Page:Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) - Volume 3.djvu/498
Thus, in b. c. 55, Pompey and Crassus were consuls the second time. They forthwith proceeded to carry into effect the compact that had been made at Lucca. They got the tribune C. Trebonius to bring forward two bills, one of which gave the province of the two Spains to Pompey, and that of Syria to Crassus, and the other prolonged Caesar's government for five years more, namely from the 1st of January, b. c. 53, to the end of the year 49. Pompey was now at the head of the state, and at the expiration of his year of office, would no longer be a private man, but at the head of an army, and in the possession of the imperium. With an army he felt sure of regaining his former influence; and he did not see that Caesar had only used him as his tool to promote his own ends, and that sooner or later he must succumb to the superior genius of his colleague. Pompey had now completed the theatre which he had been some time buildings ; and, as a means of regaining the popular favour, he resolved to open it with an exhibition of games of unparalleled splendourand magnificence. The theatre itself was worthy of the conqueror of the East. It was the first stone theatre that had been erected at Rome, and was sufficiently large to accommodate 40,000 spectators. It wits situate in the Campus Martins, and was built model tile model of one which Pompey had seen at Mytilene, in the year 62. The games exhibited by Pompey lasted many days, and consisted of scenic representations, in which the actor Aesopus appeared for the last time, gymnastic contests, gladiatorial combats, and fights of wild beasts. Five hundred African lions were killed, and eighteen elephants were attacked and most of them put to death by Gaetulian huntsmen. A rhinoceros was likewise exhibited on this occasion for the first time. The splendour of these games charmed the people for the moment, but were not sufficient to regain him his lost popularity. Of this he had a striking proof almost immediately afterwards ; for the people began to express their discontent when he levied troops in Italy and Cisalpine Gaul and sent them into Spain under the command of his legates, L. Afranius and M. Petreius, while he himself remained in the neighbourhood of the city. Pompey's object now was to obtain the dictatorship, and to make himself the undisputed master of the Roman world. Caesar's continued successes in Gaul and Britain, and his increasing power and influence, at length made it clear to Pompey that a struggle must take place between them, sooner or later; but down to the breaking out of the civil war, he seems to have thought that Caesar would never venture to draw the sword against him, and that as long as he could rule the senate and the comitia, his rival would likewise be obliged to submit to his sway. The death of his wife Julia, in b. c. 54, to whom he was tenderly attached, broke one link which still connected him with Caesar; and the fall of Crassus in the following year (b. c. 53), in the Parthian expedition, removed the only person who had the least chance of contesting the supremacy with them. In order to obtain the dictatorship, Pompey secretly encouraged the civil discord with which the state was torn asunder, hoping that the senate and the people, tired of a state of anarchy, would at length throw themselves into his arms for the purpose of regaining peace and order. In consequence of the riots, which he secretly abetted, the consular comitia could not be held in b. c. 54, and it was not till the middle of b. c. 53 that Domitius Calvinus and Valerius Messalla were chosen consuls, and that the other magistrates were elected. But new tumults ensued. Milo had become a candidate for the consulship, and Clodius for the praetorship ; each was attended by a band of hired ruffians ; battles took place almost every day between them in the forum and the streets; all order and government were at an end. In such a state of things no elections could be held; and the confusion at length became downright anarchy, when Milo murdered Clodius on the 20th of January in the following year (b. c. 52). [Vol. I. p. 774.] The senate, unable to restore order, had now no alternative but calling in the assistance of Pompey. They therefore commissioned him to collect troops and put an end to the disturbances. Pompey, who had at length obtained the great object of his desires, obeyed with alacrity; he was invested with the supreme power of the state by being elected sole consul on the 25th of February; and in order to deliver the city from Milo and his myrmidons, he brought forward laws against violence (De Vi) and bribery at elections. Milo was put upon his trial; the court was surrounded with soldiers, and the accused went into exile. Others also were condemned, and peace was once more restored to the state. Having thus established order, he made Metellus Scipio, whose daughter Cornelia he had married since Julia's death, his colleague on the 1st of August, and then held the comitia for the election of the consuls for the ensuing year. He next proceeded to strike a blow at Caesar. He brought forward an old law, which had fallen into disuse that no one should become a candidate for a public office in his absence, in order that Caesar might be obliged to resign his command, and to place himself in the power of his enemies at Rome, if he wished to obtain the consulship a second time. But the renewal of this enactment was so manifestly aimed at Caesar that his friends insisted he should be specially exempted from it; and as Pompey was not yet prepared to break openly with him, he thought it more expedient to yield. Pompey at the same time provided
five years, and to receive pay for his troops. This arrangement took place about the middle of April. Pompey now hastened to Sardinia and Africa in order to have plenty of corn to distribute among the people, which was always one of the surest means of securing popularity with the rabble of the city. Pompey and Crassus, however, experienced more opposition to their election than they had anticipated. It is true that all the other candidates gave way with the exception of L. Domitius Ahenobarbus; but supported by M. Cato and tile aristocracy, he offered a most determined opposition. The consul Lentulus Marcellinus likewise was resolved to use every means to prevent their election; and Pompey and Crassus, finding it impossible to carry their election while Marcellinus was in office, availed themselves of the veto of the tribunes Nonius Sufenas and C. Cato to prevent tile consular comitia from being held this year. The elections therefore did not take place till the beginning of b. c. 55, under the presidency of an interrex. Even then Ahenobarbus and Cato did not relax in their opposition, and it was not till the armed bands of Pompey and Crassus had cleared the Campus Martius of their adversaries that they were declared consuls.