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Varus, A'tius

1. P. Atius Varus, a zealous partisan of Pompey in the civil war. He had already held the office of praetor, but in what year is uncertain, and had obtained Africa as his province. (Caes. Civ. 1.31; Cic. pro Ligar. 1.) On the breaking out of the civil war at the beginning of B. C. 49, he was stationed in Picenum at the head of a considerable force. At first he took up his quarters at Cingulum, and afterwards at Auximum; but on Caesar's approach, the inhabitants of Auximum declared themselves so strongly in favour of Caesar, that Varus was obliged to evacuate the town, and on his retreat was deserted by most of his own troops. While stationed at Auximum he had levied soldiers throughout Picenum, and with some of these levies he joined Pompey in Apulia. When Pompey resolved to leave Italy, Varus crossed over into Africa, and took possession of the province, which was then governed by Q. Ligarius, who was only the legate of Considius Longus. [LIGARIUS.] In consequence of his having been propractor of Africa a few years previously, Varus was well acquainted with the country and the people, and was thus able to raise two legions without much difficulty. Meantime L. Aelius Tubero, who also belonged to the Pompeian party, and who had been appointed by the senate to succeed Considius Longus in the government of Africa, arrived to take the command of the province; but Varus would not even allow him to land, and compelled him to sail away. Shortly afterwards C. Curio crossed over from Sicily to Africa with two legions in order to gain Africa for Caesar. Varus attacked Curio in the neighbourhood of Utica, but was defeated with considerable loss, and with difficulty maintained his ground under the walls of that city. He was, however, soon relieved by the Numidian king Juba, who hastened to his support at the head of a powerful army. Curio was now in his turn defeated by Juba. Curio himself fell in the battle with almost all his infantry; and the cavalry, which escaped the slaughter and fled to Varus at Utica, were all put to death by Juba, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the Roman general. This victory secured Africa for the Pompeian party. Accordingly, the most distinguished leaders of the party fled thither after their defeat at Pharsalia in the following year (B. C. 48); and Varus was now obliged to resign the supreme command to Scipio, which he did with extreme reluctance. In the war which followed Varus was entrusted with the command of the fleet, and burnt several of Caesar's ships at Adrumetum. After the hopes of the Pompeian party in Spain had been ruined by the defeat of Scipio at Thapsus, Varus sailed away to Cn. Pompey in Spain. He was defeated of Carteia in a naval battle by C. Didius, one of Caesar's commanders, and he afterwards joined the army on shore. He fell at the battle of Munda, and his head, together with that of Labienus, was carried to Caesar. (Cic. Att. 8.13, b, 15, 20; Caes. Civ. 1.12, 13, 31; Cic. pro Ligar. 1 ; Caes. Civ. 2.23-44; D. C. 41.41, 42 ; Appian, App. BC 2.44-46; Lucan, 4.713, foll. ; D. C. 42.57; Hirt. B. Afr. 62, 63; D. C. 43.30, 31; Appian, App. BC 2.105.)

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49 BC (1)
48 BC (1)
hide References (10 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (10):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 8.13
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 2.7.44
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 2.7.46
    • Appian, Civil Wars, 2.15.105
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.13
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.31
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.12
    • Caesar, Civil War, 2.23
    • Caesar, Civil War, 2.44
    • Lucan, Civil War, 4.713
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