When Caesar came back to Rome, Piso, his father-in-law, urged him to send a deputation to Pompey with proposals for a settlement; but Isauricus, to please Caesar, opposed the project. So, having been made dictator by the senate, he brought home exiles, restored to civic rights the children of those who had suffered in the time of Sulla, relieved the burdens of the debtor-class by a certain adjustment of interest, took in hand a few other public measures of like character, and within eleven days abdicated the sole power, had himself declared consul with Servilius Isauricus, and entered upon his campaign.
The rest of his forces he passed by in a forced march, and with six hundred picked horsemen and five legions, at the time of the winter solstice, in the early part of January1
(this month answers nearly to the Athenian Poseideon), put to sea, and after crossing the Ionian gulf took Oricum and Apollonia, and sent his transports back again to Brundisium for the soldiers who had been belated on their march.
These, as long as they were on the road, since they were now past their physical prime and worn out with their multitudinous wars, murmured against Caesar.
‘Whither, pray, and to what end will this man bring us, hurrying us about and treating us like tireless and lifeless things? Even a sword gets tired out with smiting, and shield and breastplate are spared a little after so long a time of service.
Will not even our wounds, then, convince Caesar that he commands mortal men, and that we are mortal in the endurance of pain and suffering? Surely the wintry season and the occasion of a storm at sea not even a god can constrain; yet this man takes risks as though he were not pursuing, but flying from, enemies’ With such words as these they marched in a leisurely way to Brundisium.
But when they got there and found that Caesar had put to sea, they quickly changed their tone and reviled themselves as traitors to the Imperator; they reviled their officers, too, for not having quickened their march. Then, sitting on the cliffs, they looked off towards the open sea and Epirus, watching for the ships which were to carry them across to their commander.