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The Pompeians Commanded by Afranius Surrender: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

And the Pompeians surrender. It is June 10, -49. In six and a hal months since crossing the Rubicon, Caesar has forced the disbanding of the equivalent of eight Pompeian legions without doing more than skirmishing, moving rapidly, and cleverly managing logistics and intercepting supply lines:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘In this work, and the deliberations on it, two days were spent. By the third day a considerable part of Caesar's works was finished. To interrupt his progress, they drew out their legions about the eighth hour, by a certain signal, and placed them in order of battle before their camp. Caesar calling his legions off from their work, and ordering the horse to hold themselves in readiness, marshalled his army: for to appear to decline an engagement contrary to the opinion of the soldiers and the general voice, would have been attended with great disadvantage...

But for the reasons already known, he was dissuaded from wishing to engage, and the more especially, because the short space between the camps, even if the enemy were put to flight, would not contribute much to a decisive victory; for the two camps were not distant from each other above two thousand feet. Two parts of this were occupied by the armies, and one third left for the soldiers to charge and make their attack. If a battle should be begun, the nearness of the camps would afford a ready retreat to the conquered party in the flight.

For this reason Caesar had resolved to make resistance, if they attacked him, but not to be the first to provoke the battle.

Afranius's five legions were drawn up in two lines, the auxiliary cohorts formed the third line, and acted as reserves. Caesar had three lines, four cohorts out of each of the five legions formed the first line. Three more from each legion followed them, as reserves: and three others were behind these. The slingers and archers were stationed in the centre of the line; the cavalry closed the flanks.

The hostile armies being arranged in this manner, each seemed determined to adhere to his first intention: Caesar not to hazard a battle, unless forced to it; Afranius to interrupt Caesar's works. However, the matter was deferred, and both armies kept under arms till sunset; when they both returned to their camp. The next day Caesar prepared to finish the works which he had begun. The enemy attempted to pass the river Segre by a ford. Caesar, having perceived this, sent some light-armed Germans and a party of horse across the river, and disposed several parties along the banks to guard them.

At length, beset on all sides, their cattle having been four days without fodder, and having no water, wood, or corn, they beg a conference; and that, if possible, in a place remote from the soldiers. When this was refused by Caesar, but a public interview offered if they chose it, Afranius's son was given as a hostage to Caesar. They met in the place appointed by Caesar.

In the hearing of both armies, Afranius spoke thus:

That Caesar ought not to be displeased either with him or his soldiers, for wishing to preserve their attachment to their general, Cneius Pompey. That they had now sufficiently discharged their duty to him, and had suffered punishment enough, in having endured the want of every necessary: but now, pent up almost like wild beasts, they were prevented from procuring water, and prevented from walking abroad; and were not able to bear the bodily pain or the mental disgrace: but confessed themselves vanquished: and begged and entreated, if there was any room left for mercy, that they should not be necessitated to suffer the most severe penalties.

These sentiments were delivered in the most submissive and humble language.

Caesar replied,

That either to complain or sue for mercy became no man less than him: for that every other person had done their duty: himself, in having declined to engage on favourable terms, in an advantageous situation and time, that all things tending to a peace might be totally unembarrassed: his army, in having preserved and protected the men whom they had in their power, notwithstanding the injuries which they had received, and the murder of their comrades; and even Afranius's soldiers, who of themselves treated about concluding a peace, by which they thought that they would secure the lives of all. Thus, that the parties on both sides inclined to mercy: that the generals only were averse to peace: that they paid no regard to the laws either of conference or truce; and had most inhumanly put to death ignorant persons, who were deceived by a conference: that therefore, they had met that fate which usually befalls men from excessive obstinacy and arrogance; and were obliged to have recourse, and most earnestly desire that which they had shortly before disdained.

That for his part, he would not avail himself of their present humiliation, or his present advantage, to require terms by which his power might be increased, but only that those armies, which they had maintained for so many years to oppose him, should be disbanded: for six legions had been sent into Spain, and a seventh raised there, and many and powerful fleets provided, and generals of great military experience sent to command them, for no other purpose than to oppose him; that none of these measures were adopted to keep the Spains in peace, or for the use of the province, which, from the length of the peace, stood in need of no such aid; that all these things were long since designed against him: that against him a new sort of government was established, that the same person should be at the gates of Rome, to direct the affairs of the city; and though absent, have the government of two most warlike provinces for so many years: that against him the laws of the magistrates had been altered; that the late praetors and consuls should not be sent to govern the provinces as had been the constant custom, but persons approved of and chosen by a faction.

That against him the excuse of age was not admitted: but persons of tried experience in former wars were called up to take the command of the armies, that with respect to him only, the routine was not observed which had been allowed to all generals, that, after a successful war, they should return home and disband their armies, if not with some mark of honour, at least without disgrace: that he had submitted to all these things patiently, and would still submit to them: nor did he now desire to take their army from them and keep it to himself (which, however, would not be a difficult matter), but only that they should not have it to employ against him: and therefore, as he said before, let them quit the provinces, and disband their army.

If this was complied with, he would injure no person; that these were the last and only conditions of peace.

It was very acceptable and agreeable to Afranius's soldiers, as might be easily known from their signs of joy, that they who expected some injury after this defeat, should obtain without solicitation the reward of a dismissal. For when a debate was introduced about the place and time of their dismissal, they all began to express, both by words and signs, from the rampart where they stood, that they should be discharged immediately: for although every security might be given that they would be disbanded, still the matter would be uncertain, if it was deferred to a future day.

After a short debate on either side, it was brought to this issue: that those who had any settlement or possession in Spain, should be immediately discharged: the rest at the river Var.

Caesar gave security that they should receive no damage, and that no person should be obliged against his inclination to take the military oath under him…  

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-08-18
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Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/foreshadowing-from-gaius-sallustius-crispus-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus...


Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/burns-pompeys-strategy-and-domitius-standnoted.html: In his The Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar presented "just the facts" in a way that made Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus look like a cowardly and incompetent idiot. The attractive interpretation is that Ahenobarbus was just trying to do the job of defeating Caesar, but had failed to recognize that Pompey was not his ally but, rather, was somebody whose first goal was to gain the submission of Ahenobarbus and the other Optimates, and only after that submission was gained would he even think about fighting Caesar. Still an idiot, but not an incompetent or a cowardly one…

Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/marcus-tullius-ciceros-take-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘We have another primary source... in addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative: Cicero. Caesar makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero... lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic…

Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/reflecting-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘The key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year? The Optimates seemed to think that they had Caesar cornered. My guess is that Pompey found himself allied with the Senate in January-February of -49, but not in command. So he retreated to Greece, where he was in undisputed command…


Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says) https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-offers-a-compromise-solution-or-so-caesar-says-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Beginning of Caesar's Commentaries on the Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution, but the firebreathers had rejected it: 'Scipio... "if [the Senate] hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want [Pompey's] help later, they would ask for it in vain…

The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-rejects-caesars-compromise-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely…

The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-arms-for-war-illegally-usurps-provincial-imperium-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse, beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety…

Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsucccessfully with Pompey https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-presents-his-case-to-the-13th-legion-negotiates-unsucccessfully-with-pompey-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-rep.html: Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position…

The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-panics-and-abandons-rome-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: The Optimate faction panics and flees. The towns of Italy support Caesar. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well...

Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-besieges-domitius-in-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus concentrates 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum and decides to make a stand. Pompey calls him an idiot. He, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances"…

Caesar Captures Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-captures-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three…

Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/pompey-refuses-to-negotiate-flees-to-greece-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain...

Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/cementing-caesarian-control-of-the-center-of-the-empire-late-march-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate but, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold and heads for Spain…

Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/treachery-at-massilia-april-may-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him again…

Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/rendezvous-in-spain-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-repubvlic.html: Caesar moves to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west…

Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-begins-his-first-spanish-campaign-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize...

Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/heavy-but-inconclusive-skirmishing-between-the-military-camps-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html

Floods and Supply Lines https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/floods-and-suppyl-liner-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar faces logistical difficulties…

Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-turns-the-tables-on-the-pompeian-skirmishers-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘Caesar overcomes his logistical difficulties…

The Caesarian Navy Led by Decimus Brutus Wins a Victory at Massilia https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/the-caesarian-navy-led-by-decimus-brutus-wins-a-victory-at-massilia-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html

Afranius & Petreius Fear Caesar's Cavalry & Decide to Retreat https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/afranius-petreius-fear-caesars-cavalry-decide-to-retreat-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘Logistics and diplomacy reverse the situation at Ilerda in northeast Spain, as Caesar gains an advantage in allied cavalry that makes Afranius and Petreius fear their position will soon become logistically untenable…

Caesar Pursues the Retreating Pompeians https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-pursues-the-retreating-pompeians-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat. So when they do, he sets his army in hot pursuit…

Caesar Steals a March on þe Pompeians https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-pursues-the-retreating-pompeians-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic-1.html#more: ‘Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat, and pursues. These overly-cautious Pompeian generals begin to lose the war of maneuver…

Caesar Cuts the Pompeians Off from þe Ebro & þeir Line of Retreat https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-cuts-the-pompeians-off-from-þe-ebro-þeir-line-of-retreat-liveblogging-þe-fall-of-þe-roman-republic.html: ‘And he begins trying to woo the soldiers over to his side. The Pompeian generals Afranius and Petreius react badly—and so it becomes clementia vs. crudelitas…

Caesar's Army Traps the Pompeians https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesars-army-traps-the-pompeians-liveblogging-%C3%BEe-fall-of-%C3%BEe-roman-republic.html: ‘The Pompeians attempt to retreat, and then fortify themselves on unfavorable ground with neither water nor forage available…


Caesar's Army Traps the Pompeians: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

The Pompeians attempt to retreat, and then fortify themselves on unfavorable ground with neither water nor forage available:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Afranius's men were distressed in foraging, and procured water with difficulty. The legionary soldiers had a tolerable supply of corn, because they had been ordered to bring from Ilerda sufficient to last twenty-two days; the Spanish and auxiliary forces had none, for they had but few opportunities of procuring any, and their bodies were not accustomed to bear burdens; and therefore a great number of them came over to Caesar every day...

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Caesar Cuts the Pompeians Off from þe Ebro & þeir Line of Retreat: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar cuts the Pompeians off from the Ebro River, and begins trying to woo tghe soldiers over to his side. The Pompeian generals Afranius and Petreius react badly—and so it becomes clementia vs. crudelitas:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘The contest depended entirely on despatch, which should first get possession of the defile and the mountain. The difficulty of the roads delayed Caesar's army, but his cavalry pursuing Afranius's forces, retarded their march. However, the affair was necessarily reduced to this point, with respect to Afranius's men, that if they first gained the mountains, which they desired, they would themselves avoid all danger, but could not save the baggage of their whole army, nor the cohorts which they had left behind in the camps, to which, being intercepted by Caesar's army, by no means could assistance be given...

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Caesar Steals a March on þe Pompeians: Liveblogging þe Fall of þe Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat, and pursues. These overly-cautious Pompeian generals begin to lose the war of maneuver:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘There was a debate in the council between Afranius and Petreius, and the time of marching was the subject...

...The majority were of opinion that they should begin their march at night, "for they might reach the defiles before they should be discovered."

Others, because a shout had been raised the night before in Caesar's camp, used this as an argument that they could not leave the camp unnoticed:

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Caesar Pursues the Retreating Pompeians: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar learns that Afranius and Petreius have decided to retreat. So when they do, he sets his army in hot pursuit:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Notice of this being given by the scouts, Caesar continued his work day and night, with very great fatigue to the soldiers, to drain the river, and so far effected his purpose, that the horse were both able and bold enough, though with some difficulty and danger, to pass the river; but the foot had only their shoulders and upper part of their breast above the water, so that their fording it was retarded, not only by the depth of the water, but also by the rapidity of the current. However, almost at the same instant, news was received of the bridge being nearly completed over the Ebro, and a ford was found in the Segre...

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Steve M.: But Giving People þe Opposite of What þey Want Has Worked so Well for Republicans Until Now!—Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading: Since the mid-1800s, the primary way conservatives have won elections has been to mobilize fear of strangers and of the strange to trump the majority economic interest in a less unequal society. But while fear can trump interest, can fear Trump fear? Perhaps not:

Steve M.: But Giving People þe Opposite of What þey Want Has Worked so Well for Republicans Until Now! https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/07/but-giving-people-opposite-of-what-they.html: ‘Shockingly, it appears that trying to kill constituents is bad for your poll numbers if you're an elected official.... Since the Reagan era, corporatist Republicanism has weakened the middle class, increased inequality, gutted regulations on corporations, and, in this century, crashed the economy twice. But because Republicans distract their base with culture-war talk and other forms of lib-owning, none of the harm GOP politicians do to their voters has ever seemed to cause them trouble at the polls...

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538: Minnesota as þe Most Likely Battleground—Noted

Minnesota as the most likely tipping-point state. Democratic edge (in order): Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan. Republican edge (in order): Florida, Arizona, Nebraska (2), North Carolina, Ohio: 538: 2020 Election Forecast https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-election-forecast/… .#highlighted #noted #politics #2020-08-13

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All Hands on Deck Time—Note to Self

All the kings men strip

Want to insult a man in America today, call him a woman—as, for example, the New York Times allows and encourages Maureen Dowd to do, albeit only for Democratic and not for Republican male politicians, who somehow seem to always be Manly Men. Want to insult a woman in America today, and you can follow Dowd and call her a man, but it is more effective to call her a whore.

It's time for all hands on deck: "hell among the yearlings and the Charge of the Light Brigade and Saturday night in the back room of Casey's saloon rolled into one". It is time for Sadie Burke and Hugh Miller.

And we haven't even gotten to the mass vote suppression and miscount part or the potential Rubicon moment part of this election:

Steve M.: 'Here's what right-wingers call Harris when they think we're not listening https://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-trumpers-other-insulting-nickname.html: "Mattress Kamala" is what your right-wing relatives will be calling her soon, if they aren't already. We'll see whether Trump or any of his surrogates try to take the nickname mainstream…

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Afranius & Petreius Fear Caesar's Cavalry & Decide to Retreat: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

Mausoleum of the julii in glanum

Caesar faces Pompeian forces split in two: an army without a leader in Spain, and a leader without an army in Greece. Logistics and diplomacy reverse the situation at Ilerda in northeast Spain, as Caesar gains an advantage in allied cavalry that makes Afranius and Petreius fear their position will soon become logistically untenable. They decide to retreat:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘When news of this battle was brought to Caesar at Ilerda, the bridge being completed at the same time, fortune soon took a turn. The enemy, daunted by the courage of our horse, did not scour the country as freely or as boldly as before: but sometimes advancing a small distance from the camp, that they might have a ready retreat, they foraged within narrower bounds...

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The Caesarian Navy Led by Decimus Brutus Wins a Victory at Massilia: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

Caesar faces Pompeian forces split in two: an army without a leader in Spain, and a leader without an army in Greece. While Caesar grapples with the leaderless Pompeian army in Spain, Decimus Brutus and Caesar's navy win an victory over the traitorous Massilians and Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Decimus Brutus and the Caesarian Navy Win a Victory at Massilia: Whilst these affairs are going forward at Ilerda, the Massilians, adopting the advice of Domitius, prepared seventeen ships of war, of which eleven were decked. To these they add several smaller vessels, that our fleet might be terrified by numbers...

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Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

Caesar faces Pompeian forces split in two: an army without a leader in Spain, and a leader without an army in Greece. With clever engineering and tactics, he overcomes his logistical difficulties and begins to turn the tables on the Pompeian army in Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Caesar Turns the Tables on the Pompeian Skirmishers: When Caesar's affairs were in this unfavourable position, and all the passes were guarded by the soldiers and horse of Afranius, and the bridges could not be prepared, Caesar ordered his soldiers to make ships of the kind that his knowledge of Britain a few years before had taught him...

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Floods and Supply Lines: Livelogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/10657/pg10657-images.html: ‘Floods and Supply Lines: The enemy fortified the hill, about which the contest had been, with strong works, and posted a garrison on it. In two days after this transaction, there happened an unexpected misfortune. For so great a storm arose, that it was agreed that there were never seen higher floods in those countries; it swept down the snow from all the mountains, and broke over the banks of the river, and in one day carried away both the bridges which Fabius had built, a circumstance which caused great difficulties to Caesar's army...

...As our camp, as already mentioned, was pitched between two rivers, the Segre and Cinca, and as neither of these could be forded for the space of thirty miles, they were all of necessity confined within these narrow limits. Neither could the states, which had espoused Caesar's cause, furnish him with corn, nor the troops, which had gone far to forage, return, as they were stopped by the waters: nor could the convoys, coming from Italy and Gaul, make their way to the camp.

Besides, it was the most distressing season of the year, when there was no corn in the blade, and it was nearly ripe: and the states were exhausted, because Afranius had conveyed almost all the corn, before Caesar's arrival, into Ilerda, and whatever he had left, had been already consumed by Caesar. The cattle, which might have served as a secondary resource against want, had been removed by the states to a great distance on account of the war. They who had gone out to get forage or corn, were chased by the light troops of the Lusitanians, and the targeteers of Hither Spain, who were well acquainted with the country, and could readily swim across the river, because it is the custom of all those people not to join their armies without bladders.

But Afranius's army had abundance of everything; a great stock of corn had been provided and laid in long before, a large quantity was coming in from the whole province: they had a good store of forage. The bridge of Ilerda afforded an opportunity of getting all these without any danger, and the places beyond the bridge, to which Caesar had no access, were as yet untouched.

Those floods continued several days. Caesar endeavoured to repair the bridges, but the height of the water did not allow him: and the cohorts disposed along the banks did not suffer them to be completed; and it was easy for them to prevent it, both from the nature of the river and the height of the water, but especially because their darts were thrown from the whole course of the bank on one confined spot; and it was no easy matter at one and the same time to execute a work in a very rapid flood, and to avoid the darts.

Intelligence was brought to Afranius that the great convoys, which were on their march to Caesar, had halted at the river. Archers from the Rutheni, and horse from the Gauls, with a long train of baggage, according to the Gallic custom of travelling, had arrived there; there were besides about six thousand people of all descriptions, with slaves and freed men. But there was no order, or regular discipline, as every one followed his own humour, and all travelled without apprehension, taking the same liberty as on former marches.

There were several young noblemen, sons of senators, and of equestrian rank; there were ambassadors from several states; there were lieutenants of Caesar's. The river stopped them all. To attack them by surprise, Afranius set out in the beginning of the night, with all his cavalry and three legions, and sent the horse on before, to fall on them unawares; but the Gallic horse soon got themselves in readiness, and attacked them. Though but few, they withstood the vast number of the enemy, as long as they fought on equal terms: but when the legions began to approach, having lost a few men, they retreated to the next mountains.

The delay occasioned by this battle was of great importance to the security of our men; for having gained time, they retired to the higher grounds. There were missing that day about two hundred bow-men, a few horse, and an inconsiderable number of servants and baggage.

However, by all these things, the price of provisions was raised, which is commonly a disaster attendant, not only on a time of present scarcity, but on the apprehension of future want. Provisions had now reached fifty denarii each bushel; and the want of corn had diminished the strength of the soldiers; and the inconveniences were increasing every day: and so great an alteration was wrought in a few days, and fortune had so changed sides, that our men had to struggle with the want of every necessary; while the enemy had an abundant supply of all things, and were considered to have the advantage.

Caesar demanded from those states which had acceded to his alliance, a supply of cattle, as they had but little corn. He sent away the camp followers to the more distant states, and endeavoured to remedy the present scarcity by every resource in his power.

Afranius and Petreius, and their friends, sent fuller and more circumstantial accounts of these things to Rome, to their acquaintances. Report exaggerated them so that the war appeared to be almost at an end. When these letters and despatches were received at Rome, a great concourse of people resorted to the house of Afranius, and congratulations ran high: several went out of Italy to Cneius Pompey; some of them, to be the first to bring him the intelligence; others, that they might not be thought to have waited the issue of the war, and to have come last of all…

 

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Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/foreshadowing-from-gaius-sallustius-crispus-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus...


Pompey's Strategy and Domitius' Stand https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/burns-pompeys-strategy-and-domitius-standnoted.html: In his The Civil War Gaius Julius Caesar presented "just the facts" in a way that made Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus look like a cowardly and incompetent idiot. The attractive interpretation is that Ahenobarbus was just trying to do the job of defeating Caesar, but had failed to recognize that Pompey was not his ally. Pompey, rather, was somebody whose first goal was to gain the submission of Ahenobarbus and the other Optimates, and only after that submission was gained would he even think about fighting Caesar. Still an idiot, but not an incompetent or a cowardly one: Alfred Burns https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/article-burns-pompey.pdf: ‘In early 49, the alliance confronting Caesar consisted of the old republican senate families who under the leadership of [Lucius] Domitius [Ahenonbarbus] tried to maintain the traditional institutions and of Pompey who clung to his own extra-legal position of semi-dictatorial power. Both parties to the alliance were as mutually distrustful as they were dependent on each other…

Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/marcus-tullius-ciceros-take-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘We have a primary source for the start of the Roman Civil Warin addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative in his Commentaries on the Civl War—a narrative that is also a clever and sophisticated lawyer's brief. Our one other primary source: Marcus Tullius Cicero's letters to his BFF Titus Pomponius Atticus. Caesar, in his The Civil War, makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero, in his Letters to Atticus is a contrast. He lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: he makes himself out to be erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic…

Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/reflecting-on-the-first-three-months-of-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘The key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year? The Optimates seemed to think that they had Caesar cornered: Either he surrendered... and then submitted to trial... or he... was quickly crushed.... Cicero appears to have believed that either the Senate surrendered to Ceesar and let him... put Cataline’s conspiracy into action but legally... and then ruled With the support of his electoral coalition of mountebank ex-debtors and ex-veterans to whom he had given land; or... Pompey... crushed Cesar militarily... follow[ed] up with proscriptions and executions after which he would rule as a second Sulla. What is not at all clear to me is what Pompey thought would happen.... My guess, reading between the lines of Plutarch, is that Pompey found himself allied with the Senate in January-February of -49, but not in command of anything—as shown by Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus’s behavior at Corfinium, attempting to trap Pompey into fighting alongside him in central Italy. And so he retreated to Greece, where he was in undisputed command…


Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says) https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-offers-a-compromise-solution-or-so-caesar-says-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Beginning of Caesar's Commentaries on the Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution to the political crisis.... 'The dispatch from Gaius Caesar was delivered to the consuls; but it was only after strong representations from the tribunes that they gave their grudging permission for it to be read in the Senate. Even then, they would not consent to a debate on its contents, but initiated instead a general debate on ‘matters of State'.... Scipio spoke... Pompey, he said, intended to stand by his duty to the State, if the Senate would support him; but if they hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want his help later, they would ask for it in vain…

The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-rejects-caesars-compromise-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely, and driven reluctantly to vote for Scipio's motion to rob Caesar of his protections against arrest and trial…

The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-arms-for-war-illegally-usurps-provincial-imperium-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse. In the first seven days of the year of the consulate of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior, the Optimate faction goes beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety. They illegaly seize power, as they grant themselves proconsular and propraetorial imperium over the provinces, without the constitutionally-required popular confirmation of imperium. They impiously violate the separation of church and state by seizing temple funds for their own use. They thus incur the wrath of the gods. And they incur the enmity of all who believe in constitutional balance, as opposed to armed plutocratic dictatorship…

Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsucccessfully with Pompey https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-presents-his-case-to-the-13th-legion-negotiates-unsucccessfully-with-pompey-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-rep.html: Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position. He holds imperium over Spain and commanding the ten Spanish garrison legions, while also residing in the suburbs of Rome and thus dominating the discussions of the Senate. Pompey refuses to commit to setting a date for his departure for Spain…

The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/the-optimate-faction-panics-and-abandons-rome-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar narrates: The Optimate faction panics at a rumor of Caesar's approach, and flees from Rome with the looted Treasury reserve. The towns of Italy support Caesar. Even the town of Cingulum rallied to Caesar, even though its founder Titus Labienus, Caesar's second-in-command in the Gallic War, had deserted Caesar for his earlier allegiance to Pompey. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well...

Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-besieges-domitius-in-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus began raising troops, and by the start of February -49 had 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum. On 09 Feb -49 Domitius decided to stand at Corfinum rather than retreat to the south of Italy. So he wrote to Pompey... urged that the Optimate faction join its military forces together at Corfinum to outnumber and fight Caesar. Pompey disagreed. Why did he decide that he, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances"?…

Caesar Captures Corfinum https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/caesar-captures-corfinum-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee, Lentulus Spinther begs for his life, Caesar grants clemency to all, and adds the three Optimate and Pompeian legions to his army. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum (with the arrival of Legio VIII plus new recruits) Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three. It is now 21 Feb -49: Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Domitius’s looks, however, belied his words; indeed, his whole demeanour was much more anxious and fearful than usual. When to this was added the fact that, contrary to his usual custom, he spent a lot of time talking to his friends in private, making plans, while avoiding a meeting of the officers or an assembly of the troops, then the truth could not be concealed or misrepresented for long…

Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/pompey-refuses-to-negotiate-flees-to-greece-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees to Greece. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain. It is now 18 Mar -49...

Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/cementing-caesarian-control-of-the-center-of-the-empire-late-march-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: Caesar, now that the Pompeians and the High Optimates have fled, offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate but, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold on the center of the empire and heads for Spain…

Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49 https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/07/treachery-at-massilia-april-may-49-liveblogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive, and then they go back on their word. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Massilia, and Vibullius Rufus to command the Pompeian legions in Spain…

Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/rendezvous-in-spain-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-repubvlic.html: Caesar's first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west: 'The First Spanish Campaign: Fabius’s orders were to make haste to seize the passes over the Pyrenees, which at that time were being held by the troops of Pompey’s lieutenant, Lucius Afranius. He ordered the remaining legions, which were wintering farther away, to follow on. Fabius, obeying orders, lost no time in dislodging the guards from the pass and proceeded by forced marches to encounter Afranius’s army…

Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/caesar-begins-his-first-spanish-campaign-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. He moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize...

Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda https://www.bradford-delong.com/2020/08/heavy-but-inconclusive-skirmishing-between-the-military-camps-at-ilerda-livelogging-the-fall-of-the-roman-republic.html: ‘From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, Caesar moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. Heavy but inconclusive skirmishing follows…


Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps at Ilerda: Livelogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize. Heavy but inconclusive skirmishing follows:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Heavy But Inconclusive Skirmishing Between the Military Camps: Between the town of Ilerda and the neighbouring hill where Petreius and Afranius had their camp there was a level space about five hundred yards wide and almost in the middle of this there was a small hillock. Caesar was certain that if he seized and fortified this eminence he would cut off the enemy from the town and the bridge and all the supplies which they had collected together in the town...

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Caesar Begins His First Spanish Campaign: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

spain to syria

A strongly unconventional high politician knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his military command, so he lets the dice fly. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west. He has his men build a fortified camp close enough to the Pompeian base that the soldiers will inevitably start to fraternize:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'The First Spanish Campaign II: Two days later Caesar arrived with nine hundred cavalry, whom he had kept as a personal bodyguard. The bridge which had been broken down by the storm was almost rebuilt; he ordered it to be completed that night. He himself ascertained the nature of the surrounding country and leaving behind all the baggage train, together with six cohorts to protect the bridge and the camp, he set off on the following day towards Ilerda, advancing with his forces in a triple column...

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Rendezvous in Spain, at Ilerda; Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power. His first probing military moves demonstrate his position is very strong. From a central position in control of the heart of the empire, he moves first to deal with the Pompeian forces in Spain to his west:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'The First Spanish Campaign: Fabius’s orders were to make haste to seize the passes over the Pyrenees, which at that time were being held by the troops of Pompey’s lieutenant, Lucius Afranius. He ordered the remaining legions, which were wintering farther away, to follow on. Fabius, obeying orders, lost no time in dislodging the guards from the pass and proceeded by forced marches to encounter Afranius’s army...

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Treachery at Massilia: April-May -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

siege of massilia

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

The Massiliotes profess neutrality—until Pompeian reinforcements arrive, and then they go back on their word. Pompeians to whom Caesar had shown clemency at Corfinium have again taken up weapons against him: Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Massilia, and Vibullius Rufus to command the Pompeian legions in Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Resistance at Massilia: On arrival [at Massilia], [Caesar] learned that Vibullius Rufus, whom he himself had captured and released again at Corfinium a few days before, had been sent by Pompey to Spain. He learned also that Domitius had gone to take over Massilia, with seven fast ships which he had requisitioned from private persons in Igilium and around Cosa, and had manned with his own slaves, freedmen and tenants...

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Reflecting on the First Three Months of -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

pompey

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

And so he acts.

And in three months Cæsar is master of the central core of the empire, with an army without a leader—Pompey's legions—to his west in Spain, and a leader without an army—Pompey and the Optimate faction of the Senate—to his east in Greece.

I guess the key question for the first three months of the year -49 is: what did the factions anticipate would happen in that year?

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Marcus Tullius Cicero's Take on the First Three Months of -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

cicero

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

We have a primary source for the start of the Roman Civil War in addition to Gaius Julius Caesar's deceptively powerful plain-spoken "just the facts" narrative in his Commentaries on the Civl War—a narrative that is also a clever and sophisticated lawyer's brief. Our one other primary source: Marcus Tullius Cicero's letters to his BFF Titus Pomponius Atticus.

Caesar, in his The Civil War, makes himself out to be reasonable, rational, decisive, and clever. Cicero, in his Letters to Atticus is a contrast. He lets his hair down. He is writing to someone he trusts to love him without reservation. He is completely unconcerned with making himself appear to be less flawed than he appears. And the impression he leaves is absolutely dreadful: he makes himself out to be erratic, emotional, dithering, and idiotic.

Nine selected paragraphs immediately below:

Marcus Tullius Cicero: at Formiae, to Titus Pomponius Atticus at Rome; 27 Dec -50 http://perseus.uchicago.edu/perseus-cgi/citequery3.pl?dbname=LatinAugust2012&getid=1&query=Cic.%20Att.%207.9: ‘Please consider... and at the same time "solve this strictly political problem."... Consider, I say, which of these evils, some one of which we must confront, you think the least. You will no doubt say "to persuade him [Caesar] to hand over his army, and so become consul."... For us, however, as certain persons think, nothing is more to be dreaded than his becoming consul. "But I would prefer his being consul on these terms to his being so with an army," you will say. Certainly. But even on "these terms," I tell you, there is one who thinks it a grave evil.... Imagine him consul a second time after our experience of his former consulship! "Why, comparatively weak as he was then," you say, "he was more powerful than the whole state." What, then, do you think will be the case now?... Pray make any suggestion that occurs to you: for my part, I am on the rack day and night....

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Cementing Caesarian Control of the Center of the Empire: Late March -49: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

cicero

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar, now that the Pompeians and the High Optimates have fled, offers to share power with the dysfunctional Senate. But, filibustered and vetoed by Optimate tribunes, he consolidates his hold on the center of the empire and heads for Spain:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: '[Caesar] ordered the chief magistrates of all the Italian townships to collect ships and have them conveyed to Brundisium. He sent his lieutenant Valerius to Sardinia with one legion and sent Curio to govern Sicily with two, with further orders to take his forces to Africa once he had secured Sicily. Sardinia was in fact the province of Marcus Cotta, and Sicily of Marcus Cato, while Tubero was due to take over Africa as his allotted province.

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Pompey Refuses to Negotiate & Flees to Greece: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

corfinum-to-brundisium--49

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar narrates: Pompey flees to the southern Adriatic port of Brundisium. Caesar catches up to him and begs him to negotiate. Pompey refuses and flees to Greece. Caesar decides not to follow, but to turn and first defeat the Pompeian armies in Spain.

It is now 18 Mar -49. Caesar is master of Italy. The Optimate faction have lost their political authority and their connections to their webs of clients, and are either rusticating in the Italian countryside or supplicants to Pompey in Greece. The Pompeian armies are split, in Spain and in Greece, with Caesar in the middle:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'On learning of the events at Corfinium, Pompey left Luceria and went first to Canusium and from there to Brundisium...

...He ordered all the forces raised in the recent levies to be assembled there; he issued weapons and horses to slaves and shepherds, from whom he made up about three hundred cavalry. A praetor, Lucius Manlius, fled from Alba with six cohorts, and another praetor, Rutilius Lupus, from Tarracina with three. These last, however, seeing in the distance Caesar’s cavalry under the command of Vibius Curius, deserted their praetor and transferred themselves and their standards to Curius. Similarly, during the rest of his journey, several cohorts joined Caesar’s infantry column on the march, and some also his cavalry.

Numerius Magius of Cremona, one of Pompey’s officers in charge of engineers, was captured en route and brought to Caesar, who sent him back with a message for Pompey. Since up till now there had been no opportunity for a conference, Caesar said, and since he himself would be coming to Brundisium, he thought it would be in the interests of the State and of the general welfare if he and Pompey had a talk; they could not accomplish so much while they were a long distance apart and sending their proposals by intermediaries, as they could by an exhaustive discussion face to face.

After sending this message, he himself came to Brundisium with six legions, of whom three were seasoned troops and the other three had been raised in his recent levies and made up to strength on the march. He found that the consuls had left for Dyrrachium with a large part of the army, while Pompey had remained in Brundisium with twenty cohorts; although he could not find out for certain whether he had stayed there in order to hold on to Brundisium and so control more easily the whole Adriatic from the end of Italy as well as from the Greek side, and carry on operations on both sides of the sea, or whether he had been held up by lack of shipping.

However, since he feared that Pompey might be determined not to leave Italy, he decided to blockade the harbour of Brundisium and stop its operation as a port. He set about this as follows: at the narrowest part of the entrance to the’ harbour, he built out a great earth breakwater on either side, where the sea was shallow, but as the work advanced and it proved impossible to keep the earth-works together in the deeper water, he placed two rafts, thirty feet square, at the ends of the breakwater and moored these with an anchor at all four corners to keep them still in the waves.

Once these were in position, he joined on other rafts of similar size and built a causeway of earth out over them, to remove any hindrance to approaching and boarding them for defence. In front and on either side he put up screens and mantlets for protection and on every fourth raft he built a tower two storeys high, to help in defence against attacks by sea and against firebrands.

Against these Pompey was fitting out large merchant ships which he had commandeered in the harbour of Brundisium. He was raising towers on them, three storeys high, and stocking these with ballistic engines and missiles of all sorts, then bringing the boats up to Caesar’s works, in order to break up the rafts and disrupt the siege-works. They went on fighting at a distance like this with arrows and missiles every day.

Caesar, however, was taking care to keep open the possibility of a peaceful settlement. He was surprised that Magius, whom he had sent with proposals to Pompey, was not yet sent back to him, and indeed such persistent attempts to negotiate were a check to the speedy execution of his plans; nevertheless, he felt that he ought to persevere and try everything he could. Accordingly he sent his lieutenant Caninius Rebilus, a close friend of Scribonius Libo, to talk with the latter; his instructions were to urge Libo to try to effect a peace, and in particular to ask him to speak personally to Pompey.

The arguments put before Libo were that Caesar was certain that if Libo managed to see Pompey then hostilities could be terminated by an equitable peace, and a great deal of the credit would go to Libo if it was at his instance and by his efforts that the settlement was reached. Libo, breaking off his talk with Caninius, went to see Pompey, and presently came back with the reply that, in the absence of the consuls, no negotiations about a settlement could be conducted.

And so Caesar finally determined to abandon these repeated vain efforts and to wage war in earnest.

He had completed about half of his siege-works, which took him nine days, when the ships which had been sent back by the consuls after transporting the first part of the army over to Dyrrachium arrived back at Brundisium. Pompey at once prepared to leave Italy, either because he was alarmed by Caesar’s preparations or because he had intended to do so all along.

In order to check an assault by Caesar and prevent his troops from breaking into the town while the withdrawal was in progress, he blocked up the gates, built barricades in all the streets, and dug trenches across the roads, in which sharpened stakes were fixed and wicker and earth laid on top to make a flat surface. He put fences of large pointed beams round the two roads outside the city walls which gave access to the harbour. After all these preparations, he picked a small force of archers and slingers from his veterans and stationed these, in light marching order, at intervals along the walls and on the towers, while the rest of the army, under orders, embarked in silence. He arranged to recall this covering guard at a fixed signal once all the rest had embarked, and left some swift vessels in an accessible spot to pick them up.

The people of Brundisium resented their ill-treatment by Pompey’s troops and the insulting behaviour of Pompey himself, and favoured Caesar’s cause. When, therefore, they learned of Pompey’s intended departure, – while his men were still milling about, preoccupied with preparations for embarking, they signalled the news from the roof-tops. Caesar ordered the scaling-ladders to be got ready and the troops to arm, so as not to lose the opportunity for action.

Pompey cast off towards nightfall. The guards on the wall were recalled by the agreed signal and hurried down to the ships by marked paths. Caesar’s men got their scaling-ladders up and climbed the walls, but were warned by the citizens to beware of the trenches and the concealed stakes. They therefore halted, and under the guidance of the townsfolk were conducted round by a long detour to the harbour. They put out in skiffs and dinghies and managed to catch and take possession of two of Pompey’s ships, with their passengers, which had run foul of Caesar’s breakwater.

back at Brundisium. Pompey at once prepared to leave Italy, either because he was alarmed by Caesar’s preparations or because he had intended to do so all along. In order to check an assault by Caesar and prevent his troops from breaking into the town while the withdrawal was in progress, he blocked up the gates, built barricades in all the streets, and dug trenches across the roads, in which sharpened stakes were fixed and wicker and earth laid on top to make a flat surface. He put fences of large pointed beams round the two roads outside the city walls which gave access to the harbour. After all these preparations, he picked a small force of archers and slingers from his veterans and stationed these, in light marching order, at intervals along the walls and on the towers, while the rest of the army, under orders, embarked in silence. He arranged to recall this covering guard at a fixed signal once all the rest had embarked, and left some swift vessels in an accessible spot to pick them up. 28. The people of Brundisium resented their ill-treatment by Pompey’s troops and the insulting behaviour of Pompey himself, and favoured Caesar’s cause. When, therefore, they learned of Pompey’s intended departure, – while his men were still milling about, preoccupied with preparations for embarking, they signalled the news from the roof-tops. Caesar ordered the scaling-ladders to be got ready and the troops to arm, so as not to lose the opportunity for action. Pompey cast off towards nightfall. The guards on the wall were recalled by the agreed signal and hurried down to the ships by marked paths. Caesar’s men got their scaling-ladders up and climbed the walls, but were warned by the citizens to beware of the trenches and the concealed stakes. They therefore halted, and under the guidance of the townsfolk were conducted round by a long detour to the harbour. They put out in skiffs and dinghies and managed to catch and take possession of two of Pompey’s ships, with their passengers, which had run foul of Caesar’s breakwater.

Caesar felt that the best course, to settle the issue, would be to gather a fleet and cross in pursuit of Pompey before the latter could strengthen his forces with overseas contingents. However, he was afraid of the long delay that this would involve, since Pompey by collecting all the available ships had robbed him of the means of pursuit for the time being. The remaining alternative was to wait for ships to come from remoter places, i.e. Gaul and Picenum, and from the Sicilian strait, but this, owing to the time of year, was likely to be a protracted and hazardous operation.

Meanwhile, he was unwilling to allow an established army and the two Spanish provinces, one of them under a heavy debt of gratitude to Pompey, to be confirmed in their allegiance; he did not want to let auxiliaries and cavalry be raised there and harry Italy and Gaul in his absence.

Accordingly, he gave up for the time being his plan of following Pompey and decided to proceed to Spain instead.

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Caesar Captures Corfinum: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesars-march-to-corfinum

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus's deception that Pompey is coming to the Optimates' aid in Corfinum falls apart, Ahenobarbus tries to flee, Lentulus Spinther begs for his life, Caesar grants clemency to all, and adds the three Optimate and Pompeian legions to his army. Before Corfinum Caesar had had two legions in Italy to the Optimate and Pompeian six. After Corfinum (with the arrival of Legio VIII plus new recruits) Caesar has seven legions in Italy to the Pompeian three. It is now 21 Feb -49:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Domitius’s looks, however, belied his words; indeed, his whole demeanour was much more anxious and fearful than usual. When to this was added the fact that, contrary to his usual custom, he spent a lot of time talking to his friends in private, making plans, while avoiding a meeting of the officers or an assembly of the troops, then the truth could not be concealed or misrepresented for long...

...In fact, Pompey’s reply had been that he was certainly not going to put his cause in jeopardy; that Domitius had not asked his advice or consent in going to Corfinium; and that if he could get the chance Domitius should come at once with all his forces and join him. This, however, was being rendered impossible by the building of siege-works around the town.

When word of Domitius’s plans got about, the soldiers in Corfinium gathered in groups in the early evening and, led by tribunes, centurions and the more reputable men of their own class, began discussing the situation. They were being besieged by Caesar, and his siege-works were almost completed; they had stood steadfastly by their commander Domitius because of their confidence in and reliance on him, and now he was proposing to abandon them all and run away. The best course, it seemed, was for them to look after themselves.

At first, the Marsi, not knowing about Domitius’s intended flight, disagreed with this view and took possession of that part of the town which seemed best fortified; indeed, the disagreement grew so heated that they almost resorted to weapons. Presently, however, by an exchange of messengers between the two groups, the Marsi too were informed of the truth. Thereupon, the whole army unanimously had Domitius brought out and, surrounding him and putting him under guard, they sent a deputation from their own ranks to Caesar, saying they were ready to open the gates and take orders from him, and that they would surrender Domitius alive into his hands.

Caesar was fully aware of the importance of taking possession of the town and bringing the cohorts into his own camp as soon as possible, before bribes, or a renewal of courage, or some false rumours, should make the men change their minds; for he knew that in warfare slight events can often turn the scales and produce serious reversals. However, he was afraid that the entry of his troops into the town, in the mood of licence engendered by night, might lead to looting; on receipt of the message, therefore, he commended those who had brought it and sent them back to the town, with orders that careful guard was to be kept on the walls and gates. For his own part, he stationed his men around the partly-built earth-works, not at fixed intervals as during the preceding days, but in a continuous line of sentries and guard-posts, within touching distance of each other and covering the whole length of the works.

He sent the prefects and military tribunes around the guard-posts with injunctions to keep a look-out not only for sallies from the town but also for stealthy exits by individuals. Indeed, not a single one of his troops was indifferent or lazy enough to take any rest that night. So keen was their anticipation of the final settlement that each found his thoughts and feelings caught up with some question or other. What was going to happen to the people of Corfinium, to Domitius, to Lentulus? What would happen to the rest? How would each man fare?

Towards the end of the night, Lentulus Spinther called down from the walls to our men on guard, saying that he would like to be allowed to have an interview with Caesar. He was given permission and escorted from the city, although Domitius’s men did not leave him until they had brought him right into Caesar’s presence. He pleaded for his life, begging to be spared, and reminding Caesar of their old friendship and of all the benefits he had received at Caesar’s hands.

Caesar interrupted his speech: ‘I did not leave my province with intent to harm anybody. I merely want to protect myself against the slanders of my enemies, to restore to their rightful position the tribunes of the people, who have been expelled because of their involvement in my cause, and to reclaim for myself and for the Roman people independence from the domination of a small clique.’

Lentulus was so reassured by this speech that he asked permission to return to the town. ‘The fact that I have been granted my life will bring great comfort and hope to the others; some have been so terrified that they have been driven to think of violence against themselves.’ He was given permission; and went.

At dawn, Caesar ordered all the Roman senators and their families, the military tribunes and the knights to be brought out to him. There were five senators, Lucius Domitius, Publius Lentulus Spinther, Lucius Caecilius Rufus, Sextus Quintilius Varus, a quaestor, and Lucius Rubrius, as well as the son of Domitius and several other youths, and a large number of Roman knights and councillors summoned by Domitius from the local towns.

When these were produced, Caesar protected them from the insults and jeers of the soldiers and, merely commenting briefly that he had received no thanks from them for the great benefits he had bestowed on them, he set them all free. The magistrates of Corfinium brought him six million sesterces, a sum which Domitius had brought and deposited in their treasury; these he restored to Domitius, to show that he had as little eagerness to take money as to take human life, even though it was clearly public money and had been given by Pompey for paying the troops.

He ordered Domitius’s soldiers to take the oath of allegiance to himself and, on the same day, after spending seven days at Corfinium, he did a full day’s march, going to Apulia via the territories of the Marrucini, the Frentani and the Larinates.

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Caesar Besieges Domitius in Corfinum: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

roman-senate

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, cos. -54, had been named by the Senate to succeed Caesar as Governor of Gaul. When he learned of Caesar's crossing the Rubicon, he began raising troops, and by the start of February -49 had 13000 soldiers in the town of Corfinum. On 09 Feb -49 Domitius decided to stand at Corfinum rather than retreat to the south of Italy. So he wrote to Pompey, who was in the south of Italy with two legions plus others he was mobilizing—10000 men. Domitius urged that the Optimate faction join its military forces together at Corfinum to outnumber and fight Caesar. Pompey disagreed. He wrote back that he would not come north to join forces. On 15 Feb -49 Caesar appeared in front of Corfinum with 8000 soldiers consisting of his vanguard, Legio XIII, reinforced by Legio XII, and began to besiege it.

Did Pompey not trust his two legions? They had been part of Caesar's army in Gaul, but had been transferred to Pompey's command to be sent to Syria, but Pompey had directed them to hold in the south of Italy instead. Caesar's initial crossing of the Rubicon had been with only 2000 soldiers, half of Legio XIII. Did the fact that Caesar had met no resistance make Pompey decide on his strategy of (a) holding Spain with ten legions, (b) retreating himself to Greece and gathering the eastern army, and then (c) returning to Italy with overwhelming force? Pompey's letter to Domitius argues that the Optimate faction's soldiers are "neither trustworthy nor battle-trained", of low morale, likley to be outnumbered given the speed with which Caesear is summoning his Gallic War army, and that he, Pompey, "cannot risk the whole war in a single battle, especially under the circumstances".

Caesar narrates:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Caesar accepted the surrender of Firmum; he also gave orders that a search be made for the men who had deserted Lentulus after the latter’s expulsion, and that fresh troops be levied. He himself stayed where he was for one day to collect supplies of corn, and then hurried to Corfinium...

...On arrival there, he found that five cohorts sent out by Domitius from the town were breaking down the bridge over the river*, about three miles from the town. Domitius’s men engaged Caesar’s advance-guard, but were soon beaten back from the bridge and retreated into the town. Caesar then led his forces over the river and, halting near the town walls, set up camp.

On learning this, Domitius by dint of offering a large reward succeeded in finding men with a knowledge of Apulia, and sent them to Pompey with dispatches begging him to come and help; he reported that two armies, aided by the confined nature of the country, could easily hem in Caesar and prevent his getting supplies. He warned Pompey that, if he failed to help, he himself, and more than thirty cohorts, as well as a good many Roman knights and senators, would be put in danger. While awaiting a reply, he delivered encouraging speeches to his men, set up ballistic machines at various points on the walls, and assigned each of his men to specific duties for the defence of the town. In an address to the troops, he promised grants of land from his own possessions, at the rate of twenty-five acres per man, and proportionately larger grants to centurions and re-enlisted veterans.

Caesar in the meantime heard that the people of Sulmo, a town seven miles from Corfinium, were eager to support him, but were being restrained by the senator Quintus Lucretius and by Attius, a Paelignian, who were holding the town with a garrison of seven cohorts. Caesar sent Mark Antony there with five cohorts of the Thirteenth Legion, and as soon as the people of Sulmo saw our standards they opened the gates and, one and all, troops and citizens, came out joyfully to meet Antony. Lucretius and Attius threw themselves from the walls, but Attius was brought to Antony and asked to be sent to Caesar. Antony returned on the same day as he had set out, with the cohorts and Attius, and Caesar incorporated the cohorts into his own army and released Attius unharmed.

During the next few days, Caesar began to construct large defence-works about his camp and to gather in provisions from the neighbouring towns, while waiting for the rest of his forces. Within three days the Eighth Legion arrived, together with twenty-two cohorts from the latest levies in Gaul and about three hundred cavalry from the king of Noricum. On their arrival, he set up a second camp on the other side of the town, and put Curio in charge of it. During the following days he began surrounding the town with earth-works and redoubts.

When the major part of this work was finished, the messengers sent to Pompey arrived back. Domitius read the dispatch they brought; and then, in his council of officers, he concealed its contents, and announced that Pompey would shortly arrive with help; he urged them to keep up their spirits and make all necessary arrangements for the defence of the town. He himself then held a secret conclave with a few friends and decided to attempt an escape.

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The Optimate Faction Panics and Abandons Rome: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

roman-senate

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caear narrates: The Optimate faction panics at a rumor of Caesar's appraoch, and flees from Rome with the looted Treasury reserve. The towns of Italy support Caesar. Even the town of Cingulum ralied to Caesar, even though its founder Titus Labienus, Caesar's second-in-command in the Gallic War, had deserted Caesar for his earlier allegiance to Pompey. And Pompey's attempts to reinforce his army by recruiting veterans who had obtained their farms through Caesar's legislative initiatives did not go well:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Meanwhile, word came that the Praetor Thermus was holding Iguvium with five cohorts and fortifying the town, but that the townspeople were all strong partisans of Caesar; he therefore sent Curio with the three cohorts which he had at Pisaurum and Ariminum. When Thermus heard of Curio’s approach, not trusting the mood of the townsfolk, he withdrew his cohorts from the town and fled; on the journey, the troops deserted him and went home. Curio took over Iguvium amid general good-will. On learning of this, Caesar decided he could rely on the support of the Italian towns, and taking the cohorts of the Thirteenth legion out of their garrisons he set off for Auximum...

...Attius Varus was holding this town with cohorts which he had installed there and was sending the local councillors around to levy troops throughout Picenum. When the town council heard of Caesar’s approach, they came in a body to Attius, saying that, while they were not competent to judge the issue, neither they nor their fellow-townsmen could allow Gaius Caesar, a holder of military command, a man who had served the State well and had many brilliant achievements to his credit, to be shut out of the town. They warned Attius therefore to think of the future and of his own danger.

This speech alarmed Attius, who removed the garrison he had installed in the town and fled. He was pursued by a small detachment from Caesar’s advance guard and compelled to stop; and after a token resistance his troops deserted him and a number of them went off home, while the rest made their way to Caesar, taking with them in custody Lucius Pupius, a chief centurion, who had previously held the same rank in the army of Pompey.

Caesar commended Attius’s troops, let Pupius go, and thanked the people of Auximum, promising to remember what they had done.

The news of these events raised a panic at Rome; so much so, that when the consul Lentulus came to open the treasury, in accordance with the decree of the Senate, to withdraw funds for Pompey, he opened the treasury reserve9 and immediately fled from Rome–for there were reports that Caesar was on his way, and his cavalry with him, and would arrive at any minute. These were false alarms; nevertheless Marcellus followed his colleague, accompanied by most of the magistrates.

Pompey had left the neighbourhood of Rome the day before and was on his way to join the legions taken from Caesar, which he had stationed in Apulia for the winter. The troop-levies around Rome were suspended, as it was felt that nowhere between there and Capua could be relied on. It was at Capua that they first rallied and recovered their spirits; there they began to hold a levy among the old soldiers who had been settled there by the Julian law.

Lentulus brought into the market-place the gladiators whom Caesar kept in a school there and, promising them their freedom, he issued them with horses and ordered them to follow him; later, however, on the advice of his supporters, since his action had met with universal disapproval he dispersed them for safe-keeping among the slave-gangs in Campania.

Leaving Auximum, Caesar hurried through the district of Picenum. All the prefectures in the area gave him a hearty welcome and assisted his army with supplies of all kinds. A deputation even came from Cingulum–a town founded by Labienus and constructed at his own expense–promising to show the utmost zeal in carrying out any commands he might give. He asked them for soldiers, and these were supplied.

Meanwhile, the Twelfth legion overtook Caesar, and with this and the legion he already had he made for Asculum, which Lentulus Spinther was holding with ten cohorts. On word of Caesar’s approach, Lentulus abandoned the town, and tried to take the cohorts with him, but most of them deserted, and he was left abandoned on the road with only a small force of men. He then met Vibullius Rufus, who had been sent by Pompey to Picenum to ensure the loyalty of the local inhabitants. He received a report from Lentulus of what was going on in Picenum, took over his soldiers, and dismissed him.

He then proceeded to muster what cohorts he could from the levies ordered by Pompey, as well as the six he caught fleeing from Camerinum with Lucilius Hirrus, who had commanded them in garrison there, and altogether he made up thirteen cohorts. With these he made his way by forced marches to Domitius Ahenobarbus at Corfinium and reported that Caesar was on his way with two legions. Domitius, for his part, had raised about twenty cohorts from Alba, the Marsi, the Paeligni and the surrounding districts.

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Caesar Presents His Case to the 13th Legion, & Negotiates Unsuccessfully with Pompey: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

roman-senate

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar presents his case to the 13th Legion, and wins its enthusiastic support. Caesar and Pompey negotiate, but Pompey refuses to give up his dominant position. He holds imperium over Spain and commanding the ten Spanish garrison legions, while also residing in the suburbs of Rome and thus dominating the discussions of the Senate. Pompey refuses to commit to setting a date for his departure for Spain.

Note that Caesar does not tell his readers that by taking the Thirteenth Legion to Ariminum he has exceeded his authority: his imperium is the power to command soldiers and give judgments in Illyrium and in Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul, not to command soldiers in Italy. The crossing of the Rubicon River into Italy occurred before before the arrival of Pompey's negotiators, young Lucius Caesar and Praetor Lucius Roscius Fabatus. In fact, the crossing of the spine of the Appenine Mountains and the occupation of Arretium by Mark Antony and the half of the 13th Legion that was Caesar's army's vanguard appears to have occurred before the arrival at Ariminum of Lucius and Roscius:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'When news of these events reached Caesar, he assembled his men and addressed them, retailing to them all the wrongs done to him at various times by his enemies. "They have seduced Pompey", he protested, "and led him astray, through jealous belittling of my merits; and yet I have always supported Pompey, and helped him to secure advancement and reputation...

...A precedent has been created in government; in the recent past, armed force restored the tribunes’ veto; now armed force is repressing and overriding it. When Sulla stripped the tribunes of the rest of their prerogatives, he none the less left them the free exercise of the veto; Pompey has the credit of having restored their lost powers, but he has taken away even what they previously had.

The decree calling upon the magistrates to act to save the State from harm, a decree by which the Senate called the Roman people to arms, was never passed before now except in the case of pernicious legislation, or violence by tribunes, or a mutiny of the people, when the temples and heights commanding the city were seized; and these earlier precedents were atoned for by the fates of Saturninus and the Gracchi. But in the present instance, none of these things has taken place, or even been contemplated; there has been no law proposed, no attempt to appeal to the people, no mutiny.

I have been your commander for nine years; under my leadership, your efforts on Rome’s behalf have been crowned with good fortune; you have won countless battles and have pacified the whole of Gaul and Germany. Now, I ask you to defend my reputation and standing against the assaults of my enemies.

The men of the Thirteenth Legion clamoured that they were ready to avenge the wrongs done to their general and to the tribunes; and being thus assured of their support, Caesar took them to Ariminum, ordering the remaining legions to leave their winter quarters and follow him. At Ariminum, he met the tribunes who had fled to join him, and young Lucius Caesar, the son of one of his lieutenants.

After Lucius had discharged the business for which he had come, he revealed that he had a message from Pompey concerning personal relations between himself and Caesar. Pompey wanted to clear himself in Caesar’s eyes, and begged him not to take as a personal affront what he had done for the sake of the State; for he had always put the good of the country before the claims of personal friendship, and Caesar too, as befitted his position, should subordinate his personal ambitions and grievances to the good of Rome, and should not allow his anger against his personal enemies to lead him into damaging Rome, in his efforts to do them harm. L

Lucius added a few more remarks in the same vein, with excuses for Pompey’s behaviour. The praetor Roscius appealed to Caesar more or less with the same arguments and in the same words, and expressly said that he was quoting Pompey directly. In all this, there was no apparent move to repair the wrongs done.

None the less, having thus obtained suitable agents to convey his wishes to Pompey, Caesar said to them both that, since they had brought Pompey’s message to him, he hoped they would not object to taking his terms back to Pompey. ‘Only consider,’ he said,

that by a small expenditure of effort you can put an end to grave dissensions and release all Italy from fear. Prestige has always been of prime importance to me, even outweighing life itself; it pained me to see the privilege conferred on me by the Roman people being insultingly wrested from me by my enemies, and to find that I was being robbed of six months of my command[1] and dragged back to Rome, although the will of the people had been that I should be admitted as a candidate in absentia at the next elections. However, for the sake of Rome, I bore this loss of privilege with a good grace. When I wrote to the Senate suggesting a general demobilization, I was not allowed even that. Troops are being raised all over Italy, my two legions, which were taken from me on the pretext of a Parthian campaign, are being retained, and the whole State is in arms. What is the aim of all these preparations but my destruction?

However, I am ready to submit to anything and put up with anything for the sake of Rome. My terms are these: Pompey shall go to his provinces; we shall both disband our armies; there shall be complete demobilization in Italy; the regime of terror shall cease; there shall be free elections and the Senate and the Roman people shall be in full control of the government. To facilitate this and fix the terms and ratify them with an oath, I suggest that Pompey either comes to meet me or allows me to meet him. By submitting our differences to mutual discussion, we shall settle them all.

Roscius accepted the commission and went with young Lucius to Capua, where he found Pompey and the consuls and reported Caesar’s demands. They discussed them and sent back in reply, by the same messengers, written orders the gist of which was that Caesar should leave Ariminum, return to Gaul, and disband his army, and that if he did so Pompey would go to the Spanish provinces. Meanwhile, until they received a pledge that Caesar would do as he promised, the consuls and Pompey would not suspend the levy of troops.

It was unfair that Pompey should require Caesar to leave Ariminum and return to his province, while he himself kept his own provinces, and another man’s legions as well; that Pompey should expect Caesar’s army to be disbanded while he levied troops; that Pompey should promise to go to his province without fixing a date by which he must do so, so that even if he still had not gone when Caesar’s consulship expired, he could not be held to have broken his oath.

Further, the fact that he offered no opportunity for a conference and made no promise to come to meet Caesar made it likely that hopes of peace must be abandoned.

Caesar therefore sent Mark Antony from Ariminum to Arretium with five cohorts, while he himself stayed with two cohorts and began levying troops on the spot, and also put one cohort each into Pisaurum, Fanum and Ancona.

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The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician faces the expiration of his term of office. He knows that, because of his actions in office, he has enemies. He knows that his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power...

Caesar narrates: Whatever norms he may or may not have broken during his consulate—in order to wrest land from the hands of corrupt plutocrats and grant it to the deserving—he says, the Optimate faction does much worse. In the first seven days of the year of the consulate of Lucius Cornelius Lentulus Crus and Gaius Claudius Marcellus Maior, the Optimate faction goes beyond norm-breaking into outright illegality. And to that they add impiety. They illegaly seize power, as they grant themselves proconsular and propraetorial imperium over the provinces, without the constitutionally-required popular confirmation of imperium. They impiously violate the separation of church and state by seizing temple funds for their own use. They thus incur the wrath of the gods. And they incur the enmity of all who believe in constitutional balance, as opposed to armed plutocratic dictatorship:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'Caesar’s friends were not given time to acquaint him with these events, while the tribunes were given no chance of protesting at the threat to themselves, or even of retaining, in the exercise of the veto, their most fundamental right, which Lucius Sulla had not taken away from them; and whereas in the old days those notoriously unruly tribunes had been wont to look ahead anxiously to the end of several months of exercise of authority, in the present instance the tribunes were given only six days in which to secure their own safety...

...The Senate had recourse to that ultimate decree of emergency, which was never employed before except when the city was on the verge of destruction and when everyone expected inevitable ruin at the hands of unscrupulous law-makers. The decree ran:

The consuls, praetors, tribunes of the people and proconsuls in the vicinity of the city shall take steps to see that the State suffer no harm...

and was recorded on the seventh of January.

And so, not counting the two election days, during the first five days after Lentulus’s entry into office on which meetings of the Senate could be held, resolutions of the harshest and most severe nature were passed concerning Caesar’s command, and concerning those distinguished officials, the tribunes of the people. The latter at once fled from Rome and went to join Caesar, who was then at Ravenna, awaiting a reply to his very moderate demands and hoping that some human sense of justice might make a peaceful settlement possible.

During the following days, the Senate met outside the city, and Pompey pressed the same policy that he had indicated through Scipio. He praised the courage and steadfastness of the Senate; he revealed the strength of his own resources, announcing that he had ten legions ready; he claimed, moreover, to have reliable information that Caesar’s troops were disaffected and could not be induced either to defend him or to follow him.

Remaining business was put at once to the Senate, and it was decided to levy troops throughout Italy and to make Pompey a grant from the treasury. It was also proposed that King Juba [of Numidia] should be given the title ‘ally and friend’, but Marcellus refused to tolerate this at present; another proposal, that Faustus Sulla be sent speedily to Mauretania, was blocked by the tribune Philippus.

On the rest of the business, there are senatorial decrees in the records. The provinces―two consular, the rest praetorian―were assigned to private individuals. Syria was allotted to Scipio and Gaul to Lucius Domitius, while Philippus and Cotta were passed over, by private agreement, and no lots were cast for them; praetors were sent to the rest. Then, without waiting for their commands to be referred to the people for ratification, the governors donned the military cloak, made the usual vows, and departed. The consuls, before they left the city, had their attendants going about in the city and on the Capitol in military cloaks, something which had never happened before and was contrary to all ancient practice. Troops were being levied all over Italy, weapons were being requisitioned, and money was exacted from the Italian towns and carried off out of temples with complete disregard for the distinction between divine and human...

Continue reading "The Optimate Faction Arms for War, & Illegally Usurps Provincial Imperium: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic" »


The Optimate Faction Rejects Caesar's Compromise: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

Caesar narrates the reasons that the leaders of the Optimate faction—Cato, Lentulus, Scipio, and Pompey—worked hard to set the stage for war, and how the majority of Senators in the timorous middle were robbed of the power to decide freely, and driven reluctantly to vote for Scipio's motion to rob Caesar of his protections against arrest and trial:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: '[The Optimate faction Consul] Lucius Lentulus took up all the speakers and routed them with a withering reply. He refused point blank to put Calidius’s motion, and his strictures cowed Marcellus, so that he too gave up his motion. And so the majority, under pressure from the consul’s tirades together with fear at the proximity of the army and the menaces of Pompey’s friends, were driven reluctantly to support Scipio’s motion. The terms of this were that Caesar should disband his army before a date to be fixed; if he failed to comply, he would be deemed to be meditating treason against the State...

...Mark Antony and Quintus Cassius, tribunes of the people, then interposed their veto. There was a hurried debate on this veto and harsh measures were advocated; and the more savage and vindictive the speaker, the more he was applauded by Caesar’s enemies.

When the Senate was dismissed towards evening, all its members were summoned out of the city by Pompey. Those who were prompt to obey he praised and encouraged to continue so; the less quick he reproved and urged to do better. Many veterans from Pompey’s old armies were called out from their homes by the prospect of rewards and advancement, and many troops were summoned from the two legions handed over by Caesar.

The city, the approach to the Capitol and the comitium [election square] were full of tribunes, centurions and recalled veterans. All the friends of the consuls, all the adherents of Pompey and of those with old grudges against Caesar were mustered in the Senate. Their numbers and the uproar they made intimidated the timorous, made up the minds of the waverers and robbed the majority of the power to decide freely.

Censor Lucius Piso and Praetor Lucius Roscius undertook to go and inform Caesar of these events, and asked for a period of six days to fulfil their mission. Some speakers further suggested that a deputation should be sent to Caesar to acquaint him with the feelings of the Senate. All these suggestions were opposed in speeches by the consul, by Scipio and by Cato, each for his own reasons.

Cato was an old enemy of Caesar’s and, besides, he was stung by his defeat at the elections.

Lentulus was actuated by the size of his debts, and by the prospect of a military command and a province and bribes from native rulers for the recognition of their titles. He boasted among his friends that he would be a second Sulla and hold supreme command in the State.

Scipio had the same hopes of a province, and of military command, for he expected to share the armies with Pompey as a relative [father-in-law] of his by marriage. Besides, he had a dread of the law courts and was susceptible to the flattery of certain persons of great influence in politics and in the courts at the time, as well as being swayed by his own and their love of display.

Pompey, for his part, was reluctant to let anyone stand on the same pinnacle of prestige as himself. For this reason, and also because he had been listening to Caesar’s enemies, he had completely severed his friendly connexions with Caesar. He had become reconciled with their common enemies―most of whom he had himself inflicted on Caesar at the time when he contracted a marriage alliance with him. Moreover, he was perturbed by the discredit attaching to his behaviour over the two legions, which he had diverted from the expedition to Asia and Syria, in order to advance his own power and supremacy. Pompey, therefore, was anxious to force a decision by war. Accordingly, haste and confusion characterized every transaction...

 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-07-22

Caesar Offers a Compromise Solution (or So Caesar Says): Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

The Beginning of Caesar's Civil War, in which Caesar says that he had proposed a compromise solution to the political crisis:

Gaius Julius Caesar: The Civil War: 'PART I: THE STRUGGLE BEGINS: 1. Intransigence at Rome: 1) The dispatch from Gaius Caesar[1] was delivered to the consuls; but it was only after strong representations from the tribunes that they gave their grudging permission for it to be read in the Senate. Even then, they would not consent to a debate on its contents, but initiated instead a general debate on ‘matters of State'...

...This was opened by the consul Lucius Lentulus, who promised that, if the Senate was prepared to state its views courageously and firmly, he would not fail in his duty to the State; but if they had regard for Caesar’s possible reactions, and tried to ingratiate themselves with him, as on previous occasions, then he would choose his own line of action and would not obey the voice of the Senate. He reminded them that he too could take refuge in the good-will and friendship of Caesar.

Scipio spoke in the same vein. Pompey, he said, intended to stand by his duty to the State, if the Senate would support him; but if they hesitated and showed weakness, then, should they want his help later, they would ask for it in vain. The Senate was meeting in Rome, and Pompey was near by; and so Scipio’s speech seemed to come from the mouth of Pompey himself.

Some few expressed themselves in milder terms:

First, Marcus Marcellus launched into a speech to the effect that the topic should not be introduced in the Senate until a levy had been held throughout Italy and troops enrolled under whose protection the Senate might dare, freely and with impunity, to pass whatever decrees it wished.

Marcus Calidius urged that Pompey should set out for his provinces, so that there should be no grounds for hostilities. He alleged that Caesar was apprehensive that Pompey was holding on to the two legions he had taken from him, and keeping them near Rome, in order to do him some harm.

 

[1] Brought from Caesar at Ravenna to the Senate by Gaius Scribonius Curio, in it Caesar offered to resign his proconsular command if Pompey would do the same. Othewise, Caesar said, he would defend his rights, and would also defend the rights of the Roman Republic against the plots of the Optimate faction.

[2] Not in Spain with the armies the Senate had appointed him to command, but rather in his house northwest of Rome.

 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-07-22

Foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus: Liveblogging the Fall of the Roman Republic

caesar-&-vercingetorix

A strongly unconventional high politician facing the expiration of his term of office. He knows that there is a very high probability that, because of his actions in office, his adversaries will try and convict him of crimes after he lays down his power.

Let us start with some foreshadowing from Gaius Sallustius Crispus:

Gaius Sallustius Crispus: Cataline's Conspiracy https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/readings/book-sallust-cataline.pdf: ‘Gaius Julius Caesar Pleads Against Norm-Breaking (-63): "I can recount many examples, conscripted fathers, of bad decisions made by kings and peoples under the influence of anger or pity...

...When Sulla ordered the strangulation of Damasippus and others like him... who did not praise his actions? People were saying they deserved it.... But this action was the beginning of a great slaughter. For whenever someone coveted another man’s home or villa, or eventually even his dishes or clothes, he would try to get the man proscribed. And soon after those who were delighted at the death of Damasippus were themselves being dragged away and there was no end of carnage until Sulla had glutted all his followers with riches. Now, I don’t fear these consequences from M. Tullius nor do I fear them at this time, but in a great city there are many different temperaments.

It is possible that at some other time, when another man is consul and also has an army at his disposal, a lie will be taken for the truth. When this precedent allows the consul by the decree of the Senate to draw his sword, who will stop or restrain him?...

 


 

.#history #livebloggingthefalloftheromanrepublic #politics #2020-07-21
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This Is What a President Looks Like—For the Weekend

If you won't vote for this guy over the incompetent buffoon that is Donald Trump, do me a favor and please never vote again. You are too much of an easily-grifted moron for your voting to be a good idea for anybody: Joe Biden & Ady Barkan: In Conversation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4CLoiA3vfQ:

.#fortheweekend #moralresponsibility #politics #2020-07-10

De Tocqueville: "Property... a... badge of fraternity. The wealthy... elder... but all... members of one family..."—Noted

Alexis de Tocqueville: Recollections. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/37892/37892-h/37892-h.htm: ‘The steward of my estate, himself half a peasant, describing what was taking place in the country immediately after the 24th of February [1848], wrote: "People here say that if Louis-Philippe has been sent away, it is a good thing, and that he deserved it...." This was to them the whole moral of the play. But when they heard tell of the disorder reigning in Paris, of the new taxes to be imposed, and of the general state of war that was to be feared... and when, in particular, they learnt that the principle of property was being attacked, they did not fail to perceive that there was something more.... I was at once struck by a spectacle that both astonished and charmed me.... In the country all the landed proprietors, whatever their origin, antecedents, education or means, had come together, and seemed to form but one class: all former political hatred and rivalry of caste or fortune had disappeared from view. There was no more jealousy or pride displayed between the peasant and the squire, the nobleman and the commoner; instead, I found mutual confidence, reciprocal friendliness, and regard. Property had become, with all those who owned it, a sort of badge of fraternity. The wealthy were the elder, the less endowed the younger brothers; but all considered themselves members of one family, having the same interest in defending the common inheritance. As the French Revolution had infinitely increased the number of land-owners, the whole population seemed to belong to that vast[116] family. I had never seen anything like it, nor had anyone in France within the memory of man... .#equitablegrowth #history #noted #politicaleconomy #politics #2020-07-07


Lecture Notes: The Rise of Socialism, -350 to 1917

Let us talk about the rise of socialism, as background to the rise of really existing socialism—the system that lived behind what Winston Churchill called the Iron Curtain from 1917-1991, that shook the world, and that in the end turned out to be far, far, far from the brightest light on the tree of humanity’s good ideas.

Let us very briefly race through history—moral, intellectual, political, and social—from the year -350 to the year 1917, when Lenin and his Bolshevik Communist Party staged their coup in Russia.

There was a profound shift from the belief in “divine right” and “natural order” as the fundamental grounding for an unequal society to enlightenment values—that human institutions should be rationally designed on the basis of a rational understanding of human psychology in order to attain the greatest good of the greatest number, and thus that inequality is not given by the gods or by the requirements of nature, but rather is a thing to be allowed to the extent that it incentivizes cooperation and industry and thus enriches us all.

Back in the century of the -300s, Aristotle had taken it for granted that a good society was only possible if the society allowed for philosophy. And philosophy was only possible if you had a leisured upper class. And a leisured upper class was possible only with large scale-unfree labor—serfdom, or its harsher cousin slavery. Thus it was and thus it would always, be unless and until humans obtained the fantasy technologies of the mythical Golden Age...

https://www.icloud.com/keynote/0l4Z5qINR94b5ZcNGuXSt_fvg

https://github.com/braddelong/public-files/blob/master/lecture-rise-of-socialism--350-1917-text.pdf

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Convincing Biden Victory in South Carolina: Warren's My Guy, But I Will Happily Work Very, Very Hard for Biden...

Note to Self: For the record, of those above, my rank ordering of who is likely to make the best president goes: Warren, Bennet, Klobuchar, Patrick, Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Steyer, Delaney, Yang, Sanders, Gabbard...

Impressively done by Joe Biden and his team: kudos:

Biden-winning-sc

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Weekend Reading: Plutarch: Norm-Breaking and the Collapse of the Roman Republic

Murder_of_tiberius_gracchus

After this episode of political norm-breaking, thereafter every Roman politico on the make (except for Cicero) drew the obvious conclusion: if you wanted to have a successful career, you needed to have a loyal mob in Rome and a loyal army outside—or be closely allied with somebody who did. And the road to Marius-Sulla-Pompey-Caesar-Brutus-Antony-Octavian was well-paved: Plutarch: Life of Tiberius Gracchus http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Tiberius_Gracchus*.html: 'This is said to have been the first sedition at Rome, since the abolition of royal power, to end in bloodshed and the death of citizens; the rest though neither trifling nor raised for trifling objects, were settled by mutual concessions, the nobles yielding from fear of the multitude, and the people out of respect for the senate...

...And it was thought that even on this occasion Tiberius would have given way without difficulty had persuasion been brought to bear upon him, and would have yielded still more easily if his assailants had not resorted to wounds and bloodshed; for his adherents numbered not more than three thousand. But the combination against him would seem to have arisen from the hatred and anger of the rich rather than from the pretexts which they alleged; and there is strong proof of this in their lawless and savage treatment of his dead body. For they would not listen to his brother's request that he might take up the body and bury it by night, but threw it into the river along with the other dead.

Nor was this all; they banished some of his friends without a trial and others they arrested and put to death. Among these Diophanes the rhetorician also perished. A certain Caius Villius they shut up in a cage, and then put in vipers and serpents, and in this way killed him.

Blossius of Cumae was brought before the consuls, and when he was asked about what had passed, he admitted that he had done everything at the bidding of Tiberius. Then Nasica said to him,

What, then, if Tiberius had ordered thee to set fire to the Capitol?

Blossius at first replied that Tiberius would not have given such an order; but when the same question was put to him often and by many persons, he said:

If such a man as Tiberius had ordered such a thing, it would also have been right for me to do it; for Tiberius would not have given such an order if it had not been for the interest of the people. Well, then, Blossius was acquitted, and afterwards went to Aristonicus in Asia, and when the cause of Aristonicus was lost, slew himself.

But the senate, trying to conciliate the people now that matters had gone too far, no longer opposed the distribution of the public land, and proposed that the people should elect a commissioner in place of Tiberius. So they took a ballot and elected Publius Crassus, who was a relative of Gracchus; for his daughter Licinia was the wife of Caius Gracchus. And yet Cornelius Nepos says that it was not the daughter of Crassus, but of the Brutus who triumphed over the Lusitanians, whom Caius married; the majority of writers, however, state the matter as I have done.

Moreover, since the people felt bitterly over the death of Tiberius and were clearly awaiting an opportunity for revenge, and since Nasica was already threatened with prosecutions, the senate, fearing for his safety, voted to send him to Asia, although it had no need of him there. For when people met Nasica, they did not try to hide their hatred of him, but grew savage and cried out upon him wherever he chanced to be, calling him an accursed man and a tyrant, who had defiled with the murder of an inviolable and sacred person the holiest and most awe-inspiring of the city's sanctuaries.

And so Nasica stealthily left Italy, although he was bound there by the most important and sacred functions; for he was pontifex maximus. He roamed and wandered about in foreign lands ignominiously, and after a short time ended his life at Pergamum...

I do wonder how exactly I am supposed to read those last sentences: is Nasica's agency here in that he ended his life or that he went to Pergamum. but I have little Latin and less Greek: "οὕτω μὲν ὑπεξῆλθε τῆς Ἰταλίας ὁ Νασικᾶς, καίπερ ἐνδεδεμένος ταῖς μεγίσταις ἱερουργίαις: ἦν γὰρ ὁ μέγιστος καὶ πρῶτος τῶν ἱερέων, ἔξω δὲ ἀλύων καὶ πλανώμενος ἀδόξως οὐ μετὰ πολὺν χρόνον κατέστρεψε περὶ Πέργαμον..."

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Scheduled for Squawk Box: January 2, 2020 6:50 AM EST: Talking Points

Squawk-box

From: xxxx@nbcuni.com
Subject: Your Squawk Box segment this Thursday, January 2: Please get to the studio at UC Berkley by 6:40am est
Body: The anchors will be Joe and Becky. You’ll share the segment with Shermichael Singleton, political consultant, contributor at The Hill. The discussion will be about "running against the Trump economy". Trump has had the best 3 year performance out of every president since Reagan, since being elected. How does one run against this? Who has the potential to compete? Can Trump keep it up, how? Please send thoughts and talking points.

  • Jump in the S&P over the past eight years from 1300 to 2600 3200 [1]

    • A 1.5x 1.8x in the valuation ratio
    • A 1.16x due to inflation
    • A 1.15x due to an increase in the fundamental earning power underpinning each share of stock
      • All of that is due to buybacks. None of that is due to greater business earning power
      • Thus the optimism with respect to the valuation ratio—even given limited opportunities to earn money elsewhere—somewhat puzzles me
      • Plus there is the joker in the deck: will the wage share remain depressed indefinitely?
      • Usually I'm a "150% of your net worth in stocks" guy
      • Now we are moving money out, and I'm a "50% of your net worth in stocks" guy
  • The talk I hear about the "strong Trump economy" makes no allowance for the difficulty of the dive he has faced relative to that that other presidents face...

    • Trump was handed very good cards
    • Taking account of the difficulty of the dive, I think you have to say that:
      • The Clinton economy turned out much better than expected (due to good policy)
      • The Obama economy turned out better than expected (due to good but inadequate policy)
      • The Trump economy has turned out as expected—but with extra damage done by the trade war, which has on net hurt manufacturing and agriculture, and with no investment boom
      • The Reagan economy turned out somewhat worse than expected—policy incoherence between the tax cutter, the defense spenders, and Paul Volcker really stomped the entire economy over 1981-3 and the Midwest over 1981-1987.
      • The George H.W. Bush economy turned out worse than expected—they took their eye off the ball on the S&L crisis
      • The George W. Bush administration really _ _ the pooch...
  • It looks like we have dodged a recession...

    • We have had a manufacturing recession, but domestic manufacturing is no longer an important enough sector for a manufacturing recession to bring down the economy as a whole...
    • The Trump economy is very weak in productivity growth and the wage share, and those are very worrisome for long-term trends.
  • The most striking aspect of the political situation is the strong divergence between Trump's good unemployment and inflation numbers and his lousy approval numbers

    • Yet perhaps what should surprise me the most is that his approval numbers are so high
    • Policy incoherence while you insult people on Twitter would not have seemed to me to be a governing strategy that many Americans would approve of...
    • It's not just not doing your job...
    • It's undignified
    • Yet he has his fans—and very few of them are beneficiaries of his tax cut, and there are no beneficiaries of his trade war or his foreign-born sliming...
      • Perhaps all his fans think they will benefit from his tax cut?
      • Recall John Steinbeck: "We didn’t have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist..."
      • A new paper out by Alberto Alesina and Stephanie Stantcheva on how Americans think there is much more and Europeans think there is substantially less upward mobility than in fact there is—and how in real life there is more in Europe than in America

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Benjamin Wittes: The Collapse of the President’s Defense: Weekend Reading

Benjamin Wittes: The Collapse of the President’s Defense https://www.lawfareblog.com/collapse-presidents-defense: 'President Trump’s substantive defense against the ongoing impeachment inquiry has crumbled entirely—not just eroded or weakened, but been flattened like a sandcastle hit with a large wave. It was never a strong defense. After all, Trump himself released the smoking gun early in L’Affaire Ukrainienne when the White House published its memo of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. That document erased any question as to whether Trump had asked a foreign head of state to “investigate”—a euphemism for digging up dirt on—his political opponents. There was no longer any doubt that he had asked a foreign country to violate the civil liberties of American citizens by way of interfering in the coming presidential campaign. That much we have known for certain for weeks. The clarity of the evidence did not stop the president’s allies from trying to fashion some semblance of defense. But the past few days of damaging testimony have stripped away the remaining fig leaves. There was no quid pro quo, we were told—except that it’s now clear that there was one. If there was a quid pro quo, we were told, it was the good kind of quid pro quo that happens all the time in foreign relations—except that, we now learn, it wasn’t that kind at all but the very corrupt kind instead. The Ukrainians didn’t even know that the president was holding up their military aid, we were told—except that, it turns out, they did know. And, the president said, it was all about anti-corruption. This was the most Orwellian inversion; describing such a corrupt demand as a request for an investigation of corruption is a bit like describing a speakeasy as an alcoholism treatment facility. As this tawdy fact pattern has become increasingly exposed, the only defense that remains to the president is that it does not amount to an impeachment-worthy offense—an argument difficult to square with either the history of impeachment or its purpose in our constitutional system...

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Income and Wealth Distribution, or, Watching Professional Republicans Sell Their Souls Back in 1992: Hoisted from the Archives

Inbox 31 brad delong gmail com Gmail

I have long wanted an undergraduate to write a senior thesis about this episode. I have never found one to advise to do so:

Hoisted from the Archives: The income distribution came on to the stage that is America's public sphere between February 14 and December 12, 1992. And the rhetoric of "X% of gains in per capita income over years Y-Z went to the top W%-iles of the income distribution" became a one in American political-economic discourse over that time period as well. Over those ten months then-New York Times economics reporter Sylvia Nasar wrote eight stories about income inequality in America. All of them were pitched at a high substantive and intellectual level—they would have fit into the New York Times's later Upshot (which has recently refocused at a less analytically-substantive level as concerned with "politics, policy, and everyday life"). This was, needless to say, very unusual for the New York Times.

Sylvia's first story addressed the peculiar fact that the "80's Boom", as Reagan Republicans and the New York Times called it, had seen the poverty rate not diminish but rise. Sylvia attributed that rise to union-busting, and a growing disparity between high- and low-wage jobs springing from a decline in relative manufacturing employment and possibly from boosted high-wage white-collar productivity from computerization. Her second story, on March 5, took a turn. Instead of continuing to investigate the causes of rising poverty and wage stagnation in a decade of supposed boom, it focused on "who had reaped the gains" from "the prosperity of the last decade and a half". It highlighted the "Krugman calculation". It began:

Populist politicians, economists and ordinary citizens have long suspected that the rich have been getting richer. What is making people sit up now is recent evidence that the richest 1 percent of American families appears to have reaped most of the gains from the prosperity of the last decade and a half. An outsized 60 percent of the growth in the average after-tax income of all American families between 1977 and 1989—and an even heftier three-fourths of the gain in average pretax income—went to the wealthiest 660,000 families, each of which had an annual income of at least $310,000 a year...

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Immigration and American Politics

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I want to thank XXXXXX XXXXXX. I confess I had thought that if the President started putting migrant children in cage, the immediate reaction would not be that this might well be a clever political move. I do have a sense that for a lot of people who know better on the Republican side, they think there's mileage to be gained by characterizing bedrock American values as if they were foreign and "cosmopolitan" values. And it is very nice to hear XXXXXX pushing back.

In fact, I really do not understand XXXXXX XXXXXX's claim that the President has "put the Democrats in a box" on immigration. As I read the Gallup Poll, by 64% to 35% Americans want immigration continued at the same level or increased. 37% want the level decreased. The President wants the level of immigration decreased—illegal immigration and legal immigration alike, and we certainly shouldn't have any judges whose parents were born in Mexico. Trump is on the side of the late Sam Huntington—who liked to rant about how the immigration of Cubans had ruined Miami, and "would the last American leaving please remember to bring the flag."

How is abandoning the 64% position for a 35% position putting your opponents in a box?

New High in U S Say Immigration Most Important Problem

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Hoisted from the Archives: What Was the Point of Robert Woodward's "The Agenda"?

What the Washington Post's headline writers thought that Bob Woodward's The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House was about back in 1994:

Clinton Felt Blindsided Over Slashed Initiatives; 'We're Losing Our Soul' in Cutting Deficit. President and the Fed Forge New Relationship; Greenspan's Economics Lesson Etches Deep Impression in the Clinton Plan. Memo From Consultants Rattles the White House; 'Turkey' of a[n Economic Deficit-Reduction] Plan Still Needed Selling. A War Among Advisers For the President's Soul; Decision-Making, Clarity of Vision Suffer

According to the Washington Post's headline writers (and according to pretty damn near everybody else who read The Agenda that I have talked to), Woodward's book tells the story of a president who (a) feels "blindsided" by their actions, (b) feels that the policies his administration is adopting means that he is losing his soul, (c) finds that the Republican Federal Reserve Chair's views are etching a deep impression on policy, (d) finds himself stuck with a "turkey" of an economic plan, (e) has advisors who fight fiercely in order to (f) control a wishy-washy president, and as a result (g) decision-making suffers and (h) clarity of vision is lost.

Now I was there.

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Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze is correct when he writes that "across the American political spectrum, if there is agreement on anything, it is on the need for a firmer line against China". The bombs-and-bullets people, the geopolitics people, and the blame-somebody-else people are all agreed. The U.S. needs to do something to strengthen its relative position, and that means it needs to start doing something to China.

But that would be going about it the wrong way. Thinking that the right way to do something is to do something to China is a very bad way to think. The U.S. could still forge a 21st century condominium with China. But all those necessary and needed pieces of action require that the U.S. look and act inwardly, not outwardly:

Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Runciman: "Rather than raging against the dying of the light, Runciman['s How Democracy Ends], like Spengler and Kojève, invites us to adopt a stance of disillusioned realism. If we can see the decline of democratic polities all around us and can diagnose the multiple causes of their eventual demise, that does not excuse us from the responsibility to make them work until the bitter end...

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Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontents: Weekend Reading

Il Quarto Stato

Weekend Reading: Adam Tooze: Democracy and Its Discontent: Levitsky and Ziblatt: "Levitsky and Ziblatt['s How Democracies Die has]... a sobering message: 'American democracy is not as exceptional as we sometimes believe. There’s nothing in our Constitution or our culture to immunize us against democratic breakdown'.... The restoration of democratic norms requires building a new consensus. Levitsky and Ziblatt cite the example of Chile.... Augusto Pinochet... was overcome by a new culture of bipartisan cooperation in the so-called Democratic Concertation. In the US today, the problem lies first and foremost with the GOP. It has repeatedly behaved like an anti-systemic party that does not consider itself bound by common democratic norms... Levitsky and Ziblatt point to... Konrad Adenauer’s CDU.... But what relevance does it have to American politics? Can one seriously imagine anyone in the GOP taking lessons from Angela Merkel and her counterparts?... Levitsky and Ziblatt are strikingly naive when it comes to power...

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What Are Our Plans?

Signing of the Constitution by Louis S Glanzman Teaching American History

The Council on Foreign Relations asked me to come be on a panel on a small conference they were running on the "democratic recession". They were even willing to spring for a JetBlue mint-class lie-flat bed-seat on a nonstop. So I went Video here. Transcript here.

But is there—or, rather, in what sense is there—a "democratic recession"?

I think you need to separate out three different meanings of democracy:

  1. Alexis de Tocqueville’s democracy: social democracy—where everybody can stand on their own two feet and look everyone else in the eye, rather than lowering their gaze and tugging their forelock.

  2. John Judis’s thing: public-square democracy—where everybody can stand up, pick up a megaphone, speak, and actually be heard.

  3. Real, political democracy—where the material and ideal interests of the people are properly represented and aggregated in the formation of the decisions that we collectively make as we govern our own destinies.

The first two—social inclusion, and the ability to speak and feel that you have been heard—are important and are valid. But they are not the Big Enchilada.

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CFR Future of Democracy Symposium: Session Two: Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession: Transcript and Link to Video

Council on Foreign Relations: The Future of Democracy Symposium: Session Two: Economics, Identity, and the Democratic Recession


Transcript

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Do We Have Any Republican Remedies for the Diseases of Republican Government?

Signing of the Constitution by Louis S Glanzman Teaching American History

Note to Self: It was 80 blocks south of here that Alexander Hamilton wrote to the middle class of New York that:

The history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy... feeling sensations of horror and disgust... intervals of felicity... overwhelmed by the tempestuous waves of sedition and party rage...

That is how the rest of the world views Britain and the United States in this age, the age of Brexit and Trump. And I haven’t even raised the strange spectacle of our modern-day Earl of Warwick, Rupert the Kingmaker. Few among middle classes abroad today think that the Anglo-Saxon democracies have it right, deliver the goods.

Hamilton and Madison had plans for republican remedies to the diseases of republican government. What would your remedies be?

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So, Professor Drezner, We Meet Again. And THIS TIME THE ADVANTAGE IS MINE!

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Dan Drezner appears to mourn for the days when I was his nemesis: Dan Drezner (2005): So How Do Mexicans View African-Americans?: "While Latino critics in the United States have their hands full combating discrimination in the Star Wars movies (link via Glenn Reynolds), Latinos south of the border have a slightly bigger problem.... dealing with their own racial prejudices. Traci Carl explains for the Associated Press: 'President Vicente Fox reversed course Monday and apologized for saying that Mexicans in the United States do the work that blacks won't....' An intriguing angle about this story is the ability of Jackson and Sharpton to go global with... that thing they do (though in this case they have a pretty valid point). Readers are heartily encouraged to predict the next world leader who will be required to mau-mau kowtow to Jackson and Sharpton for something they say. I think it's a toss-up between Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin.... UPDATE: Brad DeLong objects to this post without saying why he objects. From his comments section, I gather it was my use of the phrase 'mau-mau', which some argue is a racially offensive term. Wikipedia backs them up (though they treat it as a noun and I used it as a verb)—so let me take the opportunity to apologize for using the term...

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