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Caesar's Crimes

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Help me out here guys... I am perusing Plutarch diligently but cannot find the actual passage where Caesar is accused of threatening to kill Bibulus. There are clear references that he (Bibulus) and Cato feared for their lives because of the mobs in the forum, but this is only an indirect issue (meaning Caesar may have been the catalyst, but that he did not actually make a personal threat) and probably not the key item in a case for prosecution.

 

Clearly he did threaten the tribune Metellus in front of the treasury, but this was after he had already crossed the Rubicon and the charges for prosecution were no longer relevant (in the context of the previous conversation).

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Is it Plutarch who has it that Bibulus bared his neck for Caesar to strike? Or that Caesar's goons smashed the consul's fasces? I don't recall Caesar saying, "I shall kill you M. Calpurnius Bibulus," but the violence and the mobs outside Bibulus' house were surely more meaningful threats. Certainly, having a mob outside his house wasn't very safe for Livius Drusus.

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The only source I can find of Caesar using violence against Bibulus is in 'The Twelve Caesars' when Bibulus delayed the agrarian law and he was driven from the forum 'by force of arms'.

This event took place before his retirement to his home.

 

It doesn't mention Caesar threatening to kill him, even in the 'Civil wars' Caesar tries to pass himself off as a man who is always willing to forgive Bibulus even after he burned some of the ships and refused to meet with Caesar before his death.

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In the senate the opposition of men of the better sort gave him the pretext which he had long desired, and crying with loud adjurations that he was driven forth into the popular assembly against his wishes, and was compelled to court its favour by the insolence and obstinacy of the senate, he hastened before it, and stationing Crassus on one side of him and Pompey on the other, he asked them if they approved his laws. They declared that they did approve them, whereupon he urged them to give him their aid against those who threatened to oppose him with swords. They promised him such aid, and Pompey actually added that he would come up against swords with sword and buckler too.

 

As for Caesar's colleague, Bibulus, since he availed nothing by obstructing Caesar's laws, but often ran the risk with Cato of being killed in the forum, he shut himself up at home for the remainder of his term of office. Pompey, however, immediately after his marriage, filled the forum with armed men and helped the people to enact Caesar's laws and give him as his consular province Gaul on both sides of the Alps for five years, together with Illyricum and four legions. - Plutarch, Caesar, paragraph 14.

 

I'm not sure exactly what source details Bibulus baring his neck to Caesar, but I've read it in several works on the period (Meier and Holland among them), and so will continue to search for it.

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Is it Plutarch who has it that Bibulus bared his neck for Caesar to strike? Or that Caesar's goons smashed the consul's fasces? I don't recall Caesar saying, "I shall kill you M. Calpurnius Bibulus," but the violence and the mobs outside Bibulus' house were surely more meaningful threats. Certainly, having a mob outside his house wasn't very safe for Livius Drusus.

 

Agreed, I raise the issue simply because Plutarch is so clear regarding the threat against Metellus...

Plutarch: Caesar:35

Metellus once more opposed him, and was commended by some for so doing; but Caesar, raising his voice, threatened to kill him if he did not cease his troublesome interference. "And thou surely knowest, young man," said he, "that it is more unpleasant for me to say this than to do it." 11Then Metellus, in consequence of this speech, went off in a fright, and henceforth everything was speedily and easily furnished to Caesar for the war.

 

At any rate, I'm not denying the inference of the threat against Bibulus. Clearly there were machinations at work, I am only curious because I can't recollect nor find the same directly stated threat against Bibulus. Either way, I just don't personally support this one particular point among the myriad of others raised, as a leading reason for the prosecution of Caesar.

 

I'm not sure exactly what source details Bibulus baring his neck to Caesar, but I've read it in several works on the period (Meier and Holland among them), and so will continue to search for it.

 

I am also searching and becoming quite frustrated. Alas.

 

Ahh, it was Appian, Civil Wars book 2.11: (Interestingly it occurred immediately prior to the Vettius incident, but I don't mean to divert the subject).

 

The Senate (since no one called it together and it was not lawful for one consul to do so without the consent of the other) assembled at the house of Bibulus, but did nothing to counteract the force and preparation of Caesar. They planned, however, that Bibulus should opposite Caesar's laws, so that they should seem to be overcome by force rather than to suffer by their own negligence. Accordingly, Bibulus burst into the forum while Caesar was still speaking. Strife and tumult arose, blows were given, and those who had daggers broke the fasces and insignia of Bibulus and wounded some of the tribunes who stood around him. Bibulus was in no wise terrified, but bared his neck to Caesar's partisans and loudly called on them to strike. "If I cannot persuade Caesar to do right," he said, "I will affix upon him the guilt and stigma of my death." His friends, however, led him, against his will, out of the crowd and into the neighbouring temple of Jupiter Stator. Then Cato was summoned to the spot, and being a young man, forced his way to the midst of the crowd and began to make a speech, but was lifted up and carried out by Caesar's partisans. Then he went around secretly by another street and again mounted the rostra; but as he despaired of making a speech, since nobody would listen to him, he abused Caesar roundly until he was again lifted up and ejected by the Caesarians, and Caesar secured the enactment of his laws.

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The passage is in Appian's civil wars - Book II section 11-12 "undaunted Bibulus bared his throat for the knife and at the top of his voice called on Caesar's friends to do the deed..."

Edited by DecimusCaesar

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The passage is in Appian's civil wars - Book II section 11-12 "undaunted Bibulus bared his throat for the knife and at the top of his voice called on Caesar's friends to do the deed..."

 

Hah, I beat you by mere nanoseconds!!!

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It doesn't mention Caesar threatening to kill him, even in the 'Civil wars' Caesar tries to pass himself off as a man who is always willing to forgive Bibulus even after he burned some of the ships and refused to meet with Caesar before his death.

 

Not to divert us again, but I always wondered about Bibulus here. On the one hand, Bibulus seems to have been having a nervous breakdown or something--Bibulus had just returned from Egypt where not only had his two sons been murdered but he had also inexplicably fumbled the chance to bring the murderers to justice, the guy who had humiliated him his entire life had just slipped through his grasp, and in an inconsolable rage he burns all the empty ships returning from port, and while searching for more enemy ships, he refuses to dock his own ship for re-supplies for so long that he actually dies of fever on board ship. All that says to me that Bibulus has completely popped his top. Then, according to Caesar's account, Bibulus makes a gesture that is almost touching in its self-awareness: Caesar sends envoys to Bibulus, Bibulus knows how important the deputation is, and because he also knows how enraged he is at Caesar, Bibulus declines to meet them in person for the good of the republic. Doesn't that sound awfully mature for someone is going through a mental meltdown?

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In the Goldsworthy book he mentions also that Bibulus' son also died around that time as well, to add to the man's stress.

They were murdered. For a full discussion, see the article:

 

Gray-Fow, M. J. G. (1990). The mental breakdown of a Roman senator: M. Calpurnius Bibulus. Greece & Rome, 37, 179-190.

 

If you'd like a copy, send me a PM or download from JSTOR.

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