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The Gospel, Real, Absolute, Universal, Sure
Elements of Pagan Responsiveness: The Appeal to the Pagan
The Universality of a Religion
THE EMPIRE : THE PUBLIC HOPE.
HE last century of the Republic had shown what was to become of Rome when she had no one to fear. With Carthage still a menace across the sea, with Macedonia on her northeast border unsubdued, Rome's rich and poor, Rome's noble few and vulgar crowd, had need to keep from civil strife. After the conclusion of the Punic and Macedonian wars, Roman political self-control passed away with portentous rapidity. In the tumults resulting in the deaths of Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, Rome first tasted civil blood. Soon came the Cimbri peril, making a temporary party truce. Then civil broils broke out again, hardly to be stifled by the pressure of the Italian revolt. Rome's Italian subjects were not pacified when Sulla marched on Rome and Marius fled. And after that came bloody civil war. While Sulla was in the East, fighting Mithridates, Marius and the popular party slaughtered their foes at Rome. Then came the Sullan return and Sullan vengeance, with a re-establishment of an effete oligarchy over the prostrate democratic Titan. Meanwhile there was a noble youth at Rome who was to attain to democratic leadership, which, under existing conditions, could be secure only as democratic dicta
torship. He finally in civil war overthrew the senatorial party and changed the Republic to a monarchy. At his death, once more by civil war the Romans proved their incapacity for self-government, and again demonstrated, this time for all the centuries to come, that the only political question henceforth to arise at Rome was what man should rule the Roman world. This was clear before Actium was fought between the two recognized rulers of the halves of that world, to decide who should rule the whole. Rome had had a century of civil strife, half of which had been open civil war; now, for a century there was to be no further civil war or civil strife. The family of the Cæsars ruled, till it was discovered that Roman emperors could be made elsewhere than at Rome.
After Actium, as indeed before, men longed only for peace. The violence, the vivida vis, of the Republic had spent itself in blood. Few men of note survived. Pompey and Cæsar had fallen by treachery, and no one of Cæsar's murderers escaped a violent death; they had fallen on their own or others' swords. Before Cæsar's death, Curio was slain in Africa; there Cato ended life. Pharsalia, Thapsus, Munda, cut off many. The proscriptions cleared away the rest. Cicero's head and hands were nailed above the rostra, and at last his murderer, Antony, fell on his sword in Egypt. After Cæsarion was dispatched, Octavius might copy the clemency of Julius, for few malcontents were left worth killing, certainly none to be feared. The Roman world, exhausted by the civil wars, desired only to be ruled in peace.
Julius Cæsar never showed greater knowledge of men than in selecting and educating his great-nephew to succeed him. The young Octavius' education Octavius. included the usual curriculum; the Dictator's part consisted in having it conducted largely in camp among the soldiers. Thereby Octavius might become accustomed to managing them, and they might learn to know and care for him as one brought up among them