Antony Essay Research Paper Antony died 30 — страница 5

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him in his carriage, while behind came Brutus Albinus and Octavian, his niece’s son, who afterwards bore his name and reigned so long over the Romans. Caesar being created, the fifth time, consul, without delay chose Antony for his colleague, but designing himself to give up his own consulate to Dolabella, he acquainted the senate with his resolution. But Antony opposed it with all his might, saying much that was bad against Dolabella, and receiving the like language in return, till Caesar could bear with the indecency no longer, and deferred the matter to another time. Afterwards, when he came before the people to proclaim Dolabella, Antony cried out that the auspices were unfavourable, so that at last Caesar, much to Dolabella’s vexation, yielded and gave it up. And it is

credible that Caesar was about as much disgusted with the one as the other. When some one was accusing them both to him, “It is not,” said he, “these well-fed, long-haired men that I fear, but the pale and the hungry-looking;” meaning Brutus and Cassius, by whose conspiracy he afterwards fell. And the fairest pretext for that conspiracy was furnished, without his meaning it, by Antony himself. The Romans were celebrating their festival, called the Lupercalia, when Caesar, in his triumphal habit, and seated above the rostra in the market-place, was a spectator of the sports. The custom is, that many young noblemen and of the magistracy, anointed with oil and having straps of hide in their hands, run about and strike, in sport, at every one they meet. Antony was running

with the rest; but, omitting the old ceremony, twining a garland of bay round a diadem, he ran up to the rostra, and, being lifted up by his companions, would have put it upon the head of Caesar, as if by that ceremony he was declared king. Caesar seemingly refused, and drew aside to avoid it, and was applauded by the people with great shouts. Again Antony pressed it, and again he declined its acceptance. And so the dispute between them went on for some time, Antony’s solicitations receiving but little encouragement from the shouts of a few friends, and Caesar’s refusal being accompanied with the general applause of the people; a curious thing enough, that they should submit with patience to the fact, and yet at the same time dread the name as the destruction of their

liberty. Caesar, very much discomposed at what had passed got up from his seat, and, laying bare his neck, said he was ready to receive a stroke, if any one of them desired to give it. The crown was at last put on one of his statues, but was taken down by some of the tribunes, who were followed home by the people with shouts of applause. Caesar, however, resented it, and deposed them. These passages gave great encouragement to Brutus and Cassius, who in making choice of trusty friends for such an enterprise, were thinking to engage Antony. The rest approved, except Trebonius, who told them that Antony and he had lodged and travelled together in the last journey they took to meet Caesar, and that he had let fall several words, in a cautious way, on purpose to sound him; that

Antony very well understood him, but did not encourage it; however, he had said nothing of it to Caesar, but had kept the secret faithfully. The conspirators then proposed that Antony should die with him, which Brutus would not consent to, insisting that an action undertaken in defence of right and the laws must be maintained unsullied, and pure of injustice. It was settled that Antony, whose bodily strength and high office made him formidable, should, at Caesar’s entrance into the senate, when the deed was to be done, be amused outside by some of the party in a conversation about some pretended business. So when all was proceeded with, according to their plan, and Caesar had fallen in the senate-house, Antony, at the first moment, took a servant’s dress, and hid himself.

But, understanding that the conspirators had assembled in the Capitol, and had no further design upon any one, he persuaded them to come down, giving them his son as a hostage. That night Cassius supped at Antony’s house, and Brutus with Lepidus. Antony then convened the senate, and spoke in favour of an act of oblivion, and the appointment of Brutus and Cassius to provinces. These measures the senate passed; and resolved that all Caesar’s acts should remain in force. Thus Antony went out of the senate with the highest possible reputation and esteem; for it was apparent that he had prevented a civil war, and had composed, in the wisest and most statesmanlike way, questions of the greatest difficulty and embarrassment. But these temperate counsels were soon swept away by the