By Jacob Abbott
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Additional info for History of Julius Caesar
Sylla himself went through with this work in the most cool and unconcerned manner, as if he were performing the most ordinary duties of an officer of state. He called the Senate together one day, and, while he was addressing them, the attention of the Assembly was suddenly distracted by the noise of outcries and screams in the neighboring streets from those who were suffering military execution there. The senators started with horror at the sound. Sylla, with an air of great composure and unconcern, directed the members to listen to him, and to pay no attention to what was passing elsewhere.
It was a magnificent square, surrounded by splendid edifices, and ornamented by sculptures and statues without number. There were ranges of porticoes along the sides, where the people were sheltered from the weather when necessary, though it is seldom that there is any necessity for shelter under an Italian sky. In this area and under these porticoes the people held their assemblies, and here courts of justice were accustomed to sit. The Forum was ornamented continually with new monuments, temples, statues, and columns by successful generals returning in triumph from foreign campaigns, and by proconsuls and praetors coming back enriched from their provinces, until it was fairly choked up with its architectural magnificence, and it had at last to be partially cleared again, as one would thin out too dense a forest, in order to make room for the assemblies which it was its main function to contain.
The people were astonished at his daring in thus raising the standard of resistance to Sylla’s power, indirectly, it is true, but none the less really on that account. When the trial came on, and Caesar appeared at the Forum, he gained great applause by the vigor and force of his oratory. There was, of course, a very strong and general interest felt in the case; the people all seeming to understand that, in this attack on Dolabella, Caesar was appearing as their champion, and their hopes were revived at having at last found a leader capable of succeeding Marius, and building up their cause again.
History of Julius Caesar by Jacob Abbott