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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.
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