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Chapters 1-21

Chapter 1 On the defeat of Pharnaces and reduction of Africa, those who escaped from those battles fled to young Cn. Pompey, who had taken possession of Further Spain, while Caesar was detained in Italy in exhibiting games. Pompey began to throw himself on the protection of every state, in order the more readily to establish the means of defense against him. Accordingly, with a considerable force which had been collected, partly by entreaty, partly by force, he began to lay waste the province. Under these circumstances some states voluntarily sent him supplies, others shut the gates of their towns against him. If any of these chanced to fall into his hands by assault, although some citizen in it had deserved well of Cn. Pompey (his father), yet some cause was alleged against him on account of the greatness of his wealth, so that, he being dispatched, his fortune might become the reward of the soldiers. Thus the enemy, being encouraged by a few advantages, their forces increased much, wherefore those states which were opposed to Pompey, by continual messages dispatched to Italy, sought protection for themselves.

Chapter 2 When Caesar, now a third time dictator, and elected a fourth time, having already proceeded many marches into Spain with prompt dispatch, was coming to finish the war, he was met on the way by embassadors from Corduba, who had deserted Cn. Pompey; these informed him that it would be an easy matter to make himself master of the town by night, because the enemy as yet knew nothing of his arrival in the province, as the scouts sent out by Cn. Pompey to inform him of Caesar's approach had been all made prisoners. They alleged besides many other very plausible reasons. He, therefore, immediately sent intelligence of his arrival to Q. Pedius, and Q. Fabius Maximus his lieutenants, to whom he had left the command of the troops in the province, ordering them to send him all the cavalry they had been able to raise. He came up with them much sooner than they expected, and had not the protection of the cavalry, according to his desire.

Chapter 3 Sextus Pompey, the brother of Cneius, commanded at this time at Corduba, which was accounted the capital of the province. Young Cneius Pompey himself was employed in the siege of Ulia, which had now lasted some months. Notice of Caesar's arrival having been received, messengers having passed Pompey's guards came to him from that town and besought him to send them relief as soon as possible. Caesar, knowing that this people had deserved very well of the Romans, detached, about nine o'clock, at night eleven cohorts, with a like number of horse, under the command of L. Julius Paciecus, a man known in that province, and also well acquainted with it. When he arrived at Pompey's quarter, a dreadful tempest arising, attended with a violent wind, so great a darkness ensued that you could scarcely have distinguished even the person next you. This accident proved of great advantage to Paciecus: for being arrived at Pompey's camp, he ordered the cavalry to advance two by two, and march directly through the enemy's quarters to the town; one of their guards calling to know who passed, one of our troopers bade him be silent, for they were just then endeavoring by stealth to approach the wall, in order to get possession of the town; and partly by this answer, partly by favor of the tempest, the sentinels were prevented from examining things diligently. When they reached the gates, upon a signal being given, they were admitted; and both horse and foot raising a loud shout, after leaving some troops to guard the town, sallied in a body upon the enemy's camp. This came upon them so unexpectedly that the greater number of the men in the camps thought that they were captured.

Chapter 4 Ulia being relieved, Caesar, to draw Pompey from the siege, marched toward Corduba; sending the cavalry before, with a select body of heavy-armed foot; who, as soon as they came within sight of the place, got up behind the troopers. By this stratagem they could not possibly be perceived by those of Corduba. Upon their approach to the walls, the enemy sallied in great numbers to attack our cavalry; when the infantry, whom we have mentioned above, leaping down, fell upon them with such fury that out of an almost infinite multitude of men, very few returned to the town. This so alarmed Sextus Pompey that he immediately sent letters to his brother, requesting him to come speedily to his relief, lest Caesar should make himself master of Corduba before his arrival. Thus Cn. Pompey, moved by his brother's letters, quitted the siege of Ulia, which was upon the point of surrendering, and set out toward Corduba.

Chapter 5 Caesar, arriving at the river Guadalquivir, which he found too deep to be forded, sank several baskets of stones in it. Thus having formed a bridge, he transported his troops in three bodies to the camps. As I have just mentioned, the beams of the bridge stretched over against the tower in two rows. Pompey, arriving soon after with his troops, encamped directly over against him. Caesar, to cut off his provisions and communication with the town, ran a line from his camp to the bridge. Pompey did the same; so that a struggle arose between the two generals, which should first get possession of the bridge; and this daily brought on skirmishes, in which sometimes the one, sometimes the other party had the better. When these merged into a serious engagement, both sides fought hand to hand; in the heat of the struggle for this position, owing to the narrowness of the bridge, they were pressed together, and in their efforts to extend themselves toward the river-side, many fell headlong. Thus the loss was pretty equal; for on either side lay heaps of slain, and Caesar for many days used all possible endeavors to bring the enemy to an engagement on equal terms, that he might bring the war to a conclusion as soon as possible.

Chapter 6 But finding that they carefully avoided a battle, with a view to which chiefly he had quitted the route of Ulia; he caused great fires to be lighted in the night, repassed the river with all his forces, and marched toward Ategua, one of their strongest garrisons. Pompey, being informed of this by the deserters, on the same day brought back many carriages and machines by narrow paths, and betook himself to Corduba. Caesar began his attack upon Ategua, and carried lines quite round the town. Pompey, having intelligence of this, set out upon his march the same day. In order to guard against his arrival, Caesar possessed himself of many forts; partly to shelter his cavalry, partly to post guards of infantry for the defense of his camp. Pompey's arrival happened at a time when the mist was very thick, so that he found means, with some cohorts and troops of cavalry, to hem in a party of Caesar's horse, and fell upon them in such manner that very few escaped slaughter.

Chapter 7 The following night Pompey set fire to his camp, passed the river Rio Salado, and, marching through the valleys, encamped on a rising ground, between the two towns of Ategua and Ucubis. Caesar cast up a mound and brought forward his machines, with other preparations which were necessary for storming the town. The country all around is mountainous, and seems formed for war, being separated from the plain by the river Rio Salado, ascending on the side toward Ategua, about two miles from the river. Pompey's camp was upon these mountains, within view of both towns; he could, however, send no relief to his friends. He had the emblems and standards of thirteen legions, but of those on whom he trusted for support two were natives which had deserted from Trebonius; one was formed out of the Roman colonies in those parts; and a fourth, belonging to Afranius, he had brought with him from Africa; the rest were for the most part made up of fugitives and deserters; in light-armed foot and cavalry we far exceeded him in both courage and numbers.

Chapter 8 Another reason why Pompey was enabled to protract the war was that the country was full of mountains and extremely well adapted to encampments. For almost the whole province of Further Spain, though of an extremely fertile soil, and abounding in springs, is nevertheless very difficult of access. Here too, on account of the frequent incursions of the natives, all the places remote from great towns, are fortified with towers and castles, covered as in Africa, not with tiles but with earth, on these they place sentinels, and their high situation commands an extensive view of the country on all sides. Nay, the greatest part of the towns of this province are built on mountains, and places exceedingly strong by nature, the approaches to which are extremely difficult. Thus sieges are rare and hazardous in Spain, since it is not easy to reduce their towns by force; as happened in the present war. For Pompey having established his camp between Ategua and Ucubis, as related above, and within view of both towns, Caesar possessed himself of an eminence very conveniently situated, and only about four miles from his own camp, on which he built a fortress.

Chapter 9 Pompey, who, from the nature of the ground, was covered by the same eminence, which was besides at a sufficient distance from Caesar's quarters, became sensible of the importance of this post; and as Caesar was separated from it by the river Rio Salado, he imagined that the difficulty of sending relief would prevent his attempting any thing of that kind in its defense. Influenced by this belief, he set out about midnight and attacked the fort, that he might bring assistance to the besieged. Our troops, upon their approach, setting up a shout, discharged their javelins in great numbers, and wounded multitudes of men. After this, when those in the camp began to resist, and when tidings of it was conveyed to the great camps to Caesar, he set out with three legions, and when he approached them, many were killed, owing to their trepidation and flight, and a great number made prisoners. Among these two * * *; and many others, having thrown down their arms escaped, so that fourscore shields were found.

Chapter 10 The next day Arguetius arrived from Italy with the cavalry, and five standards taken from the Saguntines; but was forced to quit his post by Asprenas, who likewise brought a reinforcement from Italy to Caesar. The same night Pompey set fire to his camp, and drew toward Corduba. A king, named Indus, who was bringing some troops to Caesar with a party of cavalry, following the pursuit of the enemy too briskly, was made prisoner, and slain by the Spanish legionaries.

Chapter 11 On the next day, our cavalry pursued those who were employed in carrying provisions from the town to Pompey's camp, almost to the very walls of Corduba, and took fifty prisoners besides horses. On the same day, Q. Marcius, a military tribune in Pompey's army, deserted to us. At midnight, a keen encounter took place in the town, and they hurled fire and every means was resorted to by which fire could be cast. When the attack was ended, C. Fundanius, a Roman knight, quitted the enemy, and came over to us.

Chapter 12 On the next day, two Spanish legionaries, who pretended to be slaves, were made prisoners by a party of our horse; but being brought to the camp, they were known by the soldiers, who had formerly served under Fabius and Pedeius, and deserted from Trebonius. No pardon was extended to them, and they were slaughtered by our troops. At the same time, some couriers, sent from Corduba to Pompey, entering our camp by mistake, were seized, had their hands cut off, and then were dismissed. About nine at night, the besieged, according to custom, spent a considerable time in casting fire and darts upon our soldiers, and wounded a great number of men. At day-break they sallied upon the sixth legion, while we were busy at the works, and began a sharp contest, in which, however, our men got the better, though the besieged had the advantage of the higher ground. Those who had begun the attack, being vigorously opposed on our side, notwithstanding all the inconveniences we fought under, were at length obliged to retire into the town, with many wounds.

Chapter 13 On the next day Pompey began a line from the camp to the river Rio Salado; and a small party of our horse, being attacked by a much larger body of the enemy, were driven from their post, and three of their number slain. On the same day, A. Valgius, the son of a senator, whose brother was in Pompey's camp, mounted his horse and went over to the enemy, leaving all his baggage behind him. A spy, belonging to Pompey's second legion, was taken and slain. At the same time, a bullet was shot into the town, with this inscription: "That he should set up a shield on whatever day they advanced to storm the town." This encouraging some to hope that they might scale the walls, and possess themselves of the town without danger, they fell the next day to sapping them, and threw down a considerable part of the outward wall. * * In this action, being captured and protected by the townsmen, as if they had been of their own party, they requested Caesar to dismiss in armor even those who were appointed over the city by Pompey to guard it. To this Caesar answered, "That it was his custom to give, not accept of conditions:" which being reported to the garrison, they set up a shout, and began to pour their darts upon our men from the whole circuit of the wall; which gave reason to believe that the garrison intended that day to make a vigorous sally. Wherefore, surrounding the town with our troops, the conflict was for some time maintained with great violence, and one of our engines threw down a tower belonging to the enemy, in which were five of their men, and a boy, whose office it was to observe the engine.

Chapter 14 After this Pompey erected a fort on the other side of the Rio Salado, in which he met with no interruption from our men, and exulted not a little in the idea of having possessed himself of a post so near us. Also the following day, extending himself in like manner still further, he came up with our out-post of cavalry; and charging them briskly, obliged several squadrons and the light-armed foot to give ground: many of whom, owing to the smallness of their numbers and their light armor, were trodden down by the enemy's horse. This passed within view of both camps, and not a little animated the Pompeians, to see our men pushed so far: but the latter, being afterward reinforced by a party from our camp, faced about with the intention of renewing the fight.

Chapter 15 It invariably happens in encounters of cavalry that when the troopers dismount to charge the infantry, the match proves unequal, as happened on the present occasion. For a select body of the enemy's light-armed foot, coming unexpectedly upon our horse, they alighted to sustain the charge. Thus in a very little time, from a cavalry it became an infantry engagement, and again from an infantry changed to a cavalry engagement, in which our men were driven back to their very lines; but being there reinforced, about a hundred and twenty-three of the enemy were slain, several forced to throw down their arms, many wounded, and the rest pursued quite to their camp. On our side, three were slain, besides twelve foot-soldiers and five troopers wounded. Toward the evening of the same day, the fight, as usual, was renewed before the walls: and the enemy having thrown many darts, and a great quantity of fire from the battlements, proceeded afterward to an action of unexampled cruelty and barbarity: for in the very sight of our troops they fell to murdering the citizens, and tumbling them headlong from the walls, as is usual among barbarians: no parallel to this is to be found in the memory of man.

Chapter 16 When night came on, Pompey sent a messenger unknown to us, to exhort the garrison to set fire to our towers and mound, and make a sally at midnight. Accordingly, having poured upon us a great quantity of darts and fire, and destroyed a considerable part of the rampart, they opened the gate which lay over against and within view of Pompey's camp, and sallied out with all their forces, carrying with them fascines to fill up the ditch; hooks and fire to destroy and reduce to ashes the barracks, which the soldiers had built mostly of reeds to defend them from the winter; and some silver and rich apparel to scatter among the tents, that while our men should be employed in securing the plunder, they might fight their way through and escape to Pompey; who, in expectation that they would be able to effect their design, had crossed the Rio Salado with his army, where he continued all night in order of battle, to favor their retreat. But though our men had no apprehension of this design, their valor enabled them to frustrate the attempt, and repulse the enemy with many wounds. They even made themselves masters of the spoil, their arms, and some prisoners, who were put to death next day. At the same time, a deserter from the town informed us that Junius, who was employed in the mine when the citizens were massacred, exclaimed that it was a cruel and barbarous action - "that they had never deserved such treatment at their hands - for that they had received them in their temples and their homes - that it was in violation of all hospitality." He added many things besides, which made such an impression upon the garrison that they desisted from the massacre.

Chapter 17 The next day, Tullius, a lieutenant-general, accompanied by C. Antonius of Lusitania, came to Caesar, and addressed him to this effect: "Would to Heaven I had been one of your soldiers rather than a follower of C. Pompey, and given those proofs of valor and constancy in obtaining victories for you, rather than in suffering for him. The only advantage we reap from following his banners are wretched applauses; being reduced to the condition of indigent citizens, and by the melancholy fate of our country ranked among its enemies; we, who having never shared with Pompey his good fortune, yet find ourselves involved in his disgrace; and after sustaining the attack of so many armed legions, employing ourselves day and night in the works of defense, exposed to the darts and swords of our fellow-citizens; vanquished, deserted by Pompey, and compelled to give way to the superior valor of your troops, find ourselves at last obliged to have recourse to your clemency, and implore that you will not show yourselves less placable to fellow-citizens, than you have so often been to foreign nations." "I shall," said Caesar, "prove myself the same to fellow-citizens, as I have been to conquered nations."

Chapter 18 The embassadors being dismissed, when Tiberius Tullius arrived at the gate of the town, and C. Antony did not follow him, he returned to the gate and laid hold of him, upon which drawing a poniard from his breast, he wounded him in the hand, and in this condition they both fled to Caesar. At the same time the standard-bearer of the first legion came over to our camp, and reported that the day when the skirmish happened between the horse, no less than thirty-five of his company fell; but it was not allowed to mention it in Pompey's camp, or so much as own the loss of one man. A slave, whose master was in Caesar's camp, and who had left his wife and son in the city, cut his master's throat, and deceiving the guards, escaped privately to Pompey's camp; whence by means of a bullet, on which he inscribed his intelligence, Caesar was informed of the preparations made for the defense of the place. When we had read the inscription, those who were employed to throw the bullet returning to the city, two Lusitanian brothers deserted, and informed us that Pompey in a speech made to his soldiers, had said: "That as he found it impossible to relieve the town, he was resolved to withdraw in the night from the sight of the enemy, and retire toward the sea;" to which one answered "that it was better to hazard a battle than take refuge in flight," but he who said so was instantly put to death. At the same time some of his couriers were intercepted, who were endeavoring to get into the town. Caesar sent the letters to the inhabitants, and ordered one of the messengers begging his life, to set fire to the townsmen's wooden turret, promising that if he did this he would grant him all. The enterprise was not without difficulty: he undertook it, however, but was slain in the attempt. The same night a deserter informed us that Pompey and Labienus were greatly offended at the massacre of the citizens.

Chapter 19 About nine at night, one of our wooden towers, which had been severely battered by the enemy's engines, gave way as far as the third story. A sharp encounter ensued under the walls, and the besieged, assisted by a favorable wind, burned the remaining part of that tower and another. Next morning a matron threw herself from the wall, and came over to the camp, reporting, "that the rest of her family had intended the same, but were apprehended and put to death;" likewise, a letter was thrown over, in which was written" L. Minatius to Caesar; Pompey has abandoned me; if you will grant me my life, I promise to serve you with the same fidelity and attachment I have hitherto manifested toward him." At the same time deputies who had been sent before to Caesar by the garrison, now waited on him a second time, offering to deliver up the town next day, upon a bare grant of their lives: to which he replied, "That he was Caesar, and would perform his word." Thus, having made himself master of the place, on the nineteenth of February he was saluted imperator.

Chapter 20 Pompey, being informed by some deserters that the town had surrendered, removed his camp toward Ucubis, where he began to build redoubts, and secure himself with lines. Caesar also decamped and drew near him. At the same time a Spanish legionary soldier deserting to our camp, informed us that Pompey had assembled the people of Ucubis, and given them instructions to inquire diligently who favored his party, who that of the enemy. Some time after in the town which was taken, the slave, who, as we have related above, had murdered his master, was apprehended in a mine and burned alive. About the same time eight Spanish centurions came over to Caesar, and in a skirmish between our cavalry and that of the enemy, we were repulsed, and some of our light-armed foot wounded. The same night we took of the enemy's spies, three slaves and one Spanish soldier. The slaves were crucified, and the soldier was beheaded.

Chapter 21 The day following, some of the enemy's cavalry and light-armed infantry deserted to us; and about eleven of their horse falling upon a party of our men that were sent to fetch water, killed some and took others prisoners; among which last were eight troopers. On the next day Pompey beheaded seventy-four persons supposed to be favorers of Caesar's cause, ordering the rest who lay under the same suspicion to be carried back to the town, of whom a hundred and twenty escaped to Caesar.

Julius Caesar

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