Julius Caesar.

Cæsar's Commentaries on the Gallic and civil wars: online

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former years, to refer to the people on their appointment, nor to
make them take the usual oath, and march out of the city in a
public manner, robed in the military habit, after offering their
vows : a circumstance which had never before happened. Both
the consuls leave the city, and private men had lictors in the
city and capital, contrary to all precedents of former times.
Levies were made throughout Italy, arms demanded, and money
exacted from the municipal towns, and violently taken from the
temples. All distinctions between things human and divine,
are confounded.

CHAP. VII. These things being made known to Caesar,
he harangued his soldiers ; he reminded them " of the wrongs
done to him at* all times by his enemies, and complained that
Pompey had been alienated from him and led astray by them
through envy and a malicious opposition to his glory, though
he had always favored and promoted Pompey's honor and
dignity. He complained that an innovation had been intro-
duced into the republic, that the intercession of the tribunes,
which had been restored a few years before by Sylla, was
branded as a crime, and suppressed by force of arms ; that
Sylla, who had stripped the tribunes of every other power, had,
nevertheless, left the privilege of intercession unrestrained ; that
' 11*


Pompey, who pretended to restore what they had lost, had
taken away the privileges which they formerly had ; that when-
ever the senate decreed, ' that the magistrates should take care
that the republic sustained no injury ' (by which words and
decree the Roman people were obliged to repair to arms), it
was only when pernicious laws were proposed ; when the
tribunes attempted violent measures ; when the people seceded, 1
and possessed themselves of the temples and eminences of the
city ; (and these instances of former times, he showed them
were expiated by the fate of Saturninus and the Gracchi) : that
nothing of this kind was attempted now, nor even thought of:
that no law was promulgated, no intrigue with the people going
forward, no secession made ; he exhorted them to defend from
the malice of his enemies the reputation and honor of that
general under whose command they had for nine years most
successfully supported the state ; fought many successful bat-
tles, and subdued all Gaul and Germany." The soldiers of the
thirteenth legion, which was present (for _ in the beginning of
the disturbances he had called it out, his other legions not
having yet arrived), all cry out that they are ready to defend
their general, and the tribunes of the commons, from all injuries.
CHAP. VIII. Having made himself acquainted with the
disposition of his soldiers, Caesar set off with that legion to
Ariminum, and there met the tribunes, who had fled to him for
protection ; he called his other legions from winter quarters,
and ordered them to follow him. Thither came Lucius Caesar,
a young man, whose father was a lieutenant-general under
Caesar. He, after concluding the rest of his speech, and stating
for what purpose he had come, told Caesar that he had com-
mands of a private nature for him from Pompey ; that Pompey
wished to clear himself to Caesar, lest he should impute those
actions which he did for the republic, to a design of affronting

1 Three secessions of the Commons are recorded in history. The first,
which was occasioned by the tyranny of the Patricians, led to the crea-
tion of the tribunes of the Commons. The second, which was occasioned
by the licentiousness of Appius Claudius, and the murder of Siccius Den-
tatus led to the expulsion of the decemvirs. The third and last, which,
according to some writers, was occasioned by the pressure of debt, ac-
cording to others, by the attempt of the Patricians to cancel the Ogulnian
law (which admitted the Plebians to the priesthood), occurred B. c. 286,
and led to the complete equalization of the orders, from which we may
date the brightest period of Rome's history.


him ; that he had ever preferred the interest of the state to
his own private connections ; that Caesar, too, for his own
honor, ought to sacrifice his desires and resentment to the
public good, and not vent his anger so violently against his
enemies, lest in his hopes of injuring them, he should injure
the republic. He spoke a few words to the same purport from
himself, in addition to Pompey's apology. Roscius, the praetor,
conferre'd with Caesar almost in the same words, and on the
same subject, and declared that Pompey had empowered him to
do so.

CHAP. IX. Though these things seemed to have no ten-
dency toward redressing his injuries) yet having got proper
persons by whom he could communicate his wishes to Pompey ;
he required of them both, that, as they had conveyed Pompey's
demands to him, they should not refuse to convey his demands
to Pompey ; if by so little trouble they could terminate a great
dispute, and liberate all Italy from her fears. "That the honor
of the republic had ever been his first object, and dearer to him
than life ; that he was chagrined, that the favor of the Roman
people was wrested from him by the injurious reports of his
enemies ; that he was deprived of a half-year's command, and
dragged back to the city, though the people had ordered that
regard should be paid to his suit for the consulate at the next
election, though he was not present; that, however, he had
patiently submitted to this loss of honor, for the sake of the
republic ; that when he wrote letters to the senate, requiring
that all persons should resign the command of their armies, he
did not obtain even that request ; that levies were made
throughout Italy ; that the two legions which had been taken
from him, under the pretense of the Parthian war, were kept at
home, and that the state was in arms. To what did all these
things tend, unless to his ruin ? But, nevertheless, he was
ready to condescend to any terms, and to endure every thing
for the sake of the republic. Let Pompey 1 go to his own
province ; let them both disband their armies ; let all persons in

1 When Caesar and Pompey were reconciled, they and Crassus divided
the provinces between them. Caesar got Hither and Further Gaul;
Crassus, Parthia ; and Pompey, Spam and Africa. The .others set out
for their respective provinces. Pompey dispatched his lieutenants to
manage his provinces, and remained himself in Italy with an army, which
Caesar thought a great stretch of power, that he should command both
his own provinces and Italy at the same time. P.


Italy lay down their arms ; let all fears be removed from the
city ; let free elections, and the whole republic be resigned to
the direction of the penate and Roman people. That these
things might be the more easily performed, and conditions
secured and confirmed by oath, either let Pompey come to
Caesar, or allow Caesar to go to him ; it might be that all their
disputes would be settled by an interview."

CHAP. X. Roscius and Lucius Caesar, having received this
message, went to Capua, where they met the consuls and Pom-
pey, and declared to them Caesar's terms. Having deliberated
on the matter, they replied, and sent written proposals to him
by the same persons, the purport of which was, that Caesar
should return into Gaul, leave Ariminum, and disband his
army : if he complied with this, that Pompey would go to
Spain. In the mean time, until security was given that Caesar
would perform his promises, that the consuls and Pompey
would not give over their levies.

CHAP. XL It was not an equitable proposal, to require that
Caesar should quit Ariminum and return to his province ; but
that he [Pompey] should himself retain his province and the
legions that belonged to another, and desire that Caesar's army
should be disbanded, while he himself was making new levies :
and that he should merely promise to go to his province, with-
out naming the day on which he would set out ; so that if he
should not set out till after Caesar's consulate expired, yet he
would not appear bound by any religious scruples about assert-
ing a falsehood. But his not granting time for a conference,
nor promising to set out to meet him, made the expectation of
peace appear very hopeless. Caesar, therefore, sent Marcus
Antonius, with five cohorts from Ariminum to Arretium ; he
himself staid at Ariminum with two legions, with the inten-
tion of raising levies there. He secured Pisaurus, Fanum, and
Ancona, with a cohort each.

CHAP. XH. In the mean time, being informed that Thermus
the praetor was in possession of Iguvium, with five cohorts, and
was fortifying the town, but that the affections of all the
inhabitants were very well inclined toward himself, he de-
tached Curio with three cohorts, which he had at Ariminum
and Pisaurus. Upon notice of his approach, Thermus, dis-
trusting the affections of the townsmen, drew his cohorts out of
it, and made hia escape ; his soldiers deserted him on the road,


and returned home. Curio recovered Iguvium, with the
cheerful concurrence of all the inhabitants. Caesar, having
received an account of this, and relying on the affections of the
municipal towns, drafted all the cohorts of the thirteenth
legion from the garrison, and set out for Auximum, a town
into which Attius had brought his cohorts, and of which he
had taken possession, and from which he had sent senators
round about the country of Picenum, to raise new levies.

CHAP. XIII. Upon news of Caesar's approach, the senate
of Auximum went in a body to Attius Varus ; and told him
that it was not a subject for them to determine upon : yet
neither they, nor the rest of the freemen would suffer Caius
Caesar, a general, who had merited so well of the republic, after
performing such great achievements, to be excluded from their
town and walls ; wherefore he ought to pay some regard to the
opinion of posterity, and his own danger. Alarmed at this
declaration, Attius Varus drew out of the town the garrison
which he had introduced, and fled. A few of Caesar's front
rank having pursued him, obliged him to halt, and when the
battle began, Varus is deserted by his troops : some of them
disperse to their homes, the rest come over to Caesar; and
along with them, Lucius Pupius, the chief centurion, is taken
prisoner and brought to Caesar. He had held the same rank
before in Cneius Pompey's army. But Caesar applauded the
soldiers of Attius, set Pupius at liberty, returned thanks to the
people of Auximum, and promised to be grateful for their

CHAP. XIV. Intelligence of this being brought to Rome,
so great a panic spread on a sudden that when Lentulus,
the consul, came to open the treasury, to deliver money to
Pompey by the senate's decree, immediately on opening the
hallowed door he fled from the city. For it was falsely
rumored that Caesar was approaching, and that his cavalry
were already at the gates. Marcellus, his colleague, followed
him, and so did most of the magistrates. Cneius Pompey had
left the city the day before, and was on his march to those
legions which he had received from Caesar, and had disposed
in winter quarters in Apulia. The levies were stopped within
the city. No place on this side of Capua was thought secure.
At Capua they first began to take courage and to rally,
and determined to raise levies in the colonies, which had


been sent thither by the Julian law : and Lentulus brought
into the public market place the gladiators which Caesar main-
tained there for the entertainment of the people, and confirmed
them in their liberty, and gave them horses and ordered them
to attend him ; but afterward, being warned by his friends that
this action was censured by the judgment of all, he distributed
them among the slaves of the district of Campania, to keep
guard there.

CHAP. XV. Caesar, having moved forward from Auximum,
traversed the whole country of Picenum. All the governors
in these countries most cheerfully received him, and aided
his army with every necessary. Embassadors came to him
even from Cingulum, a town which Labienus had laid out
and built at his own expense, and offered most earnestly to
comply with his orders. He demanded soldiers : they sent
them. In the mean time, the twelfth legion came to join Caesar ;
with these two he marched to Asculum, the chief town of Pi-
cenum. Lentulus Spinther occupied that town with ten cohorts ;
but, on being informed of Caesar's approach, he fled from the
town, and, in attempting to bring off his cohorts with him, was
deserted by a great part of his men. Being left on the road with
a small number, he fell in with Vibullius Rufus, who was sent
by Pompey into Picenum to confirm the people [in their alle-
giance]. Vibullius, being informed by him of the transactions
in Picenum, takes his soldiers from him and dismisses him.
He collects, likewise, from the neighboring countries, as
many cohorts as he can from Pompey's new levies. Among
them he meets with Ulcilles Hirrus fleeing from Camerinum,
with six cohorts, which he had in the garrison there ; by a
junction with which he made up thirteen cohorts. With them
he marched by hasty journeys to Corfinium, to Domitius ^Eno-
barbus, and informed him that Csesar was advancing with two
legions. Domitius had collected about twenty cohorts from
Alba, and the Marsians, Pelignians, and neighboring states.

CHAP. XVI. Caesar, having recovered Asculum and driven
out Lentulus, ordered the soldiers that had deserted from him
to be sought out and a muster to be made ; and, having
delayed for one day there to provide corn, he marched to
Corfinium. On his approach, five cohorts, sent by Domitius
from the town, were breaking down a bridge which was over
the river, at three miles' distance from it. An engagement


taking place there with Caesar's advanced-guard, Domitius's
men were quickly beaten off from the bridge and retreated
precipitately into the town. Caesar, having marched his
legions over, halted before the town and encamped close by
the walls.

CHAP. XVII. Domitius, upon observing this, sent messen-
gers well acquainted with the country, encouraged by a promise
of being amply rewarded, with dispatches to Pompey to Apulia,
to beg and entreat him to come to his assistance. That Caesar
could be easily inclosed by the two armies, through the narrow-
ness of the country, and prevented from obtaining supplies :
unless he did so, that he and upward of thirty cohorts, and a
great number of senators and Roman knights, would be in
extreme danger. In the mean time he encouraged his troops,
disposed engines on the walls, and assigned to each man a
particular part of the city to defend. In a speech to the soldiers
he promised them lands out of his own estate ; to every private
soldier four acres, and a corresponding share to the centurions
and veterans.

CHAP. XVHL In the mean time, word was brought to
Caesar that the people of Sulmo, a town about seven miles
distant from Corfinium, were ready to obey his orders, but were
prevented by Quintus Lucretius, a senator, and Attius, a
Pelignian, who were in possession of the town with a garrison
of seven cohorts. He sent Marcus Antonius thither, with five
cohorts of the eighth legion. The inhabitants, as soon as they
saw our standards, threw open their gates, and all the people,
both citizens and soldiers, went out to meet and welcome
Antonius. Lucretius and Attius leaped off the walls. Attius,
being brought before Antonius, begged that he might be sent
to Caesar. Antonius returned the same day on which he had
set out with the cohorts and Attius. Caesar added these cohorts
to his own army, and sent Attius away in safety. The three
first days Caesar employed in fortifying his camp with strong
works, in bringing in corn from the neighboring free towns,
and waiting for the rest of his forces. Within the three days
the eighth legion came to him, and twenty-two cohorts of the
new levies in Gaul, and about three hundred horse from the
king of Noricum. 1 On their arrival he made a second camp on

1 "We learn from the fifty-third chapter of the first book of the Gallic
war, that Vocio, brother-in-law of Ariovistus, was king of Noricum.


another part of the town, and gave the command of it to
Curio. He determined to surround the town with a rampart
and turrets during the remainder of the time. Nearly at the
time when the greatest part of the work was completed, all the
messengers sent to Pompey returned.

CHAP. XIX. Having read Pompey's letter, Domitius, con-
cealing the truth, gave out in council that Pompey would
speedily come to their assistance ; and encouraged them not to
despond, but to provide every thing necessary for the defense
of the town. He held private conferences with a few of his
most intimate friends, and determined on the design of fleeing.
As Domitius's countenance did not agree with his words, and
he did every thing with more confusion and fear than he had
shown on the preceding days, and as he had several private
meetings with his friends, contrary to his usual practice, in
order to take their advice, and as he avoi.ded all public councils
and assemblies of the people, the truth could be no longer hid
nor dissembled ; for Pompey had written back in answer,
"That he would not put matters to the last hazard; that
Domitius had retreated into the town of Corfinium without
either his advice or consent. Therefore, if any opportunity
should offer, he [Domitius] should come to him with the whole
force." But the blockade and works round the town prevented
his escape.

CHAP. XX. Domitius's design being noised abroad, the
soldiers in Corfinium early in the evening began to mutiny, and
held a conference with each other by their tribunes and centu-
rions, and the most respectable among themselves : " that they
were besieged by Caesar ; that his works and fortifications
were almost finished ; that their general, Domitius, on whose
hopes and expectations they had confided, had thrown them
off, and was meditating his own escape ; that they ought to
provide for their own safety." At first the Marsians differed in
opinion, and possessed themselves of that part of the town
which they thought the strongest. And so violent a dispute
arose between them, that they attempted to fight and decide
it by arms. However, in a little time, by messengers sent
from one side to the other, they were informed of Domitius's
meditated flight, of which they were previously ignorant.
Therefore they all, with one consent brought Domitius into
public view, gathered round him, and guarded him ; and sent


deputies, out of their number to Caesar, to say that they were
ready to throw open their gates, to do whatever he should
order, and deliver up Domitius alive into his hands."

CHAP. XXI. Upon intelligence of these matters, though
Caesar thought it of great consequence to become master of
the town as soon as possible, and to transfer the cohorts to his
own camp, lest any change should be wrought on their incli-
nations by bribes, encouragement, or ficticious messages, be-
cause in war great events are often brought about by trifling
circumstances ; yet, dreading lest the town should be plun-
dered by the soldiers entering into it, and taking advantage of
the darkness of the night, he commended the persons who
came to him, and sent them back to the town, and ordered
the gates and walls to be secured. He disposed his soldiers on
the works which he had begun, not at certain intervals, as
was his practice before, but in one continued range of senti-
nels and stations, so that they touched each other, and formed
a circle round the whole fortification ; he ordered the tribunes
and general officers to ride round; and exhorted them not
only to be on their guard against sallies from the town, but
also to watch that no single person should get out privately.
Nor was any man so negligent or drowsy as to sleep that night.
To so great height was then* expectation raised, that they were
carried away, heart and soul, each to different objects, what
would become of the Corfinians, what of Domitius, what of
Lentulus, what of the rest ; what event would be the con-
sequence of another.

CHAP. XXII. About the fourth watch, Lentulus Spinther
said to our sentinels and guards from the walls, that he de-
sired to have an interview with Caesar, if permission were
given him. Having obtained it, he was escorted out of town ;
nor did the soldiers of Domitius leave him till they brought
him into Caesar's presence. He pleaded with Caesar for his
life, and entreated him to spare him, and reminded him of their
former friendship ; and acknowledged that Caesar's favors
to him were very great; in that through his interest he
had been admitted into the college of priests ; in that after
his praetorship he had been appointed to the government
of Spain ; in that he had been assisted by him in his suit for
the consulate. Caesar interrupted him in his speech, and told
him, " that he had not left his province to do mischief [to any


man], but to protect himself from the injuries of his enemies ;
to restore to their dignity* the tribunes of the people who
had been driven out of the city on his account, and to assert
his own liberty, and that of the Roman people, who were op-
pressed by a few factious men. Encouraged by this address,
Lentulus begged leave to return to the town, that the security
which he had obtained for himself might be an encourage-
ment to the rest to hope for theirs ; saying that some were so
terrified that they were induced to make desperate attempts on
their own lives. Leave being granted him, he departed.

CHAP. XXIII. When day appeared, Caesar ordered all the
senators and their children, the tribunes of the soldiers, and
the Roman knights to be brought before him. Among the
persons of senatorial rank were Lucius Domitius, Publius
Lentulus Spinther, Lucius Vibullius Rufus, Sextus Quintilius
Varus, the quaestor, and Lucius Rubrius, besides the son of
Domitius, and several other young men, and a great number
of Roman knights and burgesses, whom Domitius had sum-
moned from the municipal towns. When they were brought
before him he protected them from the insolence and taunts
of the soldiers ; told them in few words that they had not
made him a grateful return, on their part, for his very extra-
ordinary kindness to them, and dismissed them all in safety.
Sixty sestertia, which Domitius had brought with him and
lodged in the public treasury, being brought to Caesar by the
magistrates of Corfinium, he gave them back to Domitius, that
he might not appear more moderate with respect to the life of
men than in money matters, though he knew that it was public
money, and had been given by Pompey to pay his army. He
ordered Domitius's soldiers to take the oath to himself, and
that day decamped and performed the regular march. 1 He
staid only seven days before ' Corfinium, and marched into
Apulia through the country of the Marrucinians, Frentanian's
and Larinates.

CHAP. XXIV. Pompey, being informed of what had passed
at Corfinium, marches from Luceria to Canusium, and thence
to Brundusium. 2 He orders all the forces raised every
where by the new levies to repair to him. He gives arms to

1 The regular march was about twenty Roman miles.

2 Brundusium, modern Brindisi, a city of Calabria, in the south of


the slaves that attended the flocks, and appoints horses for
them. Of these he made up about three hundred horse.
Lucius, the praetor, fled from Alba, with six cohorts : Rutilus
Lupus, the praetor, from Tarracina, with three. These having
descried Caesar's cavalry at a distance, which were commanded
by Bivius Curius, and having deserted the praetor, carried their
colors to Curius and went over to him. In like manner,
during the rest of his march, several cohorts fell in with the
main body of Caesar's army, others with his horse. Cneius
Magius, from Cremona, engineer-general to Pompey, was taken
prisoner on the road and brought to Caesar, but sent back by
him to Pompey with this message : " As hitherto he had not
been allowed an interview, and was now on his march to him
at Brundusium, that it deeply concerned the commonwealth
and general safety that he should have an interview with
Pompey ; and that the same advantage could not be gained at
a great distance when the proposals were conveyed to them by

Online LibraryJulius CaesarCæsar's Commentaries on the Gallic and civil wars: → online text (page 26 of 59)