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and spent the residue of their time in experimenting with poisons and

venomous insects to see if nature had provided any creature able to afford

a pleasurable exit from life. For the distinguished voluptuaries knew full

well that for them the door would soon swing outward which opens into the


As soon as Octavianus arrived in Egypt, Antonius and Cleopatra sought to be

reconciled with him and perchance obtain another lease of power. But the

victor would have no more trifling. Pelusium was taken and Alexandria

besieged. In the defense of the city, Antonius rose suddenly to the full

stature of a soldier. Stripped of resources and left almost to the

nakedness of personal valor, he defended himself like one of the heroes of

Troy. While the siege was progressing Cleopatra, beaten by conflicting

emotions and interests, sent word to Antonius that she had committed

suicide. He thereupon stabbed himself with his sword, but before expiring

was carried into Cleopatra's presence. The soldiers of Octavianus soon

broke into the mausoleum, and Cleopatra was taken. She exhausted all her

arts on Octavianus, but neither her grief nor her beauty availed her any

thing with the unimpressionable Caesar. He prepared to convey her to Rome

to grace his triumph, but she was presently found lying among her

attendants, dead-such was the common belief-from the sting of an asp, which

had been sent to her in a basket of figs.

After spending a short time in settling the affairs of Egypt now organized

as a Roman province and committed to the governorship of Cornelius Gallus,

Octavianus, in the Summer of B. C. 29, returned to Rome, and celebrated a

threefold triumph for his victory at Actium and his conquests in Dalmatia

and Egypt. The temple of Janus was closed to indicate the cessation of war,

and Octavianus, with the titles of Imperator and Augustus, was recognized

as sole ruler of the Roman world.

The transformation of the Republic into the Empire was one of the great

crises in human history. The change, though gradual and conservative in

many respects, was none the less sufficiently striking in its causes, its

character, and its results. The shadow of the great event had been forecast

upon the screen. Doubtless the first minds of the epoch perceived with

sufficient clearness the trend of current history, and were able in some

measure to appreciate that combination of forces which thrust up from the

decaying stump of the Imperial Republic the green and far-branching tree of

the Republican Empire.

It could but prove of the greatest interest to analyze with care the

historical condition of Rome in the time of the transformation-to look with

the calm eye of philosophy upon the situation, out of which sprang of

necessity the Caesarian system. The limits of the present work forbid the

consideration of such subjects as the occult causes, the relations, and

tendencies of historical events. Only at intervals is it permitted in these

pages to turn from the body to the soul of history-to consider the spirit

and essence of that great fact which embraces all others, and of which all

others are but the parts. If, then, we pause to reflect upon the true

nature of those tremendous impulses which transformed the Rome of Cato into

the Rome of Octavianus, we shall find the major causes to be about as


1. The Republic gave place to the Empire on account of the vast territorial

limits to which the dominions of Rome had expanded. The difficulty of human

government is always to some degree proportioned to the extent of the area

over which it is established. Within narrow limits the governing power is

able to see to the horizon. If in any part the spirit of turbulence is

manifested, it can be easily and promptly suppressed. Rome began with a

municipality on the Tiber. She spread first to the boundaries of Latium;

then to the limits of Italy; then to the countries of the Mediterranean,

and then to the rim of the world. With each expansion of her territory the

difficulty of controlling the diverse populations around which she had

drawn her cords was increased; and no improvement in administration could

keep pace with the multiplying embarrassments attending her authority. All

the more