Cassius Dio.

Dio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E online

. (page 19 of 30)
Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 19 of 30)
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guarding of the sea had been committed, and crossed to the so-called
Ceraunian Headlands, a point in the confines of Epirus, near the opening
of the Ionian gulf. Having reached there before it became noised abroad
that he would sail at all, he despatched the ships to Brundusium for the
rest: but Bibulus damaged them on the return voyage and actually took
some in tow, so that Caesar learned by experience that he had enjoyed a
more fortunate than prudent voyage.

[-45-]During this delay, therefore, he acquired Oricum and Apollonia and
other points there which had been abandoned by Pompey's garrisons. This
"Corinthian Apollonia" is well situated as regards the land and as
regards the sea, and excellently in respect to rivers. What I have
remarked, however, above all else is that a huge fire issues from the
ground near the Aöus river and neither spreads to any extent over the
surrounding land nor sets on fire that very place where it is located
nor even makes the ground dry and brittle, but leaves the grass and
trees flourishing very near it. In pouring rains it increases and rises
high. For this reason it is called Nymphaeum[71] and affords a kind of
oracle. You take a grain of incense and after making whatever prayer you
wish throw it carrying the prayer. At this the fire, if your wish is to
be fulfilled, receives it very readily and in case the grain falls
somewhere outside, darts forward, snatches it up and consumes it. But if
the wish is not to be fulfilled, the fire does not go to it, and if it
is carried into the flame, the latter recedes and flees before it. These
two actions it performs in this way in all matters save those of death
and marriage: about these two it is not granted any one to learn
anything whatever from it.

[-46-] Such is the nature of this marvel. Now as Antony, to whom had
been assigned the duty of conveying those that remained at Brundusium,
proved slow, and no message came about them on account of the winter and
of Bibulus, Caesar suspected that they had adopted a neutral attitude and
were watching the course of events, as often happens in political
disputes. Wishing therefore, to sail himself to Italy, and alone, he
embarked on a small boat as some one else, saying that he had been sent
by Caesar; and he forced the captain, although there was a wind, to set
sail. When, however, they were away from land, the gale came sweeping
violently down upon them and the billows rocked them terribly, so that
the captain not even under compulsion dared any longer sail on, but
undertook to return even without his passenger's consent. Then the
latter revealed himself, as if by this act he should stop the storm, and
said, "Be of good cheer: you carry Caesar." Such a disposition and such a
hope he had, either accidentally or as the result of some oracle, that
he felt a secure trust in safety even contrary to the appearance of
things. Nevertheless, he did not get across, but after struggling for a
long time in vain sailed back.

[-47-]After this he encamped opposite Pompey, near Apsus. The latter as
soon as he had heard of his rival's advent had made no delay, but hoping
to quell him easily before he secured the presence of the rest who were
with Antony, he marched in haste and in some force toward Apollonia.
Caesar advanced to meet him as far as the river, thinking that even as he
was he would prove a match for the troops then approaching: but when he
learned that he was actually far inferior in numbers, he halted. In
order that this action should not seem due to fear, and he not be
thought to be opening the war, he submitted some conciliatory proposals
to the opposing body and continued his abode in that place. Pompey,
knowing this, wished to try conclusions with him as soon as possible and
for this reason undertook to cross the river. But the bridge on
receiving the weight broke down and some of the advance guard being
isolated, perished. Then he desisted in dejection that he had failed in
his first recourse to hostile action. Meanwhile Antony had arrived, and
Pompey in fear retired to Dyrrachium. [-48-] While Bibulus lived,
Caesar's lieutenant had not dared even to set out from Brundusium, so
close was the guard kept over it. But when that officer, worn out by
hard work, had died and Libo succeeded him as admiral, Antony despised
him and set sail with the evident intention of forcing the passage.
Driven back to land he repelled the other's vigorous attack upon him and
later, when Libo was anxious to disembark somewhere, he allowed him to
find anchorage nowhere near that part of the mainland. The admiral being
in need of anchorage and water, since the little island in front of the
harbor, which was the only place he could approach, is destitute of
water and harbor alike, sailed off to some distant point where he was
likely to find both in abundance. In this way Antony was enabled to set
sail, and later when the foe attempted to assail them on the high seas
he suffered no damage at his hands: a violent storm came up which
prevented the attack, but caused injuries to both sides.

[-49-] When the soldiers had come safely across, Pompey, as I have said,
retired to Dyrrachium, and Caesar followed him, encouraged by the fact
that he had survived his previous experiences with the number of
followers he now had. Dyrrachium is situated in the land formerly
belonging to the tribe of Illyrians called Parthini, but now and even at
that time regarded as a part of Macedonia; and it is very favorably
placed, whether it be the Epidamnus of the Corcyraeans or some other.
Those who record this fact also refer its founding and its name to a
hero Dyrrachus. The other authorities have declared that the place was
renamed by the Romans with reference to the difficulties of the rocky
shore, because the term Epidamnus has in the Latin tongue the meaning
"loss," and so seemed to be very ill-omened for their crossing over to

[-50-] Pompey after taking refuge in this Dyrrachium built a camp
outside the city and surrounded it with deep ditches and stout
palisades. Caesar encamped over against it and made assaults, in the hope
of shortly capturing the palisades by the number of his soldiers: when,
however, he was repulsed, he attempted to wall it off. While he was at
that work, Pompey fortified some points by stakes, cut off others by a
wall, and fortified still others with a ditch, establishing towers and
guards on the high places, so as to render the circuit of the
encompassing wall necessarily infinite and to render an approach
impossible to the foe, even if they conquered. There were meanwhile many
battles between them, but brief ones, in which now one party, now the
other, was victorious or beaten, so that a few were killed on both sides
alike. Upon Dyrrachium itself Caesar made an attempt by night, between
the marshes and the sea, in the expectation that it would be betrayed by
its defenders. He passed inside the narrows, but at that point was
attacked by many in front and many behind, who were conveyed along the
shore in boats and suddenly fell upon him; thus he lost numerous men and
very nearly perished himself. After this occurrence Pompey took courage
and concerted a plan for a night assault upon the circumvallation; as he
was unexpected he captured a portion of it by storm and caused a great
slaughter among the men encamped near it.

[-51-] Caesar in view of this event and because the grain had failed
him, - the entire sea and land in the vicinity being hostile, - and
because for this reason some had deserted, feared that he might either
be overcome while watching his adversary or be abandoned by his other
followers. Therefore he leveled all the works that had been constructed,
destroyed also all the parallel walls, and thereupon made a sudden start
and set out for Thessaly. During this same time that Dyrrachium was
being besieged Lucius Cassius Longinus and Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus had
been sent by him into Macedonia and into Thessaly. Longinus was
disastrously defeated by Scipio and by Sadalus, a Thracian; Calvinus was
repulsed from Macedonia by Faustus, but on receiving accessions from the
Locrians and Aetolians he invaded Thessaly with these troops, and after
being ambushed and then again laying counter-ambuscades conquered Scipio
in battle, and by that act gained a few cities. Thither, accordingly,
Caesar hastened, thinking that by combining with these officers he could
more easily get an abundance of food and continue the prosecution of the
war. When no one would receive him, because he had had bad luck, he
reluctantly held aloof from the larger settlements, but assaulted
Gomphi, a little city of Thessaly, took it, killed many and plundered
all its inhabitants in order that by this act he might inspire the rest
with terror. Metropolis, at any rate, another town, would have no
conflict with him but forthwith capitulated without a struggle: and as
he did no harm to its citizens he more easily won over some other places
by his display of equal readiness in opposite contingencies.

[-52-] So he became strong again. Pompey did not institute an immediate
pursuit, for his antagonist had withdrawn suddenly by night and had
hastily crossed the Genusus river: however, he was strongly inclined to
think that he had subdued him completely. Consequently he assumed the
name of imperator, though he made no boast of it and did not even wind
laurel about his fasces, disliking to show such exultation over the
downfall of citizens. Consistently with this same attitude he neither
sailed to Italy himself nor sent any others there, though he might
easily have reduced the whole peninsula. As regards a fleet he was
absolute master, for he had five hundred swift ships and could touch at
many points at once: and the sentiment of that country was not opposed
to him, nor, if it had been ever so hostile, could the people have been
a match for him in war. But he wished to remain at a distance, so as to
get the reputation of fighting for his land, and did not see fit to
cause any fear to the persons who then in Rome. Hence he made no attempt
on Italy, not even sending to the government any despatch about his
successes. But after this he set out against Caesar and came to Thessaly.

[-53-] As they lay opposite each other the appearance of the camps bore,
indeed, some resemblance of war, but the use of arms was suspended as in
time of peace. As they reviewed the greatness of the danger and foresaw
the obscurity and uncertainty of the issue, and still stood in some awe
of their common ancestry and kinship, they were led to delay. Meanwhile
they exchanged propositions about friendship and appeared to some likely
to become reconciled without accomplishing anything. This was due to the
fact that they were both reaching out for supreme dominion and were
influenced by a great deal of native ambition and a great deal of
acquired rivalry, - for men can least endure to be outdone by their
equals and intimates; they were not willing to make any concessions to
each other, since each felt that he might win, nor could they feel any
confidence, if they did come to terms, that they would not be always
yearning for the advantage and fall into strife again over complete
control. [-54-] In temper they differed from each other to this
extent, - that Pompey desired to be second to no man and Caesar to be
first of all, and the former was anxious to be honored by willing
subjects and to preside over and be loved by a people fully consenting,
whereas the latter cared not at all if he ruled over an unwilling nation
and issued orders to men that hated him, and bestowed the honors with
his own hand upon himself. The deeds, however, through which they hoped
to accomplish all that they wished, were perforce common to both alike.
For it was impossible that either one of them should succeed without
fighting against his countrymen, leading foreigners against kindred,
obtaining much money by unjust pillage, and killing unlawfully many of
his dearest associates. Hence, even though they differed in their
desires, yet in their acts, by which they hoped to fulfill those
desires, they were alike. Consequently they would not yield to each
other on any point, in spite of the many just grounds that they alleged,
and finally came into collision.

[-55-] The struggle proved a mighty one, and resembled no other
conflict. The leaders believed themselves to be the most skilled in all
matters of warfare and clearly the most distinguished not only of the
Romans but also of the remainder of mankind then in existence. They had
practiced those pursuits from boyhood, had constantly been connected
with them, had exhibited deeds worthy of note, had been conspicuous for
great valor and great good fortune, and were therefore most worthy of
commanding and most worthy of victory. As to forces, Caesar had the
largest and the most genuinely Roman portion of the citizen-army and the
most warlike men from the rest of Italy, from Spain, and the whole of
Gaul and the islands that he had conquered: Pompey had attracted many
from the senatorial and the equestrian order and from the regular
enrollment and had gathered a vast number from subject and pacified
peoples and kings. Aside from Pharnaces and Orodes, - the latter, indeed,
although an enemy because of his having killed the Crassi, he tried to
win over, - all the rest who had ever had even the smallest dealings with
Pompey gave him money and either sent or led auxiliaries. The Parthian
king promised to be his ally if he should take Syria: but as he did not
get it, the prince did not help him. While Pompey decidedly excelled in
numbers, Caesar's followers were equal to them in strength, and so, the
advantage being even, they just balanced each other and were equally
prepared for danger.

[-56-] In these circumstances and by the very cause and purpose of the
war a most notable struggle took place. The city of Rome and the entire
dominion over it, even then great and mighty, lay before them as a
prize: it was clear to all that it would become the slave of him who
conquered. When they reflected on this fact and furthermore recalled
their former deeds, - Pompey, Africa and Sertorius and Mithridates and
Tigranes and the sea: Caesar, Gaul and Spain and the Rhine and
Britain, - they were excited to frenzy, thinking that they were facing
danger for those conquests too, and each was eager to acquire the
other's glory. For the renown of the vanquished no less than his other
possessions becomes the property of the victors. The greater and more
powerful the antagonist that a man overthrows, to the greater heights is
he raised. [-57-] Therefore they delivered to the soldiers also many
exhortations, but very much alike on both sides, saying all that is
fitting to be mentioned on such occasions with reference both to the
immediate nature of the danger and to its future results. As they both
came from the same state and were talking to the same subjects and
calling each other tyrants and themselves liberators from tyranny, they
had nothing of different kinds to say, but stated that it would be the
lot of the one party to die, of the other to be preserved, of the one
party to be captives, of the other to enjoy the master's lot, to possess
everything or to be deprived of everything, to suffer or to inflict a
most terrible fate. After giving some such exhortations to the citizens
and furthermore leading the subject and allied contingents into hopes
for the better and fears for the worse, they hurled at each other
kinsmen, sharers of the same tent, those who had eaten together, those
who had drunk together. Why should any one then lament the fate of
others involved, when those very men, who were all these things to each
other, and had shared many secret words, many similar exploits, who had
once been concerned in a marriage and loved the same child, one as a
father, the other as grandfather, nevertheless fought? All the ties that
nature by mingling their blood had created, they now, directed by
insatiate lust of power, hastened to break, tear, and cleave asunder.
Because of them Rome was forced to encounter danger for herself against
herself, and though victor to be worsted.

Such was the struggle in which they joined. [-58-] They did not,
however, immediately come to close quarters. Sprung from the same
country and from the same hearth, with almost identical weapons and
similar formation, each side shrank from beginning the battle, shrank
from slaying any one. There was great silence then, and dejection on the
part of both; no one went forward nor moved at all: but with heads bowed
they stood motionless, as if devoid of life. Caesar and Pompey,
therefore, fearing that if they remained quiet any longer their
animosity might be dulled or they might even become reconciled,
hurriedly commanded the trumpeters to blow the signal and the men to
raise the war cry in unison. Both orders were obeyed, but the
contestants were so far from being imbued with courage, that at the
similar sound of the trumpeter's call and at their own outcry in the
same language, they felt their affinity and were impressed with their
kinship, and so fell into tears and wailing. [-59-] At length the allied
troops began the battle, and the rest joined in combat, fairly beside
themselves at what they were doing. Those whose part in the conflict was
a distant one were less sensible of the horror; they threw, shot, hurled
javelins, discharged slings, without knowing whom they hit: but the
heavy-armed and the cavalry had a fearful experience, as they were close
to each other and could even speak a little back and forth; at the same
moment they would recognize their vis-à-vis and would wound him, would
call to him and slaughter him, would remember their country and despoil
the slain. These were the actions and the sufferings of the Romans and
the rest from Italy who were joined with them in the campaign, wherever
they happened upon each other. Many sent messages home through their
very destroyers. The subject force fought both zealously and
unflinchingly, showing much alertness as once for their own freedom, so
now to secure the slavery of the Romans; they wanted, since they were
inferior to them at all points, to have them as fellow-slaves.

[-60-] It was a very great battle and full of diverse incidents, partly
for the reasons mentioned and partly on account of the numbers and the
variety of the armaments. There were vast bodies of heavy-armed
soldiers, vast bodies of cavalry, others that were archers and still
others that were slingers, so that they occupied the whole plain and
when scattered often fought with their own men, because similarly
arrayed, and often promiscuously with others. Pompey surpassed in his
body of horse and archers; hence they surrounded troops from a distance,
employed sudden assaults, and after throwing them into confusion
retired; then again and still again they would attack them, changing now
to this side and now to that. The Caesarians were on their guard against
this, and by deploying their ranks always managed to face those
assailing them, and when they came into close quarters with them readily
laid hold of both men and horses in the contest; light-armed infantry
had, in fact, been drawn up with their cavalry for this very purpose.
And all this took place, as I said, not in one spot but in many places
at once, scattered about; and with some contending from a distance and
others fighting at close quarters, this body smiting its opponents and
that group getting struck, one detachment fleeing, and a second
pursuing, many infantry battles and many cavalry battles as well were to
be seen. Under these conditions many unexpected things happened. One man
having routed another was himself turned to flight, and another who had
forced a man out of line was in turn attacked by him. One soldier who
had struck another was himself wounded and a second, who had fallen,
killed the enemy who stood over him. Many died without being wounded,
and many when half dead caused more slaughter. Some exulted and sang the
paean, while others were grieved and lamented, so that all places were
filled with cries and groans. The majority were thrown into confusion by
this fact, for the mass of words which were unintelligible to them,
because belonging to different nations and languages, alarmed them
greatly, and those who could understand one another suffered a calamity
many times worse; in addition to their private misfortunes they saw and
heard at the same time those of near neighbors.

[-61-] At last, after they had struggled evenly for a very long space of
time and many on both sides alike had fallen or been wounded, Pompey,
since the larger part of his army was Asiatic and untrained, was
defeated, even as had been made clear to him before the action.
Thunderbolts had fallen into his camp, a fire had appeared in the air
over Caesar's ditch and then fell up his own, bees had swarmed upon his
military standards, and many of the victims after being led up close the
very altar had run away. And so far did the effects of that contest
extend to the rest of mankind that on the very day of the battle
collisions of armies and the clash of arms occurred in many places: in
Pergamum a kind of noise of drums and cymbals rose from the temple of
Dionysus and spread throughout the city; in Tralles a palm tree grew up
in the temple of Victory and the goddess herself turned about toward an
image of Caesar located beside her; in Syria two young men (as they
seemed) announced the result of the battle and vanished; and in
Patavium, which now belongs to Italy but was then still a part of Gaul,
certain birds not only brought news of it but even acted it out to some
extent, for one Gaius Cornelius drew from them accurate information of
all that had taken place, and narrated it to the bystanders. These
things happened separately on that very same day and were naturally
distrusted at the time; but when news was brought of the engagement,
astonishment was felt.

[-62-] Of Pompey's followers who were not destroyed on the spot some
fled whithersoever they could, and others changed their allegiance.
Those of them who were solders of the line Caesar enrolled among his own
troops, exhibiting no resentment. Of the senators and knights all those
whom he had captured before and pitied he killed, unless his friends
begged some of them off; for he allowed each of these on this occasion
to save one man. The rest who had then for the first time fought against
him he released, saying: "Those have not wronged me who have advanced
the interests of Pompey, their friend, and had received no benefit from
me." This same attitude he adopted toward the potentates and peoples who
joined his cause. He pardoned them all, bearing in mind that he himself
was acquainted with none or almost none of them, whereas from his rival
they had previously obtained many favors. These he praised far more than
such as had previously received some kindness from Pompey but in the
midst of dangers had left him in the lurch: the former he could
reasonably expect would be favorably disposed to him also, but as to the
latter, no matter how anxious they seemed to be to please him in
anything, he believed that inasmuch as they had betrayed a friend in
this crisis they would not spare him either on occasion. [-63-] A proof
of his feeling is that he spared Sadalus the Thracian and Deiotarus the
Gaul, who had been in the battle, and Tarcondimotus, who was ruler of a
portion of Cilicia and had very greatly assisted Caesar's opponent in the
way of ships. What need is there of listing the rest who sent
auxiliaries, to all of whom he granted pardon and merely exacted money
from them? He did them no other damage and took from them nothing else,
though many had frequently received great gifts from Pompey, some long
ago and some just at that time. A certain portion of Armenia that had
belonged to Deiotarus he did give to Ariobarzanes, king of Cappadocia,
yet in this he did not injure Deiotarus at all, but rather conferred an
additional favor upon him. He did not sunder the territory his domains,
but after occupying all of Armenia before occupied by Pharnaces he
bestowed one part of it on Ariobarzanes and another part upon Deiotarus.
Pharnaces made a plea that he had not assisted Pompey and therefore, in
view of his behavior, deserved to obtain pardon: Caesar, however, gave
him no satisfactory response, and furthermore reproached him with the
very fact that he had proved himself base and impious toward his
benefactor. Such humaneness and uprightness did he afterward show in

Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 19 of 30)