Book 3 --- (49-48 B.C.)
[3.1]Julius Caesar, holding the election as dictator, was himself appointed consul with Publius Servilius; for this was the year in which it was permitted by the laws that he should be chosen consul. This business being ended, as credit was beginning to fail in Italy, and the debts could not be paid, he determined that arbitrators should be appointed: and that they should make an estimate of the possessions and properties [of the debtors], how much they were worth before the war, and that they should be handed over in payment to the creditors. This he thought the most likely method to remove and abate the apprehension of an abolition of debt, the usual consequence of civil wars and dissensions, and to support the credit of the debtors. He likewise restored to their former condition (the praetors and tribunes, first submitting the question to the people) some persons condemned for bribery at the elections, by virtue of Pompey's law, at the time when Pompey kept his legions quartered in the city (these trials were finished in a single day, one judge hearing the merits, and another pronouncing the sentences), because they had offered their service to him in the beginning of the civil war, if he chose to accept them; setting the same value on them as if he had accepted them, because they had put themselves in his power. For he had determined that they ought to be restored rather by the judgment of the people than appear admitted to it by his bounty: that he might neither appear ungrateful in repaying an obligation, nor arrogant in depriving the people of their prerogative of exercising this bounty.
[3.2]In accomplishing these things, and celebrating the Latin festival, and holding all the elections, he spent eleven days; and having resigned the dictatorship, set out from the city, and went to Brundusium, where he had ordered twelve legions and all his cavalry to meet him. But he scarcely found as many ships as would be sufficient to transport fifteen thousand legionary soldiers and five hundred horse. This [the scarcity of shipping] was the only thing that prevented Caesar from putting a speedy conclusion to the war. And even these troops embarked very short of their number, because several had fallen in so many wars in Gaul, and the long march from Spain had lessened their number very much, and a severe autumn in Apulia and the district about Brundusium, after the very wholesome countries of Spain and Gaul, had impaired the health of the whole army.
[3.3]Pompey having got a year's respite to provide forces, during which he was not engaged in war, nor employed by an enemy, had collected a numerous fleet from Asia, and the Cyclades, from Corcyra, Athens, Pontus, Bithynia, Syria, Cilicia, Phoenicia, and Egypt, and had given directions that a great number should be built in every other place. He had exacted a large sum of money from Asia, Syria, and all the kings, dynasts, tetrarchs, and free states of Achaia; and had obliged the corporations of those provinces, of which he himself had the government, to count down to him a large sum.
[3.4]He had made up nine legions of Roman citizens; five from Italy, which he had brought with him; one veteran legion from Sicily, which being composed of two he called the Gemella; one from Crete and Macedonia, of veterans who had been discharged by their former generals and had settled in those provinces; two from Asia, which had been levied by the activity of Lentulus. Besides, he had distributed among his legions a considerable number, by way of recruits, from Thessaly, Boeotia, Achaia, and Epirus: with his legions he also intermixed the soldiers taken from Caius Antonius. Besides these, he expected two legions from Syria, with Scipio; from Crete, Lacedaemon, Pontus, Syria, and other states, he got about three thousand archers, six cohorts of slingers, two thousand mercenary soldiers, and seven thousand horse; six hundred of which, Deiotarus had brought from Gaul; Ariobarzanes, five hundred from Cappadocia. Cotus had given him about the same number from Thrace, and had sent his son Sadalis with them. From Macedonia there were two hundred, of extraordinary valor, commanded by Rascipolis; five hundred Gauls and Germans; Gabinius's troops from Alexandria, whom Aulus Gabinius had left with king Ptolemy, to guard his person. Pompey, the son, had brought in his fleet eight hundred, whom he had raised among his own and his shepherds' slaves. Tarcundarius, Castor and Donilaus, had given three hundred from Gallograecia: one of these came himself, the other sent his son. Two hundred were sent from Syria by Comagenus Antiochus, whom Pompey rewarded amply. The most of them were archers. To these were added Dardanians and Bessians, some of them mercenaries; others procured by power and influence: also, Macedonians, Thessalians, and troops from other nations and states, which completed the number which we mentioned before.
[3.5]He had laid in vast quantities of corn from Thessaly, Asia, Egypt, Crete, Cyrene, and other countries. He had resolved to fix his winter quarters at Dyrrachium, Apollonia, and the other seaports, to hinder Caesar from passing the sea: and for this purpose had stationed his fleet along the sea-coast. The Egyptian fleet was commanded by Pompey, the son: the Asiatic, by Decimus Laelius, and Caius Triarius: the Syrian, by Caius Cassius: the Rhodian, by Caius Marcellus, in conjunction with Caius Coponius: and the Liburnian and Achaian, by Scribonius Libo, and Marcus Octavius. But Marcus Bibulus was appointed commander-in-chief of the whole maritime department, and regulated every matter. The chief direction rested upon him.
[3.6]When Caesar came to Brundusium, he made a speech to the soldiers: "That since they were now almost arrived at the termination of their toils and dangers, they should patiently submit to leave their slaves and baggage in Italy, and to embark without luggage, that a greater number of men might be put on board: that they might expect every thing from victory and his liberality." They cried out with one voice, "he might give what orders he pleased, that they would cheerfully fulfill them." He accordingly set sail the fourth day of January, with seven legions on board, as already remarked. The next day he reached land, between the Ceraunian rocks and other dangerous places; meeting with a safe road for his shipping to ride in, and dreading all other ports which he imagined were in possession of the enemy, he landed his men at a place called Pharsalus, without the loss of a single vessel.
[3.7]Lucretius Vespillo and Minutius Rufus were at Oricum, with eighteen Asiatic ships, which were given into their charge by the orders of Decimus Laelius: Marcus Bibulus at Corcyra, with a hundred and ten ships. But they had not the confidence to dare to move out of the harbor; though Caesar had brought only twelve ships as a convoy, only four of which had decks; nor did Bibulus, his fleet being disordered and his seamen dispersed, come up in time: for Caesar was seen at the continent, before any account whatsoever of his approach had reached those regions.
[3.8]Caesar, having landed his soldiers, sent back his ships the same night to Brundusium, to transport the rest of his legions and cavalry. The charge of this business was committed to lieutenant Fufius Kalenus, with orders to be expeditious in transporting the legions. But the ships having put to sea too late, and not having taken advantage of the night breeze, fell a sacrifice on their return. For Bibulus at Corcyra, being informed of Caesar's approach, hoped to fall in with some part of our ships, with their cargoes, but found them empty; and having taken about thirty, vented on them his rage at his own remissness, and set them all on fire: and, with the same flames, he destroyed the mariners and masters of the vessels, hoping by the severity of the punishment to deter the rest. Having accomplished this affair, he filled all the harbors and shores from Salona to Oricum with his fleets. Having disposed his guard with great care, he lay on board himself in the depth of winter, declining no fatigue or duty, and not waiting for reinforcements, in hopes that he might come within Caesar's reach.
[3.9]But after the departure Of the Liburnian fleet, Marcus Octavius sailed from Illyricum with what ships he had to Salona, and having spirited up the Dalmatians, and other barbarous nations, he drew Issa off from its connection with Caesar; but not being able to prevail with the council of Salona, either by promises or menaces, he resolved to storm the town. But it was well fortified by its natural situation and a hill. The Roman citizens built wooden towers, the better to secure it; but when they were unable to resist, on account of the smallness of their numbers, being weakened by several wounds, they stooped to the last resource, and set at liberty all the slaves old enough to bear arms; and cutting the hair off the women's heads, made ropes for their engines. Octavius, being informed of their determination, surrounded the town with five encampments, and began to press them at once with a siege and storm. They were determined to endure every hardship, and their greatest distress was the want of corn. They, therefore, sent deputies to Caesar, and begged a supply from him; all other inconveniences they bore by their own resources, as well as they could: and after a long interval, when the length of the siege had made Octavius's troops more remiss than usual, having got an opportunity at noon, when the enemy were dispersed, they disposed their wives and children on the walls, to keep up the appearance of their usual attention; and forming themselves into one body, with the slaves whom they had lately enfranchised, they made an attack on Octavius's nearest camp, and having forced that, attacked the second with the same fury; and then the third and the fourth, and then the other, and beat them from them all: and having killed a great number, obliged the rest and Octavius himself to fly for refuge to their ships. This put an end to the blockade. Winter was now approaching, and Octavius, despairing of capturing the town, after sustaining such considerable losses, withdrew to Pompey, to Dyrrachium.
[3.10]We have mentioned, that Vibullius Rufus, an officer of Pompey's had fallen twice into Caesar's power; first at Corfinium, and afterward in Spain. Caesar thought him a proper person, on account of his favors conferred on him, to send with proposals to Pompey: and he knew that he had an influence over Pompey. This was the substance of his proposals: "That it was the duty of both, to put an end to their obstinacy, and forbear hostilities, and not tempt fortune any further; that sufficient loss had been suffered on both sides, to serve as a lesson and instruction to them, to render them apprehensive of future calamities, by Pompey, in having been driven out of Italy, and having lost Sicily, Cardinia, and the two Spains, and one hundred and thirty cohorts of Roman citizens, in Italy and Spain: by himself, in the death of Curio, and the loss of so great an army in Africa, and the surrender of his soldiers in Corcyra. Wherefore, they should have pity on themselves, and the republic: for, from their own misfortunes, they had sufficient experience of what fortune can effect in war. That this was the only time to treat for peace; when each had confidence in his own strength, and both seemed on an equal footing. Since, if fortune showed ever so little favor to either, he who thought himself superior, would not submit to terms of accommodation; nor would be content with an equal division, when he might expect to obtain the whole. That as they could not agree before, the terms of peace ought to be submitted to the senate and people in Rome. That in the mean time, it ought to content the republic and themselves, if they both immediately took oath in a public assembly that they would disband their forces within the three following days. That having divested themselves of the arms and auxiliaries, on which they placed their present confidence, they must both of necessity acquiesce in the decision of the people and senate. To give Pompey the fuller assurance of his intentions, he would dismiss all his forces on the land, even his garrisons.
[3.11]Vibullius, having received this commission from Caesar, thought it no less necessary to give Pompey notice of Caesar's sudden approach, that he might adopt such plans as the circumstance required, than to inform him of Caesar's message; and therefore continuing his journey by night as well as by day, and taking fresh horses for dispatch, he posted away to Pompey, to inform him that Caesar was marching toward him with all his forces. Pompey was at this time in Candavia, and was on his march from Macedonia to his winter quarters in Apollonia and Dyrrachium; but surprised at the unexpected news, he determined to go to Apollonia by speedy marches, to prevent Caesar from becoming master of all the maritime states. But as soon as Caesar had landed his troops, he set off the same day for Oricum: when he arrived there, Lucius Torquatus, who was governor of the town by Pompey's appointment, and had a garrison of Parthinians in it, endeavored to shut the gates and defend the town, and ordered the Greeks to man the walls, and to take arms. But as they refused to fight against the power of the Roman people, and as the citizens made a spontaneous attempt to admit Caesar, despairing of any assistance, he threw open the gates, and surrendered himself and the town to Caesar, and was preserved safe from injury by him.
[3.12]Having taken Oricum, Caesar marched without making any delay to Apollonia. Staberius the governor, hearing of his approach, began to bring water into the citadel, and to fortify it, and to demand hostages of the town's people. But they refuse to give any, or to shut their gates against the consul, or to take upon them to judge contrary to what all Italy and the Roman people had judged. As soon as he knew their inclinations, he made his escape privately. The inhabitants of Apollonia sent embassadors to Caesar, and gave him admission into their town. Their example was followed by the inhabitants of Bullis, Amantia, and the other neighboring states, and all Epirus: and they sent embassadors to Caesar, and promised to obey his commands.
[3.13]But Pompey having received information of the transactions at Oricum and Apollonia, began to be alarmed for Dyrrachium, and endeavored to reach it, marching day and night. As soon as it was said that Caesar was approaching, such a panic fell upon Pompey's army, because in his haste he had made no distinction between night and day, and had marched without intermission, that they almost every man deserted their colors in Epirus and the neighboring countries; several threw down their arms, and their march had the appearance of a flight. But when Pompey had halted near Dyrrachium, and had given orders for measuring out the ground for his camp, his army even yet continuing in their fright, Labienus first stepped forward and swore that he would never desert him, and would share whatever fate fortune should assign to him. The other lieutenants took the same oath, and the tribunes and centurions followed their example: and the whole army swore in like manner. Caesar, finding the road to Dyrrachium already in the possession of Pompey, was in no great haste, but encamped by the river Apsus, in the territory of Apollonia, that the states which had deserved his support might be certain of protection from his out-guards and forts; and there he resolved to wait the arrival of his other legions from Italy, and to winter in tents. Pompey did the same; and pitching his camp on the other side of the river Apsus, collected there all his troops and auxiliaries.
[3.14]Kalenus, having put the legions and cavalry on board at Brundusium, as Caesar had directed him, as far as the number of his ships allowed, weighed anchor: and having sailed a little distance from port, received a letter from Caesar, in which he was informed, that all the ports and the whole shore was occupied by the enemy's fleet: on receiving this information he returned into the harbor, and recalled all the vessels. One of them, which continued the voyage and did not obey Kalenus's command, because it carried no troops, but was private property, bore away for Oricum, and was taken by Bibulus, who spared neither slaves nor free men, nor even children; but put all to the sword. Thus the safety of the whole army depended on a very short space of time and a great casualty.
[3.15]Bibulus, as has been observed before, lay with his fleet near Oricum, and as he debarred Caesar of the liberty of the sea and harbors, so he was deprived of all intercourse with the country by land; for the whole shore was occupied by parties disposed in different places by Caesar. And he was not allowed to get either wood or water, or even anchor near the land. He was reduced to great difficulties, and distressed with extreme scarcity of every necessary; insomuch that he was obliged to bring, in transports from Corcyra, not only provisions, but even wood and water; and it once happened that, meeting with violent storms, they were forced to catch the dew by night which fell on the hides that covered their decks; yet all these difficulties they bore patiently and without repining, and thought they ought not to leave the shores and harbors free from blockade. But when they were suffering under the distress which I have mentioned, and Libo had joined Bibulus, they both called from on ship-board, to Marcus Acilius and Statius Marcus, the lieutenants, one of whom commanded the town, the other the guards on the coast, that they wished to speak to Caesar on affairs of importance, if permission should be granted them. They add something further to strengthen the impression that they intended to treat about an accommodation. In the mean time they requested a truce, and obtained it from them; for what they proposed seemed to be of importance, and it was well known that Caesar desired it above all things, and it was imagined that some advantage would be derived from Bibulus's proposals.
[3.16]Caesar having set out with one legion to gain possession of the more remote states, and to provide corn, of which he had but a small quantity, was at this time at Buthrotum, opposite to Corcyra. There receiving Acilius and Marcus's letters, informing him of Libo's and Bibulus's demands, he left his legion behind him, and returned himself to Oricum. When he arrived, they were invited to a conference. Libo came and made an apology for Bibulus, "that he was a man of strong passion, and had a private quarrel against Caesar, contracted when he was aedile and praetor; that for this reason he had avoided the conference, lest affairs of the utmost importance and advantage might be impeded by the warmth of his temper. That it now was and ever had been Pompey's most earnest wish, that they should be reconciled and lay down their arms, but they were not authorized to treat on that subject, because they resigned the whole management of the war, and all other matters to Pompey, by order of the council. But when they were acquainted with Caesar's demands, they would transmit them to Pompey, who would conclude all of himself by their persuasions. In the mean time, let the truce be continued till the messengers could return from him; and let no injury be done on either side." To this he added a few words of the cause for which they fought, and of his own forces and resources.
[3.17]To this, Caesar did not then think proper to make any reply, nor do we now think it worth recording. But Caesar required "that he should be allowed to send commissioners to Pompey, who should suffer no personal injury; and that either they should grant it, or should take his commissioners in charge, and convey them to Pompey. That as to the truce, the war in its present state was so divided, that they by their fleet deprived him of his shipping and auxiliaries; while he prevented them from the use of the land and fresh water; and if they wished that this restraint should be removed from them, they should relinquish their blockade of the seas, but if they retained the one, he in like manner would retain the other; that nevertheless, the treaty of accommodation might still be carried on, though these points were not conceded, and that they need not be an impediment to it." They would neither receive Caesar's commissioners, nor guarantee their safety, but referred the whole to Pompey. They urged and struggled eagerly to gain the one point respecting a truce. But when Caesar perceived that they had proposed the conference merely to avoid present danger and distress, but that they offered no hopes or terms of peace, he applied his thoughts to the prosecution of the war.
[3.18]Bibulus, being prevented from landing for several days, and being seized with a violent distemper from the cold and fatigue, as he could neither be cured on board, nor was willing to desert the charge which he had taken upon him, was unable to bear up against the violence of the disease. On his death, the sole command devolved on no single individual, but each admiral managed his own division separately, and at his own discretion. Vibullius, as soon as the alarm, which Caesar's unexpected arrival had raised, was over, began again to deliver Caesar's message in the presence of Libo, Lucius Lucceius, and Theophanes, to whom Pompey used to communicate his most confidential secrets. He had scarcely entered on the subject when Pompey interrupted him, and forbade him to proceed. "What need," says he, "have I of life or Rome, if the world shall think I enjoy them by the bounty of Caesar: an opinion which can never be removed while it shall be thought that I have been brought back by him to Italy, from which I set out." After the conclusion of the war, Caesar was informed of these expressions by some persons who were present at the conversation. He attempted, however, by other means to bring about a negotiation of peace.
[3.19]Between Pompey's and Caesar's camp there was only the river Apsus, and the soldiers frequently conversed with each other; and by a private arrangement among themselves, no weapons were thrown during their conferences. Caesar sent Publius Vatinius, one of his lieutenants, to the bank of the river, to make such proposals as should appear most conducive to peace; and to cry out frequently with a loud voice [asking], "Are citizens permitted to send deputies to citizens to treat of peace? a concession which had been made even to fugitives on the Pyrenean mountains, and to robbers, especially when by so doing they would prevent citizens from fighting against citizens." Having spoken much in humble language, as became a man pleading for his own and the general safety and being listened to with silence by the soldiers of both armies, he received an answer from the enemy's party that Aulus Varro proposed coming the next day to a conference, and that deputies from both sides might come without danger, and explain their wishes, and accordingly a fixed time was appointed for the interview. When the deputies met the next day, a great multitude from both sides assembled, and the expectations of every person concerning this subject were raised very high, and their minds seemed to be eagerly disposed for peace. Titus Labienus walked forward from the crowd, and in submissive terms began to speak of peace, and to argue with Vatinius. But their conversation was suddenly interrupted by darts thrown from all sides, from which Vatinius escaped by being protected by the arms of the soldiers. However, several were wounded; and among them Cornelius Balbus, Marcus Plotius, and Lucius Tiburtius, centurions, and some privates; hereupon Labienus exclaimed, "Forbear, then, to speak any more about an accommodation, for we can have no peace unless we carry Caesar's head back with us."
[3.20]At the same time in Rome, Marcus Caelius Rufus, one of the praetors, having undertaken the cause of the debtors, on entering into his office, fixed his tribunal near the bench of Caius Trebonius, the city praetor, and promised if any person appealed to him in regard to the valuation and payment of debts made by arbitration, as appointed by Caesar when in Rome, that he would relieve them. But it happened, from the justice of Trebonius's decrees and his humanity (for he thought that in such dangerous times justice should be administered with moderation and compassion), that not one could be found who would offer himself the first to lodge an appeal. For to plead poverty, to complain of his own private calamities, or the general distresses of the times, or to assert the difficulty of setting the goods to sale, is the behavior of a man even of a moderate temper; but to retain their possessions entire, and at the same time acknowledge themselves in debt, what sort of spirit, and what impudence would it not have argued! Therefore nobody was found so unreasonable as to make such demands. But Caelius proved more severe to those very persons for whose advantage it had been designed; and starting from this beginning, in order that he might not appear to have engaged in so dishonorable an affair without effecting something, he promulgated a law that all debts should be discharged in six equal payments, of six months each, without interest.
[3.21]When Servilius, the consul, and the other magistrates opposed him, and he himself effected less than he expected, in order to raise the passions of the people, he dropped it, and promulgated two others; one, by which he remitted the annual rents of the houses to the tenants, the other, an act of insolvency: upon which the mob made an assault on Caius Trebonius, and having wounded several persons, drove him from his tribunal. The consul Servilius informed the senate of his proceedings, who passed a decree that Caelius should be removed from the management of the republic. Upon this decree, the consul forbade him the senate; and when he was attempting to harangue the people, turned him out of the rostrum. Stung with the ignominy and with resentment, he pretended in public that he would go to Caesar, but privately sent messengers to Milo, who had murdered Clodius, and had been condemned for it; and having invited him into Italy, because he had engaged the remains of the gladiators to his interest, by making them ample presents, he joined him, and sent him to Thurinum to tamper with the shepherds. When he himself was on his road to Casilinum, at the same time that his military standards and arms were seized at Capua, his slaves seen at Naples, and the design of betraying the town discovered: his plots being revealed, and Capua shut against him, being apprehensive of danger, because the Roman citizens residing there had armed themselves, and thought he ought to be treated as an enemy to the state, he abandoned his first design, and changed his route.
[3.22]Milo in the mean time dispatched letters to the free towns, purporting that he acted as he did by the orders and commands of Pompey, conveyed to him by Bibulus: and he endeavored to engage in his interest all persons whom he imagined were under difficulties by reason of their debts. But not being able to prevail with them, he set at liberty some slaves from the work-houses, and began to assault Cosa in the district of Thurinum. There having received a blow of a stone thrown from the wall of the town which was commanded by Quintus Pedius with one legion, he died of it; and Caelius having set out, as he pretended for Caesar, went to Thurii, where he was put to death as he was tampering with some of the freemen of the town, and was offering money to Caesar's Gallic and Spanish horse, which he had sent there to strengthen the garrison. And thus these mighty beginnings, which had embroiled Italy, and kept the magistrates employed, found a speedy and happy issue.
[3.23]Libo having sailed from Oricum, with a fleet of fifty ships, which he commanded, came to Brundusium, and seized an island, which lies opposite to the harbor; judging it better to guard that place, which was our only pass to sea, than to keep all the shores and ports blocked up by a fleet. By his sudden arrival, he fell in with some of our transports, and set them on fire, and carried off one laden with corn; he struck great terror into our men, and having in the night landed a party of soldiers and archers, he beat our guard of horse from their station, and gained so much by the advantage of situation, that he dispatched letters to Pompey, and if he pleased he might order the rest of the ships to be hauled upon shore and repaired; for that with his own fleet he could prevent Caesar from receiving his auxiliaries.
[3.24]Antonius was at this time at Brundusium, and relying on the valor of his troops, covered about sixty of the long-boats belonging to the men-of-war with penthouses and bulwarks of hurdles, and put on board them select soldiers; and disposed them separately along the shore: and under the pretext of keeping the seamen in exercise, he ordered two three-banked galleys, which he had built at Brundusium, to row to the mouth of the port. When Libo saw them advancing boldly toward him, he sent five four-banked galleys against them, in hopes of intercepting them. When these came near our ships, our veteran soldiers retreated within the harbor. The enemy, urged by their eagerness to capture them, pursued them unguardedly: for instantly the boats of Antonius, on a certain signal, rowed with great violence from all parts against the enemy; and at the first charge took one of the four-banked galleys, with the seamen and marines, and forced the rest to flee disgracefully. In addition to this loss, they were prevented from getting water by the horse which Antonius had disposed along the sea-coast. Libo, vexed at the distress and disgrace, departed from Brundusium, and abandoned the blockade.
[3.25]Several months had now elapsed, and winter was almost gone, and Caesar's legions and shipping were not coming to him from Brundusium, and he imagined that some opportunities had been neglected, for the winds had at least been often favorable, and he thought that he must trust to them at last. And the longer it was deferred, the more eager were those who commanded Pompey's fleet to guard the coast, and were more confident of preventing our getting assistance: they received frequent reproofs from Pompey by letter, that as they had not prevented Caesar's arrival at the first, they should at least stop the remainder of his army: and they were expecting that the season for transporting troops, would become more unfavorable every day, as the winds grew calmer. Caesar, feeling some trouble on this account, wrote in severe terms to his officers at Brundusium, [and gave them orders] that as soon as they found the wind to answer, they should not let the opportunity of setting sail pass by, if they were even to steer their course to the shore of Apollonia: because there they might run their ships on ground. That these parts principally were left unguarded by the enemy's fleet, because they dare not venture too far from the harbor.
[3.26]They [his officers], exerting boldness and courage, aided by the instructions of Marcus Antonius, and Fusius Kalenus, and animated by the soldiers strongly encouraging them, and declining no danger for Caesar's safety, having got a southerly wind, weighed anchor, and the next day were carried past Apollonia and Dyrrachium, and being seen from the continent, Quintus Coponius, who commanded the Rhodian fleet at Dyrrachium, put out of the port with his ships; and when they had almost come up with us, in consequence of the breeze dying away, the south wind sprang up afresh, and rescued us. However, he did not desist from his attempt, but hoped by the labor and perseverance of his seamen to be able to bear up against the violence of the storm; and although we were carried beyond Dyrrachium, by the violence of the wind, he nevertheless continued to chase us. Our men, taking advantage of fortune's kindness, for they were still afraid of being attacked by the enemy's fleet, if the wind abated, having come near a port, called Nymphaeum, about three miles beyond Lissus, put into it (this port is protected from a south-west wind, but is not secure against a south wind); and thought less danger was to be apprehended from the storm than from the enemy. But as soon as they were within the port, the south wind, which had blown for two days, by extraordinary good luck veered round to the south-west.
[3.27]Here one might observe the sudden turns of fortune. We who, a moment before, were alarmed for ourselves, were safely lodged in a very secure harbor: and they who had threatened ruin to our fleet, were forced to be uneasy on their own account: and thus, by a change of circumstances, the storm protected our ships, and damaged the Rhodian fleet to such a degree that all their decked ships, sixteen in number, foundered, without exception, and were wrecked: and of the prodigious number of seamen and soldiers, some lost their lives by being dashed against the rocks, others were taken by our men: but Caesar sent them all safe home.
[3.28]Two of our ships, that had not kept up with the rest, being overtaken by the night, and not knowing what port the rest had made to, came to an anchor opposite Lissus. Otacilius Crassus, who commanded Pompey's fleet, detached after them several barges and small craft, and attempted to take them. At the same time, he treated with them about capitulating, and promised them their lives if they would surrender. One of them carried two hundred and twenty recruits, the other was manned with somewhat less than two hundred veterans. Here it might be seen what security men derive from a resolute spirit. For the recruits, frightened at the number of vessels, and fatigued with the rolling of the sea, and with sea-sickness, surrendered to Otacilius, after having first received his oath, that the enemy would not injure them; but as soon as they were brought before him, contrary to the obligation of his oath, they were inhumanly put to death in his presence. But the soldiers of the veteran legion, who had also struggled, not only with the inclemency of the weather, but by laboring at the pump, thought it their duty to remit nothing of their former valor: and having protracted the beginning of the night in settling the terms, under pretense of surrendering, they obliged the pilot to run the ship aground: and having got a convenient place on the shore, they spent the rest of the night there, and at day-break, when Otacilius had sent against them a party of the horse, who guarded that part of the coast, to the number of four hundred, beside some armed men, who had followed them from the garrison, they made a brave defense, and having killed some of them, retreated in safety to our army.
[3.29]After this action, the Roman citizens, who resided at Lissus, a town which Caesar had before assigned them, and had carefully fortified, received Antony into their town, and gave him every assistance. Otacilius, apprehensive for his own safety, escaped out of the town, and went to Pompey. All his forces, whose number amounted to three veteran legions, and one of recruits, and about eight hundred horse being landed, Antony sent most of his ships back to Italy, to transport the remainder of the soldiers and horse. The pontons, which are a sort of Gallic ships, he left at Lissus with this object, that if Pompey, imagining Italy defenseless, should transport his army thither (and this notion was spread among the common people), Caesar might have some means of pursuing him; and he sent messengers to him with great dispatch, to inform him in what part of the country he had landed his army, and what number of troops he had brought over with him.
[3.30]Caesar and Pompey received this intelligence almost at the same time; for they had seen the ships sail past Apollonia and Dyrrachium. They directed their march after them by land; but at first they were ignorant to what part they had been carried; but when they were informed of it, they each adopted a different plan; Caesar, to form a junction with Antonius as soon as possible; Pompey, to oppose Antonius's forces on their march to Caesar, and, if possible, to fall upon them unexpectedly from ambush. And the same day they both led out their armies from their winter encampment along the river Apsus; Pompey, privately by night; Caesar, openly by day. But Caesar had to march a longer circuit up the river to find a ford. Pompey's route being easy, because he was not obliged to cross the river, he advanced rapidly and by forced marches against Antonius, and being informed of his approach, chose a convenient situation, where he posted his forces; and kept his men close within camp, and forbade fires to be kindled, that his arrival might be the more secret. An account of this was immediately carried to Antonius by the Greeks. He dispatched messengers to Caesar, and confined himself in his camp for one day. The next day Caesar, came up with him. On learning his arrival, Pompey, to prevent his being hemmed in between two armies, quitted his position, and went with all his forces to Asparagium, in the territory of Dyrrachium, and there encamped in a convenient situation.
[3.31]During these times, Scipio, though he had sustained some losses near mount Amanus, had assumed to himself the title of imperator, after which he demanded large sums of money from the states and princes. He had also exacted from the tax-gatherers, two years' rents that they owed; and enjoined them to lend him the amount of the next year, and demanded a supply of horse from the whole province. When they were collected, leaving behind him his neighboring enemies, the Parthians (who shortly before had killed Marcus Crassus, the imperator, and had kept Marcus Bibulus besieged), he drew his legions and cavalry out of Syria; and when he came into the province, which was under great anxiety and fear of the Parthian war, and heard some declarations of the soldiers, "That they would march against an enemy, if he would lead them on; but would never bear arms against a countryman and consul;" he drew off his legions to winter quarters to Pergamus, and the most wealthy cities, and made them rich presents: and in order to attach them more firmly to his interest, permitted them to plunder the cities.
[3.32]In the mean time, the money which had been demanded from the province at large, was most vigorously exacted. Besides, many new imposts of different kinds were devised to gratify his avarice. A tax of so much a head was laid on every slave and child. Columns, doors, corn, soldiers, sailors, arms, engines, and carriages, were made subject to a duty. Wherever a name could be found for any thing, it was deemed a sufficient reason for levying money on it. Officers were appointed to collect it, not only in the cities, but in almost every village and fort: and whosoever of them acted with the greatest rigor and inhumanity, was esteemed the best man, and best citizen. The province was overrun with bailiffs and officers, and crowded with overseers and tax-gatherers; who, besides the duties imposed, exacted a gratuity for themselves; for they asserted, that being expelled from their own homes and countries, they stood in need of every necessary; endeavoring by a plausible pretense, to color the most infamous conduct. To this was added the most exorbitant interest, as usually happens in times of war; the whole sums being called in, on which occasion, they alleged that the delay of a single day was a donation. Therefore, in those two years, the debt of the province was doubled: but notwithstanding, taxes were exacted, not only from the Roman citizens, but from every corporation and every state. And they said that these were loans, exacted by the senate's decree. The taxes of the ensuing year were demanded beforehand as a loan from the collectors, as on their first appointment.
[3.33]Moreover, Scipio ordered the money formerly lodged in the temple of Diana at Ephesus, to be taken out with the statues of that goddess, which remained there. When Scipio came to the temple, letters were delivered to him from Pompey, in the presence of several senators, whom he had called upon to attend him; [informing him] that Caesar had crossed the sea with his legions; that Scipio should hasten to him with his army, and postpone all other business. As soon as he received the letter, he dismissed his attendants, and began to prepare for his journey to Macedonia; and a few days after set out. This circumstance saved the money at Ephesus.
[3.34]Caesar, having effected a junction with Antonius's army, and having drawn his legion out of Oricum, which he had left there to guard the coast, thought he ought to sound the inclination of the provinces, and march further into the country; and when embassadors came to him from Thessaly and Aetolia, to engage that the states in those countries would obey his orders, if he sent a garrison to protect them, he dispatched Lucius Cassius Longinus, with the twenty-seventh, a legion composed of young soldiers, and two hundred horse, to Thessaly: and Caius Calvisius Sabinus, with five cohorts, and a small party of horse, into Aetolia. He recommended them to be especially careful to provide corn, because those regions were nearest to him. He ordered Cneius Domitius Calvinus to march into Macedonia with two legions, the eleventh and twelfth, and five hundred horse; from which province, Menedemus, the principal man of those regions, on that side which is called the Free, having come as embassador, assured him of the most devoted affection of all his subjects.
[3.35]Of these Calvisius, on his first arrival in Aetolia, being very kindly received, dislodged the enemy's garrisons in Calydon and Naupactus, and made himself master of the whole country. Cassius went to Thessaly with his legion. As there were two factions there, he, found the citizens divided in their inclinations. Hegasaretus, a man of established power, favored Pompey's interest. Petreius, a young man of a most noble family, warmly supported Caesar with his own and his friends' influence.
[3.36]At the same time, Domitius arrived in Macedonia: and when numerous embassies had begun to wait on him from many of the states, news was brought that Scipio was approaching with his legions, which occasioned various opinions and reports; for in strange events, rumor generally goes before. Without making any delay in any part of Macedonia, he marched with great haste against Domitius; and when he was come within about twenty miles of him, wheeled on a sudden toward Cassius Longinus in Thessaly. He effected this with such celerity, that news of his march and arrival came together; for to render his march expeditious, he left the baggage of his legions behind him at the river Haliacmon, which divides Macedonia from Thessaly, under the care of Marcus Favonius, with a guard of eight cohorts, and ordered him to build a strong fort there. At the same time, Cotus's cavalry, which used to infest the neighborhood of Macedonia, flew to attack Cassius's camp, at which Cassius being alarmed, and having received information of Scipio's approach, and seen the horse, which he imagined to be Scipio's, he betook himself to the mountains that environ Thessaly, and thence began to make his route toward Ambracia. But when Scipio was hastening to pursue him, dispatches overtook him from Favonius, that Domitius was marching against him with his legions, and that he could not maintain the garrison over which he was appointed, without Scipio's assistance. On receipt of these dispatches, Scipio changed his designs and his route, desisted from his pursuit of Cassius, and hastened to relieve Favonius. Accordingly, continuing his march day and night, he came to him so opportunely, that the dust raised by Domitius's army, and Scipio's advanced guard, were observed at the same instant. Thus, the vigilance of Domitius saved Cassius, and the expedition of Scipio, Favonius.
[3.37]Scipio, having staid for two days in his camp, along the river Haliacmon, which ran between him and Domitius's camp, on the third day, at dawn, led his army across a ford, and having made a regular encampment the day following, drew up his forces in front of his camp. Domitius thought he ought not to show any reluctance, but should draw out his forces and hazard a battle. But as there was a plain six miles in breadth between the two camps, he posted his army before Scipio's camp; while the latter persevered in not quitting his intrenchment. However, Domitius with difficulty restrained his men, and prevented their beginning a battle; the more so as a rivulet with steep banks, joining Scipio's camp, retarded the progress of our men. When Scipio perceived the eagerness and alacrity of our troops to engage, suspecting that he should be obliged the next day, either to fight, against his inclination, or to incur great disgrace by keeping within his camp, though he had come with high expectation, yet by advancing rashly, made a shameful end; and at night crossed the river, without even giving the signal for breaking up the camp, and returned to the ground from which he came, and there encamped near the river, on an elevated situation. After a few days, he placed a party of horse in ambush in the night, where our men had usually gone to forage for several days before. And when Quintus Varus, commander of Domitius's horse, came there as usual, they suddenly rushed from their ambush. But our men bravely supported their charge, and returned quickly every man to his own rank, and in their turn, made a general charge on the enemy; and having killed about eighty of them, and put the rest to flight, retreated to their camp with the loss of only two men.
[3.38]After these transactions, Domitius, hoping to allure Scipio to a battle, pretended to be obliged to change his position through want of corn, and having given the signal for decamping, advanced about three miles, and posted his army and cavalry in a convenient place, concealed from the enemy's view. Scipio being in readiness to pursue him, detached his cavalry and a considerable number of light infantry to explore Domitius's route. When they had marched a short way, and their foremost troops were within reach of our ambush, their suspicions being raised by the neighing of the horses, they began to retreat: and the rest who followed them, observing with what speed they retreated, made a halt. Our men, perceiving that the enemy had discovered their plot, and thinking it in vain to wait for any more, having got two troops in their power, intercepted them. Among them was Marcus Opimius, general of the horse, but he made his escape: they either killed or took prisoners all the rest of these two troops, and brought them to Domitius.
[3.39]Caesar, having drawn his garrisons out of the sea-ports, as before mentioned, left three cohorts at Oricum to protect the town, and committed to them the charge of his ships of war, which he had transported from Italy. Acilius, as lieutenant-general, had the charge of this duty and the command of the town; he drew the ships into the inner part of the harbor, behind the town, and fastened them to the shore, and sank a merchant-ship in the mouth of the harbor to block it up; and near it he fixed another at anchor, on which he raised a turret, and faced it to the entrance of the port, and filled it with soldiers, and ordered them to keep guard against any sudden attack.
[3.40]Cneius, Pompey's son, who commanded the Egyptian fleet, having got intelligence of these things, came to Oricum, and weighed up the ship, that had been sunk, with a windlass, and by straining at it with several ropes, and attacked the other which had been placed by Acilius to watch the port with several ships, on which he had raised very high turrets, so that fighting as it were from an eminence, and sending fresh men constantly to relieve the fatigued, and at the same time attempting the town on all sides by land, with ladders and his fleet, in order to divide the force of his enemies, he overpowered our men by fatigue, and the immense number of darts, and took the ship, having beat off the men that were put on board to defend it, who, however, made their escape in small boats; and at the, same time he seized a natural mole on the opposite side, which almost formed an island over against the town. He carried over land, into the inner part of the harbor, four galleys, by putting rollers under them, and driving them on with levers. Then attacking on both sides the ships of war which were moored to the shore, and were not manned, he carried off four of them, and set the rest on fire. After dispatching this business, he left Decimus Laelius, whom he had taken away from the command of the Asiatic fleet, to hinder provisions from being brought into the town from Biblis and Amantia, and went himself to Lissus, where he attacked thirty merchantmen, left within the port by Antonius, and set them on fire. He attempted to storm Lissus, but being delayed three days by the vigorous defense of the Roman citizens who belonged to that district, and of the soldiers which Caesar had sent to keep garrison there, and having lost a few men in the assault, he returned without effecting his object.
[3.41]As soon as Caesar heard that Pompey was at Asparagium, he set out for that place with his army, and having taken the capital of the Parthinians on his march, where there was a garrison of Pompey's, he reached Pompey in Macedonia, on the third day, and encamped beside him; and the day following having drawn out all his forces before his camp, he offered Pompey battle. But perceiving that he kept within his trenches, he led his army back to his camp, and thought of pursuing some other plan. Accordingly, the day following, he set out with all his forces by a long circuit, through a difficult and narrow road to Dyrrachium; hoping, either that Pompey would be compelled to follow him to Dyrrachium, or that his communication with it might be cut off, because he had deposited there all his provisions and material of war. And so it happened; for Pompey, at first not knowing his design, because he imagined he had taken a route in a different direction from that country, thought that the scarcity of provisions had obliged him to shift his quarters; but having afterward got true intelligence from his scouts, he decamped the day following, hoping to prevent him by taking a shorter road; which Caesar suspecting might happen, encouraged his troops to submit cheerfully to the fatigue, and having halted a very small part of the night, he arrived early in the morning at Dyrrachium, when the van of Pompey's army was visible at a distance, and there he encamped.
[3.42]Pompey, being cut off from Dyrrachium, as he was unable to effect his purpose, took a new resolution, and intrenched himself strongly on a rising ground, which is called Petra, where ships of a small size can come in, and be sheltered from some winds. Here he ordered a part of his men of war to attend him, and corn and provisions to be brought from Asia, and from all the countries of which he kept possession. Caesar, imagining that the war would be protracted to too great a length, and despairing of his convoys from Italy, because all the coasts were guarded with great diligence by Pompey's adherents; and because his own fleets, which he had built during the winter, in Sicily, Gaul, and Italy, were detained; sent Lucius Canuleius into Epirus to procure corn; and because these countries were too remote, he fixed granaries in certain places, and regulated the carriage of the corn for the neighboring states. He likewise gave directions that search should be made for whatever corn was in Lissus, the country of the Parthini, and all the places of strength. The quantity was very small, both from the nature of the land (for the country is rough and mountainous, and the people commonly import what grain they use); and because Pompey had foreseen what would happen, and some days before had plundered the Parthini, and having ravaged and dug up their houses, carried off all the corn, which he collected by means of his horse.
[3.43]Caesar, on being informed of these transactions, pursued measures suggested by the nature of the country. For round Pompey's camps there were several high and rough hills. These he first of all occupied with guards, and raised strong forts on them. Then drawing a fortification from one fort to another, as the nature of each position allowed, he began to draw a line of circumvallation round Pompey, with these views; as he had but a small quantity of corn, and Pompey was strong in cavalry, that he might furnish his army with corn and other necessaries from all sides with less danger; secondly, to prevent Pompey from foraging, and thereby render his horse ineffectual in the operations of the war; and thirdly, to lessen his reputation, on which he saw he depended greatly, among foreign nations, when a report should have spread throughout the world that he was blockaded by Caesar, and dare not hazard a battle.
[3.44]Neither was Pompey willing to leave the sea and Dyrrachium, because he had lodged his material there, his weapons, arms, and engines; and supplied his army with corn from it by his ships; nor was he able to put a stop to Caesar's works without hazarding a battle, which at that time he had determined not to do. Nothing was left but to adopt the last resource, namely, to possess himself of as many hills as he could, and cover as great an extent of country as possible with his troops, and divide Caesar's forces as much as possible; and so it happened: for having raised twenty-four forts, and taken in a compass of fifteen miles, he got forage in this space, and within this circuit there were several fields lately sown, in which the cattle might feed in the mean time. And as our men, who had completed their works by drawing lines of communication from one fort to another, were afraid that Pompey's men would sally out from some part, and attack us in the rear; so the enemy were making a continued fortification in a circuit within ours to prevent us from breaking in on any side, or surrounding them on the rear. But they completed their works first; both because they had a greater number of men, and because they had a smaller compass to inclose. When Caesar attempted to gain any place, though Pompey had resolved not to oppose him with his whole force, or to come to a general engagement, yet he detached to particular places slingers and archers, with which his army abounded, and several of our men were wounded, and filled with great dread of the arrows; and almost all the soldiers made coats or coverings for themselves of hair cloths, tarpaulins, or raw hides to defend them against the weapons.
[3.45]In seizing the posts, each exerted his utmost power. Caesar, to confine Pompey within as narrow a compass as possible; Pompey, to occupy as many hills as he could in as large a circuit as possible, and several skirmishes were fought in consequence of it. In one of these, when Caesar's ninth legion had gained a certain post, and had begun to fortify it, Pompey possessed himself of a hill near to and opposite the same place, and endeavored to annoy the men while at work; and as the approach on one side was almost level, he first surrounded it with archers and slingers, and afterward by detaching a strong party of light infantry, and using his engines, he stopped our works; and it was no easy matter for our men at once to defend themselves, and to proceed with their fortifications. When Caesar perceived that his troops were wounded from all sides, he determined to retreat and give up the post; his retreat was down a precipice, on which account they pushed on with more spirit, and would not allow us to retire, because they imagined that we resigned the place through fear. It is reported that Pompey said that day in triumph to his friends about him, "That he would consent to be accounted a general of no experience, if Caesar's legions effected a retreat without considerable loss from that ground into which they had rashly advanced."
[3.46]Caesar, being uneasy about the retreat of his soldiers, ordered hurdles to be carried to the further side of the hill, and to be placed opposite to the enemy, and behind them a trench of a moderate breadth to be sunk by his soldiers under shelter of the hurdles; and the ground to be made as difficult as possible. He himself disposed slingers in convenient places to cover our men in their retreat. These things being completed, he ordered his legions to file off: Pompey's men insultingly and boldly pursued and chased us, leveling the hurdles that were thrown up in the front of our works, in order to pass over the trench. Which as soon as Caesar perceived, being afraid that his men would appear not to retreat, but to be repulsed, and that greater loss might be sustained, when his men were almost half way down the hill, he encouraged them by Antonius, who commanded that legion, ordered the signal of battle to be sounded, and a charge to be made on the enemy. The soldiers of the ninth legion suddenly closing their files, threw their javelins, and advancing impetuously from the low ground up the steep, drove Pompey's men precipitately before them, and obliged them to turn their backs; but their retreat was greatly impeded by the hurdles that lay in a long line before them, and the palisadoes which were in their way, and the trenches that were sunk. But our men being contented to retreat without injury, having killed several of the enemy, and lost but five of their own, very quietly retired, and having seized some other hills somewhat on this side of that place, completed their fortifications.
[3.47]This method of conducting a war was new and unusual, as well on account of the number of forts, the extent and greatness of the works, and the manner of attack and defense, as on account of other circumstances. For all who have attempted to besiege any person, have attacked the enemy when they were frightened or weak, or after a defeat; or have been kept in fear of some attack, when they themselves have had a superior force both of foot and horse. Besides, the usual design of a siege is to cut off the enemy's supplies. On the contrary, Caesar, with an inferior force, was inclosing troops sound and unhurt, and who had abundance of all things. For there arrived every day a prodigious number of ships, which brought them provisions: nor could the wind blow from any point, that would not be favorable to some of them. Whereas, Caesar, having consumed all the corn far and near, was in very great distress, but his soldiers bore all with uncommon patience. For they remembered that they lay under the same difficulties last year in Spain, and yet by labor and patience had concluded a dangerous war. They recollected too that they had suffered an alarming scarcity at Alesia, and a much greater at Avaricum, and yet had returned victorious over mighty nations. They refused neither barley nor pulse when offered them, and they held in great esteem cattle, of which they got great quantities from Epirus.
[3.48]There was a sort of root called chara, discovered by the troops which served under Valerius. This they mixed up with milk, and it greatly contributed to relieve their want. They made it into a sort of bread. They had great plenty of it; loaves made of this, when Pompey's men upbraided ours with want, they frequently threw among them to damp their hopes.
[3.49]The corn was now beginning to ripen, and their hope supported their want, as they were confident of having abundance in a short time. And there were frequently heard declarations of the soldiers on guard, in discourse with each other, that they would rather live on the bark of the trees, than let Pompey escape from their hands. For they were often told by deserters, that they could scarcely maintain their horses, and that their other cattle was dead: that they themselves were not in good health from their confinement within so narrow a compass, from the noisome smell, the number of carcasses, and the constant fatigue to them, being men unaccustomed to work, and laboring under a great want of water. For Caesar had either turned the course of all the rivers and streams which ran to the sea, or had dammed them up with strong works. And as the country was mountainous, and the valleys narrow at the bottom, he inclosed them with piles sunk in the ground, and heaped up mold against them to keep in the water. They were therefore obliged to search for low and marshy grounds, and to sink wells, and they had this labor in addition to their daily works. And even these springs were at a considerable distance from some of their posts, and soon dried up with the heat. But Caesar's army enjoyed perfect health and abundance of water, and had plenty of all sorts of provisions except corn; and they had a prospect of better times approaching, and saw greater hopes laid before them by the ripening of the grain.
[3.50]In this new kind of war, new methods of managing it were invented by both generals. Pompey's men, perceiving by our fires at night, at what part of the works our cohorts were on guard, coming silently upon them discharged their arrows at random among the whole multitude, and instantly retired to their camp; as a remedy against which our men were taught by experience to light their fires in one place, and keep guard in another.Note: The translator felt that some of the original text was missing at this point.
[3.51]In the mean time, Publius Sylla, whom Caesar at his departure had left governor of his camp, came up with two legions to assist the cohort; upon whose arrival Pompey's forces were easily repulsed. Nor did they stand the sight and charge of our men, and the foremost falling, the rest turned their backs and quitted the field. But Sylla called our men in from the pursuit, lest their ardor should carry them too far, but most people imagine that if he had consented to a vigorous pursuit, the war might have been ended that day. His conduct however does not appear to deserve censure; for the duties of a lieutenant-general, and of a commander-in-chief, are very different; the one is bound to act entirely according to his instructions, the other to regulate his conduct without control, as occasion requires. Sylla, being deputed by Caesar to take care of the camp, and having rescued his men, was satisfied with that, and did not desire to hazard a battle (although this circumstance might probably have had a successful issue), that he might not be thought to have assumed the part of the general. One circumstance laid the Pompeians under great difficulty in making good a retreat: for they had advanced from disadvantageous ground, and were posted on the top of a hill. If they attempted to retire down the steep, they dreaded the pursuit of our men from the rising ground, and there was but a short time till sunset: for in hopes of completing the business, they had protracted the battle almost till night. Taking therefore measures suited to their exigency, and to the shortness of the time, Pompey possessed himself of an eminence, at such a distance from our fort that no weapon discharged from an engine could reach him. Here he took up a position, and fortified it, and kept all his forces there.
[3.52]At the same time, there were engagements in two other places; for Pompey had attacked several forts at once, in order to divide our forces; that no relief might be sent from the neighboring posts. In one place, Volcatius Tullus sustained the charge of a legion with three cohorts, and beat them off the field. In another, the Germans, having sallied over our fortifications, slew several of the enemy, and retreated safe to our camp.
[3.53]Thus six engagements having happened in one day, three at Dyrrachium, and three at the fortifications, when a computation was made of the number of slain, we found that about two thousand fell on Pompey's side, several of them volunteer veterans and centurions. Among them was Valerius, the son of Lucius Flaccus, who as praetor had formerly had the government of Asia, and six military standards were taken. Of our men, not more than twenty were missing in all the action. But in the fort, not a single soldier escaped without a wound; and in one cohort, four centurions lost their eyes. And being desirous to produce testimony of the fatigue they under went, and the danger they sustained, they counted to Caesar about thirty thousand arrows which had been thrown into the fort; and in the shield of the centurion Scaeva, which was brought to him, were found two hundred and thirty holes. In reward for this man's services, both to himself and the public, Caesar presented to him two hundred thousand pieces of copper money, and declared him promoted from the eighth to the first centurion. For it appeared that the fort had been in a great measure saved by his exertions; and he afterward very amply rewarded the cohorts with double pay, corn, clothing, and other military honors.
[3.54]Pompey, having made great additions to his works in the night, the following days built turrets, and having carried his works fifteen feet high, faced that part of his camp with mantelets; and after an interval of five days, taking advantage of a second cloudy night, he barricaded all the gates of his camp to hinder a pursuit, and about midnight, quietly marched off his army, and retreated to his old fortifications.
[3.55]Aetolia, Acarnania, and Amphilochis, being reduced, as we have related, by Cassius Longinus, and Calvisius Sabinus, Caesar thought he ought to attempt the conquest of Achaia, and to advance further into the country. Accordingly, he detached Fufius thither, and ordered Quintus Sabinus and Cassius to join him with their cohorts. Upon notice of their approach, Rutilius Lupus, who commanded in Achaia, under Pompey, began to fortify the Isthmus, to prevent Fufius from coming into Achaia. Kalenus recovered Delphi, Thebes, and Orchomenus, by a voluntary submission of those states. Some he subdued by force, the rest he endeavored to win over to Caesar's interest, by sending deputies round to them. In these things, principally, Fusius was employed.
[3.56]Every day afterward, Caesar drew up his army on a level ground, and offered Pompey battle, and led his legions almost close to Pompey's camp; and his front line was at no greater distance from the rampart than that no weapon from their engines could reach it. But Pompey, to save his credit and reputation with the world, drew out his legions, but so close to his camp, that his rear line might touch the rampart, and that his whole army, when drawn up, might be protected by the darts discharged from it.
[3.57]While these things were going forward in Achaia and at Dyrrachium, and when it was certainly known that Scipio was arrived in Macedonia, Caesar, never losing sight of his first intention, sends Clodius to him, an intimate friend to both, whom Caesar, on the introduction and recommendation of Pompey, had admitted into the number of his acquaintance. To this man he gave letters and instructions to Pompey, the substance of which was as follows: "That he had made every effort toward peace, and imputed the ill success of those efforts to the fault of those whom he had employed to conduct those negotiations; because they were afraid to carry his proposals to Pompey at an improper time. That Scipio had such authority, that he could not only freely explain what conduct met his approbation, but even in some degree enforce his advice, and govern him [Pompey] if he persisted in error; that he commanded an army independent of Pompey, so that besides his authority, he had strength to compel; and if he did so, all men would be indebted to him for the quiet of Italy, the peace of the provinces, and the preservation of the empire." These proposals Clodius made to him, and for some days at the first appeared to have met with a favorable reception, but afterward was not admitted to an audience; for Scipio being reprimanded by Favonius, as we found afterward when the war was ended, and the negotiation having miscarried, Clodius returned to Caesar.
[3.58]Caesar, that he might the more easily keep Pompey's horse inclosed within Dyrrachium, and prevent them from foraging, fortified the two narrow passes already mentioned with strong works, and erected forts at them. Pompey perceiving that he derived no advantage from his cavalry, after a few days had them conveyed back to his camp by sea. Fodder was so exceedingly scarce that he was obliged to feed his horses upon leaves stripped off the trees, or the tender roots of reeds pounded. For the corn which had been sown within the lines was already consumed, and they would be obliged to supply themselves with fodder from Corcyra and Acarnania, over a long tract of sea; and as the quantity of that fell short, to increase it by mixing barley with it, and by these methods support their cavalry. But when not only the barley and fodder in these parts were consumed, and the herbs cut away, when the leaves too were not to be found on the trees, the horses being almost starved, Pompey thought he ought to make some attempt by a sally.
[3.59]In the number of Caesar's cavalry were two Allobrogians, brothers, named Roscillus and Aegus, the sons of Abducillus, who for several years possessed the chief power in his own state; men of singular valor, whose gallant services Caesar had found very useful in all his wars in Gaul. To them, for these reasons, he had committed the offices of greatest honor in their own country, and took care to have them chosen into the senate at an unusual age, and had bestowed on them lands taken from the enemy, and large pecuniary rewards, and from being needy had made them affluent. Their valor had not only procured them Caesar's esteem, but they were beloved by the whole army. But presuming on Caesar's friendship, and elated with the arrogance natural to a foolish and barbarous people, they despised their countrymen, defrauded their cavalry of their pay, and applied all the plunder to their own use. Displeased at this conduct, their soldiers went in a body to Caesar, and openly complained of their ill usage; and to their other charges added, that false musters were given in to Caesar, and the surcharged pay applied to their own use.
[3.60]Caesar, not thinking it a proper time to call them to account, and willing to pardon many faults, on account of their valor, deferred the whole matter, and gave them a private rebuke, for having made a traffic of their troops, and advised them to expect every thing from his friendship, and by his past favors to measure their future hopes. This however, gave them great offense, and made them contemptible in the eyes of the whole army. Of this they became sensible, as well from the reproaches of others, as from the judgment of their own minds, and a consciousness of guilt. Prompted then by shame, and perhaps imagining that they were not liberated from trial, but reserved to a future day, they resolved to break off from us, to put their fortune to a new hazard, and to make trial of new connections. And having conferred with a few of their clients, to whom they could venture to intrust so base an action, they first attempted to assassinate Caius Volusenus, general of the horse (as was discovered at the end of the war), that they might appear to have fled to Pompey after conferring an important service on him. But when that appeared too difficult to put in execution, and no opportunity offered to accomplish it, they borrowed all the money they could, as if they designed to make satisfaction and restitution for what they had defrauded: and having purchased a great number of horses, they deserted to Pompey along with those whom they had engaged in their plot.
[3.61]As they were persons nobly descended and of liberal education, and had come with a great retinue, and several cattle, and were reckoned men of courage, and had been in great esteem with Caesar, and as it was a new and uncommon event, Pompey carried them round all his works, and made an ostentatious show of them, for till that day, not a soldier, either horse or foot had deserted from Caesar to Pompey, though there were desertions almost every day from Pompey to Caesar: but more commonly among the soldiers levied in Epirus and Aetolia, and in those countries, which were in Caesar's possession. But the brothers, having been acquainted with all things, either what was incomplete in our works, or what appeared to the best judges of military matters to be deficient, the particular times, the distance of places, and the various attention of the guards, according to the different temper and character of the officer who commanded the different posts, gave an exact account of all to Pompey.
[3.62]Upon receiving this intelligence, Pompey, who had already formed the design of attempting a sally, as before mentioned, ordered the soldiers to make ozier coverings for their helmets, and to provide fascines. These things being prepared, he embarked on board small boats and row galleys by night, a considerable number of light infantry and archers, with all their fascines, and immediately after midnight, he marched sixty cohorts drafted from the greater camp and the outposts, to that part of our works which extended toward the sea, and were at the furthest distance from Caesar's greater camp. To the same place he sent the ships, which he had freighted with the fascines and light-armed troops; and all the ships of war that lay at Dyrrachium; and to each he gave particular instructions: at this part of the lines Caesar had posted Lentulus Marcellinus, the quaestor, with the ninth legion, and as he was not in a good state of health, Fulvius Costhumus was sent to assist him in the command.
[3.63]At this place, fronting the enemy, there was a ditch fifteen feet wide, and a rampart ten feet high, and the top of the rampart was ten feet in breadth. At an interval of six hundred feet from that there was another rampart turned the contrary way, with the works lower. For some days before, Caesar, apprehending that our men might be surrounded by sea, had made a double rampart there, that if he should be attacked on both sides, he might have the means of defending himself. But the extent of the lines, and the incessant labor for so many days, because he had inclosed a circuit of seventeen miles with his works, did not allow time to finish them. Therefore the transverse rampart which should make a communication between the other two, was not yet completed. This circumstance was known to Pompey, being told to him by the Allobrogian deserters, and proved of great disadvantage to us. For when our cohorts of the ninth legion were on guard by the sea-side, Pompey's army arrived suddenly by break of day, and their approach was a surprise to our men, and at the same time, the soldiers that came by sea, cast their darts on the front rampart; and the ditches were filled with fascines: and the legionary soldiers terrified those that defended the inner rampart, by applying the scaling ladders, and by engines and weapons of all sorts, and a vast multitude of archers poured round upon them from every side. Besides, the coverings of oziers, which they had laid over their helmets, were a great security to them against the blows of stones which were the only weapons that our soldiers had. And therefore, when our men were oppressed in every manner, and were scarcely able to make resistance, the defect in our works was observed, and Pompey's soldiers, landing between the two ramparts, where the work was unfinished, attacked our men in the rear, and having beat them from both sides of the fortification, obliged them to flee.
[3.64]Marcellinus, being informed of this disorder, detached some cohorts to the relief of our men, who seeing them flee from the camp, were neither able to persuade them to rally at their approach, nor themselves to sustain the enemy's charge. And in like manner, whatever additional assistance was sent, was infected by the fears of the defeated, and increased the terror and danger. For retreat was prevented by the multitude of the fugitives. In that battle, when the eagle-bearer was dangerously wounded, and began to grow weak, having got sight of our horse, he said to them, "This eagle have I defended with the greatest care for many years, at the hazard of my life, and now in my last moments restore it to Caesar with the same fidelity. Do not, I conjure you, suffer a dishonor to be sustained in the field, which never before happened to Caesar's army, but deliver it safe into his hands." By this accident the eagle was preserved, but all the centurions of the first cohorts were killed, except the principal.
[3.65]And now the Pompeians, after great havoc of our troops, were approaching Marcellinus's camp, and had struck no small terror into the rest of the cohorts, when Marcus Antonius, who commanded the nearest fort, being informed of what had happened, was observed descending from the rising ground with twelve cohorts. His arrival checked the Pompeians, and encouraged our men to recover from their extreme affright. And shortly after, Caesar having got notice by the smoke of all the forts, which was the usual signal on such occasions, drafted off some cohorts from the outposts, and went to the scene of action. And having there learned the loss he had sustained, and perceiving that Pompey had forced our works, and had encamped along the coast, so that he was at liberty to forage, and had a communication with his shipping, he altered his plan for conducting the war, as his design had not succeeded, and ordered a strong encampment to be made near Pompey.
[3.66]When this work was finished, Caesar's scouts observed that some cohorts, which to them appeared like a legion, were retired behind the wood, and were on their march to the old camp. The situation of the two camps was as follows: a few days before, when Caesar's ninth legion had opposed a party of Pompey's troops, and were endeavoring to inclose them, Caesar's troops formed a camp in that place. This camp joined a certain wood, and was not above four hundred paces distant from the sea. Afterward, changing his design for certain reasons, Caesar removed his camp to a small distance beyond that place; and after a few days, Pompey took possession of it, and added more extensive works, leaving the inner rampart standing, as he intended to keep several legions there. By this means, the lesser camp, included within the greater, answered the purpose of a fort and citadel. He had also carried an intrenchment from the left angle of the camp to the river, about four hundred paces, that his soldiers might have more liberty and less danger in fetching water. But he too, changing his design for reasons not necessary to be mentioned, abandoned the place. In this condition the camp remained for several days, the works being all entire.
[3.67]Caesar's scouts brought him word that the standard of a legion was carried to this place. That the same thing was seen he was assured by those in the higher forts. This place was a half a mile distant from Pompey's new camp. Caesar, hoping to surprise this legion, and anxious to repair the loss sustained that day, left two cohorts employed in the works to make an appearance of intrenching himself, and by a different route, as privately as he could, with his other cohorts amounting to thirty-three, among which was the ninth legion, which had lost so many centurions, and whose privates were greatly reduced in number, he marched in two lines against Pompey's legion and his lesser camp. Nor did this first opinion deceive him. For he reached the place before Pompey could have notice of it; and though the works were strong, yet having made the attack with the left wing which he commanded in person, he obliged the Pompeians to quit the rampart in disorder. A barricade had been raised before the gates, at which a short contest was maintained, our men endeavoring to force their way in, and the enemy to defend the camp; Titus Pulcio, by whose means we have related that Caius Antonius's army was betrayed, defending them with singular courage. But the valor of our men prevailed, and having cut down the barricade, they first forced the greater camp, and after that the fort which was inclosed within it; and as the legion on its repulse had retired to this, they slew several defending themselves there.
[3.68]But Fortune who exerts a powerful influence as well in other matters, as especially in war, effects great changes from trifling causes, as happened at this time. For the cohorts on Caesar's right wing, through ignorance of the place, followed the direction of that rampart which ran along from the camp to the river, while they were in search of a gate, and imagined that it belonged to the camp. But when they found that it led to the river, and that nobody opposed them, they immediately climbed over the rampart, and were followed by all our cavalry.
[3.69]In the mean time Pompey, by the great delay which this occasioned, being informed of what had happened, marched with the fifth legion, which he called away from their work to support his party; and at the same time his cavalry were advancing up to ours, and an army in order of battle, was seen at a distance by our men who had taken possession of the camp, and the face of affairs was suddenly changed. For Pompey's legion, encouraged by the hope of speedy support, attempted to make a stand at the Decuman gate, and made a bold charge on our men. Caesar's cavalry, who had mounted the rampart by a narrow breach, being apprehensive of their retreat, were the first to flee. The right wing which had been separated from the left, observing the terror of the cavalry, to prevent their being overpowered within the lines, were endeavoring to retreat by the same way as they burst in; and most of them, lest they should be engaged in the narrow passes, threw themselves down a rampart ten feet high into the trenches; and the first being trodden to death, the rest procured their safety, and escaped over their bodies. The soldiers of the left wing, perceiving from the rampart that Pompey was advancing, and their own friends fleeing, being afraid that they should be inclosed between the two ramparts, as they had an enemy both within and without, strove to secure their retreat the same way they came. All was disorder, consternation, and flight; insomuch that, when Caesar laid hold of the colors of those who were running away, and desired them to stand, some left their horses behind, and continued to run in the same manner; others through fear even threw away their colors. Nor did a single man face about.
[3.70]In this calamity, the following favorable circumstance occurred to prevent the ruin of our whole army, viz., that Pompey suspecting an ambuscade (because, as I suppose, the success had far exceeded his hopes, as he had seen his men a moment before fleeing from the camp), durst not for some time approach the fortification; and that his horse were retarded from pursuing, because the passes and gates were in possession of Caesar's soldiers. Thus a trifling circumstance proved of great importance to each party; for the rampart drawn from the camp to the river, interrupted the progress and certainty of Caesar's victory, after he had forged Pompey's camp. The same thing, by retarding the rapidity of the enemy's pursuit, preserved our army.
[3.71]In the two actions of this day, Caesar lost nine hundred and sixty rank and file, several Roman knights of distinction, Felginas Tuticanus Gallus, a senator's son; Caius Felginas from Placentia; Aulus Gravius from Puteoli; Marcus Sacrativir from Capua; and thirty-two military tribunes and centurions. But the greatest part of all these perished without a wound, being trodden to death in the trenches, on the ramparts and banks of the river by reason of the terror and flight of their own men. Pompey, after this battle, was saluted Imperator; this title he retained, and allowed himself to be addressed by it afterward. But neither in his letters to the senate, nor in the fasces, did he use the laurel as a mark of honor. But Labienus, having obtained his consent that the prisoners should be delivered up to him, had them all brought out, as it appeared, to make a show of them, and that Pompey might place a greater confidence in him who was a deserter; and calling them fellow soldiers, and asking them in the most insulting manner whether it was usual with veterans to flee, ordered them to be put to death in the sight of the whole army.
[3.72]Pompey's party were so elated with confidence and spirit at this success, that they thought no more of the method of conducting the war, but thought that they were already conquerors. They did not consider that the smallness of our numbers, and the disadvantage of the place and the confined nature of the ground occasioned by their having first possessed themselves of the camp, and the double danger both from within and without the fortifications, and the separation of the army into two parts, so that the one could not give relief to the other, were the causes of our defeat. They did not consider, in addition, that the contest was not decided by a vigorous attack, nor a regular battle; and that our men had suffered greater loss from their numbers and want of room, than they had sustained from the enemy. In fine, they did not reflect on the common casualties of war; how trifling causes, either from groundless suspicions, sudden affright, or religious scruples, have oftentimes been productive of considerable losses; how often an army has been unsuccessful either by the misconduct of the general, or the oversight of a tribune; but as if they had proved victorious by their valor, and as if no change could ever take place, they published the success of the day throughout the world by reports and letters.
[3.73]Caesar, disappointed in his first intentions, resolved to change the whole plan of his operations. Accordingly, he at once called in all outposts, gave over the siege, and collecting his army into one place, addressed his soldiers and encouraged them "not to be troubled at what had happened, nor to be dismayed at it, but to weigh their many successful engagements against one disappointment, and that, too, a trifling one. That they ought to be grateful to Fortune, through whose favor they had recovered Italy without the effusion of blood; through whose favor they had subdued the two Spains, though protected by a most warlike people under the command of the most skillful and experienced generals; through whose favor they had reduced to submission the neighboring states that abounded with corn; in fine, that they ought to remember with what success they had been all transported safe through blockading fleets of the enemy, which possessed not only the ports, but even the coasts; that if all their attempts were not crowned with success, the defects of Fortune must be supplied by industry; and whatever loss had been sustained, ought to be attributed rather to her caprices than to any faults in him: that he had chosen a safe ground for the engagement, that he had possessed himself of the enemy's camp; that he had beaten them out, and overcome them when they offered resistance; but whether their own terror or some mistake, or whether Fortune herself had interrupted a victory almost secured and certain, they ought all now to use their utmost efforts to repair by their valor the loss which had been incurred; if they did so, their misfortunes would turn to their advantage, as it happened at Gergovia, and those who feared to face the enemy would be the first to offer themselves to battle.
[3.74]Having concluded his speech, he disgraced some standard-bearers, and reduced them to the ranks; for the whole army was seized with such grief at their loss and with such an ardent desire of repairing their disgrace, that not a man required the command of his tribune or centurion, but they imposed each on himself severer labors than usual as a punishment, and at the same time were so inflamed with eagerness to meet the enemy, that the officers of the first rank, sensibly affected at their entreaties, were of opinion that they ought to continue in their present posts, and commit their fate to the hazard of a battle. But, on the other hand, Caesar could not place sufficient confidence in men so lately thrown into consternation, and thought he ought to allow them time to recover their dejected spirits; and having abandoned his works, he was apprehensive of being distressed for want of corn.
[3.75]Accordingly, suffering no time to intervene but what was necessary for a proper attention to be paid to the sick and wounded, he sent on all his baggage privately in the beginning of the night from his camp to Apollonia, and ordered them not to halt till they had performed their journey; and he detached one legion with them as a convoy. This affair being concluded, having retained only two legions in his camp, he marched the rest of his army out at three o'clock in the morning by several gates, and sent them forward by the same route; and in a short space after, that the military practice might be preserved, and his march known as late as possible, he ordered the signal for decamping to be given; and setting out immediately and following the rear of his own army, he was soon out of sight of the camp. Nor did Pompey, as soon as he had notice of his design, make any delay to pursue him; but with a view to surprise them while encumbered with baggage on their march, and not yet recovered from their fright, he led his army out of his camp, and sent his cavalry on to retard our rear; but was not able to come up with them, because Caesar had got far before him, and marched without baggage. But when we reached the river Genusus, the banks being steep, their horse overtook our rear, and detained them by bringing them to action. To oppose whom, Caesar sent his horse, and intermixed with them about four hundred of his advanced light troops, who attacked their horse with such success, that having routed them all, and killed several, they returned without any loss to the main body.
[3.76]Having performed the exact march which he had proposed that day, and having led his army over the river Genusus, Caesar posted himself in his old camp opposite Asparagium; and kept his soldiers close within the intrenchments and ordered the horse, who had been sent out under pretense of foraging, to retire immediately into the camp, through the Decuman gate. Pompey, in like manner, having completed the same day's march, took post in his old camp at Asparagium; and his soldiers, as they had no work (the fortifications being entire), made long excursions, some to collect wood and forage; others, invited by the nearness of the former camp, laid up their arms in their tents, and quitted the intrenchments in order to bring what they had left behind them, because the design of marching being adopted in a hurry, they had left a considerable part of their wagons and luggage behind. Being thus incapable of pursuing, as Caesar had foreseen, about noon he gave the signal for marching, led out his army, and doubling that day's march, he advanced eight miles beyond Pompey's camp; who could not pursue him, because his troops were dispersed.
[3.77]The next day Caesar sent his baggage forward early in the night, and marched off himself immediately after the fourth watch: that if he should be under the necessity of risking an engagement, he might meet a sudden attack with an army free from incumbrance. He did so for several days successively, by which means he was enabled to effect his march over the deepest rivers, and through the most intricate roads without any loss. For Pompey, after the first day's delay, and the fatigue which he endured for some days in vain, though he exerted himself by forced marches, and was anxious to overtake us, who had got the start of him, on the fourth day desisted from the pursuit, and determined to follow other measures.
[3.78]Caesar was obliged to go to Apollonia, to lodge his wounded, pay his army, confirm his friends, and leave garrisons in the towns. But for these matters, he allowed no more time than was necessary for a person in haste. And being apprehensive for Domitius, lest he should be surprised by Pompey's arrival, he hastened with all speed and earnestness to join him; for he planned the operations of the whole campaign on these principles: that if Pompey should march after him, he would be drawn off from the sea, and from those forces which he had provided in Dyrrachium, and separated from his corn and magazines, and be obliged to carry on the war on equal terms; but if he crossed over into Italy, Caesar, having effected a junction with Domitius, would march through Illyricum to the relief of Italy; but if he endeavored to storm Apollonia and Oricum, and exclude him from the whole coast, he hoped, by besieging Scipio, to oblige him, of necessity, to come to his assistance. Accordingly, Caesar dispatching couriers, writes to Domitius, and acquaints him with his wishes on the subject: and having stationed a garrison of four cohorts at Apollonia, one at Lissus, and three at Oricum, besides those who were sick of their wounds, he set forward on his march through Epirus and Acarnania. Pompey, also, guessing at Caesar's design, determined to hasten to Scipio, that if Caesar should march in that direction, he might be ready to relieve him; but that if Caesar should be unwilling to quit the sea-coast and Corcyra, because he expected legions and cavalry from Italy, he himself might fall on Domitius with all his forces.
[3.79]For these reasons, each of them studied dispatch, that he might succor his friends, and not miss an opportunity of surprising his enemies. But Caesar's engagements at Apollonia had carried him aside from the direct road. Pompey had taken the short road to Macedonia, through Candavia. To this was added another unexpected disadvantage, that Domitius, who for several days had been encamped opposite Scipio, had quitted that post for the sake of provisions, and had marched to Heraclea Sentica, a city subject to Candavia; so that fortune herself seemed to throw him in Pompey's way. Of this, Caesar was ignorant up to this time. Letters likewise being sent by Pompey through all the provinces and states, with an account of the action at Dyrrachium, very much enlarged and exaggerated beyond the real facts, a rumor had been circulated, that Caesar had been defeated and forced to flee, and had lost almost all his forces. These reports had made the roads dangerous, and drawn off some states from his alliance: whence it happened, that the messengers dispatched by Caesar, by several different roads to Domitius, and by Domitius to Caesar, were not able by any means to accomplish their journey. But the Allobroges, who were in the retinue of Aegus and Roscillus, and who had deserted to Pompey, having met on the road a scouting party of Domitius; either from old acquaintance, because they had served together in Gaul, or elated with vain glory, gave them an account of all that had happened, and informed them of Caesar's departure, and Pompey's arrival. Domitius, who was scarce four hours' march distant, having got intelligence from these, by the courtesy of the enemy, avoided the danger, and met Caesar coming to join him at Aeginium, a town on the confines of and opposite to Thessaly.
[3.80]The two armies being united, Caesar marched to Gomphi, which is the first town of Thessaly on the road from Epirus. Now, the Thessalians, a few months before, had of themselves sent embassadors to Caesar, offering him the free use of every thing in their power, and requesting a garrison for their protection. But the report, already spoken of, of the battle at Dyrrachium, which it had exaggerated in many particulars, had arrived before him. In consequence of which, Androsthenes, the praetor of Thessaly, as he preferred to be the companion of Pompey's victory, rather than Caesar's associate in his misfortunes, collected all the people, both slaves and freemen from the country into the town and shut the gates, and dispatched messengers to Scipio and Pompey "to come to his relief, that he could depend on the strength of the town, if succor was speedily sent; but that it could not withstand a long siege." Scipio, as soon as he received advice of the departure of the armies from Dyrrachium, had marched with his legions to Larissa: Pompey was not yet arrived near Thessaly. Caesar having fortified his camp, ordered scaling-ladders and pent-houses to be made for a sudden assault, and hurdles to be provided. As soon as they were ready, he exhorted his soldiers, and told them of what advantage it would be to assist them with all sorts of necessaries, if they made themselves masters of a rich and plentiful town: and, at the same time to strike terror into other states by the example of this, and to effect this with speed, before auxiliaries could arrive. Accordingly, taking advantage of the unusual ardor of the soldiers, he began his assault on the town at a little after three o'clock on the very day on which he arrived, and took it, though defended with very high walls, before sunset, and gave it up to his army to plunder, and immediately decamped from before it, and marched to Metropolis, with such rapidity as to outstrip any messenger or rumor of the taking of Gomphi.
[3.81]The inhabitants of Metropolis, at first influenced by the same rumors, followed the same measures, shut the gates and manned their walls. But when they were made acquainted with the fate of the city of Gomphi by some prisoners, whom Caesar had ordered to be brought up to the walls, they threw open their gates. As he preserved them with the greatest care, there was not a state in Thessaly (except Larissa, which was awed by a strong army of Scipio's), but on comparing the fate of the inhabitants of Metropolis with the severe treatment of Gomphi, gave admission to Caesar, and obeyed his orders. Having chosen a position convenient for procuring corn, which was now almost ripe on the ground, he determined there to wait Pompey's arrival, and to make it the center of all his warlike operations.
[3.82]Pompey arrived in Thessaly a few days after, and having harangued the combined army, returned thanks to his own men, and exhorted Scipio's soldiers, that as the victory was now secured, they should endeavor to merit a part of the rewards and booty. And receiving all the legions into one camp, he shared his honors with Scipio, ordered the trumpet to be sounded at his tent, and a pavilion to be erected for him. The forces of Pompey being thus augmented, and two such powerful armies united, their former expectations were confirmed, and their hopes of victory so much increased, that whatever time intervened was considered as so much delay to their return into Italy; and whenever Pompey acted with slowness and caution, they used to exclaim, that it was the business only of a single day, but that he had a passion for power, and was delighted in having persons of consular and praetorian rank in the number of his slaves. And they now began to dispute openly about rewards and priesthoods, and disposed of the consulate for several years to come. Others put in their claims for the houses and properties of all who were in Caesar's camp, and in that council there was a warm debate, whether Lucius Hirtius, who had been sent by Pompey against the Parthians, should be admitted a candidate for the praetorship in his absence at the next election; his friends imploring Pompey's honor to fulfill the engagements which he had made to him at his departure, that he might not seem deceived through his authority: while others, embarked in equal labor and danger, pleaded that no individual ought to have a preference before all the rest.
[3.83]Already Domitius, Scipio, and Lentulus Spinther, in their daily quarrels about Caesar's priesthood, openly abused each other in the most scurrilous language. Lentulus urging the respect due to his age, Domitius boasting his interest in the city and his dignity, and Scipio presuming on his alliance with Pompey. Attius Rufus charged Lucius Afranius before Pompey with betraying the army in the action that happened in Spain, and Lucius Domitius declared in the council that it was his wish that, when the war should be ended, three billets should be given to all the senators, who had taken part with them in the war, and that they should pass sentence on every single person who had staid behind at Rome, or who had been within Pompey's garrisons and had not contributed their assistance in the military operations; that by the first billet they should have power to acquit, by the second to pass sentence of death, and by the third to impose a pecuniary fine. In short, Pompey's whole army talked of nothing but the honors or sums of money which were to be their rewards, or of vengeance on their enemies; and never considered how they were to defeat their enemies, but in what manner they should use their victory.
[3.84]Corn being provided, and his soldiers refreshed, and a sufficient time having elapsed since the engagement at Dyrrachium, when Caesar thought he had sufficiently sounded the disposition of his troops, he thought that he ought to try whether Pompey had any intention or inclination to come to a battle. Accordingly he led his troops out of the camp, and ranged them in order of battle, at first on their own ground, and at a small distance from Pompey's camp: but afterward for several days in succession, he advanced from his own camp, and led them up to the hills on which Pompey's troops were posted, which conduct inspired his army every day with fresh courage. However he adhered to his former purpose respecting his cavalry, for as he was by many degrees inferior in number, he selected the youngest and most active of the advanced guard, and desired them to fight intermixed with the horse, and they by constant practice acquired experience in this kind of battle. By these means it was brought to pass that a thousand of his horse would dare even on open ground, to stand against seven thousand of Pompey's, if occasion required, and would not be much terrified by their number. For even on one of those days he was successful in a cavalry action, and killed one of the two Allobrogians, who had deserted to Pompey, as we before observed, and several others.
[3.85]Pompey, because he was encamped on a hill, drew up his army at the very foot of it, ever in expectation, as may be conjectured, that Caesar would expose himself to this disadvantageous situation. Caesar, seeing no likelihood of being able to bring Pompey to an action, judged it the most expedient method of conducting the war, to decamp from that post and to be always in motion: with this hope, that by shifting his camp and removing from place to place, he might be more conveniently supplied with corn, and also, that by being in motion he might get some opportunity of forcing them to battle, and might by constant marches harass Pompey's army, which was not accustomed to fatigue. These matters being settled, when the signal for marching was given, and the tents struck, it was observed that shortly before, contrary to his daily practice, Pompey's army had advanced further than usual from his intrenchments, so that it appeared possible to come to an action on equal ground. Then Caesar addressed himself to his soldiers, when they were at the gates of the camp, ready to march out. " We must defer," says he, "our march at present, and set our thoughts on battle, which has been our constant wish; let us then meet the foe with resolute souls. We shall not hereafter easily find such an opportunity." He immediately marched out at the head of his troops.
[3.86]Pompey also, as was afterward known, at the unanimous solicitation of his friends, had determined to try the fate of a battle. For he had even declared in council a few days before that, before the battalions came to battle, Caesar's army would be put to the rout. When most people expressed their surprise at it, "I know," says he, "that I promise a thing almost incredible; but hear the plan on which I proceed, that you may march to battle with more confidence and resolution. I have persuaded our cavalry, and they have engaged to execute it, as soon as the two armies have met, to attack Caesar's right wing on the flank, and inclosing their army on the rear, throw them into disorder, and put them to the rout, before we shall throw a weapon against the enemy. By this means we shall put an end to the war, without endangering the legions, and almost without a blow. Nor is this a difficult matter, as we far outnumber them in cavalry." At the same time he gave them notice to be ready for battle on the day following, and since the opportunity which they had so often wished for was now arrived, not to disappoint the opinion generally entertained of their experience and valor.
[3.87]After him Labienus spoke, as well to express his contempt of Caesar's forces, as to extol Pompey's scheme with the highest encomiums. "Think not, Pompey," says he, "that this is the army which conquered Gaul and Germany; I was present at all those battles, and do not speak at random on a subject to which I am a stranger: a very small part of that army now remains, great numbers lost their lives, as must necessarily happen in so many battles, many fell victims to the autumnal pestilence in Italy, many returned home, and many were left behind on the continent. Have you not heard that the cohorts at Brundusium are composed of invalids? The forces which you now behold, have been recruited by levies lately made in Hither Spain, and the greater part from the colonies beyond the Po; moreover, the flower of the forces perished in the two engagements at Dyrrachium." Having so said, he took an oath, never to return to his camp unless victorious; and he encouraged the rest to do the like. Pompey applauded his proposal, and took the same oath; nor did any person present hesitate to take it. After this had passed in the council they broke up full of hopes and joy, and in imagination anticipated victory; because they thought that in a matter of such importance, no groundless assertion could be made by a general of such experience.
[3.88]When Caesar had approached near Pompey's camp, he observed that his army was drawn up in the following manner: On the left wing were the two legions, delivered over by Caesar at the beginning of the disputes in compliance with the senate's decree, one of which was called the first, the other the third. Here Pompey commanded in person. Scipio with the Syrian legions commanded the center. The Cilician legion in conjunction with the Spanish cohorts, which we said were brought over by Afranius, were disposed on the right wing. These Pompey considered his steadiest troops. The rest he had interspersed between the center and the wing, and he had a hundred and ten complete cohorts; these amounted to forty-five thousand men. He had besides two cohorts of volunteers, who having received favors from him in former wars, flocked to his standard: these were dispersed through his whole army. The seven remaining cohorts he had disposed to protect his camp, and the neighboring forts. His right wing was secured by a river with steep banks; for which reason he placed all his cavalry, archers, and slingers, on his left wing.
[3.89]Caesar, observing his former custom, had placed the tenth legion on the right, the ninth on the left, although it was very much weakened by the battles at Dyrrachium. He placed the eighth legion so close to the ninth, as to almost make one of the two, and ordered them to support one another. He drew up on the field eighty cohorts, making a total of twenty-two thousand men. He left two cohorts to guard the camp. He gave the command of the left wing to Antonius, of the right to P. Sulla, and of the center to Cn. Domitius: he himself took his post opposite Pompey. At the same time, fearing, from the disposition of the enemy which we have previously mentioned, lest his right wing might be surrounded by their numerous cavalry, he rapidly drafted a single cohort from each of the legions composing the third line, formed of them a fourth line, and opposed them to Pompey's cavalry, and, acquainting them with his wishes, admonished them that the success of that day depended on their courage. At the same time he ordered the third line, and the entire army not to charge without his command: that he would give the signal whenever he wished them to do so.
[3.90]When he was exhorting his army to battle, according to the military custom, and spoke to them of the favors that they had constantly received from him, he took especial care to remind them "that he could call his soldiers to witness the earnestness with which he had sought peace, the efforts that he had made by Vatinius to gain a conference [with Labienus], and likewise by Claudius to treat with Scipio, in what manner he had exerted himself at Oricum, to gain permission from Libo to send embassadors; that he had been always reluctant to shed the blood of his soldiers, and did not wish to deprive the republic of one or other of her armies." After delivering this speech, he gave by a trumpet the signal to his soldiers, who were eagerly demanding it, and were very impatient for the onset.
[3.91]There was in Caesar's army, a volunteer of the name of Crastinus, who the year before had been first centurion of the tenth legion, a man of pre-eminent bravery. He, when the signal was given, says, "Follow me, my old comrades, and display such exertions in behalf of your general as you have determined to do: this is our last battle, and when it shall be won, he will recover his dignity, and we our liberty." At the same time he looked back to Caesar, and said, "General, I will act in such a manner to-day, that you will feel grateful to me living or dead." After uttering these words he charged first on the right wing, and about one hundred and twenty chosen volunteers of the same century followed.
[3.92]There was so much space left between the two lines, as sufficed for the onset of the hostile armies: but Pompey had ordered his soldiers to await Caesar's attack, and not to advance from their position, or suffer their line to be put into disorder. And he is said to have done this by the advice of Caius Triarius, that the impetuosity of the charge of Caesar's soldiers might be checked, and their line broken, and that Pompey's troops remaining in their ranks, might attack them while in disorder; and he thought that the javelins would fall with less force if the soldiers were kept in their ground, than if they met them in their course; at the same time he trusted that Caesar's soldiers, after running over double the usual ground, would become weary and exhausted by the fatigue. But to me Pompey seems to have acted without sufficient reason: for there is a certain impetuosity of spirit and an alacrity implanted by nature in the hearts of all men, which is inflamed by a desire to meet the foe. This a general should endeavor not to repress, but to increase; nor was it a vain institution of our ancestors, that the trumpets should sound on all sides, and a general shout be raised; by which they imagined that the enemy were struck with terror, and their own army inspired with courage.
[3.93]But our men, when the signal was given, rushed forward with their javelins ready to be launched, but perceiving that Pompey's men did not run to meet their charge, having acquired experience by custom, and being practiced in former battles, they of their own accord repressed their speed, and halted almost midway; that they might not come up with the enemy when their strength was exhausted, and after a short respite they again renewed their course, and threw their javelins, and instantly drew their swords, as Caesar had ordered them. Nor did Pompey's men fail in this crisis, for they received our javelins, stood our charge, and maintained their ranks; and having launched their javelins, had recourse to their swords. At the same time Pompey's horse, according to their orders, rushed out at once from his left wing, and his whole host of archers poured after them. Our cavalry did not withstand their charge: but gave ground a little, upon which Pompey's horse pressed them more vigorously, and began to file off in troops, and flank our army. When Caesar perceived this, he gave the signal to his fourth line, which he had formed of the six cohorts. They instantly rushed forward and charged Pompey's horse with such fury, that not a man of them stood; but all wheeling about, not only quitted their post, but galloped forward to seek a refuge in the highest mountains. By their retreat the archers and slingers, being left destitute and defenseless, were all cut to pieces. The cohorts, pursuing their success, wheeled about upon Pompey's left wing, while his infantry still continued to make battle, and attacked them in the rear.
[3.94]At the same time Caesar ordered his third line to advance, which till then had not been engaged, but had kept their post. Thus, new and fresh troops having come to the assistance of the fatigued, and others having made an attack on their rear, Pompey's men were not able to maintain their ground, but all fled, nor was Caesar deceived in his opinion, that the victory, as he had declared in his speech to his soldiers, must have its beginning from those six cohorts, which he had placed as a fourth line to oppose the horse. For by them the cavalry were routed; by them the archers and slingers were cut to pieces; by them the left wing of Pompey's army was surrounded, and obliged to be the first to flee. But when Pompey saw his cavalry routed, and that part of his army on which he reposed his greatest hopes thrown into confusion, despairing of the rest, he quitted the field, and retreated straightway on horseback to his camp, and calling to the centurions, whom he had placed to guard the praetorian gate, with a loud voice, that the soldiers might hear: "Secure the camp," says he, "defend it with diligence, if any danger should threaten it; I will visit the other gates, and encourage the guards of the camp." Having thus said, he retired into his tent in utter despair, yet anxiously waiting the issue.
[3.95]Caesar having forced the Pompeians to flee into their intrenchment, and thinking that he ought not to allow them any respite to recover from their fright, exhorted his soldiers to take advantage of fortune's kindness, and to attack the camp. Though they were fatigued by the intense heat, for the battle had continued till mid-day, yet, being prepared to undergo any labor, they cheerfully obeyed his command. The camp was bravely defended by the cohorts which had been left to guard it, but with much more spirit by the Thracians and foreign auxiliaries. For the soldiers who had fled for refuge to it from the field of battle, affrighted and exhausted by fatigue, having thrown away their arms and military standards, had their thoughts more engaged on their further escape than on the defense of the camp. Nor could the troops who were posted on the battlements, long withstand the immense number of our darts, but fainting under their wounds, quitted the place, and under the conduct of their centurions and tribunes, fled, without stopping, to the high mountains which joined the camp.
[3.96]In Pompey's camp you might see arbors in which tables were laid, a large quantity of plate set out, the floors of the tents covered with fresh sods, the tents of Lucius Lentulus and others shaded with ivy, and many other things which were proofs of excessive luxury, and a confidence of victory, so that it might readily be inferred that they had no apprehensions of the issue of the day, as they indulged themselves in unnecessary pleasures, and yet upbraided with luxury Caesar's army, distressed and suffering troops, who had always been in want of common necessaries. Pompey, as soon as our men had forced the trenches, mounting his horse, and stripping off his general's habit, went hastily out of the back gate of the camp, and galloped with all speed to Larissa. Nor did he stop there, but with the same dispatch, collecting a few of his flying troops, and halting neither day nor night, he arrived at the seaside, attended by only thirty horse, and went on board a victualing barque, often complaining, as we have been told, that he had been so deceived in his expectation, that he was almost persuaded that he had been betrayed by those from whom he had expected victory, as they began the fight.
[3.97]Caesar having possessed himself of Pompey's camp, urged his soldiers not to be too intent on plunder, and lose the opportunity of completing their conquest. Having obtained their consent, he began to draw lines round the mountain. The Pompeians distrusting the position, as there was no water on the mountain, abandoned it, and all began to retreat toward Larissa; which Caesar perceiving, divided his troops, and ordering part of his legions to remain in Pompey's camp, sent back a part to his own camp, and taking four legions with him, went by a shorter road to intercept the enemy: and having marched six miles, drew up his army. But the Pompeians observing this, took post on a mountain, whose foot was washed by a river. Caesar having encouraged his troops, though they were greatly exhausted by incessant labor the whole day, and night was now approaching, by throwing up works cut off the communication between the river and the mountain, that the enemy might not get water in the night. As soon as the work was finished, they sent embassadors to treat about a capitulation. A few senators who had espoused that party, made their escape by night.
[3.98]At break of day, Caesar ordered all those who had taken post on the mountain, to come down from the higher grounds into the plain, and pile their arms. When they did this without refusal, and with outstretched arms, prostrating themselves on the ground, with tears, implored his mercy: he comforted them and bade them rise, and having spoken a few words of his own clemency to alleviate their fears, he pardoned them all, and gave orders to his soldiers, that no injury should be done to them, and nothing taken from them. Having used this diligence, he ordered the legions in his camp to come and meet him, and those which were with him to take their turn of rest, and go back to the camp: and the same day went to Larissa
[3.99]In that battle, no more than two hundred privates were missing, but Caesar lost about thirty centurions, valiant officers. Crastinus, also, of whom mention was made before, fighting most courageously, lost his life by the wound of a sword in the mouth; nor was that false which he declared when marching to battle: for Caesar entertained the highest opinion of his behavior in that battle, and thought him highly deserving of his approbation. Of Pompey's army, there fell about fifteen thousand; but upwards of twenty-four thousand were made prisoners: for even the cohorts which were stationed in the forts, surrendered to Sylla. Several others took shelter in the neighboring states. One hundred and eighty stands of colors, and nine eagles, were brought to Caesar. Lucius Domitius, fleeing from the camp to the mountains, his strength being exhausted by fatigue, was killed by the horse.
[3.100]About this time, Decimus Laelius arrived with his fleet at Brundusium and in the same manner, as Libo had done before, possessed himself of an island opposite the harbor of Brundusium. In like manner, Valinius, who was then governor of Brundusium, with a few decked barks, endeavored to entice Laelius's fleet, and took one five-banked galley and two smaller vessels that had ventured further than the rest into a narrow part of the harbor: and likewise disposing the horse along the shore, strove to prevent the enemy from procuring fresh water. But Laelius having chosen a more convenient season of the year for his expedition, supplied himself with water brought in transports from Corcyra and Dyrrachium, and was not deterred from his purpose; and till he had received advice of the battle in Thessaly, he could not be forced either by the disgrace of losing his ships, or by the want of necessaries, to quit the port and islands.
[3.101]Much about the same time, Cassius arrived in Sicily with a fleet of Syrians, Phoenicians, and Cicilians: and as Caesar's fleet was divided into two parts, Publius Sulpicius the praetor commanding one division at Vibo near the straits, Pomponius the other at Messana, Cassius got into Messana with his fleet, before Pomponius had notice of his arrival, and having found him in disorder, without guards or discipline, and the wind being high and favorable, he filled several transports with fir, pitch, and tow, and other combustibles, and sent them against Pomponius's fleet, and set fire to all his ships, thirty-five in number, twenty of which were armed with beaks: and this action struck such terror that though there was a legion in garrison at Messana, the town with difficulty held out, and had not the news of Caesar's victory been brought at that instant by the horse stationed- along the coast, it was generally imagined that it would have been lost, but the town was maintained till the news arrived very opportunely: and Cassius set sail from thence to attack Sulpicius's fleet at Vibo, and our ships being moored to the land, to strike the same terror, he acted in the same manner as before. The wind being favorable, he sent into the port about forty ships provided with combustibles, and the flame catching on both sides, five ships were burned to ashes. And when the fire began to spread wider by the violence of the wind, the soldiers of the veteran legions, who had been left to guard the fleet, being considered as invalids, could not endure the disgrace, but of themselves went on board the ships and weighed anchor, and having attacked Cassius's fleet, captured two five-banked galleys, in one of which was Cassius himself; but he made his escape by taking to a boat. Two three-banked galleys were taken besides. Intelligence was shortly after received of the action in Thessaly, so well authenticated, that the Pompeians themselves gave credit to it; for they had hitherto believed it a fiction of Caesar's lieutenants and friends. Upon which intelligence Cassius departed with his fleet from that coast.
[3.102]Caesar thought he ought to postpone all business and pursue Pompey, whithersoever he should retreat; that he might not be able to provide fresh forces, and renew the war; he therefore marched on every day, as far as his cavalry were able to advance, and ordered one legion to follow him by shorter journeys. A proclamation was issued by Pompey at Amphipolis, that all the young men of that province, Grecians and Roman citizens, should take the military oath; but whether he issued it with an intention of preventing suspicion, and to conceal as long as possible his design of fleeing further, or to endeavor to keep possession of Macedonia by new levies, if nobody pursued him, it is impossible to judge. He lay at anchor one night, and calling together his friends in Amphipolis, and collecting a sum of money for his necessary expenses, upon advice of Caesar's approach, set sail from that place, and arrived in a few days at Mitylene. Here he was detained two days, and having added a few galleys to his fleet he went to Cilicia, and thence to Cyprus. There he is informed that, by the consent of all the inhabitants of Antioch and Roman citizens who traded there, the castle had been seized to shut him out of the town; and that messengers had been dispatched to all those who were reported to have taken refuge in the neighboring states, that they should not come to Antioch; that if they did, that it would be attended with imminent danger to their lives. The same thing had happened to Lucius Lentulus, who had been consul the year before, and to Publius Lentulus a consular senator, and to several others at Rhodes, who having followed Pompey in his flight, and arrived at the island, were not admitted into the town or port; and having received a message to leave that neighborhood, set sail much against their will; for the rumor of Caesar's approach had now reached those states.
[3.103]Pompey, being informed of these proceedings, laid aside his design of going to Syria, and having taken the public money from the farmers of the revenue, and borrowed more from some private friends, and having put on board his ships a large quantity of brass for military purposes, and two thousand armed men, whom he partly selected from the slaves of the tax farmers, and partly collected from the merchants, and such persons as each of his friends thought fit on this occasion, he sailed for Pelusium. It happened that king Ptolemy, a minor, was there with a considerable army, engaged in war with his sister Cleopatra, whom a few months before, by the assistance of his relations and friends, he had expelled from the kingdom; and her camp lay at a small distance from his. To him Pompey applied to be permitted to take refuge in Alexandria, and to be protected in his calamity by his powerful assistance, in consideration of the friendship and amity which had subsisted between his father and him. But Pompey's deputies having executed their commission, began to converse with less restraint with the king's troops, and to advise them to act with friendship to Pompey, and not to think meanly of his bad fortune. In Ptolemy's army were several of Pompey's soldiers, of whom Gabinius had received the command in Syria, and had brought them over to Alexandria, and at the conclusion of the war had left with Ptolemy the father of the young king.
[3.104]The king's friends, who were regents of the kingdom during the minority, being informed of these things, either induced by fear, as they afterward declared, lest Pompey should corrupt the king's army, and seize on Alexandria and Egypt; or despising his bad fortune, as in adversity friends commonly change to enemies, in public gave a favorable answer to his deputies, and desired him to come to the king; but secretly laid a plot against him, and dispatched Achillas, captain of the king's guards, a man of singular boldness, and Lucius Septimius a military tribune to assassinate him. Being kindly addressed by them, and deluded by an acquaintance with Septimius, because in the war with the pirates the latter had commanded a company under him, he embarked in a small boat with a few attendants, and was there murdered by Achillas and Septimius. In like manner, Lucius Lentulus was seized by the king's order, and put to death in prison.
[3.105]When Caesar arrived in Asia, he found that Titus Ampius had attempted to remove the money from the temple of Diana at Ephesus; and for this purpose had convened all the senators in the province that he might have them to attest the sum, but was interrupted by Caesar's arrival, and had made his escape. Thus, on two occasions, Caesar saved the money of Ephesus. It was also remarked at Elis, in the temple of Minerva, upon calculating and enumerating the days, that on the very day on which Caesar had gained his battle, the image of Victory which was placed before Minerva, and faced her statue, turned about toward the portal and entrance of the temple; and the same day, at Antioch in Syria, such a shout of an army and sound of trumpets was twice heard that the citizens ran in arms to the walls. The same thing happened at Ptolemais; a sound of drums too was heard at Pergamus, in the private and retired parts of the temple, into which none but the priests are allowed admission, and which the Greeks call Adyta (the inaccessible), and likewise at Tralles, in the temple of Victory, in which there stood a statue consecrated to Caesar; a palm-tree at that time was shown that had sprouted up from the pavement, through the joints of the stones, and shot up above the roof.
[3.106]After a few days' delay in Asia, Caesar, having heard that Pompey had been seen in Cyprus, and conjecturing that he had directed his course into Egypt, on account of his connection with that kingdom, set out for Alexandria with two legions (one of which he ordered to follow him from Thessaly, the other he called in from Achaia, from Fufius, the lieutenant general), and with eight hundred horse, ten ships of war from Rhodes, and a few from Asia. These legions amounted but to three thousand two hundred men; the rest, disabled by wounds received in various battles, by fatigue and the length of their march, could not follow him. But Caesar, relying on the fame of his exploits, did not hesitate to set forward with a feeble force, and thought that he would be secure in any place. At Alexandria he was informed of the death of Pompey: and at his landing there, heard a cry among the soldiers whom the king had left to garrison the town, and saw a crowd gathering toward him, because the fasces were carried before him; for this the whole multitude thought an infringement of the king's dignity. Though this tumult was appeased, frequent disturbances were raised for several days successively, by crowds of the populace, and a great many of his soldiers were killed in all parts of the city.
[3.107]Having observed this, he ordered other legions to be brought to him from Asia, which he had made up out of Pompey's soldiers; for he was himself detained against his will, by the etesian winds, which are totally unfavorable to persons on a voyage from Alexandria. In the mean time, considering that the disputes of the princes belonged to the jurisdiction of the Roman people, and of him as consul, and that it was a duty more incumbent on him, as in his former consulate a league had been made with Ptolemy the late king, under sanction both of a law and a decree of the senate, he signified that it was his pleasure that king Ptolemy, and his sister Cleopatra, should disband their armies, and decide their disputes in his presence by justice, rather than by the sword.
[3.108]A eunuch named Pothinus, the boy's tutor, was regent of the kingdom on account of his youthfulness. He at first began to complain among his friends, and to express his indignation, that the king should be summoned to plead his cause: but afterward, having prevailed on some of those whom he had made acquainted with his views to join him he secretly called the army away from Pelusium to Alexandria, and appointed Achillas, already spoken of, commander-in-chief of the forces. Him he encouraged and animated by promises both in his own and the king's name, and instructed him both by letters and messages how he should act. By the will of Ptolemy the father, the elder of his two sons and the more advanced in years of his two daughters were declared his heirs, and for the more effectual performance of his intention, in the same will he conjured the Roman people by all the gods, and by the league which he had entered into at Rome, to see his will executed. One of the copies of his will was conveyed to Rome by his embassadors to be deposited in the treasury, but the public troubles preventing it, it was lodged with Pompey: another was left sealed up, and kept at Alexandria.
[3.109]While these things were debated before Caesar, and he was very anxious to settle the royal disputes as a common friend and arbitrator; news was brought on a sudden that the king's army and all his cavalry, were on their march to Alexandria. Caesar's forces were by no means so strong that he could trust to them, if he had occasion to hazard a battle without the town. His only resource was to keep within the town in the most convenient places, and get information of Achillas's designs. However he ordered his soldiers to repair to their arms; and advised the king to send some of his friends, who had the greatest influence, as deputies to Achillas, and to signify his royal pleasure. Dioscorides and Serapion, the persons sent by him, who had both been embassadors at Rome, and had been in great esteem with Ptolemy the father, went to Achillas. But as soon as they appeared in his presence, without hearing them, or learning the occasion of their coming, he ordered them to be seized and put to death. One of them, after receiving a wound, was taken up and carried off by his attendants as dead: the other was killed on the spot. Upon this, Caesar took care to secure the king's person, both supposing that the king's name would have a great influence with his subjects, and to give the war the appearance of the scheme of a few desperate men, rather than of having been begun by the king's consent.
[3.110]The forces under Achillas did not seem despicable, either for number, spirit, or military experience; for he had twenty thousand men under arms. They consisted partly of Gabinius's soldiers, who were now become habituated to the licentious mode of living at Alexandria, and had forgotten the name and discipline of the Roman people, and had married wives there, by whom the greatest part of them had children. To these was added a collection of highwaymen, and freebooters, from Syria, and the province of Cilicia, and the adjacent countries. Besides several convicts and transports had been collected: for at Alexandria all our runaway slaves were sure of finding protection for their persons on the condition that they should give in their names, and enlist as soldiers: and if any of them was apprehended by his master, he was rescued by a crowd of his fellow soldiers, who being involved in the same guilt, repelled, at the hazard of their lives, every violence offered to any of their body. These by a prescriptive privilege of the Alexandrian army, used to demand the king's favorites to be put to death, pillage the properties of the rich to increase their pay, invest the king's palace, banish some from the kingdom, and recall others from exile. Besides these, there were two thousand horse, who had acquired the skill of veterans by being in several wars in Alexandria. These had restored Ptolemy the father to his kingdom, had killed Bibulus's two sons; and had been engaged in war with the Egyptians; such was their experience in military affairs.
[3.111]Full of confidence in his troops, and despising the small number of Caesar's soldiers, Achillas seized Alexandria, except that part of the town which Caesar occupied with his troops. At first he attempted to force the palace; but Caesar had disposed his cohorts through the streets, and repelled his attack. At the same time there was an action at the port: where the contest was maintained with the greatest obstinacy. For the forces were divided, and the fight maintained in several streets at once, and the enemy endeavored to seize with a strong party the ships of war; of which fifty had been sent to Pompey's assistance, but after the battle in Thessaly, had returned home. They were all of either three or five banks of oars, well equipped and appointed with every necessary for a voyage. Besides these, there were twenty-two vessels with decks, which were usually kept at Alexandria, to guard the port. If they made themselves masters of these, Caesar being deprived of his fleet, they would have the command of the port and whole sea, and could prevent him from procuring provisions and auxiliaries. Accordingly that spirit was displayed, which ought to be displayed when the one party saw that a speedy victory depended on the issue, and the other their safety. But Caesar gained the day, and set fire to all those ships, and to others which were in the docks, because he could not guard so many places with so small a force; and immediately he conveyed some troops to the Pharos by his ships.
[3.112]The Pharos is a tower on an island, of prodigious height, built with amazing works, and takes its name from the island. This island lying over against Alexandria, forms a harbor; but on the upper side it is connected with the town by a narrow way eight hundred paces in length, made by piles sunk in the sea, and by a bridge. In this island some of the Egyptians have houses, and a village as large as a town; and whatever ships from any quarter, either through mistaking the channel, or by the storm, have been driven from their course upon the coast, they constantly plunder like pirates. And without the consent of those who are masters of the Pharos, no vessels can enter the harbor, on account of its narrowness. Caesar being greatly alarmed on this account, while the enemy were engaged in battle, landed his soldiers, seized the Pharos, and placed a garrison in it. By this means he gained this point, that he could be supplied without danger with corn, and auxiliaries; for he sent to all the neighboring countries, to demand supplies. In other parts of the town, they fought so obstinately, that they quitted the field with equal advantage, and neither were beaten (in consequence of the narrowness of the passes); and a few being killed on both sides, Caesar secured the most necessary posts, and fortified them in the night. In this quarter of the town was a wing of the king's palace, in which Caesar was lodged on his first arrival, and a theater adjoining the house which served as for citadel, and commanded an avenue to the ports and other docks. These fortifications he increased during the succeeding days, that he might have them before him as a rampart, and not be obliged to fight against his will. In the mean time Ptolemy's younger daughter, hoping the throne would become vacant, made her escape from the palace to Achillas, and assisted him in prosecuting the war. But they soon quarreled about the command, which circumstance enlarged the presents to the soldiers, for each endeavored by great sacrifices to secure their affection. While the enemy was thus employed, Pothinus, tutor to the young king, and regent of the kingdom, who was in Caesar's part of the town, sent messengers to Achillas, and encouraged him not to desist from his enterprise, nor to despair of success; but his messengers being discovered and apprehended, he was put to death by Caesar. Such was the commencement of the Alexandrian war.
End of Book 3
Copyright (c) 1996 by Bruce J. Butterfield
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