THE IMPERIAL LINE OF CAESARS

MEANWHILE a realist had appeared in Rome in the person of Julius Caesar (102-44 B.C.), who joined the extreme section of the democratic party and was probably behind the attempt of Catiline, a debauched noble, to start a revolution in 63 B.C. This attempt miscarried owing to the activity and eloquence of Cicero, the greatest of Roman orators. Cicero was a true patriot, who advocated a union of classes. Sprung from the Italian middle classes, he had joined the party of the Senate as a friend of constitutional government. Cicero failed to see that the time for this was past. In 60 B.C., Pompey, alienated by the Senate, joined in a coalition with Caesar and Crassus, the richest man in Rome. Caesar was elected Consul in 59 B.C. and forced through Pompey's settlement of Asia Minor. Crassus received financial advantages in the placing of contracts. For himself, Caesar secured an appointment for five years as governor of Cisalpine Gaul (the Po valley), and Transalpine Gaul (Southern France). In Gaul, Caesar discovered his own military genius and forged the army which subsequently won him the Empire. Roman rule was extended to the Atlantic, Britain was raided, and invading tribes from Germany were driven back across the Rhine. These successes made Pompey jealous and uneasy, for he wanted to be the indispensable servant and saviour of the State. The death of Crassus in 53 B.C. left the rivals face to face, and the Senate, playing on Pompey's fears, used him as a catspaw against Caesar, who was obviously intending to make himself master of Rome. After some manoeuvring for position on either side, civil war broke out in 49 B.C. Cassar put himself technically in the wrong by crossing the River Rubicon, the boundary of his province, with an armed force. Pompey had no army ready to face him, and fled to Greece with the Senate. There he started collecting a huge army from the Eastern provinces. Meanwhile, Caesar occupied Rome and agreeably disappointed expectations by refusing to sanction another reign of terror. He first crushed Pompey's supporters in Spain, and then, with his rear secure, he crossed over to Greece and defeated Pompey at Pharsalus (48 B.C.). Pompey fled to Egypt, where he was murdered, and so escaped the ignominy of being pardoned by Caesar. The free republic was ended.