Book 1 - (50 B.C.)
[1.0]Vossius's supplement to the first book: I will now say nothing concerning the absurd opinion of those who assert that the following Commentaries on the Civil War were not written by Caesar himself. Even without the authority of Suetonius, the diction itself would be sufficient to convince the most skeptical that Caesar and no other was the author. I am of the opinion of those who think that the beginning of these Commentaries is lost. For I can not be convinced that Caesar commenced so abruptly; and History itself gives sufficient evidence that many circumstances require to be previously stated. For which reason we thought that it would be well worth our attention to compile from Plutarch, Appian, and Dion, a narrative of such facts as seemed necessary to fill up the chasm; these facts are as follows: "When Caesar, after reducing all Transalpine Gaul, had passed into Cisalpine Gaul, he determined for many reasons to send embassadors to Rome to request for him the consulate, and a prolongation of the command of his province. Pompey, who was estranged from Caesar, although he was not as yet at open enmity with him, determined neither to aid him by his influence nor openly oppose him on this occasion. But the consuls Lentulus and Marcellus, who had previously been on unfriendly terms with Caesar, resolved to use all means in their power to prevent him from gaining his object. Marcellus in particular did not hesitate to offer Caesar other insults. Caesar had lately planned the colony of Novumcomum in Gaul: Marcellus, not content with taking from it the right of citizenship, ordered the principal man of the colony to be arrested and scourged at Rome, and sent him to make his complaints to Caesar: an insult of this description had never before been offered to a Roman citizen. While these transactions are taking place, Caius Curio, tribune of the commons, comes to Caesar in his province. Curio had made many and energetic struggles, in behalf of the republic and Caesar's cause: at length when he perceived that all his efforts were vain, he fled through fear of his adversaries, and informed Caesar of all the transactions that had taken place, and of the efforts made by his enemies to crush him. Caesar received Curio with great kindness, as he was a man of the highest rank, and had great claims on himself and the republic, and thanked him warmly for his numerous personal favors. But Curio, as war was being openly prepared against Caesar, advised him to concentrate his troops, and rescue the republic now oppressed by a few daring men. Caesar, although he was not ignorant of the real state of affairs, was however of opinion that particular regard should be paid to the tranquillity of the republic, lest any one should suppose that he was the originator of the war. Therefore, through his friends, he made this one request, that two legions, and the province of Cisalpine Gaul, and Illyricum, should be left him. All these acts were performed by Caesar, with the hope that his enemies might be induced by the justice of his demands, to preserve the peace of the republic. Even Pompey himself did not dare to oppose them. But when Caesar could not obtain his request from the consuls, he wrote to the senate a letter, in which he briefly stated his exploits and public services, and entreated that he should not be deprived of the favor of the people, who had ordered, that he, although absent, should be considered a candidate at the next elections; and he stated also that he would disband his army, if the senate and people of Rome would pass a resolution to that effect, provided that Pompey would do the same. That, as long as the latter should retain the command of his army, no just reason could exist that he [Caesar] should disband his troops and expose himself to the insults of his enemies. He intrusts this letter to Curio to bear to its destination; the latter traveled one hundred and sixty miles with incredible dispatch, and reached the city in three days' time, before the beginning of January, and before the consuls could pass any decree concerning Caesar's command. Curio, after accomplishing his journey, kept the letter, and did not give it up, until there was a crowded meeting of the senate, and the tribunes of the commons were present; for he was afraid, lest, if he gave it up previously, the consuls should suppress it.
[1.1]When Caesar's letter was delivered to the consuls, they were with great difficulty, and a hard struggle of the tribunes, prevailed on to suffer it to be read in the senate; but the tribunes could not prevail, that any question should be put to the senate on the subject of the letter. The consuls put the question on the regulation of the state. Lucius Lentulus the consul promises that he will not fail the senate and republic, "if they declared their sentiments boldly and resolutely, but if they turned their regard to Caesar, and courted his favor, as they did on former occasions, he would adopt a plan for himself, and not submit to the authority of the senate: that he too had a means of regaining Caesar's favor and friendship." Scipio spoke to the same purport, "that it was Pompey's intention not to abandon the republic, if the senate would support him; but if they should hesitate and act without energy, they would in vain implore his aid, if they should require it hereafter."
[1.2]This speech of Scipio's, as the senate was convened in the city, and Pompey was near at hand, seemed to have fallen from the lips of Pompey himself. Some delivered their sentiments with more moderation, as Marcellus first, who in the beginning of his speech, said, "that the question ought not to be put to the senate on this matter, till levies were made throughout all Italy, and armies raised under whose protection the senate might freely and safely pass such resolutions as they thought proper;" as Marcus Calidius afterward, who was of opinion, "that Pompey should set out for his province, that there might be no cause for arms; that Caesar was naturally apprehensive as two legions were forced from him, that Pompey was retaining those troops, and keeping them near the city to do him injury:" as Marcus Rufus, who followed Calidius almost word for word. They were all harshly rebuked by Lentulus, who peremptorily refused to propose Calidius's motion. Marcellus, overawed by his reproofs, retracted his opinion. Thus most of the senate, intimidated by the expressions of the consul, by the fears of a present army, and the threats of Pompey's friends, unwillingly and reluctantly adopted Scipio's opinion, that Caesar should disband his army by a certain day, and should he not do so, he should he considered as acting against the state. Marcus Antonius, and Quintus Cassius, tribunes of the people, interposed. The question was immediately put on their interposition. Violent opinions were expressed; whoever spoke with the greatest acrimony and cruelty was most highly commended by Caesar's enemies.
[1.3]The senate having broken up in the evening, all who belonged to that order were summoned by Pompey. He applauded the forward, and secured their votes for the next day; the more moderate he reproved and excited against Caesar. Many veterans, from all parts, who had served in Pompey's armies, were invited to his standard by the hopes of rewards and promotions. Several officers belonging to the two legions, which had been delivered up by Caesar, were sent for. The city and the comitium were crowded with tribunes, centurions, and veterans. All the consul's friends, all Pompey's connections, all those who bore any ancient enmity to Caesar, were forced into the senate house. By their concourse and declarations the timid were awed, the irresolute confirmed, and the greater part deprived of the power of speaking their sentiments with freedom. Lucius Piso, the censor, offered to go to Caesar: as did likewise Lucius Roscius, the praetor, to inform him of these affairs, and require only six days' time to finish the business. Opinions were expressed by some to the effect that commissioners should be sent to Caesar to acquaint him with the senate's pleasure.
[1.4]All these proposals were rejected, and opposition made to them all, in the speeches of the consul, Scipio, and Cato. An old grudge against Caesar and chagrin at a defeat actuated Cato. Lentulus was wrought upon by the magnitude of his debts, and the hopes of having the government of an army and provinces, and by the presents which he expected from such princes as should receive the title of friends of the Roman people, and boasted among his friends, that he would be a second Sylla, to whom the supreme authority should return. Similar hopes of a province and armies, which he expected to share with Pompey on account of his connection with him, urged on Scipio; and moreover [he was influenced by] the fear of being called to trial, and the adulation and an ostentatious display of himself and his friends in power, who at that time had great influence in the republic, and courts of judicature. Pompey himself, incited by Caesar's enemies, because he was unwilling that any person should bear an equal degree of dignity, had wholly alienated himself from Caesar's friendship, and procured a reconciliation with their common enemies; the greatest part of whom he had himself brought upon Caesar during his affinity with him. At the same time, chagrined at the disgrace which he had incurred by converting the two legions from their expedition through Asia and Syria, to [augment] his own power and authority, he was anxious to bring matters to a war.
[1.5]For these reasons every thing was done in a hasty and disorderly manner, and neither was time given to Caesar's relations to inform him [of the state of affairs] nor liberty to the tribunes of the people to deprecate their own danger, nor even to retain the last privilege, which Sylla had left them, the interposing their authority; but on the seventh day they were obliged to think of their own safety, which the most turbulent tribunes of the people were not accustomed to attend to, nor to fear being called to an account for their actions, till the eighth month. Recourse is had to that extreme and final decree of the senate (which was never resorted to even by daring proposers except when the city was in danger of being set on fire, or when the public safety was despaired of). "That the consuls, praetors, tribunes of the people, and proconsuls in the city, should take care that the state received no injury." These decrees are dated the eighth day before the ides of January; therefore, in the first five days, on which the senate could meet, from the day on which Lentulus entered into his consulate, the two days of election excepted, the severest and most virulent decrees were passed against Caesar's government, and against those most illustrious characters, the tribunes of the people. The latter immediately made their escape from the city, and withdrew to Caesar, who was then at Ravenna, awaiting an answer to his moderate demands; [to see] if matters could be brought to a peaceful termination by any equitable act on the part of his enemies.
[1.6]During the succeeding days the senate is convened outside the city. Pompey repeated the same things which he had declared through Scipio. He applauded the courage and firmness of the senate, acquainted them with his force, and told them that he had ten legions ready; that he was moreover informed and assured that Caesar's soldiers were disaffected, and that he could not persuade them to defend or even follow him. Motions were made in the senate concerning other matters; that levies should be made through all Italy; that Faustus Sylla should be sent as propraetor into Mauritania; that money should be granted to Pompey from the public treasury. It was also put to the vote that king Juba should be [honored with the title of] friend and ally. But Marcellus said that he would not allow this motion for the present. Philip, one of the tribunes, stopped [the appointment of] Sylla; the resolutions respecting the other matters passed. The provinces, two of which were consular, the remainder praetorian, were decreed to private persons; Scipio got Syria, Lucius Domitius Gaul: Philip and Marcellus were omitted, from a private motive, and their lots were not even admitted. To the other provinces praetors were sent, nor was time granted as in former years, to refer to the people on their appointment, nor to make them take the usual oath, and march out of the city in a public manner, robed in the military habit, after offering their vows: a circumstance which had never before happened. Both the consuls leave the city, and private men had lictors in the city and capital, contrary to all precedents of former times. Levies were made throughout Italy, arms demanded, and money exacted from the municipal towns, and violently taken from the temples. All distinctions between things human and divine, are confounded.
[1.7]These things being made known to Caesar, he harangued his soldiers; he reminded them "of the wrongs done to him at all times by his enemies, and complained that Pompey had been alienated from him and led astray by them through envy and a malicious opposition to his glory, though he had always favored and promoted Pompey's honor and dignity. He complained that an innovation had been introduced into the republic, that the intercession of the tribunes, which had been restored a few years before by Sylla, was branded as a crime, and suppressed by force of arms; that Sylla, who had stripped the tribunes of every other power, had, nevertheless, left the privilege of intercession unrestrained; that Pompey, who pretended to restore what they had lost, had taken away the privileges which they formerly had; that whenever the senate decreed, 'that the magistrates should take care that the republic sustained no injury' (by which words and decree the Roman people were obliged to repair to arms), it was only when pernicious laws were proposed; when the tribunes attempted violent measures; when the people seceded, and possessed themselves of the temples and eminences of the city; (and these instances of former times, he showed them were expiated by the fate of Saturninus and the Gracchi): that nothing of this kind was attempted now, nor even thought of: that no law was promulgated, no intrigue with the people going forward, no secession made; he exhorted them to defend from the malice of his enemies the reputation and honor of that general under whose command they had for nine years most successfully supported the state; fought many successful battles, and subdued all Gaul and Germany." The soldiers of the thirteenth legion, which was present (for in the beginning of the disturbances he had called it out, his other legions not having yet arrived), all cry out that they are ready to defend their general, and the tribunes of the commons, from all injuries.
[1.8]Having made himself acquainted with the disposition of his soldiers, Caesar set off with that legion to Ariminum, and there met the tribunes, who had fled to him for protection; he called his other legions from winter quarters; and ordered them to follow him. Thither came Lucius Caesar, a young man, whose father was a lieutenant-general under Caesar. He, after concluding the rest of his speech, and stating for what purpose he had come, told Caesar that he had commands of a private nature for him from Pompey; that Pompey wished to clear himself to Caesar, lest he should impute those actions which he did for the republic, to a design of affronting him; that he had ever preferred the interest of the state to his own private connections; that Caesar, too, for his own honor, ought to sacrifice his desires and resentment to the public good, and not vent his anger so violently against his enemies, lest in his hopes of injuring them, he should injure the republic. He spoke a few words to the same purport from himself, in addition to Pompey's apology. Roscius, the praetor, conferred with Caesar almost in the same words, and on the same subject, and declared that Pompey had empowered him to do so.
[1.9]Though these things seemed to have no tendency toward redressing his injuries, yet having got proper persons by whom he could communicate his wishes to Pompey; he required of them both, that, as they had conveyed Pompey's demands to him, they should not refuse to convey his demands to Pompey; if by so little trouble they could terminate a great dispute, and liberate all Italy from her fears. "That the honor of the republic had ever been his first object, and dearer to him than life; that he was chagrined, that the favor of the Roman people was wrested from him by the injurious reports of his enemies; that he was deprived of a half-year's command, and dragged back to the city, though the people had ordered that regard should be paid to his suit for the consulate at the next election, though he was not present; that, however, he had patiently submitted to this loss of honor, for the sake of the republic; that when he wrote letters to the senate, requiring that all persons should resign the command of their armies, he did not obtain even that request; that levies were made throughout Italy; that the two legions which had been taken from him, under the pretense of the Parthian war, were kept at home, and that the state was in arms. To what did all these things tend, unless to his ruin? But, nevertheless, he was ready to condescend to any terms, and to endure every thing for the sake of the republic. Let Pompey go to his own province; let them both disband their armies; let all persons in Italy lay down their arms; let all fears be removed from the city; let free elections, and the whole republic be resigned to the direction of the senate and Roman people. That these things might be the more easily performed, and conditions secured and confirmed by oath, either let Pompey come to Caesar, or allow Caesar to go to him; it might be that all their disputes would be settled by an interview."
[1.10]Roscius and Lucius Caesar, having received this message, went to Capua, where they met the consuls and Pompey, and declared to them Caesar's terms. Having deliberated on the matter, they replied, and sent written proposals to him by the same persons, the purport of which was, that Caesar should return into Gaul, leave Ariminum, and disband his army: if he complied with this, that Pompey would go to Spain. In the mean time, until security was given that Caesar would perform his promises, that the consuls and Pompey would not give over their levies.
[1.11]It was not an equitable proposal, to require that Caesar should quit Ariminum and return to his province; but that he [Pompey] should himself retain his province and the legions that belonged to another, and desire that Caesar's army should be disbanded, while he himself was making new levies: and that he should merely promise to go to his province, without naming the day on which he would set out; so that if he should not set out till after Caesar's consulate expired, yet he would not appear bound by any religious scruples about asserting a falsehood. But his not granting time for a conference, nor promising to set out to meet him, made the expectation of peace appear very hopeless. Caesar, therefore, sent Marcus Antonius, with five cohorts from Ariminum to Arretium; he himself staid at Ariminum with two legions, with the intention of raising levies there. He secured Pisaurus, Fanum, and Ancona, with a cohort each.
[1.12]In the mean time, being informed that Thermus the praetor was in possession of Iguvium, with five cohorts, and was fortifying the town, but that the affections of all the inhabitants were very well inclined toward himself, he detached Curio with three cohorts, which he had at Ariminum and Pisaurus. Upon notice of his approach, Thermus, distrusting the affections of the townsmen, drew his cohorts out of it and made his escape; his soldiers deserted him on the road, and returned home. Curio recovered Iguvium, with the cheerful concurrence of all the inhabitants. Caesar, having received an account of this, and relying on the affections of the municipal towns, drafted all the cohorts of the thirteenth legion from the garrison, and set out for Auximum, a town into which Attius had brought his cohorts, and of which he had taken possession, and from which he had sent senators round about the country of Picenum, to raise new levies.
[1.13]Upon news of Caesar's approach, the senate of Auximum went in a body to Attius Varus; and told him that it was not a subject for them to determine upon: yet neither they, nor the rest of the freemen would suffer Caius Caesar, a general, who had merited so well of the republic, after performing such great achievements, to be excluded from their town and walls; wherefore he ought to pay some regard to the opinion of posterity, and his own danger. Alarmed at this declaration, Attius Varus drew out of the town the garrison which he had introduced, and fled. A fear of Caesar's front rank having pursued him, obliged him to halt, and when the battle began, Varus is deserted by his troops: some of them disperse to their homes, the rest come over to Caesar; and along with them, Lucius Pupius, the chief centurion, is taken prisoner and brought to Caesar. He had held the same rank before in Cneius Pompey's army. But Caesar applauded the soldiers of Attius, set Pupius at liberty, returned thanks to the people of Auximum, and promised to be grateful for their conduct.
[1.14]Intelligence of this being brought to Rome, so great a panic spread on a sudden that when Lentulus, the consul, came to open the treasury, to deliver money to Pompey by the senate's decree, immediately on opening the hallowed door he fled from the city. For it was falsely rumored that Caesar was approaching, and that his cavalry were already at the gates. Marcellus, his colleague, followed him, and so did most of the magistrates. Cneius Pompey had left the city the day before, and was on his march to those legions which he had received from Caesar, and had disposed in winter quarters in Apulia. The levies were stopped within the city. No place on this side of Capua was thought secure. At Capua they first began to take courage and to rally, and determined to raise levies in the colonies, which had been sent thither by the Julian law: and Lentulus brought into the public market place the gladiators which Caesar maintained there for the entertainment of the people, and confirmed them in their liberty, and gave them horses and ordered them to attend him; but afterward, being warned by his friends that this action was censured by the judgment of all, he distributed them among the slaves of the district of Campania, to keep guard there.
[1.15]Caesar, having moved forward from Auximum, traversed the whole country of Picenum. All the governors in these countries most cheerfully received him, and aided his army with every necessary. Embassadors came to him even from Cingulum, a town which Labienus had laid out and built at his own expense, and offered most earnestly to comply with his orders. He demanded soldiers: they sent them. In the mean time, the twelfth legion came to join Caesar; with these two he marched to Asculum, the chief town of Picenum. Lentulus Spinther occupied that town with ten cohorts; but, on being informed of Caesar's approach, he fled from the town, and, in attempting to bring off his cohorts with him, was deserted by a great part of his men. Being left on the road with a small number, he fell in with Vibullius Rufus, who was sent by Pompey into Picenum to confirm the people [in their allegiance]. Vibullius, being informed by him of the transactions in Picenum, takes his soldiers from him and dismisses him. He collects, likewise, from the neighboring countries, as many cohorts as he can from Pompey's new levies. Among them he meets with Ulcilles Hirrus fleeing from Camerinum, with six cohorts, which he had in the garrison there; by a junction with which he made up thirteen cohorts. With them he marched by hasty journeys to Corfinium, to Domitius Aenobarbus, and informed him that Caesar was advancing with two legions. Domitius had collected about twenty cohorts from Alba, and the Marsians, Pelignians, and neighboring states.
[1.16]Caesar, having recovered Asculum and driven out Lentulus, ordered the soldiers that had deserted from him to be sought out and a muster to be made; and, having delayed for one day there to provide corn, he marched to Corfinium. On his approach, five cohorts, sent by Domitius from the town, were breaking down a bridge which was over the river, at three miles' distance from it. An engagement taking place there with Caesar's advanced-guard, Domitius's men were quickly beaten off from the bridge and retreated precipitately into the town. Caesar, having marched his legions over, halted before the town and encamped close by the walls.
[1.17]Domitius, upon observing this, sent messengers well acquainted with the country, encouraged by a promise of being amply rewarded, with dispatches to Pompey to Apulia, to beg and entreat him to come to his assistance. That Caesar could be easily inclosed by the two armies, through the narrowness of the country, and prevented from obtaining supplies: unless he did so, that he and upward of thirty cohorts, and a great number of senators and Roman knights, would be in extreme danger. In the mean time he encouraged his troops, disposed engines on the walls, and assigned to each man a particular part of the city to defend. In a speech to the soldiers he promised them lands out of his own estate; to every private soldier four acres, and a corresponding share to the centurions and veterans.
[1.18]In the mean time, word was brought to Caesar that the people of Sulmo, a town about seven miles distant from Corfinium, were ready to obey his orders, but were prevented by Quintus Lucretius, a senator, and Attius, a Pelignian, who were in possession of the town with a garrison of seven cohorts. He sent Marcus Antonius thither, with five cohorts of the eighth legion. The inhabitants, as soon as they saw our standards, threw open their gates, and all the people, both citizens and soldiers, went out to meet and welcome Antonius. Lucretius and Attius leaped off the walls. Attius, being brought before Antonius, begged that he might be sent to Caesar. Antonius returned the same day on which he had set out with the cohorts and Attius. Caesar added these cohorts to his own army, and sent Attius away in safety. The three first days Caesar employed in fortifying his camp with strong works, in bringing in corn from the neighboring free towns, and waiting for the rest of his forces. Within the three days the eighth legion came to him, and twenty-two cohorts of the new levies in Gaul, and about three hundred horse from the king of Noricum. On their arrival he made a second camp on another part of the town, and gave the command of it to Curio. He determined to surround the town with a rampart and turrets during the remainder of the time. Nearly at the time when the greatest part of the work was completed, all the messengers sent to Pompey returned.
[1.19]Having read Pompey's letter, Domitius, concealing the truth, gave out in council that Pompey would speedily come to their assistance; and encouraged them not to despond, but to provide every thing necessary for the defense of the town. He held private conferences with a few of his most intimate friends, and determined on the design of fleeing. As Domitius's countenance did not agree with his words, and he did every thing with more confusion and fear than he had shown on the preceding days, and as he had several private meetings with his friends, contrary to his usual practice, in order to take their advice, and as he avoided all public councils and assemblies of the people, the truth could be no longer hid nor dissembled; for Pompey had written back in answer, "That he would not put matters to the last hazard; that Domitius had retreated into the town of Corfinium without either his advice or consent. Therefore, if any opportunity should offer, he [Domitius] should come to him with the whole force." But the blockade and works round the town prevented his escape.
[1.20]Domitius's design being noised abroad, the soldiers in Corfinium early in the evening began to mutiny, and held a conference with each other by their tribunes and centurions, and the most respectable among themselves: "that they were besieged by Caesar; that his works and fortifications were almost finished; that their general, Domitius, on whose hopes and expectations they had confided, had thrown them off, and was meditating his own escape; that they ought to provide for their own safety." At first the Marsians differed in opinion, and possessed themselves of that part of the town which they thought the strongest. And so violent a dispute arose between them, that they attempted to fight and decide it by arms. However, in a little time, by messengers sent from one side to the other, they were informed of Domitius's meditated flight, of which they were previously ignorant. Therefore they all with one consent brought Domitius into public view, gathered round him, and guarded him; and sent deputies out of their number to Caesar, to say that they were ready to throw open their gates, to do whatever he should order, and deliver up Domitius alive into his hands."
[1.21]Upon intelligence of these matters, though Caesar thought it of great consequence to become master of the town as soon as possible, and to transfer the cohorts to his own camp, lest any change should be wrought on their inclinations by bribes, encouragement, or ficticious messages, because in war great events are often brought about by trifling circumstances; yet, dreading lest the town should be plundered by the soldiers entering into it, and taking advantage of the darkness of the night, he commended the persons who came to him, and sent them back to the town, and ordered the gates and walls to be secured. He disposed his soldiers on the works which he had begun, not at certain intervals, as was his practice before, but in one continued range of sentinels and stations, so that they touched each other, and formed a circle round the whole fortification; he ordered the tribunes and general officers to ride round; and exhorted them not only to be on their guard against sallies from the town, but also to watch that no single person should get out privately. Nor was any man so negligent or drowsy as to sleep that night. To so great height was their expectation raised, that they were carried away, heart and soul, each to different objects, what would become of the Corfinians, what of Domitius, what of Lentulus, what of the rest; what event would be the consequence of another.
[1.22]About the fourth watch, Lentulus Spinther said to our sentinels and guards from the walls, that he desired to have an interview with Caesar, if permission were given him. Having obtained it, he was escorted out of town; nor did the soldiers of Domitius leave him till they brought him into Caesar's presence. He pleaded with Caesar for his life, and entreated him to spare him, and reminded him of their former friendship; and acknowledged that Caesar's favors to him were very great; in that through his interest he had been admitted into the college of priests; in that after his praetorship he had been appointed to the government of Spain; in that he had been assisted by him in his suit for the consulate. Caesar interrupted him in his speech, and told him, "that he had not left his province to do mischief [to any man], but to protect himself from the injuries of his enemies; to restore to their dignity the tribunes of the people who had been driven out of the city on his account, and to assert his own liberty, and that of the Roman people, who were oppressed by a few factious men. Encouraged by this address, Lentulus begged leave to return to the town, that the security which he had obtained for himself might be an encouragement to the rest to hope for theirs; saying that some were so terrified that they were induced to make desperate attempts on their own lives. Leave being granted him, he departed.
[1.23]When day appeared, Caesar ordered all the senators and their children, the tribunes of the soldiers, and the Roman knights to be brought before him. Among the persons of senatorial rank were Lucius Domitius, Publius Lentulus Spinther, Lucius Vibullius Rufus, Sextus Quintilius Varus, the quaestor, and Lucius Rubrius, besides the son of Domitius, and several other young men, and a great number of Roman knights and burgesses, whom Domitius had summoned from the municipal towns. When they were brought before him he protected them from the insolence and taunts of the soldiers; told them in few words that they had not made him a grateful return, on their part, for his very extraordinary kindness to them, and dismissed them all in safety. Sixty sestertia, which Domitius had brought with him and lodged in the public treasury, being brought to Caesar by the magistrates of Corfinium, he gave them back to Domitius, that he might not appear more moderate with respect to the life of men than in money matters, though he knew that it was public money, and had been given by Pompey to pay his army. He ordered Domitius's soldiers to take the oath to himself, and that day decamped and performed the regular march. He staid only seven days before Corfinium, and marched into Apulia through the country of the Marrucinians, Frentanian's and Larinates.
[1.24]Pompey, being informed of what had passed at Corfinium, marches from Luceria to Canusium, and thence to Brundusium. He orders all the forces raised every where by the new levies to repair to him. He gives arms to the slaves that attended the flocks, and appoints horses for them. Of these he made up about three hundred horse. Lucius, the praetor, fled from Alba, with six cohorts: Rutilus, Lupus, the praetor, from Tarracina, with three. These having descried Caesar's cavalry at a distance, which were commanded by Bivius Curius, and having deserted the praetor, carried their colors to Curius and went over to him. In like manner, during the rest of his march, several cohorts fell in with the main body of Caesar's army, others with his horse. Cneius Magius, from Cremona, engineer-general to Pompey, was taken prisoner on the road and brought to Caesar, but sent back by him to Pompey with this message: "As hitherto he had not been allowed an interview, and was now on his march to him at Brundusium, that it deeply concerned the commonwealth and general safety that he should have an interview with Pompey; and that the same advantage could not be gained at a great distance when the proposals were conveyed to them by others, as if terms were argued by them both in person."
[1.25]Having delivered this message he marched to Brundusium with six legions, four of them veterans: the rest those which he had raised in the late levy and completed on his march, for he had sent all Domitius's cohorts immediately from Corfinium to Sicily. He discovered that the consuls were gone to Dyrrachium with a considerable part of the army, and that Pompey remained at Brundusium with twenty cohorts; but could not find out, for a certainty, whether Pompey staid behind to keep possession of Brundusium, that he might the more easily command the whole Adriatic sea, with the extremities of Italy and the coast of Greece, and be able to conduct the war on either side of it, or whether he remained there for want of shipping; and, being afraid that Pompey would come to the conclusion that he ought not to relinquish Italy, he determined to deprive him of the means of communication afforded by the harbor of Brundusium. The plan of his work was as follows: Where the mouth of the port was narrowest he threw up a mole of earth on either side, because in these places the sea was shallow. Having gone out so far that the mole could not be continued in the deep water, he fixed double floats, thirty feet on either side, before the mole. These he fastened with four anchors at the four corners, that they might not be carried away by the waves. Having completed and secured them, he then joined to them other floats of equal size. These he covered over with earth and mold, that he might not be prevented from access to them to defend them, and in the front and on both sides he protected them with a parapet of wicker work; and on every fourth one raised a turret, two stories high, to secure them the better from being attacked by the shipping and set on fire.
[1.26]To counteract this, Pompey fitted out large merchant ships, which he found in the harbor of Brundusium: on them he erected turrets three stories high, and, having furnished them with several engines and all sorts of weapons, drove them among Caesar's works, to break through the floats and interrupt the works; thus there happened skirmishes every day at a distance with slings, arrows, and other weapons. Caesar conducted matters as if he thought that the hopes of peace were not yet to be given up. And though he was very much surprised that Magius, whom he had sent to Pompey with a message, was not sent back to him; and though his attempting a reconciliation often retarded the vigorous prosecution of his plans, yet he thought that he ought by all means to persevere in the same line of conduct. He therefore sent Caninius Rebilus to have an interview with Scribonius Libo, his intimate friend and relation. He charges him to exhort Libo to effect a peace, but, above all things, requires that he should be admitted to an interview with Pompey. He declared that he had great hopes, if that were allowed him, that the consequence would be that both parties would lay down their arms on equal terms; that a great share of the glory and reputation of that event would redound to Libo, if, through his advice and agency, hostilities should be ended. Libo, having parted from the conference with Caninius, went to Pompey, and, shortly after, returns with answer that, as the consuls were absent, no treaty of composition could be engaged in without them. Caesar therefore thought it time at length to give over the attempt which he had often made in vain, and act with energy in the war.
[1.27]When Caesar's works were nearly half finished, and after nine days were spent in them, the ships which had conveyed the first division of the army to Dyrrachium being sent back by the consuls, returned to Brundusium. Pompey, either frightened at Caesar's works or determined from the beginning to quit Italy, began to prepare for his departure on the arrival of the ships; and the more effectually to retard Caesar's attack, lest his soldiers should force their way into the town at the moment of his departure, he stopped up the gates, built walls across the streets and avenues, sunk trenches across the ways, and in them fixed palisadoes and sharp stakes, which he made level with the ground by means of hurdles and clay. But he barricaded with large beams fastened in the ground and sharpened at the ends two passages and roads without the walls, which led to the port. After making these arrangements, he ordered his soldiers to go on board without noise, and disposed here and there, on the wall and turrets, some light-armed veterans, archers and slingers. These he designed to call off by a certain signal, when all the soldiers were embarked, and left row-galleys for them in a secure place.
[1.28]The people of Brundusium, irritated by the insolence of Pompey's soldiers, and the insults received from Pompey himself, were in favor of Caesar's party. Therefore, as soon as they were aware of Pompey's departure, while his men were running up and down, and busied about their voyage, they made signs from the tops of the houses: Caesar, being apprised of the design by them, ordered scaling-ladders to be got ready, and his men to take arms, that he might not lose any opportunity of coming to an action. Pompey weighed anchor at nightfall. The soldiers who had been posted on the wall to guard it, were called off by the signal which had been agreed on, and knowing the roads, ran down to the ships. Caesar's soldiers fixed their ladders and scaled the walls: but being cautioned by the people to beware of the hidden stakes and covered trenches, they halted, and being conducted by the inhabitants by a long circuit, they reached the port, and captured with their long boats and small craft two of Pompey's ships, full of soldiers, which had struck against Caesar's moles.
[1.29]Though Caesar highly approved of collecting a fleet, and crossing the sea, and pursuing Pompey before he could strengthen himself with his transmarine auxiliaries, with the hope of bringing the war to a conclusion, yet he dreaded the delay and length of time necessary to effect it: because Pompey, by collecting all his ships, had deprived him of the means of pursuing him at present. The only resource left to Caesar, was to wait for a fleet from the distant regions of Gaul, Picenum, and the straits of Gibraltar. But this, on account of the season of the year, appeared tedious and troublesome. He was unwilling that, in the mean time, the veteran army, and the two Spains, one of which was bound to Pompey by the strongest obligations, should be confirmed in his interest; that auxiliaries and cavalry should be provided, and Gaul and Italy reduced in his absence.
[1.30]Therefore, for the present he relinquished all intention of pursuing Pompey, and resolved to march to Spain, and commanded the magistrates of the free towns to procure him ships, and to have them convoyed to Brundusium. He detached Valerius, his lieutenant, with one legion to Sardinia; Curio, the propraetor, to Sicily with three legions; and ordered him, when he had recovered Sicily, to immediately transport his army to Africa. Marcus Cotta was at this time governor of Sardinia: Marcus Cato, of Sicily: and Tubero, by the lots, should have had the government of Africa. The Caralitani, as soon as they heard that Valerius was sent against them, even before he left Italy, of their own accord drove Cotta out of the town; who, terrified because he understood that the whole province was combined [against him], fled from Sardinia to Africa. Cato was in Sicily, repairing the old ships of war, and demanding new ones from the states, and these things he performed with great zeal. He was raising levies of Roman citizens, among the Lucani and Brutii, by his lieutenants, and exacting a certain quota of horse and foot from the states of Sicily. When these things were nearly completed, being informed of Curio's approach, he made a complaint that he was abandoned and betrayed by Pompey, who had undertaken an unnecessary war, without making any preparation, and when questioned by him and other members in the senate, had assured them that every thing was ready and provided for the war. After having made these complaints in a public assembly, he fled from his province.
[1.31]Valerius found Sardinia, and Curio, Sicily, deserted by their governors when they arrived there with their armies. When Tubero arrived in Africa, he found Attius Varus in the government of the province, who, having lost his cohorts, as already related, at Auximum, had straightway fled to Africa, and finding it without a governor, had seized it of his own accord, and making levies, had raised two legions. From his acquaintance with the people and country, and his knowledge of that province, he found the means of effecting this; because a few years before, at the expiration of his praetorship, he had obtained that province. He, when Tubero came to Utica with his fleet, prevented his entering the port or town, and did not suffer his son, though laboring under sickness, to set foot on shore; but obliged him to weigh anchor and quit the place.
[1.32]When these affairs were dispatched, Caesar, that there might be an intermission from labor for the rest of the season, drew off his soldiers to the nearest municipal towns, and set off in person for Rome. Having assembled the senate, he reminded them of the injustice of his enemies; and told them, "That he aimed at no extraordinary honor, but had waited for the time appointed by law, for standing candidate for the consulate, being contented with what was allowed to every citizen. That a bill had been carried by the ten tribunes of the people (notwithstanding the resistance of his enemies, and a very violent opposition from Cato, who in his usual manner, consumed the day by a tedious harangue) that he should be allowed to stand candidate, though absent, even in the consulship of Pompey; and if the latter disapproved of the bill, why did he allow it to pass? if he approved of it, why should he debar him [Caesar] from the people's favor? He made mention of his own patience, in that he had freely proposed that all armies should be disbanded, by which he himself would suffer the loss both of dignity and honor. He urged the virulence of his enemies, who refused to comply with what they required from others, and had rather that all things should be thrown into confusion, than that they should lose their power and their armies. He expatiated on their injustice, in taking away his legions: their cruelty and insolence in abridging the privileges of the tribunes; the proposals he had made, and his entreaties of an interview which had been refused him. For which reasons, he begged and desired that they would undertake the management of the republic, and unite with him in the administration of it. But if through fear they declined it, he would not be a burden to them, but take the management of it on himself. That deputies ought to be sent to Pompey, to propose a reconciliation; as he did not regard what Pompey had lately asserted in the senate, that authority was acknowledged to be vested in those persons to whom embassadors were sent, and fear implied in those that sent them. That these were the sentiments of low, weak minds: that for his part, as he had made it his study to surpass others in glory, so he was desirous of excelling them in justice and equity."
[1.33]The senate approved of sending deputies, but none could be found fit to execute the commission: for every person, from his own private fears, declined the office. For Pompey, on leaving the city, had declared in the open senate, that he would hold in the same degree of estimation, those who staid in Rome and those in Caesar's camp. Thus three days were wasted in disputes and excuses. Besides, Lucius Metellus, one of the tribunes, was suborned by Caesar's enemies, to prevent this, and to embarrass every thing else which Caesar should propose. Caesar having discovered his intention, after spending several days to no purpose, left the city, in order that he might not lose any more time, and went to Transalpine Gaul, without effecting what he had intended.
[1.34]On his arrival there, he was informed that Vibullius Rufus, whom he had taken a few days before at Corfinium, and set at liberty, was sent by Pompey into Spain; and that Domitius also was gone to seize Massilia with seven row-galleys, which were fitted up by some private persons at Igilium and Cosa, and which he had manned with his own slaves, freedmen, and colonists: and that some young noble men of Massilia had been sent before him; whom Pompey, when leaving Rome had exhorted, that the late services of Caesar should not erase from their minds the memory of his former favors. On receiving this message, the Massilians had shut their gates against Caesar, and invited over to them the Albici, who had formerly been in alliance with them, and who inhabited the mountains that overhung Massilia: they had likewise conveyed the corn from the surrounding country, and from all the forts into the city; had opened armories in the city; and were repairing the walls, the fleet, and the gates.
[1.35]Caesar sent for fifteen of the principal persons of Massilia to attend him. To prevent the war commencing among them, he remonstrates [in the following language]; "that they ought to follow the precedent set by all Italy, rather than submit to the will of any one man." He made use of such arguments as he thought would tend to bring them to reason. The deputies reported his speech to their countrymen, and by the authority of the state bring him back this answer: "That they understood that the Roman people was divided into two factions: that they had neither judgment nor abilities to decide which had the juster cause; but that the heads of these factions were Cneius Pompey and Caius Caesar, the two patrons of the state: the former of whom had granted to their state the lands of the Vocae Arecomici, and Helvii; the latter had assigned them a part of his conquests in Gaul, and had augmented their revenue. Wherefore, having received equal favors from both, they ought to show equal affection to both, and assist neither against the other, nor admit either into their city or harbors."
[1.36]While this treaty was going forward, Domitius arrived at Massilia with his fleet, and was received into the city, and made governor of it. The chief management of the war was intrusted to him. At his command they send the fleet to all parts; they seize all the merchantmen they could meet with, and carry them into the harbor; they apply the nails, timber, and rigging, with which they were furnished to rig and refit their other vessels. They lay up in the public stores, all the corn that was found in the ships, and reserve the rest of their lading and convoy for the siege of the town, should such an event take place. Provoked at such ill treatment, Caesar led three legions against Massilia, and resolved to provide turrets, and vineae to assault the town, and to build twelve ships at Arelas, which being completed and rigged in thirty days (from the time the timber was cut down), and being brought to Massilia, he put under the command of Decimus Brutus; and left Caius Trebonius his lieutenant, to invest the city.
[1.37]While he was preparing and getting these things in readiness, he sent Caius Fabius one of his lieutenants into Spain with three legions, which he had disposed to winter quarters in Narbo, and the neighboring country; and ordered him immediately to seize the passes of the Pyrenees, which were at that time occupied by detachments from Lucius Afranius, one of Pompey's lieutenants. He desired the other legions, which were passing the winter at a great distance, to follow close after him. Fabius, according to his orders, by using expedition, dislodged the party from the hills, and by hasty marches came up with the army of Afranius.
[1.38]On the arrival of Vibullius Rufus, whom, we have already mentioned, Pompey had sent into Spain, Afranius, Petreius, and Varro, his lieutenants (one of whom had the command of Hither Spain, with three legions; the second of the country from the forest of Castulo to the river Guadiana with two legions; the third from the river Guadiana to the country of the Vettones and Lusitania, with the like number of legions) divided among themselves their respective departments. Petreius was to march from Lusitania through the Vettones, and join Afranius with all his forces; Varro was to guard all Further Spain with what legions he had. These matters being settled, reinforcements of horse and foot were demanded from Lusitania, by Petreius; from the Celtiberi, Cantabri, and all the barbarous nations which border on the ocean, by Afranius. When they were raised, Petreius immediately marched through the Vettones to Afranius. They resolved by joint consent to carry on the war in the vicinity of Herba, on account of the advantages of its situation.
[1.39]Afranius, as above mentioned, had three legions, Petreius two. There were besides about eighty cohorts raised in Hither and Further Spain (of which, the troops belonging to the former province had shields, those of the latter targets), and about five thousand horse raised in both provinces. Caesar had sent his legions into Spain, with about six thousand auxiliary foot, and three thousand horse, which had served under him in all his former wars, and the same number from Gaul, which he himself had provided, having expressly called out all the most noble and valiant men of each state. The bravest of these were from the Aquitani and the mountaineers, who border on the Province in Gaul. He had been informed that Pompey was marching through Mauritania with his legions to Spain, and would shortly arrive. He at the same time borrowed money from the tribunes and centurions, which he distributed among his soldiers. By this proceeding he gained two points; he secured the interest of the centurions by this pledge in his hands, and by his liberality he purchased the affections of his army.
[1.40]Fabius sounded the inclinations of the neighboring states by letters and messengers. He had made two bridges over the river Segre, at the distance of four miles from each other. He sent foraging parties over these bridges, because he had already consumed all the forage that was on his side of the river. The generals of Pompey's army did almost the same thing, and for the same reason: and the horse had frequent skirmishes with each other. When two of Fabius's legions had, as was their constant practice, gone forth as the usual protection to the foragers, and had crossed the river, and the baggage, and all the horse were following them, on a sudden, from the weight of the cattle, and the mass of water, the bridge fell, and all the horse were cut off from the main army, which being known to Petreius and Afranius, from the timber and hurdles that were carried down the river, Afranius immediately crossed his own bridge, which communicated between his camp and the town, with four legions and all the cavalry, and marched against Fabius's two legions. When his approach was announced, Lucius Plancus, who had the command of those legions, compelled by the emergency, took post on a rising ground; and drew up his army with two fronts, that it might not be surrounded by the cavalry. Thus, though engaged with superior numbers, he sustained the furious charge of the legions and the horse. When the battle was begun by the horse, there were observed at a distance by both sides the colors of two legions, which Caius Fabius had sent round by the further bridge to reinforce our men, suspecting, as the event verified, that the enemy's generals would take advantage of the opportunity which fortune had put in their way, to attack our men. Their approach put an end to the battle, and each general led back his legions to their respective camps.
[1.41]In two days after Caesar came to the camp with nine hundred horse, which he had retained for a body guard. The bridge which had been broken down by the storm was almost repaired, and he ordered it to be finished in the night. Being acquainted with the nature of the country, he left behind him six cohorts to guard the bridge, the camp, and all his baggage, and the next day set off in person for Ilerda, with all his forces drawn up in three lines, and halted just before the camp of Afranius, and having remained there a short time under arms, he offered him battle on equal terms. When this affair was made, Afranius drew out his forces, and posted them on the middle of a hill, near his camp. When Caesar perceived that Afranius declined coming to an engagement, he resolved to encamp at somewhat less than half a mile's distance from the very foot of the mountain; and that his soldiers while engaged in their works, might not be terrified by any sudden attack of the enemy, or disturbed in their work, he ordered them not to fortify it with a wall, which must rise high, and be seen at a distance, but draw, on the front opposite the enemy, a trench fifteen feet broad. The first and second lines confined under arms, as was from the first appointed. Behind them the third line was carrying on the work without being seen; so that the whole was completed before Afranius discovered that the camp was being fortified.
[1.42]In the evening Caesar drew his legions within this trench, and rested them under arms the next night. The day following he kept his whole army within it, and as it was necessary to bring materials from a considerable distance, he for the present pursued the same plan in his work; and to each legion, one after the other, he assigned one side of the camp to fortify, and ordered trenches of the same magnitude to be cut: he kept the rest of the legions under arms without baggage to oppose the enemy. Afranius and Petreius, to frighten us and obstruct the work, drew out their forces at the very foot of the mountain, and challenged us to battle. Caesar, however, did not interrupt his work, relying on the protection of the three legions, and the strength of the fosse. After staying for a short time, and advancing no great distance from the bottom of the hill, they led back their forces to their camp. The third day Caesar fortified his camp with a rampart, and ordered the other cohorts which he had left in the upper camp, and his baggage to be removed to it.
[1.43]Between the town of Ilerda and the next hill, on which Afranius and Petreius were encamped, there was a plain about three hundred paces broad, and near the middle of it an eminence somewhat raised above the level: Caesar hoped that if he could get possession of this and fortify it, he should be able to cut off the enemy from the town, the bridge, and all the stores which they had laid up in the town. In expectation of this he led three legions out of the camp, and, drawing up his army in an advantageous position, he ordered the advanced men of one legion to hasten forward and seize the eminence. Upon intelligence of this the cohorts which were on guard before Afranius's camp were instantly sent a nearer way to occupy the same post. The two parties engage, and as Afranius's men had reached the eminence first, our men were repulsed, and, on a reinforcement being sent, they were obliged to turn their backs and retreat to the standards of legions.
[1.44]The manner of fighting of those soldiers was to run forward with great impetuosity and boldly take a post, and not to keep their ranks strictly, but to fight in small scattered parties: if hard pressed they thought it no disgrace to retire and give up the post, being accustomed to this manner of fighting among the Lusitanians and other barbarous nations; for it commonly happens that soldiers are strongly influenced by the customs of those countries in which they have spent much time. This method, however, alarmed our men, who were not used to such a description of warfare. For they imagined that they were about to be surrounded on their exposed flank by the single men who ran forward from their ranks; and they thought it their duty to keep their ranks, and not to quit their colors, nor, without good reason to give up the post which they had taken. Accordingly, when the advanced guard gave way, the legion which was stationed on that wing did not keep its ground, but retreated to the next hill.
[1.45]Almost the whole army being daunted at this, because it had occurred contrary to their expectations and custom, Caesar encouraged his men and led the ninth legion to their relief, and checked the insolent and eager pursuit of the enemy, and obliged them, in their turn, to show their backs, and retreat to Ilerda, and take post under the walls. But the soldiers of the ninth legion, being over zealous to repair the dishonor which had been sustained, having rashly pursued the fleeing enemy, advanced into disadvantageous ground and went up to the foot of the mountain on which the town Ilerda was built. And when they wished to retire they were again attacked by the enemy from the rising ground. The place was craggy in the front and steep on either side, and was so narrow that even three cohorts, drawn up in order of battle, would fill it; but no relief could be sent on the flanks, and the horse could be of no service to them when hard pressed. From the town, indeed, the precipice inclined with a gentle slope for near four hundred paces. Our men had to retreat this way, as they had, through their eagerness, advanced too inconsiderately. The greatest contest was in this place, which was much to the disadvantage of our troops, both on account of its narrowness, and because they were posted at the foot of the mountain, so that no weapon was thrown at them without effect; yet they exerted their valor and patience, and bore every wound. The enemy's forces were increasing, and cohorts were frequently sent to their aid from the camp through the town, that fresh men might relieve the weary. Caesar was obliged to do the same, and relieve the fatigued by sending cohorts to that post.
[1.46]After the battle had in this manner continued incessantly for five hours, and our men had suffered much from superior numbers, having spent all their javelins, they drew their swords and charged the enemy up the hill, and, having killed a few, obliged the rest to fly. The cohorts being beaten back to the wall, and some being driven by their fears into the town, an easy retreat was afforded to our men. Our cavalry also, on either flank, though stationed on sloping or low ground, yet bravely struggled up to the top of the hill, and, riding between the two armies, made our retreat more easy and secure. Such were the various turns of fortune in the battle. In the first encounter about seventy of our men fell: among them Quintus Fulgenius, first centurion of the second line of the fourteenth legion, who, for his extraordinary valor, had been promoted from the lower ranks to that post. About six hundred were wounded. Of Afranius's party there were killed Titus Caecilius, principal centurion, and four other centurions, and above two hundred men.
[1.47]But this opinion is spread abroad concerning this day, that each party thought that they came off conquerors. Afranius's soldiers, because, though they were esteemed inferior in the opinion of all, yet they had stood our attack and sustained our charge, and, at first, had kept the post on the hill which had been the occasion of the dispute; and, in the first encounter, had obliged our men to fly: but ours, because, notwithstanding the disadvantage of the ground and the disparity of numbers, they had maintained the battle for five hours, had advanced up the hill sword in hand, and had forced the enemy to fly from the higher ground and driven them into the town. The enemy fortified the hill, about which the contest had been, with strong works and posted a garrison on it.
[1.48]In two days after this transaction, there happened an unexpected misfortune. For so great a storm arose, that it was agreed that there were never seen higher floods in those countries; it swept down the snow from all the mountains, and broke over the banks of the river, and in one day carried away both the bridges which Fabius had built - a circumstance which caused great difficulties to Caesar's army. For as our camp, as already mentioned, was pitched between two rivers, the Segre and Cinca, and as neither of these could be forded for the space of thirty miles, they were all of necessity confined within these narrow limits. Neither could the states, which had espoused Caesar's cause, furnish him with corn, nor the troops, which had gone far to forage, return, as they were stopped by the waters: nor could the convoys, coming from Italy and Gaul, make their way to the camp. Besides, it was the most distressing season of the year, when there was no corn in the blade, and it was nearly ripe: and the states were exhausted, because Afranius had conveyed almost all the corn, before Caesar's arrival, into Ilerda, and whatever he had left, had been already consumed by Caesar. The cattle, which might have served as a secondary resource against want, had been removed by the states to a great distance on account of the war. They who had gone out to get forage or corn, were chased by the light troops of the Lusitanians, and the targeteers of Hither Spain, who were well acquainted with the country, and could readily swim across the river, because it is the custom of all those people not to join their armies without bladders.
[1.49]But Afranius's army had abundance of everything; a great stock of corn had been provided and laid in long before, a large quantity was coming in from the whole province: they had a good store of forage. The bridge of Ilerda afforded an opportunity of getting all these without any danger, and the places beyond the bridge, to which Caesar had no access, were as yet untouched.
[1.50]Those floods continued several days. Caesar endeavored to repair the bridges, but the height of the water did not allow him: and the cohorts disposed along the banks did not suffer them to be completed; and it was easy for them to prevent it, both from the nature of the river and the height of the water, but especially because their darts were thrown from the whole course of the bank on one confined spot; and it was no easy matter at one and the same time to execute a work in a very rapid flood, and to avoid the darts.
[1.51]Intelligence was brought to Afranius that the great convoys, which were on their march to Caesar, had halted at the river. Archers from the Rutheni, and horse from the Gauls, with a long train of baggage, according to the Gallic custom of traveling, had arrived there; there were besides about six thousand people of all descriptions, with slaves and freed men. But there was no order, or regular discipline, as every one followed his own humor, and all traveled without apprehension, taking the same liberty as on former marches. There were several young noblemen, sons of senators, and of equestrian rank; there were embassadors from several states; there were lieutenants of Caesar's. The river stopped them all. To attack them by surprise, Afranius set out in the beginning of the night, with all his cavalry and three legions, and sent the horse on before, to fall on them unawares; but the Gallic horse soon got themselves in readiness, and attacked them. Though but few, they withstood the vast number of the enemy, as long as they fought on equal terms; but when the legions began to approach, having lost a few men, they retreated to the next mountains. The delay occasioned by this battle was of great importance to the security of our men; for having gained time, they retired to the higher grounds. There were missing that day about two hundred bow-men, a few horse, and an inconsiderable number of servants and baggage.
[1.52]However, by all these things, the price of provisions was raised, which is commonly a disaster attendant, not only on a time of present scarcity, but on the apprehension of future want. Provisions had now reached fifty denarii each bushel; and the want of corn had diminished the strength of the soldiers; and the inconveniences were increasing every day; and so great an alteration was wrought in a few days, and fortune had so changed sides, that our men had to struggle with the want of every necessary; while the enemy had an abundant supply of all things, and were considered to have the advantage. Caesar demanded from those states which had acceded to his alliance, a supply of cattle, as they had but little corn. He sent away the camp followers to the more distant states, and endeavored to remedy the present scarcity by every resource in his power.
[1.53]Afranius and Petreius, and their friends, sent fuller and more circumstantial accounts of these things to Rome, to their acquaintances. Report exaggerated them so that the war appeared to be almost at an end. When these letters and dispatches were received at Rome, a great concourse of people resorted to the house of Afranius, and congratulations ran high; several went out of Italy to Cneius Pompey; some of them, to be the first to bring him the intelligence; others, that they might not be thought to have waited the issue of the war, and to have come last of all.
[1.54]When Caesar's affairs were in this unfavorable position, and all the passes were guarded by the soldiers and horse of Afranius, and the bridges could not be prepared, Caesar ordered his soldiers to make ships of the kind that his knowledge of Britain a few years before had taught him. First, the keels and ribs were made of light timber, then, the rest of the hulk of the ships was wrought with wicker work, and covered over with hides. When these were finished, he drew them down to the river in wagons in one night, a distance of twenty-two miles from his camp, and transported in them some soldiers across the river, and on a sudden took possession of a hill adjoining the bank. This he immediately fortified, before he was perceived by the enemy. To this he afterward transported a legion: and having begun a bridge on both sides, he finished it in two days. By this means, he brought safe to his camp, the convoys, and those who had gone out to forage; and began to prepare a conveyance for the provisions.
[1.55]The same day he made a great part of his horse pass the river, who, falling on the foragers by surprise as they were dispersed without any suspicions, intercepted an incredible number of cattle and people; and when some Spanish light-armed cohorts were sent to reinforce the enemy, our men judiciously divided themselves into two parts, the one to protect the spoil, the other to resist the advancing foe, and to beat them back, and they cut off from the rest and surrounded one cohort, which had rashly ventured out of the line before the others, and after putting it to the sword, returned safe with considerable booty to the camp over the same bridge.
[1.56]While these affairs are going forward at Ilerda, the Massilians, adopting the advice of Domitius, prepared seventeen ships of war, of which eleven were decked. To these they add several smaller vessels, that our fleet might be terrified by numbers; they man them with a great number of archers and of the Albici, of whom mention has been already made, and these they incited by rewards and promises. Domitius required certain ships for his own use, which he manned with colonists and shepherds, whom he had brought along with him. A fleet being thus furnished with every necessary, he advanced with great confidence against our ships, commanded by Decimus Brutus. It was stationed at an island opposite to Massilia.
[1.57]Brutus was much inferior in number of ships; but Caesar had appointed to that fleet the bravest men selected from all his legions, antesignani and centurions, who had requested to be employed in that service. They had provided iron hooks and harpoons, and had furnished themselves with a vast number of javelins, darts, and missiles. Thus prepared, and being apprised of the enemy's approach, they put out from the harbor, and engaged the Massilians. Both sides fought with great courage and resolution; nor did the Albici, a hardy people, bred on the highlands and inured to arms, fall much short of our men in valor: and being lately come from the Massilians, they retained in their minds their recent promises: and the wild shepherds, encouraged by the hope of liberty, were eager to prove their zeal in the presence of their masters.
[1.58]The Massilians themselves, confiding in the quickness of their ships, and the skill of their pilots, eluded ours, and evaded the shock, and as long as they were permitted by clear space, lengthening their line they endeavored to surround us, or to attack single ships with several of theirs, or to run across our ships, and carry away our oars, if possible; but when necessity obliged them to come nearer, they had recourse, from the skill and art of the pilots, to the valor of the mountaineers. But our men, not having such expert seamen, or skillful pilots, for they had been hastily drafted from the merchant ships, and were not yet acquainted even with the names of the rigging, were moreover impeded by the heaviness and slowness of our vessels, which having been built in a hurry and of green timber, were not so easily maneuvered. Therefore, when Caesar's men had an opportunity of a close engagement, they cheerfully opposed two of the enemy's ships with one of theirs. And throwing in the grappling-irons, and holding both ships fast, they fought on both sides of the deck, and boarded the enemy's; and having killed numbers of the Albici and shepherds, they sank some of their ships, took others with the men on board, and drove the rest into the harbor. That day the Massilians lost nine ships, including those that were taken.
[1.59]When news of this battle was brought to Caesar at Ilerda, the bridge being completed at the same time, fortune soon took a turn. The enemy, daunted by the courage of our horse, did not scour the country as freely or as boldly as before: but sometimes advancing a small distance from the camp, that they might have a ready retreat, they foraged within narrower bounds: at other times, they took a longer circuit to avoid our outposts and parties of horse; or having sustained some loss, or descried our horse at a distance, they fled in the midst of their expedition, leaving their baggage behind them; at length they resolved to leave off foraging for several days, and, contrary to the practice of all nations, to go out at night.
[1.60]In the mean time the Oscenses and the Calagurritani, who were under the government of the Oscenses, send embassadors to Caesar, and offer to submit to his orders. They are followed by the Tarraconenses, Jacetani, and Ausetani, and in a few days more by the Illurgavonenses, who dwell near the river Ebro. He requires of them all, to assist him with corn, to which they agreed, and having collected all the cattle in the country, they convey them into his camp. One entire cohort of the Illurgavonenses, knowing the design of their state, came over to Caesar, from the place where they were stationed, and carried their colors with them. A great change is shortly made in the face of affairs. The bridge being finished, five powerful states being joined to Caesar, a way opened for the receiving of corn, and the rumors of the assistance of legions which were said to be on their march, with Pompey at their head, through Mauritania, having died away, several of the more distant states revolt from Afranius, and enter into league with Caesar.
[1.61]While the spirits of the enemy were dismayed at these things, Caesar, that he might not be always obliged to send his horse a long circuit round by the bridge, having found a convenient place, began to sink several drains, thirty feet deep, by which he might draw off a part of the river Segre, and make a ford over it. When these were almost finished, Afranius and Petreius began to be greatly alarmed, lest they should be altogether cut off from corn and forage, because Caesar was very strong in cavalry. They therefore resolved to quit their posts, and to transfer the war to Celtiberia. There was, moreover, a circumstance that confirmed them in this resolution: for of the two adverse parties, that, which had stood by Sertorius in the late war, being conquered by Pompey, still trembled at his name and sway, though absent: the other which had remained firm in Pompey's interest, loved him for the favors which they had received: but Caesar's name was not known to the barbarians. From these they expected considerable aid, both of horse and foot, and hoped to protract the war till winter, in a friendly country. Having come to this resolution, they gave orders to collect all the ships in the river Ebro, and to bring them to Octogesa, a town situated on the river Ebro, about twenty miles distant from their camp. At this part of the river, they ordered a bridge to be made of boats fastened together, and transported two legions over the river Segre, and fortified their camp with a rampart, twelve feet high.
[1.62]Notice of this being given by the scouts, Caesar continued his work day and night, with very great fatigue to the soldiers, to drain the river, and so far effected his purpose, that the horse were both able and bold enough, though with some difficulty and danger, to pass the river; but the foot had only their shoulders and upper part of their breast above the water, so that their fording it was retarded, not only by the depth of the water, but also by the rapidity of the current. However, almost at the same instant, news was received of the bridge being nearly completed over the Ebro, and a ford was found in the Segre.
[1.63]Now indeed the enemy began to think that they ought to hasten their march. Accordingly, leaving two auxiliary cohorts in the garrison at Ilerda, they crossed the Segre with their whole force, and formed one camp with the two legions which they had led across a few days before. Caesar had no resource, but to annoy and cut down their rear; since with his cavalry to go by the bridge, required him to take a long circuit; so that they would arrive at the Ebro by a much shorter route. The horse, which he had detached, crossed the ford, and when Afranius and Petreius had broken up their camp about the third watch, they suddenly appeared on their rear, and spreading round them in great numbers, retard and impede their march.
[1.64]At break of day, it was perceived from the rising grounds which joined Caesar's camp, that their rear was vigorously pressed by our horse; that the last line sometimes halted and was broken; at other times, that they joined battle and that our men were beaten back by a general charge of their cohorts, and, in their turn, pursued them when they wheeled about: but through the whole camp the soldiers gathered in parties, and declared their chagrin that the enemy had been suffered to escape from their hands and that the war had been unnecessarily protracted. They applied to their tribunes and centurions, and entreated them to inform Caesar that he need not spare their labor or consider their danger; that they were ready and able, and would venture to ford the river where the horse had crossed. Caesar, encouraged by their zeal and importunity, though he felt reluctant to expose his army to a river so exceedingly large, yet judged it prudent to attempt it and make a trial. Accordingly, he ordered all the weaker soldiers, whose spirit or strength seemed unequal to the fatigue, to be selected from each century, and left them, with one legion besides, to guard the camp: the rest of the legions he drew out without any baggage, and, having disposed a great number of horses in the river, above and below the ford, he led his army over. A few of his soldiers being carried away by the force of the current, were stopped by the horse and taken up, and not a man perished. His army being safe on the opposite bank, he drew out his forces and resolved to lead them forward in three battalions: and so great was the ardor of the soldiers that, notwithstanding the addition of a circuit of six miles and a considerable delay in fording the river, before the ninth hour of the day they came up with those who had set out at the third watch.
[1.65]When Afranius, who was in company with Petreius, saw them at a distance, being affrighted at so unexpected a sight, he halted on a rising ground and drew up his army. Caesar refreshed his army on the plain that he might not expose them to battle while fatigued; and when the enemy attempted to renew their march, he pursued and stopped them. They were obliged to pitch their camp sooner than they had intended, for there were mountains at a small distance; and difficult and narrow roads awaited them about five miles off. They retired behind these mountains that they might avoid Caesar's cavalry, and, placing parties in the narrow roads, stop the progress of his army and lead their own forces across the Ebro without danger or apprehension. This it was their interest to attempt and to effect by any means possible; but, fatigued by the skirmishes all day, and by the labor of their march, they deferred it till the following day; Caesar likewise encamped on the next hill.
[1.66]About midnight a few of their men who had gone some distance from the camp to fetch water, being taken by our horse, Caesar is informed by them that the generals of the enemy were drawing their troops out of the camp without noise. Upon this information Caesar ordered the signal to be given and the military shout to be raised for packing up the baggage. When they heard the shout, being afraid lest they should be stopped in the night and obliged to engage under their baggage, or lest they should be confined in the narrow roads by Caesar's horse, they put a stop to their march and kept their forces in their camp. The next day Petreius went out privately with a few horse to reconnoitre the country. A similar movement was made from Caesar's camp. Lucius Decidius Saxa, was detached with a small party to explore the nature of the country. Each returned with the same account to his camp, that there was a level road for the next five miles, that there then succeeded a rough and mountainous country. Whichever should first obtain possession of the defiles would have no trouble in preventing the other's progress.
[1.67]There was a debate in the council between Afranius and Petreius, and the time of marching was the subject. The majority were of opinion that they should begin their march at night, "for they might reach the defiles before they should be discovered." Others, because a shout had been raised the night before in Caesar's camp, used this as an argument that they could not leave the camp unnoticed: "that Caesar's cavalry were patrolling the whole night, and that all the ways and roads were beset; that battles at night ought to be avoided, because, in civil dissension, a soldier once daunted is more apt to consult his fears than his oath; that the daylight raised a strong sense of shame in the eyes of all, and that the presence of the tribunes and centurions had the same effect: by these things the soldiers would be restrained and awed to their duty. Wherefore they should, by all means, attempt to force their way by day; for, though a trifling loss might be sustained, yet the post which they desired might be secured with safety to the main body of the army." This opinion prevailed in the council, and the next day, at the dawn, they resolved to set forward.
[1.68]Caesar, having taken a view of the country, the moment the sky began to grow white, led his forces from the camp and marched at the head of his army by a long circuit, keeping to no regular road; for the road which led to the Ebro and Octogesa was occupied by the enemy's camp, which lay in Caesar's way. His soldiers were obliged to cross extensive and difficult valleys. Craggy cliffs, in several places, interrupted their march, insomuch that their arms had to be handed to one another, and the soldiers were forced to perform a great part of their march unarmed, and were lifted up the rocks by each other. But not a man murmured at the fatigue, because they imagined that there would be a period to all their toils, if they could cut off the enemy from the Ebro and intercept their convoys.
[1.69]At first, Afranius's soldiers ran in high spirits from their camp to look at us, and in contumelious language upbraided us, "that we were forced, for want of necessary subsistence, to run away, and return to Ilerda." For our route was different from what we proposed, and we appeared to be going a contrary way. But their generals applauded their own prudence in keeping within their camp, and it was a strong confirmation of their opinion, that they saw we marched without wagons or baggage, which made them confident that we could not long endure want. But when they saw our army gradually wheel to the right, and observed our van was already passing the line of their camp, there was nobody so stupid, or averse to fatigue, as not to think it necessary to march from the camp immediately, and oppose us. The cry to arms was raised, and all the army, except a few which were left to guard the camp, set out and marched the direct road to the Ebro.
[1.70]The contest depended entirely on dispatch, which should first get possession of the defile and the mountains. The difficulty of the roads delayed Caesar's army, but his cavalry pursuing Afranius's forces, retarded their march. However, the affair was necessarily reduced to this point, with respect to Afranius's men, that if they first gained the mountains, which they desired, they would themselves avoid all danger, but could not save the baggage of their whole army, nor the cohorts which they had left behind in the camps, to which, being intercepted by Caesar's army, by no means could assistance be given. Caesar first accomplished the march, and having found a plain behind large rocks, drew up his army there in order of battle and facing the enemy. Afranius, perceiving that his rear was galled by our cavalry, and seeing the enemy before him, having come to a hill, made a halt on it. Thence he detached four cohorts of Spanish light infantry to the highest mountain which was in view: to this he ordered them to hasten with all expedition, and to take possession of it, with the intention of going to the same place with all his forces, then altering his route, and crossing the hills to Octogesa. As the Spaniards were making toward it in an oblique direction, Caesar's horse espied them and attacked them, nor were they able to withstand the charge of the cavalry even for a moment, but were all surrounded and cut to pieces in the sight of the two armies.
[1.71]There was now an opportunity for managing affairs successfully, nor did it escape Caesar, that an army daunted at suffering such a loss before their eyes, could not stand, especially as they were surrounded by our horse, and the engagement would take place on even and open ground. To this he was importuned on all sides. The lieutenants, centurions, and tribunes, gathered round him, and begged "that he would not hesitate to begin the battle: that the hearts of all the soldiers were very anxious for it: that Afranius's men had by several circumstances betrayed signs of fear; in that they had not assisted their party; in that they had not quitted the hill; in that they did not sustain the charge of our cavalry, but crowding their standards into one place, did not observe either rank or order. But if he had any apprehensions from the disadvantage of the ground, that an opportunity would be given him of coming to battle in some other place: for that Afranius must certainly come down, and would not be able to remain there for want of water."
[1.72]Caesar had conceived hopes of ending the affair without an engagement, or without striking a blow, because he had cut off the enemy's supplies. Why should he hazard the loss of any of his men, even in a successful battle? Why should he expose soldiers to be wounded, who had deserved so well of him? Why, in short, should he tempt fortune? especially when it was as much a general's duty to conquer by tactics as by the sword. Besides, he was moved with compassion for those citizens, who, he foresaw, must fall: and he had rather gain his object without any loss or injury to them. This resolution of Caesar was not generally approved of; but the soldiers openly declared to each other that since such an opportunity of victory was let pass, they would not come to an engagement, even when Caesar should wish it. He persevered however in his resolution, and retired a little from that place to abate the enemy's fears. Petreius and Afranius, having got this opportunity, retired to their camp. Caesar, having disposed parties on the mountains, and cut off all access to the Ebro, fortified his camp as close to the enemy as he could.
[1.73]The day following, the generals of his opponents, being alarmed that they had lost all prospect of supplies, and of access to the Ebro, consulted as to what other course they should take. There were two roads, one to Ilerda, if they chose to return, the other to Tarraco, if they should march to it. While they were deliberating on these matters, intelligence was brought them that their watering parties were attacked by our horse: upon which information, they dispose several parties of horse and auxiliary foot along the road, and intermix some legionary cohorts, and begin to throw up a rampart from the camp to the water, that they might be able to procure water within their lines, both without fear, and without a guard. Petreius and Afranius divided this task between themselves, and went in person to some distance from their camp for the purpose of seeing it accomplished.
[1.74]The soldiers having obtained by their absence a free opportunity of conversing with each other, came out in great numbers, and inquired each for whatever acquaintance or fellow-citizen he had in our camp, and invited him to him. First they returned them general thanks for sparing them the day before, when they were greatly terrified, and acknowledged that they were alive through their kindness; then they inquired about the honor of our general, and whether they could with safety intrust themselves to him; and declared their sorrow that they had not done so in the beginning, and that they had taken up arms against their relations and kinsmen. Encouraged by these conferences, they desired the general's parole for the lives of Petreius and Afranius, that they might not appear guilty of a crime, in having betrayed their generals. When they were assured of obtaining their demands, they promised that they would immediately remove their standards, and sent centurions of the first rank as deputies to treat with Caesar about a peace. In the mean time some of them invite their acquaintances, and bring them to their camp, others are brought away by their friends, so that the two camps seemed to be united into one, and several of the tribunes and centurions came to Caesar, and paid their respects to him. The same was done by some of the nobility of Spain, whom they summoned to their assistance, and kept in their camp as hostages. They inquired after their acquaintance and friends, by whom each might have the means of being recommended to Caesar. Even Afranius's son, a young man, endeavored, by means of Sulpitius the lieutenant, to make terms for his own and his father's life. Every place was filled with mirth and congratulations; in the one army, because they thought they had escaped so impending danger; in the other, because they thought they had completed so important a matter without blows; and Caesar, in every man's judgment, reaped the advantage of his former lenity, and his conduct was applauded by all.
[1.75]When these circumstances were announced to Afranius, he left the work which he had begun, and returned to his camp, determined as it appeared, whatever should be the event, to bear it with an even and steady mind. Petreius did not neglect himself; he armed his domestics; with them and the praetorian cohort of Spaniards, and a few foreign horse, his dependents, whom he commonly kept near him to guard his person, he suddenly flew to the rampart, interrupted the conferences of the soldiers, drove our men from the camp, and put to death as many as he caught. The rest formed into a body, and being alarmed by the unexpected danger, wrapped their left arms in their cloaks, and drew their swords, and in this manner, depending on the nearness of their camp, defended themselves against the Spaniards, and the horse, and made good their retreat to the camp, where they were protected by the cohorts which were on guard.
[1.76]Petreius, after accomplishing this, went round every maniple, calling the soldiers by their names, and entreating with tears that they would not give up him and their absent general Pompey, as a sacrifice to the vengeance of their enemies. Immediately they ran in crowds to the general's pavilion, when he required them all to take an oath that they would not desert nor betray the army nor the generals, nor form any design distinct from the general interest. He himself swore first to the tenor of those words, and obliged Afranius to take the same oath. The tribunes and centurions followed their example; the soldiers were brought out by centuries, and took the same oath. They gave orders, that whoever had any of Caesar's soldiers should produce them; as soon as they were produced, they put them to death publicly in the praetorium, but most of them concealed those that they had entertained, and let them out at night over the rampart. Thus the terror raised by the generals, the cruelty of the punishments, the new obligation of an oath, removed all hopes of surrender for the present, changed the soldiers' minds, and reduced matters to the former state of war.
[1.77]Caesar ordered the enemy's soldiers, who had come into his camp to hold a conference, to be searched for with the strictest diligence, and sent back. But of the tribunes and centurions, several voluntarily remained with him, and he afterward treated them with great respect. The centurions he promoted to higher ranks, and conferred on the Roman knights the honor of tribunes.
[1.78]Afranius's men were distressed in foraging, and procured water with difficulty. The legionary soldiers had a tolerable supply of corn, because they had beef ordered to bring from Ilerda sufficient to last twenty-two days; the Spanish and auxiliary forces had none, for they had but few opportunities of procuring any, and their bodies were not accustomed to bear burdens; and therefore a great number of them came over to Caesar every day. Their affairs were under these difficulties; but of the two schemes proposed, the most expedient seemed to be to return to Ilerda, because they had left some corn there; and there they hoped to decide on a plan for their future conduct. Tarraco lay at a greater distance; and in such a space they knew affairs might admit of many changes. Their design having met with approbation, they set out from their camp. Caesar having sent forward his cavalry, to annoy and retard their rear, followed close after with his legions. Not a moment passed in which their rear was not engaged with our horse.
[1.79]Their manner of fighting was this: the light cohorts closed their rear, and frequently made a stand on the level grounds. If they had a mountain to ascend, the very nature of the place readily secured them from any danger; for the advanced guards, from the rising grounds, protected the rest in their ascent. When they approached a valley or declivity, and the advanced men could not impart assistance to the tardy, our horse threw their darts at them from the rising grounds with advantage; then their affairs were in a perilous situation; the only plan left was, that whenever they came near such places, they should give orders to the legions to halt, and by a violent effort repulse our horse; and these being forced to give way, they should suddenly, with the utmost speed, run all together down to the valley, and having passed it, should face about again on the next hill. For so far were they from deriving any assistance from their horse (of which they had a large number), that they were obliged to receive them into the center of their army, and themselves protect them, as they were daunted by former battles. And on their march no one could quit the line without being taken by Caesar's horse.
[1.80]While skirmishes were fought in this manner, they advanced but slowly and gradually, and frequently halted to help their rear, as then happened. For having advanced four miles, and being very much harassed by our horse, they took post on a high mountain, and there in trenched themselves on the front only, facing the enemy; and did not take their baggage off their cattle. When they perceived that Caesar's camp was pitched, and the tents fixed up, and his horse sent out to forage, they suddenly rushed out about twelve o'clock the same day, and, having hopes that we should be delayed by the absence of our horse, they began to march, which Caesar perceiving, followed them with the legions that remained. He left a few cohorts to guard his baggage, and ordered the foragers to be called home at the tenth hour, and the horse to follow him. The horse shortly returned to their daily duty on march, and charged the rear so vigorously, that they almost forced them to fly; and several privates and some centurions were killed. The main body of Caesar's army was at hand, and universal ruin threatened them.
[1.81]Then indeed, not having opportunity either to choose a convenient position for their camp, or to march forward, they were obliged to halt, and to encamp at a distance from water, and on ground naturally unfavorable. But for the reasons already given, Caesar did not attack them, nor suffer a tent to be pitched that day, that his men might be the readier to pursue them whether they attempted to run off by night or by day. Observing the defect in their position, they spent the whole night in extending their work, and turning their camp to ours. The next day, at dawn, they do the same, and spend the whole day in that manner, but in proportion as they advanced their works, and extended their camp, they were further distant from the water; and one evil was remedied by another. The first night, no one went out for water. The next day, they left a guard in the camp, and led out all their forces to water: but not a person was sent to look for forage. Caesar was more desirous that they should be humbled by these means, and forced to come to terms, than decide the contest by battle. Yet he endeavored to surround them with a wall and trench, that he might be able to check their most sudden sally, to which he imagined that they must have recourse. Hereupon, urged by want of fodder, that they might be the readier for a march, they killed all their baggage cattle.
[1.82]In this work, and the deliberations on it, two days were spent. By the third day a considerable part of Caesar's work was finished. To interrupt his progress, they drew out their legions about the eighth hour, by a certain signal, and placed them in order of battle before their camp. Caesar calling his legions off from their work, and ordering the horse to hold themselves in readiness, marshaled his army: for to appear to decline an engagement contrary to the opinion of the soldiers and the general voice, would have been attended with great disadvantage. But for the reasons already known, he was dissuaded from wishing to engage, and the more especially, because the short space between the camps, even if the enemy were put to flight, would not contribute much to a decisive victory; for the two camps were not distant from each other above two thousand feet. Two parts of this were occupied by the armies, and one third left for the soldiers to charge and make their attack. If a battle should be begun, the nearness of the camps would afford a ready retreat to the conquered party in the flight. For this reason Caesar had resolved to make resistance if they attacked him, but not to be the first to provoke the battle.
[1.83]Afranius's five legions were drawn up in two lines, the auxiliary cohorts formed the third line, and acted as reserves. Caesar had three lines, four cohorts out of each of the five legions formed the first line. Three more from each legion followed them, as reserves: and three others were behind these. The slingers and archers were stationed in the center of the line; the cavalry closed the flanks. The hostile armies being arranged in this manner, each seemed determined to adhere to his first intention: Caesar not to hazard a battle, unless forced to it; Afranius to interrupt Caesar's works. However, the matter was deferred, and both armies kept under arms till sunset; when they both returned to their camp. The next day Caesar prepared to finish the works which he had begun. The enemy attempted to pass the river Segre by a ford. Caesar, having perceived this, sent some light armed Germans and a party of horse across the river, and disposed several parties along the banks to guard them.
[1.84]At length, beset on all sides, their cattle having been four days without fodder, and having no water, wood, or corn, they beg a conference; and that, if possible, in a place remote from the soldiers. When this was refused by Caesar, but a public interview offered if they chose it, Afranius's son was given as a hostage to Caesar. They met in the place appointed by Caesar. In the hearing of both armies Afranius spoke thus: "That Caesar ought not to be displeased either with him or his soldiers, for wishing to preserve their attachment to their general, Cneius Pompey. That they had now sufficiently discharged their duty to him, and had suffered punishment enough, in having endured the want of every necessary: but now, pent up almost like wild beasts, they were prevented from procuring water, and prevented from walking abroad; and were not able to bear the bodily pain or the mental disgrace: but confessed themselves vanquished: and begged and entreated, if there was any room left for mercy, that they should not be necessitated to suffer the most severe penalties." These sentiments were delivered in the most submissive and humble language.
[1.85]Caesar replied, "That either to complain or sue for mercy became no man less than him: for that every other person had done their duty: himself, in having declined to engage on favorable terms, in an advantageous situation and time, that all things tending to a peace might be totally unembarrassed: his army, in having preserved and protected the men whom they had in their power, notwithstanding the injuries which they had received, and the murder of their comrades; and even Afranius's soldiers, who of themselves treated about concluding a peace, by which they thought that they would secure the lives of all. Thus, that the parties on both sides inclined to mercy: that the generals only were averse to peace: that they paid no regard to the laws either of conference or truce; and had most inhumanly put to death ignorant persons, who were deceived by a conference: that therefore, they had met that fate which usually befalls men from excessive obstinacy and arrogance; and were obliged to have recourse, and most earnestly desire that which they had shortly before disdained. That for his part, he would not avail himself of their present humiliation, or his present advantage, to require terms by which his power might be increased, but only that those armies, which they had maintained for so many years to oppose him, should be disbanded: for six legions had been sent into Spain, and a seventh raised there, and many and powerful fleets provided, and generals of great military experience sent to command them, for no other purpose than to oppose him: that none of these measures were adopted to keep the Spains in peace, or for the use of the province, which, from the length of the peace, stood in need of no such aid; that all these things were long since designed against him; that against him a new sort of government was established, that the same person should be at the gates of Rome, to direct the affairs of the city; and though absent, have the government of two most warlike provinces for so many years: that against him the laws of the magistrates had been altered; that the late praetors and consuls should not be sent to govern the provinces as had been the constant custom, but persons approved of and chosen by a faction. That against him the excuse of age was not admitted; but persons of tried experience in former wars were called up to take the command of the armies: that with respect to him only, the routine was not observed which had been allowed to all generals, that, after a successful war, they should return home and disband their armies, if not with some mark of honor, at least without disgrace; that he had submitted to all these things patiently, and would still submit to them; nor did he now desire to take their army from them and keep it to himself (which, however, would not be a difficult matter), but only that they should not have it to employ against him: and therefore, as he said before, let them quit the provinces, and disband their army. If this was complied with, he would injure no person; that these were the last and only conditions of peace."
[1.86]It was very acceptable and agreeable to Afranius's soldiers, as might be easily known from their signs of joy, that they who expected some injury after this defeat, should obtain without solicitation the reward of a dismissal. For when a debate was introduced about the place and time of their dismissal, they all began to express, both by words and signs, from the rampart where they stood, that they should be discharged immediately; for although every security might be given, that they would be disbanded, still the matter would be uncertain, if it was deferred to a future day. After a short debate on either side, it was brought to this issue: that those who had any settlement or possession in Spain, should be immediately discharged: the rest at the river Var. Caesar gave security that they should receive no damage, and that no person should be obliged against his inclination to take the military oath under him.
[1.87]Caesar promised to supply them with corn from the present time till they arrived at the river Var. He further adds, that whatever any of them lost in the war, which was in the possession of his soldiers, should be restored to those that lost them. To his soldiers he made a recompense in money for those things, a just valuation being made. Whatever disputes Afranius's soldiers had afterward among themselves, they voluntarily submitted to Caesar's decision. Afranius and Petreius, when pay was demanded by the legions, a sedition almost breaking out, asserted that the time had not yet come, and required that Caesar should take cognizance of it; and both parties were content with his decision. About a third part of their army being dismissed in two days, Caesar ordered two of his legions, to go before, the rest to follow the vanquished enemy; that they should encamp at a small distance from each other. The execution of this business he gave in charge to Quintus Fufius Kalenus, one of his lieutenants. According to his directions, they marched from Spain to the river Var, and there the rest of the army was disbanded.
End of Book 1
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield
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