There was another way, too, by which Caesar turned public opinion
strongly against himself, by the very means which he adopted for
creating a sentiment in his favor. The Romans, among the other barbarous
amusements which were practiced in the city, were specially fond of
combats. These combats were of various kinds. They were fought sometimes
between ferocious beasts of the same or of different species, as dogs
against each other, or against bulls, lions, or tigers. Any animals, in
fact, were employed for this purpose, that could be teased or goaded
into anger and ferocity in a fight. Sometimes men were employed in these
combats,--captive soldiers, that had been taken in war, and brought to
Rome to fight in the amphitheaters there as gladiators. These men were
compelled to contend sometimes with wild beasts, and sometimes with one
another. Caesar, knowing how highly the Roman assemblies enjoyed such
scenes, determined to afford them the indulgence on a most magnificent
scale, supposing, of course, that the greater and the more dreadful the
fight, the higher would be the pleasure which the spectators would enjoy
in witnessing it. Accordingly, in making preparations for the
festivities attending his triumph, he caused a large artificial lake to
be formed at a convenient place in the vicinity of Rome, where it could
be surrounded by the populace of the city, and there he made
arrangements for a naval battle. A great number of galleys were
introduced into the lake. They were of the usual size employed in war.
These galleys were manned with numerous soldiers. Tyrian captives were
put upon one side, and Egyptian upon the other; and when all was ready,
the two squadrons were ordered to approach and fight a real battle for
the amusement of the enormous throngs of spectators that were assembled
around. As the nations from which the combatants in this conflict were
respectively taken were hostile to each other, and as the men fought, of
course, for their lives, the engagement was attended with the usual
horrors of a desperate naval encounter. Hundreds were slain. The dead
bodies of the combatants fell from the galleys into the lake and the
waters of it were dyed with their blood.

There were land combats, too, on the same grand scale. In one of them
five hundred foot soldiers, twenty elephants, and a troop of thirty
horse were engaged on each side. This combat, therefore, was an action
greater, in respect to the number of the combatants, than the famous
battle of Lexington, which marked the commencement of the American war;
and in respect to the slaughter which took place, it was very probably
ten times greater. The horror of these scenes proved to be too much even
for the populace, fierce and merciless as it was, which they were
intended to amuse. Caesar, in his eagerness to outdo all former
exhibitions and shows, went beyond the limits within which the seeing of
men butchered in bloody combats and dying in agony and despair would
serve for a pleasure and a pastime. The people were shocked; and
condemnations of Caesar's cruelty were added to the other suppressed
reproaches and criminations which every where arose.

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