It is the object of this series of histories to present a clear,
distinct, and connected narrative of the lives of those great personages
who have in various ages of the world made themselves celebrated as
leaders among mankind, and, by the part they have taken in the public
affairs of great nations, have exerted the widest influence on the
history of the human race. The end which the author has had in view is
twofold: first, to communicate such information in respect to the
subjects of his narratives as is important for the general reader to
possess; and, secondly, to draw such moral lessons from the events
described and the characters delineated as they may legitimately teach
to the people of the present age. Though written in a direct and simple
style, they are intended for, and addressed to, minds possessed of some
considerable degree of maturity, for such minds only can fully
appreciate the character and action which exhibits itself, as nearly all
that is described in these volumes does, in close combination with the
conduct and policy of governments, and the great events of
I. MARIUS AND SYLLA.
II. CAESAR'S EARLY YEARS.
III. ADVANCEMENT TO THE CONSULSHIP.
IV. THE CONQUEST OF GAUL.
VI. CROSSING THE RUBICON.
VII. THE BATTLE OF PHARSALIA.
VIII. FLIGHT AND DEATH OF POMPEY.
IX. CAESAR IN EGYPT.
X. CAESAR IMPERATOR.
XI. THE CONSPIRACY.
XII. THE ASSASSINATION.
MARIUS AND SYLLA.
There were three great European nations in ancient days, each of which
furnished history with a hero: the Greeks, the Carthaginians, and
Alexander was the hero of the Greeks. He was King of Macedon, a country
lying north of Greece proper. He headed an army of his countrymen, and
made an excursion for conquest and glory into Asia. He made himself
master of all that quarter of the globe, and reigned over it in Babylon,
till he brought himself to an early grave by the excesses into which his
boundless prosperity allured him. His fame rests on his triumphant
success in building up for himself so vast an empire, and the admiration
which his career has always excited among mankind is heightened by the
consideration of his youth, and of the noble and generous impulses
which strongly marked his character.
The Carthaginian hero was Hannibal. We class the Carthaginians among the
European nations of antiquity; for, in respect to their origin, their
civilization, and all their commercial and political relations, they
belonged to the European race, though it is true that their capital was
on the African side of the Mediterranean Sea. Hannibal was the great
Carthaginian hero. He earned his fame by the energy and implacableness
of his hate. The work of his life was to keep a vast empire in a state
of continual anxiety and terror for fifty years, so that his claim to
greatness and glory rests on the determination, the perseverance, and
the success with which he fulfilled his function of being, while he
lived, the terror of the world.
The Roman hero was Caesar. He was born just one hundred years before the
Christian era. His renown does not depend, like that of Alexander, on
foreign conquests, nor, like that of Hannibal, on the terrible energy of
his aggressions upon foreign foes, but upon his protracted and dreadful
contests with, and ultimate triumphs over, his rivals and competitors at
home. When he appeared upon the stage, the Roman empire already
included nearly all of the world that was worth possessing. There were
no more conquests to be made. Caesar did, indeed, enlarge, in some
degree, the boundaries of the empire; but the main question in his day
was, who should possess the power which preceding conquerors
The Roman empire, as it existed in those days, must not be conceived of
by the reader as united together under one compact and consolidated
government. It was, on the other hand, a vast congeries of nations,
widely dissimilar in every respect from each other, speaking various
languages, and having various customs and laws. They were all, however,
more or less dependent upon, and connected with, the great central
power. Some of these countries were provinces, and were governed by
officers appointed and sent out by the authorities at Rome. These
governors had to collect the taxes of their provinces, and also to
preside over and direct, in many important respects, the administration
of justice. They had, accordingly, abundant opportunities to enrich
themselves while thus in office, by collecting more money than they paid
over to the government at home, and by taking bribes to favor the rich
man's cause in court. Thus the more wealthy and prosperous provinces
were objects of great competition among aspirants for office at Rome.
Leading men would get these appointments, and, after remaining long
enough in their provinces to acquire a fortune, would come back to Rome,
and expend it in intrigues and maneuvers to obtain higher offices still.
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