Julius Caesar.

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

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Caesar while victory was uncertain, take part with the con-
quered enemy when the fortune of the war is decided, and
when you ought to reap the reward of your services J For they
say that they have been deserted and betrayed by you, and
remind you of a former oath. But did you desert Lucius
Domitius, or did Lucius Domitius desert you? Did he not,
when you were ready to submit to the greatest difficulties,
cast you off ? Did he not, without your privacy, endeavor to
effect his own escape ? When you were betrayed by him, were
you not preserved by Caesar's generosity ? And how could he
think you bound by your oath to him, when, after having thrown
up the ensigns of power, and abdicated his government, he be-
came a private person, and a captive in another's power ? A nevr
obligation is left upon you, that you should disregard the oath,
by which you are at present bound ; and have respect only to
that which was invalidated by the surrender of your general,
and his diminution of rank. But I suppose, although you are
pleased with Caesar, you are offended with me; however, I
shall not boast of my services to you, which still are inferior
to my own wishes or yaur expectations. But, however, soldiers
have ever looked for the rewards of labor at the conclusion of
a war ; and what the issue of it is likely to be, not even you
can doubt. But why should I omit to mention my own dili-
gence and good fortune, and to what a happy crisis affairs are
now arrived ? Are you sorry that I transported the army safe
and entire, without the loss of a single ship? That on my
arrival, in the very first attack, I routed the enemy's fleet?
That twice in two days I defeated the enemy's horse ? That
I carried out of the very harbor and bay two hundred cf the
enemy's victualers, and reduced them to that situation that


they can receive no supplies either by land or sea ? Will you
divorce yourselves from this fortune and these generals; and
prefer the disgrace of Corfinium, the defeat of Italy, the sur-
render of both Spains, and the prestige of the African war ? I,
for my part, wished to be called a soldier of Caesar's; you
honored me with the title of Imperator. If you repent your
bounty, I give it back to you ; restore to me my former name
that you may not appear to have conferred the honor on me as
a reproach."

CHAP. XXXin. The soldiers, being affected by this
oration, frequently attempted to interrupt him while he was
speaking, so that they appeared to bear with excessive anguish
the suspicion of treachery, and when he was leaving the
assembly they unanimously besought him to be of good spirits,
and not hesitate to engage the enemy and put their fidelity
and courage to a trial. As the wishes and opinions of all were
changed by this act, Curio, with the general consent, deter-
mined, whenever opportunity offered, to hazard a battle. The
next day he led out his forces and ranged them in order of
battle on the same ground where they had been posted the
preceding day ; nor did Attius Varus hesitate to draw out his
men, that, if any occasion should offer, either to tamper with
our men or to engage on equal terms, he might not miss the

CHAP. XXXIV. There lay between the two armies a
valley, as already mentioned, not very deep, but of a difficult
and steep ascent. Each was waiting till the enemy's forces
should attempt to pass it, that they might engage with the
advantage of the ground. At the same time on the left
wing, the entire cavalry of Publius Attius, and several light-
armed infantry intermixed with them, -were perceived descend-
ing into the valley. Against them Curio detached his cavalry
and two cohorts of the Marrucini, whose first charge the
enemy's horse were unable to stand, but, setting spurs to their
horses, fled back to their friends : the light-infantry being
deserted by those who had come out along with them, were
surrounded and cut to pieces by our men. Varus's whole army,
facing that way, saw their men flee and cut down. Upon
which Rebilus, one of Caesar's lieutenants, whom Curio had
br6ught with him from Sicily knowing that he had great
experience in military matters, cried out, " You see the enemy

. 33XV. THE CIVIL "WAR. 311

are daunted, Corio ! why do you hesitate to take advantage
of the opportunity 1" Curio, having merely " expressed this,
that the soldiers should keep in mind the professions which
they had made to him the day before," then ordered them to
follow him, and ran far before them all. The valley was so
difficult of ascent that the foremost men could not struggle up
it unless assisted by those behind. But the minds of Attius's
soldiers being prepossessed with fear and the flight and slaughter
of their men, never thought of opposing us; and they all
imagined that they were already surrounded by our horse, and,
therefore, before a dart could be thrown, or our men come near
them, Varus's whole army turned their backs and retreated to
their camp.

CHAP. XXXV. In this flight one Fabius, a Pelignian and
common soldier in Curio's army, pursuing the enemy's rear,
with a loud voice shouted to Varus by his name, and often
called him, so that he seemed to be one of his soldiers, who
wished to speak to him and give him advice. When Varus,
after been repeatedly called, stopped and looked at him, and
inquired who he was and what he wanted, he made a blow with
his sword at his naked shoulder and was very near killing
Varus, but he escaped the danger by raising his shield to ward
off the blow. Fabius was surrounded by the soldiers near
him and cut to pieces ; and by the multitude and crowds of
those that fled, the gates of the camps were thronged and the
passage stopped, and a greater number perished in that place
without a stroke than in the battle and flight. Nor were we
far from driving them from this camp ; and some of them ran
straightway to the town without halting. But both the nature
of the ground and the strength of the fortifications prevented
our access to the camp ;. for Curio's soldiers, marching out to
battle, were without those things which were requisite for
storming a camp. Curio, therefore, led his army back to the
camp, with all his troops safe except Fabius. Of the enemy
about six hundred were killed and a thousand wounded, all of
whom, after Curio's return, and several more, under pretext of
their wounds, but in fact through fear, withdrew from the camp
into the town, which Varus perceiving and knowing the terror
of his army, leaving a trumpeter in his camp and a few tents
for show, at the third watch led back his army quietly into the


CHAP. XXXVI. The next day Curio resolved to besiege
Utica, and to draw lines about it. In the town there was
a multitude of people, ignorant of war, owing to the length of
the peace ; some of them Uticans, very well inclined to Caesar,
for his favors to them ; the Roman population was composed
of persons differing widely in their sentiments. The terror
occasioned by former battles was very great ; and therefore,
they openly talked of surrendering, and argued with Attius
that he should not suffer the fortune of them all to be ruined
by his obstinacy. While these things were in agitation,
couriers, who had been sent forward, arrived from king Juba,
with the intelligence that he was on his march, with con-
siderable forces, and encouraged them to protect and defend
their city, a circumstance which greatly comforted their despond-
ing hearts.

CHAP. XXXVII. The same intelligence was brought to
Curio ; but for some time he could not give credit to it, because
he had so great confidence in his own good fortune. And at
this time Caesar's success in Spain was announced in Africa by
messages and letters. Being elated by all these things, he
imagined that the king would not dare to attempt any thing
against him. But when he found out, from undoubted authority,
that his forces were less than twenty miles distant from Utica,
abandoning his works, he retired to the Cornelian camp. Here
he began to lay in corn and wood, and to fortify his camp, and
immediately dispatched orders to Sicily, that his two legions
and the remainder of his cavalry should be sent to him. His
camp was well adapted for protracting a war, from the nature
and strength of the situation, from its proximity to the sea,
and the abundance of water and salt, of which a great quantity
had < been stored up from the neighboring salt-pits. Timber
could not fail him from the number of trees, nor corn, with
which the lands abounded. Wherefore, with the general con-
sent, Curio determined to wait for the rest of his forces, and
protract the war.

CHAP. XXXVUL This plan being settled, and his conduct
approved of, he is informed by some deserters from the town
that Juba had staid behind in his own kingdom, being called
home by a neighboring war, and a dispute with the people of
Leptis; and that Sabura, his commander-in-chief, who ha'd
been sent with a small force, was drawing near to Utica. Curio

CHAP, xxxix. THE CIVIL WAR. 313

rashly believing this information, altered his design, and re-
solved to hazard a battle. His youth, his spirits, his former
good fortune and confidence of success, contributed much to
confirm this resolution. Induced by these motives, early in
the night he sent all his cavalry to the enemy's camp near the
river Bagrada, of which Sabura, of whom we have already
spoken, was the commander. But the king was coming after
them with all his forces, and was posted at a distance of six
miles behind Sabura. The horse that were sent perform their
march that night, and attack the enemy unawares and unex-
pectedly ; for the Numidians, after the usual barbarous custom,
encamped here and there without any regularity The cavalry
having attacked them, when sunk in sleep and dispersed, killed
a great number of them ; many were frightened and ran away.
After which the horse returned to Curio, and brought some
prisoners with them.

CHAP. XXXIX. Curio had set out at the fourth watch
with all his forces, except five cohorts which he left to guard
the camp. Having advanced six miles, he met the horse,
heard what had happened and inquired from the captives
who commanded the camp at Bagrada. They replied Sabura.
Through eagerness to perform his journey, he neglected to
make further inquiries, but looking back to the company next
him, " Don't you see, soldiers," says he, " that the answer of
the prisoners corresponds with the account of the deserters,
that the king is not with him, and that he sent only a small
force which was not able to withstand a few horse I Hasten
then to spoil, to glory ; that we may now begin to think of
rewarding you, and returning you thanks." The achievements
of the horse were great in themselves, especially if their small
number be compared with the vast host of Numidians. How-
ever, the account was enlarged by themselves, as men are
naturally inclined to boast of their own merit. Besides, many
spoils were produced ; the men and horses that were taken
were brought into their sight, that they might imagine that
every moment of time which intervened was a delay to their
conquest. By this means the hope of Curio were seconded by
the ardor of the soldiers. He ordered the horse to follow
him, and hastened his march, that he might attack them as
soon as possible, while in consternation after their flight. But
the horse, fatigued by the expedition of the preceding night,



were not able to keep up with him, but fell behind in different
places. Even this did not abate Curio's hopes.

CHAP. XL. Juba, being informed by Sabura of the battle in
the night, sent to his relief two thousand Spanish and Gallic
horse, which he was accustomed to keep near him to guard
his person, and that part of his infantry on which he had the
greatest dependence, and he himself followed slowly after with
the rest of his forces and forty elephants, suspecting that as
Curio had sent his horse before, he himself would follow them.
Sabura drew up his army, both horse and foot, and commanded
them to give way gradually and retreat through the pretense of
fear; that when it was necessary he would give them the
signal for battle, and such orders as he found circumstances
required. Curio, as his idea of their present behavior was
calculated to confirm his former hopes, imagined that the
enemy were running away, and led his army from the rising
grounds down to the plain.

CHAP. XLL And when he had advanced from this place
about sixteen miles, his army being exhausted with the fatigue,
he halted. Sabura gave his men the signal, marshaled his
army, and began to go around his ranks and encourage them.
But he made use of the foot only for show ; and sent the
horse to the charge : Curio was not deficient in skill, and
encouraged his men to rest all their hopes in their valor.
Neither were the soldiers, though wearied, nor the horse,
though few and exhausted with fatigue, deficient in ardor to
engage, and courage : but the latter were in number but two
hundred: the rest had dropped behind on the march.
Wherever they charged they forced the enemy to give ground,
but they were not able to pursue them far when they fled, or
to press their horses too severely. Besides, the enemy's
cavalry began to surround us on both wings and to trample
down our rear. When any cohorts ran forward out gf the
line, the Numidians, being fresh, by their speed avoided our
charge, and surrounded ours when they attempted to return to
their post, and cut them off from the main body. So that it
did not appear safe either to keep their ground and maintain
their ranks, or to issue from the line, and run the risk. The
enemy's troops were frequently reinforced by assistance sent
from Juba ; strength began to Ml our men through fatigue ;


and those who had been wounded could neither quit the field
nor retire to a place of safety, because the whole field was
surrounded by the enemy's cavalry. Therefore, despairing of
their own safety, as men usually do in the last moment of their
lives, they either lamented their unhappy deaths, or recom-
mended their parents to the survivors, if fortune should save
any from the impending danger. All were full of fear and

CHAP. XLII. When Curio perceived that in the general
consternation neither his exhortations nor entreaties were
attended to, imagining that the only hope of escaping in their
deplorable situation was to gain the nearest hills, he ordered
the colors to be borne that way. But a party of horse, that
had been sent by Sabura, had already got possession of them.
Now indeed our men were reduced to extreme despair : and
some of them were killed by the cavalry in attempting to
escape: some fell to the ground unhurt. Cneius Domitius,
commander of the cavalry, standing round Curio with a small
party of horse, urged Curio to endeavor to escape by flight,
and to hasten to his camp ; and assured him that he would not
forsake him. But Curio declared that he would never more
appear in Caesar's sight, after losing the army which had been
committed by Caesar, to his charge, and accordingly fought
till he was killed. Very few of the horse escaped from that
battle, but those who had staid behind to refresh their horses
having perceived at a distance the defeat of the whole army,
retired in safety to their camp.

CHAP. XLO. The soldiers were all killed to a man.
Marcus Rufus, the quaestor, who was left behind in the camp by
Curio, having got intelligence of these things, encouraged his
men not to be disheartened. They beg and ' entreat to be
transported to Sicily. He consented, and ordered the masters
of the ships to have all the boats brought close to the shore
early in the evening. But so great was the terror in general,
that some said that Juba's forces were marching up, others that
Varus was hastening with his legions, and that they already
saw the dust raised by their coming ; of which not one circum-
stance had happened : others suspected that the enemy's fleet
would immediately be upon them. Therefore in the general
consternation, every man consulted his own safety. Thosa


who were on board of the fleet, were in a hurry to set sail,
and their flight hastened the masters of the ships of burden.
A few small fishing boats attended their duty and his orders.
But as the shores were crowded, so great was the struggle to
determine who of such a vast number should first get on
board, that some of the vessels sank with the weight of the
multitude, and the fears of the rest delayed them from coming
to the shore.

CHAP. XLIV. From which circumstances it happened that
a few foot and aged men, that could prevail either through
interest or pity, or who were able to swim to the ships, were
taken on board, and landed safe in Sicily. The rest of the
troops sent their centurions as deputies to Varus at night,
and surrendered themselves to him. But Juba the next day
having spied their cohorts before the town, claimed them as his
booty, and ordered great part of them to be put to the
sword ; a few he selected and sent home to his own realm.
Although Varus complained that his honor was insulted by
Juba, yet he dare not oppose him : Juba rode on horseback
into the town, attended by several senators, among whom were
Servius Sulpicius and Licinius Damasippus, and in a few days
arranged and ordered what he would have done in Utica, and
in a few days more returned to his own kingdom, with all his




I. Caesar arranges affaire in Borne, VI. Passes over to Epiras, VHI.
Occupies Salonse, XI. Oricum, XII. Apollonia, and other towns.
XIII. Pompey falls back on Dyrrachium. XVIII. Bibulus dies.
XIX. Caesar's reiterated attempts to coine to conference fail. XXII.
Commotions arise in the city, out are quelled. XXIII. Libo blocks
u the port of Brundusium, but in vain. XXVI. Antony and
Calenus arrive from Italy, with fresh forces, and form a junction with
Caesar. XXXI. The tyrannical conduct of Scipio in Syria. XXXVI.
The proceedings in Macedon and Thessaly. XL. Pompey hemmed in
by Caesar at Dyrrachium. XLIV. Frequent skirmishes without any
decided advantages to either party. LXIII. Caesar suffers severely on
two occasions, and abandons the blockade. LXXVHI. He induces
Pompey to follow him into Thessaly, LXXXV. Gains an opportunity
of coming to an action, XCI1I. And completely defeats him. In the
mean time, D. Lselius besieges the port of Brundusium ; CI. And Cas-
sius burns Caesar's fleet in Sicily. CIV. Pompey is slam in Egypt by
Achillas and Septimius. CVI. Caesar pursues him to Alexandria, and
there becomes involved in a new war.

CHAP. I. Julius Caesar, holding the election as dictator, 1
was himself appointed consul with Publius Servilius ; for this
was the year 2 in which it was permitted by the laws that he
should be chosen consul. This business being ended, as
credit was beginning to fail in Italy, and the debts could not
be paid, he determined that arbitrators should be appointed :
and that they should make an estimate of the possessions and
properties [of the debtors], how much they were worth before
the war, and that they should be handed over in payment to the
creditors. This he thought the most likely method to remove and

1 Caesar thought that his continuing to hold the dictatorship -was a
stretch of power likely to alienate several of his own party, and there-
fore caused himself to be appointed consul

2 The tenth after his last consulship ; however, this usage was not
always observed ; as, for instance, in the case of Scipio Africanus.


abate the apprehension of an abolition of debt, 1 the usual con-
sequence of civil wars and dissensions, and to support the credit
of the debtors. lie likewise restored to their former condition
(the praetors and tribunes, 2 first submitting the question to the
people 3 ) some persons condemned for bribery at the elections,
by virtue of Pompey's law, at the time when Pompey kept his
legions quartered in the city (these trials were finished in a
single day, one judge hearing the merits, and another pro-
nouncing the sentences), because they had offered their service
to him in the beginning of the civil Avar, if he chose to accept
them ; setting the same value on them as if he had accepted
them, because they had put themselves in his power. For he
had determined that they ought to be restored rather by the
judgment of the people than appear admitted to it by his
bounty : that he might neither appear ungrateful in repaying
an obligation, nor arrogant in depriving the people of their pre-
rogative of exercising this bounty.

CHAP. II. In accomplishing these things, and celebrating
the Latin festival, 4 and holding all the elections, he spent eleven

1 " Novse tabulae," an abolition of debt, called by the Greeks, xpeiJv
UTTOKOTTJ). Plutarch calls it, " OEiaaxBeia," i. e,. a shaking off the burdens,
because the debtors were relieved from their old debts.

2 Caesar acted on the appeals made to the people, in behalf of those
who were condemned, by the praetors and the tribunes.

3 Bribery, or undue influence, at elections. Pompey, when invested
with the whole guardianship of the state on the death of Clodius. passed
a severe law against such practices, in consequence of the violent com-
petition between Hypsajus and Milo, for the consulship ; by this law, the
case was decided in one day, contrary to the usual practice.

4 Ferise Latinse, or simply Latinsc (the original name was Latiar), had,
according to the Roman legends, been instituted by the last Tarquin, in
commemoration of the alliance between the Romans and Latins. But
Niebuhr has shown that the festival, which was originally a panegyris
of the Lathis, is of much higher antiquity ; for we find it stated that the
town of the Priscans and Latins received their shows of the sacrifices on
the Alban mount which was the place of its celebration along with
the Albans, and the thirty towns of the Alban commonwealth. All that
the last Tarquin did was, to convert the original Latin festival into a
Roman one, and to make it the means of hallowing and cementing the
alliance between the two nations. The object of this panegyris on the
Alban mount was the worship of Jupiter Latiaris, and, at least as long
as the Latin republic existed, to deliberate and decide on matters of the
confederacy, and to settle any disputes which might have arisen between
its members. Respecting the duration of the Ferise Latina?, the com-
mon opinion formerly was that at first they only lasted for one day, to


days ; and having resigned the dictatorship, set out from the
city, and went to Brundusium, where he had ordered twelve
legions and all his cavalry to meet him. But he scarcely found
as many ships as would be sufficient to transport fifteen thou-
sand legionary soldiers and five hundred horse. This [the scarci-
ty of shipping] was the only thing that prevented Caesar from
putting a speedy conclusion to the war. And even these troops
embarked very short of their number, because several had fallen
in so many wars in Gaul, and the long march from Spain had
lessened their number very much, and a severe autumn in,
Apulia and the district about Brundusium, after the very whole-
some countries of Spain and Gaul, had impaired the health, of
the whole army.

CHAP. HL PcJmpey having got a year'g respite to provide
forces, during which he was not engaged in war, nor employed
by an enemy, had collected a numerous fleet from Asia, and
the Cyclades, from Corcyra, Athens, Pontus, Bithynia, Syria,
Cilicia, Phoenicia, and Egypt, and had given directions that a
great number should be built in every other place. He had
exacted a large sum of money from Asia, Syria, and all the
kings, dynasts, tetrarchs, and free states of Achaia ; and had
obliged the corporations of those provinces, of which he him-
self had the government, to count down to him a large sum.

CHAP. IV. He had made up nine legions of Roman citi-
zens ; five from Italy, which he had brought with him ; one
veteran legion from Sicily, which being composed of two he
called the Gemella; one from Crete and Macedonia, of vete-
rans who had been discharged by their former generals and
had settled in those provinces ; two from Asia, which had been
levied by the activity of Lentulus. Besides, he had dis-
tributed among his legions a considerable number, by way of

Online LibraryJulius CaesarCæsar's Commentaries on the Gallic and civil wars: → online text (page 32 of 59)