previous next

[81] When Pompey saw the retreat of his men he became dazed and retired slowly to his camp, and when he reached his tent he sat down speechless,1 resembling Ajax, the son of Telamon, who, they say, suffered in like manner in the midst of his enemies at Troy, being deprived of his senses by a god. Very few of the rest returned to the camp, for Cæsar's proclamation caused them to remain unharmed, and as their enemies had passed beyond them they dispersed in groups. As the day was declining Cæsar ran hither and thither among his troops and besought them to continue their exertions till they should capture Pompey's JULIUS CÆSAR AS IMPERATOR In the Palace of the Conservators, Rome

camp, telling them that if they allowed the enemy to rally they would be the victors for only a single day, whereas if they should take the enemy's camp they would finish the war with this one blow. He stretched out his hands to them and took the lead in person. Although they were weary in body, the words and example of their commander lightened their spirits. Their success so far, and the hope of capturing the enemy's camp and the contents thereof, excited them; for in the midst of hope and prosperity men feel fatigue least. So they fell upon the camp and assaulted it with the utmost disdain for the defenders. When Pompey learned this he started up from his strange silence, exclaiming, "What! in our very camp?" Having spoken thus he changed his clothing, mounted a horse, and fled with four friends, and did not draw rein until he reached Larissa early the next morning. So Cæsar established himself in Pompey's camp as he had promised to do when he was preparing for the battle, and ate Pompey's supper, and the whole army feasted at the enemy's expense.2

1 There is a striking similarity here both in language and narrative, between Appian and Plutarch. The former says: “ Πομπήϊος ἀπῄει βάδην ἐς τὸ στρατόπεδον καὶ παρελθὼν ἐς τὴν σκηνὴν ἐκαθέζετο ἄναυδος. ” The latter (Life of Pompey, 72) says: “ ἀπῄει βάδην εἰς τὸν χάρακα . . . εἰς τὴν σκηνὴν παρελθὼν ἄφθογγος καθῆστο. ” Here is fresh confirmation of the belief that both Appian and Plutarch drew from a Greek, not from a Latin, source, for if they had translated from Latin it is most improbable that they would have used the same Greek words, in the same, or very nearly the same, order. Moreover, both of them make reference here to the Iliad xi. 543, where Ajax Telamon is smitten with panic by Zeus in the midst of battle. Plutarch quotes the passage itself.

2 Plutarch's account of Pompey's flight is in nearly the same words, viz: "He sat in silence until some of those who were pursuing the fugitives rushed in with them, when he uttered the single sentence: 'What! in our very camp ?' He spoke not another word, but put on clothing suited to his present fortune and stole away." (Life of Pompey, 72.) Cæsar says: " When our men forced their way into his intrenchment Pompey threw off his general's uniform, mounted a horse, went out by the rear gate of his camp and urged his horse with all speed to Larissa. Nor did he stop there, but with the same speed, having collected a few of his scattered soldiers, still travelling by night, with a company of thirty horsemen, he pushed on to the sea where he embarked on a supply ship," etc. (iii. 96.)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (L. Mendelssohn, 1879)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: