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petty and mean artifices, as they do, which are ignorant in state employments, and depend not so much upon the strength of their own wits, as upon the counsels and brains of others, to support their authority: for he was skilled in the turnings of all human affairs ; and transacted all matters, especially those of high consequence, by himself, and not by others.
He was singularly skilful to avoid envy; and found it not impertinent to his ends, to decline that, though it were with some diminution of his dignity. For aiming at a real power, he was content to pass by all vain pomp and outward shows of power throughout his whole life; till at the last, whether high-flown with the continual exercise of power, or corrupted with flatteries, he affected the ensigns of power (the style and diadem of a king), which was the bait that wrought his overthrow.
This is true, that he harboured the thoughts of a kingdom from his very youth: and hereunto the example of Sylla, and the kindred of Marius, and his emulation of Pompey, and the corruption and ambition of the times, did prick him forward: but then he paved his way to a kingdom, after a wonderful and strange manner. As first, by a popular and seditious power; afterwards, by a military power, and that of a general in war. For there was required to effect his ends-first, that he should
break the power and authority of the senate; which, as long as it stood firm, was adverse, and an hindrance, that no man could climb to sovereignty and imperial command. Then the power of Crassus and Pompey was to be subdued and quelled, which could not be done otherwise than by arms. And therefore (as the most cunning contriver of his own fortune) he laid his first foundation by bribes; by corrupting the Courts of Justice; by renewing the memory of Caius Marius, and his party; for most of the senators and nobility were of Sylla’s faction: by the law of distributing the fields amongst the common people ; by the sedition of the tribunes, where he was the author: by the madness and fury of Catiline, and the conspirators, unto which action he secretly blew the coals! By the banishment of Cicero, which was the greatest blow to the authority of the senate, as might be; and several other the like arts : but most of all by the conjunction of Crassus and Pompey, both betwixt themselves, and with him ; which was the thing that finished the work.
Having accomplished this part, he betook himself to the other; which was to make use of, and to enjoy his power. For, being made Proconsul of France for five years, and afterwards continuing it for five years more, he furnished himself with
arms and legions, and the power of a warlike and opulent province; as was formidable to Italy.
Neither was he ignorant, that after he had strengthened himself with arms, and a military power, neither Crassus nor Pompey could ever be able to bear up against him; whereof the one trusted to his great riches, the other to his fame and reputation: the one decayed through age, the other in power and authority; and neither of them were grounded upon true and lasting foundations. And the rather, for that he had obliged all the senators and magistrates, and, in a word, all those that had any power in the Commonwealth, so firmly to himself, with private benefits, that he was fearless of any combination or opposition against his designs, till he had openly invaded the imperial power.
Which thing, though he always bare in his mind, and at the last acted it, yet he did not lay down his former person; but coloured things so, that what with the reasonableness of his demands, what with his pretences of peace, and what with the moderate use of his successes, he turned all the envy of the adverse party, and seemed to take up arms upon necessity, for his own preservation and safety. But the falseness of this pretence manifestly appeared ; inasmuch as, soon after having obtained
the regal power, all civil wars being appeased, and all his rivals and opposites, which might put him to any fear, being removed out of the way by the stroke of death ; notwithstanding, he never thought of resigning the Republic; no, nor ever made any show or offer of resigning the same. Which showed plainly, that his ambition of being a king was settled in him, and remained with him unto his last breath. For he did not lay hold upon occasions as they happened, but moulded and formed the occasions as himself pleased.
His chief abilities consisted in martial knowledge ; in which he so excelled, that he could not only lead an army, but rould an army to his own liking. For he was not more skilful in managing affairs, than in winning of hearts. Neither did he affect this by any ordinary discipline; as by inuring them to fulfil all his commands; or by striking a shame into them to disobey, or by carrying a severe hand over them: but by such a way as did wonderfully stir up an alacrity and cheerfulness in them; and did in a sort assure him of the victory aforehand, and which did oblige the soldier to him, more than was fit for a free state. Now whereas he was versed in all kinds of martial knowledge, and joined civil arts with the arts of war; nothing came so suddenly, or so unlooked for upon him, but he had a remedy for it at band; and nothing was so
adverse, but that he could pick something for his turn and benefit out of it. He stood sufficiently upon his state and great
For in great battles, he would sit at home in the head-quarter, and manage all things by messages ; which wrought him a double benefit: First, that it secured his person more, and exposed him the less to danger : Secondly, that if at any time his
army was worsted, he could put new spirit into them with his own presence, as by the addition of fresh forces, and turn the fortune of the day. In the conducting of his wars, he would not only follow precedents, but he was able to devise and pursue new stratagems, according as the accidents and occasions required.
He was constant, and singularly kind and indulgent in his friendships contracted. Notwithstanding, he made choice of such friends, as a man might easily see that he chose them to be instruments to his ends, and not obstructions to them.
And whereas, by nature, and out of a firm resolution, he adhered to this principle, not to be eminent amongst great and deserving men, but to be chief amongst inferiors and vassals; he chose only mean and active men, and such as to himself might be all in all. And hereupon grew that saying, “So let Cæsar live, though 1 die;" and other speeches of that kind. As for the