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Mark Antony
by [?]

He waited–he waited an hour, two–and then came a messenger with a note written on a slip of parchment. The words ran thus: “Well-beloved ‘Dorus: Veni, vidi, vici! Go fetch my maids, also all of our personal belongings.”

* * * * *

Standing alone by the slashed and stiffened corpse of Julius Caesar, Mark Antony says:

“Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.”

Caesar had two qualities that mark the man of supreme power: he was gentle and he was firm.

To be gentle, generous, lenient, forgiving, and yet never relinquish the vital thing–this is to be great.

To know when to be generous and when firm–this is wisdom.

The first requisite in ruling others is to rule one’s own spirit.

The suavity, moderation, dignity and wise diplomacy of Caesar led him by sure and safe steps from a lowly clerkship to positions of gradually increasing responsibility. At thirty-seven he was elected Pontifex Maximus–the head of the State Religion.

Between Pagan Rome and Christian Paganism there is small choice–all State religions are very much alike. Caesar was Pope: and no State religion since his time has been an improvement on that of Caesar.

In his habits Caesar was ascetic–a scholar by nature. He was tall, slender, and in countenance sad. For the intellect Nature had given him, she had taken toll by cheating him in form and feature. He was deliberate and of few words–he listened in a way that always first complimented the speaker and then disconcerted him.

By birth he was a noble, and by adoption one of the people. He was both plebeian and patrician.

His military experience had been but slight, though creditable, and his public addresses were so few that no one claimed he was an orator. He had done nothing of special importance, and yet the feeling was everywhere that he was the greatest man in Rome. The nobles feared him, trembling at thought of his displeasure. The people loved him–he called them, “My children.”

Caesar was head of the Church, but politically there were two other strong leaders in Rome, Pompey and Crassus. These two men were rich, and each was at the head of a large number of followers whom he had armed as militia “for the defense of State.” Caesar was poor in purse and could not meet them in their own way even if so inclined. He saw the danger of these rival factions. Strife between them was imminent–street fights were common–and it would require only a spark to ignite the tinder.

Caesar the Pontiff–the man of peace–saw a way to secure safety for the State from these two men who had armed their rival legions to protect it.

To secure this end he would crush them both.

The natural way to do this would have been to join forces with the party he deemed the stronger, and down the opposition. But this done, the leader with whom he had joined forces would still have to be dealt with.

Caesar made peace between Pompey and Crassus by joining with them, forming a Triumvirate.

This was one of the greatest strokes of statecraft ever devised. It made peace at home–averted civil war–cemented rival factions.

When three men join forces, make no mistake–power is never equally divided.

Before the piping times of peace could pall, a foreign war diverted attention from approaching difficulties at home.

The Gauls were threatening–they were always threatening–war could be had with them any time by just pushing out upon them. To the south, Sicily, Greece, Persia and Egypt had been exploited–fame and empire lay in the dim and unknown North.

Only a Caesar could have known this. He had his colleagues make him governor of Gaul. Gaul was a troublesome place to be, and they were quite willing he should go there. For a priest to go among the fighting Gauls–they smiled and stroked their chins! Gaul had definite boundaries on the south–the Rubicon marked the line–but on the north it was without limit. Real-estate owners own as high in the air and as deep in the earth as they wish to go. Caesar alone guessed the greatness of Gaul.