Julius Caesar.

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

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others, as if terms were argued by them both in person."

CHAP. XXV. Having delivered this message he marched
to Brundusium with six legions, four of them veterans : the
rest those which he had raised in the late levy and com-
pleted on his march, for he had sent all Domitius's cohorts
immediately from Corfinium to Sicily. He discovered that
the consuls were gone to Dyrrachium with a considerable part
of the army, and that Pompey remained at Brundusium with
twenty cohorts; but could not find out, for a certainty,
whether Pompey staid behind to keep possession of Brun-
dusium, that he might the more easily command the whole
Adriatic sea, with the extremities of Italy and the coast of
Greece, and be able to conduct the war on either side of it, or
whether he remained there for want of shipping; and, being
afraid that Pompey would come to the conclusion that he ought
not to relinquish Italy, he determined to deprive him of the
means of communication afforded by the harbor of Brundusium.
The plan of his work was as follows : Where the mouth of the
port was narrowest he threw up a mole of earth on either side,
because in these places the sea was shallow. Having gone out
so far that the mole could not be continued in the deep water,
he fixed double floats, thirty feet on either side, before the mole.
These he fastened with four anchors at the four corners, that
they might not be carried away by the waves. Having com-


pleted and secured them, he then joined to them other floats
of equal size. These he covered over with earth and mold,
that he might not be prevented from access to them to defend
them, and in the front and on both sides he protected them
with a parapet of wicker work ; and on every fourth one
raised a turret, two stories high, to secure them the better
from being attacked by the shipping and set on fire.

CHAP. XXVI. To counteract this, Pompey fitted out large
merchant ships, which he found in the harbor of Brundusium :
. on them he erected turrets three stories high, and, having
furnished them with several engines and all sorts of weapons,
drove them among Caesar's works, to break through the floats
and interrupt the works ; thus there happened skirmishes
every day at a distance with slings, arrows, and other weapons.
Caesar conducted matters as if he thought that the hopes
of peace were not yet to be given up. And though he was
very much surprised that Magius, whom he had sent to Pompey
with a message, was not sent back to him ; and though his
attempting a reconciliation often retarded the vigorous prosecu-
tion of his plans, yet he thought that he ought by all means to
persevere in the same line of conduct. He therefore sent Cani-
nius Rebilus to have an interview with Scribonius Libo, his in-
timate friend and relation, lie charges him to exhort Libo to
effect a peace, but, above all things, requires that he should be
admitted to an interview with Pompey. He declared that he
had great hopes, if that were allowed him, that the consequence
would be that both parties would lay down their arms on equal
terms ; that a great share of the glory and reputation of that
event would redound to Libo, if, through his advice and
agency, hostilities should be ended. Libo, having parted from
the conference with Caninius, went to Pompey, and, shortly
after, returns with answer that, as the consuls were absent, no
treaty of composition could be engaged in without them. Caesar
therefore thought it time at length to give over the attempt which
he had often made in vain, and act with energy in the war.

CHAP. XXVII. When Caesar's works were nearly half finish-
ed, and after nine days were spent in them, the ships which had
conveyed the first division of the army to Dyrrachium being
sent back by the consuls, returned to Brundusium. Pompey,
either frightened at Caesar's works or determined from the
beginning to quit Italy, began to prepare for his departure on

CHAP. xxrx. THE CIVIL "WAR. 261

the arrival of the ships ; and the more effectually to retard
Caesar's attack, lest his soldiers should force their way into the
town at the moment of his departure, he stopped up the gates,
built walls across the streets and avenues, sunk trenches across
the ways, and in them fixed palisadoes and sharp stakes, which
he made level with the ground by means of hurdles and clay.
But he barricaded with large beams fastened in the ground and
sharpened at the ends two passages and roads without the
walls, which led to the port. After making these arrange-
ments, he ordered his soldiers to go on board without noise,
and disposed here and there, on the wall and turrets, some
light-armed veterans, archers and slingers. These he designed
to call off by a certain signal, when all the soldiers were em-
barked, and left row-galleys for them in a secure place.

CHAP. XXVIII. The people of Brundusium, irritated by
the insolence of Pompey's soldiers, and the insults received
from Pompey himself, were in favor of Caesar's party. There-
fore, as soon as they were aware of Pompey's departure,
while his men were running up and down, and busied about
their voyage, they made signs from the tops of the houses :
Caesar, being apprised of the design by them, ordered scaling-
ladders to be got ready, and his mon to take arms, that
he might not lose any opportunity of coming to an action.
Pompey weighed anchor at nightfall. The soldiers who had
been posted on the wall to guard it, were called off by the
signal which had been agreed on, and knowing the roads, ran
down to the ships. Caesar's soldiers fixed their ladders and
scaled the walls : but being cautioned by the people to beware
of the hidden stakes and covered trenches, they halted, and
being conducted by the inhabitants by a long circuit, they
reached the port, and captured with their long boats and small
craft two of Pompey's ships, full of soldiers, which had struck
against Caesar's moles.

CHAP. XXIX. Though Caesar highly approved of col-
lecting a fleet, and crossing the sea, and pursuing Pompey
before he could strengthen himself with his transmarine
auxiliaries, with the hope of bringing the war to a conclusion,
yet he dreaded the delay and length of time necessary to effect
it : because Pompey, by collecting all his ships, had deprived
him of the means of pursuing him at present. The only
resource left to Caesar, was to wait for a fleet from the distant


regions of Gaul, Piconum, and the straits of Gibraltar. But
this, on account of the season of the year, appeared tedious and
troublesome. lie was unwilling that, in the mean time, the
veteran army, and the two Spains, one of which was bound to
Pompey by the strongest obligations, should be confirmed in
his interest ; that auxiliaries and cavalry should be provided,
and Gaul and Italy reduced in his absence.

CHAP. XXX. Therefore, for the present, he relinquished
all intention of pursuing Pompey, and resolved to march to
Spain, and commanded the magistrates of the free towns to
procure him ships, and to have them conveyed to Brundusium.
He detached Valerius, his lieutenant, with one legion to
Sardinia ; Curio, the propraetor, to Sicily with three legions ;
and ordered him, when he had recoverd Sicily, to imme-
diately transport his army to Africa. Marcus Cotta was at this
time governor of Sardinia : Marcus Cato, 1 of Sicily : and
Tubero, by the lots, should have had the government of Africa.
The Caralitani, 2 as soon as they heard that Valerius was sent
against them, even before he left Italy, of their own accord
drove Cotta out of the town ; who, terrified because he under-
stood that the whole province was combined [against him], fled
from Sardinia to Africa. Cato was in Sicily, repairing the old
ships of war, and demanding new ones from the states, and these
things he performed with great zeal. He was raising levies of
Roman citizens, among the Lucani and Brutii, by his lieu-
tenants, and exacting a certain quota* of horse and foot from the
states of Sicily. When these things were nearly completed,
being informed of Curio's approach, he made a complaint that he
was abandoned and betrayed by Pompey, who had undertaken
an unnecessaiy war, without making any preparation, and
when questioned by him and other members in the senate,

1 Marcus Cato, better known by the name of Cato of Utica, was one
of the most determined enemies of Caesar. He continued the struggle
until affairs became desperate, and then committed suicide in Utica, a
town of Africa. Cato the elder, surnamed the Censor, was the first dis-
tinguished man of the name. Livy remarked of him, that his talents
were so great and so versatile, that he could have Braised himself to the
highest honors of any state in which he might have been born. He was
a most deadly foe to Carthage, and concluded every debate in the senate
with the well-known words, ' : delenda est Carthago."

2 The inhabitants of Carales, now Cagliari, the modern capital of Sar-
dinia, in the south of the island. It was built by the Carthaginians.


had assured them that every thing was ready and provided for
the "war. After having made these complaints in a public
assembly, he fled from his province.

CHAP. XXXI. Valerius found Sardinia, and Curio, Sicily,
deserted by their governors when they arrived there with their
armies. When Tubero arrived in Africa, he found Attius
Varus in the government of the province, who, having lost his
cohorts, as already related, at Auximum, had straightway fled
to Africa, and finding it without a governor, had seized it of
his own accord, and making levies, had raised two legions.
From his acquaintance with the people and country, and his
knowledge of that province, he found the means of effecting this ;
because a few years before, at the expiration of his praetorship,
he had obtained that province. He, when Tubero came to
Utica with his fleet, prevented his entering the port or town,
and did not suffer his son, though laboring under sickness, to
set foot on shore ; but obliged him to weigh anchor and quit
the place.

CHAP. XXXTT. When these affairs were dispatched,
Caesar, that there might be an intermission from labor for the
rest of the season, drew off his soldiers to the nearest muni-
cipal towns, and set off in person for Rome. Having as-
sembled the senate, he reminded them of the injustice of his
enemies ; and told them, " That he aimed at no extraordinary
honor, but had waited for the time appointed by law, 1 for stand-
ing candidate for the consulate, being contented with what was
allowed to every citizen. That a bill had been carried by the
ten tribunes of the people (notwithstanding the resistance of
his enemies, and a very violent opposition from Cato, who in
his usual manner, consumed the day by a tedious harangue) that
he should be allowed to stand candidate, though absent, even in
the consulship of Pompey ; and if the latter disapproved of the
bill, why did he allow it to pass ? if he approved of it, why should
he debar him [Csesar] from the people's favor ? He made men-
tion of his own patience, in that he had freely proposed that all
armies should be disbanded, by which he himself would suflef
the loss both of dignity and honor x He urged the virulence of
his enemies, who refused to comply with what they required
from others, and had rather that all things should be thrown

1 Ten years had elapsed since his former consulate.


into confusion, than that they should lose their power and their
armies. He expatiated on their injustice, in taking away his
legions : their cruelty and insolence in abridging the privileges
of the tribunes ; the proposals he had made, and his entreaties of
an interview which had been refused him. For which reasons,
he begged and desired that they would undertake the manage-
ment of the republic, and unite with him in the administration
of it. But if through fear they declined it, he would not be a
burden to them, but take the management of it on himself.
That deputies ought to be sent to Pompey, to propose a
reconciliation ; as he did not regard what Pompey had lately
asserted in the senate, that authority was acknowledged to
be vested in those persons to whom embassadors were sent,
and fear implied in those that sent them. That these were
the sentiments of low, weak minds : that for his part, as he had
made it his study to surpass others in glory, so he was desirous
of excelling them in justice and equity."

CHAP. XXXIII. The senate approved of sending deputies,
but none could be found fit to execute the commission : for
every person, from his own private fears, declined the office.
For Pompey, on leaving the city, had declared in the open
senate, that he would hold in the same degree of estima-
tion, those who staid in Rome and those in Caesar's camp.
Thus three days were wasted in disputes and excuses. Besides,
Lucius Metellus, one of the tribunes, was suborned by Caesar's
enemies, to prevent this, and to embarrass 1 every thing else
which Caesar should propose. Caesar having discovered his
intention, after spending several days to no purpose, left the
city, in order that he might not lose any more time, 2 and went
to Transalpine Gaul, without effecting what he had intended.

1 Before Cassar left the city, he took out of the treasury a large sum
of money, deposited there as a fund to defray the expenses of any war
that might arise from the Gauls, of whom the Romans had a peculiar
horror, alleging that, as he conquered the Gauls, there was no use for it.
Metellus attempted to prevent him, but he drew his sword in an attitude
of menace, saying, " Toung man, it is as easy to do this as to say it."
The money was soon expended* as Csesar, not long after, was obliged to
borrow money from his officers to pay his soldiers. P.

2 Caasar intrusted Rome, on his departure, to the care of Marcus Le-
pidus: he gave the command of Italy to Mark Antony, of Sicily to Curio,
of Sardinia to Valerius, of Illyricum to Caius Antonius, and of Hither
GauL to Lucius Crassus.

CHAP. xxxn. THE CIVIL WAB. 265

CHAP. XXXIV. On his arrival there, he was informed
that Vibullius Rufus, whom he had taken a few days before at
Corfmium, and set at liberty, was sent, by Pompey into Spain ;
and that Domitius also was gone to seize Massilia with seven
row-galleys, which were fitted up by some private persons at
Igilium and Cosa, and which he had manned with his own
slaves, freedmen, and colonists: and that some young noble-
men of Massilia had been sent before him ; whom Pompey,
when leaving Rome had exhorted, that the late services of
Caesar should not erase from their minds the memory of his
former favors. On receiving this message, the Massilians had
shut their gates against Caesar, and invited over to them the
Albici, who had formerly been in alliance with them, and who
inhabited the mountains that overhung Massilia : they had like-
wise conveyed the corn from the surrounding country, and from
all the forts into the city ; had opened armories in the city; and
were repairing the walls, the fleet, and the gates.

CHAP. XXXV. Caesar sent for fifteen of the principal
persons of Massilia to attend him. To prevent the war com-
mencing among them, he remonstrates [in the following lan-
guage] ; " that they ought to follow the precedent set by all
Italy, rather than submit to the will of any one man." He made
use of such arguments as he thought would tend to bring
them to reason. The deputies reported his speech to their
countrymen, and by the authority of the state bring him back
this answer : " That they understood that the Roman people
was divided into two factions : that they had neither judgment
nor abilities to decide which had the juster cause ; but that the
heads of these factions were Cneius Pompey and Caius Caesar,
the two patrons of the state : the former of whom had granted
to their state the lands of the Vocae Arecomici, and Helvii ;
the latter had assigned them a part of his conquests in Gaul,
and had augmented their revenue. Wherefore, having received
equal favors from both, they ought to show equal affection to
both, and assist neither against the other, nor admit either into
their city or harbors."

CHAP. XXXVI. While this treaty was going forward,
Domitius arrived at Massilia with his fleet, and was received
into the city, and made governor of it. The chief management
of the war was intrusted to him. At his command they send
the fleet to all parts ; they seize all the merchantmen they could



meet with, and carry them into the harbor ; they apply the nails,
timber, and rigging, with which they were furnished to rig and
refit their other vessels. 1 They lay up in the public stores, all
the corn that was found in the ships, and reserve the rest of
their lading and convoy for the siege of the town, should such
an event take place. Provoked at such ill treatment, Caesar
led three legions against Massilia, and resolved to provide tur-
rets, and vinese to assault the town, and to build twelve ships at
Arelas, which being completed and rigged in thirty days (from
the time the timber was cut down), and being brought to
Massilia, he put under the command of Decimus Brutus ; and
left Caius Trebonius his lieutenant, to invest the city.

CHAP. XXXVII. While he was preparing and getting
these things in readiness, he sent Caius Fabius one of his
lieutenants into Spain with three legions, which he had dis-
posed to winter quarters in Narbo, and the neighboring coun-
try ; and ordered him immediately to seize the passes of the
Pyrenees, which were at that time occupied by detachments
from Lucius Afranius, one of Pompey's lieutenants. He desired
the other legions, which were passing the winter at a great dis-
tance, to follow close after him. Fabius, according to his orders,
by using expedition, dislodged the party from the hills, and by
hasty marches came up with the army of Afranius.

CHAP. XXXVIII. On the arrival of Vibullius Kufus,
whom, we have already mentioned, Pomp'ey had sent into
Spain, Afranius, Petreius, and Varro, his lieutenants (one of
whom had the command of Hither Spain, with three legions ;
the second of the country from the forest of Castulo to the
river 2 Guadiana with two legions ; the third from the river
Guadiana to the country of the Vettones and Lusitania, with the
like number of legions) divided among themselves their
respective departments. Petreius was to march from Lusitania
through the Vettones, and join Afranius with all his forces ;

1 1 have here adopted the reading "earum" the other reading is "parum :"
which translate as follows : " they take those that are badly supplied
with nails, timber and rigging, to equip and fit out their other vessels."

2 The Guadiana, the ancient name of which was Anas, is one of the
largest rivers in Spam. It has its source in some lakes or marshes in
New Castile, flows through the provinces of Estremadura, and entering
Lusitania, the modern Portugal, traverses part of Algarva, in which it
changes its direction, and running south, falls, after a course of 470
miles into Mare Gaditanum, or Bseticum, the gulf of Cadiz.


Varro was to guard all Further Spain with what legions he had.
These matters being settled, reinforcements of horse and foot
were demanded from Lusitania, by Petreius ; from the Celtiberi,
Cantabri, and all the barbarous nations which border on the
ocean, by Afranius. When they were raised, Petreius immedi-
ately marched through the Vettones to Afranius. They re-
solved by joint consent to carry on the war in the vicinity of
Ilerba, on account of the advantages of its situation.

CHAP. XXXIX. Afranius, as above mentioned, had three
legions, Petreius two. There were besides about eighty, cohorts
raised in Hither and Further Spain (of which, the troops be-
longing to the former province had shields, those of the latter
targets), 1 and about five thousand horse raised in both provinces.
Caesar had sent his legions into Spain, with about six thousand
auxiliary foot, and three thousand horse, which had served under
him in all his former wars, and the same number from Gaul,
which he himself had provided, having expressly called out all
the most noble and valiant men of each state. The bravest of
these were from the Aquitani and the mountaineers, who border
on the Province in Gaul. He had been informed that Pompey
was marching through Mauritania with his legions to Spain, and
would shortly arrive. He at the same time borrowed money
from the tribunes and centurions, which he distributed among
his soldiers. By this proceeding he gained two points ; he se-
cured the interest of the centurions by this pledge in his hands,
and by his liberality he purchased the affections of his army.

CHAP. XL. Fabius sounded the inclinations of the neigh-
boring states by letters and messengers. He had made two
bridges over the river Segre," at the distance of four miles
from each other. He sent foraging parties over these bridges,
because he had already consumed all the forage that was on
his side of the river. The generals of Pompey's army did
almost the same thing, and for the same reason : and the
horse had frequent skirmishes with each other. When two of
Fabius's legions had, as was their constant practice, gone forth
as the usual protection to the foragers, and had crossed the

1 Cetratae, armed with the Cetra, a light leather target, somewhat of a
circular form, used by the Spaniards (hence often called cetrati), ancient
Britons, and other barbarous nations.

2 The Segre, called in ancient times Sicoris, a river of Spain, which
rises in the Pyrenees, is joined by the Cinga, modern Cinca, near Lerida,
and empties itself into the Ebro.


river, and the baggage, and all the horse were following them,
on a sudden, from the weight of the cattle, and the mass of
water, the bridge fell, and all the horse were cut off from the
main army, which being known to Petreius and Afranius, from
the timber and hurdles that were carried down the river, Afra-
nius immediately crossed his own bridge, which communicated
between his camp and the town, with four legions and all the
cavalry, and marched against Fabius's two legions. When his
approach was announced, Lucius Plancus, who had the com-
mand of those legions, compelled by the emergency, took post
on a rising ground ; and drew up his army with two fronts, that
it might not be surrounded by the cavalry. Thus, though en-
gaged with superior numbers, he sustained the furious charge
of the legions and the horse. When the battle was begun by
the horse, there were observed at a distance by both sides the
colors of two legions, which Caius Fabius had sent round by
the further bridge to reinforce our men, suspecting, as the
event verified, that the enemy's generals would take advantage
of the opportunity which fortune had put in their way, to attack
our men. Their approach put an end to the battle, and each
general led back his legions to their respective camps.

CHAP. XLI. In two days after Caesar came to the camp
with nine hundred horse, which he had retained for a body
guard. The bridge which had been broken down by the
storm was almost repaired, and he ordered it to be finished in
the night. Being acquainted with the nature of the country, he
left behind him six cohorts to guard the bridge, the camp, and
all his baggage, and the next day set off in person for Ilerda, 1
with all his forces drawn up in three lines, and halted just
before the camp of Afranius, and having remained there a
short time under arms, he offered him battle on equal terms.
When this affair was made, Afranius drew out his forces, and
posted them on the middle of a hill, near his camp. When
Caesar perceived that Afranius declined coming to an engage-
ment, he resolved to encamp at somewhat less than half a
mile's distance from the very foot of the mountain ; and that
his soldiers while engaged in their ^vorks, might not be terri-
fied by any sudden attack of the enemy, or disturbed in their
work, he ordered them not to fortify it with a wall, which must

1 Ilerda, now Lerida, a town of Hispania Tarraconensis, situated on
the Segre, about four miles above its junction with the Cinca.

CHAP. xmi. THE CIVIL "WAB. 269

rise high, and be seen at a distance, but draw, on the front op-
posite the enemy, a trench fifteen feet broad. The first and
second lines contiued under arms, as was from the first ap-

Online LibraryJulius CaesarCæsar's Commentaries on the Gallic and civil wars: → online text (page 27 of 59)