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Causes of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Republic..

Death of Mithridates. -Conquests of Pompey.-- Catiline's

ANY causes contributed to this important event.

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for a revolution in the government. The communication of the freedom of the city to the nations of Italy accelerated its approach. The progress of luxury among the people who did not apply to arts and manufactures, forwarded this change. The example of Sylla, who, by making changes in the Commonwealth at the head of legions, shewed that authority had now passed into the army, and pointed out the path to every General that aspired to be master of Rome. *

But, although a dittator had reigned at Rome, and the legions had given the law, various causes contributed to protract the fate of the Commonwealth, and prevent a citizen from attaining the fovereignty of the Roman world. 1. The ancient constitution still subsísted in the imagination and the opinion of the citizens, who felt themselves interested in its preservation. 2. As Rome was a Republic, the person who was to usurp the sovereignty must have been a citizen originally on a level with other citizens. 3. The number of illustrious candidates, who now aspired to dominion, prolonged the struggle of parties, namely, Pompey and Cæsar, Antony and Octavius.

Whilft Sylla was exercising tyranny at Rome, the war with Mithridates broke out afresh. That prince headed a numerous army, from different nations; with which he conquered all Bithynia, a part of Alia, lately bequeathed to the Romans, by Nicomedes, king of that country. Mithridates also gained great advantage over the Romans in other parts of Asia. Upon this success of the enemy, the two consuls Cotta and Lucullus, were appointed to carry on the war against him, and he was defeated by Lucullus. He afterwards withdrew to Pontus, and entered into a second alliance with his sonin-law Tigranes. The united forces of these princes were, two years after, again overpowered by Lucullus. But this great commander, being forsaken by his foldiers, was obliged to give up the fruit of his toil and victories to Pompey, who was appointed to command the army in Asia, and entirely

* Logan. N 4



Death of Mithridates. defeated Mithridates. This prince was a second Hannibal, in his enmity to Rome. He continued his oppofition, even tho' he found his own family confederating against him. Al. though he was betrayed by his son Macharis, and his life was attempted by Pharnaces, yet he still aimed at great designs, and, even in the heart of Asia, projected the invasion of the Roman empire: This he intended to effect by marching into Europe, and, after being joined there by the fierce nations that inhabited Germany and Gaul, he refolved to cross the Alps into Italy, as Hannibal had done before him. But his timid Afiatic foldiers were ill disposed to second the great views of their leader. Upon being apprized of his intentions, a mutiny ensued, which was promoted by his son Pharnaces, who had been long desirous of gaining the favour of Pompey by parricide.

Mithridates, being thus obliged to take refuge in his palace to escape the fury of the army, sent to his son for leave to depart, offering the free poffeffion of all that remained of his wretched fortunes, and his title to those dominions, of which he had been deprived by the Romans. To this the unnatural son made no direct reply, conscious that he was offered only what could not be taken away. But, turning to the slave that brought him the message, he desired him, with a stern countenance, to tell his father, that death was all that now remained for him. Such an horrid instance of filial impiety added new poignance to the wretched monarch's affliction. He could not refrain froin venting his imprecations, and from wishing that such an unnatural child might one day, meet with the like ingratitude from his own children." Then leaving his own apartment, where he had been for some time alone, he entered that particularly assigned to his wives, children, and domestics, where he bade all those prepare for death, who did not choose to undergo the horror of a Roman captivity. They all readily consented to die with their monarch, and chearfully taking the poison, which he had in readiness, expired before him. As to himself, having used his body much to antidotes, thc poison had but little effect, upon which he attempted to dispatch himself with his sword; but that also failing, a Gaulish soldier, whose name was Bitæus, performed this friendly office. Thus died Mithridates, betrayed by his fon, and forsaken by the army that seemed terrified at the greatness of his enterprizes. His fortune was various; his courage always the same. He had for twenty-five years op posed Rome; and, though he was often betrayed by his captains, his children, and wives, yet he continually found re


sources against his enemies, and was formidable to the very laft.

Lucullus and Pompey had both great interest in the affections of the people; but the late success of the latter general, both by sea and land, prevailed over the party of the former: Pompey was declared general of the Roman armies, and governed with an unlimited authority. Nothing was able to check the progress of his arms. He marched over the valt mountains of Taurus, setting up and deposing kings at bis pleasure. Darius, king of Media, and Antiochus, king of Syria, were compelled to submit to his clemency. Phraates, king of_Parthia, was obliged to retire, and send to entreat a peace. From thence, extending his conquests over the Thuræans and Arabians, he reduced all Syria and Pontus into Roman provinces.

Pompey then turned towards Judea, and summoned Ariftobulus, who had usurped the priesthood from his elder brother Hyrcanus, to appear before him; but Ariftobulus had fortified the temple of Jerusalem against him, and refused to answer. This venerable place, which was thus converted into a garrison, being very strong from its fituation, held out for three months, but was ac last taken, and twelve thousand of its defenders were flain. Pompey entered this great fanctuary with a mixture of resolution and fear; he shewed an eager curiosity to enter into the Holy of Holies; where he gazed for some time upon those things which it was unlawful for any but the priests themselves to behold. Nevertheless he shewed so much veneration for the place, that he forbore touching any of the vast treasures depofited there. After re{toring Hyrcanus to the priesthood and government, he took Ariftobulus with him, to grace his triumph upon his return. This triumph, which lasted two days, was the most splendid that had ever entered the gates of Rome. In it were exposed the names of fifteen conquered kingdoms, eight hun dred cities taken, twenty-ninę repeopled, and a thousand cats tles brought to acknowledge the empire of Rome. Among the prisoners led in triumph, appeared the son of Tigranes; Ariftobulus, king of Judea; the sister of Mithridates ; together with the hostages of the Albanians, Iberians, and the king of Comagena. The treasures that were brought home, amounted to near four millions of our money; and the trophies and other splendors of the procession were such that the Spectators seemed loft in magnificent profusion. All these victories, however, rather served to heighten the glory than to increase the power of Rome; they only made it a more



Cataline's Conspiracy. glaring object of ambition, and exposed its liberties to greater danger*.' Those liberties, indeed, seemed devoted to ruin on every side ; for, even while Pompey was pursuing his conquest abroad, Rome was at the verge of ruin from a conspi

racy at home.

This conspiracy was projected and carried on by Sergius Catiline, a patrician by birth, who resolved to build his own power on the downfal of his country. His high extraction had raised him to the principal employments in the state. He was fingularly formed, both by art and nature, to conduct a conspiracy. He was possessed of courage equal to the most desperate attempts, and eloquence to give a colour to his ambition. Ruined in his fortunes, profigate in his manners, and vigilant in pursuing his aims, he was insatiable after wealth, only with a view to lavish it in guilty pleafures. In short, as Sallust describes him, he was a compound of oppofite paffions; intemperate to excess, yet patient of labour to a wonder; severe with the virtuous, debauched with the

gay; so that he had all the vicious for his friends by inclination; and he attached even some of the good, by the specious shew of pretended virtue. However, his real character was at Jength very well known at Rome; he had been accused of debauching a vestal virgin; he was suspected of murdering his son, to gratify a criminal paffion; and it was notorious, that in the profcription of Sylla, he had killed his own brother, to make his court to that tyrant,

Lentulus, Cethegus, and Pifo were confederates with him, They agreed to set fire to the city, to murder Cicero the conful, and all who had at any time opposed their ambitious views. The Conspirators were chiefly persons of the first rank; but by riot and excess they had debased their families, and were become desperate.

Cicero greatly distinguished himself by the suppression of this conspiracy. Fulvia, a woman of ill fame, and who held a criminal correspondence with Quintus Curius, one of the confpirators, first disclosed it to him; and he, in the presence of Catiline, declared the whole design to the senate. By his vigilance also, he entirely disconcerted the measures of the conspirators, and obliged them to confess their crime in full assembly of the senate. Catiline fled with a few followers to to the army of Marius ; Lentulus, Cethegus, and other principal confpirators, were soon after put to death by order of the fenate. Catiline afterwards collected a small body of forces, but he was engaged by Peterius the lieutenant of Antony the consul, and slain in the battle f. in Hooke.

+ Sallust.


The greater part of the world was now subdued, and the Roman empire had arrived to such grandeur, that it could scarce extend itself farther. No outward force was sufficient to fubdue the power of the Romans ; but the state at length fell by its own weight, and the ambition of the leading men. Julius Cæsar at this time began to make a considerable figure in Rome. He had before enjoyed many public offices, and was now prætor and governor of Sparta, where he greatly extended the frontiers of the Roman province, and on his return home was received with the general acclamations of the people.

This celebrated man was nephew to Marius, by the female line, and descended from one of the most illustrious families in Rome. He had already mounted by the regular gradations of office; having been quæstor, ædile, and grand pontiff, and prætor in Spain. Being descended from popular ancestors, he warmly espoused the side of the people, and shortly after the death of Sylla procured those whom he had banished to be recalled. He had constantly declared for the populace against the senate, and consequently became their favourite magistrate. He had received proper intelligence during his adminiftration in Spain, of what was transancting at Rome, and resolved to return to improve occurrences in his favour. His services in Spain had deserved a triumph, and his ambition aspired to the consulship. However, it was contrary to law for that he should enjoy both; for to obtain the consulship, he must come into the city, and by entering the city, he was disqualified for a triumph. In this dilemma, he preferred solid power to empty parade, and determined to stand for the consulship, at the same time resolving to attach the two most powerful men in the state to him, by effecting their reconciliation. He accordingly began, by offering his fervices to Pompey, promising to affist him in getting all his acts paffed, notwithstanding the oppofition of the fenate. Pompey, pleased with the acquisition of a person of such inerit readily granted him his confidence and protection. He next applied to Crassus, who, from former connections, was disposed to become still more nearly his friend. At length, finding them not averse to an union of interests, he took an opportunity of bringing them together ; and remonstrating to them on the advantage, as well as the neceffity of a reconciliation, had art enough to persuade them to forget former animofities. A combination was thus formed, by which they agreed, that nothing should be done in the commonwealth, but what


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