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Roman Domestic Politics in the Late Republic - 100-44 B.C.
The Dictatorship and Death of Caesar
Caesar returned to a city in disorder. Caelius Rufus had raised a revolt, and one of the tribunes of the year, Dolabella, had attempted to abolish rents and remit all debts, but the high handed M. Antonius had left around eight hundred of Dolabella's followers dead in the Forum. As if this was not enough, a force of mutinous legionaries was now marching on Rome, demanding to be released from service. Caesar set out and addressed them, and succeeded in shaming them back in to service. As regards Antonius and Dolabella, Caesar did not condemn either but had soon replaced Antonius as Master of the Horse with Lepidus (who had previously been praefectus urbi - city prefect.) He also introduced a moderate version of Dolabella's legislation.
Meanwhile, Cato Uticensis was still at large and gathering a force of soldiers in Africa, joined by Varus and king Juba of Mauretania. When Caesar's forces arrived in Africa in 47-46, Cato relinquished his command to Metellus Scipio, who eventually faced Caesar at Thapsus, where he was destroyed. When Cato heared the news, he committed suicide, thus depriving Caesar of the chance to demonstrate his clementia (clemency) as he had done with so many other defeated optimates.
Back in Rome in 46, Caesar was given forty days thanksgiving, a renewed dictatorship of an unprecedented ten years, a following of seventy two lictors (the ceremonial carriers of the fasces, axes wrapped in wooden staves, the symbols of consular imperium. This was three times the usual number) and was named Prefect of Morals. He also had the right to speak first in the senate, and held four triumphal processions; for Gaul, for Egypt, for the defeat of Pharnaces, and the defeat of Juba. None were held for the defeat of Roman citizens such as Pompeius or Metellus Scipio.
Cite this work
McKeown, J., "Roman Domestic Politics in the Late Republic - 100-44 B.C.," http:// romans.etrusia.co.uk
/roman_politics_p7.php, 21 October 2004.