Appian on Caesar's Triumph

Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165): one of the most underestimated of all Greek historians, author of a Roman History. The part on the Roman Civil Wars survives in its entirety while substantial parts of the remainder survive as well.

In April 46, Julius Caesar celebrated a quadruple triumph, which became famous for its extravagance. The end of four wars was celebrated: the war in Gaul, the war in Egypt, the war against Pharnaces of Pontus and the war against king Juba of Numidia. This last war had in fact been a war against the last defenders of the Roman republic, Cato and Scipio. The triumphs are described by the great Greek historian Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165) in his History of the Civil Wars (2.101).

The translation was made by John Carter.

[2.101] Caesar himself returned to Rome to celebrate four triumphs at once:

Although he was careful not to label anything in a triumph as belonging to Romans, because the civil wars were discreditable to himself and bad and ill-omened for the Romans, he none the less carried in procession in these triumphs twenty very varied pictures showing all the events and the persons involved - apart from Pompey, whom alone he decided not to portray, since he was still much missed by all.

The crowd, although they felt intimidated, groaned at the disasters to their own people, and particularly when they saw Lucius Scipio,note the commander-in-chief, stabbing himself in the chest and throwing himself into the sea, and Petreius committing suicide at his meal,note and Cato tearing himself apart like a wild animal.note They were exultant over Achillas and Pothinusnote and laughed at the rout of Pharnaces.note

[2.102] It is said that money to the value of 65,000 talents was paraded in the triumphal processions, and also 2,822 golden crowns weighing 20,414 pounds. From this, immediately after the triumph, Caesar made distributions in excess of all his promises. To each soldier he gave 5,000 denarii, to each centurion double that amount, to each military tribune and prefect of cavalry double again, and to each member of the Plebs one hundred denarii.

In addition, he put on various shows. There was horse-racing, and musical contests, and combats - one with a thousand foot soldiers opposing another thousand, another with 200 cavalry on each side, and another that was a mixed infantry and cavalry combat, as well as an elephant fight with twenty beasts a side and a naval  battle with 4,000 oarsmen plus a thousand marines on each side to fight.

He built the temple of Venus Genetrix, according to his vow on the eve of the battle of Pharsalus,note and around the temple he laid out a precinct which he made into a square for the Romans, not a market-square but a place where people could meet to settle business, like the Persians who also had a square for those who wanted to obtain or learn about justice.note He put beside the goddess a beautiful statue of Cleopatra, which is still there.