Re-establishment of the Regal Office In a word, this new office of Imperator was nothing else than the primitive regal office re-established; for it was those very restrictions as respected the temporal and local limitation of power, the collegiate arrangement, and the cooperation of the senate or the community that was necessary for certain cases which distinguished the consul from the king.
His great weakness was in being ruled by favorites and women; but his favorites were men of ability, and his women were his wives. Domitius Ahenobardus, by the assistance of the prætorian guards, was now proclaimed imperator, A.D. 54, directly descended, both on his paternal and maternal side, from Antonia Major, the granddaughter of Antony and Domitius Ahenobardus.
Not a hand stirred when the Imperator appeared in public. There was abundance of wall-placards and sarcastic verses full of bitter and telling popular satire against the new monarchy. When a comedian ventured on a republican allusion, he was saluted with the loudest applause.
The Imperator tore off his greaves and helmet, caught his general's cloak in his teeth, that it might not fall as a trophy to the foe, and sprang down into the waves; it was all done in a twinkling. But, quick as the leap had been, it was but just in time. A rush of irresistible numbers carried Drusus off of his feet, and he fell also but fell in all his armour.
"Now," said Cæsar, icily, "what have you to report?" "Imperator," replied Decimus, trying to speak with unimpassioned preciseness, "a messenger has just arrived from Rome. He reports that the Senate and consuls have declared the Republic in peril, that the veto of your tribunes has been over-ridden, and they themselves forced to flee for their lives."
As nothing could be expected in this matter from the misanthropic Imperator, he hoped that the Queen would avenge such an offence to her dignity, and adopt severe measures towards the singer and her last lover, Dion, who with sacrilegious hands had wounded the son of Caesar.
But she had no trouble in understanding her sitter. After a while her automatic utterance announced the personality of a certain Dr. Phinuit, who was said to have been a noted French physician who had died long before. His "spirit" controlled her for a number of years. After some time Dr. Phinuit was succeeded by one "Pelham," and finally by "Imperator" and "Rector."
"By the way," I said, offhand like, "is Clarissa Goober in town?" "Yes, but she sails for Europe to-morrow on the Imperator," he answered sullenly. "Oh," I said; "who's going with her?" "The Count Cheese von Cheese." "Oh!" Long pause. "Let's have another Bronx," I suggested. Hep took six one for himself and five for the goat. Can you blame him?
And so it ended with Pompeius Magnus, Imperator, the Fortunate, the favourite general of Sulla, the chieftain of "godlike and incredible virtue," the conquerer of the kingdoms of the East, thrice consul, thrice triumphator, joint ruler with Cæsar of the civilized world!
These offices gave him such unlimited power that he was declared absolute master of the lives and fortunes of the citizens and subjects of Rome. Imperator men called him, a term we translate emperor, and after his return from Spain, where he overthrew the last army of his foes, the senate named him dictator and imperator for life. These high honors were not sufficient for Cæsar's ambition.