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Brutus and Cassius -- How Cassius raised an Army in Syria -- He gains Four Legions from Egypt -- Cassius marches against Dolabella -- He captures Laodicea -- Dolabella killed -- Brutus informs Cassius that Octavius and Antony are crossing the Adriatic -- Cassius captures Tarsus

[57] Resuming the narrative of Cassius and Brutus, I shall repeat some small part of what has already been said, in order to refresh the memory. When Cæsar was assassinated his murderers took possession of the Capitol, and when amnesty was voted to them they came down. The people were greatly moved at Cæsar's funeral and scoured the city in pursuit of his murderers. The latter defended themselves from the roofs of their houses, and those of them who had been appointed by Cæsar himself as governors of provinces departed from the city forthwith. Cassius and Brutus were still city prætors. Cassius had been chosen by Cæsar as governor of Syria and Brutus of Macedonia. As they could not enter at once upon these offices, and as they were afraid to remain in the city, they took their departure while still prætors, and the Senate, for the sake of appearances, gave them charge of the supply of corn, so that they might not seem to have taken flight in the interval. After they had gone, the provinces of Syria and Macedonia were transferred to the consuls Dolabella and Antony much against the will of the Senate. Nevertheless, Cyrene and Crete were given to Brutus and Cassius in exchange. These provinces they despised because of their insignificance, and, accordingly, they set about raising troops and money in order to invade Syria and Macedonia.

[58] While they were thus engaged Dolabella put Trebonius to death in Asia and Antony besieged Decimus Brutus in Cisalpine Gaul. The Senate in indignation voted both Dolabella and Antony public enemies, and restored both Brutus and Cassius to the former commands and added Illyria to that of Brutus. It also ordered all other persons holding commands of Roman provinces or armies, between the Adriatic and Syria, to obey the orders of Cassius and Brutus. Thereupon Cassius anticipated Dolabella by entering Syria, where he raised the standards of a governor and won over twelve legions of soldiers who had been enlisted and trained by Gaius Cæsar long before. One of these Cæsar had left in Syria when he was contemplating a war against the Parthians, and had placed it under the charge of Cæcilius Bassus, but had given the nominal command to Sextus Julius, a young man who was his kinsman.1 This Julius was a fellow of loose habits who led the legion into shameful dissipations and once insulted Bassus when the latter remonstrated with him. Afterward he summoned Bassus to his presence, and when the latter delayed he ordered that he be dragged before him. There was a disgraceful tumult in consequence, and some blows were given to Bassus, the sight of which the army resented, and Julius was stabbed. This act was followed straightway by repentance and fear of Cæsar, and so they bound each other by an oath that, unless they were granted pardon and reconciliation, they would fight to the death; and they compelled Bassus to take the same oath. They recruited another legion and both were drilled together. Cæsar sent Statius Murcus against them with three legions, but they resisted bravely. Marcius Crispus was then sent from Bithynia to the aid of Murcus with three additional legions, and thus Bassus was besieged by six legions altogether.

[59] Cassius speedily intervened in this siege and took command at once of the army of Bassus with its consent, and afterward of the legions of Murcus and Marcius, who surrendered them to him in a friendly way and in pursuance of the decree of the Senate, which they obeyed in all respects. About the same time Allienus, who had been sent to Egypt by Dolabella, brought from that country four legions composed of men who had been dispersed after the disasters of Pompey and Crassus, and who had been left with Cleopatra by Cæsar. Cassius surrounded him in Palestine unexpectedly, while he was in ignorance of what had happened, and compelled him to come to terms and surrender his army, as he did not dare to fight with four legions against eight. Thus in a marvellous manner Cassius came into possession of twelve first-rate legions, to whom were added a certain number of Parthian mounted bowmen, who were attracted by the reputation he had acquired among them from the time when, as quæstor to Crassus, he had shown himself to be more skilful than that general.

[60] Dolabella was spending his time in Ionia, having put Trebonius to death, levied tribute on the towns, and hired a naval force, by means of Lucius Figulus, from the Rhodians, Lycians, Pamphylians, and Cilicians. When this was in readiness he advanced toward Syria, leading two legions by land while Figulus proceeded by sea. After he had learned of the forces of Cassius he passed on to Laodicea,2 a city friendly to himself, situated on a peninsula, fortified on the landward side and having a roadstead in the sea, so that supplies might be easily obtained by water and he might sail away securely whenever he wished. When Cassius learned this, fearing lest Dolabella should escape him, he threw up a mound across the isthmus, two stades in length, composed of stones and all sorts of material brought together from suburban houses and tombs, and at the same time sent to Phoenicia, Lycia, and Rhodes for ships.3

[61] Being refused by all except the Sidonians, he came to a naval engagement with Dolabella, in which a number of ships were sunk on both sides and Dolabella captured five with their crews. Then Cassius again sent to those who had rejected his application, and also to Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, and to Serapio, her viceroy in Cyprus. The Tyrians, the Aradii, and Serapio, without consulting Cleopatra, sent Cassius what ships they had. The queen excused herself on the ground that Egypt was at that time suffering from famine and pestilence, but she was really cooperating with Dolabella on account of her relations with the elder Cæsar. This was the reason why she had sent him the four legions by Allienus, and had another fleet ready to assist him, which was kept back by adverse winds. The Rhodians and the Lycians said that they would help neither Cassius nor Brutus in civil wars, and that when they supplied ships to Dolabella they furnished them as an escort, not knowing that they were to be used as allies in war.

[62] When Cassius was again ready with the forces in hand he engaged Dolabella a second time. The first battle was doubtful, but in the next one Dolabella was beaten on the sea. Then Cassius completed his mound and battered Dolabella's walls till they trembled. He tried unsuccessfully to corrupt Marsus, the captain of the night-watch, but he bribed the centurions of the day force and, while Marsus was taking his rest, effected an entrance by daylight through a number of small gates that were secretly opened to him one after another. When the city was taken Dolabella offered his head to his own body-guard and told him to cut it off and carry it to Cassius in order to secure his own safety. The guard cut it off, but he killed himself also, and Marsus took his own life. Cassius swore Dolabella's army into his own service. He plundered the temples and the treasury of Laodicea, punished the chief citizens, and exacted very heavy contributions from the rest, so that the city was reduced to the extremest misery.

[63] After the capture of Laodicea Cassius turned his attention to Egypt. Having learned that Cleopatra was about to join Octavius and Antony with a strong fleet, he purposed to prevent its sailing and to punish the queen for her intention. He had before this thought that the condition of Egypt was especially favorable for these designs, because it was wasted by famine and had no considerable foreign army, now that the forces of Allienus had taken their departure. In the midst of his eagerness, his hopes, and his opportunity came a hasty summons from Brutus telling him that Octavius and Antony were crossing the Adriatic. Cassius reluctantly gave up his hopes in respect of Egypt. He also sent back his Parthian mounted bowmen with presents, and with them ambassadors to their king asking for a larger force of auxiliaries. This force arrived after the decisive battle, ravaged Syria and many of the neighboring provinces as far as Ionia, and then returned home. Cassius left his nephew in Syria with one legion and sent his cavalry in advance into Cappadocia, who presently killed Ariobarzanes for plotting against Cassius. Then they seized his large treasures and other military supplies and brought them to Cassius.

[64] The people of Tarsus were divided into factions. One of these factions had crowned Cassius, who was the first to arrive. The other had done the same for Dolabella, who came later. Both had acted thus in the name of the city. As the inhabitants bestowed their honors upon each alternately, each of them treated it despitefully as a fickleminded place. After Cassius had overcome Dolabella he levied a contribution on it of 1500 talents. Being unable to find the money, and being pressed for payment with violence by the soldiers, the people sold all their public property and after that they coined all the sacred articles used in religious processions and the temple offerings into money. As this was not sufficient, the magistrates sold free persons into bondage, first girls and boys, afterward women and miserable old men, who brought a very small price, and finally young men. Most of these committed suicide. Finally Cassius, on his return from Syria, took pity on their sufferings and released them from the remainder of the contribution. Such were the calamities that befell Tarsus and Laodicea.

1 The text here is almost identical with that which describes the same events in Book iii. 77, 78.

2 There were five Laodiceas in the dominions of the Seleucidæ, all named after the mother of Seleucus (Syr. 57). This one was on the coast of Syria, the modern Latikiyeh.

3 Among the letters of Cicero are two written by P. Lentulus, the quæstor of Trebonius, dated Perge, Pamphylia, May 29 and June 2, the former to Cicero and the latter to the Senate, which throw light on the movements of Dolabella before he shut himself up in Laodicea. He says that he has learned from deserters from Dolabella's army that before throwing himself into the latter place Dolabella tried to get possession of Antioch, but was not allowed to enter. "Then he made several attempts to gain entrance by force, but was each time repulsed with severe loss. After losing about a hundred men he fled by night from Antioch in the direction of Laodicea, leaving his sick and wounded. That night nearly all of his Asiatic troops deserted him, and 800 of them returned to Antioch and surrendered themselves to the officers whom Cassius had left to guard the town. The remainder, of whom my informants were a part, came into Cilicia by way of Mount Amanus. They said that Cassius, with his entire army, was only four days' march from Laodicea when Dolabella started thither, for which reason I am confident that this most infamous robber will get his deserts sooner than we had anticipated." (Ad Fam. xii. 15.)

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