This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 The Adriatic Sea yielded to Cæsar, becoming navigable and quiet in mid-winter. He also crossed the western ocean to Britain, which had never been attempted before, and he ordered his pilots to break their ships in pieces by running them on the rocks of the British coast.1 He was exposed to the violence of another tempest when alone in a small boat by night, and he ordered the pilot to spread his sails and to keep in mind Cæsar's fortune rather than the waves of the sea. He often dashed against the enemy single-handed when all others were afraid. He fought thirty pitched battles in Gaul alone, where he conquered forty nations so formidable to the Romans previously that in the law which exempted priests and old men from military enrolment an exception was made of a Gallic war, in case of which priests and old men were required to serve in the army. Once in the course of the Alexandrian war, when he was left alone on a bridge in extreme peril, he threw off his purple garment, leaped into the sea, and, being sought by the enemy, swam under water a long distance, coming to the surface only at intervals to take breath, until he came near a friendly ship, when he made himself known by raising his hands, and was saved. In these civil wars, in which he engaged either through apprehension, as he says, or ambition, he was brought in conflict with the first generals of the age and with many large armies, not now of barbarians, but of Romans in the highest state of efficiency and good fortune, and, like Alexander, he overcame them all by one or two engagements with each. His forces were not, like Alexander's, always victorious, for they were defeated by the Gauls most disastrously under the command of his lieutenants, Cotta and Titurius; and in Spain Petreius and Afranius shut them up like an army besieged. At Dyrrachium and in Africa they were put to flight, and in Spain they were terrified by young Pompey. But Cæsar himself was always undaunted and was victorious at the end of every war. He grasped, partly by force, partly by good-will, the Roman power which ruled the earth and sea from the setting sun to the river Euphrates, and held it much more firmly and strongly than Sulla had done, and he showed himself to be a king in spite of opposition, even though he did not accept the title. And, like Alexander, he expired while planning new wars.
1 This is nonsense. Cæsar himself says (Gallic War, v. 10) that while he was advancing into the interior of Britain, word was brought to him that a great storm had arisen in the night and dashed almost all of his ships in pieces on the shore, so that he was obliged to abandon his expedition temporarily.
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.