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state, which was in an unfortunate condition, to cure which the state
had selected him for her physician, and put herself solely in his
hands; and he was wearing chaplets and celebrating a marriage, when he
ought to have considered his consulship a calamity, as it would not
have been conferred on him so contrary to all constitutional practice,
if his country were in a prosperous condition. However, he presided at
the trials for corruption and bribery,[332] and drew up laws, pursuant
to which the trials were conducted, and with the exception presently
to be mentioned, he conducted all the proceedings with dignity and
fairness, and he secured to the courts safety, order, and quiet, by
taking his own place there with armed men; but when his father-in-law
Scipio was under trial, he sent for the three hundred and sixty
judices to his house and obtained their support for him, and the
accuser gave up the prosecution when he saw Scipio conducted from the
Forum by the judices.[333] This brought Pompeius again into bad
report, which was still further increased when he came forward to
speak in praise of Plancus,[334] though he had by special law put an
end to encomiums on persons under trial. Cato, who happened to be one
of the judices, stopped his ears with his hands, saying it was not
right in him to listen to the encomiums which were contrary to law. In
consequence of this Cato was rejected before the votes were given, but
Plancus was convicted by the votes of the rest and to the shame of
Pompeius. Now, a few days after, Hypsæus,[335] a consular man, who was
under prosecution, watched for Pompeius as he was going to sup after
taking the bath, and clasping his knees, suppliantly entreated him;
but Pompeius passed by contemptuously, saying that Hypsæus was
spoiling his supper, and doing nothing more. By showing himself thus
partial he got blame. However, in every other respect he established
good order, and took his father-in-law as his colleague for the
remaining five months. A decree also was made that he should hold the
provinces for another four years, and should receive yearly a thousand
talents, out of which he was to feed and maintain his troops.

LVI. Cæsar's friends taking advantage of this, claimed some notice for
Cæsar also, who was fighting so many battles for the supremacy of
Rome; they said that he deserved either another consulship, or to have
a fresh period added to his command, during which no other should
supersede him and carry off the glory due to his labours, but that he
who had accomplished those things should hold the command and quietly
enjoy the honour. A debate arose on those subjects, on which Pompeius,
affecting to deprecate the odium against Cæsar out of regard to him,
said that he had letters of Cæsar, who was willing to have a
successor and to be relieved from service, but still Cæsar thought it
fair that he should be allowed to be a candidate for the consulship
though he was not at Rome. To this Cato made opposition, and said that
Cæsar ought to become a private person and lay down his arms, and then
get any favour that he could from the citizens; and when Pompeius did
not prosecute the debate, but submitted as if he were worsted, his
real opinions about Cæsar became more suspected. He also sent to Cæsar
and demanded back the troops[336] which he had lent him, pretending
that he wanted them for the Parthian war. But Cæsar, though he knew
why he was required to give up the troops, sent them back after
handsomely rewarding them.

LVII. After this Pompeius had a dangerous illness at Neapolis, from
which he recovered. Upon the suggestion of Praxagoras, the people of
Neapolis offered sacrifices for his restoration to health. The
neighbouring people followed their example, and the thing thus going
the round of Italy, every city, small and great, celebrated a festival
for several days. No place was large enough to contain the people, who
flocked together from all parts, but the roads were filled and the
villages and ports with the people rejoicing and sacrificing. Many
persons also with chaplets on their heads and lighted torches received
Pompeius, and accompanied him throwing flowers over him, so that his
journey and progress was a most beautiful sight and very splendid.
However, it is said that this circumstance contributed to bring about
the war as much as anything else. For an arrogant feeling entered the
mind of Pompeius, and, with the greatness of the rejoicing, carried
off all reflection on the present state of affairs; and throwing away
the caution which had always secured his good fortune and his
measures, he fell into a state of such unmingled confidence and
contempt of Cæsar's power, as to suppose that he would require neither
arms to oppose him nor any troublesome preparation, but that he could
put him down much easier than he had raised him. Besides this, Appius
came from Gaul with the troops which Pompeius had lent to Cæsar; and
he greatly disparaged Cæsar's exploits there, and uttered much abuse
against Cæsar; and he said that Pompeius did not know his own power
and reputation, if he intended to strengthen himself against Cæsar by
other troops, for that he could put down Cæsar with Cæsar's own
troops, as soon as he made his appearance; so great, as he said, was
their hatred of Cæsar and their affection towards Pompeius.
Accordingly Pompeius was so much elated, and through his confidence
filled with such contempt, that he even ridiculed those who were
afraid of the war; and to those who said that, if Cæsar advanced
against the city, they saw no troops sufficient to repulse him, with
smiling countenance and tranquil mien he bade them give themselves no
trouble about that, "for in whatever part of Italy," he said, "I stamp
the earth with my foot, there will spring up forces both men and
horse."

LVIII. And now Cæsar also stuck to public affairs more vigorously,
himself keeping at no great distance from Italy, and continually
sending his soldiers to the city to attend the elections, and with
money insinuating himself into the favour of many of the magistrates
and corrupting them; among whom was Paulus[337] the consul who changed
sides for fifteen hundred talents, and Curio[338] the tribune who was
released by Cæsar from countless debts, and Marcus Antonius who
through friendship for Curio was involved in his obligations. Now it
was said that one of the centurions who had come from Cæsar, while
standing near the Senate-house and hearing that the Senate were
refusing to allow Cæsar a prolongation of his term of government, said
as he struck his hand on his sword, "But this will give it." And all
that was doing and preparing had this design in view. Yet the claims
and reasons urged by Curio in favour of Cæsar were of a more
constitutional character. For he asked one of two things, either that
they should require Pompeius also to give up his force, or they should
not take Cæsar's troops from him: he said, "Whether they become
private persons on fair terms or continued a match for one another by
each keeping what he had, they would remain quiet; but he who proposed
to weaken one of them would double the power which he feared." Upon
this Marcellus the consul called Cæsar a robber, and urged the Senate
to vote him an enemy, if he should not lay down his arms. Yet Curio
with the assistance of Antonius and Piso, prevailed so far as to have
it put to a regular vote. Accordingly he proposed that those senators
should move off to one side who were in favour of Cæsar alone laying
down his arms and Pompeius remaining in command; and the majority went
over to that side. Again, upon his proposing that all should withdraw
who were of opinion that both should lay down their arms and that
neither should hold a command, only two-and-twenty were in favour of
Pompeius, and all the rest were on the side of Curio. Curio
considering that he had gained his point, rushed forth to the people
exulting with delight, and the people received him with clapping of
hands and threw on him chaplets and flowers. Pompeius was not in the
Senate, for those who are in command of an army do not enter the city.
But Marcellus rose up and said that he would not sit still to listen
to words, but that as he spied ten legions already appearing in sight
above the Alps and on their march, he also would dispatch a man to
oppose them and to defend their country.

LIX. Upon this they changed their garments as was usual in a public
calamity. Marcellus[339] advanced to Pompeius through the Forum with
the Senate following him, and standing in front of him said, "I bid
you, Pompeius, defend your country and employ the forces that are in
readiness and raise others." Lentulus also said the same, who was one
of the consuls elect for the coming year. But when Pompeius began to
raise recruits, some refused and a few came together tardily and
without any readiness, but the greater part cried out that some terms
should be come to. For Antonius in spite of the Senate had read a
letter of Cæsar to the people which contained proposals likely to
conciliate the mass; for Cæsar proposed that both he and Pompeius
should give up their provinces and dismiss their troops, and so put
themselves in the hande of the people and render an account of what
they had done. Lentulus who was now consul would not assemble the
Senate; but Cicero who had just returned from Cilicia[340] attempted
an amicable settlement on the terms, that Cæsar should quit Gaul and
give up all his army except two legions with which he should hold
Illyricum and wait for his second consulship. As Pompeius was
dissatisfied with this, the friends of Cæsar so far yielded as to
agree that Cæsar should dismiss one of these two legions; but as
Lentulus made opposition and Cato called out that Pompeius was
blundering again if he allowed himself to be deceived, the attempt at
a settlement came to no conclusion.

LX. In the mean time intelligence arrived that Cæsar had taken
Ariminum,[341] a large city of Italy, and was marching straight upon
Rome with all his force. But this was false; for he was advancing with
only three hundred horsemen and five thousand legionary soldiers, and
he did not wait for the rest of his force which was beyond the Alps,
choosing to fall upon his enemies when they were in confusion and did
not expect him, rather than to give them time to prepare to fight with
him. Upon reaching the river Rubico, which was the boundary of his
province, he stood in silence and lingered, reflecting, as we may
presume, on the magnitude of the risk. Then, like those who throw
themselves into a huge abyss from a precipice, closing the eyes of
calculation and wrapping himself up to meet the danger, he called out
in Greek to those who were present these words only, "Let the die be
cast," and took his army over. As soon as the report reached Rome, and
tumult and fear, such as were never known before, together with
consternation filled the city, the Senate immediately hurried in a
body to visit Pompeius, and the magistrates with them; but upon
Tullus[342] asking about an army and force, and Pompeius after some
delay saying in a tone of no great confidence, that he had the men in
readiness who had come from Cæsar, and he thought he should soon be
able to get together those who had been before enrolled to the number
of thirty thousand, Tullus cried aloud, "You have deceived us,
Pompeius," and he advised to send commissioners to Cæsar. One
Favonius,[343] in other respects no bad man, but who with his
self-will and insolence often supposed that he was imitating the bold
language of Cato, bade Pompeius strike the ground with his foot and
call up the troops which he promised. Pompeius mildly submitted to
this ill-timed sarcasm; and when Cato reminded him of what he had
originally predicted to him about Cæsar, Pompeius replied that what
Cato had said was in truth more prophetic, but what he had done was of
a more friendly character.

LXI. Cato advised that Pompeius should be appointed general Imperator,
adding, that it was the business of those who caused great mischief to
put an end to it. Cato immediately left the city for Sicily, for he
had obtained that island as his province; and of the rest each went to
the province which had been assigned to him by lot. But as nearly all
Italy was in commotion, the events that happened caused much
perplexity; for those who were out of Rome hurried from all parts and
crowded into the city, and the inhabitants of Rome hastened to leave
the city, which in such tempest and confusion was weak in available
means, but strong in insubordination and the difficulty that it caused
to the magistrates. For it was not possible to allay the fear, nor did
any one allow Pompeius to follow his own judgment, but in whatever way
a man was affected, whether by fear, grief or perplexity, he carried
it to Pompeius and filled him with it; and opposite measures prevailed
in the same day, and it was impossible for Pompeius to get any true
intelligence about the enemy, because there were many who reported
anything that they chanced to hear, and were vexed if he did not
believe them. Under these circumstances after declaring by an edict
that he saw nothing but confusion, and bidding all the senators follow
him, and giving notice that he should consider all who stayed behind
as partisans of Cæsar, he left the city late in the evening; and the
consuls fled without even making the sacrifices which were usual
before wars. But even in the midst of danger Pompeius was fortunate in
the general affection of the people, for though many blamed the
generalship, there was not one who hated the general, but one might
have found that those who were not willing to leave Pompeius were more
numerous than those who left the city for the cause of liberty.

LXII. A few davs after, Cæsar entered and took possession of
Rome.[344] He behaved with moderation to all and pacified everybody,
except Metellus[345] one of the tribunes who attempted to hinder him
from taking money out of the treasury, on which Cæsar threatened him
with death and added to his threat still harsher words, for he said,
That to say this was harder for him than to do it. Having thus put
Metellus to flight and taken what he wanted, Cæsar pursued Pompeius,
being anxious to drive him out of Italy before his troops from Iberia
arrived. Pompeius who had got possession of Brundisium and had plenty
of ships, immediately put on board the consuls and with them thirty
cohorts and sent them over before him to Dyrrachium: Scipio his
father-in-law and his own son Cneius he sent to Syria to get a fleet
ready. After barricading the gates and placing on the walls the
soldiers who were most lightly armed, he ordered the people of
Brundisium[346] to keep quiet in their houses, and he then broke up
all the ground in the city and intersected it with ditches, and filled
up all the streets with stakes except two through which he went down
to the sea. On the third day he had already embarked at his leisure
all the troops with the exception of those who were guarding the
walls, to whom he suddenly gave a signal, upon which they all ran down
quickly and being taken on board got out to sea. When Cæsar saw the
walls deserted, he concluded that the enemy were making off, and in
his pursuit of them he narrowly escaped getting involved among the
stakes and trenches; but as the people of Brundisium gave him warning,
he avoided the city and, making a circuit round it, he found that all
had got under sail, except two vessels which contained only a few
soldiers.

LXIII. Now everybody else reckons the sailing away of Pompeius among
the best military stratagems, but Cæsar[347] wondered that Pompeius,
who was in possession of a strong city and was expecting his troops
from Iberia and was master of the sea, should desert and abandon
Italy. Cicero[348] also blames Pompeius for imitating the generalship
of Themistokles rather than that of Perikles, the circumstances being
like those of Perikles and not those of Themistokles. And Cæsar showed
by what he did that he was greatly afraid of time:[349] for when he
had taken prisoner Numerius, a friend of Pompeius, he sent him to
Brundisium with instructions to bring about a reconciliation on fair
terms; but Numerius sailed off with Pompeius. Upon this Cæsar, who in
sixty days had become master of Italy without shedding any blood, was
desirous of pursuing Pompeius immediately, but as he had no vessels,
he turned about and marched to Iberia with the design of gaining over
the troops there.

LXIV. During this time Pompeius got together a great force: his naval
power was completely irresistible, for the fighting ships were five
hundred, and the number of Liburnian vessels[350] and other small
craft was immense; the cavalry, the flower of the Romans and Italians,
was seven thousand, distinguished by family, and wealth and courage;
his infantry, which was a mixed body and required discipline, he
exercised in Berœa,[351] not sitting still lazily, but practising
himself in gymnastic exercises[352] as if he were still in the vigour
of his age. And it was a great motive to confidence, when men saw
Pompeius Magnus, who was now sixty years of age save two, exercising
himself among the infantry under arms, then mounting his horse and
drawing his sword without any trouble while his horse was galloping
and easily sheathing it again; and in the throwing of his spear
showing not only an exactness of aim, but a strength of arm in the
distance to which he sent it, which many of the young men could not
surpass. Both kings of nations and governors came to him; and of the
men of rank about him from Rome there were sufficient to make up a
complete Senate.[353] There came also Labeo,[354] who left Cæsar
though he had been his friend and had served with him in Gaul; and
Brutus,[355] son of the Brutus who was put to death in Gaul, a man of
noble spirit who had never yet spoken to Pompeius or saluted him
because Pompeius had put his father to death, but now he took service
under him as the liberator of Rome. Cicero,[356] though he had both in
his writings and his speeches in the Senate recommended other
measures, was ashamed not to join those who were fighting in defence
of their country. There came also to Macedonia Tidius Sextius,[357] a
man of extreme old age, lame of one leg; and while others were
laughing and jeering, Pompeius on seeing him rose up and ran to meet
him, for he considered it a great testimony for men of advanced age
and feeble strength to choose danger with him in preference to safety.

LXV. A Senate being formed, upon the proposition of Cato they came to
a resolution to put no Roman to death except in battle, and not to
plunder any city that was subject to the Romans, which increased still
further the popularity of the party of Pompeius; for those who were
unconcerned about the war by reason of being far removed from it or
who were disregarded on account of their weakness, gave Pompeius the
benefit of their good wishes at least, and as far as words could go
contended on his behalf in favour of the right, considering every man
an enemy to gods and to men who did not wish Pompeius to be
victorious. Cæsar also showed much moderation in his success, for
after he had captured and defeated the forces of Pompeius in
Iberia,[358] he let the generals go and employed the troops. After
crossing the Alps again and hurrying through Italy, he arrived at
Brundisium about the winter solstice. He then crossed the sea and
putting in at Oricum sent Jubius,[359] a friend of Pompeius, who was
his prisoner, to Pompeius[360] to propose that they should both meet
together on the third day, disband all their forces, and after being
reconciled and confirming their union by oath, return to Italy.
Pompeius again considered this to be an ambuscade, and hastily going
down to the sea he took possession of the posts and places which
presented very strong positions for an army; he also seized the naval
stations and landing places which were favourable for those who came
by sea, so that every wind which blew brought to Pompeius corn or
troops or money; but Cæsar being confined in straits both on the sea
and land side was of necessity glad to fight, and he attacked the
lines of Pompeius and continually provoked him to battle, in which
Cæsar had generally the advantage and the superiority in the
skirmishing. But on one occasion he narrowly escaped being completely
crushed and losing his army, for Pompeius fought with great courage
and routed all the enemy, who lost two thousand men; but he was
either unable or was afraid to force his way into Cæsar's camp and to
enter with the fugitives, which made Cæsar say to his friends, "To-day
the victory would have been with the enemy, if they had had a
commander who knew how to conquer."

LXVI. The partisans of Pompeius being greatly elated at this success
were eager to have a decisive battle. Pompeius wrote to the distant
kings and generals and cities to inform them that he was victorious,
but he feared the risk of a battle, thinking that by delay and
reducing the enemy to straits he should finally vanquish men who were
invincible in arms and had long been accustomed to conquer together,
but as to the other military duties, and marches, and change of
position, and digging of trenches and building of walls, were not
efficient by reason of age and on this account were eager to come to
close fighting and to engage hand to hand. However, previous to the
last contest Pompeius had been able in some degree to draw his men
from their purpose by persuading them to keep quiet; but when Cæsar
after the battle was compelled by want of provisions to break up his
camp, and began his march into Thessaly through the country of the
Athamanes,[361] the confidence of the soldiers of Pompeius could no
longer be kept in check, and calling out that Cæsar was flying, some
were for following and pursuing him, and others for crossing over into
Italy, and others were sending to Rome their slaves and friends to get
possession of houses near the Forum, with the intention of forthwith
becoming candidates for office. Many of their own accord sailed to
Cornelia who was in Lesbos bearing the good tidings of the war being
at an end; for Pompeius had sent her there out of the way of danger.
The Senate being assembled, Afranius gave his opinion that they should
stick to Italy, for Italy was the chief prize of the war, and would
bring to those who were masters of it the possession of Sicily,
Sardinia, Corsica, Iberia, and all Gaul; and as to that which was the
greatest concern to Pompeius, his native country who was stretching
out her hands only at a short distance from them, it was not
honourable to leave her to be insulted and enslaved by slaves and
flatterers of tyrants. But Pompeius did not consider it to be
consistent with his reputation to run away from Cæsar a second time
and to be pursued, when fortune gave him the opportunity of being the
pursuer, nor did he think it consistent with his duty to desert
Scipio[362] and the consular men in Hellas and Thessaly who would
immediately fall into Cæsar's hands with their military chests and
large forces; he thought also that Rome was best cared for by fighting
in her defence as far from her as possible, that she might wait for
the conqueror without feeling or hearing of any misfortunes.

LXVII. Having come to this decision, Pompeius pursued Cæsar, resolved
to avoid a battle, but by following close up to hem him in and wear
him out by privation. He had other reasons for thinking this to be the
best plan, and it also reached his ears that it was a subject of
common conversation among the cavalry that they ought to defeat Cæsar
as soon as they could and then put down Pompeius also. Some say that
this was also the reason why Pompeius employed Cato[363] in no matter
of importance, but even when he was marching against Cæsar left him on
the coast to look after the stores, through fear that if Cæsar were
destroyed, Cato might forthwith compel him also to lay down his
command. Accordingly as he followed the enemy leisurely he was much
censured and there was a clamour against him, that his object was not
to defeat Cæsar by his generalship, but his native country and the
Senate, that he might always keep the command and never give over
having as his attendants and guards those who considered themselves
the masters of the world. Domitius Ahenobarbus also by always calling
him Agamemnon and King of Kings made him odious. Favonius too made



Online Library46 PlutarchPlutarch's Lives Volume III → online text (page 24 of 55)