office interior design pretoria

office interior design pretoria

history of julius caesar by jacob abbottchapter xi the conspiracy. caesar's greatness and glory came at lastto a very sudden and violent end. he was assassinated. all the attendant circumstances of thisdeed, too, were of the most extraordinary character, and thus the dramatic interestwhich adorns all parts of the great conqueror's history marks strikingly itsend. his prosperity and power awakened, ofcourse, a secret jealousy and ill will. those who were disappointed in theirexpectations of his favor murmured.


others, who had once been his rivals, hatedhim for having triumphed over them. then there was a stern spirit of democracy,too, among certain classes of the citizens of rome which could not brook a master. it is true that the sovereign power in theroman commonwealth had never been shared by all the inhabitants. it was only in certain privileged classesthat the sovereignty was vested; but among these the functions of government weredivided and distributed in such a way as to balance one interest against another, and to give all their proper share of influenceand authority.


terrible struggles and conflicts oftenoccurred among these various sections of society, as one or another attempted fromtime to time to encroach upon the rights or privileges of the rest. these struggles, however, ended usually inat last restoring again the equilibrium which had been disturbed. no one power could ever gain the entireascendency; and thus, as all monarchism seemed excluded from their system, theycalled it a republic. caesar, however, had now concentrated inhimself all the principal elements of power, and there began to be suspicionsthat he wished to make himself in name and


openly, as well as secretly and in fact, aking. the romans abhorred the very name of king. they had had kings in the early periods oftheir history, but they made themselves odious by their pride and theiroppressions, and the people had deposed and expelled them. the modern nations of europe have severaltimes performed the same exploit, but they have generally felt unprotected and ill atease without a personal sovereign over them and have accordingly, in most cases, after a few years, restored some branch of theexpelled dynasty to the throne the romans


were more persevering and firm. they had managed their empire now for fivehundred years as a republic, and though they had had internal dissensions,conflicts, and quarrels without end, had persisted so firmly and unanimously in their detestation of all regal authority,that no one of the long line of ambitious and powerful statesmen, generals, orconquerors by which the history of the empire had been signalized, had ever daredto aspire to the name of king. there began, however, soon to appear someindications that caesar, who certainly now possessed regal power, would like the regalname.


ambitious men, in such cases, do notdirectly assume themselves the titles and symbols of royalty. others make the claim for them, while theyfaintly disavow it, till they have opportunity to gee what effect the ideaproduces on the public mind. the following incidents occurred which itwas thought indicated such a design on the part of caesar. there were in some of the public buildingscertain statues of kings; for it must be understood that the roman dislike to kingswas only a dislike to having kingly authority exercised over themselves.


they respected and sometimes admired thekings of other countries, and honored their exploits, and made statues to commemoratetheir fame. they were willing that kings should reignelsewhere, so long as there were no king of rome.the american feeling at the present day is much the same. if the queen of england were to make aprogress through this country, she would receive, perhaps, as many and as strikingmarks of attention and honor as would be rendered to her in her own realm. we venerate the antiquity of her royalline; we admire the efficiency of her


government and the sublime grandeur of herempire, and have as high an idea as any, of the powers and prerogatives of her crown-- and these feelings would show themselvesmost abundantly on any proper occasion. we are willing, nay, wish that she shouldcontinue to reign over englishmen; and yet, after all, it would take some millions ofbayonets to place a queen securely upon a throne over this land. regal power was accordingly, in theabstract, looked up to at rome, as it is elsewhere, with great respect; and it was,in fact, all the more tempting as an object of ambition, from the determination felt by


the people that it should not be exercisedthere. there were, accordingly, statues of kingsat rome. caesar placed his own statue among them. some approved, others murmured. there was a public theater in the city,where the officers of the government were accustomed to sit in honorable seatsprepared expressly for them, those of the senate being higher and more distinguishedthan the rest. caesar had a seat prepared for himselfthere, similar in form to a throne, and adorned it magnificently with gilding andornaments of gold, which gave it the entire


pre-eminence over all the other seats. he had a similar throne placed in thesenate chamber, to be occupied by himself when attending there, like the throne ofthe king of england in the house of lords. he held, moreover, a great many publiccelebrations and triumphs in the city in commemoration of his exploits and honors;and, on one of these occasions, it was arranged that the senate were to come to him at a temple in a body, and announce tohim certain decrees which they had passed to his honor. vast crowds had assembled to witness theceremony caesar was seated in a magnificent


chair, which might have been called eithera chair or a throne, and was surrounded by officers and attendants when the senate approached, caesar did not rise to receivethem, but remained seated, like a monarch receiving a deputation of his subjects. the incident would not seem to be in itselfof any great importance, but, considered as an indication of caesar's designs, itattracted great attention, and produced a very general excitement. the act was adroitly managed so as to besomewhat equivocal in its character, in order that it might be represented one wayor the other on the following day,


according as the indications of publicsentiment might incline. some said that caesar was intending torise, but was prevented, and held down by those who stood around him. others said that an officer motioned to himto rise, but he rebuked his interference by a frown, and continued his seat. thus while, in fact, he received the romansenate as their monarch and sovereign, his own intentions and designs in so doing wereleft somewhat in doubt, in order to avoid awakening a sudden and violent opposition. not long after this, as he was returning inpublic from some great festival, the


streets being full of crowds, and thepopulace following him in great throngs with loud acclamations, a man went up to his statue as he passed it, and placed uponthe head of it a laurel crown, fastened with a white ribbon, which was a badge ofroyalty. some officers ordered the ribbon to betaken down, and sent the man to prison. caesar was very much displeased with theofficers, and dismissed them from their office. he wished, he said, to have the opportunityto disavow, himself, such claims, and not to have others disavow them for him.


caesar's disavowals were, however, sofaint, and people had so little confidence in their sincerity, that the cases becamemore and more frequent in which the titles and symbols of royalty were connected withhis name. the people who wished to gain his favorsaluted him in public with the name of rex, the latin word for king. he replied that his name was caesar, notrex, showing, however, no other signs of displeasure. on one great occasion, a high publicofficer, a near relative of his, repeatedly placed a diadem upon his head, caesarhimself, as often as he did it, gently


putting it off. at last he sent the diadem away to a templethat was near, saying that there was no king in rome but jupiter. in a word, all his conduct indicated thathe wished to have it appear that the people were pressing the crown upon him, when hehimself was steadily refusing it. this state of things produced a very strongand universal, though suppressed excitement in the city.parties were formed. some began to be willing to make caesarking; others were determined to hazard their lives to prevent it.none dared, however, openly to utter their


sentiments on either side. they expressed them by mysterious looks anddark intimations. at the time when caesar refused to rise toreceive the senate, many of the members withdrew in silence, and with looks ofoffended dignity when the crown was placed upon his statue or upon his own brow, a portion of the populace would applaud withloud acclamations; and whenever he disavowed these acts, either by words orcounter-actions of his own, an equally loud acclamation would arise from the otherside. on the whole, however, the idea that caesarwas gradually advancing toward the kingdom


steadily gained ground. and yet caesar himself spoke frequentlywith great humility in respect to his pretensions and claims; and when he foundpublic sentiment turning against the ambitious schemes he seems secretly to have cherished, he would present some excuse orexplanation for his conduct plausible enough to answer the purpose of adisavowal. when he received the senate, sitting like aking, on the occasion before referred to, when they read to him the decrees whichthey had passed in his favor, he replied to them that there was more need of


diminishing the public honors which hereceived than of increasing them. when he found, too, how much excitement hisconduct on that occasion had produced, he explained it by saying that he had retainedhis sitting posture on account of the infirmity of his health, as it made himdizzy to stand. he thought, probably, that these pretextswould tend to quiet the strong and turbulent spirits around him, from whoseenvy or rivalry he had most to fear, without at all interfering with the effect which the act itself would have producedupon the masses of the population. he wished, in a word, to accustom them tosee him assume the position and the bearing


of a sovereign, while, by his apparenthumility in his intercourse with those immediately around him, he avoided as much as possible irritating and arousing thejealous and watchful rivals who were next to him in power. if this were his plan, it seemed to beadvancing prosperously toward its accomplishment. the population of the city seemed to becomemore and more familiar with the idea that caesar was about to become a king. the opposition which the idea had at firstawakened appeared to subside, or, at least,


the public expression of it, which dailybecame more and more determined and dangerous, was restrained. at length the time arrived when it appearedsafe to introduce the subject to the roman senate.this, of course, was a hazardous experiment. it was managed, however, in a very adroitand ingenious manner. there were in rome, and, in fact, in manyother cities and countries of the world in those days, a variety of prophetic books,called the sibylline oracles, in which it was generally believed that future eventswere foretold.


some of these volumes or rolls, which werevery ancient and of great authority, were preserved in the temples at rome, under thecharge of a board of guardians, who were to keep them with the utmost care, and to consult them on great occasions, in orderto discover beforehand what would be the result of public measures or greatenterprises which were in contemplation. it happened that at this time the romanswere engaged in a war with the parthians, a very wealthy and powerful nation of asia. caesar was making preparations for anexpedition to the east to attempt to subdue this people.he gave orders that the sibylline oracles


should be consulted. the proper officers, after consulting themwith the usual solemn ceremonies, reported to the senate that they found it recordedin these sacred prophecies that the parthians could not be conquered except by a king, a senator proposed, therefore,that, to meet the emergency, caesar should be made king during the war.there was at first no decisive action on this proposal. it was dangerous to express any opinion.people were thoughtful, serious, and silent, as on the eve of some greatconvulsion.


no one knew what others were meditating,and thus did not dare to express his own wishes or designs. there soon, however, was a prevailingunderstanding that caesar's friends were determined on executing the design ofcrowning him, and that the fifteenth of march, called, in their phraseology, the ides of march, was fixed upon as thecoronation day. in the mean time, caesar's enemies, thoughto all outward appearance quiet and calm, had not been inactive. finding that his plans were now ripe forexecution, and that they had no, open means


of resisting them, they formed a conspiracyto assassinate caesar himself, and thus bring his ambitious schemes to an effectualand final end. the name of the original leader of thisconspiracy was cassius. cassius had been for a long time caesar'spersonal rival and enemy. he was a man of a very violent and ardenttemperament, impetuous and fearless, very fond of exercising power himself, but veryrestless and uneasy in having it exercised over him. he had all the roman repugnance to beingunder the authority of a master, with an additional personal determination of hisown not to submit to caesar.


he determined to slay caesar rather than toallow him to be made a king, and he went to work, with great caution, to bring otherleading and influential men to join him in this determination. some of those to whom he applied said thatthey would unite with him in his plot provided he would get marcus brutus to jointhem. brutus was the praetor of the city. the praetorship of the city was a very highmunicipal office. the conspirators wished to have brutus jointhem partly on account of his station as a magistrate, as if they supposed that byhaving the highest public magistrate of the


city for their leader in the deed, the destruction of their victim would appearless like a murder, and would be invested, instead, in some respects, with thesanctions and with the dignity of an official execution. then, again, they wished for the moralsupport which would be afforded them in their desperate enterprise by brutus'sextraordinary personal character. he was younger than cassius, but he wasgrave, thoughtful, taciturn, calm--a man of inflexible integrity, of the coolestdetermination, and, at the same time, of the most undaunted courage.


the conspirators distrusted one another,for the resolution of impetuous men is very apt to fail when the emergency arriveswhich puts it to the test; but as for brutus, they knew very well that whateverhe undertook he would most certainly do. there was a great deal even in his name. it was a brutus that five centuries beforehad been the main instrument of the expulsion of the roman kings. he had secretly meditated the design, and,the better to conceal it, had feigned idiocy, as the story was, that he might notbe watched or suspected until the favorable hour for executing his design shouldarrive.


he therefore ceased to speak, and seemed tolose his reason; he wandered about the city silent and gloomy, like a brute. his name had been lucius junius before.they added brutus now, to designate his condition. when at last, however, the crisis arrivedwhich he judged favorable for the expulsion of the kings, he suddenly reassumed hisspeech and his reason, called the astonished romans to arms, and triumphantlyaccomplished his design. his name and memory had been cherished eversince that day as of a great deliverer. they, therefore, who looked upon caesar asanother king, naturally turned their


thoughts to the brutus of their day, hopingto find in him another deliverer. brutus found, from time to time,inscriptions on his ancient namesake's statue expressing the wish that he were nowalive. he also found each morning, as he came tothe tribunal where he was accustomed to sit in the discharge of the duties of hisoffice, brief writings, which had been left there during the night, in which few words expressed deep meaning, such as "awake,brutus, to thy duty;" and "art thou indeed a brutus?" still it seemed hardly probable that brutuscould be led to take a decided stand


against caesar, for they had been warmpersonal friends ever since the conclusion of the civil wars. brutus had, indeed, been on pompey's sidewhile that general lived; he fought with him at the battle of pharsalia, but he hadbeen taken prisoner there, and caesar, instead of executing him as a traitor, as most victorious generals in a civil warwould have done, spared his life, forgave him for his hostility, received him intohis own service, and afterward raised him to very high and honorable stations. he gave him the government of the richestprovince, and, after his return from it,


loaded with wealth and honors, he made himpraetor of the city. in a word, it would seem that he had doneevery thing which it was possible to do to make him one of his most trustworthy anddevoted friends. the men, therefore, to whom cassius firstapplied, perhaps thought that they were very safe in saying that they would unitein the intended conspiracy if he would get brutus to join them. they expected cassius himself to make theattempt to secure the co-operation of brutus, as cassius was on terms of intimacywith him on account of a family connection. cassius's wife was the sister of brutus.


this had made the two men intimateassociates and warm friends in former years, though they had been recentlysomewhat estranged from each other on account of having been competitors for thesame offices and honors. in these contests caesar had decided infavor of brutus. "cassius," said he, on one such occasion,"gives the best reasons; but i can not refuse brutus any thing he asks for." in fact, caesar had conceived a strongpersonal friendship for brutus, and believed him to be entirely devoted to hiscause. cassius, however, sought an interview withbrutus, with a view of engaging him in his


design. he easily effected his own reconciliationwith him, as he had himself been the offended party in their estrangement fromeach other. he asked brutus whether he intended to bepresent in the senate on the ides of march, when the friends of caesar, as wasunderstood, were intending to present him with the crown. brutus said he should not be there."but suppose," said cassius, "we are specially summoned." "then," said brutus, "i shall go, and shallbe ready to die if necessary to defend the


liberty of my country." cassius then assured brutus that there weremany other roman citizens, of the highest rank, who were animated by the samedetermination, and that they all looked up to him to lead and direct them in the workwhich it was now very evident must be done. "men look," said cassius, "to otherpraetors to entertain them with games, spectacles, and shows, but they have verydifferent ideas in respect to you. your character, your name, your position,your ancestry, and the course of conduct which you have already always pursued,inspire the whole city with the hope that you are to be their deliverer.


the citizens are all ready to aid you, andto sustain you at the hazard of their lives; but they look to you to go forward,and to act in their name and in their behalf, in the crisis which is nowapproaching." men of a very calm exterior are oftensusceptible of the profoundest agitations within, the emotions seeming to besometimes all the more permanent and uncontrollable from the absence of outwarddisplay. brutus said little, but his soul wasexcited and fired by cassius's words. there was a struggle in his soul betweenhis grateful sense of his political obligations to caesar and his personalattachment to him on the one hand, and, on


the other, a certain stern roman conviction that every thing should be sacrificed, evenfriendship and gratitude, as well as fortune and life, to the welfare of hiscountry. he acceded to the plan, and began forthwithto enter upon the necessary measures for putting it into execution. there was a certain general, namedligurius, who had been in pompey's army, and whose hostility to caesar had neverbeen really subdued. he was now sick. brutus went to see him.he found him in his bed.


the excitement in rome was so intense,though the expressions of it were suppressed and restrained, that every onewas expecting continually some great event, and every motion and look was interpretedto have some deep meaning. ligurius read in the countenance of brutus,as he approached his bedside, that he had not come on any trifling errand. "ligurius," said brutus, "this is not atime for you to be sick." "brutus," replied ligurius, rising at oncefrom his couch, "if you have any enterprise in mind that is worthy of you, i am well." brutus explained to the sick man theirdesign, and he entered into it with ardor.


the plan was divulged to one after anotherof such men as the conspirators supposed most worthy of confidence in such adesperate undertaking, and meetings for consultation were held to determine what plan to adopt for finally accomplishingtheir end. it was agreed that caesar must be slain;but the time, the place, and the manner in which the deed should be performed were allyet undecided. various plans were proposed in theconsultations which the conspirators held; but there was one thing peculiar to themall, which was, that they did not any of them contemplate or provide for any thinglike secrecy in the commission of the deed.


it was to be performed in the most open andpublic manner. with a stern and undaunted boldness, whichhas always been considered by mankind as truly sublime, they determined that, inrespect to the actual execution itself of the solemn judgment which they had pronounced, there should be nothing privateor concealed. they thought over the various publicsituations in which they might find caesar, and where they might strike him down, onlyto select the one which would be most public of all. they kept, of course, their preliminarycounsels private, to prevent the adoption


of measures for counteracting them; butthey were to perform the deed in such a manner as that, so soon as it was performed, they should stand out to view,exposed fully to the gaze of all mankind as the authors, of it. they planned no retreat, no concealment, noprotection whatever for themselves, seeming to feel that the deed which they were aboutto perform, of destroying the master and monarch of the world, was a deed in its own nature so grand and sublime as to raise theperpetrators of it entirely above all considerations relating to their ownpersonal safety.


their plan, therefore, was to keep theirconsultations and arrangements secret until they were prepared to strike the blow, thento strike it in the most public and imposing manner possible, and calmlyafterward to await the consequences. in this view of the subject, they decidedthat the chamber of the roman senate was the proper place, and the ides of march,the day on which he was appointed to be crowned, was the propel time for caesar tobe slain.