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Cæsar attempts to cross the Adriatic in a Small Boat--Sends for Reënforcements--Antony arrives with the remainder of the Army --Skirmishes at Dyrrachium -- Cæsar attempts to surround Pompey --Battle of Dyrrachium -- Cæsar defeated

[57] Then he rose from supper pretending to be fatigued and told his friends to remain at the table. He put on the clothing of a private person, stepped into a chariot, and drove away to the ship, pretending to be the one sent by Cæsar. He gave the rest of his orders through his servants and remained concealed by the darkness of the night and unrecognized. As there was a severe wind blowing the servants told the pilot to be of good courage and seize this opportunity to avoid the enemy who were in the neighborhood. The pilot made his way down the river by rowing. When they came toward the mouth they found it broken into surf by the wind and the sea. The pilot at the instigation of the servants put forth all his efforts, but as he could make no progress he became fatigued and gave it up. Then Cæsar threw off his disguise and called out to him, " Brave the tempest with a stout heart, you carry Cæsar and Cæsar's fortunes." Both the rowers and the pilot were astounded and all took fresh courage and gained the mouth of the river, but the wind and waves cast the ship high on the bank. As the dawn was near and they feared lest the enemy should discover them in the daylight, Cæsar, after accusing his evil genius for its invidiousness, allowed the ship to return, and it sailed up the river with a strong wind.1

[58] Some of Cæsar's friends were astonished at this act of bravery; others blamed him, saying that it was a deed becoming a soldier but not a general. As Cæsar saw that he could not conceal a second attempt he ordered Postumius to sail to Brundusium in his place and tell Gabinius to cross over with the army immediately, and if he did not obey, to give the same order to Antony, and if he failed then to give it to Calenus. Another letter was written to the whole army in case all three should hesitate, saying, "that every one who was willing to do so should follow Postumius on shipboard and sail to any place where the wind might carry them, and not to mind what happened to the ships, because Cæsar did not want ships but men." Thus did Cæsar put his trust in fortune rather than in prudence.2 Pompey, in order to anticipate Cæsar's reënforcements, made haste and led his army forward prepared for battle. While two of his soldiers were searching in midstream for the best place to cross the river, one of Cæsar's men attacked and killed them both, whereupon Pompey drew back, as he considered this event inauspicious. All of his friends blamed him for missing this capital opportunity.

[59] When Postumius arrived at Brundusium Gabinius did not obey the order, but led those who were willing to go with him by way of Illyria by forced marches. Almost all of them were destroyed by the Illyrians and Cæsar was obliged to endure the outrage on account of his preoccupation. Antony embarked the remainder of the army and sailed for Apollonia with a favorable wind. About noon the wind failed and twenty of Pompey's ships, that had put out to search the sea, discovered and pursued them. There was great fear on Cæsar's vessels lest in this calm the warships of the enemy should ram them with their prows and sink them. They prepared themselves for battle and began to discharge stones and darts, when suddenly the wind sprang up stronger than before, filled their great sails unexpectedly, and enabled them to complete their voyage without fear. The pursuers were left behind and they suffered severely from the wind and waves in the narrow sea and were scattered along a harborless and rocky coast. With difficulty they captured two of Cæsar's ships that ran on a shoal. Antony brought the remainder to the port of Nymphæum.3

[60] Now Cæsar had his whole army together and so had Pompey his. They encamped opposite each other on hills in numerous redoubts. There were frequent collisions around each of these redoubts while they were making lines of circumvallation and trying to cut off each other's supplies. In one of these fights in front of a redoubt Cæsar's men were worsted, and a centurion, of the name of Scæva, while performing many deeds of valor, was wounded in the eye with a dart. He advanced in front of his men beckoning with his hand as though he wished to say something. When silence was obtained he called out to one of Pompey's centurions, who was likewise distinguished for bravery, "Save one of your equals, save your friend, send somebody to lead me by the hand, for I am wounded." Two soldiers advanced to him thinking that he was a deserter. One of these he killed before the stratagem was discovered and he cut off the shoulder of the other. This he did because he despaired of saving himself and his redoubt. His men, moved by shame at this act of self-devotion, rushed forward and saved the redoubt. Minucius, the commander of the post, also suffered severely. It is said that he received 120 missiles on his shield, was wounded six times, and, like Scæva, lost an eye.4 Cæsar honored them both with many military gifts. A certain man of Dyrrachium having offered to betray the town to him, Cæsar went by agreement with a small force by night to the gates at the temple of Artemis.5 . . . The same winter Pompey's father-in-law (Scipio) advanced with another army from Syria. Cæsar's general, Gaius Calvisius, had an engagement with him in Macedonia, was beaten, and lost a whole legion except 800 men.

[61] As Cæsar could obtain no supplies by sea, on account of Pompey's naval superiority, his army began to suffer from hunger and was compelled to make bread from herbs.6 When deserters brought loaves of this kind to Pompey, thinking that he would be gladdened by the spectacle, he was not at all pleased, but said, "What kind of wild beasts are we fighting with ?" Then Cæsar, compelled by necessity, drew his whole army together in order to force Pompey to fight even against his will. The latter occupied a number of the redoubts that Cæsar had vacated and remained quiet. Cæsar was greatly vexed at this and ventured upon an extremely difficult and chimerical task; that is, to carry a line of circumvallation around the whole of Pompey's positions from sea to sea, thinking that even if he should fail he would acquire great renown from the boldness of the enterprise.7 The circuit was 1200 stades.8 So, great was the work that Cæsar undertook. Pompey built a line of countervallation. Thus they parried each other's efforts. Nevertheless, they fought one great battle in which Pompey defeated Cæsar in the most brilliant manner and pursued his men in headlong flight to his camp and took many of his standards. The eagle (the standard held in highest honor by the Romans) was saved with difficulty, the bearer having just time to throw it over the palisade to those within.

[62] While this remarkable defeat was in progress Cæsar brought up other troops from another quarter, but these also fell into a panic even when they beheld Pompey still far distant. Although they were already close to the gates they would neither make a stand, nor enter in good order, nor obey the commands given to them, but all fled pell-mell without shame, without orders, without reason. Cæsar ran among them and with reproaches showed them that Pompey was still far distant, yet under his very eye some threw down their standards and fled, while others bent their gaze upon the ground in shame and did nothing; so great consternation had befallen them. One of the standard bearers, with his standard reversed, dared to thrust the end of it at Cæsar himself, but the attendants of the latter cut him down. When the soldiers entered the camp they did not station any guards. All precautions were neglected and the fortification was left unprotected, so that it is probable that Pompey might then have captured it and brought the war to an end by that one engagement had not Labienus, misled by a god, persuaded him to pursue the fugitives instead. Moreover Pompey himself hesitated, either because he suspected a stratagem when he saw the gates unguarded or because he considered the war already decided by this battle. So he turned against those outside of the camp and made a heavy slaughter and took twenty-eight standards in the two engagements of this day, but he here missed his second opportunity to give the finishing stroke to the war. It is reported that Cæsar said, "The war would have been ended to-day in the enemy's favor if they had had a commander who knew how to make use of a victory."9

1 This incident is related by Plutarch, Florus, Valerius Maximus, and Suetonius, but not by Cæsar himself.

2 Cæsar's account of this matter is as follows: "As these things made Cæsar anxious he wrote more imperatively to his forces at Brundusium that they should not omit the opportunity of the first favorable wind for sailing, and that they should direct their course either to the shore of Apollonia, or to that of the Labeates, because there they might beach their ships. These places were not frequented by the enemy's blockading fleet because they dared not venture very far from their harbors." (iii. 25.)

3 This adventure is described in similar terms but at greater length by Cæsar, who says that the pursuing ships, sixteen in number, were driven upon the shore and wrecked, without a single exception, and that their crews were either killed by being dashed on the rocks or captured by his own men. The survivors, who were Rhodians, were all sent home unharmed. The loss of two of Antony's fleet is described differently. These two became separated from the main body, lost their way and came to anchor in front of Lissus three miles south of Nymphæum. Here they were attacked by another detachment of Pompey's naval force. One of them, containing 220 new recruits, surrendered on the promise of safety, but they were all put to the sword as soon as they reached land. The other containing 200 veterans was beached and the occupants reached the shore where they defeated a detachment of Pompey's horse and made their way to Cæsar. (iii. 26-28.)

4 Cæsar says that it was the shield of Scæva that was pierced in 120 places and that Cæsar rewarded him with a large sum of money and promoted him to be the first centurion instead of the eighth.

5 There is a lacuna in the text at this place but it is filled by Dio Cassius (xli. 50), who relates the same event thus: "Cæsar, having attempted to corrupt the defenders, advanced by night to Dyrrachium itself by a narrow passage between a marsh and the sea, expecting that it would be betrayed. There he was attacked by a large force in front and by another in the rear. The latter were conveyed in ships and fell upon him unexpectedly. He lost many of his men and narrowly escaped himself."

6 Both Plutarch and Cæsar say roots. "Those who were away from the fortifications," says the latter, " found a kind of root which is called 'chara,' which, mixed with milk, greatly relieved their want of food. They fashioned it into the similitude of bread, and they had abundance of it." (iii. 48.)

7 Cæsar says that his reasons for this were threefold: to prevent Pompey from interfering with his foragers, to prevent Pompey himself from foraging, and to destroy his prestige by showing him to the world besieged, and as one who dared not fight in the open. (iii. 43.)

8 The text here is probably corrupt. The distance mentioned is equal to 133 miles. Cæsar (iii. 63) says that it was 17 miles; Florus (iv. 2) says 16 miles.

9 Cæsar's account of the battle of Dyrrachium and of the causes of his defeat is embodied in Sections 59-71, Book iii. Two Allobrogian cavalry officers deserted to Pompey because they had been detected embezzling the pay of their own troops. They informed Pompey that a section of Cæsar's line of circumvallation was still unfinished. It was through this gap that Pompey made his sally at daybreak, taking Cæsar's forces by surprise and throwing them into a panic. The two engagements in one day, to which Appian refers, were the fight which took place at this gap, and the subsequent one when Cæsar brought up reinforcements and made a counter attack which ended disastrously by reason of one of those accidents common in war. The ruin of Cæsar's army would have been complete, he says, had not Pompey suspected an ambuscade and therefore desisted from an attack on Cæsar's fortified camp. Cæsar acknowledges the loss of 32 military tribunes and centurions and 969 soldiers besides several Roman knights whom he names. Excellent diagrams of these operations and of the fighting around Dyrrachium, as well as of the battle of Pharsalus, are given in the military history of Cæsar by Col. Theodore Ayrault Dodge.

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