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Chapters 22-42


Chapter 22 Some time after, the deputies from Bursavola (whom Caesar had taken prisoners at Ategua, and sent along with his own embassadors to their city, to inform them of the massacre of the Ateguans, and what they had to apprehend from Pompey, who suffered his soldiers to murder their hosts, and commit all manner of crimes with impunity), arriving in the town, none of our deputies, except such as were natives of the place, durst enter the city, though they were all Roman knights and senators. But after many messages backward and forward, when the deputies were upon their return, the garrison pursued and put them all to the sword, except two who escaped to Caesar, and informed him of what had happened. Some time after, the inhabitants of Bursavola, sending spies to Ategua to know the truth of what had happened, and finding the report of our deputies confirmed, were for stoning to death him who had been the cause of the murder of the deputies, and were with difficulty restrained from laying violent hands upon him, which in the end proved the occasion of their own destruction. For having obtained leave of the inhabitants to go in person to Caesar and justify himself, he privately drew together some troops, and when he thought himself strong enough, returned in the night, and was treacherously admitted into the town, where he made a dreadful massacre of the inhabitants, slew all the leaders of the opposite party, and reduced the place to subjection. Soon after, some slaves who had deserted informed us that he had sold all the goods of the citizens, and that Pompey suffered none of his soldiers to quit the camp but unarmed, because, since the taking of Ategua, many despairing of success fled into Baeturia, having given over all expectation of victory; and that if any deserted from our camp, they were put among the light-armed infantry, whose pay was only sixteen asses a day.

Chapter 23 The day following Caesar removed his camp nearer to Pompey's, and began to draw a line to the river Salado. While our men were employed in the work, some of the enemy fell upon us from the higher ground, and as we were in no condition to make resistance, wounded great numbers. Here, as Ennius says, "our men retreated a little." This occurrence, so contrary to our usual custom, being perceived, two centurions of the fifth legion passed the river, and restored the battle; when, pressing upon the enemy with astonishing bravery, one of them fell overwhelmed by the multitude of darts discharged from above. The other continued the combat for some time, but seeing himself in danger of being surrounded, endeavored to make good his retreat, but stumbled and fell. His death being known, the enemy crowded together in still greater numbers, upon which our cavalry passed the river, and drove them back to their intrenchments; so that, while they too eagerly desired to slay them within their lines, they were surrounded by the cavalry and light-armed troops. Many of these would have been captured alive, had not their valor been pre-eminent, for they were so confined by the space included in the fortress, that the cavalry could not well defend itself. Many of our men were wounded in these two encounters, and among the rest Clodius Aquitius, but as the fight was carried on mostly from a distance, none of our men fell, except the two centurions who sacrificed themselves in the cause of glory.

Chapter 24 Next day both parties withdrawing from Soricaria, we continued our works. But Pompey, observing that our fort had cut off his communication with Aspavia, which is about five miles distant from Ucubis, judged it necessary to come to a battle. Yet he did not offer it upon equal terms, but chose to draw up his men upon a hill, that he might have the advantage of the higher ground. In this respect, when both parties were seeking the superior position, our men anticipating them, drove them into the plain, which gave us the advantage. The enemy yielded on all hands, and we made immense havoc among them. The mountain and not their valor protected them; of which advantage, and of all relief, our men, though few in number, would have deprived them had not night intervened. Three hundred and twenty-four light-armed foot, and about a hundred and thirty-eight legionary soldiers of their number fell, besides those whose armor and spoils we carried off. Thus the death of the two centurions, which happened the day before, was fully revenged.

Chapter 25 The day after, Pompey's cavalry advanced, according to their usual custom, to our lines; for they only dared venture to draw up on equal ground. They therefore began to skirmish with our men who were at work, the legionaries calling out to us at the same time to choose our field of battle, with a view to make us believe that they desired nothing so much as to come to blows; upon this our men quitted the eminence where they were encamped, and advanced a great way into the plain. But none of the enemy had the boldness to present themselves, excepting Antistius Turpio; who, presuming on his strength, and fancying no one on our side a match for him, offered us defiance. Upon this, as is recorded of Memnon and Achilles, Q. Pompeius Niger, a Roman knight, born in Italy, advanced from our ranks to the encounter. The fierce air of Antistius having engaged the attention of all, the two armies drew up to be spectators of the issue of this challenge, and expressed as much impatience as if the whole fortune of the war had depended upon it. The wishes on both sides for success were equal to the anxiety and concern each felt for his own combatant. They advanced into the plain with great courage, having each a resplendent buckler of curious workmanship. And doubtless the combat would have been soon decided, had not some light-armed foot drawn up near the lines, to serve as a guard to the camp because of the approach of the enemy's horse, which we have before alluded to. * * * Our horse, in retreating to their camp, being warmly pursued by the enemy, suddenly faced about with great cries; which so terrified the Pompeians, that they immediately betook themselves to flight, and retreated to their camp with the loss of many of their men.

Chapter 26 Caesar, to reward the valor of the Cassian troop, presented them with thirteen thousand sesterces, distributed ten thousand more among the light-armed foot, and gave to the commander of the cavalry five golden collars. The same day, A. Bebius, C. Flavius, and A. Trebellius, Roman knights of Asta, with their horses richly caparisoned and adorned with silver, came over to Caesar, and informed him, that all the rest of the Roman knights in Pompey's camp, had like them conspired to come and join him, that, on the information of a slave they had all been seized and cast into custody; that out of this number they only had escaped. The same day letters were intercepted, sent by Pompey to Ursao, with the usual greeting, and stating, "That hitherto he had all the success against the enemy he could desire, and would have ended the war much sooner than was expected, could he have brought them to engage him upon equal terms; that he did not think it advisable to venture new-levied troops on a plain; that the enemy, depending on our supplies, as yet protract the war for they storm city after city, thence supplying themselves with provisions: that he would therefore endeavor to protect the towns of his party, and bring the war to as speedy an issue as possible: that he would send them a reinforcement of some cohorts, and that having deprived them of provisions he would necessitate the enemy to come to an engagement.

Chapter 27 Some time after, as our men were carelessly dispersed about the works, a few horse were killed, who had gone to a grove of olives to fetch wood. Several slave deserted at this time, and informed us that ever since the action at Soritia on the 7th of March, the enemy had been under continual alarms, and appointed Attius Varus to guard the lines. The same day Pompey decamped, and posted himself in an olive-wood over against Hispalis. Caesar, before he removed, waited till midnight, when the moon began to appear. At his departure he ordered them to set fire to the fort of Ucubis, which Pompey had abandoned, and to assemble in the greater camp. He afterward laid siege to Ventisponte, which surrendered; and marching thence to Carruca, encamped over against Pompey, who had burned the city, because the garrison refused to open the gates to him. A soldier who had murdered his brother in the camp, being intercepted by our men, was scourged to death. Caesar, still pursuing his march, arrived in the plains of Munda, and pitched his camp opposite to that of Pompey.

Chapter 28 Next day as Caesar was preparing to set out with the army, notice was sent him by his spies, that Pompey had been in order of battle ever since midnight. Upon this intelligence he ordered the standard to be raised. Pompey had taken this resolution in consequence of his letter to the inhabitants of Ursao, who were his firm adherents, in which he told them that Caesar refused to come down into the plain, because his army consisted mostly of new-levied troops. This had greatly confirmed the city in its allegiance. Thus relying on this opinion, he thought that he could effect the whole, for he was defended by the nature of his situation, and by the position for defense of the town, where he had his camp: for, as we observed before, this country is full of hills which run in a continued chain, without any plains intervening.

Chapter 29 But we must by no means omit to mention an accident which happened about this time. The two camps were divided from one another by a plain about five miles in extent, so that Pompey, in consequence of the town's elevated position, and the nature of the country, enjoyed a double defense. Across this valley ran a rivulet, which rendered the approach to the mountain extremely difficult, because it formed a deep morass on the right. Caesar had no doubt that the enemy would descend into the plain and come to a battle, when he saw them in array. This appeared evident to all; the rather because the plain would give their cavalry full room to act, and the day was so serene and clear that the gods seemed to have sent it on purpose to favor the engagement. Our men rejoiced at the favorable opportunity: some however were not altogether exempt from fear when they considered that their all was at stake, with the uncertainty of what might be their fate an hour after. He advanced however to the field of battle, fully persuaded that the enemy would do the same; but they durst not venture above a mile from the town, being determined to shelter themselves under its walls. Our men still continued before them in order of battle; but although the equality of the ground sometimes tempted them to come and dispute the victory, they nevertheless still kept their post on the mountain, in the neighborhood of the town. We doubled our speed to reach the rivulet, without their stirring from the place where they stood.

Chapter 30 Their army consisted of thirteen legions; the cavalry was drawn up upon the wings, with six thousand light-armed infantry and about the same number of auxiliaries. We had only eighty heavy-armed cohorts, and eight thousand horse. When we reached the extremity of the plain, the real seat of disadvantage, the enemy were awaiting us above, so that it would have been exceedingly dangerous to proceed. When Caesar perceived this, he pointed out the locality, lest any disagreeable occurrence should result from the temerity of his troops. The army murmured greatly, as if they had been kept back from a certain victory, when this was told them. The delay, however, served to enliven the enemy, thinking that Caesar's troops shrank from an encounter through fear: they therefore had the boldness to advance a little way, yet without quitting the advantage of their post, the approach to which was extremely dangerous. The tenth legion, as usual, was on the right, the third and fifth on the left, with the auxiliary troops and cavalry. The battle began with a shout.

Chapter 31 But though our men were superior to the enemy in courage, the latter nevertheless defended themselves so well by the advantage of the higher ground, and the shouts were so loud, and the discharge of darts on both sides so great, that we almost began to despair of victory. For the first onset and shout, by which an enemy is most apt to be dismayed, were pretty equal in the present encounter. All fought with equal valor; the place was covered with arrows and darts, and great numbers of the enemy fell. We have already observed that the tenth legion was on the right, which, though not considerable for the number of men, was nevertheless formidable for its courage; and so pressed the enemy on that side that they were obliged to draw a legion from the right wing to reinforce the left, lest we should come upon their flank; but they fought so bravely that the reinforcement could not find an opportunity of entering the ranks. Upon this motion, our cavalry on the left fell upon Pompey's right wing. Meanwhile the clashing of armor mingled with the shouts of combatants, and the groans of the dying and the wounded, terrified the new-raised soldiers. On this occasion, as Ennius says, "they fought hand to hand, foot to foot, and shield to shield;" but though the enemy fought with the utmost vigor, they were obliged to give ground, and retire toward the town. The battle was fought on the feast of Bacchus, and the Pompeians were entirely routed and put to flight; insomuch that not a man could have escaped, had they not sheltered themselves in the place whence they advanced to the charge. The enemy lost on this occasion upward of thirty thousand men, and among the rest Labienus and Attius Varus, whose funeral obsequies were performed upon the field of battle. They had likewise three thousand Roman knights killed, partly Italian, partly provincial. About a thousand were slain on our side, partly foot, partly horse; and five hundred wounded. We gained thirteen eagles, and several standards, and emblems of authority, and made seventeen officers prisoners. Such was the issue of this action.

Chapter 32 The remains of Pompey's army retreating to Munda, with the intention of defending themselves in that town, it became necessary to invest it. The dead bodies of the enemy, heaped together, served as a rampart, and their javelins and darts were fixed up by way of palisades. Upon these we hung their bucklers to supply the place of a breastwork, and fixing the heads of the deceased upon swords and lances, planted them all around the works, to strike the greater terror into the besieged, and keep awake in them a sense of our prowess. Amid these mournful objects did they find themselves shut in, when our men began the attack, which was conducted chiefly by the Gauls. Young Valerius, who had escaped to Corduba with some horse, informed Sextus Pompey of what had happened; who, upon receipt of the mournful news, distributing what money he had about him to the troopers, left the town about nine at night, under pretense of going to find out Caesar, to treat of an accommodation. On the other side, Cn. Pompey, attended by a few horse and foot, took the road to Carteia, where his fleet lay, and which was about a hundred and seventy miles distant from Corduba. When he was arrived within eight miles of the place, he sent P. Calvitius his camp-marshal before, to procure a litter to carry him to the town, as he found himself unwell. The litter came, and when he entered the town, those of his party waited on him privately, to receive his orders about the management of the war. As they assembled round the place in great crowds, Pompey quitting his litter put himself under their protection.

Chapter 33 After the encounter, Caesar seeing the circumvallation of Munda completed, marched to Corduba. Those of the enemy who had escaped the slaughter, possessing themselves of a bridge, upon the approach of our men, called out to them with an air of derision - "What! we who are no more than a handful of men escaped from the battle, shall we be allowed no place of retreat?" They immediately prepared to defend the bridge. Caesar passed the river and encamped. Scapula, who had stirred up the freedmen to a revolt, escaping after the battle to Corduba, when he found himself besieged, assembled all his followers, ordered a funeral pile to be erected and a magnificent supper served up; when, putting on his richest dress, he distributed his plate and money among his domestics, supped cheerfully, anointed himself several times, and, last of all, ordered one of his freedmen to dispatch him, and another to set fire to the pile.

Chapter 34 Caesar had no sooner encamped before the place than a division arose among the inhabitants, between the parties of Caesar and Pompey, till the dispute almost reached to our camps. During the contest, some legions, composed partly of deserters, partly of slaves made free by Pompey, came and surrendered themselves to Caesar. But the thirteenth legion prepared to defend the town, and with that view possessed themselves of the walls and some towers, in spite of all opposition, which obliged the other party to send deputies to Caesar for aid. Upon this those who had escaped out of the battle set fire to the place, and our men entering at the same time, slew about twenty-two thousand of them, besides those who were slain without the walls; thus Caesar obtained the town. While he was employed in this siege, those who, as we have said, were blockaded at Munda made a sally, but were driven back into the town with considerable loss.

Chapter 35 Thence Caesar marched to Hispalis, which sent deputies to sue for pardon. Though the citizens assured him that they were able to defend the town, he sent Caninius his lieutenant thither with some troops, and encamped before the place. There was in the town a strong party of Pompeians, who, displeased to see Caesar's troops received within the walls, secretly deputed one Philo, a zealous partisan of Pompey, and well known in Lusitania, to beg assistance of Cecilius Niger, one of the barbarians, who lay encamped near Lenius, with a strong army of Lusitanians. He is received into the town of Hispalis by night, surprises the sentinels and garrison, shuts the gates, and begins to defend the place.

Chapter 36 During these transactions deputies arrived from Carteia, with accounts of their having secured Pompey; hoping by this service to atone for their former fault of shutting their gates against Caesar. Meantime, the Lusitanians in Hispalis plundered the town, which, though known to Caesar, did not yet determine him to press it too hard, lest they should in despair set fire to it, and destroy the walls. It was resolved in council to suffer the Lusitanians to escape in the night by a sally, yet so that the thing might not appear designed. In this sally, they set fire to the ships that were in the river Guadalquivir, and while our men were employed in extinguishing the flames, endeavored to get off; but being overtaken by the cavalry, were mostly cut to pieces. Thence Caesar marched to Asta, which submitted. Munda having been now a long while besieged, many of those who had escaped out of the battle, despairing of safety, surrendered to us; and being formed into a legion, conspired among themselves, that upon a signal being given, the garrison should sally out in the night, while they at the same time should begin a massacre in the camp. But the plot being discovered, they were next night, at the changing of the third watch, all put to death outside the rampart.

Chapter 37 The Carteians, while Caesar was employed in reducing the other towns upon his route, began to disagree about young Pompey. One party had sent the deputies to Caesar, and another was in the Pompeian interest. These last prevailing, seized the gates, and made a dreadful slaughter of their adversaries. Pompey himself was wounded in the fray, but escaping to his ships, fled with about twenty galleys. Didius, who was at Gades with Caesar's fleet, hearing of what had happened, immediately sailed in pursuit of them; stationing at the same time some cavalry and infantry along the coast, to prevent his escaping by land. Pompey had left Carteia with so much precipitation, that he took no time to furnish himself with water, and this circumstance obliging him to stop by the way, Didius came up with him after four days' sailing, took some of his ships, and burned the rest.

Chapter 38 With a few friends, Pompey escaped to a place strongly fortified by nature; of which the troops sent in pursuit of him having certain intelligence by their scouts, followed day and night. He was wounded in the shoulder and left leg, and had besides sprained his ankle, all which greatly retarded his flight, and obliged him to make use of a litter. A Lusitanian having discovered the place of his retreat, he was quickly surrounded by our cavalry and cohorts. Seeing himself betrayed, he took refuge in a post fortified by nature, and which could easily be defended by a few men, the approach to it being extremely difficult. We attempted to storm it, but were repulsed, and pursued by the enemy; and meeting with no better success after several trials, we at length resolved to lay siege to the place, it seeming too hazardous to force it. Accordingly, a terrace was raised, and lines drawn round the place; which the enemy perceiving, thought it best to betake themselves to flight.

Chapter 39 Pompey as we have observed above being lame and wounded, was in no condition to make a speedy retreat; and the rather, because the place was such that he could use neither horse nor litter. Slaughter was dealt on all hands by our troops, his fortress having been stormed, and his resources cut off. In this extremity he fled to a cave, where he could not easily be discovered, unless by the information of the captives. Here he was slain, his head was brought to Hispalis on the day before the ides of April, and exhibited before the people when Caesar was at Gades.

Chapter 40 After the death of young Pompey, Didius, proud of his success, retired to the nearest fortress and hauled some of his vessels on shore to be refitted. The Lusitanians, who had escaped from the battle, rallying in great bodies, advanced to Didius. Though the preservation of the fleet principally engaged his attention, he was obliged to leave his fort in order to restrain the frequent sallies of the enemy. These daily skirmishes gave them an opportunity of projecting an ambuscade; for which purpose they divided their troops into three bodies. Some were prepared to set fire to the fleet, and in the mean time others were to come to their relief. These were so arranged that they could advance to the battle without any one seeing them. Didius sallied out according to custom; when upon a signal being given, one of the parties advanced to set fire to the fleet; and another, counterfeiting a retreat, drew him insensibly into the ambuscade, where he was surrounded and slain with most of his followers, fighting valiantly. Some escaped in boats which they found upon the coast; others endeavored to reach the galleys by swimming; and, weighing anchor, stood out to sea. A great many saved themselves in this manner, but the Lusitanians got all the baggage. Caesar meanwhile returned from Gades to Hispalis.

Chapter 41 Fabius Maximus, whom he had left to continue the siege of Munda, conducted it with great zeal; so that the enemy, seeing themselves shut up on all sides, sallied out, but were repulsed with great loss. Our men seized this opportunity to get possession of the town, and took the rest prisoners, in number about fourteen thousand. Thence they retreated toward Ursao, a town exceedingly strong both by nature and art, and capable of resisting an enemy. Besides, there is not, within eight miles of the place any spring but that which supplies the town, which was a decided advantage to the besieged. In addition to all this, the wood necessary for building towers and other machines had to be fetched from a distance of six miles. And Pompey, to render the siege more difficult, had cut down all the timber round the place, and collected it within the walls, which obliged our men to bring all the materials for carrying on the siege from Munda, the nearest town which they had subdued.

Chapter 42 During these transactions at Munda and Ursao, Caesar, who had returned from Gades to Hispalis, assembled the citizens, and made the following speech: "That when he was advanced to the quaestorship, he had chosen their province in preference to all others, and during his continuance in that office, had done them every service in his power; that during his praetorship he had obtained for them from the senate the abolition of the taxes imposed by Metellus, declared himself their patron, procured their deputies a hearing at Rome, and made himself many enemies by undertaking the defense both of their private and public rights. In fine, that when he was consul, he had, though absent, rendered the province all the services in his power; that instead of making a suitable return for so many favors, they had always discovered the utmost ingratitude both toward him and the people of Rome; as well in this last war as the preceding. "You," says he, "though no strangers to the law of nations and the rights of Roman citizens, have yet like barbarians often violated the sacred persons of Roman magistrates. You attempted in open day, in the public square, to assassinate Cassius. You have been always such enemies to peace that the senate could never suffer the province to be without legions. You take favors for offenses, and insults for benefits, are insolent and restless in peace, and cowardly and effeminate in war. Young Pompey, though only a private citizen, nay a fugitive, was yet received among you, and suffered to assume the ensigns of magistracy. After putting many citizens to death, you still furnished him with forces, and even urged him to lay waste the country and province. Against whom do you hope to be victorious? Can you be ignorant that even if I should be destroyed, the people of Rome have still ten legions, capable not only of opposing you, but even of pulling down heaven? With whose praises and virtues

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Julius Caesar

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