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Chapters 52-78


Chapter 52 Having got his army together, and encamped near Corduba, he made a speech to the soldiers, wherein he acquainted them with the orders he had received from Caesar and promised them a hundred sesterces each, when they should arrive in Mauritania: the fifth legion, he told them, was to remain in Spain. Having ended his speech, he returned to Corduba. The same day, about noon, as he went to the hall of justice, one Minutius Silo, a client of L. Racilius, presented him with a paper, in a soldier's habit, as if he had some request to make. Then retiring behind Racilius (who walked beside Cassius), as if waiting for an answer, he gradually drew near, and a favorable opportunity offering, seized Cassius with his left hand, and wounded him twice with a dagger in his right. A shout was then raised and an attack made on him by the rest of the conspirators, who all rushed upon him in a body. Munatius Plancus killed the lictor, that was next Longinus; and wounded Q. Cassius his lieutenant. T. Vasius and L. Mergilio seconded their countryman Plancus; for they were all natives of Italica. L. Licinius Squillus flew upon Longinus himself, and gave him several slight wounds as he lay upon the ground.

Chapter 53 By this time, his guards came up to his assistance (for he always had several beronians and veterans, armed with darts, to attend him), and surrounded the rest of the conspirators, who were advancing to complete the assassination. Of this number were Calphurnius Salvianus and Manilius Tusculus. Cassius was carried home; and Minutius Silo, stumbling upon a stone, as he endeavored to make his escape, was taken, and brought to him. Racilius retired to the neighboring house of a friend, till he should have certain in formation of the fate of Cassius. L. Laterensis, not doubting but he was dispatched, ran in a transport of joy to the camp, to congratulate the second and the new-raised legions upon it, who, he knew, bore a particular hatred to Cassius; and who, immediately upon this intelligence, placed him on the tribunal, and proclaimed him praetor. For there was not a native of the province, nor a soldier of the newly-raised legion, nor a person who by long residence was naturalized in the province, of which class the second legion consisted, who did not join in the general hatred of Cassius.

Chapter 54 Meantime Laterensis was informed that Cassius was still alive; at which, being rather grieved than disconcerted, he immediately so far recovered himself, as to go and wait upon him. By this time, the thirtieth legion having notice of what had passed, had marched to Corduba, to the assistance of their general. The twenty-first and fifth followed their example. As only two legions remained in the camp, the second, fearing they should be left alone, and their sentiments should be consequently manifested, did the same. But the new-raised legion continued firm, nor could be induced by any motives of fear to stir from its place.

Chapter 55 Cassius ordered all the accomplices of the conspiracy to be seized, and sent back the fifth legion to the camp, retaining the other three. By the confession of Minutius, he learned, that L. Racilius, L. Laterensis, and Annius Scapula, man of great authority and credit in the province, and equally in his confidence with Laterensis and Racilius, were concerned in the plot: nor did he long defer his revenge, but ordered them to be put to death. He delivered Minutius to be racked by his freed-men; likewise Calphurnius Salvianus; who, turning evidence, increased the number of the conspirators; justly, as some think; but others pretend that he was forced. L. Mergilio was likewise put to the torture. Squillus impeached many others, who were all condemned to die, except such as redeemed their lives by a fine; for he pardoned Calphurnius for ten, and Q. Sextius for fifty thousand sesterces, who, though deeply guilty, yet having, in this manner, escaped death, showed Cassius to be no less covetous than cruel.

Chapter 56 Some days after, he received letters from Caesar, by which he learned that Pompey was defeated, and had fled with the loss of all his troops, which news equally affected him with joy and sorrow. Caesar's success gave him pleasure; but the conclusion of the war would put an end to his rapines: insomuch, that he was uncertain which to wish for, victory or an unbounded licentiousness. When he was cured of his wounds, he sent to all who were indebted to him, in any sums, and insisted upon immediate payment. Such as were taxed too low, had orders to furnish larger sums. He likewise instituted a levy of Roman citizens, and as they were enrolled from all the corporations and colonies, and were terrified by service beyond the sea, he called upon them to redeem themselves from the military oath. This brought in vast revenue, but greatly increased the general hatred. He afterward reviewed the army, sent the legions and auxiliaries, designed for Africa, toward the straits of Gibraltar, and went himself to Seville, to examine the condition of the fleet. He staid there some time, in consequence of an edict he had published, ordering all who had not paid the sums in which they were amerced, to repair to him thither; which created a universal murmuring and discontent.

Chapter 57 In the mean time, L. Titius, a military tribune of the native legion, sent him notice of a report that the thirteenth legion, which Q. Cassius his lieutenant was taking with him, when it was encamped at Ilurgis, had mutinied and killed some of the centurions that opposed them, and were gone over to the second legion, who marched another way toward the Straits. Upon this intelligence he set out by night with five cohorts of the twenty-first legion, and came up with them in the morning. He staid there that day to consult what was proper to be done, and then went to Carmona, where he found the thirtieth and twenty-first legions, with four cohorts of the fifth, and all the cavalry assembled. Here he learned that the new-raised legion had surprised four cohorts, near Obucula, and forced them along with them to the second legion, where all joining, they had chosen T. Thorius, a native of Italica, for their general. Having instantly called a council, he sent Marcellus to Corduba to secure that town, and Q. Cassius, his lieutenant, to Seville. A few days after, news was brought that the Roman citizens at Corduba had revolted, and that Marcellus, either voluntarily or through force (for the reports were various), had joined them; as likewise the two cohorts of the fifth legion that were in garrison there. Cassius, provoked at these mutinies, decamped, and the next day came to Segovia, upon the river Xenil. There, summoning an assembly, to sound the disposition of the troops, he found that it was not out of any regard to him, but to Caesar, though absent, that they continued faithful, and were ready to undergo any danger for the, recovery of the province.

Chapter 58 Meantime Thorius marched the veteran legions to Corduba; and, that the revolt might not appear to spring from a seditious inclination in him or the soldiers, as likewise to oppose an equal authority to that of Q. Cassius, who was drawing together a great force in Caesar's name; he publicly gave out that his design was to recover the province for Pompey; and perhaps he did this through hatred of Caesar, and love of Pompey, whose name was very powerful among those legions which M. Varro had commanded. Be this as it will, Thorius at least made it his pretense; and the soldiers were so infatuated with the thought, that they had Pompey's name inscribed upon their bucklers. The citizens of Corduba, men, women, and children, came out to meet the legions, begging "they would not enter Corduba as enemies, seeing they joined with them in their aversion to Cassius, and only desired they might not be obliged to act against Caesar."

Chapter 59 The soldiers, moved by the prayers and tears of so great a multitude, and seeing they stood in no need of Pompey's name and memory to spirit up a revolt against Cassius, and that he was as much hated by Caesar's followers as Pompey's; neither being able to prevail with Marcellus or the people of Corduba to declare against Caesar, they erased Pompey's name from their bucklers, chose Marcellus their commander, called him praetor, joined the citizens of Corduba, and encamped near the town. Two days after, Cassius encamped on an eminence, on this side the Guadalquivir, about four miles from Corduba, and within view of the town; whence he sent letters to Bogud, in Mauritania, and M. Lepidus, proconsul of Hither Spain, to come to his assistance as soon as possible, for Caesar's sake. Meanwhile he ravaged the country, and set fire to the buildings around Corduba.

Chapter 60 The legions under Marcellus, provoked at this indignity, ran to him, and begged to be led against the enemy, that they might have an opportunity of engaging with them before they could have time to destroy with fire and sword the rich and noble possessions of the inhabitants of Corduba. Marcellus, though averse to a battle, which, whoever was victorious, must turn to Caesar's detriment, yet unable to restrain the legions, led them across the Guadalquivir, and drew them up. Cassius did the same upon a rising ground, but as he would not quit his advantageous post, Marcellus persuaded his men to return to their camp. He had already begun to retire when Cassius, knowing himself to be stronger in cavalry, fell upon the legionaries with his horse, and made a considerable slaughter in their rear upon the banks of the river. When it was evident from this loss, that crossing the river was an error and attended with great loss, Marcellus removed his camp to the other side of the Guadalquivir, where both armies frequently drew up, but did not engage, on account of the inequality of the ground.

Chapter 61 Marcellus was stronger in foot, for he commanded veteran soldiers of great experience in war. Cassius depended more on the fidelity than the courage of his troops. The two camps being very near each other, Marcellus seized a spot of ground, where he built a fort, very convenient for depriving the enemy of water. Longinus, apprehending he should be besieged in a country where all were against him, quitted his camp silently in the night, and, by a quick march, reached Ulia, a town on which he thought he could rely. There he encamped so near the walls, that both by the situation of the place (for Ulia stands on an eminence), and the defenses of the town, he was on all sides secure from an attack. Marcellus followed him and encamped as near the town as possible. Having taken a view of the place he found himself reduced, by necessity, to do what was most agreeable to his own inclination; namely, neither to engage Cassius, which the ardor of his soldiers would have forced him to, had it been possible, nor to suffer him, by his excursions, to infest the territories of other states, as he had done those of Corduba. He therefore raised redoubts in proper places, and continued his works quite round the town, inclosing both Ulia and Cassius within his lines. But before they were finished, Cassius sent out all his cavalry, who he imagined might do him great service by cutting off Marcellus's provisions and forage, and could only be a useless encumbrance to him, by consuming his provisions if he was shut up in his camp.

Chapter 62 A few days after, king Bogud, having received Cassius's letters, came and joined him with all his forces, consisting of one legion, and several auxiliary cohorts. For as commonly happens in civil dissensions, some of the states of Spain at that time favored Cassius, but a yet greater number, Marcellus. Bogud came up to the advanced works of Marcellus, where many sharp skirmishes happened with various success: however, Marcellus still kept possession of his works.

Chapter 63 Meanwhile Lepidus came to Ulia, from the hither province, with thirty-five legionary cohorts, and a great body of horse and auxiliaries, with the intention of adjusting the differences between Cassius and Marcellus. Marcellus submitted without hesitation: but Cassius kept within his works, either because he thought his cause the justest, or from an apprehension that his adversary's submission had prepossessed Lepidus in his favor. Lepidus encamped at Ulia, and forming a complete junction with Marcellus, prevented a battle, invited Cassius into his camp, and pledged his honor to act without prejudice. Cassius hesitated long, but at last desired that the circumvallation should be leveled, and free egress given him. The truce was not only concluded, but the works demolished, and the guards drawn off; when king Bogud attacked one of Marcellus's forts, that lay nearest to his camp, unknown to any (except perhaps Longinus, who was not exempt from suspicion on this occasion), and slew a great number of his men. And had not Lepidus interposed, much mischief would have been done.

Chapter 64 A free passage being made for Cassius, Marcellus joined camps with Lepidus; and both together marched for Corduba, while Cassius retired with his followers to Carmona. At the same time, Trebonius, the proconsul, came to take possession of the province. Cassius having notice of his arrival, sent his legions and cavalry into winter quarters, and hastened, with all his effects, to Melaca, where he embarked immediately, though it was the winter season, that he might not, as he pretended, intrust his safety to Marcellus, Lepidus, and Trebonius; as his friends gave out, to avoid passing through a province, great part of which had revolted from him; but as was more generally believed, to secure the money he had amassed by his numberless extortions. The wind favoring him as far as could be expected at that season of the year, he put into the Ebro, to avoid sailing in the night: and thence continuing his voyage, which he thought he might do with safety, though the wind blew considerably fresher, he was encountered by such a storm, at the mouth of the river, that being neither able to return on account of the stream, nor stem the fury of the waves, the ship sank, and he perished.

Chapter 65 When Caesar arrived in Syria, from Egypt, and understood from those who attended him there from Rome, and the letters he received at the same time, that the government at Rome was badly and injudiciously conducted, and all the affairs of the commonwealth managed indiscreetly; that the contests of the tribunes were producing perpetual seditions, and that, by the ambition and indulgence of the military tribunes, many things were done contrary to military usage, which tend to destroy all order and discipline, all which required his speedy presence to redress them; thought it was yet first incumbent upon him to settle the state of the provinces through which he passed; that, freeing them from domestic contentions, and the fear of a foreign enemy, they might become amenable to law and order. This he hoped soon to effect in Syria, Cilicia, and Asia, because these provinces were not involved in war. In Bithynia and Pontus indeed he expected more trouble, because he understood Pharnaces still continued in the latter, and was not likely to quit it easily, being flushed with the victory he had obtained over Domitius Calvinus. He made a short stay in most states of note, distributing rewards both publicly and privately to such as deserved them, settling old controversies, and receiving into his protection the kings, princes, and potentates, as well of the provinces as of the neighboring countries. And having settled the necessary regulations for the defense and protection of the country, he dismissed them, with most friendly feelings to himself and the republic.

Chapter 66 After a stay of some days in these parts, he named Sextus Caesar, his friend and relation, to the command of Syria and the legions appointed to guard it; and sailed himself for Cilicia, with the fleet he had brought from Egypt. He summoned the states to assemble at Tarsus, the strongest and finest city of the province; where, having settled everything that regarded either that province or the neighboring countries, through his eagerness to march to carry on the war he delayed no longer, but advancing through Cappadocia with the utmost expedition, where he stopped two days at Mazaca, he arrived at Comana, renowned for the ancient and sacred temple of Bellona, where she is worshiped with so much veneration, that her priest is accounted next in power and dignity to the king. He conferred this dignity on Lycomedes of Bithynia, who was descended from the ancient kings of Cappadocia, and who demanded it in right of inheritance; his ancestors having lost it upon occasion of the scepter being transferred to another line. As for Ariobarzanes, and his brother Ariarates, who had both deserved well of the commonwealth, he confirmed the first in his kingdom, and put the other under his protection; after which, he pursued his march with the same dispatch.

Chapter 67 Upon his approaching Pontus, and the frontiers of Gallograecia, Deiotarus, tetrarch of that province (whose title, however, was disputed by the neighboring tetrarchs) and king of Lesser Armenia, laying aside the regal ornaments, and assuming the habit not only of a private person, but even of a criminal, came in a suppliant manner to Caesar, to beg forgiveness for assisting Pompey with his army, and obeying his commands, at a time when Caesar could afford him no protection: urging, that it was his business to obey the governors who were present, without pretending to judge of the disputes of the people of Rome.

Chapter 68 Caesar, after reminding him "of the many services he had done him, and the decrees he had procured in his favor when consul; that his defection could claim no excuse for want of information, because one of his industry and prudence could not but know who was master of Italy and Rome, where the senate, the people, and the majesty of the republic resided; who, in fine, was consul after Marcellus and Lentulus; told him, that he would notwithstanding forgive his present fault in consideration of his past services, the former friendship that had subsisted between them, the respect due to his age, and the solicitation of those connected with him by hospitality, and his friends who interceded in his behalf: adding, that he would defer the controversy relating to the tetrarchate to another time." He restored him the royal habit, and commanded him to join him with all his cavalry, and the legion he had trained up after the Roman manner.

Chapter 69 When he was arrived in Pontus, and had drawn all his forces together, which were not very considerable either for their number or discipline (for except the sixth legion, composed of veteran soldiers, which he had brought with him from Alexandria, and which, by its many labors and dangers, the length of its marches and voyages, and the frequent wars in which it had been engaged, was reduced to less than a thousand men, he had only the legion of Deiotarus, and two more that had been in the late battle between Domitius and Pharnaces) embassadors arrived from Pharnaces, "to entreat that Caesar would not come as an enemy, for he would submit to all his commands." They represented particularly that "Pharnaces had granted no aid to Pompey, as Deiotarus had done, whom he had nevertheless pardoned."

Chapter 70 Caesar replied, "That Pharnaces should meet with the utmost justice, if he performed his promises: but at the same time he admonished the embassadors, in gentle terms, to forbear mentioning Deiotarus, and not to overrate the having refused aid to Pompey. He told them that he never did any thing with greater pleasure than pardon a suppliant, but that he would never look upon private services to himself as an atonement for public injuries done the province; that the refusal of Pharnaces to aid Pompey had turned chiefly to his own advantage, as he had thereby avoided all share in the disaster of Pharsalia; that he was however willing to forgive the injuries done to the Roman citizens in Pontus, because it was now too late to think of redressing them; as he could neither restore life to the dead, nor manhood to those he had deprived of it, by a punishment more intolerable to the Romans than death itself. But that he must quit Pontus immediately, send back the farmers of the revenues, and restore to the Romans and their allies what he unjustly detained from them. If he should do this, he might then send the presents which successful generals were wont to receive from their friends" (for Pharnaces had sent him a golden crown). With this answer he dismissed the embassadors.

Chapter 71 Pharnaces promised every thing: but hoping that Caesar, who was in haste to be gone, would readily give credit to whatever he said, that he might the sooner set out upon more urgent affairs (for every body knew that his presence was much wanted at Rome), he performed but slowly, wanted to protract the day of his departure, demanded other conditions, and in fine endeavored to elude his engagements. Caesar, perceiving his drift, did now, out of necessity, what he was usually wont to do through inclination, and resolved to decide the affair as soon as possible by a battle.

Chapter 72 Zela is a town of Pontus, well fortified, though situated in a plain; for a natural eminence, as if raised by art, sustains the walls on all sides. All around is a great number of large mountains, intersected by valleys. The highest of these, which is celebrated for the victory of Mithridates, the defeat of Triarius, and the destruction of our army, is not above three miles from Zela, and has a ridge that almost extends to the town. Here Pharnaces encamped, with all his forces, repairing the fortifications of a position which had proved so fortunate to his father.

Chapter 73 Caesar having encamped about five miles from the enemy, and observing that the valleys which defended the king's camp would likewise defend his own, at the same distance, if the enemy, who were much nearer, did not seize them before him; ordered a great quantity of fascines to be brought within the intrenchments. This being quickly performed, next night, at the fourth watch, leaving the baggage in the camp, he set out with the legions; and arriving at daybreak unsuspected by the enemy, possessed himself of the same post where Mithridates had defeated Triarius. Hither he commended all the fascines to be brought, employing the servants of the army for that purpose, that the soldiers might not be called off from the works; because the valley, which divided the eminence, where he was intrenching himself from the enemy, was not above a mile wide.

Chapter 74 Pharnaces perceiving this, next morning ranged all his troops in order of battle before his camp. Caesar, on account of the disadvantage of the ground, believed that he was reviewing them according to military discipline; or with a view to retard his works, by keeping a great number of his men under arms; or through the confidence of the king, that he might not seem to defend his position by his fortifications rather than by force. Therefore, keeping only his first line in order of battle, he commanded the rest of the army to go on with their works. But Pharnaces, either prompted by the place itself, which had been so fortunate to his father; or induced by favorable omens, as we were afterward told; or discovering the small number of our men that were in arms (for he took all that were employed in carrying materials to the works to be soldiers); or confiding in his veteran army, who valued themselves upon having defeated the twenty-second legion; and at the same time, despising our troops, whom he knew he had worsted, under Domitius; was determined upon a battle, and to that end began to cross the valley. Caesar, at first, laughed at his ostentation, in crowding his army into so narrow a place, where no enemy, in his right senses, would have ventured: while, in the mean time, Pharnaces continued his march, and began to ascend the steep hill on which Caesar was posted.

Chapter 75 Caesar, astonished at his incredible rashness and confidence, and finding himself suddenly and unexpectedly attacked, called off his soldiers from the works, ordered them to arms, opposed the legions to the enemy, and ranged his troops in order of battle. The suddenness of the thing occasioned some terror at first; and our ranks not being yet formed, the scythed chariots disordered and confused the soldiers: however, the multitude of darts discharged against them, soon put a stop to their career. The enemy's army followed them close, and began the battle with a shout. Our advantageous situation, but especially the assistance of the gods, who preside over all the events of war, and more particularly those where human conduct can be of no service, favored us greatly on this occasion.

Chapter 76 After a sharp and obstinate conflict, victory began to declare for us on the right wing, where the sixth legion was posted. The enemy there were totally overthrown, but, in the center and left, the battle was long and doubtful; however, with the assistance of the gods, we at last prevailed there also, and drove them with the utmost precipitation down the hill which they had so easily ascended before. Great numbers being slain, and many crushed by the flight of their own troops, such as had the good fortune to escape were nevertheless obliged to throw away their arms; so that having crossed, and got upon the opposite ascent, they could not, being unarmed, derive any benefit from the advantage of the ground. Our men flushed with victory, did not hesitate to advance up the disadvantageous ground, and attack their fortifications, which they soon forced, notwithstanding the resistance made by the cohorts left by Pharnaces to guard it. Almost the whole army was cut to pieces or made prisoners. Pharnaces himself escaped, with a few horse; and had not the attack on the camp given him an opportunity of fleeing without pursuit, he must certainly have fallen alive into Caesar's hands.

Chapter 77 Though Caesar was accustomed to victory, yet he felt incredible joy at the present success; because he had so speedily put an end to a very great war. The remembrance, too, of the danger to which he had been exposed, enhanced the pleasure, as he had obtained an easy victory in a very difficult conjuncture. Having thus recovered Pontus, and abandoned the plunder of the enemy's camp to the soldiers, he set out next day with some light horse. He ordered the sixth legion to return to Italy to receive the honors and rewards they had merited; and sent home the auxiliary troops of Deiotarus, and left two legions with Caelius Vincianus to protect the kingdom of Pontus.

Chapter 78 Through Gallograecia and Bithynia he marched into Asia, and examined and decided all the controversies of the provinces as he passed, and established the limits and jurisdictions of the several kings, states, and tetrarchs. Mithridates of Pergamus, who had so actively and successfully served him in Egypt, as we have related above, a man of royal descent and education (for Mithridates, king of all Asia, out of regard to his birth, had carried him along with him when very young, and kept him in his camp several years), was appointed king of Bosphorus, which had been under the command of Pharnaces. And thus he guarded the provinces of the Roman people against the attempts of barbarous and hostile kings, by the interposition of a prince firmly attached to the interests of the republic. He bestowed on him likewise the tetrarchy of Gallograecia, which was his by the law of nations and family claims, though it had been possessed for some years by Deiotarus. Thus Caesar, staying nowhere longer than the necessity of the seditions in the city required, and having settled all things relating to the provinces with the utmost success and dispatch, returned to Italy much sooner than was generally expected.

Julius Caesar

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