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A Friend of Cæsar A Tale of the Fall of the Roman Republic. Time, 50-47 B.C.   By: (1877-1930)

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A Friend of Cæsar

A Tale of the Fall of the Roman Republic

Time, 50 47 B.C.

By William Stearns Davis

"Others better may mould the life breathing brass of the image, And living features, I ween, draw from the marble, and better Argue their cause in the court; may mete out the span of the heavens, Mark out the bounds of the poles, and name all the stars in their turnings. Thine 'tis the peoples to rule with dominion this, Roman, remember! These for thee are the arts, to hand down the laws of the treaty, The weak in mercy to spare, to fling from their high seats the haughty."

VERGIL, Æn. vi. 847 858.

New York Grosset & Dunlap Publishers 1900

To My Father

William Vail Wilson Davis

Who Has Taught Me More Than All My Books


If this book serves to show that Classical Life presented many phases akin to our own, it will not have been written in vain.

After the book was planned and in part written, it was discovered that Archdeacon Farrar had in his story of "Darkness and Dawn" a scene, "Onesimus and the Vestal," which corresponds very closely to the scene, "Agias and the Vestal," in this book; but the latter incident was too characteristically Roman not to risk repetition. If it is asked why such a book as this is desirable after those noble fictions, "Darkness and Dawn" and "Quo Vadis," the reply must be that these books necessarily take and interpret the Christian point of view. And they do well; but the Pagan point of view still needs its interpretation, at least as a help to an easy apprehension of the life and literature of the great age of the Fall of the Roman Republic. This is the aim of "A Friend of Cæsar." The Age of Cæsar prepared the way for the Age of Nero, when Christianity could find a world in a state of such culture, unity, and social stability that it could win an adequate and abiding triumph.

Great care has been taken to keep to strict historical probability; but in one scene, the "Expulsion of the Tribunes," there is such a confusion of accounts in the authorities themselves that I have taken some slight liberties.

W. S. D.

Harvard University, January 16,1900.


Chapter Page

I. Præneste 1

II. The Upper Walks of Society 21

III. The Privilege of a Vestal 37

IV. Lucius Ahenobarbus Airs His Grievance 50

V. A Very Old Problem 73

VI. Pompeius Magnus 102

VII. Agias's Adventure 117

VIII. "When Greek Meets Greek" 146

IX. How Gabinius Met with a Rebuff 159

X. Mamercus Guards the Door 172

XI. The Great Proconsul 198

XII. Pratinas Meets Ill Fortune 217

XIII. What Befell at Baiæ 241

XIV. The New Consuls 262

XV. The Seventh of January 277

XVI. The Rubicon 302

XVII. The Profitable Career of Gabinius 329

XVIII. How Pompeius Stamped with His Feet 334

XIX. The Hospitality of Demetrius 364

XX. Cleopatra 387

XXI. How Ulamhala's Words Came True 409

XXII. The End of the Magnus 433

XXIII. Bitterness and Joy 448

XXIV. Battling for Life 464

XXV. Calm after Storm 496

Chapter I



It was the Roman month of September, seven hundred and four years after Romulus so tradition ran founded the little village by the Tiber which was to become "Mother of Nations," "Centre of the World," "Imperial Rome." To state the time according to modern standards it was July, fifty years before the beginning of the Christian Era. The fierce Italian sun was pouring down over the tilled fields and stretches of woodland and grazing country that made up the landscape, and the atmosphere was almost aglow with the heat... Continue reading book >>

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