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 20 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 20 of 30)
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every case to all those who had fought against him. Moreover, all the
letters that were found filed away in Pompey's chests which convicted
any persons of good-will toward the latter or ill-will toward himself he
neither read nor had copied but burned them immediately, in order not to
be forced by what was in them to take severe measures; and for this
reason if no other any one ought to hate the men that plotted against
him. This is not a mere random remark, but may serve to call attention
to the fact that Marcus Brutus Caepio, who afterward killed him, was
captured by him and preserved from harm.



The following is contained in the Forty-second of Dio's Rome.

How Pompey, defeated in Thessaly, took to flight and perished in Egypt
(chapters 1-5).

How Caesar, following Pompey, came into Egypt (chapters 6-16).

How the news about Caesar and Pompey was announced at Rome, and what
decrees were passed in honor of Caesar (chapters 17-20).

How in the absence of Caesar the population of Rome revolted (chapters

How Caesar fought and subdued the Egyptians and showered favors upon
Cleopatra (chapters 34-44).

How Caesar conquered Pharnaces (chapters 45-48).

How Caesar returned to Rome and reconciled the interests there (chapters

How Caesar led an expedition into Africa (chapters 56-58).

Duration of time, the remainder of the consulship of Julius Caesar (II)
and Publius Servilius Isauricus, together with one additional year, in
which there were the following magistrates here enumerated.

C. Iulius C.F. Caesar, Dictator (II), M. Antonius M.F., Master of Horse,
and the two consuls C. Fufius C.F. Calenus and P. Vatinius P.F. (B.C. 47
= a.u. 707.)


[B.C. 48 (_a.u._ 706)]

[-1-] The general nature of the battle has, accordingly, been described.
As a result of it Pompey straightway despaired of all his undertakings
and no longer made any account of his own valor or of the number of his
remaining soldiers or of the fact that Fortune often restores the
vanquished in the shortest space of time; yet in former times he had
always possessed the greatest cheerfulness and the greatest hopefulness
on all occasions of failure. The reason for this was that in the cases
just mentioned he had usually been evenly matched with the foe and hence
had not discounted a victory in advance; but by reflecting beforehand on
the dual possibilities of the outcome of the engagement, while he was
still coolheaded and before being involved in any alarm, he had not
neglected to prepare for the worst. In this way he had not been
compelled to yield to disasters and was able with ease to renew the
conflict: but this time as he had expected to far surpass Caesar he had
foreseen nothing. For instance, he had not put the camp in proper
condition nor provided a refuge for himself if defeated. And whereas he
might have delayed action and so have conquered without a battle, - for
his army kept increasing every day and he had abundant provisions
because he was in a country for the most part friendly and because he
was lord of the sea, - nevertheless, whether of his own accord and
thinking he would conquer in any event, or because he was forced by his
associates, he brought on an engagement. Consequently as soon as he was
defeated he was terribly alarmed and had no opportune plan or sure hope
ready to enable him to face the danger anew Whenever any event befalls a
man unexpectedly and most contrary to what seemed reasonable, it humbles
his mind and drives out the faculty of calculation, so that he becomes
the poorest and weakest judge of what must be done. Calculation cannot
live in the midst of fears; if it occupies the ground first, it thrusts
them out very effectively, but if it be a second comer, it gets the
worst of the encounter.

[-2-] Hence Pompey, also, having considered none of the chances
beforehand, was found naked and defenceless, whereas, had anything been
foreseen, he might, perhaps, without trouble have quickly recovered all
his losses. Large numbers of the combatants had survived and he had
other forces that were considerable. Above all, he had gotten into his
possession large amounts of money and was master of the entire sea, and
the cities both there and in Asia were fond of him even in his
misfortune. But, as it turned out, since he had fared so ill where he
felt most encouraged, in the temporary seizure of fear he made no use of
any one of these resources, but left the fortifications at once and fled
with a few companions toward Larissa. He did not enter the city although
the Larissaeans invited him, because he feared that by so doing he might
incur some blame. Bidding them make terms with the victor, he himself
took provisions, embarked on the sea, and sailed away to Lesbos on a
merchantman, to his wife Cornelia and his son Sextus. After taking
charge of them he did not even enter Mitylene but started for Egypt,
hoping to secure an alliance with Ptolemy, the king of that country.
This was the son of that Ptolemy who, through the agency of Gabinius,
had received back the kingdom at his hands, and he had as an
acknowledgment of that service sent a fleet to Pompey's assistance. I
have heard that Pompey thought also of fleeing to the Parthians, but I
cannot credit the report. For that race so hated all the Romans ever
since Crassus had led his expedition against them, and Pompey
especially, because related to him, that they imprisoned his envoy who
came with a request for aid, though he was a senator. And Pompey would
have never endured in his misfortune to become a suppliant of a most
hostile nation for what he had failed to obtain while enjoying success.
[-3-]However, - he proceeded to Egypt for the reasons mentioned, and
after coasting along the shore as far as Cilicia went across from there
to Pelusium, where Ptolemy, just then engaged in a war with his sister
Cleopatra, was encamped. Bringing the ships to anchor he sent some men
to remind the prince of the favor shown his father and to ask that he be
permitted to land on definite and secure conditions: he did not venture
to disembark before obtaining some guarantee of safety. Ptolemy made him
no answer, for he was still a mere child, but some of the Egyptians and
Lucius Septimius, a Roman who had made campaigns with Pompey but was a
relative of Gabinius and had been left behind by him to keep guard over
Ptolemy, came in the guise of friends: for all that they impiously
plotted against him and by their act brought guilt upon themselves and
all Egypt. They themselves perished not long after and the Egyptians for
their part were first delivered to be slaves of Cleopatra (this they
particularly disliked) and later were enrolled among the Roman subjects.
[-4-] Now at this time Septimius and Achillas, the commander-in-chief,
and others who were with them declared they would readily receive
Pompey, - to the end, of course, that he might be the more easily
deceived and ensnared. Some of them sent on his messengers ahead,
bidding them be of good cheer, and the natives themselves next embarked
on some small boats and sailed out to him. After many friendly greetings
they begged him to come over to their vessels, saying that by reason of
its size and the shallow water a trireme could not closely approach
their land and that they were very eager to see Pompey himself more
quickly. He thereupon changed ships, although all his fellow voyagers
urged him not to do it, trusting in his hosts and saying merely:

"Whoever to a tyrant wends his way, His slave is he, e'en though his
steps be free." [72]

Now when they drew near the land, fearing that if he even met Ptolemy he
might be saved, by the king himself or by the Romans who dwelt with him
or by the Egyptians, who regarded him with great affection, they killed
him before sailing into harbor. He said not a word and uttered no
complaint, but as soon as he perceived their plot and recognized that he
would not be able to ward them off nor escape, he veiled his face.

[-5-] Such was the end of the famous Pompey the Great, wherein once more
the weakness and the strange fortune of the human race are proved. He
was no whit deficient in foresight, but was deceived by having been
always absolutely secure against any force of harmful potency. He had
won many unexpected victories in Africa, and many in Asia and Europe,
both by land and by sea ever since boyhood; and was now in the
fifty-eighth year of his age defeated without good reason. He who had
subdued the entire Roman sea perished on it: and whereas he had once, as
the story goes, been master of a thousand ships, he was destroyed in a
tiny boat near Egypt and really by that same Ptolemy whose father he had
once restored from exile to that land and to his kingdom. The man whom
at that time Roman soldiers were still guarding, soldiers left behind by
Gabinius as a favor to Pompey and on account of the hatred felt by the
Egyptians for the young prince's father, seemed now to have put him to
death by the hands of those Romans and those Egyptians. Pompey, who was
previously considered the dominant figure among the Romans so that he
even had the nickname of _Agamemnon_, was now slain like any of the
lowest of the Egyptians themselves, near Mount Casius and on the
anniversary of the day on which he had celebrated a triumph over
Mithridates and the pirates. Even in this point, therefore, there was
nothing similar in the two parts of his career. Of yore on that day he
had experienced the most brilliant success, whereas he now suffered the
most grievous fate: again, following a certain oracle he had been
suspicious of all the citizens named Cassius, but instead of being the
object of a plot by any man called Cassius he died and was buried beside
the mountain that had this name. Of his fellow voyagers some were
captured at once, while others fled, among them his wife and child. The
former under a safe conduct came later safely to Rome: the latter,
Sextus, proceeded to Africa to his brother Gnaeus; these are the names by
which they are distinguished, since they both bore the appellation

[-6-] Caesar, when he had attended to pressing demands after the battle
and had assigned to certain others Greece and the remainder of that
region to win over and administer, himself pursued after Pompey. He
hurried forward as far as Asia in quest of news about him, and there
waited for a time since no one knew which way he had sailed. Everything
turned out favorably for him: for instance, while crossing the
Hellespont in a kind of ferryboat, he met Pompey's fleet sailing with
Lucius Cassius in command, but so far from suffering any harm at their
hands he terrified them and won them to his side. Next, meeting with no
resistance any longer he took possession of the rest of that district
and regulated its affairs, levying a money contribution, as I said, but
otherwise doing no one any harm and even conferring benefits on all, so
far as was visible. He did away with the taxgatherers, who abused the
people most cruelly, and he converted the product of the taxes into a
payment of tribute.

[-7-] Meanwhile, learning that Pompey was sailing to Egypt, he was
afraid that his rival by occupying it in advance might again acquire
strength, and he set out with, all speed. Him he found no longer alive.
Then with a few followers he sailed far in advance of the others to
Alexandria itself before Ptolemy came from Pelusium. On discovering that
the people of the city were in a tumult over Pompey's death he did not
at once venture to disembark, but put out to sea and waited till he saw
the head and finger-ring of the murdered man, sent him by Ptolemy.
Thereupon he approached the land with some courage: the multitude,
however, showed irritation at the sight of his lictors and he was glad
to make his escape into the palace. Some of his soldiers had their
weapons taken from them, and the rest accordingly put to sea again until
all the ships had reached harbor. [-8-] Caesar at the sight of Pompey's
head wept and lamented bitterly, calling him countryman and son-in-law,
and enumerating all the kindnesses they had shown each other. He said at
he owed no reward to the murderers, but heaped reproaches upon them, and
the head he commanded to be adorned and after proper preparation to be
buried. For this he received praise, but for his pretences he was made a
laughing stock. He had from the outset been thoroughly set upon
dominion; he had always hated Pompey as his antagonist and adversary;
besides all his other measures against him he had brought on this war
with no other purpose than to secure his rival's ruin and his own
leadership; he had but now been hurrying to Egypt with no other end in
view than to overthrow him completely if he should still be alive: yet
he feigned to miss his presence and made a show of vexation over his

[-9-] Under the belief that now that Pompey was out of the way there was
no longer any spot left that was hostile to him, he spent some time in
Egypt collecting money and adjudicating the differences between Ptolemy
and Cleopatra. Meanwhile other wars were being prepared for him. Egypt
revolted, and Pharnaces had begun, just as soon as he learned that
Pompey and Caesar were at variance, to lay claim to his ancestral domain:
he hoped that they would consume much time in their disputes and use up
their own powers upon each other. He was at this time still clinging to
the districts mentioned, partly because he had once asserted his claim
and partly because he understood that Caesar was far off; and he had
occupied many points in advance. Meanwhile Cato and Scipio and the rest
who were of the same mind with them set on foot in Africa a war that was
both a civil and a foreign conflict.

[-10-] It was this way. Cato had been left behind at Dyrrachium by
Pompey to keep an eye upon reinforcements from Italy, in case any one
should cross, and to repress the Parthini in case they should cause any
disturbance. At first he carried on war with the latter, but after
Pompey's defeat he abandoned Epirus and proceeding to Corcyra with those
of the same mind as himself he there received the men who escaped from
the battle and the rest who had the same interests. Cicero and a few
other senators had set out for Rome at once: but the majority, together
with Labienus and Afranius, since they had no hope in Caesar, - the one
because he had deserted, the other because after having been pardoned by
him he had again made war on him, - went to Cato, put him at their head
and continued the war. [-11-] Their number was later increased by the
addition of Octavius. The latter after sailing into the Ionian sea and
arresting Gaius Antonius conquered several places but could not take
Salonae though he besieged it for a very long time. Having Gabinius to
assist them they repulsed him vigorously and finally along with the
women made a sortie which was eminently successful. The women with hair
let down and robed in black garments took torches, and after arraying
themselves wholly in the most terrifying manner assaulted the besieging
camp at midnight: they threw the outposts, who thought they were
spirits, into panic and then from all sides at once hurled the fire
within the palisade and following on themselves slew many in confusion
and many who were asleep, occupied the place without delay, and captured
at the first approach the harbor in which Octavius was lying. They were
not, however, left at peace. He escaped them somehow, gathered a force
again, and after defeating them in battle invested their city. Meanwhile
Gabinius died of sickness and he gained control of the whole sea in that
vicinity, and by making descents upon the land did the inhabitants much
harm. This lasted until the battle near Pharsalus, after which his
soldiers at the onset of a contingent from Brundusium changed sides
without even making a resistance. Then, destitute of allies he retired
to Corcyra.

[-12-] Gnaeus Pompey first sailed about with the Egyptian fleet and
overran Epirus, so-called, almost capturing Oricum. The commander of the
place, Marcus Acilius,[73] had blocked up the entrance to the harbor by
boats crammed with stones and about the mouth of it had raised towers on
both sides, on the land, and on ships of burden. Pompey, however, had
submarine divers scatter the stones that were in the vessels and when
the latter had been lightened he dragged them out of the way, freed the
passage, and next, after putting heavy-armed troops ashore on each half
of the breakwater, he sailed in. He burned all the boats and most of the
city and would have captured the rest of it, had he not been wounded and
caused the Egyptians to fear that he might die. After receiving medical
attendance he no longer assailed Oricum but journeyed about pillaging
various places and once vainly made an attempt upon Brundusium itself,
as some others had done. This was his occupation for awhile. When his
father had been defeated and the Egyptians on receipt of the news sailed
home, he betook himself to Cato. [-13-] And his example was followed by
Gaius Cassius, who had done very great mischief both in Italy and in
Sicily and had overcome a number of opponents in many battles by sea and
by land.

Many simultaneously took refuge with Cato because they saw that he
excelled them in uprightness, and he, using them as comrades in struggle
and counselors to all matters, sailed to the Peloponnesus with the
apparent intention of occupying it, for he had not yet heard that Pompey
was dead. He did seize Patrae and there received among other accessions
Petreius and Pompey's son-in-law[74] Faustus. Subsequently Quintus
Fufius Calenus led an expedition against them, whereupon they set sail,
and coming to Cyrene there learned of the death of Pompey. Their views
were now no longer harmonious: Cato, loathing the thought of Caesar's
sovereignty, and some others in despair of getting pardon from him,
sailed to Africa with the army, added Scipio to their number, and were
as active as possible against Caesar; the majority scattered, and some of
them retired to make their peace as each one best might, while the rest,
among them Gaius Cassius, went to Caesar forthwith and received assurance
of safety.

[-14-] Calenus had been sent by Caesar into Greece before the battle, and
he captured among other places the Peiraeus, owing to its being unwalled.
Athens (although he did a great deal of damage to its territory) he was
unable to take before the defeat of Pompey. The inhabitants then
capitulated voluntarily and Caesar without resentment released them
altogether, making only this remark, that in spite of their many
offences they were saved by the dead. This speech signified that it was
on account of their ancestors and on account of the latter's glory and
excellence that he spared them. Accordingly Athens and most of the rest
of Greece then at once made terms with him: but the Megarians in spite
of this resisted and were captured only at a considerably later date,
partly by force and partly by treachery. Wherefore a great slaughter of
the people was instituted and the survivors sold. Calenus had so acted
that he might seem to have taken a merited vengeance upon them. But
since he feared that the city might perish utterly, he sold the dwellers
in the first place to their relatives, and in the second place for a
very small sum, so that they might regain their freedom.

[-15-] After these achievements Caesar marched upon Patrae and occupied it
easily, as he had frightened out Cato and his followers in advance.
While these various troubles were being settled, there was an uprising
in Spain, although the country was at peace. The Spaniards were at the
time subject to many abuses from Quintus Longinus, and at first some few
banded together to kill him. He was wounded but escaped, and after that
proceeded to wrong them a great deal more. Then a number of Cordubasians
and a number of soldiers who had formerly belonged to the Pompeian party
rose against him, putting at their head Marcus Marcellus Aeserninus, the
quaestor. He did not accept their appointment with his whole heart, but
seeing the uncertainty of events and admitting that they might turn out
either way, he straddled the issue. All that he said or did was of a
neutral character, so that whether Caesar or Pompey should prevail he
would seem to have fought for the cause of either one. He favored Pompey
by receiving those who transferred their allegiance to him and by
fighting against Longinus, who declared he was on Caesar's side: at the
same time he did a kindness to Caesar because he assumed charge of the
soldiers when (as he would say) Longinus was guilty of certain
irregularities, and kept these men for him, while not allowing their
commander to be alienated. And when the soldiers inscribed the name of
Pompey on their shields he erased it so that he might by this act offer
to the one man the deeds done by the arms and to the other their reputed
ownership, and by laying claim to one thing or the other as done in
behalf of the victor and by referring the opposite to necessity or to
different persons he might continue safe.[-16-] Consequently, although
he had the opportunity of overthrowing Longinus altogether by mere
numbers, he refused, but while extending his actions over considerable
time in the display and preparation of what he desired, he put the
responsibility for doubtful measures upon other persons. Therefore both
in his setbacks and the advantages he gained he could make the plea that
he was acting equally in behalf of the same person: the setbacks he
might have planned himself or might not, and for the advantages others
might or might not be responsible. He continued in this way until Caesar
conquered, when, having incurred the victor's wrath, he was temporarily
banished, but was later brought back from exile and honored. Longinus,
however, being denounced by the Spaniards in an embassy, was deprived of
his office and while on his way home perished near the mouth of the

These events took place abroad. [-17-] The population of Rome while the
interests of Caesar and Pompey were in a doubtful and vacillating state
all professedly espoused the cause of Caesar, influenced by his troops
that were in their midst and by his colleague Servilius. Whenever a
victory of his was reported, they rejoiced, and whenever a reverse, they
grieved, - some really, some pretendedly in each case. For there were
many spies prowling about and eavesdroppers, observing what was being
said and done on such occasions. Privately the talk and actions of those
who detested Caesar and preferred Pompey's side were the very opposite of
their public expressions. Hence, whereas both parties made a show of
receiving any and all news as favorable to their hopes, they in fact
regarded it sometimes with fear and sometimes with boldness, and
inasmuch as many diverse rumors would often be going the rounds on the
same day and in the same hour their position was a most trying one. In
the briefest space of time they were pleased, were grieved, grew bold,
grew fearful. [-18-] When the battle of Pharsalus was reported they were
long incredulous. Caesar sent no despatch to the government, hesitating
to appear to be rejoicing publicly over such a victory, for which reason
also he celebrated no triumph: and again, there seemed little likelihood
of its being true, in view of the relative equipment of the two forces
and the hopes entertained. When at last they gave the story credence,
they took down the images of Pompey and of Sulla that stood upon the
rostra, but did nothing further at that time. A large number did not
wish to do even that, and an equally large number fearing that Pompey
might renew the strife regarded this as quite enough for Caesar and
expected that it would be a fairly simple matter to placate Pompey on
account of it. Moreover, when he died, they would not believe this news
till late, and until they saw his signet that had been sent. (On this
were carved three trophies, as on that of Sulla.) [-19-] But when he
appeared to be really dead, at last they openly praised the winner and
abused the loser and proposed that everything in the world which they
could devise be given to Caesar. In the course of it all there was a
great rivalry among practically all of the foremost men who were eager
to outdo one another in fawning upon him and voting pleasing measures.
By their shouts and by their gestures all of them as if Caesar were
present and looking on showed the very greatest zeal and deemed that 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 20 of 30)