chapter  6
11 Pages

THE DICTATORSHIP OF JULIUS CAESAR

The civil war provided no answer to the republic’s problems in itself; as we have seen, it split families and friends apart as they tried to weigh the rights and wrongs, the advantages and disadvantages of the two sides. It was a measure of the personal torment caused by this that when Quintus Cicero sought Caesar’s ‘pardon’ for having joined Pompey’s side he roundly blamed his brother, Marcus, for his ‘error’. In contrast, Cicero’s friend, Caelius Rufus, chose Caesar’s side because he thought that Caesar would win; Cicero himself, although he had developed an increasing personal affection for Caesar in the later 50s – not least because of the fact that, on one occasion, Caesar had put himself in danger to save Cicero’s brother, Quintus – eventually joined Pompey out of loyalty and because, for him, Pompey’s alliance with the senate seemed to offer hope that it was the ‘better side’. However, Cicero soon discovered, as Syme observed in The Roman Revolution, that, whilst ‘liberty’ and ‘the republic’ were high-sounding words, in practice they meant little more than the maintenance of the privileges and vested interests of the nobility.