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Julius CaesarThe People's Dictator$
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Luciano Canfora

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748619368

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748619368.001.0001

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Against Subversion

Against Subversion

(p.184) Chapter 22 Against Subversion
Julius Caesar
Luciano Canfora, Julian Stringer
Edinburgh University Press

While Caesar was occupied with the difficult campaign in the Balkans, two episodes of particularly dramatic social unrest occurred in Rome; each ended in repression. The main player in the first was Marcus Caelius Rufus, one of the tribunes who in January 49 bc had found refuge with Caesar. Caelius Rufus had, on his return from the Spanish campaign against Afranius and Petreius, received the praetorship from Caesar for 48 bc, but not the urban praetorship, which Caesar entrusted to Trebonius. This humiliated Caelius and increased his sense of disillusionment. The second ‘sedition’ was that of Dolabella, on the eve of Pharsalus. Dolabella, a tribune of the plebs, took up the matter of the remission of debts, but the proposal was defeated by Antony, Caesar's magister equitum. Dolabella occupied the Forum with his followers to force the approval of his proposed law. The Senate did not hesitate to take extreme measures that had already been used on other occasions: they declared the senatus consultum ultimum, proclaimed the country in danger, and charged Antony (who held the highest authority in the absence of the dictator) with the task of suppressing the rebellion.

Keywords:   Julius Caesar, sedition, Marcus Caelius Rufus, Trebonius, Dolabella, rebellion, senate, Antony, senatus consultum ultimum

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