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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter VIII - The Joint Rule of Pompeius and Caesar


The Original Greek New Testament

» Contents of this Chapter

Page 47

The most sagacious of the three rulers at least saw well that it was as impossible to despise this opposition as to suppress it by word of command. So far as he could, Caesar tried rather personally to gain over the more notable authors. Cicero himself had to thank his literary reputation in good part for the respectful treatment which he especially experienced from Caesar; but the governor of Gaul did not disdain to conclude a special peace even with Catullus himself through the intervention of his father who had become personally known to him in Verona; and the young poet, who had just heaped upon the powerful general the bitterest and most personal sarcasms, was treated by him with the most flattering distinction.

In fact Caesar was gifted enough to follow his literary opponents on their own domain and to publish-- as an indirect way of repelling manifold attacks--a detailed report on the Gallic wars, which set forth before the public, with happily assumed naivete, the necessity and constitutional propriety of his military operations. But it is freedom alone that is absolutely and exclusively poetical and creative; it and it alone is able even in its most wretched caricature, even with its latest breath, to inspire fresh enthusiasm. All the sound elements of literature were and remained anti-monarchical; and, if Caesar himself could venture on this domain without proving a failure, the reason was merely that even now he still cherished at heart the magnificent dream of a free commonwealth, although he was unable to transfer it either to his adversaries or to his adherents. Practical politics was not more absolutely controlled by the regents than literature by the republicans.(10)

10. The well-known poem of Catullus (numbered as xxix.) was written in 699 or 700 after Caesar's Britannic expedition and before the death of Julia:

-Quis hoc potest videre, quis potest pati, Nisi impudicus et vorax et aleo, Mamurram habere quod comata Gallia Habebat ante et ultima Britannia-? etc.

Mamurra of Formiae, Caesar's favourite and for a time during the Gallic wars an officer in his army, had, presumably a short time before the composition of this poem, returned to the capital and was in all likelihood then occupied with the building of his much- talked-of marble palace furnished with lavish magnificence on the Caelian hill. The Iberian booty mentioned in the poem must have reference to Caesar's governorship of Further Spain, and Mamurra must even then, as certainly afterwards in Gaul, have been found at Caesar's headquarters; the Pontic booty presumably has reference to the war of Pompeius against Mithradates, especially as according to the hint of the poet it was not merely Caesar that enriched Mamurra.

More innocent than this virulent invective, which was bitterly felt by Caesar (Suet. Caes. 73), is another nearly contemporary poem of the same author (xi.) to which we may here refer, because with its pathetic introduction to an anything but pathetic commission it very cleverly quizzes the general staff of the new regents--the Gabiniuses, Antoniuses, and such like, suddenly advanced from the lowest haunts to headquarters. Let it be remembered that it was written at a time when Caesar was fighting on the Rhine and on the Thames, and when the expeditions of Crassus to Parthia and of Gabinius to Egypt were in preparation. The poet, as if he too expected one of the vacant posts from one of the regents, gives to two of his clients their last instructions before departure:

-Furi et Aureli, comites Catulli-, etc.

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