But just as the tents had been struck, his scouts rode up to him with tidings that the enemy were coming down into the plain for battle. At this he was overjoyed, and after prayers and vows to the gods, drew up his legionaries in three divisions. Over the centre he put Domitius Calvinus, while of the wings Antony had one and he himself the right, where he intended to fight with the tenth legion.
But seeing that the enemy's cavalry were arraying themselves over against this point, and fearing their brilliant appearance and their numbers, he ordered six cohorts from the furthermost lines to come round to him unobserved, and stationed them behind his right wing, teaching them what they were to do when the enemy's horsemen attacked. Pompey had one of his wings himself and Domitius the left, while Scipio, Pompey's father-in-law, commanded the centre.
But his horsemen all crowded to the left wing, intending to encircle the enemy's right and make a complete rout about the commander himself; for they thought that no legionary array, however deep, could resist them, but that when so many horsemen made an onset together the enemy would be utterly broken and crushed.1
When both sides were about to sound the charge, Pompey ordered his legionaries to stand with arms at the ready and await in close array the onset of the enemy until they were within javelin cast. But Caesar says2
that here too Pompey made a mistake, not knowing that the initial clash with all the impetus of running adds force to the blows and fires the courage, which everything then conspires to fan.
As Caesar himself was about to move his lines of legionaries, and was already going forward into action, he saw first one of his centurions, a man experienced in war and faithful to him, encouraging his men and challenging them to vie with him in prowess. Him Caesar addressed by name and said:
what are our hopes, and how does our confidence stand?’
Then Crassinius, stretching forth his right hand, said with a loud voice:
‘We shall win a glorious victory, O Caesar, and thou shalt praise me to-day, whether I am alive or dead’ So saying, he plunged foremost into the enemy at full speed, carrying along with him the one hundred and twenty soldiers under his command. But after cutting his way through the first rank, and while he was forging onwards with great slaughter, he was beaten back by the thrust of a sword through his mouth, and the point of the sword actually came out at the back of his neck.4