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XVIII

[18arg] That the battle which Gaius Caesar fought on the plains of Pharsalus during the civil war was announced on the very same day at Patavium in Italy, and his victory foretold, by the divination of a seer.


ON the day that Gaius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompeius engaged in battle in Thessaly during the civil war, an event occurred at Patavium in Transpadane Italy, which is deserving of record. A priest called Cornelius, a man of good birth, honoured for scrupulousness in his office and revered for the purity of his life, was suddenly seized by a prophetic inspiration and said that he saw a most furious battle taking place afar off; then he shouted out, just as if he were personally taking part in the engagement, that some were giving way, others pressing on; that he saw before him carnage, flight, flying weapons, a renewal of the engagement, an attack, groans and wounds; and later he suddenly exclaimed that Caesar was victorious.

At the time the prophecy of the priest Cornelius seemed unimportant and without meaning. Afterwards, however, it caused great surprise, since not only the time of the battle which was fought in Thessaly, and its predicted outcome, were verified, but all the shifting fortunes of the day and the very conflict of the two armies were represented by the gestures and words of the seer. 1

[p. 105]

1 Cf. Plutarch, Caesar, 47.

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