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Achillas trusting to the valour of his troops, and despising the handful of men that followed Caesar, quickly made himself master of Alexandria, the palace only excepted, where Caesar thought proper to make his stand, and which he attacked briskly, though without effect. But it was on the side of the harbour that the greatest efforts were made. On that, in effect, the victory depended. Besides two and twenty constant guard-ships, there were in the port fifty galleys, from three to five banks of oars, which the year before 'had been sent to Pompey's assistance, and were returned since the battle of Pharsalia. Had Achillas been once master of these vessels, he might have cut Caesar off from all communication with the ocean, and consequently from all hopes of receiving supplies of victuals or forces. Thus the Egyptians, in hopes of a complete victory, and the Romans to avoid a certain ruin, exerted themselves with incredible vigour. At length Caesar carried his point, and not only set fire to the vessels abovementioned, but to all that were in the arsenals, after which he passed some troops into the Isle of Pharos.
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