CAESAR'S COMMENTARIES of THE CIVIL WAR.
Caesar, as dictator, holding the Comitia, Julius Caesar, and P. Servilius, were chosen consuls; for this was the year in which he could be elected to that magistracy, consistent with the laws. This affair being despatched, as Caesar saw public credit at a stand over all Italy, because nobody paid their debts; he ordered that arbiters should be chosen, who should make an estimate of the possessions of all debtors, and should convey them in payment to their creditors, at the price they bore before the war. This regulation he thought best calculated to restore public credit, and prevent the apprehension of a general abolition of debts, which is but too common a consequence of wars and civil dissensions. At the same time, in consequence of an address to the people, he reestablished the praetors and tribunes, who had been deprived upon a charge of bribery, at a time when Pompey awed the city by his legions. These decisions were so little conformable to law, that sentence was often pronounced by a party of judges different from those who attended the pleadings. As these had made him an offer of their service in the beginning of the war, he accounted the obligation the same as if he had actually accepted of their friendship; but thought it better their restoration should seem to flow from the people, than appear a mere act of bounty in him, that he might neither be charged with ingratitude to his followers, nor accused of invading the prerogatives of the people.
All this business, with the celebration of the Latin festivals, and the holding of the comitia for elections, took him up eleven days, at the end of which he abdicated the dictatorship, and immediately set out from Rome, in order to reach Brundusium, where he had ordered twelve legions, with all the cavalry, to rendezvous. But he had scarce ships to carry over twenty thousand legionary soldiers, and six hundred horse, which alone hindered him from putting a speedy end to the war. Besides, the legions were considerably weakened by their many losses in the Gallic war, and the long and painful march from Spain; and an unhealthful autumn in Apulia, and about Brundusium, with the change of so fine a climate as that of Gaul and Spain, had brought a general sickness among the troops.
Pompey having had a whole year to complete his preparations, undisturbed by wars, and free from the interruption of an enemy, had collected a mighty fleet from Asia the Cyclades, Corcyra, Athens, Pontus, Bithynia, Syria, Cilicia, Phoenicia, and Eygpt, and had given orders for the building of ships in all parts. He had exacted great sums from the people of Asia and Syria; from the kings, tetrarchs, and dynasties of those parts; from the free states of Achaia, and from the corporations of the provinces subject to his command.
He had raised nine legions of Roman citizens; five he had brought with him from Italy; one had been sent him from Sicily, consisting wholly of veterans, and called Gemella, because composed of two; another from Crete and Macedonia, of veteran soldiers likewise, who, having been disbanded by former generals, had settled in those parts; and two more from Asia, levied by the care of LenC iESA tulus. Besides all these, he had great numbers from Thessaly, Boeotia, Achaia, and Epirus; whom, together with Antony's soldiers, he distributed among the legions by way of recruits. He expected also two legions that Metellus Scipio was to bring out of Syria. He had three thousand archers, drawn together from Crete, Lacedemon, Pontus, Syria, and other provinces; six cohorts of slingers; and two of mercenaries. His cavalry amounted to seven thousand; six hundred of which came from Galatia, under Dejotarus; five hundred from Cappadocia, under Ariobarzanes; and the like number had been sent him out of Thrace, by Cotus, with his son Sadalis at their head. Two hundred were from Macedonia, commanded by Bascipolis, an officer of great distinction; five hundred from Alexandria, consisting of Gauls and Germans, left there by A. Gabinius, to serve as a guard to king Ptolemy; and now brought over by young Pompey in his fleet, together with eight hundred of his own domestics. Tarcundarius Castor and Donilaus furnished three hundred Gallograecians: the first of these came himself in person; the latter sent his son. Two hundred, most of them archers, were sent from Syria, by Comagenus of Antioch, who lay under the greatest obligations to Pompey. There were likewise a great number of Dardanians and Bessians, partly volunteers, partly mercenaries; with others from Macedonia, Thessaly, and the adjoining states and provinces; who altogether made up the number mentioned above.
To subsist this mighty army, he had taken care to amass vast quantities of corn from Thessaly, Asia, Egypt, Crete, Cyrene, and other countries; resolving to quarter his troops, during the winter, at Dyrrhachium, Apollonia, and the other maritime towns, to prevent Caesar's passing the sea; for which purpose, he ordered his fleet to cruise perpetually about the coasts. Young Pompey commanded the Egyptian squadron ; D. Lalius and C. Triarius the Asiatic; C. Cassius the Syrian; C. Marcellus and C. Coponius the Rhodian; Scribonius Libo and M. Octavius the Liburnian and Achaian: but the chief authority was vested in M. Bibulus, who was admiral of the whole, and gave his orders accordingly.
Caesar, upon his arrival at Brundusium, harangued his troops, and told them: "That as they were now upon the point of seeing an end of all their toils and dangers, they ought baggage behind them in Italy, that they might embark with less confusion, and in greater numbers; putting all their hopes in victory, and the generosity of their general." The whole army testified their approbation of what was proposed, and called out that they were ready to submit to his orders. Accordingly having put seven legions on board, as we have before observed, he set sail the fourth of January, and arrived next day at the Ceraunian mountains: where, having found, among the rocks and shelves, with which that coast abounds, a tolerable road; and not daring to go to any port, as he apprehended they were all in the enemy's possession; he landed his troops at a place called Pharsalus, whither he brought his fleet, without the loss of a single ship.
Lucretius Vespillo and Minucius Rufus were at Oricum, with eighteen Asiatic ships: and Bibulus had a hundred and ten at Corcyra. But the first durst not hazard an engagement, though Caesar was escorted by no more than twelve galleys, only four of which had decks: and Bibulus had not time to reassemble his sailors and soldiers, who were dispersed in full security; for no news of Caesar's approach had reached those parts, till his fleet was seen from the continent.
Caesar having landed his troops, sent the fleet back the same night to Brundusium, to bring over his other legions and cavalry. Fufius Kalenus, lieutenant-general, had the charge of this expedition, with orders to use the utmost despatch. But setting sail too late, he lost the benefit of the wind, which offered fair all night, and fell in with the enemy. For Bibulus hearing at Corcyra of Caesar's arrival, forthwith put to sea, in hopes of intercepting some of the transports; and meeting the fleet as it returned empty, took about thirty ships, which he immediately burned, with all that were on board; partly to satisfy his own vengeance for the disappointment he had received; partly to deter the rest of the troops from attempting the passage. He then stationed his fleet along the coast, from Salona to Oricum, guarded all places with extraordinary care, and even lay himself aboard, notwithstanding the rigour of the winter; declining no danger nor fatigue, and solely intent upon intercepting Caesar's supplies.
After the departure of the Liburnian his command, sailed from Illyricum, and came before Salona. Having spirited up the Dalmatians, and other barbarous nations in those parts, he drew Issa to revolt from Caesar. But finding that the council of Salona was neither to be moved by promises nor threats, he resolved to invest the town. Salona is built upon a hill, and advantageously situated for defence; but as the fortifications were very inconsiderable, the Roman citizens, residing there, immediately surrounded the place with wooden towers; and finding themselves too few to resist the attacks of the enemy, who soon overwhelmed them with wounds, betook themselves to their last refuge, by granting liberty to all slaves capable of bearing arms, and cutting off the women's hair, to make cords for their engines. Octavius perceiving their obstinacy, formed five different camps round the town, that they might at once suffer all the inconveniences of a siege, and be exposed to frequent attacks. The Salonians, determined to endure any thing, found themselves most pressed for want of corn; and therefore sent deputies to Caesar to solicit a supply, patiently submitting to all the other hardships they laboured under. When the siege had now continued a considerable time, and the Octavians began to be off their guard, the Salonians, finding the opportunity favourable, about noon, when the enemy were dispersed, disposed their wives and children upon the walls, that every thing might have its wonted appearance; and sallying in a body with their enfranchised slaves, attacked the nearest quarters of Octavius. Having soon forced these, they advanced to the next; thence to a third, a fourth, and so on through the rest; till having driven the enemy from every post, and made great slaughter of their men, they at length compelled them, and Octavius their leader, to betake themselves to their ships. Such was the issue of the siege. As winter now approached, and the loss had been very considerable; Octavius, despairing to reduce the place, retired to Dyrrhachium, and joined Pompey.
We have seen that L. Vibullius Rufus, Pompey's chief engineer, had fallen twice into Caesar's hands, and been as often set at liberty; the first time at Corfinium, the next in Spain. Having been therefore twice indebted to him for his life, and being also much in Pompey's esteem, Caesar thought him a proper person to negotiate between them. His instructions were; "That it was now time for both to desist from their obstinacy, and lay down their arms, without exposing themselves any more to the precarious events of fortune. That the losses they had already sustained ought to serve as lessons and cautions, and fill them with just apprehensions with regard to the future. That Pompey had been forced to abandon Italy, had lost Sicily and Sardinia, the two Spains, with about a hundred and thirty cohorts of Roman citizens, who had perished in these countries. That himself too had been a considerable sufferer by the death of Curio, the destruction of the African army, and the surrender of his forces at Corcyra. That it was therefore incumbent on them to show some regard to the sinking state of the commonwealth, having sufficiently experienced, by their own misfortunes, how prevalent fortune was in war. That the present moment was the most favourable in this respect; because, not having yet tried one another's strength, and considering them as equals, there would be more likelihood of agreeing on terms: whereas, if one of them once got the superiority, he would exact every thing from the other, and give up nothing. That as hitherto they had been unable to settle the conditions of peace, they ought to refer them to the decision of the senate and people of Rome; and, in the meantime, to obtain a free and unbiassed judgment, both swear to disband their armies in three days' time. That when they were once divested of their national and auxiliary forces, in which their whole confidence lay, they would find themselves under a necessity of submitting to the decree of the senate and people. In fine, that to give Pompey a proof of his readiness to perform these proposals, he would give immediate orders for the discharge of all his forces, both in garrison and in the field."
Vibullius having received these instructions, thought it necessary to give Pompey speedy notice of Caesar's arrival, that he might be provided against that event, before he laid open the commission he was charged with. Accordingly, journeying day and night, and frequently changing horses, for the greater expedition, he at length got to Pompey, and informed him that Caesar was approaching with all his forces. Pompey was at that time in Candavia, from whence he was marching through Macedonia, to his winter quarters at Apollonia and Dyrrhachium. Concerned at this unexpected news, he hastened his march to Apollonia, to prevent Caesar's making himself master of the sea-coasts. Meanwhile Caesar, having landed his forces, marched the same day to Oricum. Upon his arrival there, L. Torquatus, who commanded in the town for Pompey, with a garrison of Parthinians, ordered the gates to be shut, and the Greeks to repair to their arms, and man the walls. But they refusing to fight against the authority of the people of Rome, and the inhabitants, of their own accord, endeavouring to admit Caesar, Torquatus, despairing of relief, opened the gates, and surrendered both himself and the town to Caesar, who readily granted him his life.
Caesar having made himself master of Oricum, marched directly to Apollonia. Upon the report of his arrival, L. Staberius, who commanded in the place, ordered water to be carried into the castle, fortified it with great care, and demanded hostages of the townsmen. They refused to comply; declaring they would not shut their gates against the consul of the Roman people, nor presume to act in contradiction to the judgment of the senate, and of all Italy. Staberius finding it in vain to resist, privately left the place; upon which, the Apollonians sent deputies to Caesar, and received him into the town. Bullidenses, Amantiani, with the rest of the neighbouring countries, and all Epirus, followed their example; acquainting Caesar, by their ambassadors, that they were ready to execute his commands.
Meanwhile Pompey, having notice of what passed at Oricum and Apollonia, and being apprehensive for Dyrrhachium, marched day and night to reach the place. At the same time it was reported that Caesar was not far off; which meeting with the more credit, because of their hasty march, put the whole army into such consternation, that many abandoning their colours in Epirus and the neighbouring states, and others throwing down their arms, every thing had the appearance of a precipitate flight. But upon Pompey's halting near Dyrrhachium, and ordering a camp to be formed; as the army had not even then recovered its fright, Labienus advanced before the rest, and swore never to abandon his genshould assign him. The other lieutenants did the same, as likewise the military tribunes and centurions, whose example was followed by the whole army. Caesar, finding that he was prevented in his design upon Dyrrhachium, pursued his march more leisurely, and encamped on the river Apsus, in the territories of the Apollonians; that he might protect the possessions of a state, which had so warmly declared in his favour. Here he resolved to pass the winter in tents, and wait the arrival of the rest of his legions out of Italy. Pompey did the like, and having encamped on the other side of the Apsus, assembled there all his legions and auxiliaries.
Kalenus having embarked the legions and cavalry at Brundusium, according to the instructions he had received, put to sea with his whole fleet; but had not sailed very far till he was met by letters from Caesar, informing him that all the Grecian coasts were guarded by the enemy's fleet. Upon this, he recalled his ships, and returned again into the harbour. Only one continued its route, which carried no soldiers, nor was subject to the orders of Kalenus, but belonged to a private commander. This vessel arriving before Oricum, fell into the hands of Bibulus, who, not sparing the very children, put all on board to death, both freemen and slaves. So much did the safety of the whole army depend upon a single moment.
Bibulus, as we have related above, lay at Oricum, with his fleet; and as he deprived Caesar of all supplies by sea, so was he, in like manner, greatly incommoded by Caesar at land; who, having disposed parties along the coast, hindered him from getting water or wood, or coming near the shore. This was attended with many inconveniences, and threw him into great straits; insomuch that he was obliged to fetch all his other necessaries, as well as wood and water, from the island of Corcyra; and once, when foul weather prevented his receiving refreshments from thence, the soldiers were necessitated, for want of water, to collect the dew, which, in the night, fell on the hides that covered their ships. Yet he bore all these difficulties with surprising firmness, and continued resolute in his design of not unguarding the coast. But at last, being reduced to the above-mentioned extremity, and Libo having joined him, they called from two of Caesar's lieutenants, one of whom guarded the walls of Oricum, and the other the sea-coasts; that they wanted to confer with Caesar about affairs of the greatest consequence, if they could but have an opportunity. To gain the more credit, they let fall some expressions that seemed to promise accommodation; and in the meanwhile demanded and obtained a truce; for Marcus and Acilius believing their proposals to be serious, knew how extremely grateful they would be to Caesar, and doubted not but Vibullius had succeeded in his negotiation.
Caesar was then at Buthrotum, a town over against Corcyra; whither he was gone, with one legion, to reduce some of the more distant states, and supply himself with corn, which then began to be scarce. Here, receiving letters from Acilius and Marcus, with an account of Libo and Bibulus's demands, he left the legion, and returned to Oricum. Upon his arrival, he invited them to a conference. Libo appeared, and made an apology for Bibulus: "That being naturally hasty, and bearing a personal grudge to Caesar, contracted during the time of his edileship and questorship, he had, for that reason, declined the interview; to prevent any obstructions from his presence to the success of so desirable and advantageous a design: that Pompey was, and ever had been inclined to lay down his arms, and terminate their differences by an accommodation; but as yet had not sent him sufficient powers to treat; which, however, he doubted not soon to receive, as the council had intrusted him with the whole administration of the war: that if he would therefore make known his demands, they would send them to Pompey, who would soon come to a resolution upon their representations. In the meantime, the truce might continue, and both parties abstain from acts of hostility, till an answer could be obtained." He added something about the justice of their cause, and their forces, both natural and auxiliary;
to which Caesar neither at that time returned any answer, nor do we now think it of importance enough to be transmitted to posterity. Caesar's demands were: "That he might have leave to send ambassadors to Pompey; and that they would either stipulate for their return, or undertake themselves to convey them in safety: that with regard to the truce; such were the fleet kept back his supplies and transports, and his forces deprived them of water and access to the shore. If they expected any abatement on his side, they must likewise abate in guarding the coast; but if they still persisted in their former vigilance, neither would he yield in what depended on him: that, notwithstanding, the accommodation might go forward without any obstruction from this mutual denial." Libo declined receiving Caesar's ambassadors, or undertaking for their safe return, and chose to refer the whole matter to Pompey; yet insisted on the truce. Caesar perceiving, that the only aim of the enemy was to extricate themselves out of their present straits and danger, and that it was in vain to entertain any hopes of peace, turned all his thoughts to the vigorous prosecution of the war.
Bibulus having kept at sea for many days, and contracted a dangerous illness by the cold and perpetual fatigue, as he could neither have proper assistance on board, nor would be prevailed upon to quit his post, he at last sunk under the weight of his distemper. After his death, nobody succeeded in the command of the whole fleet; but each squadron was governed, independently of the rest, by its particular commander. When the surprise occasioned by Caesar's sudden arrival was over, Vibullius, in presence of Libo, L. Lucceius, and Theophanes, who were among Pompey's most intimate counsellors, resolved to deliver the commission he had received from Caesar. But scarce had he begun to speak, when Pompey interrupted him, and ordered him to proceed no further. "What," says he, "is my life or country to me, if I shall seem to be beholden to Caesar for them? And will it be believed that I am not indebted to him for them, if he, by an accommodation, restores me to Italy?" Caesar was informed of this speech, after the conclusion of the war, by those who were present when it was delivered: he still continued, however, by other methods, to try to bring about an accommodation.
As the two camps were only separated by the river Apsus, the soldiers had frequent discourse among themselves; and it was settled by mutual consent, that no act of hostility should pass during the conferences. Caesar taking advantage of this opportunity, sent P. Vatinius, one of his lieutenants, to forward to the utmost an accommodation; and to demand frequently with a loud voice, "Whether it might not be permitted to citizens, to send deputies to their fellow citizens about peace: that this had never been denied even to fugitives and robbers, and could much less be opposed, when the only design was to prevent the effusion of civil blood." This and much more he said, with a submissive air, as became one employed to treat for his own and the common safety. He was heard with great silence by both parties, and received this answer from the enemy: "That A. Varro had declared he would next day appear at an interview, whither the deputies of both parties might come in perfect security, and mutually make known their demands." The hour of meeting was likewise settled; which being come, multitudes on both sides flocked to the place; the greatest expectations were formed; and the minds of all seemed intent upon peace. T. Labienus, advancing from the crowd, began in a low voice to confer with Vatinius, as if to settle the articles of the treaty. But their discourse was soon interrupted by a multitude of darts that came pouring in on all sides. Vatinius escaped the danger, by means of the soldiers, who protected him with their shields; but Cornelius Balbus, M. Plotius, L. Tiburtus, centurions, and some private men, were wounded. Labienus then lifted up his voice, and cried: "Leave off prating of an accommodation; for you must not expect peace, till you bring us Caesar's head."
About the same time, M. Caelius Rufus, pretor at Rome for foreign affairs, having undertaken the cause of the debtors, on his entrance into his office, ordered his tribunal to be fixed near that of the city pretor, C. Trebonius, and promised to receive the complaints of such as should appeal to him, in regard to the estimation and payments, made in consequence of Caesar's late regulation. But such was the equity of the decree, and the humanity of Trebonius, who, in so nice and critical an affair, thought it necessary to conduct himself with the utmost clemency and moderation, that no pretence of appeal could be found. For to plead poverty, personal losses, the hardness of the times, and the difficulty of bringing their effects to sale, is usual enough even with reasonable minds: but to own themselves indebted, and yet aim at keeping their possessions entire, would have argued a total want both of honesty and shame. Accordingly not a man was found who had made any such demand. Caelius's whole severity, therefore, was pointed against those, to whom the inheritance of the debtor was adjudged; and having once embarked in the affair, that he might not seem to have engaged himself to no purpose in an unjustifiable cause, he published a law, by which he allowed the debtors six years for the discharge of their debts, wihch they were to clear at equal payments, without interest.
But the consul Servilius, and the rest of the magistrates opposing the law, when he found it had not the effect he expected, he thought proper to drop that design; and in the view of inflaming the people, proposed two new laws; the one, to exempt all the tenants in Rome from paying rents; the other, for a general abolition of debts. This bait took with themultitude, and Caelius at their head, came and attacked C. Trebonius on his tribunal, drove him thence, and wounded some about him. The consul Servilius reported these things to the senate, who interdicted to Caelius the functions of his office. In consequence of this decree, the consul refused him admittance into the senate, and drive him out of his tribunal, when he was going to harangue the people. Overwhelmed with shame and resentment, he openly threatened to carry his complaints to Caesar; but privately gave notice to Milo, who had been banished for the murder of Clodius, to come into Italy, and join him with the remains of the gladiators, which he bought formerly to entertain the people with, in the shows he gave them. With this view he sent him before to Turinum, to solicit the shepherds to take arms, and went himself to Casilinum: where hearing that his arms and ensigns had been seized at Capua, his partisans at Naples, and their design of betraying the city discovered; finding all his projects defeated, the gates of Capua shut against him, and the danger increased every moment, because the citizens had taken arms, and began to consider him as a public enemy; he desisted from the project he had formed, and thought proper to change his rout.
In the meantime Milo, having despatched letters to all the colonies and free towns, intimating that what he did was in virtue of Pompey's authority, who had sent him orders by Bibulus, endeavored to draw over the debtors to his party. But not succeeding in his design, he contented himself with setting some slaves at liberty, and with them marched to besiege Cosa, in the territory of Turinum. Q. Paedius the pretor, with a garrison of one legion, commanded in the town: and here Milo was slain by a stone from a machine on the walls. Caelius giving out that he was gone to Caesar, came to Thurium, where endeavouring to debauch the inhabitants, and corrupt by promises of money the Spanish and Gaulish horse, whom Caesar had sent thither to garrison the place, they slew him. Thus these dangerous beginnings, that by reason of the multiplicity of affairs wherewith the magistrates were distracted, and the ticklish situation of the times, threatened great revolutions, and alarmed all Italy, were brought to a safe and speedy issue.
Libo leaving Oricum, with the fleet under his command, consisting of fifty sail, came to Brundusium, and possessed himself of an island directly facing the harbour, judging it of more consequence to secure a post, by which our transports must necessarily pass, than guard all the coasts and havens on the other side. As his arrival was unexpected, he surprised and burned some transports, and carried off a vessel loaded with corn. The consternation was great among our men, insomuch that having landed some foot, with a party of archers, in the night, he defeated our guard of cavalry, and had so far the advantage, by the commodiousness of his post, that he wrote Pompey word, he might draw the rest of the navy on shore, and order them to be careened; for he alone, with his squadron, would undertake to cut off Caesar's supplies.
Antony was then at Brundusium, who confiding in the valour of the troops, ordered some boats belonging to the fleet to be armed with hurdles and galleries, and having filled them with chosen troops, disposed them in several places along the shore. At the same time, he sent two three-benched galleys, which he had caused to be built at Brundusium, to the mouth of the harbour, as if with design to exercise the rowers. Libo perceiving them advance boldly, and hoping he might be able to intercept them, detached five quadriremes for that purpose. At their approach, our men rowed towards the harbour, whither the enemy, eager of the pursuit, inconsiderately followed them; for now Antony's armed boats, upon a signal given, came pouring upon them from all parts, and on the very first onset took a quadrireme, with all the soldiers and sailors on board, and forced the rest to an ignominious flight. To add to this disgrace, the cavalry, which Antony had posted ail along the coast, hindered the enemy from watering; which reduced them to such straits that Libo was forced to quit the blockade or Brundusium, and retire with his fleet.
Several months had now passed; the winter was almost over; meantime, neither the ships nor legions were yet arrived, which Caesar expected from Brundusium. He could not help thinking that some opportunities had been lost, as it was certain the wind had many times offered fair, and there was a necessity of trusting to it at last. The longer the delay in sending over the troops, the more vigilant and alert were the enemy in guarding the coast, and the greater their confidence to hinder the passage; nay, Pompey, in his letters, frequently reproached them, that as they had not prevented the first embarkation, they ought at least to take care that no more of the troops got over; and the season itself was becoming less favourable, by the approach of milder weather, when the enemy's fleet would be able to act and extend itself. For these reasons, Caesar wrote sharply to his lieutenants at Brundusium, charging them not to omit the first opportunity of sailing, as soon as the wind offered fair, and to steer for the coast of Apollonia, which they could approach with less danger, as it was not so strictly guarded by the enemy, who were afraid of venturing on a coast so ill provided with havens.
The lieutenants, roused and emboldened by these letters, and encouraged by the exhortations of the troops themselves, who professed they were ready to face any danger for Caesar's sake, embarked under the direction of M. Antony and Fufius Kalenus, and setting sail with the wind at south, passed Apollonia and Dyrrhachium next day. Being descried from the continent, C. Coponius, who commanded the Rhodian squadron at Dyrrhachium, put out to sea, and the wind slackening upon our fleet, it was near falling into the hands of the enemy; but a fresh gale springing up at south, saved us from that danger. Coponius however desisted not from the pursuit, hoping by the labour and perseverance of the mariners, to surmount the violence of the tempest; and though we had passed Dyrrhachium with a very hard gale, still continued to follow us. Our men, apprehensive of an attack, should the wind again chance to slacken, seized an advantage fortune threw in their way, and put into the port of Nyphaeum, about three miles beyond Lissus. This port is sheltered from the south-west wind, but lies open to the south; but,they preferred the hazard they might be exposed to by the tempest, to that of fighting. At that instant, by an unusual piece of good fortune, the wind, which for two days had blown from the south, changed to the south west. This was a sudden and favourable turn: for the fleet so lately in danger from the enemy, was sheltered in a safe commodious port; and that whichthreatened ours with destruction, was in its turn exposed to the utmost peril.
By this unexpected change, the storm, which protected our fleet, beat so furiously on the Rhodian galleys, that they were all, to the number of sixteen, broken to pieces against the shore. Most of the soldiers and mariners perished among the rocks: the rest were taken up by our men, and sent by Caesar's orders to their several homes.
Two of our transports, unable to keep up with the rest, were overtaken by the night: and not knowing where the fleet had put in, cast anchor over against Lissus. Otacilius Crassus, who commanded in the place, sent out some boats and small vessels to attack them: at the same time he urged them to surrender, promising quarter to such as would submit. One of these vessels carried two hundred and twenty new-raised soldiers; the other less than two hundred veterans. On this occasion appeared, how great a defence against danger results from firmness of mind. The new levies, frighted at the number of their adversaries, and fatigued with sea-sickness, surrendered on promise of their lives. But when they were brought to Otacilius, regardless of the oath he had taken, he ordered them all to be cruelly slain in his presence. The veterans, on the contrary, though they hadboth the storm and a leaky vessel to struggle with, abated nothing of their wonted bravery: but having spun out the time till night under pretence of treating, obliged the pilot to run the vessel ashore, where finding an advantageous post, they continuedthe remainder of the night. At day-break, Otacilius detached against them part of the coast, and pursued them sword in hand; but they defendedthemselves with great bravery, and having slain some of the enemy, rejoined, without loss, the rest of the troops.
Upon this the Roman citizens inhabiting Lissus, to whom Caesar had before made a grant of the town, after fortifying it with great care, opened their gates to Antony, and furnished him with every thing he stood in need of. Otacilius, dreading the consequences of this revolution, quitted the place, and fled to Pompey. Antony having landed his troops, which consisted of three veteran legions, one new raised, and eight hundred horse, sent most of the transports back again to Brundusium, to bring over the rest of the foot and cavalry; retaining, nevertheless, some ships of Gaulish structure, that if Pompey, imagining Italy destitute of troops, should attempt to run thither, as was commonly rumoured, Caesar might be able to follow him. At the same time he gave Caesar speedy notice of the number of forces he had brought over with him, and the place where he had landed.
This intelligence reached Caesar and Pompey much about the same time; for both had seen the fleet pass Apollonia and Dyrrhachium, and had in consequence directed their march that way; but neither knew, for some days, into what harbour it had put. On the first news of Antony's landing, the two generals took different resolutions; Caesar, to join him as soon as possible; Pompey, to oppose his march, and, if possible, draw him into an ambuscade. Both quitted their camps on the Apsus about the same time; Pompey, privately, during the night; Caesar, publicly, by day. But Caesar, who had the river to cross, was obliged to fetch a compass, that he might come at a ford. Pompey, on the other hand, having nothing to obstruct his march, advanced by great journeys against Antony; and, understanding that he was not far off, posted his troops on an advantageous ground, ordering them to keep within their camp, and light no fires, that his approach might not be perceived. But Antony being informed of it by the Greeks, would not stir out of his lines, and sending immediate notice to Caesar, was joined by him next day. On advice of Caesar's arrival, Pompey, that he might not be shut up between two armies, quitted the place, and coming with all his forces to Asparagium, a town belonging to the Dyrrhachians, encamped there on an advantageous ground.
About the same time Scipio, notwithstanding some checks he had received near Mount Amanus, assumed the title of emperor; after which he exacted great sums of money from the neighbouring states and princes; obliged the farmers of the revenue to pay the two years' taxes, which lay in their hands, and advance a third by way of loan, and sent orders to the whole province; for levying cavalry. Having got a sufficient number together, he quitted the Parthians, his nearest enemies who not long before had slain M. Crassus, and held Bibulus invested; and marched out of Syria with his legions and cavalry. When he arrived in Asia Minor, he found the whole country filled with terror on account of the Parthian war; and the soldiers themselves declared, that they were ready to march against an enemy, but would never bear arms against a consul, and their fellow-citizens. To stifle these discontents, he made considerable presents to the troops, quartered them in Pergamus and other rich towns, and gave up the whole country to their discretion.
Meanwhile the money demanded of the province was levied with great rigour, and various pretences were devised, to serve as a ground to new exactions. Slaves and freemen were subject to a capitation tax. Imposts were laid upon pillars and doors of houses. Corn, soldiers, mariners, arms, engines, carriages, in a word, every thing that had a name, furnished a sufficient handle for extorting money. Governors were appointed not only over towns, but over villages and castles; and he that acted with the greatest rigour and cruelty, was accounted the worthiest man and best citizen. The province swarmed with lictors, overseers, and collectors, who, besides the sums imposed by public authority exacted money likewise on their own account, colouring their iniquitous demands with a pretence that they had been expelled their country and native homes, and were in extreme want of every thing. Add to all these calamities, immoderate usury, an evil almost inseparable from war; for so great sums are then exacted, beyond what a country is able to furnish, they are obliged to apply for a delay, which at any price is still accounted a favour. Thus the debts of the province increased considerably during these two years. Nor were the Roman citizens the only sufferers on this occasion; for certain sums were demanded of every state and corporation, as a loan upon the senate's decree; and the farmers of the revenue were ordered to advance the next year's tribute, in like manner as when they first entered upon office.
Besides all this, Scipio gave orders for seizing the treasures of the temple of Diana at Ephesus, with all the statues of that goddess. But when he came to the temple, attended by many persons of senatorian rank, he received letters from Pompey, desiring him to lay aside all other concerns, and make what haste he could to join him, because Caesar had passed into Greece with his whole army. In consequence of this order, he sent back the senators who had been summoned to attend him at Ephesus, made preparations for passing into Macedonia, and began his march a few days after. Thus the Ephesian treasures escaped being plundered.
Caesar having joined Antony's army, and recalled the legion he had left at Oricum to guard the sea-coast, judged it necessary to advance farther into the country, and possess himself of the more distant provinces. At the same time,deputies arrived from Thessaly and Aetolia with assurances of submission from all the states in those parts, provided he would send troops to defend them. Accordingly he despatched L. Cassius Longinus, with a legion of new levies, called the twenty-seventh, and two hundred horse, into Thessaly; and C. Calvissius Sabinus, with five cohorts, and some cavalry, into Aetolia; charging them in a particular manner, as those provinces lay the nearest to his camp, that they would take care to furnish him with corn. He likewise ordered Cn. Domitius Calvinus, with the eleventh and twelfth legions, and five hundred horse, to march into Macedonia: for Menedemus, the principal man of that country, having come ambassador to Caesar, had assured him of the affection of the province.
Calvisius was well received by the Aetolians, and having driven the enemy's garrisons from Calydon and Naupactum, possessed himself of the whole country. Cassius arriving in Thessaly with his legion, found the state divided into two factions. Egesaretus, a man in years, and of established credii, favoured Pompey; Petreius, a young nobleman of the first rank, exerted his whole interest in behalf of Caesar.
About the same time Domitius arrived in Macedonia; and while deputies were attending him from all parts, news came that Scipio approached with his legions, which spread a great alarm through the country; as fame, for the most part, magnifies the first appearances of things. Scipio, without stopping any where in Macedonia, advanced by great marches towards Domitius; but being come within twenty miles of him, suddenly changed his route, and turned off to Thessaly, in quest of Cassius Longinus. This was done so expeditiously, that he was actually arrived with his troops, when Cassius received the first notice of his march: for to make the more despatch, he had left M. Favonius at the river Haliacmon, which separates Macedonia from Thessaly, with eight cohorts, to guard the baggage of the legions, and ordered him to erect a fort there. At the same time, king Cotus's cavalry, which had been accustomed to make inroads into Thessaly, came pouring upon Cassius's camp; who, knowing that Scipio was upon his march, and believing the cavalry to be his, retired in a fright to the mountains that begirt Thessaly, and thence directed his course towards Ambracia. Scipio preparing to follow him, received letters from M. Favonius, that Domitius was coming up with his legions, nor would it be possible for him to maintain the post he was in, without his assistance. Scipio, upon his intelligence, changed his resolution, gave over the pursuit of Cassius, and advanced to the relief of Favonius. As he marched day and night without intermission, he arrived so opportunely, that the dust of Domitius's army, and his advanced parties, were descried at the same time. Thus Domitius's care preserved Cassius, and Scipio's diligence Favonius.
Scipio continued two days in his camp upon the Haliacmon, which ran between him and the army of Domitius, put his troops in motion on the third, and by day-break forded the river. Early next morning he drew up his troops in order of battle at the head of his camp. Domitius was not averse to an engagement; but as between the two camps there was a plain of six miles, he thought that the fittest place for a field of battle, and drew up his men at some distance from Scipost; yet hardly could Domitius restrain his men from advancing to attack him though a rivulet with steep banks, that ran in the front of the enemy's camp, and opposed their passage. Scipio observing the keenness and alacrity of our troops, and fearing that next day he should either be forced to fight against his will, or ignominiously keep within his camp; after great expectations raised, by too hastily crossting the river, he saw all his projects defeated; and decamping in great silence during the night, returned to his former station, beyond the Haliacmon, and posted himself on a rising ground, near the river. A few days after, he formed an ambuscade, of cavalry, by night, in a place where our men were wont to forage: and when Q. Varus, who commanded the horse under Domitius, came next day, according to custom; suddenly the enemy rose from their lurking holes: but our men bravely sustained the attack, soon recovered their ranks, and in their turn vigorously charged the enemy. About fourscore fell on this occasion; the rest betook themselves to flight; and our men returned to their camp, with the loss of only two of their number.
After this rencounter, Domitius, hoping to draw Scipio to a battle, feigned to decamp for want of provisions; and having made the usual signal for retreating, after a march of three miles, drew up his cavalry and legions in a convenient plain, shrouded from the enemy's view. Scipio, preparing to follow, sent the horse and light-armed infantry before to explore his route, and examine the situation of the country. When they were advanced a little way, and their first squadrons had come within reach of our ambush; beginning to suspect something from the neighing of the horses, they wheeled about, in order to retreat; which the troops that followed observing, suddenly halted. Our men, finding that the ambush was discovered, and knowing it would be in vain to wait for the rest of the army, fell upon the two squadrons that were most advanced. M. Opinius, general of the horse to Domitius, was amongst these, but somehow found means to escape. All the rest were either slain, or made prisoners.
Caesar having drawn off his garrisons from the sea-coast, as we have related above, left three cohorts at Oricum to defend the town, and committed to their charge the one of his lieutenants, had the command of these troops; who, for the greater security, caused the ships to be drawn up into the harbour behind the town, and made them fast to the shore. He likewise sunk a transport in the mouth of the haven, behind which another rode at anchor, on whose deck a tower was erected, facing the entrance of the port, and filled with troops, to be ready in case of surprise.
Young Pompey, who commanded the Egyptian fleet, having notice of this, came to Oricum; weighed up the vessel that had been sunk in the mouth of the harbour; and, after an obstinate resistance, took the other, which had been placed there by Acilius, to guard the haven. He then brought forward his fleet, on which he had raised towers, to fight with the greater advantage; and having surrounded the town on all sides, attacked it by land with scaling ladders, and by sea from the towers, sending fresh men continually in the place of those that were fatigued, and thereby obliging us to yield, through weariness and wounds. At the same time he seized an eminence, on the other side of the town, which seemed a kind of natural mole, and almost formed a peninsula over against Oricum; and by means of this neck of land, carried four small galleys, upon rollers, into the inner part of the haven. Thus the galleys, that were made fast to the land, and destitute of troops, being attacked on all sides, four were carried off, and the rest burned. This affair despatched, he left D. Laelius, whom he had taken from the command of the Asiatic fleet, to prevent the importation of provisions from Biblis and Amantia; and sailing for Lissus, attacked and burned the thirty transports which Antony had left in that haven. He endeavoured likewise to take the town; but the Roman citizens of that district, aided by the garrison Caesar had left, defended it so well, that at the end of three days, he retired without effecting his purpose, having lost some men in the attempt.
Caesar being informed that Pompey was at Asparagium, marched thither with his army; and having taken the capital of the Parthinians by the way, where Pompey had a garrison; arrived the third day in Macedonia, and encamped at a small distance from the enemy. The next day he drew out all his forces, formed them before his camp, and offered Pompey battle. Finding that he kept within his lines, he led back his troops, and began to think of pursuing other measures. Accordingly, on the morrow, by a long circuit, and through very narrow and difficult ways, he marched, with all his forces, to Dyrrhachium; hoping either to oblige Pompey to follow him thither, or cut off his communication with the town, where he had laid up all his provisions, and magazines of war; which happened accordingly. For Pompey, at first, not penetrating his design, because he counterfeited a route different from what he really intended, imagined he had been obliged to decamp for want of provisions: but being afterwards informed of the truth, by his scouts, he quitted his camp next day, in hopes to pre vent him by taking a nearer way. Caesar, suspecting what might happen, exhorted his soldiers to bear the fatigue patiently; and allowing them to repose during only a small part of the night, arrived next morning at Dyrrhachium, where he immediately formed a camp, just as Pompey's van began to appear at a distance.
Pompey, thus excluded from Dyrrhachium, and unable to execute his first design, came to a resolution of encamping on an eminence, called Petra, where was a tolerable harbour, sheltered from some winds. Here he ordered part of his fleet to attend him, and corn and provisions to be brought him from Asia, and the other provinces subject to his command. Caesar, apprehending the war would run into length, and despairing of supplies from Italy, because the coasts were so strictly guarded by Pompey's fleet; and his own galleys, built, the winter before, in Sicily, Gaul, and Italy, were not yet arrived; despatched L. Canuleius, one of his lieutenants, to Epirus, for corn. And because that country lay at a great distance from his camp, he built granaries in several places, and wrote to the neighbouring states to carry their corn thither. He likewise ordered search to be made for what corn could be found in Lissus, the country of the Parthinians, and the other principalities in those parts. This amounted to very little; partly occasioned by the soil, which is rough and mountainous, and obliges the inhabitants often to import grain; partly because Pompey, foreseeing Caesar's wants, had, some days before, ravaged the country of the Parthinians, plundered their houses, and, corn.
For these reasons, Caesar formed a project, which the very nature of the country suggested. All round Pompey's camp, at a small distance, were high and steep hills. Caesar took possession of those hills, and built forts upon them; resolving, as the nature of the ground would allow, to draw lines of communication from one fort to another, and inclose Pompey within his works. His views herein were; first, to facilitate the passage of his convoys, which the enemy's cavalry, which was very strong and fine, would no longer cut off; next. to distress this very cavalry, for want of forage; and lastly, to lessen the great reputation and high idea entertained of Pompey, when it should be reported all over the world, that he had suffered himself to be blockaded, and, as it were, imprisoned by Caesar's works; and durst not hazard a battle to set himself at liberty.
Pompey would neither leave the sea and Dyrrhachium, where he had all his magazines and engines of war, and whence he was supplied with provisions by means of his fleet; nor could prevent the progress of Caesar's works, without fighting, which, at that time, he was determined against. He could do nothing therefore but extend himself, by taking as many hills, and as large a circuit of country as possible, to give his adversary the more trouble, and divide his forces. This he did, by raising twenty-four forts, which took in a circumference of fifteen miles, wherein were arable and pasture lands, to feed his horses and beasts of burden. And as our men had carried their circumvallation quite round, by drawing lines of commuication from fort to fort, to prevent the sallies of the enemy, and guard against the attacks in the rear; in like manner, Pompey's men had surrounded themselves with lines, to hinder us from breaking in upon them, and charging them behind. They even perfected their works first, because they had more hands, and a less circuit to inclose. When Caesar endeavoured to gain any place, Pompey, though determined not to oppose him with all his forces, nor hazard a general action, failed not, however, to detach parties of archers and slingers; who wounded great numbers of our men, and occasioned such a dread of their arrows, that almost all the soldiers furnished themselves, with coats of danger.
Both parties disputed every post with great obstinacy: Caesar, that he might inclose Pompey within as narrow a space as possible; and Pompey, that he might have liberty to extend himself; which occasioned many sharp skirmishes. In one of these, Caesar's ninth legion having possessed themselves of an eminence, which they began to fortify, Pompey seized the opposite mount, with a resolution to hinder their works. As the access on one side was very easy, he sent first some archers and slingers, and afterwards a strong detachment of light-armed foot, plying us, at the same time, with his military engines; which obliged our men to desist; as they found it impossible at once to sustain the enemy's charge, and go forward with their works. Caesar, perceiving that his men were wounded from all sides, resolved to quit the place and retire. But as the descent, by which he must retreat, was pretty steep, the Pompeians charged him briskly in drawing off, imagining he gave way through fear. Pompey went so far as to say, That he consented to be accounted a general of no merit, if Caesar's men got off without considerable loss.
Caesar, concerned about the retreat of his men, ordered hurdles to be fixed on the ridge of the hill fronting the enemy: behind which he dug a moderate ditch, and rendered the place as inaccessible as he could, on all sides. When this was done, he began to file off the legionary soldiers, supporting them by some light-armed troops, posted on their flanks, who, with arrows and stones, might repulse the enemy. Pompey's troops failed not to pursue them, with great outcries and fierce menaces, overturned the hurdles, and used them as bridges to get over the ditch. Which Casar observing, and fearing some disaster might ensue, should he seem to be driven from a post, which he quitted voluntarily; when his forces were got half down the hill, encouraging them by Antony, who had the command of that legion, he gave the signal to face about, and fall on the enemy. Immediately the soldiers of the ninth legion, forming themselves into close order, launched their darts; and advancing briskly up the hill against the enemy, forced them to give ground, and at last betake themselves to flight; which was not a little incommoded by the hurdles, palisades, and ditch, Caesar had thrown up to stop to secure their retreat, having killed several of the enemy, and lost only five of their own number, retired without the least disturbance, and inclosing some other hills within their lines, completed the circumvallation.
This method of making war was new and extraordinary; as well in regard to the number of forts, the extent of the circumvallation, the greatness of his works, and the manner of attack and defence, as on other accounts. For whoever undertakes to invest another, is, for the most part, moved thereto, either by some previousdefeat he has sustained, the knowledge of his weakness, to take advantage of his distress, to profit by a superiority of forces; or, in fine, to cut off his provisions, which is the most ordinary cause of. these attempts. But Caesar, with an inferior force, besieged Pompey, whose troops were entire, in good order, and abounded in all things. For ships arrived every day, from all parts, with provisions; nor could the wind blow from any quarter, that was not favourable to some of them; whereas Caesar's army, having consumed all the corn round about, was reduced to the last necessities. Nevertheless the soldiers bore all with singular patience ; remembering, that though reduced to the like extremity the year before, in Spain, they had yet, by their assiduity and perseverance, put an end to a very formidable war. They called to mind too their sufferings at Alesia, and their still greater distresses before Avaricum, by which, however, they triumphed over mighty nations. When barley or pulse was given them instead of corn, they took it cheerfully; and thought themselves regaled when they got any cattle, which Epirus furnished them with in great abundance.
They discovered in the country a root, called chara, which they pounded and kneaded with milk, so as to make a sort of bread of it. This furnished a plentiful supply; and when their adversaries reproached them with their want, by way of answer to their insults, they threw their loaves at them.
By this time, the corn began to ripen, and the hopes of a speedy supply supported the soldiers under their present wants. Nay, they were often heard to say one to another, that they would sooner live on the bark of trees, than let Pompey escape. For they were informed from time to time, by deserters, that their horses were almost starved, and the rest of their cattle actually dead; that the troops themselves were very sickly; partly occasioned by the narrow space in which they were inclosed, the number and noisesome smell of dead carcases, and the daily fatigue to which they were unaccustomed, partly by their extreme want of water. For Caesar had either turned the course of all the rivers and brooks that ran into the sea, or dammed up their currents. And as the country was mountainous, intermixed with deep valleys, by driving piles into the earth, and covering them with mould, he stopped up the course of the waters. This obliged the enemy to search for low and marshy places, and to dig wells, which added to their daily labour. The wells too, when discovered, lay at a considerable distance from some parts of the army, and were soon dried up by the heat. Caesar's army, on the contrary, was very healthy, abounded in water, and had plenty of all kinds of provisions, corn excepted, which they hoped to be soon supplied with, as the season was now pretty far advanced, and harvest approached.
In this method of making war, new stratagems were every day put in practice by both generals. Pompey's soldiers, observing by the fires the place where our cohorts were upon guard, stole thither privately by night, and pouring upon them a flight of arrows, retired instantly to their camp, which obliged our men to have fires in one place, and keep guard in another.
Meanwhile P. Sylla, whom Caesar at his departure had left to command the camp, being informed of what passed, came to the assistance of the cohort, with two legions. His arrival soon put the Pompeians to flight, who could not stand the very sight and shock of his troops; but seeing their first ranks broken, took to their heels, and quitted the place. Sylla checked the ardour of his men, whom he would not suffer to continue the pursuit too far; and it was the general belief, that had he pursued the enemy warmly, that day might have put an end to the war. His conduct, however, cannot be justly censured; for the difference is great between a lieutenant and a general; the one is tied up to act according to instructions; the other, free from restraint, is at liberty to lay hold of all advantages. Sylla, who was left by Caesar to take care of the camp, was satisfied with having disengaged his own men, and had no intention to hazard a general action, which might have been attended with ill consequences, and would have looked like arrogating the part of a general. The Pompeians found it no easy matter to make good their retreat; for having advanced from a very disadvantageous pest to the summit of the hill, they had reason to fear our men would charge them in descending, and the rather, as it was very near sunset, for they had protracted the affair almost till night, in hopes of accomplishing their design. Thus Pompey, compelled by necessity, immediately took possession of an eminence, at such a distance from our fort, as to be secure from darts and military engines. Here he encamped, threw up an intrenchment, and drew his forces together to defend the place.
At the same time we were engaged in two other places; for Pompey attacked several castles together to divide our forces, and hinder the forts from mutually sucouring one another. In one of these, Volcatius Tullus, with three cohorts, sustained the charge of a whole legion, and forced them to retire. In the other, the Germans, sallying out of their intrenchments, slew several of the enemy, and returned again without loss.
Thus there happened no less than six actions in one day; three near Dyrrhachium, and three about the lines. In computing the number of the slain, it appeared that Pompey lost about two thousand men, with several volunteers and centurions, among whom was Valerius Flaccus, the son of Lucius, who had formerly been praetor of Asia. We gained six standards, with the loss of no more than twenty men in all the attacks; but in the fort, not a soldier escaped being wounded; and four centurions belonging to one cohort, lost their eyes. As a proof of the danger they had been exposed to, and the efforts they had sustained, they brought and counted to Caesar about thirty thousand arrows that had been shot into the fort, and showed him the centurion Scaeva's buckler, which was pierced in two hundred and thirty places. Caesar, as a reward for his services both to himself and the republic, presented him with two hundred thousand asses, and advanced him directly from the eighth rank of captains to the first; it appearing that the preservation of the fort was chiefly owing to his valour. He also distributed military rewards among the other offithem double pay, and a double allowance of corn.
Pompey laboured all night at his fortifications, raised redoubts the following lays, and having carried his works fifteen feet high, covered that part of his camp with mantelets. Five days after, taking advantage of very dark night, he walled up the gates of his camp, rendered all the avenues impracticable; and drawing out his troops in great silence about midnight, returned to his former works.
Aetolia, Acarnania, and Amphilochis, having been reduced by Cassius Longinus, and Calvisius Sabinus, as we have related above; Caesar thought it expedient to pursue his conquests, and attempt to gain Achaia. Accordingly he despatched Fufius Kalenus thither, ordering Sabinus and Cassius to join him, with the cohorts under their command. Rutilius Lupus, Pompey's lieutenant in Achaia, hearing of their approach, resolved to fortify the isthmus, and thereby hinder Furius from entering the province. Delphos, Thebes, and Orchomenus, voluntarily submitted to Calenus; some states he obtained by force, and sending deputies to the rest endeavoured to make them declare for Caesar. These negotiations found sufficient employment for Fufius.
Caesar meanwhile drew up his army every day, offering Pompey battle upon equal ground; and, to provoke him to accept it, advanced so near his camp, that his van was within engine-shot of the rampart. Pompey, to preserve his reputation, drew out his legions too, but posted them in such a manner, that his third line touched the rampart, and the whole army lay under cover of the weapons discharged from thence.
Whilst these things passed in Achaia and at Dyrrhachium, and it was now known that Scipio was arrived in Macedonia. Caesar still adhering to his former views of peace, despatched Clodius to him, an intimate friend of both, whom he had taken into his service upon Scipio's recommendation. At his departure, he charged him with letters and instructions to this effect: "That he had tried all ways to bring about a peace; but believed he had hitherto miscarried, through the fault of those to whom his proposals were addressed, because they dreaded presenting them to Scipio's authority to be such, as not only privileged him to advise freely, but even to enforce his counsels, and compel the obstinate to hearken to reason: that he was possessed of an independent command, and had an army at his disposal to give weight to his interposition: that in employing it for so desirable an end, he would gain the indisputable praise of having restored quiet to Italy, peace to the provinces, and saved the empire." Clodius reported this commission to Scipio, and at first met with a favourable reception, but was afterwards denied audience: for Favonius having sharply reprimanded Scipio, as we learned after the conclusion of the war, the negotiation was discontinued, and Clodius returned to Caesar without success.
Caesar, the more effectually to shut up Pompey's horse at Dyrrhachium, and hinder them from foraging, blocked up the two narrow passes, of which we have spoken, with strong works, and raised forts to defend them. Pompey finding his cavalry rendered by this means unserviceable, conveyed them some days after by sea to his camp again. Forage was so scarce, that they were forced to have recourse to the leaves of trees, and the roots of green reeds, bruised; for the corn sown within their lines was all consumed; nor had they had any supplies but what came a long way about by sea, from Corcyra and Acarnania; and even this was so inconsiderable, that to increase the quantity, they were forced to mix it with barley, and by these contrivances support their horses. At last, all expedients being exhausted, and the horses dying daily, Pompey thought it time to attempt to force the barricade, and set himself at liberty.
Among the cavalry in Caesar's camp were two brothers, Allobrogians by birth, named Roscillus and Aegus, the sons of Adbucillus, who had long held the chief sway in his own state; men of singular bravery, and who had been of signal service to Caesar in all his Gallic wars. For these reasons he had raised them to the highest offices in their own country, got them chosen into the senate before they were of age, given them lands in Gaul taken from the enemy, besides pecuniary rewards to a great value, insomuch that from very moderate beginnings they had risen to vast wealth. These men were not only highly honoured by Caesar on account of their bravery, but in great esteem with the whole army. But presuming on Caesar's friendship, and foolishly elated with their prosperity, they used the troopers ill, defrauded them of their pay, and secreted all the plunder to their own use. The Gaulish cavalry, offended at these proceedings, went in a body to Caesar, and openly complained of the two brothers; adding, among other accusations, that, by giving in false musters, they received pay for more men than they had.
Caesar not thinking it a proper time for animadversion, and regarding them greatly on account of their valour, declined all public notice of the affair, and contented himself with reprimanding them in private, admonishing them to expect every thing from his friendship, and to measure their future hopes by the experience of what he had already done for them. This rebuke, however, disgusted them greatly, and very much lessened their credit with the whole army, which they easily perceived, as well from the raillery they were often forced to bear, as in consequence of the secret reproaches and sense of their own minds. Thus prompted by shame, and perhaps imagining they were not cleared, but reserved to a more favourable opportunity, they resolved to desert, to try their fortunes elsewhere, and search for new friendships. Having imparted their design to a few of their clients, whom they judged fit instruments for so black a treason, they first attempted to murder C. Volusenus, general of the cavalry (as was afterwards known, when the war was over), that by so signal a piece of service they might the more effectually recommend themselves to Pompey's favour. But finding that design attended with great hazard, and that no favourable opportunity offered for putting it in execution, they borrowed all the money they could, under pretence of reimbursing the troops, and making restitution; and having bought up a great number of horses, went over to Pompey, with those whom they had made acquainted with their design.
As they were persons of noble birth, liberally educated, came with a great train of horses and servants, had been highly honoured by Caesar, and were universally esteemed on account of their valour, Pompey carried them ostentatiously over all the camp, triumphing in this new and unusual acquisition; for till then, neither horse nor foot-soldier had deserted from Caesar to Pompey; whereas scarce a day passed without some desertion from Pompey's army, especially among the new levies in Epirus, Aetolia, and those countries that had declared for Caesar. The brothers being well acquainted with the condition of Caesar's camp, what was wanting to complete the fortifications, where the foible of the lines lay, the particular times, distance of places, strength and vigilance of the guards, with the temper and character of the officers who commanded in every post, made an exact report of all to Pompey.
Upon this intelligence, having already formed the design of forcing Caesar's lines, he ordered the soldiers to make coverings of osier for their helmets, and provide themselves with fascines. This done, he embarked by night, in boats and small barks, a great number of light-armed troops and archers, with the fascines for filling up Caesar's trenches; and having drawn together sixty cohorts from the greater camp and forts, led them about midnight towards that part of the enemy's lines nearest the sea, a good distance from the main camp. Thither likewise he despatched the barks, on board of which were the light-armed troops and fascines, together wih all the galleys that lay at Dyrrhachium, giving each their particular instructions. Lentulus Marcellinus the questor, with the ninth legion, had charge of this part of the fortifications: and as his health was but infirm, Caesar had joined Fulvius Posthumus with him in tilhcommand.
This place was guarded by a ditch, fifteen feet broad, with a rampart towards the enemy, ten feet high, and of equal thickness. Behind this, at the distance of six hundred feet, was another rampart, somewhat lower than the former, and fronting the contrary way. Caesar, apprehending an attack from the sea, had raised this double rampart, some days before, that he might be able to defend himself against the enemy, should they charge him on both sides at once. But the extent of the circumvallation, and the continued labour of so many days, in inclosing a space of eighteen miles, had not allowed us time to finish the work. Accordingly, the line of communication, which ran along the sea-side, and was to have joined these two ramparts, was not yet completed. This Pompey was informed of by the Allobrogian brothers, which proved of fatal consequence to us. For upon guard, near the sea, suddenly the Pompeians arrived about day-break, and surprised them with their unexpected appearance. At the same time the troops that came by sea, launched their darts against the outward rampart and began to fill up the ditch with fascines; while the legionary soldiers, planting their scaling-ladders against the inner works, and plying those that defended them with darts and engines, spread a general terror over that part of the camp, which was still increased by the multitude of archers that came pouring upon them from all sides. The osiers they had bound round their helmets, contributed greatly to defend them from the stones thrown down from the rampart, which were the only weapons we had. At last, all things going against us, and our resistance becoming every moment more languid, the enemy discovered the defect before spoken of in our lines; and landing their men between the two ramparts, where the line of communication towards the sea remained unfinished, they attacked our soldiers in the rear, and obliged them to abandon both sides of the works.
Marcellinus hearing of this disorder, detached some cohorts to sustain the flying troops: but as the rout was become general, they could neither persuade them to rally, nor were able themselves to withstand the enemy's charge. The like happened to a second detachment; insomuch that the several supplies sent, by catching the general terror, served only to add to the confusion and danger; for the multitude of runaways rendered the retreat the more difficult. In this action, the eaglebearer of the ninth legion finding himself dangerously wounded, and that his strength began to fail, called to some troopers who passed by, and said: "I have preserved to the last moment of my life, with the greatest care, this eagle, with which I have been intrusted; and, now I am dying, I return it to Caesar, with the same fidelity. Carry it to him, I beseech you; nor suffer Caesar's arms to experience, in losing it, an ignominy, with which they have been hitherto unacquainted." Thus the eagle was preserved ; but all the centurions of the first cohort were slain, except the first of the Principes.
And now the Pompeians, having made great slaughter of our men, approached the quarters of Marcellinus, to the no small terror of the rest of the cohorts; when Mark Antony, who commanded in the nearer redoubts, upon notice of what passed, was seen descending from the higher ground, at the head of twelve cohorts. His arrival put a stop to the enemy's progress, and by enabling our men to recover from their extreme terror, restored them to their wonted courage. Soon after Caesar arrived in person, with some troops, being apprised of the attack by the smoke of the forts, the usual signal on these occasions; and perceiving the loss he had sustained, and that Pompey had forced the lines, being able to forage, and having an easy communication with the sea; he quitted his former project, which had proved unsuccessful, and encamped as near Pompey as he could.
When the intrenchments were finished, Caesar had notice from his scouts, that a certain number of the enemy's cohorts, which to them appeared a complete legion, were retired behind a wood, and seemed to be on their march to the old camp. The situation of the two armies was this: some days before, when Caesar's ninth legion was sent to oppose a body of Pompey's troops, they thought proper to intrench themselves upon an opposite hill, and form a camp there. This camp bordered upon a wood, and was not above four hundred paces from the sea. But afterwards, for certain reasons, Caesar removed a little beyond that post; and Pompey, a few days after, took possession of it. But as his design was to place several legions there; leaving the inner rampart standing, he surrounded it with greater works. Thus the smaller camp, inclosed within one of larger circumference, served by way of a castle or citadel. He likewise carried an intrenchment from the left angle of the camp to the river, through a space of about four hundred paces, which enabled him to water freely and without danger. But he too, soon after, changed his mind, for reasons which it is not needful to repeat here; and abandoned the place, which thereby was left several days without troops, though the fortifications remained entire.
Hither the scouts reported they saw the standard of a legion carried; which was likewise confirmed by those who were stationed in the higher forts. The place was about five hundred paces distant from Pompey's new camp. Caesar, desirous to repair the loss he had sustained, and hoping he might be able to surprise this legion, left two cohorts in his intrenchments, to prevent any suspicion of his design; and with thirty-three more, amongst which number was the ninth legion, which had lost many centurions and soldiers, marched by a different rout, as privately as he could, against the legion which Pompey had lodged in the lesser camp. Neither was he deceived in his first conjecture: for he arrived before Pompey could have notice of his design; and though the intrenchments were strong, yet charging the enemy briskly with his left wing, where he himself commanded in person, he quickly drove them from the rampart. But as the gates were secured by a barricade, they still maintained the fight here for some time, our men endeavouring to break in, and the enemy to defend the camp. T. Pulcia, who betrayed the army of C. Antony, as we have related above, gave signal proofs of his valour on this occasion. But our men, at last, prevailed; and having cut down the barricade, broke first into the greater camp, and afterwards into the fort within it, whither the legion had retired, some of whom were slain, endeavouring to defend themselves.
But fortune, whose influence is very great, as in other things, so particularly in war; often effects mighty changes from the most trifling causes: as happened upon this occasion. For the cohorts of Caesar's right wing being unacquainted with the situation of the camp, and mistaking the rampart which led to the river for one of its sides, marched on that way in quest of a gate; but perceiving at length their error, and that nobody defend. ed the intrenchment, they immediately mounted the rampart, and were followed by the whole cavalry.
This delay saved the enemy: for Pompey, having notice of what passed, brought up the fifth legion to sustain his party; so that at one and the same instant, his cavalry approached ours, and his troops were seen advancing in order of battle, by those who had taken possession of the camp: which quickly changed the face of affairs. For Pompey's legion, encouraged by the hope of speedy succours, sallied by the Decuman port, and briskly charged our cohorts. On the other hand, Caesar's cavalry, who had entered, by a narrow breach in the rampart, foreseeing that a retreat would be extremely difficult, began betimes to think of flying. The right wing which had no communication with the left, oberving the consternation of the cavalry, and fearing they should be overpowered within the camp, retired the same way they had entered. Many,to avoid being engaged in the narrow passes, threw themselves from the rampart, which was ten feet high, into the ditch; where the first ranks being trodden to death, their bodies afforded a safe passage to those that followed. The left wing, who from the rampart whence they had driven the enemy, saw Pompey advancing against them, and their own men flyng; fearing to be entangled in the defiles, as they had the enemy upon them, both within and without the camp, retreated the same way they came. Nothing was to be seen but consternation, flying, and disorder: insomuch that all Caesar's efforts to rally his troops were fruitless. If he seized any by the arm, they struggled till they got away. If he laid hold of the colours, they left them in his hands. Not a man could be prevailed on to face about.
In this calamity, what saved the army from entire destruction was, that Pompey, apprehending an ambuscade (probably because the success was beyond his hopes, as a little before he had seen his men worsted and put to flight), durst not, for some time, approach the intrenchments; and his cavalry were retarded in the pursuit by Caesar's troops, who were possessed of all the gates and defiles. Be that as it will, a small matter proved of very great consequence to both parties: for the intrenchment between the camp and the river, stopped the course of Caesar's victory, when he had already forced Pompey's lines: and the same, by retarding the pursuit of his enemy, saved the army from destruction.
In these two actions, Caesar lost nine hundred and sixty private men, thirty officers, and several knights of note, as Flavius Tuticanus Gallus, a senator's son; C. Felginus, of Placentia; A. Gravius, of Puteoli; and M. Sacrativir, of Capua. But the greatest part of these died without wounds, being trodden to death in the ditch, about the works, and on the banks of the river, occasioned by the flight and terror of their own men. He lost also thirty-two colours. Pompey was saluted emperor on this occasion; a title which he bore ever after, and suffered himself to be accosted by: but neither in the letters which he wrote, nor in his consular ensigns, did he think proper to assume the laurel. The prisoners were delivered up to Labienus at his own request; and this deserter, brutal and cruel as usual, diverted himself with insulting them in their calamity; and asked them sarcastically, if it was usual for veterans to run away; after which, he caused them all to be put to death.
This success gave such confidence and spirit to the Pompeian party, that they now no longer took any concern about the conduct of the war, but began to consider themselves as already victorious. They never reflected on the inconsiderable number of our troops, the disadvantage of the ground, the narrow passes we were engaged in, by their having first possession of the camp, the double danger, both within and without the fortification, and the separation of the two wings of the army, which hindered them from mutually succouring one another. They forgot that the advantage they had gained, was not the effect of a brisk and vigorous attack; and that our men had suffered more by crowding upon one another in the narrow passes, than by the sword of the enemy. In fine, they never called to mind the uncertain chance of war, and upon what minute causes good or bad success often depends; how a groundless suspicion, a panic terror, or a religious scruple, has frequently been productive ofthe most fatal events; when either by the misconduct of a general, or the terror of a tribune, some false persuasion has been suffered to take root in an army. But as if the victory had been purely the effect of their valour, and no change of fortune was to be apprehended, they every where proclaimed and made public the success of this day.
Caesar, seeing all his former projects disconcerted, resolved to submit to fortune, and entirely change the manner of the war. He therefore called in all his forces from the forts, gave up the design of inclosing Pompey, and having assembled his army, addressed them as follows: "That they ought not to be discouraged, or give way to consternation, upon what had lately happened, but oppose their many successful engagements to one slight and inconsiderable check. That fortune had already befriended them greatly, in the reduction of Italy without bloodshed; in the conquest of the two Spains, though defended by warlike troops, under the conduct of skilful and experienced leaders; and in the subjection of the neighbouring provinces, whence they could be plentifully supplied with corn. In fine, they ought to call to mind, how happily they had passed into Greece, through the midst of the enemy's fleets, though possessed of all the coasts and havens. If they were not successful in every thing, they must endeavour, by prudence, to overcome the disappointments of fortune; and attribute their late disaster to the caprice of that goddess rather than to any fault on their side. That he had led them to an advantageous ground, and put them in the possession of the enemy's camp, after driving them from all their works. If either some sudden consternation, the mistaking their way, or any other mishap, had snatched an apparent and almost certain victory out of their hands, they ought to exert their utmost endeavours to repair that disgrace, which would turn their misfortunes to a benefit, as happened at Gergovia, where those who at first dreaded to encounter the enemy, demanded earnestly in the end to be led to battle."
Having made this speech, he contented himself with stigmatizing, and reducing to private men, some of the standard bearers; for the whole army were so grieved at their loss, and so desirous of expunging the stain their glory had received, that there was no occasion either for the tribunes or the centurions to remind them of their duty; nay, they even undertook to punish themselves by the severest impositions, and demanded with great outcries to be led against the enemy; being seconded by some centurions of the first rank, I who, touched with their remonstrances, were for continuing in the post they then possessed, and putting all to the hazard of a battle. But Caesar did not think it prudent to expose to an action troops that had been just worsted, and in whom might remain too deep impressions of their late fright. He was for allowing them time to recover themselves; and having quitted his works, thought it needful to provide for the security of his convoys.
Accordingly, after proper care taken of the sick and wounded, and as soon as night approached, he sent all the baggage privately towards Apollonia, under a guard of one legion, with orders not to halt till they had reached the place. This affair despatched, he made two legions remain in the camp, and marching out all the rest about three in the morning at several gates, ordered them to follow the same route the baggage had taken. Soon after, that his departure might not have the appearance of a flight, and yet be known to the enemy as late as possible, he ordered the usual signal to be given, and setting out with the rest of his forces, lost sight of the camp in a moment. Pompey hearing of his retreat, prepared to follow him without delay, and hoping to surprise the army in its march, whilst encumbered with baggage, and not yet removed from its consternation, drew out all his troops, and sent out all his cavalry before to retard our rear, which, however, he could not overtake, because Caesar marching without baggage, had got a great way before him. But when we came to the river Genusus, we found the banks so steep and difficult, that before all the men could get over, Pompey's cavalry came up, and fell upon our hindmost battalions. Caesar sent his horse to oppose them, intermixed with some light-armed troops; who charged with that vigour and success, as to put them all to rout, and leave a considerable number dead upon the field, and return without loss to the main body of their army.
Having completed the intended march of that day, and brought his army over the Genusus, he took up his quarters in his old camp at Asparagium, suffering none of the soldiers to stroll without the rampart, and charging the cavalry, who had been sent out under pretence of foraging, to return immediately to the Decuman port. Pompey likewise having completed that day's march, encamped at his old post at Asparagium, where the troops having nothing to do, because the works were still entire; some made long excursions in quest of wood and forage; others who had come almost without any baggage, by reason the march was undertaken on a sudden, enticed by the nearness of their former camp, laid down their arms in their tents, quitted the intrenchments, and went to fetch what they had left behind them. This rendering them unable to pursue, as Caesar had foreseen; about noon, he gave the signal for decamping, led forth his troops, and doubling that day's march, gained eight miles upon Pompey, who could not follow him by reason his troops were dispersed.
Next day Caesar decamped again at three in the morning, having sent away his baggage over night, that if he should find himself under a necessity of fighting, he might have his army clear of all encumbrance. The same he did the following days; by which means, though he had very difficult ways to pass, and some great rivers to cross, he suffered no loss during the whole march. For Pompey, after the first day's hinderance, endeavouring in vain by long and forced marches to overtake Caesar, gave over the pursuit on the fourth, and began to think of taking other measures.
Caesar was under a necessity of going to Apollonia, to leave his wounded there, to pay his army, confirm his friends in their duty, and garrison the towns that had submitted. But he took no longer time to these affairs, than the importance of his other engagements would allow. For fearing that Pompey might surprise Domitius Calvinus, he put himself in full march to join him. The scheme he proceeded on was this: that if Pompey took the same route, he must leave the sea, the forces he had at Dyrrhachium, with all his ammunition and provision; which would bring them upon equal terms: if he passed into Italy, Caesar purposed to join Domitius, and march to its defence by the coast of Illyricum: in fine, should he fall upon Apollonia and Oricum, and endeavour to exclude him from the sea coast; in that case he reckoned to oblige him, by attacking Metellus Scipio, to leave every thing to succour him. Caesar therefore despatched couriers to Domitius, to acquaint him with his design; and leaving four cohorts at Apollonia, one at Lissus, and three at Oricum, with the sick and wounded, began his march through Epirus and Acarnania. Pompey, on his side, guessing Caesar's design, made what haste he could to join Scipio, that if Caesar should march that way, he might prevent his being overpowered; but should he still keep near Corcyra, and the sea, because of the legions and cavalry he expected from Italy; in that case, he purposed to fall upon Domitius with all his forces.
For these reasons both generals studied despatch, as well to afford timely succour to their friends, as not to miss an opportunity of distressing their enemies. But Caesar had turned off to Apollonia; whereas Pompey took the nearest way through Candavia for Macedonia. It happened, too, very days had been encamped near Scipio, quitted that station for the convenience of provisions, and was upon his march to Heraclea Sentica, a city of the Candavians; so that chance seemed to throw him directly in Pompey's way, which Caesar had not then the least knowledge of. Pompey, too, having sent letters through all the states and provinces, relating to the action at Dyrrhachium, with representations that far exceeded the truth; a rumour began to prevail, that Caesar had been defeated with the loss of almost all his forces, and was forced to fly before Pompey. These reports raised him many enemies on his march, and induced some states to throw off their allegiance; whence it happened, that the couriers mutually sent by Caesar and Domitius, were all intercepted. But the Allobrogians in the train of Aegus and Roscillus, who, as we have seen before, had deserted from Caesar to Pompey, meeting some of Domitius's scouts; either out of ancient custom, because they had served together in the Gallic wars; or from a motive of vain-glory; informed them of all that had passed; of Pompey's victory, and Caesar's retreat. Advice being given of this to Calvinus, who was not above four hours' march from the enemy, he avoided the danger by a timely retreat, and joined Caesar near Aeginium, a town on the borders of Thessaly.
After the junction of the two armies, Caesar arrived at Gomphi, the first town of Thessaly, as you come from Epirus. A few months before, the inhabitants had of their own accord sent ambassadors to Caesar, to make an offer of what their country afforded, and petition for a garrison. But the report of the action at Dyrrhachium, with many groundless additions, had by this time reached their ears. And therefore Androsthenes, pretor of Thessaly, choosing rather to be the companion of Pompey's good fortune, than associate with Caesar in his adversity, ordered all the people, whether slaves or free, to assemble in the town; and having shut the gates against Caesar, sent letters to Scipio and Pompey to come to his assistance, intimating, "That the town was strong enough to hold out if they used despatch, but by no means in condition to sustain a long siege." Scipio, on advice of the departure of the armies from Dyrrhacium, was come to Larissa with his legions; and Pompey was yet far enough distant from Thessaly. Caesar having fortified his camp, ordered mantelets, hurdles, and scaling-ladders to be prepared for a sudden attack; and then exhorting his men, represented, "Of how great consequence it was to render themselves masters of an opulent city, abounding in all things needful for the supply of their walls, and by the terror of whose punishment other states would be awed into submission; and this, he told them, must be done quickly, before any succours could arrive." Accordingly, seizing the opportunity offered by the uncommon ardour of the troops, he attacked the town the same day about three in the afternoon; and having made himself master of it before sun-set, gave it up to be plundered. From Gomphi, Caesar marched directly to Metropolis, and arrived before they were acquainted with the misfortune of their neighbours.
The Metropolitans at first following the example of Gomphi, to which they were moved by the same reports, shut their gates and manned the walls. But no sooner came they to understand the fate of their neighbour city, by some prisoners whom Caesar had produced for that end, than immediately they admitted him into the town. He suffered no hostilities to be committed, nor any harm to be done them; and so powerful was the example from the different treatment of these two cities, that not a single state in Thessaly refused to submit to Caesar, and receive his orders, except Larissa; which was awed by the numerous army of Metellus Scipio. As the country was good and covered with corn, which was near ripe, Caesar took up his quarters there, judging it a proper place to wait for Pompey in, and render the theatre of the war.
A few days after, Pompey arrived in Thessaly, and joining Metellus Scipio, harangued both armies. He first thanked his own for their late services, and then turning to Scipio's troops, exhorted them to put in for their share of the booty, which the victory already obtained gave them the fairest prospect of. Both armies being received into one camp, he shared all the honours of command with Scipio, ordered a pavilion to be erected for him, and the trumpets to sound before it. This increase of Pompey's forces, by the conjunction of two mighty armies, raised the confidence of his followers, and their assurance of victory to such a degree, that all delays were considered as a hinderance of their return to Italy; insomuch that if Pompey on any occasion acted with slowness and circumspection, they failed not to cry out, "That he industriously protracted an affair, for the despatch of which one day was sufficient, in the view of gratifying his ambition for command, and having consular and pretorian senators amongst the number of his servants." Already they began to dispute about rewards and dignities, and fixed upon the persons who were annually to succeed to the consulship. Others sued for the houses and estates of those who had followed Caesar's party. A warm debate arose in council in relation to L. Hirrus, whom Pompey had sent against the Parthians, whether, in the next election of pretors, he should be allowed to stand candidate for that office in his absence; his friends imploring Pompey to make good the promise he had made him at his departure, and not suffer him to be deceived by depending on the general's honour; while such as aspired to this office complained publicly,that a promise should be made to any one candidate, when all were embarked in the same cause, and shared the like dangers.
Already Domitius, Scipio, and Lentulus Spinther, were openly quarrelling about the high priesthood, which Caesar was in possession of. They even descended to personal abuse, and pleaded their several pretensions; Lentulus urging the respect due to his age; Domitius, his dignity, and the interest he had in the city; and Scipio his alliance with Pompey. Attius Rufus impeached L. Afranius before Pompey, charging him with having occasioned the loss of the army in Spain. And L. Domitius moved in council, that after the victory, all the senators in Pompey's army and camps, should be appointed judges, and empowered to proceed against those who had stayed in Italy, or who had appeared cool, or shown any indifference to the cause; and that three billets should be given to these judges, one for acquittance, another for condemnation, and a third for a pecuniary fine. In a word, nothing was thought on but honours, or profit, or vengeance; nor did they consider by what methods they were to conquer, but what advantage they should make of victory.
Caesar having provided for the subsistence of his troops, who were now no longer fatigued, and had sufficiently recovered from the consternation the different actions at Dyrrhachium had thrown them into; thought it high time to make trial how Pompey stood affected to an engagement. Accordingly he drew out his men, and formed them in order of battle; at first near his own camp, and somewhat distant from the enemy: but perceiving this had no effect upon Pompey, who still maintained his post on the eminences, he each daydrew nearer, and by that conduct animated and gave fresh courage to his soldiers. His cavalry being much inferior to the enemy's in number, he followed the method already mentioned; of singling out the strongest and nimblest of his foot-soldiers, and accustoming them to fight intermixed with the horse; in which way of combat they were become very expert by daily practice. This disposition, joined to constant exercise, so emboldened his cavalry, that though but a thousand in number, they would upon occasion sustain the charge of Pompey's seven thousand, even in an open plain, and appear not greatly dismayed at their multitude: nay, they actually got the better in a skirmish that happened between them, and killed Aegus the Allobrogian, one of the two brothers who deserted to Pompey, with several others of his party.
Pompey, whose camp was on an eminence, drew up his army at the foot of the mountain, expecting, as may be presumed, that Casar would attack him in that advantageous situation. But Caesar despairing to draw Pompey to battle on equal terms, thought it would be his best course to decamp, and be always on the march; in hopes, that by frequent shifting his ground, he might the better be supplied with provisions; and that as the enemy would not fail following him, in the frequent marches he should make, he might perhaps find an opportunity of attacking them, and forcing them to fight: at least he was sure of harassing Pompey's army, little accustomed to these continued fatigues. Accordingly the order for marching was given, and the tents struck; when Caesar perceived that Pompey's army, which had quitted their intrenchments, had advanced farther towards the plain than usual, so that he might engage them at a less disadvantage: whereupon, addressing himself to his soldiers, who were just ready to march out of their trenches: "Let us no longer think," says he, "of marching; now is the time for fighting, so long wished for; let us therefore arm ourselves with courage, and not miss so favourable and opportunity." This said, he immediately drew out his forces.
Pompey likewise, as was afterwards known, had resolved to offer battle, in compliance with the repeated importunities of his friends. He even said in a council of war, held some days before, that Caesar's army would be defeated before his infantry came to engage. And when some expressed their surprise at this speech: "I know," says he, "that what I promise appears almost incredible; but hear the reasons on which I ground my confidence, that you may advance to battle with the greater assurance. I have persuaded the cavalry, and obtained their promise for the performance, that as soon as the armies are formed, they shall fall upon Caesar's right wing, which they will easily be able to outflank and surround. This must infallibly occasion the immediate rout of that wing, and consequently of the rest of Caesar's troops. without danger or loss on our side. Nor will the execution be attended with any difficulty, as we are so much superior to them in horse. Be ready therefore for battle; and since the so much desired opportunity of fighting is come, take care not to fall short of the good opinion the world entertains of your valour and experience."
Labienus spoke next, highly applauding this scheme of Pompey, and expressing the greatest contempt of Caesar's army: "Think not," says he, addressing himself to Pompey, "that these are the legions which conquered Gaul and Germany. I was present in all those battles, and can, of my own knowledge, affirm, that but a very small part of that army now remains: great numbers have been killed, as must of necessity happen, in such a variety of conflicts: many perished during the autumnal pestilence in Apulia: many are returned to their own habitations: and not a few were left behind to guard Italy. Have you not heard, that the cohorts in garrison, at Brundusium, are made up of invalids ? The forces, which you now behold, are composed of new levies, raised in Lombardy, and the colonies beyond the Po: for the veterans, in whom consisted the main strength of the army, perished all in the two defeats at Dyrrhachium." Having finished this speech, he took an oath, which he proffered to all that were present, never to return to camp otherwise than victorious. Pompey commended his zeal, took the oath himself, and the rest followed his example, without hesitation. After these endeparted, full of joy and expectation; considering themselves as already victorious, and relying, entirely on the ability of their general; who, in an affair of that importance, they were confident would promise nothing without an assurance of success.
When Caesar approached Pompey's camp, he found his army drawn up in this manner: In the left wing were the two legions delivered by Caesar, at the beginning of the quarrel, in consequence of a decree of the senate; one of which was called the first, the other the third legion: and here Pompey commanded in person. Scipio was in the centre, with the legions he had brought out of Syria. The Cilician legion, joined to the Spanish cohorts, brought over by Afranius, formed the right wing. These Pompey esteemed his best troops, distributing the less expert between the wings and the main body. He had in all a hundred and ten cohorts, amounting to five and forty thousand; besides two cohorts of volunteers, who had served under him in former wars; and who, out of affection to their old general, though their legal time was expired, flocked to his standard on this occasion, and were dispersed amongst the whole army. His other seven cohorts were left to guard the camp and the adjoining forts. As the Enipeus, a river with very steep banks, covered his right wing, he placed all his horse, slingers, and archers in the left.
Caesar observing his ancient custom, placed the tenth legion in the right, and the ninth in the left wing. As this last had been considerably weakened by the general actions at Dyrrhachium, he joined the eighth to it in such manner, that they formed as it were but one legion, and had orders mutually to relieve each other. His whole army amounted to fourscore cohorts, making in all twenty-two thousand men; besides two cohorts left to guard the camp. Domitius Calvinus was in the centre, Mark Antony on the left, and P. Sylla on the right. Caesar took his post opposite to Pompey, at the head of the tenth legion. And as he had observed the disposition of the enemy contrived to out-flank his right wing, to obviate that inconvenience, he made a draught of six cohorts from his rear line, formed them into a separate body, and opposed them to Pompey's horse; instructing them in the part they were to act; and admonishing them, that the success of that day would depend chiefly on their courage. At the same time, he charged the whole army, and in particular the third line, not to advance to battle without orders; which, when he saw it proper, he would give, by making the usual signal.
When he was exhorting them to battle, as military custom required, and reminding them of the many favours they had, on all occasions, received at his hands, he chiefly took care to observe, "That they had themselves been witnesses of his earnest endeavours after peace; that he had employed Vatinius to solicit a conference with Labienus, and sent A. Clodius to treat with Scipio; that he had pressed Libo, in the warmest manner, at Oricum, to grant him a safe conduct for his ambassadors; in a word, that he had left nothing unattempted to avoid wasting the blood of his soldiers, and to spare the commonwealth the loss of one of her armies." After this speech, observing his soldiers ardent for the fight, he ordered the trumpets to sound a charge.
Among the volunteers in Caesar's army was one Crastinus, a man of distinguished courage, who the year before, had been first centurion of the tenth legion. This brave officer, as soon as the signal was given, calling to those next him: "Follow me," said he, "you that were formerly under my command, and acquit yourselves of the duty you owe to your general. This one battle more will crown the work, by restoring him to his proper dignity, and us to the enjoyment of our freedom." At the same time, turning to Caesar: "General," says he, "this day you shall be satisfied with my behaviour, and whether I live or die, I will take care to deserve your commendations." So saying he marched up to the enemy, and began the attack at the head of a hundred and twenty volunteers.
Between the two armies, there was an interval sufficient for the onset: but Pompey had given his troops orders to keep their ground, that Caesar's army might have all that way to run. This he is said to have done by the advice of C. Triarius, that the enemy's ranks might be broken and themselves put out of breath, by having so far to run; of which disorder he hoped to make an advantage. He was besides of opinion, that our javelins would have less effect, by the troops continuing in their post, than if they sprung forward at the very time they were launched; and as the soldiers would have twice as far to run as usual, they must be weary and breathless by the time they came up with the first line. But herein Pompey seems to have acted without sufficient reason; because there is a certain alacrity and ardour of mind, naturally planted in every man, which is inflamed by the desire of fighting; and which an able general, far from endeavouring to repress, will, by all methods he can devise, foment and cherish. Nor was it a vain institution of our ancestors, that the trumpets should sound on every side, and the whole army raise a shout, in order to animate the courage of their own men, and strike terror into the enemy.
Caesar's soldiers entirely defeated Pompey's hopes, by their good discipline and experience. For, perceiving the enemy did not stir, they halted, of their own accord, in the midst of their career; and having taken a moment's breath, put themselves, a second time, in motion; marched up in good order, flung their javelins, and then betook themselves to their swords. Nor did Pompey's men act with less presence of mind: for they sustained our attack, kept their ranks, bore the discharge of our darts: and having launched their own, immediately had recourse to their swords. At this instant, Pompey's horse, accompanied by the archers and slingers, attacked Caesar's; and having compelled them to give ground, began to extend themselves to the left, in order to flank the infantry. Whereupon Caesar gave the appointed signal to the six cohorts, who fell on the enemy's horse with such fury, that they not only drove them from the field of battle, but even compelled them to seek refuge in the highest mountains. The archers and slingers, deprived of their protection, were soon after cut to pieces. Meanwhile the six cohorts, not content with this success, wheeled round upon the enemy's left wing, and began to charge it in the rear:
whereupon Caesar, perceiving the victory so far advanced, to complete it, brought up his third line, which till then had not engaged. Pompey's infantry being thus doubly attacked, in front by fresh troops, and in rear, by the victorious cohorts, could no longer resist, but fled to their camp. Nor was Caesar mistaken in his conjecture, when, in exhorting his men, he declared that victory would depend chiefly on the six cohorts, which formed the body of reserve, and were stationed to oppose the enemy's horse; for by them were their cavalry defeated, their archers and slingers cut to pieces, and their left wing surrounded and forced to fly. Pompey seeing his cavalry routed, and that part of the army on which he chiefly depended put into disorder, despaired of being able to restore the battle, and quitted the field. Repairing immediately to his camp, he said aloud, to the centurions, who guarded the pretorian gate, so as all the soldiers might hear him: "Take care of the camp, and defend it vigorously in case of an attack. I go to visit the other gates, and give orders for their defence." This said, he retired to his tent, despairing of success, yet waiting the event.
Caesar, having forced the Pompeians to seek refuge in their camp, and not willing to allow them time to recover From their consternation, exhorted his troops to make the best of their present victory, and vigorously attack the enemy's intrenchments. Though the battle had lasted till noon, the weather being extremely hot; yet, prepared to encounter all difficulties, they cheerfully complied with his orders. The camp was bravely defended, for some time, by the cohorts left to guard it; and particularly by a great number of Thracians, and other barbarians, who made a very stout resistance; for as to such troops as had there sought refuge from the field of battle, they were in too great a consternation to think of any thing more than a safe retreat. It was not, however, possible for the troops posted on the rampart, long to stand the multitude of darts continually poured upon them ; which, in the end, obliged them to retire covered with wounds, and under the conduct of their tribunes and centurions, seek shelter in the mountains adjoining to the camp.
On entering Pompey's camp, we found tables ready-covered, sideboards loaded with plate, and tents adorned with branches of myrtle; that of L. Lentulus, with some others, was shaded with ivy. Every thing gave proofs of the highest luxury, and an assured expectation of victory; whence it was easy to see, that they little dreamed of the issue of that day, since, intent only on voluptuous refinements, they pretended, with troops immersed in luxury, to oppose Caesar's army accustomed to fatigue, and inured to the want of necessaries. Pompey finding our men had forced his intrenchments, mounted his horse, quitted his armour for a habit more suitable to his ill fortune, and withdrawing by the Decuman port, rode full speed to Larissa. Nor did he stop there; but continuing his flight day and night, without intermission, he arrived at the sea-side, with thirty horse, and went on board a little bark; often complaining, "That he had been so far deceived in his opinion of his followers, as to see those very men, from whom he expected victory, the first to fly, and in a manner betray him into the hands of his enemies."
Caesar having mastered the enemy's camp, requested his soldiers not to leave the victory imperfect, by busying themselves about the plunder. Finding them ready to obey, he began a line of circumvallation round the mountain. The Pompeians quickly abandoned a post, which, for want of water, was not tenable, and endeavoured to reach the city of Larissa: whereupon Caesar, dividing his army, left one part in Pompey's camp, sent back another to his own camp, and having, with four legions, taken a nearer road than that by which the enemy passed, he found means to intercept them, and, after six miles march, drew up in order of battle. But the Pompeians once more found protection from a mountain, at the foot of which ran a rivulet. Though Caesar's troops were greatly fatigued, by fighting the whole day, before night he had flung up some works, sufficient to prevent the enemy from having any communication with the rivulet. As by this step they were cut off from all hopes of relief, or of escaping, they sent deputies to treat about a surrender. Affairs continued in this situation all that night, of which some few senators, who had accompanied them, took the advantage to make their escape.
At break of day, they all, by Caesar's order, came down into the plain, and delivered up their arms; humbly imploring his goodness, and suing for mercy. Caesar spoke to them with great mildness, and to alleviate their apprehensions, cited various instances of his clemency, which he had, on so many occasions, made evident. In fact, he gave them their lives, and forbade his soldiers to offer them any violence, or to take any thing from them. He then sent for the legions, which had passed the night in camp, to relieve those that had accompanied, him in the pursuit; and being determined to follow Pompey, began his march, and arrived the same day at Larissa.
This battle cost Caesar no more than two hundred soldiers: but he lost thirty centurions, men of singular courage. Among these latter was Crastinus, whose gallantry and intrepidity, in marching up to battle, has been taken notice of. This brave officer, fighting, regardless of danger, received a wound in the mouth, from a sword. Nor was he deceived in promising himself Caesar's approbation, who was thoroughly sensible of his merit, and greatly applauded his behaviour in this action. On Pompey's side, there fell about fifteen thousand: but upwards of four and twenty thousand were taken prisoners: for the cohorts that guarded the forts, surrendered to Sylla; though many escaped into the adjacent countries. One hundred and eighty colours were taken, and nine eagles. L. Domitius, flying towards the mountains, and growing faint through the fatigue, was overtaken and killed by some horsemen.
About this time D. Laelius arrived with his fleet at Brundusium, and possessesd himself of the island over against the harbour, as Libo had done before. Vatinius, who commanded in the place, having equipped several boats, endeavoured to entice some of Laelius's ships within the haven, and took a five-benched galley, with two smaller vessels, that had ventured too far into the port; then disposing his cavalry along the shore, he prevented the enemy from getting fresh water. But Laelius having chosen a more convenient season of the year for sailing, brought water in transports from Corcyra and Dyrrhachium; still keeping to his purpose, from which neither the disgrace of losing his ships, nor the want of necessaries could divert him, till he received intelligence of the battle of Pharsalia.
Much about the same time Cassius arrived in Sicily, with the Syrian, Phoenician, and Cilician fleets. And as Caesar's fleet was divided into two parts, in one of which P. Sulpicius the pretor commanded at Vibo, in the straits; in the other M. Pomponius at Messana; Cassius was arrived at Messana with his fleet before Pomponius had notice of his coming. And finding him unprepared, without guards, order, or discipline, he took the opportunity of a favourable wind, and sent several fire-ships against him, which consumed his whole fleet, thirty-five in number, twenty of which were decked. The terror occasioned by this blow was so great, that though there was an entire legion in garrison at Messana, they durst scarce look the enemy in the face; and would doubtless have delivered up the town, had not the news of Caesar's victory reached them, by means of the cavalry stationed along the coast. Cassius then sailed for Sulpicius's fleet at Vibol, which finding at anchor near the shore by reason the consternation was become general over the whole island; he put the same stratagem in practice as before. For taking the advantage of a favourable wind, he made forty fire-ships advance against them, and the flame catching hold on both sides, quickly reduced five galleys to ashes. The conflagration continuing to spread, roused the indignation of some veteran soldiers, who had been left to guard the ships. Accordingly they went on board, weighed anchor, and, attacking the enemy, took two quinqueremes, in one of which was Cassius himself; but he escaped in a boat. Two three-benched galleys were sunk; and soon after he was informed of the defeat at Pharsalia, by some of Pompey's own followers; for hitherto he had regarded it as a false report, spread about by Caesar's lieutenants and friends. Upon this intelligence he quitted Sicily, and retired with his fleet.
Caesar laying all other thoughts aside, determined to pursue Pompey, whithersoever he should retire, to prevent his drawing together fresh forces, and renewing the war. He marched every day as far as the body of cavalry he had with him could hold out, and was followed, by shorter marches, by a single legion. Pompey had issued a proclamation at Amphipolis, enjoining all the youth of the province, whether Greeks or Romans, to join him in arms. But whether this was with intent to conceal his real design of retreating much farther, or to try to maintain his ground in Macedonia, if nobody pursued him, is hard to determine. Here he lay one night at anchor, sending to what friends he had in the town, and raising all the money he possibly could. But being informed of Caesar's approach, he departed with all expedition, and came in a few days to Mitylene. Here he was detained two days by the badness of the weather; and sailed to Cilicia, and thence to Cyprus. There he was informed, that the Antiochians, and Roman citizens trading thither, had with joint consent seized the castle, and sent deputies to such of his followers as had taken refuge in the neighbouring states, not to came near Antioch at their peril. The same had happened at Rhodes to L. Lentulus, the consul of the foregoing year, to P. Lentulus a consular senator, and to some other persons of distinction; who, following Pompey in his flight, and arriving at that island, were refused admittance into the town andharbour, and received an order to withdraw immediately, which they were necessitated to comply with; for the fame of Caesar's approach had now reached the neighbouring states.
Upon this intelligence Pompey laid aside his design of going into Syria, seized all the money he found in the public bank, borrowed as much more as he could of his friends, sent great quantities of brass on board for military uses; and having raised two thousand soldiers, amongst the public officers, merchants, and his own servants, sailed for Pelusium. Here, by accident, was king Ptolemy, a minor, warring with a great army against his sister Cleopatra; whom, some months before, by the assistance of his friends, he had expelled the kingdom, and was then encamped not far distant from her. Pompey sent to demand his protection, and a safe retreat in Alexandria, in consideration of the friendship that had subsisted between him and his father. The messengers, after discharging their commission, began to converse freely with the king's troops, exhorting them to assist Pompey and not despise him in his adverse fortune. Among these troops were many of Pompey's old soldiers, whom Gabinius, having draughted out of the Syrian army, had carried to Alexandria, and, upon the conclusion of the war, left there with the young king's father.
The king's ministers, who had the care of the government during his minority, being informed of this, either out of fear, as they afterwards pretended, lest Pompey should debauch the army, and thereby render himself master of Alexandria and Egypt; or despising his low condition (as friends, in bad fortune, often turn enemies), spoke favourably to the deputies in public, and invited Pompey to court; but privately despatched Achillas, captain of the king's guards, a man of singular boldness, and to murder him. They accosted him with an air of frankness, especially Septimius, who had served under him as a centurion in the war with the pirates; and inviting him into the boat, treacherously slew him. L. Lentulus was likewise seized by the king's command, and put to death in prison.
When Caesar arrived in Asia he found that T. Ampius, having formed the design of seizing the treasures of the Ephesian Diana, and summoned all the senators in the province to bear witness to the sum taken, had quitted that project upon Caesar's approach, and betaken himself to flight. Thus was the temple of Ephesus a second time saved from plunder by Caesar. It was remarked in the temple of Minerva at Elis, that the very day Caesar gained the battle of Pharsalia, the image of victory, which before stood fronting the statue of the goddess, turned towards the portal of the temple. The same day, at Antioch in Syria, such a noise of fighting and trumpets was heard two several times, that the inhabitants ran to arms and manned their walls. The like happened at Ptolemais. At Pergamus, in the inner recesses of the temple, called by the Greeks Adyta, where none but priests are allowed to enter, the sound of Cymbals was heard. And in the Temple of Victory, at Trallis, where a statue was consecrated to Caesar, a palm sprouted betweeh the joining of the stones that arched the roof.
Caesar, after a short stay in Asia, hearing that Pompey had been seen at Cyprus, and thence conjecturing that he was for Egypt, because of the interest he had in that kingdom, and the advantages it would afford him, left Rhodes, with a convoy of ten Rhodian galleys, and a few others from Asia, having on board two legions, one of which he ordered to follow him from Thessaly, the other detached from Fufius's army in Achaia; and eight hundred horse. In these legions were no more than three thousand two hundred men: the rest, fatigued with the length of the march, or weakened with wounds, had not been able to follow him. But Caesar depending on the reputation of his former exploits, scrupled not to trust the safety of his person to a feeble escort, believingno place would dare to attempt any thing against him. At Alexandria he was informed of Pompey's death: and upon landing, was accosted in a clamorous manner by the soldiers, whom Ptolemy had left to garrison the city: and he observed that the mob appeared dissatisfied to see the fasces carried before him, which they interpreted a degradation of the sovereign authority. Though this tumult was appeased, yet each day produced some fresh disturbance, and many of the Roman soldiers were murdered in all parts of the city.
For these reasons he sent into Asia for some of the legions which he had raised out of the remains of Pompey's army: being himself necessarily detained by the Etesian winds, which are directly contrary to any passage by sea from Alexandria. Meantime, considering the difference between Ptolemy and his sister, as subject to the cognizance of the Roman people, and of him as consul; and the rather, because the alliance with Ptolemy, the father, had been contracted during his former consulship; he gave the king and Cleopatra to understand, that it was his pleasure they should dismiss their troops, and instead of having recourse to arms, come and plead their cause before him.
Pothinus the eunuch, governor to the young king, had the chief management of affairs during his minority. This minister complained bitterly to his friends, that the king should be summoned to plead his cause before Caesar: afterwards finding among those that sided with the king, some who were disposed to enter into his views, he privately sent for the army from Pelusium to Alexandria, and conferred the chief command upon Achillas, the same we have spoken of before: inciting him by letters and promises, both in the king's name and his own to execute such orders as he should receive from him. Ptolemy, the father, by his will had appointed the eldest of the two sons, and his elder daughter, joint heirs of the kingdom. For the more certain accomplishment of his design, he in the same will implored the protection of the Roman people; adjuring them by all the gods, and the treaties he had made at Rome, to see it put in execution. A copy of this will was sent by ambassadors to Rome, to be deposited in the public treasury; but the domestic troubles preventing it, it was left in the hands of Pompey. The original, signed and sealed, was kept at Alexandria.
While this affair was debated before Caesar, who passionately desired to terminate the matter amicably, and to the satisfaction of both parties, he was informed that the king's army, with all the cavalry, were arrived at Alexandria. Caesar's forces were by no means sufficient to give them battle without the town; and therefore the only course left was to secure the most convenient posts within the city, till he should get accquainted with Achillas's designs. Meantime he ordered all the soldiers to their arms, and admonished the king, to send some persons of the greatest authority to Achillas, to forbid his approach. Discorides and Serapion, who had both been ambassadors at Rome, and in great credit with Ptolemy, the father, were deputed to this office. But no sooner did they come before Achillas, than without giving them a hearing, or enquiring after the message they brought, he ordered them to be seized and put to death. One was killed upon the spot; and the other, having received a dangerous wound, was carried off for dead by his attendants. Upon hearing this, Caesar took care to secure the king's person, the authority of whose name would authorise his proceedings, and occasion Achillas and his associates to be esteemed seditious and rebellious.
Achillas's army was far from being contemptible, whether we regard their number, courage, or experience in war. It amounted to twenty thousand effective men, many of whom were originally Romans, brought into the country by Gabinius, when he came to settle Auletes on the throne; and who, having afterwards married and settled in Alexandria, were devoted to the Ptolemean interest. There were also some brigades raised in Syria and Cilicia, together with a considerable number of renegade slaves, who had deserted their masters, and found protection in Egypt, by entering into the service. If any of these was seized by his master, their companions flocked to his rescue, regarding his safety as a common cause, because they were all embarked in the like guilt. These would often take upon them to put to death the king's ministers, to plunder the rich, for the sake of increasing their pay, to invest the royal palace, to banish some, and send for others home, with other liberties of the like nature, which the Alexandrian army claims by a kind of prescription. Besides these, he had likewise two thousand horse, who, during the late troubles, and the wars that ensued, had arms. These had restored Ptolemy the father to his kingdom, killed Bibulus's two sons, warred against the Egytians with success, and acquired a thorough experience in military affairs.
Achillas trusting to the valour of his troops, and despising the handful of men that followed Caesar, quickly made himself master of Alexandria, the palace only excepted, where Caesar thought proper to make his stand, and which he attacked briskly, though without effect. But it was on the side of the harbour that the greatest efforts were made. On that, in effect, the victory depended. Besides two and twenty constant guard-ships, there were in the port fifty galleys, from three to five banks of oars, which the year before 'had been sent to Pompey's assistance, and were returned since the battle of Pharsalia. Had Achillas been once master of these vessels, he might have cut Caesar off from all communication with the ocean, and consequently from all hopes of receiving supplies of victuals or forces. Thus the Egyptians, in hopes of a complete victory, and the Romans to avoid a certain ruin, exerted themselves with incredible vigour. At length Caesar carried his point, and not only set fire to the vessels abovementioned, but to all that were in the arsenals, after which he passed some troops into the Isle of Pharos.
The Pharos is a tower of prodigious height and wonderful workmanship, built in an island, from whence it takes its name. This island, lying over against Alexandria, makes a haven, and is joined to the continent by a causeway of nine hundred paces, and by a bridge. Here dwell several Egyptians, who have built a town, and live by pillaging the ships that are thrown upon their coast, either by mistake or tempest. As it is situate at the entrance of the port, which is but narrow, it absolutely commands it. Caesar knowing the importance of this post, whilst the enemywere engaged in the assault, landed some troops there, seized the tower, and put a garrison into it; thereby securing a safe reception for the supplies he had sent for on allsides. In the other quarters of the town, the fight was maintained with equal advantage, neither party losing ground, because of the narrowness of the passes, which enabled them easily to support themselves. After a few men killed on necessary places, fortified them in the night. In this quarter was a small part of the king's palace, where Caesar was lodged upon his first arrival; and adjoining thereto a theatre, that served instead of a citadel, and had a communication with the port and other arsenals. These works he increased afterwards, that they might serve instead of a rampart, to prevent his being obliged to fight against his will. Meantime Ptolemy's youngest daughter, hoping the throne would be vacant, fled from palace to Achillas, and joined with him in the prosecution of the war. But they soon disagreed about the command, which increased the largesses to the soldiers, each party endeavouring to gain them by large presents. During these transactions, Pothinus, Ptolemy's governor, and regent of the kingdom, being discovered in a clandestine correspondence with Achillas, whom he encouraged to the vigorous prosecution of his enterprise, Caesar ordered him to be put to death. Such was the beginning of the Alexandrian war.