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Chapter I
Marcus Lepidus and Quintus Sertorius

The Opposition
Aristocrats Friendly to Reform

When Sulla died in the year 676, the oligarchy which he had restored ruled with absolute sway over the Roman state; but, as it had been established by force, it still needed force to maintain its ground against its numerous secret and open foes. It was opposed not by any single party with objects clearly expressed and under leaders distinctly acknowledged, but by a mass of multifarious elements, ranging themselves doubtless under the general name of the popular party, but in reality opposing the Sullan organization of the commonwealth on very various grounds and with very different designs. There were the men of positive law who neither mingled in nor understood politics, but who detested the arbitrary procedure of Sulla in dealing with the lives and property of the burgesses. Even during Sulla's lifetime, when all other opposition was silent, the strict jurists resisted the regent; the Cornelian laws, for example, which deprived various Italian communities of the Roman franchise, were treated in judicial decisions as null and void; and in like manner the courts held that, where a burgess had been made a prisoner of war and sold into slavery during the revolution, his franchise was not forfeited. There was, further, the remnant of the old liberal minority in the senate, which in former times had laboured to effect a compromise with the reform party and the Italians, and was now in a similar spirit inclined to modify the rigidly oligarchic constitution of Sulla by concessions to the Populares. There were, moreover, the Populares strictly so called, the honestly credulous narrow-minded radicals, who staked property and life for the current watchwords of the party-programme, only to discover with painful surprise after the victory that they had been fighting not for a reality, but for a phrase. Their special aim was to re-establish the tribunician power, which Sulla had not abolished but had divested of its most essential prerogatives, and which exercised over the multitude a charm all the more mysterious, because the institution had no obvious practical use and was in fact an empty phantom—the mere name of tribune of the people, more than a thousand years later, revolutionized Rome.

Proletarians of the Capital
The Dispossessed
The Proscribed and Their Adherents

There were, above all, the numerous and important classes whom the Sullan restoration had left unsatisfied, or whose political or private interests it had directly injured. Among those who for such reasons belonged to the opposition ranked the dense and prosperous population of the region between the Po and the Alps, which naturally regarded the bestowal of Latin rights in 665(1) as merely an instalment of the full Roman franchise, and so afforded a ready soil for agitation. To this category belonged also the freedmen, influential in numbers and wealth, and specially dangerous through their aggregation in the capital, who could not brook their having been reduced by the restoration to their earlier, practically useless, suffrage. In the same position stood, moreover, the great capitalists, who maintained a cautious silence, but still as before preserved their tenacity of resentment and their equal tenacity of power. The populace of the capital, which recognized true freedom in free bread-corn, was likewise discontented. Still deeper exasperation prevailed among the burgess-bodies affected by the Sullan confiscations—whether they like those of Pompeii, lived on their property curtailed by the Sullan colonists, within the same ring-wall with the latter, and at perpetual variance with them; or, like the Arretines and Volaterrans, retained actual possession of their territory, but had the Damocles' sword of confiscation suspended over them by the Roman people; or, as was the case in Etruria especially, were reduced to be beggars in their former abodes, or robbers in the woods. Finally, the agitation extended to the whole family connections and freedmen of those democratic chiefs who had lost their lives in consequence of the restoration, or who were wandering along the Mauretanian coasts, or sojourning at the court and in the army of Mithradates, in all the misery of emigrant exile; for, according to the strict family-associations that governed the political feeling of this age, it was accounted a point of honour(2) that those who were left behind should endeavour to procure for exiled relatives the privilege of returning to their native land, and, in the case of the dead, at least a removal of the stigma attaching to their memory and to their children, and a restitution to the latter of their paternal estate. More especially the immediate children of the proscribed, whom the regent had reduced in point of law to political Pariahs,(3) had thereby virtually received from the law itself a summons to rise in rebellion against the existing order of things.

Men of Ruined Fortunes
Men of Ambition

To all these sections of the opposition there was added the whole body of men of ruined fortunes. All the rabble high and low, whose means and substance had been spent in refined or in vulgar debauchery; the aristocratic lords, who had no farther mark of quality than their debts; the Sullan troopers whom the regent's fiat could transform into landholders but not into husbandmen, and who, after squandering the first inheritance of the proscribed, were longing to succeed to a second—all these waited only the unfolding of the banner which invited them to fight against the existing order of things, whatever else might be inscribed on it. From a like necessity all the aspiring men of talent, in search of popularity, attached themselves to the opposition; not only those to whom the strictly closed circle of the Optimates denied admission or at least opportunities for rapid promotion, and who therefore attempted to force their way into the phalanx and to break through the laws of oligarchic exclusiveness and seniority by means of popular favour, but also the more dangerous men, whose ambition aimed at something higher than helping to determine the destinies of the world within the sphere of collegiate intrigues. On the advocates' platform in particular—the only field of legal opposition left open by Sulla—even in the regent's lifetime such aspirants waged lively war against the restoration with the weapons of formal jurisprudence and combative oratory: for instance, the adroit speaker Marcus Tullius Cicero (born 3rd January 648), son of a landholder of Arpinum, speedily made himself a name by the mingled caution and boldness of his opposition to the dictator. Such efforts were not of much importance, if the opponent desired nothing farther than by their means to procure for himself a curule chair, and then to sit in it in contentment for the rest of his life. No doubt, if this chair should not satisfy a popular man and Gaius Gracchus should find a successor, a struggle for life or death was inevitable; but for the present at least no name could be mentioned, the bearer of which had proposed to himself any such lofty aim.

Power of the Opposition

Such was the sort of opposition with which the oligarchic government instituted by Sulla had to contend, when it had, earlier than Sulla himself probably expected, been thrown by his death on its own resources. The task was in itself far from easy, and it was rendered more difficult by the other social and political evils of this age—especially by the extraordinary double difficulty of keeping the military chiefs in the provinces in subjection to the supreme civil magistracy, and of dealing with the masses of the Italian and extra-Italian populace accumulating in the capital, and of the slaves living there to a great extent in de facto freedom, without having troops at disposal. The senate was placed as it were, in a fortress exposed and threatened on all sides, and serious conflicts could not fail to ensue. But the means of resistance organized by Sulla were considerable and lasting; and although the majority of the nation was manifestly disinclined to the government which Sulla had installed, and even animated by hostile feelings towards it, that government might very well maintain itself for a long time in its stronghold against the distracted and confused mass of an opposition which was not agreed either as to end or means, and, having no head, was broken up into a hundred fragments. Only it was necessary that it should be determined to maintain its position, and should bring at least a spark of that energy, which had built the fortress, to its defence; for in the case of a garrison which will not defend itself, the greatest master of fortification constructs his walls and moats in vain.

Want of Leaders

The more everything ultimately depended on the personality of the leading men on both sides, it was the more unfortunate that both, strictly speaking, lacked leaders. The politics of thisperiod were thoroughly under the sway of the coterie-system in its worst form. This, indeed, was nothing new; close unions of families and clubs were inseparable from an aristocratic organizationof the state, and had for centuries prevailed in Rome. But it was not till this epoch that they became all-powerful, for it was only now (first in 690) that their influence was attested rather than checked by legal measures of repression.

All persons of quality, those of popular leanings no less than the oligarchy proper, met in Hetaeriae; the mass of the burgesses likewise, so far as they took any regular part in political events at all, formed according to their voting-districts close unions with an almost military organization, which found their natural captains and agents in the presidents of the districts, "tribe- distributors" (-divisores tribuum-). With these political clubs everything was bought and sold; the vote of the elector especially, but also the votes of the senator and the judge, the fists too which produced the street riot, and the ringleaders who directed it—the associations of the upper and of the lower ranks were distinguished merely in the matter of tariff. The Hetaeria decided the elections, the Hetaeria decreed the impeachments, the Hetaeria conducted the defence; it secured the distinguished advocate, and in case of need it contracted for an acquittal with one of the speculators who pursued on a great scale lucrative dealings in judges' votes. The Hetaeria commanded by its compact bands the streets of the capital, and with the capital but too often the state. All these things were done in accordance with a certain rule, and, so to speak, publicly; the system of Hetaeriae was better organized and managed than any branch of state administration; although there was, as is usual among civilized swindlers, a tacit understanding that there should be no direct mention of the nefarious proceedings, nobody made a secret of them, and advocates of repute were not ashamed to give open and intelligible hints of their relation to the Hetaeriae of their clients. If an individual was to be found here or there who kept aloof from such doings and yet did not forgo public life, he was assuredly, like Marcus Cato, a political Don Quixote. Parties and party-strife were superseded by the clubs and their rivalry; government was superseded by intrigue. A more than equivocal character, Publius Cethegus, formerly one of the most zealous Marians, afterwards as a deserter received into favour by Sulla,(4) acted a most influential part in the political doings of this period—unrivalled as a cunning tale-bearer and mediator between the sections of the senate, and as having a statesman's acquaintance with the secrets of all cabals: at times the appointment to the most important posts of command was decided by a word from his mistress Praecia. Such a plight was only possible where none of the men taking part in politics rose above mediocrity: any man of more than ordinary talent would have swept away this system of factions like cobwebs; but there was in reality the saddest lack of men of political or military capacity.

Metellus, Catulus, the Luculli

Of the older generation the civil wars had left not a single man of repute except the old shrewd and eloquent Lucius Philippus (consul in 663), who, formerly of popular leanings,(5) thereafter leader of the capitalist party against the senate,(6) and closely associated with the Marians,(7) and lastly passing over to the victorious oligarchy in sufficient time to earn thanks and commendation,(8) had managed to escape between the parties. Among the men of the following generation the most notable chiefs of the pure aristocracy were Quintus Metellus Pius (consul in 674), Sulla's comrade in dangers and victories; Quintus Lutatius Catulus, consul in the year of Sulla's death, 676, the son of the victor of Vercellae; and two younger officers, the brothers Lucius and Marcus Lucullus, of whom the former had fought with distinction under Sulla in Asia, the latter in Italy; not to mention Optimates like Quintus Hortensius (640-704), who had importance only as a pleader, or men like Decimus Junius Brutus (consul in 677), Mamercus Aemilius Lepidus Livianus (consul in 677), and other such nullities, whose best quality was a euphonious aristocratic name. But even those four men rose little above the average calibre of the Optimates of this age. Catulus was like his father a man of refined culture and an honest aristocrat, but of moderate talents and, in particular, no soldier. Metellus was not merely estimable in his personal character, but an able and experienced officer; and it was not so much on account of his close relations as a kinsman and colleague with the regent as because of his recognized ability that he was sent in 675, after resigning the consulship, to Spain, where the Lusitanians and the Roman emigrants under Quintus Sertorius were bestirring themselves afresh. The two Luculli were also capable officers—particularly the elder, who combined very respectable military talents with thorough literary culture and leanings to authorship, and appeared honourable also as a man. But, as statesmen, even these better aristocrats were not much less remiss and shortsighted than the average senators of the time. In presence of an outward foe the more eminent among them, doubtless, proved themselves useful and brave; but no one of them evinced the desire or the skill to solve the problems of politics proper, and to guide the vessel of the state through the stormy sea of intrigues and factions as a true pilot. Their political wisdom was limited to a sincere belief in the oligarchy as the sole means of salvation, and to a cordial hatred and courageous execration of demagogism as well as of every individual authority which sought to emancipate itself. Their petty ambition was contented with little. The stories told of Metellus in Spain—that he not only allowed himself to be delighted with the far from harmonious lyre of the Spanish occasional poets, but even wherever he went had himself received like a god with libations of wine and odours of incense, and at table had his head crowned by descending Victories amidst theatrical thunder with the golden laurel of the conqueror— are no better attested than most historical anecdotes; but even such gossip reflects the degenerate ambition of the generations of Epigoni. Even the better men were content when they had gained not power and influence, but the consulship and a triumph and a place of honour in the senate; and at the very time when with right ambition they would have just begun to be truly useful to their country and their party, they retired from the political stage to be lost in princely luxury. Men like Metellus and Lucius Lucullus were, even as generals, not more attentive to the enlargement of the Roman dominion by fresh conquests of kings and peoples than to the enlargement of the endless game, poultry, and dessert lists of Roman gastronomy by new delicacies from Africa and Asia Minor, and they wasted the best part of their lives in more or less ingenious idleness. The traditional aptitude and the individual self-denial, on which all oligarchic government is based, were lost in the decayed and artificially restored Roman aristocracy of this age; in its judgment universally the spirit of clique was accounted as patriotism, vanity as ambition, and narrow-mindedness as consistency. Had the Sullan constitution passed into the guardianship of men such as have sat in the Roman College of Cardinals or the Venetian Council of Ten, we cannot tell whether the opposition would have been able to shake it so soon; with such defenders every attack involved, at all events, a serious peril.


Of the men, who were neither unconditional adherents nor open opponents of the Sullan constitution, no one attracted more the eyes of the multitude than the young Gnaeus Pompeius, who was at the time of Sulla's death twenty-eight years of age (born 29th September 648). The fact was a misfortune for the admired as well as for the admirers; but it was natural. Sound in body and mind, a capable athlete, who even when a superior officer vied with his soldiers in leaping, running, and lifting, a vigorous and skilled rider and fencer, a bold leader of volunteer bands, the youth had become Imperator and triumphator at an age which excluded him from every magistracy and from the senate, and had acquired the first place next to Sulla in public opinion; nay, had obtained from the indulgent regent himself—half in recognition, half in irony— the surname of the Great. Unhappily, his mental endowments by no means corresponded with these unprecedented successes. He was neither a bad nor an incapable man, but a man thoroughly ordinary, created by nature to be a good sergeant, called by circumstances to be a general and a statesman. An intelligent, brave and experienced, thoroughly excellent soldier, he was still, even in his military capacity, without trace of any higher gifts. It was characteristic of him as a general, as well as in other respects, to set to work with a caution bordering on timidity, and, if possible, to give the decisive blow only when he had established an immense superiority over his opponent. His culture was the average culture of the time; although entirely a soldier, he did not neglect, when he went to Rhodes, dutifully to admire, and to make presents to, the rhetoricians there. His integrity was that of a rich man who manages with discretion his considerable property inherited and acquired. He did not disdain to make money in the usual senatorial way, but he was too cold and too rich to incur special risks, or draw down on himself conspicuous disgrace, on that account. The vice so much in vogue among his contemporaries, rather than any virtue of his own, procured for him the reputation—comparatively, no doubt, well warranted—of integrity and disinterestedness. His "honest countenance" became almost proverbial, and even after his death he was esteemed as a worthy and moral man; he was in fact a good neighbour, who did not join in the revolting schemes by which the grandees of that age extended the bounds of their domains through forced sales or measures still worse at the expense of their humbler neighbours, and in domestic life he displayed attachment to his wife and children: it redounds moreover to his credit that he was the first to depart from the barbarous custom of putting to death the captive kings and generals of the enemy, after they had been exhibited in triumph. But this did not prevent him from separating from his beloved wife at the command of his lord and master Sulla, because she belonged to an outlawed family, nor from ordering with great composure that men who had stood by him and helped him in times of difficulty should be executed before his eyes at the nod of the same master:(9) he was not cruel, thoughhe was reproached with being so, but—what perhaps was worse— he was cold and, in good as in evil, unimpassioned. In the tumult of battle he faced the enemy fearlessly; in civil life he was a shy man, whose cheek flushed on the slightest occasion; he spoke in public not without embarrassment, and generally was angular, stiff, and awkward in intercourse. With all his haughty obstinacy he was— as indeed persons ordinarily are, who make a display of their independence—a pliant tool in the hands of men who knew how to manage him, especially of his freedmen and clients, by whom he had no fear of being controlled. For nothing was he less qualified than for a statesman. Uncertain as to his aims, unskilful in the choice of his means, alike in little and great matters shortsighted and helpless, he was wont to conceal his irresolution and indecision under a solemn silence, and, when he thought to play a subtle game, simply to deceive himself with the belief that he was deceiving others. By his military position and his territorial connections he acquired almost without any action of his own a considerable party personally devoted to him, with which the greatest things might have been accomplished; but Pompeius was in every respect incapable of leading and keeping together a party, and, if it still kept together, it did so—in like manner without his action—through the sheer force of circumstances. In this, as in other things, he reminds us of Marius; but Marius, with his nature of boorish roughness and sensuous passion, was still less intolerable than this most tiresome and most starched of all artificial great men. His political position was utterly perverse. He was a Sullan officer and under obligation to stand up for the restored constitution, and yet again in opposition to Sulla personally as well as to the whole senatorial government. The gens of the Pompeii, which had only been named for some sixty years in the consular lists, had by no means acquired full standing in the eyes of the aristocracy; even the father of this Pompeius had occupied a very invidious equivocal position towards the senate,(10) and he himself had once been in the ranks of the Cinnans(11)—recollections which were suppressed perhaps, but not forgotten. The prominent position which Pompeius acquired for himself under Sulla set him at inward variance with the aristocracy, quite as much as it brought him into outward connection with it. Weak-headed as he was, Pompeius was seized with giddiness on the height of glory which he had climbed with such dangerous rapidity and ease. Just as if he would himself ridicule his dry prosaic nature by the parallel with the most poetical of all heroic figures, he began to compare himself with Alexander the Great, and to account himself a man of unique standing, whom it did not beseem to be merely one of the five hundred senators of Rome. In reality, no one was more fitted to take his place as a member of an aristocratic government than Pompeius. His dignified outward appearance, his solemn formality, his personal bravery, his decorous private life, his want of all initiative might have gained for him, had he been born two hundred years earlier, an honourable place by the side of Quintus Maximus and Publius Decius: this mediocrity, so characteristic of the genuine Optimate and the genuine Roman, contributed not a little to the elective affinity which subsisted at all times between Pompeius and the mass of the burgesses and the senate. Even in his own age he would have had a clearly defined and respectable position had he contented himself with being the general of the senate, for which he was from the outset destined. With this he was not content, and so he fell into the fatal plight of wishing to be something else than he could be. He was constantly aspiring to a special position in the state, and, when it offered itself, he could not make up his mind to occupy it; he was deeply indignant when persons and laws did not bend unconditionally before him, and yet he everywhere bore himself with no mere affectation of modesty as one of many peers, and trembled at the mere thought of undertaking anything unconstitutional. Thus constantly at fundamental variance with, and yet at the same time the obedient servant of, the oligarchy, constantly tormented by an ambition which was frightened at its own aims, his much-agitated life passed joylessly away in a perpetual inward contradiction.


Marcus Crassus cannot, any more than Pompeius, be reckoned among the unconditional adherents of the oligarchy. He is a personage highly characteristic of this epoch. Like Pompeius, whose senior he was by a few years, he belonged to the circle of the high Roman aristocracy, had obtained the usual education befitting his rank, and had like Pompeius fought with distinction under Sulla in the Italian war. Far inferior to many of his peers in mental gifts, literary culture, and military talent, he outstripped them by his boundless activity, and by the perseverance with which he strove to possess everything and to become all-important. Above all, he threw himself into speculation. Purchases of estates during the revolution formed the foundation of his wealth; but he disdained no branch of gain; he carried on the business of building in the capital on a great scale and with prudence; he entered into partnership with his freedmen in the most varied undertakings; he acted as banker both in and out of Rome, in person or by his agents; he advanced money to his colleagues in the senate, and undertook— as it might happen—to execute works or to bribe the tribunals on their account. He was far from nice in the matter of making profit. On occasion of the Sullan proscriptions a forgery in the lists had been proved against him, for which reason Sulla made no more use of him thenceforward in the affairs of state: he did not refuse to accept an inheritance, because the testamentary document which contained his name was notoriously forged; he made no objection, when his bailiffs by force or by fraud dislodged the petty holders from lands which adjoined his own. He avoided open collisions, however, with criminal justice, and lived himself like a genuine moneyed man in homely and simple style. In this way Crassus rose in the course of a few years from a man of ordinary senatorial fortune to be the master of wealth which not long before his death, after defraying enormous extraordinary expenses, still amounted to 170,000,000 sesterces (1,700,000 pounds). He had become the richest of Romans and thereby, at the same time, a great political power. If, according to his expression, no one might call himself rich who could not maintain an army from his revenues, one who could do this was hardly any longer a mere citizen. In reality the views of Crassus aimed at a higher object than the possession of the best-filled money-chest in Rome. He grudged no pains to extend his connections. He knew how to salute by name every burgess of the capital. He refused to no suppliant his assistance in court. Nature, indeed, had not done much for him as an orator: his speaking was dry, his delivery monotonous, he had difficulty of hearing; but his tenacity of purpose, which no wearisomeness deterred and no enjoyment distracted, overcame such obstacles. He never appeared unprepared, he never extemporized, and so he became a pleader at all times in request and at all times ready; to whom it was no derogation that a cause was rarely too bad for him, and that he knew how to influence the judges not merely by his oratory, but also by his connections and, on occasion, by his gold. Half the senate was in debt to him; his habit of advancing to "friends" money without interest revocable at pleasure rendered a number of influential men dependent on him, and the more so that, like a genuine man of business, he made no distinction among the parties, maintained connections on all hands, and readily lent to every one who was able to pay or otherwise useful. The most daring party-leaders, who made their attacks recklessly in all directions, were careful not to quarrel with Crassus; he was compared to the bull of the herd, whom it was advisable for none to provoke. That such a man, so disposed and so situated, could not strive after humble aims is clear; and, in a very different way from Pompeius, Crassus knew exactly like a banker the objects and the means of political speculation. From the origin of Rome capital was a political power there; the age was of such a sort, that everything seemed accessible to gold as to iron. If in the time of revolution a capitalist aristocracy might have thought of overthrowing the oligarchy of the gentes, a man like Crassus might raise his eyes higher than to the -fasces- and embroidered mantle of the triumphators. For the moment he was a Sullan and adherent of the senate; but he was too much of a financier to devote himself to a definite political party, or to pursue aught else than his personal advantage. Why should Crassus, the wealthiest and most intriguing man in Rome, and no penurious miser but a speculator on the greatest scale, not speculate also on the crown? Alone, perhaps, he could not attain this object; but he had already carried out various great transactions in partnership; it was not impossible that for this also a suitable partner might present himself. It is a trait characteristic of the time, that a mediocre orator and officer, a politician who took his activity for energy and his covetousness for ambition, one who at bottom had nothing but a colossal fortune and the mercantile talent of forming connections—that such a man, relying on the omnipotence of coteries and intrigues, could deem himself on a level with the first generals and statesmen of his day, and could contend with them for the highest prize which allures political ambition.

Leaders of the Democrats

In the opposition proper, both among the liberal conservatives and among the Populares, the storms of revolution had made fearful havoc. Among the former, the only surviving man of note was Gaius Cotta (630-c. 681), the friend and ally of Drusus, and as such banished in 663,(12) and then by Sulla's victory brought back to his native land;(13) he was a shrewd man and a capable advocate, but not called, either by the weight of his party or by that of his personal standing, to act more than a respectable secondary part. In the democratic party, among the rising youth, Gaius Julius Caesar, who was twenty-four years of age (born 12 July 652?(14)), drew towards him the eyes of friend and foe. His relationship with Marius and Cinna (his father's sister had been the wife of Marius, he himself had married Cinna's daughter); the courageous refusal of the youth who had scarce outgrown the age of boyhood to send a divorce to his young wife Cornelia at the bidding of the dictator, as Pompeius had in the like case done; his bold persistence in the priesthood conferred upon him by Marius, but revoked by Sulla; his wanderings during the proscription with which he was threatened, and which was with difficulty averted by the intercession of his relatives; his bravery in the conflicts before Mytilene and in Cilicia, a bravery which no one had expected from the tenderly reared and almost effeminately foppish boy; even the warnings of Sulla regarding the "boy in the petticoat" in whom more than a Marius lay concealed—all these were precisely so many recommendations in the eyes of the democratic party. But Caesar could only be the object of hopes for the future; and the men who from their age and their public position would have been called now to seize the reins of the party and the state, were all dead or in exile.


Thus the leadership of the democracy, in the absence of a man with a true vocation for it, was to be had by any one who might please to give himself forth as the champion of oppressed popular freedom; and in this way it came to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a Sullan, who from motives more than ambiguous deserted to the camp of the democracy. Once a zealous Optimate, and a large purchaser at the auctions of the proscribed estates, he had, as governor of Sicily, so scandalously plundered the province that he was threatened with impeachment, and, to evade it, threw himself into opposition. It was a gain of doubtful value. No doubt the opposition thus acquired a well-known name, a man of quality, a vehement orator in the Forum; but Lepidus was an insignificant and indiscreet personage, who did not deserve to stand at the head either in council or in the field. Nevertheless the opposition welcomed him, and the new leader of the democrats succeeded not only in deterring his accusers from prosecuting the attack on him which they had begun, but also in carrying his election to the consulship for 676; in which, we may add, he was helped not only by the treasures exacted in Sicily, but also by the foolish endeavour of Pompeius to show Sulla and the pure Sullans on this occasion what he could do. Now that the opposition had, on the death of Sulla, found a head once more in Lepidus, and now that this their leader had become the supreme magistrate of the state, the speedy outbreak of a new revolution in the capital might with certainty be foreseen.

The Emigrants in Spain

But even before the democrats moved in the capital, the democratic emigrants had again bestirred themselves in Spain. The soul of this movement was Quintus Sertorius. This excellent man, a native of Nursia in the Sabine land, was from the first of a tender and even soft organization—as his almost enthusiastic love for his mother, Raia, shows—and at the same time of the most chivalrous bravery, as was proved by the honourable scars which he brought home from the Cimbrian, Spanish, and Italian wars. Although wholly untrained as an orator, he excited the admiration of learned advocates by the natural flow and the striking self-possession of his address. His remarkable military and statesmanly talent had found opportunity of shining by contrast, more particularly in the revolutionary war which the democrats so wretchedly and stupidly mismanaged; he was confessedly the only democratic officer who knew how to prepare and to conduct war, and the only democratic statesman who opposed the insensate and furious doings of his party with statesmanlike energy. His Spanish soldiers called him the new Hannibal, and not merely because he had, like that hero, lost an eye in war. He in reality reminds us of the great Phoenician by his equally cunning and courageous strategy, by his rare talent of organizing war by means of war, by his adroitness in attracting foreign nations to his interest and making them serviceable to his ends, by his prudence in success and misfortune, by the quickness of his ingenuity in turning to good account his victories and averting the consequences of his defeats. It may be doubted whether any Roman statesman of the earlier period, or of the present, can be compared in point of versatile talent to Sertorius. After Sulla's generals had compelled him to quit Spain,(15) he had led a restless life of adventure along the Spanish and African coasts, sometimes in league, sometimes at war, with the Cilician pirates who haunted these seas, and with the chieftains of the roving tribes of Libya. The victorious Roman restoration had pursued him even thither: when he was besieging Tingis (Tangiers), a corps under Pacciaecus from Roman Africa had come to the help of the prince of the town; but Pacciaecus was totally defeated, and Tingis was taken by Sertorius. On the report of such achievements by the Roman refugee spreading abroad, the Lusitanians, who, notwithstanding their pretended submission to the Roman supremacy, practically maintained their independence, and annually fought with the governors of Further Spain, sent envoys to Sertorius in Africa, to invite him to join them, and to commit to him the command of their militia.

Renewed Outbreak of the Spanish Insurrection
Metellus Sent to Spain

Sertorius, who twenty years before had served under Titus Didius in Spain and knew the resources of the land, resolved to comply with the invitation, and, leaving behind a small detachment on the Mauretanian coast, embarked for Spain (about 674). The straits separating Spain and Africa were occupied by a Roman squadron commanded by Cotta; to steal through it was impossible; so Sertorius fought his way through and succeeded in reaching the Lusitanians. There were not more than twenty Lusitanian communities that placed themselves under his orders; and even of "Romans" he mustered only 2600 men, a considerable part of whom were deserters from the army of Pacciaecus or Africans armed after the Roman style. Sertorius saw that everything depended on his associating with the loose guerilla-bands a strong nucleus of troops possessing Roman organization and discipline: for this end he reinforced the band which he had brought with him by levying 4000 infantry and 700 cavalry, and with this one legion and the swarms of Spanish volunteers advanced against the Romans. The command in Further Spain was held by Lucius Fufidius, who through his absolute devotion to Sulla—well tried amidst the proscriptions—had risen from a subaltern to be propraetor; he was totally defeated on the Baetis; 2000 Romans covered the field of battle. Messengers in all haste summoned the governor of the adjoining province of the Ebro, Marcus Domitius Calvinus, to check the farther advance of the Sertorians; and there soon appeared (675) also the experienced general Quintus Metellus, sent by Sulla to relieve the incapable Fufidius in southern Spain. But they did not succeed in mastering the revolt. In the Ebro province not only was the army of Calvinus destroyed and he himself slain by the lieutenant of Sertorius, the quaestor Lucius Hirtuleius, but Lucius Manlius, the governor of Transalpine Gaul, who had crossed the Pyrenees with three legions to the help of his colleague, was totally defeated by the same brave leader. With difficulty Manlius escaped with a few men to Ilerda (Lerida) and thence to his province, losing on the march his whole baggage through a sudden attack of the Aquitanian tribes. In Further Spain Metellus penetrated into the Lusitanian territory; but Sertorius succeeded during the siege of Longobriga (not far from the mouth of the Tagus) in alluring a division under Aquinus into an ambush, and thereby compelling Metellus himself to raise the siege and to evacuate the Lusitanian territory. Sertorius followed him, defeated on the Anas (Guadiana) the corps of Thorius, and inflicted vast damage by guerilla warfare on the army of the commander-in- chief himself. Metellus, a methodical and somewhat clumsy tactician, was in despair as to this opponent, who obstinately declined a decisive battle, but cut off his supplies and communications and constantly hovered round him on all sides.

Organizations of Sertorius

These extraordinary successes obtained by Sertorius in the two Spanish provinces were the more significant, that they were not achieved merely by arms and were not of a mere military nature. The emigrants as such were not formidable; nor were isolated successes of the Lusitanians under this or that foreign leader of much moment. But with the most decided political and patriotic tact Sertorius acted, whenever he could do so, not as condottiere of the Lusitanians in revolt against Rome, but as Roman general and governor of Spain, in which capacity he had in fact been sent thither by the former rulers. He began(16) to form the heads of the emigration into a senate, which was to increase to 300 members and to conduct affairs and to nominate magistrates in Roman form. He regarded his army as a Roman one, and filled the officers' posts, without exception, with Romans. When facing the Spaniards, he was the governor, who by virtue of his office levied troops and other support from them; but he was a governor who, instead of exercising the usual despotic sway, endeavoured to attach the provincials to Rome and to himself personally. His chivalrous character rendered it easy for him to enter into Spanish habits, and excited in the Spanish nobility the most ardent enthusiasm for the wonderful foreigner who had a spirit so kindred with their own. According to the warlike custom of personal following which subsisted in Spain as among the Celts and the Germans, thousands of the noblest Spaniards swore to stand faithfully by their Roman general unto death; and in them Sertorius found more trustworthy comrades than in his countrymen and party-associates. He did not disdain to turn to account the superstition of the ruder Spanish tribes, and to have his plans of war brought to him as commands of Diana by the white fawn of the goddess. Throughout he exercised a just and gentle rule. His troops, at least so far as his eye and his arm reached, had to maintain the strictest discipline. Gentle as he generally was in punishing, he showed himself inexorable when any outrage was perpetrated by his soldiers on friendly soil. Nor was he inattentive to the permanent alleviation of the condition of the provincials; he reduced the tribute, and directed the soldiers to construct winter barracks for themselves, so that the oppressive burden of quartering the troops was done away and thus a source of unspeakable mischief and annoyance was stopped. For the children of Spaniards of quality an academy was erected at Osca (Huesca), in which they received the higher instruction usual in Rome, learning to speak Latin and Greek, and to wear the toga—a remarkable measure, which was by no means designed merely to take from the allies in as gentle a form as possible the hostages that in Spain were inevitable, but was above all an emanation from, and an advance onthe great project of Gaius Gracchus and the democratic party for gradually Romanizing the provinces. It was the first attempt to accomplish their Romanization not by extirpating the old inhabitants and filling their places with Italian emigrants, but by Romanizing the provincials themselves. The Optimates in Rome sneered at the wretched emigrant, the runaway from the Italian army, the last of the robber-band of Carbo; the sorry taunt recoiled upon its authors. The masses that had been brought into the field against Sertorius were reckoned, including the Spanish general levy, at 120,000 infantry, 2000 archers and slingers, and 6000 cavalry. Against this enormous superiority of force Sertorius had not only held his ground in a series of successful conflicts and victories, but had also reduced the greater part of Spain under his power. In the Further province Metellus found himself confined to the districts immediately occupied by his troops; hereall the tribes, who could, had taken the side of Sertorius. In the Hither province, after the victories of Hirtuleius, there no longer existed a Roman army. Emissaries of Sertorius roamed through the whole territory of Gaul; there, too, the tribes began to stir, and bands gathering together began to make the Alpine passes insecure. Lastly the sea too belonged quite as much to the insurgents as to the legitimate government, since the allies of the former—the pirates—were almost as powerful in the Spanish waters as the Roman ships of war. At the promontory of Diana (now Denia, between Valencia and Alicante) Sertorius established for the corsairs a fixed station, where they partly lay in wait for such Roman ships as were conveying supplies to the Roman maritime towns and the army, partly carried away or delivered goods for the insurgents, and partly formed their medium of intercourse with Italy and Asia Minor. The constant readiness of these men moving to and fro to carry everywhere sparks from the scene of conflagration tended in a high degree to excite apprehension, especially at a time when so much combustible matter was everywhere accumulated in the Roman empire.

Death of Sulla and Its Consequences

Amidst this state of matters the sudden death of Sulla took place (676). So long as the man lived, at whose voice a trained and trustworthy army of veterans was ready any moment to rise, the oligarchy might tolerate the almost (as it seemed) definite abandonment of the Spanish provinces to the emigrants, and the election of the leader of the opposition at home to be supreme magistrate, at all events as transient misfortunes; and in their shortsighted way, yet not wholly without reason, might cherish confidence either that the opposition would not venture to proceed to open conflict, or that, if it did venture, he who had twice saved the oligarchy would set it up a third time. Now the state of things was changed. The democratic Hotspurs in the capital, long impatient of the endless delay and inflamed by the brilliant news from Spain, urged that a blow should be struck; and Lepidus, with whom the decision for the moment lay, entered into the proposal with all the zeal of a renegade and with his own characteristic frivolity. For a moment it seemed as if the torch which kindled the funeral pile of the regent would also kindle civil war; but the influence of Pompeius and the temper of the Sullan veterans induced the opposition to let the obsequies of the regent pass over in peace.

Insurrection of Lepidus

Yet all the more openly were arrangements thenceforth made to introduce a fresh revolution. Daily the Forum resounded with accusations against the "mock Romulus" and his executioners. Even before the great potentate had closed his eyes, the overthrow of the Sullan constitution, the re-establishment of the distributions of grain, the reinstating of the tribunes of the people in their former position, the recall of those who were banished contrary to law, the restoration of the confiscated lands, were openly indicated by Lepidus and his adherents as the objects at which they aimed. Now communications were entered into with the proscribed; Marcus Perpenna, governor of Sicily in the days of Cinna,(17) arrived in the capital. The sons of those whom Sulla had declared guilty of treason—on whom the laws of the restoration bore with intolerable severity—and generally the more noted men of Marian views were invited to give their accession. Not a few, such as the young Lucius Cinna, joined the movement; others, however, followed the example of Gaius Caesar, who had returned home from Asia on receiving the accounts of the death of Sulla and of the plans of Lepidus, but after becoming more accurately acquainted with the character of the leader and of the movement prudently withdrew. Carousing and recruiting went on in behalf of Lepidus in the taverns and brothels of the capital. At length a conspiracy against the new order of things was concocted among the Etruscan malcontents.(18)

All this took place under the eyes of the government The consul Catulus as well as the more judicious Optimates urged an immediate decisive interference and suppression of the revolt in the bud; the indolent majority, however, could not make up their minds to begin the struggle, but tried to deceive themselves as long as possible by a system of compromises and concessions. Lepidus also on his part at first entered into it. The suggestion, which proposed a restoration of the prerogatives taken away from the tribunes of the people, he as well as his colleague Catulus repelled. On the other hand, the Gracchan distribution of grain was to a limited extent re-established. According to it not all (as according to the Sempronian law) but only a definite number— presumably 40,000—of the poorer burgesses appear to have received the earlier largesses, as Gracchus had fixed them, of five -modii- monthly at the price of 6 1/3 -asses- (3 pence)—a regulation which occasioned to the treasury an annual net loss of at least 40,000 pounds.(19) The opposition, naturally as little satisfied as it was decidedly emboldened by this partial concession, displayed all the more rudeness and violence in the capital; and in Etruria, the true centre of all insurrections of the Italian proletariate, civil war already broke out, the dispossessed Faesulans resumed possession of their lost estates by force of arms, and several of the veterans settled there by Sulla perished in the tumult. The senate on learning what had occurred resolved to send the two consuls thither, in order to raise troops and suppress the insurrection.(20) It was impossible to adopt a more irrational course. The senate, in presence of the insurrection, evinced its pusillanimity and its fears by the re-establishment of the corn-law; in order to be relieved from a street-riot, it furnished the notorious head of the insurrection with an army; and, when the two consuls were bound by the most solemn oath which could be contrived not to turn the arms entrusted to them against each other, it must have required the superhuman obduracy of oligarchic consciences to think of erecting such a bulwark against the impending insurrection. Of course Lepidus armed in Etruria not for the senate, but for the insurrection— sarcastically declaring that the oath which he had taken bound him only for the current year. The senate put the oracular machinery in motion to induce him to return, and committed to him the conduct of the impending consular elections; but Lepidus evaded compliance, and, while messengers passed to and fro and the official year drew to an end amidst proposals of accommodation, his force swelled to an army. When at length, in the beginning of the following year (677), the definite order of the senate was issued to Lepidus to return without delay, the proconsul haughtily refused obedience, and demanded in his turn the renewal of the former tribunician power, the reinstatement of those who had been forcibly ejected from their civic rights and their property, and, besides this, his own re-election as consul for the current year or, in other words, the -tyrannis- in legal form.

Outbreak of the War
Lepidus Defeated
Death of Lepidus

Thus war was declared. The senatorial party could reckon, in addition to the Sullan veterans whose civil existence was threatened by Lepidus, upon the army assembled by the proconsul Catulus; and so, in compliance with the urgent warnings of the more sagacious, particularly of Philippus, Catulus was entrusted by the senate with the defence of the capital and the repelling of the main force of the democratic party stationed in Etruria. At the same time Gnaeus Pompeius was despatched with another corps to wrest from his former protege the valley of the Po, which was held by Lepidus' lieutenant, Marcus Brutus. While Pompeius speedily accomplished his commission and shut up the enemy's general closely in Mutina, Lepidus appeared before the capital in order to conquer it for the revolution as Marius had formerly done by storm. The right bank of the Tiber fell wholly into his power, and he was able even to cross the river. The decisive battle was fought on the Campus Martius, close under the walls of the city. But Catulus conquered; and Lepidus was compelled to retreat to Etruria, while another division, under his son Scipio, threw itself into the fortress of Alba. Thereupon the rising was substantially atan end. Mutina surrendered to Pompeius; and Brutus was, notwithstanding the safe-conduct promised to him, subsequently put to death by order of that general. Alba too was, after a long siege, reduced by famine, and the leader there was likewise executed. Lepidus, pressed on two sides by Catulus and Pompeius, fought another engagement on the coast of Etruria in order merely to procure the means of retreat, and then embarked at the port of Cosa for Sardinia from which point he hoped to cut off the supplies of the capital, and to obtain communication with the Spanish insurgents. But the governor of the island opposed to him a vigorous resistance; and he himself died, not long after his landing, of consumption (677), whereupon the war in Sardinia came to an end. A part of his soldiers dispersed; with the flower of the insurrectionary army and with a well-filled chest the late praetor, Marcus Perpenna, proceeded to Liguria, and thence to Spain to join the Sertorians.

Pompeius Extorts the Command in Spain

The oligarchy was thus victorious over Lepidus; but it found itself compelled by the dangerous turn of the Sertorian war to concessions, which violated the letter as well as the spirit of the Sullan constitution. It was absolutely necessary to send a strong army and an able general to Spain; and Pompeius indicated, very plainly, that he desired, or rather demanded, this commission. The pretension was bold. It was already bad enough that they had allowed this secret opponent again to attain an extraordinary command in the pressure of the Lepidian revolution; but it was far more hazardous, in disregard of all the rules instituted by Sulla for the magisterial hierarchy, to invest a man who had hitherto filled no civil office with one of the most important ordinary provincial governorships, under circumstances in which the observance of the legal term of a year was not to be thought of. The oligarchy had thus, even apart from the respect due to their general Metellus, good reason to oppose with all earnestness this new attempt of the ambitious youth to perpetuate his exceptional position. But this was not easy. In the first place, they had not a single man fitted for the difficult post of general in Spain. Neither of the consuls of the year showed any desire to measure himself against Sertorius; and what Lucius Philippus said in a full meeting of the senate had to be admitted as too true—that, among all the senators of note, not one was able and willing to command in a serious war. Yet they might, perhaps, have got over this, and after the manner of oligarchs, when they had no capable candidate, have filled the place with some sort of makeshift, if Pompeius had merely desired the command and had not demanded it at the head of an army. He had already lent a deaf ear to the injunctions of Catulus that he should dismiss the army; it was at least doubtful whether those of the senate would find a better reception, and the consequences of a breach no one could calculate— the scale of aristocracy might very easily mount up, if the sword of a well-known general were thrown into the opposite scale. So the majority resolved on concession. Not from the people, which constitutionally ought to have been consulted in a case where a private man was to be invested with the supreme magisterial power, but from the senate, Pompeius received proconsular authority and the chief command in Hither Spain; and, forty days after he had received it, crossed the Alps in the summer of 677.

Pompeius in Gaul

First of all the new general found employment in Gaul, where no formal insurrection had broken out, but serious disturbances of the peace had occurred at several places; in consequence of which Pompeius deprived the cantons of the Volcae-Arecomici and the Helvii of their independence, and placed them under Massilia. He also laid out a new road over the Cottian Alps (Mont Genevre,(21)), and so established a shorter communication between the valley of the Po and Gaul. Amidst this work the best season of the year passed away; it was not till late in autumn that Pompeius crossed the Pyrenees.

Appearance of Pompeius in Spain

Sertorius had meanwhile not been idle. He had despatched Hirtuleius into the Further province to keep Metellus in check, and had himself endeavoured to follow up his complete victory in the Hither province, and to prepare for the reception of Pompeius. The isolated Celtiberian towns there, which still adhered to Rome, were attacked and reduced one after another; at last, in the very middle of winter, the strong Contrebia (south-east of Saragossa) had fallen. In vain the hard-pressed towns had sent message after message to Pompeius; he would not be induced by any entreaties to depart from his wonted rut of slowly advancing. With the exception of the maritime towns, which were defended by the Roman fleet, and the districts of the Indigetes and Laletani in the north-east corner of Spain, where Pompeius established himself after he had at length crossed the Pyrenees, and made his raw troops bivouac throughout the winter to inure them to hardships, the whole of Hither Spain had at the end of 677 become by treaty or force dependent on Sertorius, and the district on the upper and middle Ebro thenceforth continued the main stay of his power. Even the apprehension, which the fresh Roman force and the celebrated name of the general excited in the army of the insurgents, had a salutary effect on it. Marcus Perpenna, who hitherto as the equal of Sertorius in rank had claimed an independent command over the force which he had brought with him from Liguria, was, on the news of the arrival of Pompeius in Spain, compelled by his soldiers to place himself under the orders of his abler colleague.

For the campaign of 678 Sertorius again employed the corps of Hirtuleius against Metellus, while Perpenna with a strong army took up his position along the lower course of the Ebro to prevent Pompeius from crossing the river, if he should march, as was to be expected, in a southerly direction with the view of effecting a junction with Metellus, and along the coast for the sake of procuring supplies for his troops. The corps of Gaius Herennius was destined to the immediate support of Perpenna; farther inland on the upper Ebro, Sertorius in person prosecuted meanwhile the subjugation of several districts friendly to Rome, and held himself at the same time ready to hasten according to circumstances to the aid of Perpenna or Hirtuleius. It was still his intention to avoid any pitched battle, and to annoy the enemy by petty conflicts and cutting off supplies.

Pompeius Defeated

Pompeius, however, forced the passage of the Ebro against Perpenna and took up a position on the river Pallantias, near Saguntum, whence, as we have already said, the Sertorians maintained their communications with Italy and the east. It was time that Sertorius should appear in person, and throw the superiority of his numbers and of his genius into the scale against the greater excellence of the soldiers of his opponent. For a considerable time the struggle was concentrated around the town of Lauro (on the Xucar, south of Valencia), which had declared for Pompeius and was on that account besieged by Sertorius. Pompeius exerted himself to the utmost to relieve it; but, after several of his divisions had already been assailed separately and cut to pieces, the great warrior found himself—just when he thought that he had surrounded the Sertorians, and when he had already invited the besieged to be spectators of the capture of the besieging army—all of a sudden completely outmanoeuvred; and in order that he might not be himself surrounded, he had to look on from his camp at the capture and reduction to ashes of the allied town and at the carrying off of its inhabitants to Lusitania—an event which induced a number of towns that had been wavering in middle and eastern Spain to adhere anew to Sertorius.

Victories of Metellus

Meanwhile Metellus fought with better fortune. In a sharp engagement at Italica (not far from Seville), which Hirtuleius had imprudently risked, and in which both generals fought hand to hand and Hirtuleius was wounded, Metellus defeated him and compelled him to evacuate the Roman territory proper, and to throw himself into Lusitania. This victory permitted Metellus to unite with Pompeius. The two generals took up their winter-quarters in 678-79 at the Pyrenees, and in the next campaign in 679 they resolved to make a joint attack on the enemy in his position near Valentia. But while Metellus was advancing, Pompeius offered battle beforehand to the main army of the enemy, with a view to wipe out the stain of Lauro and to gain the expected laurels, if possible, alone. With joy Sertorius embraced the opportunity of fighting with Pompeius before Metellus arrived.

Battle on the Sucro

The armies met on the river Sucro (Xucar): after a sharp conflict Pompeius was beaten on the right wing, and was himself carried from the field severely wounded. Afranius no doubt conquered with the left and took the camp of the Sertorians, but during its pillage he was suddenly assailed by Sertorius and compelled also to give way. Had Sertorius been able to renew the battle on the following day, the army of Pompeius would perhaps have been annihilated. But meanwhile Metellus had come up, had overthrown the corps of Perpenna ranged against him, and taken his camp: it was not possible to resume the battle against the two armies united. The successes of Metellus, the junction of the hostile forces, the sudden stagnation after the victory, diffused terror among the Sertorians; and, as not unfrequently happened with Spanish armies, in consequence of this turn of things the greater portion of the Sertorian soldiers dispersed. But the despondency passed away as quickly as it had come; the white fawn, which represented in the eyes of the multitude the military plans of the general, was soon more popular than ever; in a short time Sertorius appeared with a new army confronting the Romans in the level country to the south of Saguntum (Murviedro), which firmly adhered to Rome, while the Sertorian privateers impeded the Roman supplies by sea, and scarcity was already making itself felt in the Roman camp. Another battle took place in the plains of the river Turia (Guadalaviar), and the struggle was long undecided. Pompeius with the cavalry was defeated by Sertorius, and his brother-in-law and quaestor, the brave Lucius Memmius, was slain; on the other hand Metellus vanquished Perpenna, and victoriously repelled the attack of the enemy's main army directed against him, receiving himself a wound in the conflict. Once more the Sertorian army dispersed. Valentia, which Gaius Herennius held for Sertorius, was taken and razed to the ground. The Romans, probably for a moment, cherished a hope that they were done with their tough antagonist. The Sertorian army had disappeared; the Roman troops, penetrating far into the interior, besieged the general himself in the fortress Clunia on the upper Douro. But while they vainly invested this rocky stronghold, the contingents of the insurgent communities assembled elsewhere; Sertorius stole out of the fortress and even before the expiry of the year stood once more as general at the head of an army.

Again the Roman generals had to take up their winter quarters with the cheerless prospect of an inevitable renewal of their Sisyphean war-toils. It was not even possible to choose quarters in the region of Valentia, so important on account of the communication with Italy and the east, but fearfully devastated by friend and foe; Pompeius led his troops first into the territory of the Vascones(22) (Biscay) and then spent the winter in the territory of the Vaccaei (about Valladolid), and Metellus even in Gaul.

Indefinite and Perilous Character of the Sertorian War

For five years the Sertorian war thus continued, and still there seemed no prospect of its termination. The state suffered from it beyond description. The flower of the Italian youth perished amid the exhausting fatigues of these campaigns. The public treasury was not only deprived of the Spanish revenues, but had annually to send to Spain for the pay and maintenance of the Spanish armies very considerable sums, which the government hardly knew how to raise. Spain was devastated and impoverished, and the Roman civilization, which unfolded so fair a promise there, received a severe shock; as was naturally to be expected in the case ofan insurrectionary war waged with so much bitterness, and but too often occasioning the destruction of whole communities. Even the towns which adhered to the dominant party in Rome had countless hardships to endure; those situated on the coast had to be provided with necessaries by the Roman fleet, and the situation of the faithful communities in the interior was almost desperate. Gaul suffered hardly less, partly from the requisitions for contingents of infantry and cavalry, for grain and money, partly from the oppressive burden of the winter-quarters, which rose to an intolerable degree in consequence of the bad harvest of 680; almost all the local treasuries were compelled to betake themselves to the Roman bankers, and to burden themselves with a crushing load of debt. Generals and soldiers carried on the war with reluctance. The generals had encountered an opponent far superior in talent, a tough and protracted resistance, a warfare of very serious perils and of successes difficult to be attained and far from brilliant; it was asserted that Pompeius was scheming to get himself recalled from Spain and entrusted with a more desirable command somewhere else. The soldiers, too, found little satisfaction in a campaign in which not only was there nothing to be got save hard blows and worthless booty, but their very pay was doled out to them with extreme irregularity. Pompeius reported to the senate, at the end of 679, that the pay was two years in arrear, and that the army was threatening to break up. The Roman government might certainly have obviated a considerable portion of these evils, if they could have prevailed on themselves to carry on the Spanish war with less remissness, to say nothing of better will. In the main, however, it was neither their fault nor the fault of their generals that a genius so superior as that of Sertorius was able to carry on this petty warfare year after year, despite of all numerical and military superiority, on ground so thoroughly favourable to insurrectionary and piratical warfare. So little could its end be foreseen, that the Sertorian insurrection seemed rather as if it would become intermingled with other contemporary revolts and thereby add to its dangerous character. Just at that time the Romans were contending on every sea with piratical fleets, in Italy with the revolted slaves, in Macedonia with the tribes on the lower Danube; and in the east Mithradates, partly induced by the successes of the Spanish insurrection, resolved once more to try the fortune of arms. That Sertorius had formed connections with the Italian and Macedonian enemies of Rome, cannot be distinctly affirmed, although he certainly was in constant intercourse with the Marians in Italy. With the pirates, on the other hand, he had previously formed an avowed league, and with the Pontic king— with whom he had long maintained relations through the medium of the Roman emigrants staying at his court—he now concluded a formal treaty of alliance, in which Sertorius ceded to the king the client-states of Asia Minor, but not the Roman province of Asia, and promised, moreover, to send him an officer qualified to lead his troops, and a number of soldiers, while the king, in turn, bound himself to transmit to Sertorius forty ships and 3000 talents (720,000 pounds). The wise politicians in the capital were already recalling the time when Italy found itself threatened by Philip from the east and by Hannibal from the west; they conceived that the new Hannibal, just like his predecessor, after having by himself subdued Spain, could easily arrive with the forces of Spain in Italy sooner than Pompeius, in order that, like the Phoenician formerly, he might summon the Etruscans and Samnites to arms against Rome.

Collapse of the Power of Sertorius

But this comparison was more ingenious than accurate. Sertorius was far from being strong enough to renew the gigantic enterprise of Hannibal. He was lost if he left Spain, where all his successes were bound up with the peculiarities of the country and the people; and even there he was more and more compelled to renounce the offensive. His admirable skill as a leader could not change the nature of his troops. The Spanish militia retained its character, untrustworthy as the wave or the wind; now collected in masses to the number of 150,000, now melting away again to a mere handful. The Roman emigrants, likewise, continued insubordinate, arrogant, and stubborn. Those kinds of armed force which require that a corps should keep together for a considerable time, such as cavalry especially, were of course very inadequately represented in his army. The war gradually swept off his ablest officers and the flower of his veterans; and even the most trustworthy communities, weary of being harassed by the Romans and maltreated by the Sertorian officers, began to show signs of impatience and wavering allegiance. It is remarkable that Sertorius, in this respect also like Hannibal, never deceived himself as to the hopelessness of his position; he allowed no opportunity for bringing about a compromise to pass, and would have been ready at any moment to lay down his staff of command on the assurance of being allowed to live peacefully in his native land. But political orthodoxy knows nothing of compromise and conciliation. Sertorius might not recede or step aside; he was compelled inevitably to move on along the path which he had once entered, however narrow and giddy it might become.

The representations which Pompeius addressed to Rome, and which derived emphasis from the behaviour of Mithradates in the east, were successful. He had the necessary supplies of money sent to him by the senate and was reinforced by two fresh legions. Thus the two generals went to work again in the spring of 680 and once more crossed the Ebro. Eastern Spain was wrested from the Sertorians in consequence of the battles on the Xucar and Guadalaviar; the struggle thenceforth became concentrated on the upper and middle Ebro around the chief strongholds of the Sertorians—Calagurris, Osca, Ilerda. As Metellus had done best in the earlier campaigns, so too on this occasion he gained the most important successes. His old opponent Hirtuleius, who again confronted him, was completely defeated and fell himself along with his brother—an irreparable loss for the Sertorians. Sertorius, whom the unfortunate news reached just as he was on the point of assailing the enemy opposed to him, cut down the messenger, that the tidings might not discourage his troops; but the news could not be long concealed. One town after another surrendered, Metellus occupied the Celtiberian towns of Segobriga (between Toledo and Cuenca) and Bilbilis (near Calatayud). Pompeius besieged Pallantia (Palencia above Valladolid), but Sertorius relieved it, and compelled Pompeius to fall back upon Metellus; in front of Calagurris (Calahorra, on the upper Ebro), into which Sertorius had thrown himself, they both suffered severe losses. Nevertheless, when they went into winter-quarters—Pompeius to Gaul, Metellus to his own province—they were able to look back on considerable results; a great portion of the insurgents had submitted or had been subdued by arms.

In a similar way the campaign of the following year (681) ran its course; in this case it was especially Pompeius who slowly but steadily restricted the field of the insurrection.

Internal Dissension among the Sertorians

The discomfiture sustained by the arms of the insurgents failed not to react on the tone of feeling in their camp. The military successes of Sertorius became like those of Hannibal, of necessity less and less considerable; people began to call in question his military talent: he was no longer, it was alleged, what he had been; he spent the day in feasting or over his cups, and squandered money as well as time. The number of the deserters, and of communities falling away, increased. Soon projects formed by the Roman emigrants against the life of the general were reported to him; they sounded credible enough, especially as various officers of the insurgent army, and Perpenna in particular, had submitted with reluctance to the supremacy of Sertorius, and the Roman governors had for long promised amnesty and a high reward to any one who should kill him. Sertorius, on hearing such allegations, withdrew the charge of guarding his person from the Roman soldiers and entrusted it to select Spaniards. Against the suspected themselves he proceeded with fearful but necessary severity, and condemned various of the accused to death without resorting, as in other cases, to the advice of his council; he was now more dangerous—it was thereupon affirmed in the circles of the malcontents—to his friends than to his foes.

Assassination of Sertorius

A second conspiracy was soon discovered, which had its seat in his own staff; whoever was denounced had to take flight or die; but all were not betrayed, and the remaining conspirators, including especially Perpenna, found in the circumstances only a new incentive to make haste. They were in the headquarters at Osca. There, on the instigation of Perpenna, a brilliant victory was reported to the general as having been achieved by his troops; and at the festal banquet arranged by Perpenna to celebrate this victory Sertorius accordingly appeared, attended, as was his wont, by his Spanish retinue. Contrary to former custom in the Sertorian headquarters, the feast soon became a revel; wild words passed at table, and it seemed as if some of the guests sought opportunity to begin an altercation. Sertorius threw himself back on his couch, and seemed desirous not to hear the disturbance. Then a wine-cup was dashed on the floor; Perpenna had given the concerted sign. Marcus Antonius, Sertorius' neighbour at table, dealt the first blow against him, and when Sertorius turned round and attempted to rise, the assassin flung himself upon him and held him down till the other guests at table, all of them implicated in the conspiracy, threw themselves on the struggling pair, and stabbed he defenceless general while his arms were pinioned (682). With him died his faithful attendants. So ended one of the greatest men, if not the very greatest man, that Rome had hitherto produced— a man who under more fortunate circumstances would perhaps have become the regenerator of his country—by the treason of the wretched band of emigrants whom he was condemned to lead against his native land. History loves not the Coriolani; nor has she made any exception even in the case of this the most magnanimous, most gifted, most deserving to be regretted of them all.

Perpenna Succeeds Sertorius

The murderers thought to succeed to the heritage of the murdered. After the death of Sertorius, Perpenna, as the highest among the Roman officers of the Spanish army, laid claim to the chief command. The army submitted, but with mistrust and reluctance. However men had murmured against Sertorius in his lifetime, death reinstated the hero in his rights, and vehement was the indignation of the soldiers when, on the publication of his testament, the name of Perpenna was read forth among the heirs. A part of the soldiers, especially the Lusitanians, dispersed; the remainder had a presentiment that with the death of Sertorius their spirit and their fortune had departed.

Pompeius Puts an End to the Insurrection

Accordingly, at the first encounter with Pompeius, the wretchedly led and despondent ranks of the insurgents were utterly broken, and Perpenna, among other officers, was taken prisoner. The wretch sought to purchase his life by delivering up the correspondence of Sertorius, which would have compromised numerous men of standing in Italy; but Pompeius ordered the papers to be burnt unread, and handed him, as well as the other chiefs of the insurgents, overto the executioner. The emigrants who had escaped dispersed; and most of them went into the Mauretanian deserts or joined the pirates. Soon afterwards the Plotian law, which was zealously supported by the young Caesar in particular, opened up to a portion of them the opportunity of returning home; but all those who had taken part in the murder of Sertorius, with but a single exception, died a violent death. Osca, and most of the towns which had still adhered to Sertorius in Hither Spain, now voluntarily opened their gates to Pompeius; Uxama (Osma), Clunia, and Calagurris alone had to be reduced by force. The two provinces were regulated anew; in the Further province, Metellus raised the annual tribute of the most guilty communities; in the Hither, Pompeius dispensed reward and punishment: Calagurris, for example, lost its independence and was placed under Osca. A band of Sertorian soldiers, which had collected in the Pyrenees, was induced by Pompeius to surrender, and was settled by him to the north of the Pyrenees near Lugudunum (St. Bertrand, in the department Haute-Garonne), as the community of the "congregated" (-convenae-). The Roman emblems of victory were erected at the summit of the pass of the Pyrenees; at the close of 683, Metellus and Pompeius marched with their armies through the streets of the capital, to present the thanks of the nation to Father Jovis at the Capitol for the conquest of the Spaniards. The good fortune of Sulla seemed still to be with his creation after he had been laid in the grave, and to protect it better than the incapable and negligent watchmen appointed to guard it. The opposition in Italy had broken down from the incapacity and precipitation of its leader, and that of the emigrants from dissension within their own ranks. These defeats, although far more the result of their own perverseness and discordance than of the exertions of their opponents, were yet so many victories for the oligarchy. The curule chairs were rendered once more secure.


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