time in connection with all gladiatorial combats both in Rome and the rest of Italy. When he showed himself pleased with these honours also, they accordingly voted that his golden chair and his crown set with precious gems and overlaid with gold should be carried into the theatres in the same manner as those of the gods, and that on the occasion of the games in the Circus his chariot should be brought in. And finally they addressed him outright as Jupiter Julius and ordered a temple to be consecrated to him and to his Clemency, electing Antony as their priest like some flamen Dialis.
7 At the same time with these measures they passed another which most clearly indicated their disposition it gave him the right to place his tomb within the pomerium; and the decrees regarding this matter they inscribed in golden letters on silver tablets and deposited beneath the feet of Jupiter Capitolinus, thus pointing out to him very clearly that he was a mortal. When they had begun to honour him, it was with the idea, of course, that he would be reasonable; but as they went on and saw that he was delighted with what they voted,- indeed he accepted all but a very few of their decrees,- different men at different times kept proposing various extravagant honours, some in a spirit of exaggerated flattery and others by way of ridicule. At any rate, some actually ventured to suggest permitting him to have intercourse with as many women as he pleased, because even at this time, though fifty years old, he still had numerous mistresses. Others, and they were the majority, followed this course because they wished to make him envied and hated as quickly as possible, that he might the sooner perish. 4 And this is precisely what happened, though Caesar was encouraged by these very measures to believe that he should never be plotted against by the men who had voted him such honours, nor, through fear of them, by any one else; and consequently he even dispensed henceforth with a body-guard. For nominally he accepted the privilege of being watched over by the senators and knights, and so dismissed the guard he had previously had. Indeed, when once they had voted to him on a single day an unusually large number of these honours of especial importance,- which had been granted unanimously by all except Cassius and a few others, who became famous for this action, yet suffered no harm, whereby Caesar's clemency was conspicuously revealed,- they then approached him as he was sitting in the vestibule of the temple of Venus in order to announce to him in a body their decisions; for they transacted such business in his absence, in order to have the appearance of doing it, not under compulsion, but voluntarily. And either by some heaven-sent fatuity or even through excess of joy he received them sitting, which aroused so great indignation among them all, not only the senators but all the rest, that it afforded his slayers one of their chief excuses for their plot against him. Some who subsequently tried to defend him claimed, it is true, that owing to an attack of diarrhoea he could not control the movement of his bowels and so had remained where he was in order to avoid a flux. They were not able, however, to convince the majority, since not long afterwards he rose up and went home on foot; hence most men suspected him of being inflated with pride and hated him for his haughtiness, when it was they themselves who had made him disdainful by the exaggerated character of their honours. After this occurrence, striking as it was, he increased the suspicion by permitting himself somewhat later to be chosen dictator for life.
9 When he had reached this point, the men who were plotting against him hesitated no longer, but in order to embitter even his best friends against him, they did their best to traduce him, finally saluting him as king, a name which they often used also among themselves. When he kept refusing the title and rebuking in a way those who thus accosted him, yet did nothing by which it would be thought that he was really displeased at it, they secretly adorned his statue, which stood on the rostra, with a diadem. And when the tribunes, Gaius Epidius Marullus and Lucius Caesetius Flavius, took it down, he became violently angry, although they uttered no word of abuse and moreover actually praised him before the populace as not wanting anything of the sort. For the time being, though vexed, he held his peace. 10 Subsequently, however, when he was riding in from the Alban Mount and some men again called him king, he said that his name was not king but Caesar; but when the same tribunes brought suit against the first man who had termed him king, he no longer restrained his wrath but showed great irritation, as if these very officials were really stirring up sedition against him. And though for the moment he did them no harm, yet later, when they issued a proclamation declaring that they were unable to speak their mind freely and safely on behalf of the public good, he became exceedingly angry and brought them into the senate-house where he accused them and put their conduct to the vote. He did not put them to death, though some declared them worthy even of that penalty, but he first removed them from the tribuneship, on the motion of Helvius Cinna, their colleague, and then erased their names from the senate. Some were pleased at this, or pretended to be, thinking they would have no need to incur danger by speaking out freely, and since they were not themselves involved in the business, they could view events as from a watch tower. 4 Caesar, however, received an ill name from this fact also, that, where he should have hated those who applied to him the name of king, he let them go and found fault with the tribunes instead.
11 Another thing that happened not long after these events proved still more clearly that, although he pretended to shun the title, in reality he desired to assume it. For when he had entered the Forum at the festival of the Lupercalia and was sitting on the rostra in his gilded chair, adorned with the royal apparel and resplendent in his crown overlaid with gold, Antony with his fellow-priests saluted him as king and binding a diadem upon his head, said: "The people offer this to you through me." And Caesar answered: "Jupiter alone is king of the Romans," and sent the diadem to Jupiter on the Capitol; yet he was not angry, but caused it to be inscribed in the records that he had refused to accept the kingship when offered to him by the people through the consul. It was accordingly suspected that this thing had been deliberately arranged and that he was anxious for the name, but wished to be somehow compelled to take it; consequently the hatred against him was intense. After this certain men at the elections proposed for consuls the tribunes previously mentioned, and they not only privately approached Marcus Brutus and such other persons as were proud-spirited and attempted to persuade them, but also tried to incite them to action publicly. Making the most of his having the same name as the great Brutus who overthrew the Tarquins, they scattered broadcast many pamphlets, declaring that he was not truly that man's descendant; for the older Brutus had put to death both his sons, the only ones he had, when they were mere lads, and left no offspring whatever. Nevertheless, the majority pretended to accept such a relationship, in order that Brutus, as a kinsman of that famous man, might be induced to perform deeds as great. They kept continually calling upon him, shouting out "Brutus, Brutus!" and adding further "We need a Brutus." Finally on the statue of the early Brutus they wrote "Would that thou wert living!" and upon the tribunal of the living Brutus (for he was praetor at the time and this is the name given to the seat on which the praetor sits in judgment) "Brutus, thou sleepest," and "Thou art not Brutus."
13 Now these were the influences that persuaded Brutus to attack Caesar, whom he had opposed from the beginning in any case, although he had later accepted benefits from him. He was also influenced by the fact that he was both nephew and son-in‑law of that Cato who was called Uticensis, as I have stated. And his wife Portia was the only woman, as they say, who was privy to the plot. For she came upon him while he was pondering over these very matters and asked him why he was so thoughtful. When he made no answer, she suspected that she was distrusted on account of her physical weakness, for fear she might reveal something, however unwillingly, under torture; hence she ventured to do a noteworthy deed. She secretly inflicted a wound upon her own thigh, to test herself and see if she could endure torture. And as soon as the first intense pain was past, she despised the wound, and coming to him, said: "You, my husband, though you trusted my spirit that it would not betray you, nevertheless were distrustful of my body, and your feeling was but human. But I found that my body also can keep silence." With these words she disclosed her thigh, and making known the reason for what she had done, she said: "Therefore fear not, but tell me all you are concealing from me, for neither fire, nor lashes, nor goads will force me to divulge a word; I was not born to that extent a woman. Hence, if you still distrust me, it is better for me to die than to live; otherwise let no one think me longer the daughter of Cato or your wife." 14 Hearing this, Brutus marvelled; and he no longer hid anything from her, but felt strengthened himself and related to her the whole plot. After this he obtained as an associate Gaius Cassius, who had also been spared by Caesar and moreover had been honoured with the praetorship; and he was the husband of Brutus's sister. Next they proceeded to get together all the others who were of the same mind as themselves and these proved to be not a few in number. There is no need to give a full list of the names, for I might thus become wearisome, but I cannot omit to mention Trebonius and Decimus Brutus, who was also called Junius and Albinus. For these joined in the plot against Caesar, notwithstanding that they also had received many benefits at his hands; Decimus, in fact, had been appointed consul for the next year and had been assigned to Hither Gaul.
15 They came very near being detected for two reasons. One was the number of those who were privy to the plot, although Caesar would not receive any information about anything of the sort and punished very severely those who brought any news of the kind. The second reason was their delay; for they stood in awe of him, for all their hatred of him, and kept putting the matter off, fearing, in spite of the fact that he no longer had any guard, that they might be killed by some of the men who were always with him; and thus they ran the risk of being discovered and put to death. 3 Indeed, they would have suffered this fate had they not been forced even against their will to hasten the plot. For a report, whether true or false, got abroad, as reports will spread, that the priests known as the Quindecemviri were spreading the report that the Sibyl had said the Parthians would never be defeated in any other way than by a king, and were consequently going to propose that this title be granted to Caesar. The conspirators believed this to be true, and because a vote would be demanded of the magistrates, among whom were Brutus and Cassius, owing to the importance of the measure, and they neither dared to oppose it nor would submit to remain silent, they hastened forward their plot before any business connected with the measure should come up.
16 It had been decided by them to make the attempt in the senate, for they thought that there Caesar would least expect to be harmed in any way and would thus fall an easier victim, while they would find a safe opportunity by having swords instead of documents brought into the chamber in boxes, and the rest, being unarmed, would not be able to offer any resistance. But in case any one should be so rash, they hoped at least that the gladiators, many of whom they had previously stationed in Pompey's Theatre under the pretext that they were to contend there, would come to their aid; for these were to lie in wait somewhere there in a certain room of the peristyle. So the conspirators, when the appointed day was come, gathered in the senate-house at dawn and called for Caesar. 17 As for him, he was warned of the plot in advance by soothsayers, and was warned also by dreams. For the night before he was slain his wife dreamed that their house had fallen in ruins and that her husband had been wounded by some men and had taken refuge in her bosom; and Caesar dreamed he was raised aloft upon the clouds and grasped the hand of Jupiter. Moreover, omens not a few and not without significance came to him: the arms of Mars, at that time deposited in his house, according to ancient custom, by virtue of his position as high priest, made a great noise at night, and the doors of the chamber where he slept opened of their own accord. Moreover, the sacrifices which he offered because of these occurrences were not at all favourable, and the birds he used in divination forbade him to leave the house. Indeed, to some the incident of his golden chair seemed ominous, at least after his murder; for the attendant, when Caesar delayed his coming, had carried it out of the senate, thinking that there now would be no need of it.
18 Caesar, accordingly, was so long in coming that the conspirators feared there might be a postponement,- indeed, a rumour got abroad that he would remain at home that day,- and that their plot would thus fall through and they themselves would be detected. Therefore they sent Decimus Brutus, as one supposed to be his devoted friend, to secure his attendance. This man made light of Caesar's scruples and by stating that the senate desired exceedingly to see him, persuaded him to proceed. At this an image of him, which he had set up in the vestibule, fell of its own accord and was shattered in pieces. But, since it was fated that he should die at that time, he not only paid no attention to this but would not even listen to some one who was offering him information of the plot. He received from him a little roll in which all the preparations made for the attack were accurately recorded, but did not read it, thinking it contained some indifferent matter of no pressing importance. In brief, he was so confident that to the soothsayer who had once warned him to beware of that day he jestingly remarked: "Where are your prophecies now? Do you not see that the day which you feared is come and that I am alive?" And the other, they say, answered merely: "Ay, it is come but is not yet past."
19 Now when he finally reached the senate, Trebonius kept Antony employed somewhere at a distance outside. For, though they had planned to kill both him and Lepidus, they feared they might be maligned as a result of the number they destroyed, on the ground that they had slain Caesar to gain supreme power and not to set free the city, as they pretended; and therefore they did not wish Antony even to be present at the slaying. As for Lepidus, he had set out on a campaign and was in the suburbs. When Trebonius, then, talked with Antony, the rest in a body surrounded Caesar, who was as easy of access and as affable as any one could be; and some conversed with him, while others made as if to present petitions to him, so that suspicion might be as far from his mind as possible. And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators. Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain with many wounds. This is the truest account, though some have added that to Brutus, when he struck him a powerful blow, he said: "Thou, too, my son?"
20 A great outcry naturally arose from all the rest who were inside and also from those who were standing near by outside, both at the suddenness of the calamity and because they did not know who the assassins were, their numbers, or their purpose; and all were excited, believing themselves in danger. So they not only turned to flight themselves, every man as best he could, but they also alarmed those who met them by saying nothing intelligible, but merely shouting out the words: "Run! bolt doors! bolt doors!" Then all the rest, severally taking up the cry one from another, kept shouting these words, filled the city with lamentations, and burst into the workshops and houses to hide themselves, even though the assassins hurried just as they were to the Forum, urging them both by their gestures and their shouts not to be afraid. Indeed, while they were telling them this, they kept calling for Cicero; but the crowd did not believe in any case that they were sincere, and was not easily calmed. At length, however, and with difficulty, they took courage and became quiet, as no one was killed or arrested. 21 And when they met in the assembly, the assassins had much to say against Caesar and much in favour of democracy, and they bade the people take courage and not expect any harm. For they had killed him, they declared, not to secure power or any other advantage, but in order that they might be free and independent and be governed rightly. By speaking such words they calmed the majority, especially since they injured no one. But fearing, for all that, that somebody might plot against them in turn, they themselves went up to the Capitol, in order, as they claimed, to pray to the gods, and there they spent the day and night. And at evening they were joined by some of the other prominent men, who had not, indeed, shared in the plot, but were minded, when they saw the perpetrators praised, to lay claim to the glory of it, as well as to the prizes which they expected. But for them the event proved most justly the very opposite of their expectations; for they did not secure any reputation for the deed, because they had not had a hand in it in any way, but they did share the danger which came to those who committed it just as much as if they themselves had been in the plot.
Assassination of Julius Caesar
About sixty persons were engaged in the conspiracy against him, of whom Caius Cassius, and Marcus and Decimus Brutus were the chief. It was at first debated amongst them, whether they should attack him in the Campus Martius when he was taking the votes of the tribes, and some of them should throw him off the bridge, whilst others should be ready to stab him upon his fall; or else in the Via Sacra, or at the entrance of the theatre. But after public notice had been given by proclamation for the senate to assemble upon the ides of March [15th March], in the senate-house built by Pompey, they approved both of the time and place, as most fitting for their purpose.
LXXXI. Caesar had warning given him of his fate by indubitable (50) omens. A few months before, when the colonists settled at Capua, by virtue of the Julian law, were demolishing some old sepulchres, in building country-houses, and were the more eager at the work, because they discovered certain vessels of antique workmanship, a tablet of brass was found in a tomb, in which Capys, the founder of Capua, was said to have been buried, with an inscription in the Greek language to this effect "Whenever the bones of Capys come to be discovered, a descendant of Iulus will be slain by the hands of his kinsmen, and his death revenged by fearful disasters throughout Italy." Lest any person should regard this anecdote as a fabulous or silly invention, it was circulated upon the authority of Caius Balbus, an intimate friend of Caesar's. A few days likewise before his death, he was informed that the horses, which, upon his crossing the Rubicon, he had consecrated, and turned loose to graze without a keeper, abstained entirely from eating, and shed floods of tears. The soothsayer Spurinna, observing certain ominous appearances in a sacrifice which he was offering, advised him to beware of some danger, which threatened to befall him before the ides of March were past. The day before the ides, birds of various kinds from a neighbouring grove, pursuing a wren which flew into Pompey's senate-house , with a sprig of laurel in its beak, tore it in pieces. Also, in the night on which the day of his murder dawned, he dreamt at one time that he was soaring above the clouds, and, at another, that he had joined hands with Jupiter. His wife Calpurnia fancied in her sleep that the pediment of the house was falling down, and her husband stabbed on her bosom; immediately upon which the chamber doors flew open. On account of these omens, as well as his infirm health, he was in some doubt whether he should not remain at home, and defer to some other opportunity the business which he intended to propose to the senate; but Decimus Brutus advising him not to disappoint the senators, who were numerously assembled, and waited his coming, he was prevailed upon to go, and accordingly (51) set forward about the fifth hour. In his way, some person having thrust into his hand a paper, warning him against the plot, he mixed it with some other documents which he held in his left hand, intending to read it at leisure. Victim after victim was slain, without any favourable appearances in the entrails; but still, disregarding all omens, he entered the senate-house, laughing at Spurinna as a false prophet, because the ides of March were come, without any mischief having befallen him. To which the soothsayer replied, "They are come, indeed, but not past."
LXXXII. When he had taken his seat, the conspirators stood round him, under colour of paying their compliments; and immediately Tullius Cimber, who had engaged to commence the assault, advancing nearer than the rest, as if he had some favour to request, Caesar made signs that he should defer his petition to some other time. Tullius immediately seized him by the toga, on both shoulders; at which Caesar crying out, "Violence is meant!" one of the Cassii wounded him a little below the throat. Caesar seized him by the arm, and ran it through with his style ; and endeavouring to rush forward was stopped by another wound. Finding himself now attacked on all hands with naked poniards, he wrapped the toga  about his head, and at the same moment drew the skirt round his legs with his left hand, that he might fall more decently with the lower part of his body covered. He was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering a groan only, but no cry, at the first wound; although some authors relate, that when Marcus Brutus fell upon him, he exclaimed, "What! art thou, too, one of them? Thou, my son!"  The whole assembly instantly (52) dispersing, he lay for some time after he expired, until three of his slaves laid the body on a litter, and carried it home, with one arm hanging down over the side. Among so many wounds, there was none that was mortal, in the opinion of the surgeon Antistius, except the second, which he received in the breast. The conspirators meant to drag his body into the Tiber as soon as they had killed him; to confiscate his estate, and rescind all his enactments; but they were deterred by fear of Mark Antony, and Lepidus, Caesar's master of the horse, and abandoned their intentions.