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

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recruits, from Thessaly, Bceotia, Achaia, and Epirus : with his
legions he also intermixed the soldiers 1 taken from Caius An-
tonius. Besides these, he expected two legions from Syria,
with Scipio ; from Crete, Lacedaemon, Pontus, Syria, and other

which subsequently a second, a third, and a fourth were added ; but it
ig clear that this supposition was founded on a confusion of the Feriae
Latinse with the Ludi Maximi, and that they lasted for six days ; one for
each decury of the Alban and Latin town. Abbreviated from the
article in Smyth's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

1 He refers to the soldiers of C. Antonius, who were betrayed by L
Pulcio, and subsequently compelled to surrender.


states, he got about three thousand archers, six cohorts of
slingers, two thousand mercenary soldiers, and seven thousand
horse ; six hundred of which, Deiotarus had brought from Gaul ;
Ariobarzanes, five hundred from Cappadocia. Cotus had given
him about the same number from Thrace, and had sent his son
Sadalis with them. From Macedonia there were two hundred,
of extraordinary valor, commanded by Rascipolis ; five hundred
Gauls and Germans ; Gabinius's troops from Alexandria, whom
Aulus Gabinius had left with king Ptolemy, to guard his person.
Pompey, the son, had brought in his fleet eight hundred, whom
he had raised among his own and his shepherds' slaves. Tar-
cundarius, Castor and Donilaus, had given three hundred from
Gallogrsecia : one of these came himself, the other sent his son.
Two hundred were*sent from Syria by Comagenus Antiochus,
whom Pompey rewarded amply. The most of them were arch-
ers. To these were added Dardanians and Bessians, some of
them mercenaries ; others procured by power and influence :
also, Macedonians, Thessalians, and troops from other nations
and states, which completed the number winch we mentioned

CHAP. V. Ho had laid in v.r,t quantities of corn from
Thessaly, Asia, Egypt, Crete, Gyrene, and other counlries.
He had resolved to fix his winter quarters at Dyrrachium,
Apollonia, and the other seaports, to hinder Caesar from pass-
ing the sea : and for this purpose had stationed his fleet along
the sea-coast. The Egyptian fleet was commanded by Pom-
pey, the son : the Asiatic, by Decimus Laelius, and Caius
Triarius : the Syrian, by Caius Cassius : the Rhodian, by Caius
Marcellus, in conjunction with Caius Coponius : and the Libur-
nian and Achaian, by Scribonius Libo, and Marcus Octavius.
But Marcus Bibulus was appointed commander-in-chief of the
whole maritime department, and regulated every matter. The
chief direction rested upon him.

CHAP. VL When Caasar came to Brundusium, he made a
speech to the soldiers : " That since they were now almost ar-
rived at the termination of their toils and dangers, they should
patiently submit to leave their slaves and baggage in Italy,
and to embark without luggage, that a greater number of men
might be put on board : that they might expect every thing
from victory and his liberality." They cried out with one
voice, " he might give what orders he pleased, that they would


cheerfully fulfill them." He accordingly set sail the fourth
day of January, with seven legions on board, as already re-
marked. The next day he reached land, between the Cerau-
nian rocks and other dangerous places ; meeting with a safe
road for his shipping to ride in, and dreading all other ports
which he imagined were in possession of the enemy, he landed
his men at a place called Pharsalus, without the loss of a
single vessel.

CHAP. VII. Lucretius Vespillo and Minutius Rufus were
at Oricum, with eighteen Asiatic ships, which were given into
their charge by the orders of Decimus Laelius : Marcus Bibu-
lus at Corcyra, with a hundred and ten ships. But they had
not the confidence to dare to move out of the harbor ; though
Caesar had brought only twelve ships as a convoy, only four of
which had decks ; nor did Bibulus, his fleet being disordered
and his seamen dispersed, come up in time : for Caesar was
seen at the continent, before any account whatsoever of his
approach had reached those regions.

CHAP. VIE. Caesar, having landed his soldiers, sent back
his ships the same night to Brundusium, to transport the rest
of his legions and cavalry. The charge of this business was
committed to lieutenant Fufius Kalenus, with orders to be
expeditious in transporting the legions. But the ships having
put to sea too late, and not having taken advantage of the
night breeze, fell a sacrifice on their return. For Bibulus, at
Corcyra, being informed of Caesar's approach, hoped to fall in
with some part of our ships, with their cargoes, but found
them empty ; and having taken about thirty, vented on them
his rage at his own remissness, and set them all on fire : and,
with the same flames, he destroyed the mariners and masters
of the vessels, .hoping by the severity of the punishment to de-
ter the rest. Having accomplished this affair, he filled all the
harbors and shores from Salona to Oricum with his fleets.
Having disposed his guard with great care, he lay on board
himself in the depth of winter, declining no fatigue or duty,
and not waiting for reinforcements, in hopes that he might
come within Caesar's reach.

CHAP. IX. But after the departure of the Liburnian fleet,
Marcus Octavius sailed from Ulyricum with what ships he had
to Salona ; and having spirited up the Dalmatians, and other
barbarous nations, he drew Issa off from its connection with



Caesar; but not being able to prevail with the council of
Salona, either by promises or menaces, he resolved to storm
the town. But it was well fortified by its natural situation,
and a hill. The Roman citizens built wooden towers, the
better to secure it ; but when they were unable to resist, on ac-
count of the smallness of their numbers, being weakened by
several wounds, they stooped to the last resource, and set at
liberty all the slaves old enough to bear arms ; and cutting the
hair off the womens' heads, 1 made ropes for their engines.
Octavius, being informed of their determination, surrounded the
town with five encampments, and began to press them at once
with a siege and storm. They were determined to endure every
hardship, and their greatest distress was the want of corn.
They, therefore, sent deputies to Caesar, and begged a supply
from him ; all other inconveniences they bore by their own
resources, as well as they could : and after a long interval, when
the length of the siege had made Octavius's troops more remiss
than usual, having got an opportunity at noon, when the enemy
were dispersed, they disposed their wives and children on the
walls, to keep up the appearance of their usual attention; and
forming themselves into one body, with the slaves whom they
had lately enfranchised, they made an attack on Octavius's
nearest camp, and having forced that, attacked the second
with the same fury ; and then the third and the fourth, and
then the other, and beat them from them all : and having
killed a great number, obliged the rest and Octavius himself
to fly for refuge to their ships. This put an end to the blockade.
Winter was now approaching, and Octavius, despairing of cap-
turing the town, after sustaining such considerable losses, with-
drew to Pompey, to Dyrrachium.

CHAP. X. We have mentioned, that Vibullius Rums, an
officer of Pompey's had fallen twice into Caesar's power ; first
at Corfinium, and afterward in Spain. Caesar, thought him
a proper person, on account of his favors conferred on him,
to send with proposals to Pompey : and he knew that he had
an influence over Pompey. This was the substance of his
proposals : " That it was the duty of both, to put an end to
their obstinacy, and forbear hostilities, and not tempt fortune
any further; that sufficient loss had been suffered on both

1 "We find similar devotion displayed in the siege of Carthage.


sides, to serve as a lesson and instruction to them, to render
them apprehensive of future calamities, by Pompey, in having
been driven out of Italy, and having lost Sicily, Cardinia, and
the two Spains, and one hundred and thirty cohorts of Roman
citizens, in Italy and Spain : by himself, in the death of Curio,
and the loss of so great an army in Africa, and the surrender
of his soldiers in Corcyra. Wherefore, they should have pity
on themselves, and the republic : for, from their own misfor-
tunes, they had sufficient experience of what fortune can effect
in war. That this was the only time to treat for peace ; when
each had confidence in his own strength, and both seemed
on an equal footing. Since, if fortune showed ever so little
favor to either, he who thought himself superior, would not
submit to terms of accommodation ; nor would be content
with an equal division, when he might expect to obtain the
whole. That as they could not agree before, the terms of
peace ought to be submitted to the senate and people in
Home. That in the mean time, it ought to content the
republic and themselves, if they both immediately took oath in
a public assembly that they would disband their forces within
the three following days. That having divested themselves of
the arms and auxiliaries, on which they placed their present
confidence, they must both of necessity acquiesce in the decision
of the people and senate. To give Pompey the fuller assurance
of his intentions, he would dismiss all his forces on the land,
even his garrisons.

CHAP. XI. Vibullius, having received this commission
from Caesar, thought it no less necessary to give Pompey
notice of Caesar's sudden approach, that he might adopt such
plans as the circumstance required, than to inform him of
Caesar's message ; and therefore continuing his journey by night
as well as by day, and taking fresh horses for dispatch, he posted
away to Pompey, to inform him that Caesar was marching
toward him with all his forces. Pompey was at this time in
Candavia, 1 and was on his march from Macedonia to his winter
quarters in Apollonia and Dyrrachium ; but surprised at the
unexpected news, he determined to go to Apollonia by speedy
marches, to prevent Caesar from becoming master of all the
maritime states. But as soon as Caesar had landed his troops,

1 Candavia is supposed to have been a district of Macedonia.


he set off the same day for Oricum : when he arrived there,
Lucius Torquatus, who was governor of the town by Pompey's
appointment, and had a garrison of Parthinians in it, endeav-
ored to shut the gates and defend the town, and ordered the
Greeks to man the walls, and to take arms. But as they
refused to fight against the power of the Roman people, and
as the citizens made a spontaneous attempt to admit Caesar,
despairing of any assistance, he threw open the gates, and sur-
rendered himself and the town to Csesar, and was preserved
safe from injury by him.

CHAP. XII. Having taken Oricum, Csesar marched with-
out making any delay to Apollonia. Staberius the governor,
hearing of his approach, began to bring water into the citadel,
and to fortify it, and to demand hostages of the town's people.
But they refuse to give any, or to shut their gates against the
consul, or to take upon them to judge contrary to what all
Italy and the Roman people had judged. As soon as he knew
their inclinations, he made his escape privately. The inhabit-
ants of Apollonia sent embassadors to Csesar, and gave him
admission into their town. Their example was followed by the
inhabitants of Bullis, 1 Amanda, 2 and the other neighboring
states, and all Epirus : and they sent embassadors to Csesar, and
promised to obey his commands.

CHAP. Xni. But Pompey having received information of
the transactions at Oricum and Apollonia, began to be alarmed
for Dyrrachium, and endeavored to reach it, marching day
and night. As soon as it was said that Caesar was approach-
ing, such a panic fell upon Pompey's army, because in his
haste he had made no distinction between night and day, and
had marched without intermission, that they almost every
man deserted their colors in Epirus and the neighboring
countries ; several threw down their arms, and their march
had the appearance of a flight. But when Pompey had halted
near Dyrrachium, and had given orders for measuring out the
ground for his camp, his army even yet continuing in their
fright, Labienus first stepped forward and swore that he
would never desert him, and would share whatever fate fortune

1 Bullis was a town of Macedonia, in the gulf of Venice, nearly oppo-
Bite to Hydras in Italy.

2 Amantia, modern Porto Raguseo, called formerly Abantia, from its
having been founded by the Abantes of Eubosa, on their return from Troy.

CHAP. xv. THE CTftL WAR. 325

should assign to him. The other lieutenants toot the same
oath, and the tribunes and centurions followed their example :
and the whole army swore in like manner. Caesar, finding the
road to Dyrrachium already in the possession of Pompey, was
in no great haste, but encamped by the river Apsus, in the ter-
ritory of Apollonia, that the states which had deserved his sup-
port might be certain of protection from his out-guards and forts ;
and there he resolved to wait the arrival of his other legions
from Italy, and to winter in tents. Pompey did the same ; and
pitching his camp on the other side of the river Apsus, collected
there all his troops and auxiliaries.

CHAP. XIV. Kalenus, having put the legipns and cavalry
on board at Brundusium, as Caesar had directed him, as far as
the number of his ships allowed, weighed anchor : and having
sailed a little distance from port, received a letter from Caesar,
in which he was informed, that all the ports and the whole
shore was occupied by the enemy's fleet : on receiving tlm
information he returned into the harbor, and recalled all the
vessels. One of them, which continued the voyage and did
not obey Kalenus's command, because it carried no troops, but
was private property, bore away for Oricum, and was taken by
Bibulus, who spared neither slaves nor free men, nor even
children ; but put all to the sword. Thus the safety of the
whole army depended on a very short space of time and a great

CHAP. XV. Bibulus, as has been observed before, lay with
his fleet near Oricum, and as he debarred Caesar of the liberty
of the sea and harbors, so he was deprived of all intercourse
with the country by land ; for the whole shore was occupied by
parties disposed in different places by Caesar. And he was not
allowed to get either wood or water, or even anchor near the
land. He was reduced to great difficulties, and distressed with
extreme scarcity of every necessary; insomuch that he was
obliged to bring, in transports from Corcyra, not only provi-
sions, but even wood and water ; and it once happened that,
meeting with violent storms, they were forced to catch the dew
by night which fell on the hides that covered their decks ; yet
all these difficulties they bore patiently and without repining,
and thought they ought not to leave the shores and harbors
free from blockade. But when they were suffering under the
distress which I have mentioned, and Libo had joined Bibulus,


they both called from on ship-board, to Marcus Acilius audStatius
Marcus, the lieutenants, one of whom commanded the town,
the other the guards on the coast, that they wished to speak
to Caesar on affairs of importance, if permission should be
granted them. They add something further to strengthen the
impression that they intended to treat about an accommodation.
In the mean time they requested a truce, and obtained it from
them ; for what they proposed seemed to be of importance, and
it was well known that Caesar desired it above all things, and it
was imagined that some advantage would be derived from Bibu-
lus's proposals.

CHAP. XVI. Caesar having set out with one legion to gain
possession of the more remote states, and to provide corn, of
which he had but a small quantity, was at this time at Buthro-
turn, opposite to Corcyra. There receiving Acilius and Marcus's
letters, informing him of Libo's and Bibulus's demands, he left
his legion behind him, and returned himself to Oricum. When
he arrived, they were invited to a conference. Libo came and
made an apology for Bibulus, " that he was a man of strong
passion, and had a private quarrel against Caesar, contracted
when he was aedile and praetor ; that for this reason he had
avoided the conference, lest affairs of the utmost importance
and advantage might be impeded by the warmth of his temper.
That it now was and ever had been Pompey's most earnest wish,
that they should be reconciled and lay down their arms, but
they were not authorized to treat on that subject, because they
resigned the whole management of the war, and all other matters
to Pompey, by order of the council. But when they were ac-
quainted with Caesar's demands, they would transmit them to
Pompey, who would conclude all of himself by their persuasions.
In the mean time, let the truce be continued till the messengers
could return from him ; and let no injury be done on either side."
To this he added a few words of the cause for which they fought,
and of his own forces and resources.

CHAP. XVII. To this, Caesar did not then think proper to
make any reply, nor do we now think it worth recording.
But Caesar required " that he should be allowed to send com-
missioners to Pompey, who should suffer no personal injury ;
and that either they should grant it, or should take his com-
missioners in charge, and convey them to Pompey. That as
to the truce, the war in its present state was so divided, that


they by their fleet deprived him of his shipping and auxiliaries ;
while he prevented them from the use of the land and fresh
water ; and if they wished that this restraint should be removed
from them, they should relinquish their blockade of the seas, but
if they retained the one, he in like manner would retain the
other ; that nevertheless, the treaty of accommodation might
still be carried on, though these points were not conceded, and
that they need not be an impediment to it." They would neither
receive Caesar's commissioners, nor guarantee their safety, but
referred the whole to Pompey. They urged and struggled
eagerly to gain the one point respecting a truce. But when
Caesar perceived that they had proposed the conference merely
to avoid present danger and distress, but that they offered no
hopes or terms of peace, he applied 1 his thoughts to the prose-
cution of the war.

CHAP. XVHL Bibulus, being prevented from landing for
several days, and being seized with a violent distemper from
the cold and fatigue, as he could neither be cured on board,
nor was willing to desert the charge which he had taken upon
him, was unable to bear up against the violence of the' disease.
On his death, the sole command devolved on no single individual,
but each admiral managed his own division separately, and at
his own discretion. Vibullius, as soon as the alarm, which
Caesar's unexpected arrival had raised, was over, began again
to deliver Caesar's message in the presence of Ldbo, Lucius
Lucceius, and Theophanes, to whom Pompey used to communi-
cate his most confidential secrets. He had scarcely entered on
the subject when Pompey interrupted him, and forbade him to
proceed. " What need," says he, " have I of life or Rome, if
the world shall think I enjoy them by the bounty of Caesar :
an opinion which can never be removed while it shall be
thought that I have been brought back by him to Italy, from
which I set out." After the conclusion of the war, Caesar was
informed of these expressions by some persons who were present
at the conversation. He attempted, however, by other means
to bring about a negotiation of peace.

CHAP. XIX. Between Pompey's and Caesar's camp there
was only the river Apsus, and the soldiers frequently conversed
with each other ; and by a private arrangement among them-

1 Literally, " he betook himself to forming plans for the rest of the


selves, no weapons were thrown during their conferences.
Caesar sent Publius Vntinius, one of his lieutenants, to the
bank of the river, to make such proposals as should appear most
conducive to peace ; and to cry out frequently with a loud
voice [asking], "Are citizens permitted to send deputies to
citizens to treat of peace ? a concession which had been made
even to fugitives on the Pyrenean mountains, and to robbers,
especially when by so doing they would prevent citizens from
fighting against citizens." Having spoken much in humble
language, as became a man pleading for his own and the
general safety and being listened to with silence by the soldiers
of both armies, he received an answer from the enemy's party
that Aulus Varro proposed coming the next day to a confer-
ence, and that deputies from both sides might come without
danger, and explain their wishes, and accordingly a fixed time
was appointed for the interview. When the deputies met the
next day, a great multitude from both sides assembled, and
the expectations of every person concerning this subject were
raised very high, and their minds seemed to be eagerly dis-
posed for peace. Titus Labienus walked forward from the
crowd, and in submissive terms began to speak of peace, and
to argue with Vatinius. But their conversation was suddenly
interrupted by darts thrown from all sides, from which Vatinius
escaped by being protected by the arms of the soldiers. How-
ever, several were wounded ; and among them Cornelius Balbus,
Marcus Plotius, and Lucius Tiburtius, centurions, and some pri-
vates ; hereupon Labienus exclaimed, " Forbear, then, to speak
any more about an accommodation, for we can have no peace
unless we carry Caesar's head back with us."

CHAP. XX. At the same time in Eome, Marcus Caelius
Rufus, one of the praetors, having undertaken the cause of the
debtors, on entering into his office, fixed his tribunal near the
bench of Caius Trebonius, the city praetor, and promised if
any person appealed to him in regard to the valuation and
payment of debts made by arbitration, as appointed by Caesar
when in Rome, that he would relieve them. But it happened,
from the justice of Trebonius's decrees and his humanity (for
he thought that in such dangerous times justice should be ad-
ministered with moderation and compassion), that not one
could be found who would offer himself the first to lodge an
appeal. For to plead poverty, to complain of his own private


calamities, or the general distresses of the times, or to assert the
difficulty of setting the goods to sale, is the behavior of a man
even of a moderate temper ; but to retain their possessions en-
tire, and at the same time acknowledge themselves in debt, what
sort of spirit, and what impudence would it not have argued !
Therefore nobody was found so unreasonable as to make such
demands. But Cselius proved more severe to those very per-
sons for whose advantage it had been designed ; and starting
from this beginning, in order that he might not appear to have
engaged in so dishonorable an affair without effecting some-
thing, he promulgated a law that all debts should be discharged
in six equal payments, of six months each, without interest.

CHAP. XXI. When Servilius, the consul, and the other
magistrates opposed him, and he himself effected less than he
expected, in order to raise the passions of the people, he
dropped it, and promulgated two others ; one, by which he
remitted the annual rents of the houses to the tenants, the
other, an act of insolvency: upon which the mob made an
assault on Caius Trebonius, and having wounded several persons,
drove him from his tribunal. The consul Servilius informed the
senate of his proceedings, who passed a decree that Caelius
should be removed from the management of the republic.
Upon this decree, the consul forbade him the senate ; and
when he was attempting to harangue the people, turned him
out of the rostrum. Stung with the ignominy and with re-
sentment, he pretended in public that he would go to Caesar,
but privately sent messengers to Milo, who had murdered
Clodius, and had been condemned for it ; and having invited
him into Italy, because he had engaged the remains of the
gladiators to his interest, by making them ample presents, he

Online LibraryJulius CaesarCæsar's Commentaries on the Gallic and civil wars: → online text (page 33 of 59)