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charged on the early Spanish colonists—crimes that have, perhaps, in this world, brought down the retribution of Heaven, which has seen fit to turn this fountain of inexhaustible wealth and prosperity to the nation into the waters of bitterness.
JULIUS CÆSAR.-HIS GENIUS, HIS CHARACTER.
MOMMSEN'S “HISTORY OF ROME."
Mommsen's portraiture of Julius Cæsar should be compared with Froude's sketch, given in the “Reader.” Julius Cæsar, the foremost man of all the ancient world, was endowed with the rarest versatility of talent. He was general, politician, scholar, author, mathematician, and orator. Scarcely any man has left so deep and abiding an impress upon all subsequent history. The Roman Empire may be considered to have begun from his accession to supreme power, and around the Roman Empire nearly all ancient history, after its establishment, and much of medieval history, revolves. Charlemagne and Otto are regarded as the lineal successors to the throne of the Cæsars. See Bryce's “Essay on the Holy Roman Empire,” and Freeman's “Historical Essays." What historical character seems to have exercised the greatest fascination over the mind of Shakespeare, judging from the numerous allusions in his plays ?
1 The new monarch of Rome, the first ruler of the whole domain of Romano-Hellenic civilization, Gaius Julius Caesar, was in his fifty-sixth year (born 12 July, 652 ?) when the battle of Thapsus, the last link in a long chain of momentous victories, placed the decision of the future of the world in his hands. Few men have had their elasticity so thoroughly put to the proof as Cæsar —the sole creative genius produced by Rome, and the last produced by the ancient world, which, accordingly, moved on in the track that he marked out for it until its
sun had set. Sprung from one of the oldest noble families of Latium, which traced back its lineage to the heroes of the “Iliad” and the kings of Rome, and, in fact, to the Venus-Aphrodite, common to both nations - he spent the years of his boyhood and early manhood as the genteel youth of that epoch were wont to spend them. He had tasted the sweetness as well as the bitterness of 2 the cup of fashionable life; had recited and declaimed, had practiced literature and made verses in his idle hours, had prosecuted love intrigues of every sort, and got himself initiated into all the mysteries of shaving, curls, and ruffles pertaining to the toilet-wisdom of the day, as well as into the far more mysterious art of always borrowing and never paying. But the flexible steel of that nature was proof against even these dissipated and flighty courses; Cæsar retained both his bodily vigor and his elasticity of mind and heart unimpaired. In fencing and in riding he was a match for any of his soldiers, and, at Alexandria, his swimming saved his life. The incredible rapidity of his journeys, which, usually, for the sake of gaining time, were performed at night-a thorough contrast to the procession-like slowness with which Pompeius moved from one place to another—was the astonishment of his contemporaries, and not the least among the causes of his success. The mind was like the body. His re-3 markable power of intuition revealed itself in the precision and practicability of all his arrangements, even where he gave orders without having seen with his own eyes. His memory was matchless, and it was easy for him to carry on several occupations simultaneously with equal self-possession. Although a gentleman, a man of genius, and a monarch, he had still a heart. So long as he lived, he cherished the purest veneration for his worthy mother, Aurelia (his father having died early); to liis
wives, and, above all, to his daughter Julia, he devoted an honorable affection, which was not without reflex influence, even on political affairs. With the ablest and most excellent men of his time, of high and of humble rank, he maintained noble relations of mutual fidelity, with each after his kind. As he himself never abandoned any of his partisans, after the pusillanimous and unfeeling manner of Pompeius, but adhered to his friends—and that not merely from calculation—through good and bad times, without wavering, several of these, such as Aulus Kirtius and Gaius Matius, gave, even after his death, noble testimonies of their attachment to him.
If, in a nature so harmoniously organized, there is any one trait to be singled out as characteristic, it is this—that he stood aloof from all ideology and everything fanciful. As a matter of course, Cæsar was a man of passion, for without passion there is no genius; but his passion was never stronger than he could control. He had had his season of youth, and song, love, and wine had taken joyous possession of his mind; but with him they did not penetrate to the inmost core of his nature. Literature occupied him long and earnestly; but, while Alexander could not sleep for thinking of the Homeric Achilles, Cæsar, in his sleepless hours, mused on the inflections of the Latin nouns and verbs. He made verses, as everybody then did, but they were weak; on the other hand, he was interested in subjects of astronomy and natural 5 science. While wine was, and continued to be, with
Alexander the destroyer of care, the temperate Roman, after the revels of his youth were over, avoided it entirely. Around him, as around all those whom the full luster of woman's love has dazzled in youth, fainter gleams of it continued imperishably to linger; even in later years he had his love adventures and successes with women, and
he retained a certain foppishness in his outward appearance, or, to speak more correctly, a pleasing consciousness of his own manly beauty. He carefully covered the baldness, which he keenly felt, with the laurel chaplet that he wore in public in his later years, and he would, doubtless, have surrendered some of his victories if he could thereby have brought back his youthful locks.
Cæsar was thoroughly a realist and a man of sense ; 6 and whatever he undertook and achieved was pervaded and guided by the cool sobriety which constitutes the most marked peculiarity of his genius. To this he owed the power of living energetically in the present, undisturbed either by recollection or by expectation ; to this he owed the capacity of acting at any moment with collected vigor, and applying his whole genius even to the smallest and most incidental enterprise; to this he owed the many-sided power with which he grasped and mastered whatever understanding can comprehend and will can compel; to this he owed the self-possessed ease with which he arranged his periods as well as projected his campaigns; to this he owed the “ marvelous serenity” which remained steadily with him through good and evil days; to this he owed the complete independence which admitted of no control by favorite or by mistress, or even by friend. It resulted, moreover, from this clearness of 7 judgment that Cæsar never formed to himself illusions regarding the power of fate and the ability of man; in his case the friendly veil was lifted up which conceals from man the inadequacy of his working. However prudently he planned and contemplated all possibilities, the feeling was never absent from his heart that, in all things, fortune, that is to say, accident, must bestow success; and with this may be connected the circumstance that he so often played a desperate game with destiny,
and, in particular, again and again hazarded his person with daring indifference. As, indeed, occasionally men of predominant sagacity betake themselves to a pure game of hazard, so there was in Cæsar's rationalism a point at which it came in some measure into contact with mysticism. 8 •Gifts such as these could not fail to produce a statesman. From early youth, accordingly, Cæsar was a statesman in the deepest sense of the term, and his aim was the highest which man is allowed to propose to himself-the political, military, intellectual, and moral regeneration of his own deeply-decayed nation, and of the still more deeply-decayed Hellenic nation intimately akin to his own. The hard school of thirty years' experience changed his views as to the means by which this aim was to be reached ; his aim itself remained the same in the times of his hopeless humiliation and of his unlimited plenitude of power, in the times when, as demagogue and conspirator, he stole toward it by paths of darkness, and in those when, as joint possessor of the supreme power and then as monarch, he worked at his task in the full light of day 9 before the eyes of the world. All the measures of a permanent kind that proceeded from him at the most various times assume their appropriate places in the great building plan. We can not, therefore, properly speak of isolated achievements of Cæsar; he did nothing isolated. With justice men commend Cæsar the orator for his masculine eloquence, which, scorning all the arts of the advocate, like a clear flame at once enlightened and warmed. With justice, men admire in Cæsar the author, the inimitable simplicity of the composition, the unique purity and beauty of the language. With justice, the greatest masters of war of all times have praised Cæsar the general, who, in a singular degree disregarding routine and