UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.
began to take counsel with those who had struck down the impersonation of
the state. As soon as it was known that Caesar was slain there were stormy
scenes in the capital. The populace rolled in unsteady masses from side to
side. The sea beds of Rome were shaken as by an earthquake. There was no
uprising in favor of the conspirators. Here and there solitary cries of the
old aristocrats could be heard in cheerless applause like the notes of ill-
voiced birds crying out of the shadows of the past. The assassins of Caesar
had to seek refuge in the Capitol; but through the agency of Cicero a
conference was presently held and a reconciliation effected. It was agreed
that there should be no more bloodshed and an amnesty for all past
offenses. Meanwhile Antonius had obtained possession of Caesar's will and
estate, and awaited the opportunity which was to make all things even.
The opportunity soon came. Antonius was appointed to deliver the funeral
oration over the body of Caesar. He took advantage of the occasion, and
produced a marvelous discourse, in which genuine praise of the virtues of
the great dead was adroitly interwoven with ironical concessions to the
virtues of his murderers. A waxen effigy of the body of the illustrious
hero, with its twenty-three gaping wounds, was shown to the people under
the glare of tapers. Finally Antonius read Caesar's will, in which many of
the conspirators were remembered with legacies! The Imperator's gardens
beyond the Tiber were bequeathed to the people, and every citizen was to
receive three hundred sesterces! The effect of this disclosure of Caesar's
benevolent purposes was tremendous. The inflammable multitude took fire.
The storm of reaction swept every thing before it. The conspirators'
houses were burned and themselves driven from the city. Brutus and Cassius
were glad to escape with their lives.
In the mean time all of Caesar's acts had been confirmed by the Senate. The
world can murder the doer, but can not undo the deed! A transformation had
been effected which could not be transfixed with a dagger. Antonius was
master of the city. Lepidus commanded the army. Young Caius Octavius, son
of the daughter of Caesar's sister, had been recognized as his heir; and
the word heir might already have been rendered "successor."