ROME-THE IMPERIAL REPUBLIC.
fortifications of this place were deemed insufficient for defense, and the
retreat was about to be continued, when a demand for surrender was made in
the name of the Parthian king. Crassus was not disposed to yield, but a
division of the army mutinied, and he was obliged to capitulate. He,
together with several of his leading officers, was seized by the Parthians
and put to death. One division of troops, under command of Cassius, escaped
from Carrhae, and reached Syria in safety. All the rest of the army,
amounting to thirty thousand men, were either killed or captured.
Rome was now a prey to the rival bands of Clodius and Milo. The triumvirate
was falling to pieces and so was the Republic. The death of Crassus reduced
the masters to two. It was already a duumvirate, and the ties which held
the two together were dissolving. In B.C. 54, Julia, the wife of Pompeius
and daughter of Caesar, died. The latter attempted to furnish his colleague
with another wife, but Pompeius, who now looked to the senatorial party for
support, took, instead of Caesar's choice, the daughter of Metellus Scipio.
Soon afterwards Clodius was met in the Appian Way and killed by a company
of gladiators led by Milo. The people, however, took the body to the city,
tore up the benches of the Senate House for a pyre, and burned the corpse
and the edifice together. So terrible and frequent became the riots that in
February of B. C. 52 Pompeius was appointed dictator-though without the
name-and entrusted with the defense of the city. He thereupon renounced his
alliance with Caesar, and announced his purpose to uphold the Senate and
maintain the ancient regime.
The power of the state now fell into the hands of the Optimates. Order was
measurably restored in. the city. The leaders of the mobs were exiled. Even
Milo, though an adherent of the senatorial party, was banished to Massilia.
In the next place, a law was proposed for the purpose of overthrowing
Caesar. The measure provided that no one should be a candidate for office
during his absence from Italy. The friends and partisans of Caesar demanded
that he should be exempted from the operation of the law; but this was
refused, though Pompeius himself was considered as exempt. The years B. C.
51-50 were passed in suppressed excitement. Cato had given notice that on
the expiration of. Caesar's term he would impeach him. The condition of the
proconsul was one of extreme delicacy, not unmixed with danger.
It is necessary to understand succinctly the condition of affairs. When the
conference was held between the triumvirs at Luca it was expressly agreed
that when Caesar's second five years in the proconsulship of Gaul should
expire-which would be at the close of B. C. 49-he should be again elected,
or permitted to stand for election, to the consulship. In order to do so,
he must present himself in person in the city. In order to do this, he must
resign his proconsular authority before entering Italy. Should he do so, he
would no longer be protected by the sacredness of his office, and would
certainly be seized and impeached as soon as he should arrive at Rome. The
law, however, requiring the personal presence of the candidate in the city
had become by frequent violations a dead letter, and indeed had been
positively abrogated. It was now only dragged forth from the sepulcher and
galvanized into apparent life to prevent by the form of law what the spirit
of law no longer demanded. It can not be denied that the senatorial party,
now headed by Pompeius and Cato, had determined to prevent at all hazards
the reappearance of Caesar as a candidate for the consulship, and this in
the very face of the agreement which Pompeius had subscribed at Luca, in
accordance with the terms of which he had himself with presumed legality
enjoyed for nearly five years the government of Italy.
Meanwhile Caesar made. unwearied efforts to effect a reconciliation. He may
have intrigued to produce the condition of affairs now present in the
state, but there is no denial of the fact that his conduct was henceforth
on the side of law, and mostly on the side of right. Seeing from a distance
the coalition of his enemies, and knowing that if he yielded, his fate was
sealed, and perceiving more clearly than any other man in the Republic that
the old system was effete, and that