FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST TRIUMVIRATE, TO THE DEATH OF POMPEY.--U.C. 694.
How happy was I, in my lawful wars In Germany, in Gaul, and Brittany! When every night with pleasure I set down What the day ministered; then sleep came sweetly. Beaumont and Fletcher.
1. The first thing that Cæsar did, upon forming the Trium'virate, was to avail himself of the interest of his confederates to obtain the consulship. 2. The senate had still some influence left; and though they were obliged to concur in choosing him, yet they gave him for a colleague one Bib'ulus, whom they supposed would be a check upon his power. 3. But the opposition was too strong for even superior abilities to resist; so that Bib'ulus, after a slight attempt in favour of the senate, remained inactive. 4. Cæsar began his schemes for empire by ingratiating himself with the people; he procured a law for dividing certain lands in Campa'nia among such of the poor citizens as had at least three children. This proposal was just enough in itself, and it was criminal only from the views of the proposer.
5. Having thus strengthened himself at home, he deliberated with his confederates about sharing the foreign provinces of the empire. 6. The partition was soon made: Pompey chose Spain; for, being fatigued with conquest, and satiated with military fame, he was willing to take his pleasures at Rome. Crassus chose Syria; which province, as it had hitherto enriched the generals who had subdued it, would, he hoped, gratify him in this his favourite pursuit. To Cæsar were left the provinces of Gaul, composed of fierce and powerful nations, most of them unsubdued, and the rest only professing a nominal subjection. 7. As this was appointing him rather to conquer than command, the government was granted him for five years, as if by its continuance to compensate for its danger.
8. It would be impossible, in this narrow compass, to enumerate the battles Cæsar fought, and the states he subdued, in his expeditions into Gaul and Britain, which continued eight years.
9. The Helvetians were the first that were brought into subjection, with the loss of nearly two hundred thousand men; those who remained after the carnage were sent by Cæsar in safety to the forests whence they had issued. 10. The Germans, with Ariovis'tus at their head, were next cut off, to the number of eighty thousand, their monarch himself narrowly escaping in a little boat across the Rhine. The Belgæ suffered such a terrible overthrow, that marshes and rivers were rendered impassable from the heaps of slain. 11. The Ner'vians, who were the most warlike of those barbarous nations, made head for a short time, and fell upon the Romans with such fury, that their army was in danger of being utterly routed; but Cæsar himself, hastily catching up a buckler, rushed through his troops into the midst of the enemy; by which means he so turned the fate of the day, that the barbarians were all cut off to a man. 12. The Celtic Gauls were next brought under subjection. After them, the Sue'vi, the Mena'pii, and all the nations from the Mediterranean to the British sea. 13. Thence, stimulated by the desire of conquest, he crossed over into Britain, upon pretence that the natives had furnished his enemies with continual supplies. 14. Upon approaching the shores, he found them covered with men to oppose his landing, and his forces were in danger of being driven back, till the standard-bearer of the tenth legion boldly leapt ashore, and being well assisted by Cæsar, the natives were put to flight. 15. The Britons being terrified at Cæsar's power, sent to desire a peace, which was granted them, and some hostages delivered. A storm, however, soon after destroying great part of his fleet, they resolved to take advantage of the disaster, and marched against him with a powerful army. But what could naked undisciplined troops do against forces that had been exercised under the greatest generals, and hardened by the conquest of the greatest part of the world? Being overthrown, they were obliged once more to sue for peace. Cæsar granted it, and returned to the continent.
16. While Cæsar was thus increasing his reputation and riches abroad, Pompey, who remained in Rome, steadily co-operated with his ambition, and advanced his interests, while he vainly supposed he was forwarding his own. By this means Cæsar was continued five years longer in Gaul. 17. Nor was Pompey roused from his lethargy till the fame of that great commander's valour, riches, and humanity, began to make him suspect they would soon eclipse his own. 18. He now therefore did all in his power to diminish Cæsar's reputation; obliging the magistrates not to publish any letters they received till he had diminished the credit of them, by spreading disadvantageous reports. 19. One or two accidents, also, helped to widen the separation; namely, the death of Julia, Pompey's wife, who had not a little contributed to improve the harmony that subsisted between them; and the destruction of Crassus, who had conducted the war against the Parthians with so little prudence, that he suffered them to get the advantage of him in almost every skirmish; when, incapable of extricating himself, he fell a sacrifice to his own rashness in trusting himself to a perfidious enemy.
It was at this period that T. Maurius Milo, being a candidate for the office of consul, during the heat of the canvassing happened, when riding into the country, to meet Clodius, a turbulent man, who favoured his opponent.
The meeting was accidental, but a skirmish between their attendants drew on a contest which terminated in the death of Clodius. The body was brought into Rome where it was exposed, all covered with blood and wounds, to the view of the populace, who flocked around it in crowds to lament the miserable fate of their leader. The next day the mob, headed by a kinsman of the deceased, carried the body, with the wounds exposed, into the forum; and the enemies of Milo, addressing the crowd with inflammatory speeches, wrought them up to such a frenzy that they carried the body into the senate-house, and, tearing up the benches and tables, made a funeral pile, and, together with the body, burnt the house itself, and then stormed the house of Milo, but were repulsed. This violence, and the eloquence of Cicero in his defence, saved Milo from the punishment which he had good reason to fear for the assassination of Clodius.
20. Cæsar, who now began to be sensible of the jealousies of Pompey, took occasion to solicit for the consulship, together with a prolongation of his government in Gaul, desirous of trying whether Pompey would thwart or promote his pretensions. 21. In this Pompey seemed to be quite inactive; but, at the same time, privately employed two of his creatures, who alleged in the senate that the laws did not permit a person who was absent to offer himself as a candidate for that high office. 22. Pompey's view in this was to allure Cæsar from his government, in order to stand for the consulship in person. 23. Cæsar, however, perceiving his artifice, chose to remain in his province, convinced that while he headed an army devoted to him, he could give law as well as magistrates to the state.
24. The senate, which was devoted to Pompey, because he had for some time attempted to defend them from the encroachments of the people, ordered home the two legions which were in Cæsar's army belonging to Pompey, as it was pretended, to oppose the Parthians, but in reality to diminish Cæsar's power. 25. Cæsar saw their motive: but as his plans were not yet ripe for execution, he sent them home in pursuance of the orders of the senate, having previously attached the officers to him by benefits, and the soldiers by bounties. 26. The next step the senate took, was to recall Cæsar from his government, as his time was very near expiring. But Cu'rio, his friend in the senate, proposed that Cæsar should not leave his army till Pompey had set him the example. 27. This for a while perplexed Pompey; however, during the debate, one of the senate declaring that Cæsar had passed the Alps, and was marching with his whole army directly towards Rome, the consul, immediately quitting the senate, went with his colleagues to a house where Pompey at that time resided. He there presented him with a sword, commanding him to march against Cæsar, and fight in defence of the commonwealth. 28. Pompey declared he was ready to obey, but with an air of pretended moderation added, that it was only in case more gentle expedients could not be employed. 29. Cæsar, who was instructed in all that passed, though he was still in Gaul, was willing to give his aims all the appearance of justice. He agreed to lay down his employment when Pompey should do the same. But the senate rejected his propositions, blindly confident of their power, and relying on the assurances of Pompey. Cæsar, still unwilling to come to an open rupture with the state, at last was content to ask the government of Illyr'ia, with two legions; but this also was refused him. 30. Finding all attempts at an accommodation fruitless, and conscious, if not of the goodness of his cause, at least of the goodness of his troops, he began to draw them down towards the confines of Italy; and passing the Alps with his third legion, stopped at Raven'na, whence he once more wrote to the consuls, declaring that he was ready to resign all command in case Pompey would do so. 31. On the other hand, the senate decreed, that Cæsar should lay down his government, and disband his forces within a limited time; and, if he refused obedience, that he should be declared an enemy to the commonwealth.
Questions for Examination.
1. What was Cæsar's first act after the Triumvirate had been formed?
2. Whom did the senate appoint as Cæsar's colleague, and why?
3. Had Bibulus any controul over Cæsar?
4. How did Cæsar commence his schemes?
5. How did he farther promote his views?
6. How were the provinces allotted?
7, 8. Was Cæsar's a desirable allotment?
9. Who were the first that submitted to Cæsar's arms?
10. Who were the next?
11. Who made the most formidable resistance?
12. What other nations were subdued by Cæsar?
13. Did these conquests content him?
14. What opposition did he experience on the British coast?
15. What followed this defeat?
16. In what way were Cæsar's views promoted?
17. Did not Pompey suspect his intentions?
18. When undeceived, what measures did he pursue?
19. What contributed to widen the breach?
20. How did Cæsar ascertain the disposition of Pompey towards him?
21. Did Pompey take an active part?
22. What was Pompey's view in this?
23. Did Cæsar fall into the snare?
24. Which side did the senate favour?
25. Did Cæsar give up the legions?
26. What was the next step they took?
27. What was the consequence of this proposal?
28. Did Pompey obey this command?
29. What was Cæsar's conduct on this occasion?
30. How did he next proceed?
31. What measure did the senate adopt?
On him thy hate, on him thy curse bestow. Who would persuade thee Cæsar is thy foe; And since to thee I consecrate my toil, Oh! favour thou my cause, and on thy soldier smile.--Lucan.
1. Cæsar, however, seemed no way disturbed at these violent proceedings; the night before his intended expedition into Italy, he sat down to table cheerfully, conversing with his friends on subjects of literature and philosophy; and apparently disengaged from every ambitious concern. After some time, rising up, he desired the company to make themselves joyous in his absence, and that he would be with them in a moment: in the mean time, having ordered his chariot to be prepared, he immediately set out, attended by a few friends, for Arim'inum, a city upon the confines of Italy, whither he had despatched a part of his army the morning before. 2. This journey by night, which was very fatiguing, he performed with great diligence, sometimes walking, and sometimes on horseback; till at the break of day, he came up with his army, which consisted of about five thousand men, near the Ru'bicon, a little river which separates Italy from Gaul, and which marked the limits of his command. 3. The Romans had ever been taught to consider this river as the sacred boundary of their domestic empire. 4. Cæsar, therefore, when he advanced at the head of his army to the side of it, stopped short upon the bank, as if impressed with terror at the greatness of his enterprise. He could not pass it without transgressing the laws; he therefore pondered for some time in fixed melancholy, looking and debating with himself whether he should venture in. "If I pass this river," said he to one of his generals, "what miseries shall I bring upon my country! and if I now stop short I am undone." 5. After a pause he exclaimed, "Let us go where the gods and the injustice of our enemies call us." Thus saying, and renewing all his former alacrity, he plunged in, crying out, "The die is cast." His soldiers followed him with equal promptitude, and having passed the Ru'bicon, quickly arrived at Arim'inum, and made themselves masters of the place without any resistance.
6. This unexpected enterprise excited the utmost terror in Rome; every one imagining that Cæsar was leading his army to lay the city in ruins. At the same time were to be seen the citizens flying into the country for safety, and the inhabitants of the country coming to seek shelter in the city. 7. In this universal confusion, Pompey felt all that repentance and self-condemnation, which must necessarily arise from the remembrance of having advanced his rival to his present pitch of power: wherever he appeared, many of his former friends were ready to tax him with his supineness, and sarcastically to reproach his ill-grounded presumption. 8. "Where is now," cried Favo'nius, a ridiculous senator of this party, "the army that is to rise at your command? let us see if it will appear by stamping." Cato reminded him of the many warnings he had given him; which, however, as he was continually boding nothing but calamities, Pompey might very justly be excused from attending to. 9. Being at length wearied with these reproaches, which were offered under colour of advice, he did all that lay in his power to encourage and confirm his followers: he told them that they should not want an army, for that he would be their leader. He confessed, indeed, that he had all along mistaken Cæsar's aims, judging only from what they ought to have been; however, if his friends were still inspired with the love of freedom, they might yet enjoy it in whatever place their necessities should happen to conduct them. 16. He let them know that their affairs were in a very promising situation: that his two lieutenants were at the head of a very considerable army in Spain, composed of veteran troops that had made a conquest of the east: besides these, there were infinite resources, both in Asia and Africa, together with the succours they were sure to receive from all the kingdoms that were in alliance with Rome. 11. This speech served in some measure to revive the hopes of the confederacy. The greatest part of the senate, his private friends and dependents, with all those who expected to make their fortunes by espousing his cause, agreed to follow him. But being in no capacity to resist Cæsar at Rome, he resolved to lead his forces to Cap'ua, where the two legions that served under Cæsar in Gaul were stationed.
12. Cæsar in the mean time, after having vainly attempted to bring Pompey to an accommodation, resolved to pursue him into Cap'ua before he could collect his forces. Accordingly, he marched on to take possession of the cities that lay between him and his rival, not regarding Rome, which he knew would fall of course to the conqueror.
13. Corfin'ium was the first city that attempted to stop the rapidity of his march. It was defended by Domi'tius, who had been appointed by the senate to succeed him in Gaul. Cæsar quickly invested it; and though Domi'tius sent frequently to Pompey, exhorting him to come and raise the siege, he was at length obliged to endeavour to escape privately. 14. His intentions being divulged, the garrison resolved to consult their own safety by delivering him up to the besiegers. Cæsar readily accepted their offers, but kept his men from immediately entering the town. 15. After some time, Len'tulus the consul, who was one of the besieged, came out to implore forgiveness for himself and the rest of his confederates, putting Cæsar in mind of their ancient friendship, and acknowledging the many favours he had received at his hands. 16. To this Cæsar, who would not wait the conclusion of his speech, generously replied, that he came into Italy not to injure the liberties of Rome and its citizens, but to restore them. 17. This humane reply being quickly carried into the city, the senators and the knights, with their children, and some officers of the garrison, came out to claim the conqueror's protection, who, just glancing at their ingratitude, gave them their liberty, with permission to go wheresoever they should think proper. 18. But while he dismissed the leaders, he took care upon this, as upon all other occasions, to attach the common soldiers to his interest, sensible that he might stand in need of the army; but that while he lived, the army could never stand in need of a commander.
19. Pompey, who was unable to continue in Rome, having intelligence of what had passed upon this occasion, retreated to Brundu'sium, where he resolved to stand a siege, in order to retard the enemy, until the forces of the empire should be united to oppose him. 20. His aim in this succeeded to his wish; and after having employed Cæsar for some time in a fruitless siege, he privately carried his forces over to Dyrrach'ium, where the consul had levied a body of troops for his assistance. 21. However, though he made good his escape, he was compelled to leave all Italy at the mercy of his rival, without a town or an army that had strength to oppose his progress.
22. Cæsar, who could not follow Pompey for want of shipping, went back to Rome, to take possession of the public treasures, which his opponent, by a most unaccountable oversight, had neglected to take with him. 23. Upon his coming up to the door of the treasury, Metel'lus, the tribune, who guarded it, refused to let him pass; but Cæsar, with emotion, laying his hand upon his sword, threatened to strike him dead. "Know, young man," cried he, "it is easier to do this than say it." This menace had its effect; Metel'lus retired, and Cæsar took out of the treasury three hundred thousand pounds weight of gold, and an immense quantity of silver.
24. Having thus provided for continuing the war, he departed from Rome, resolved to subdue Pompey's lieutenants, Afra'nius and Petrei'us, who had been long in Spain at the head of a veteran army, which had ever been victorious. 25. Cæsar, however, who knew the abilities of its present commanders, jocosely said, as he was preparing to march, "I am going to fight an army without a general, and return to fight a general without an army."
26. The first conflict which he had with Afra'nius and Petrei'us was rather unfavourable. It was fought near the city of Ilerda, and both sides claimed the honour of the victory. But, by various stratagems, he reduced them at last to such extremity of hunger and drought, that they were obliged to yield at discretion. 27. Clemency was his favourite virtue; he dismissed them all with the kindest professions, and then sent them home to Rome loaded with shame, and with obligations to publish his virtues, and confirm the affections of his adherents. 28. Thus, in the space of about forty days, he became master of Spain, and returned again victorious to Rome. The citizens on this occasion received him with fresh demonstrations of joy, and created him dictator and consul. But the first of these offices he laid down when he had held it eleven days.
Questions for Examination.
1. How did Cæsar conduct himself on the night previous to his intended journey to Italy?
2. Did he accomplish his journey in safety?
3. What rendered this little river of consequence?
4. Did Cæsar pass it without hesitation?
5. How did he determine?
6. What effect was produced at Rome by this enterprise?
7. How was Pompey affected by it?
8. What taunting expressions were used on this occasion?
9. What was Pompey's conduct in reply?
10. How did he represent the state of affairs?
11. What was the consequence of this statement?
12. How was Cæsar employed in the mean while?
13. What city first arrested his progress?
14. Did he succeed in his endeavour?
15. What attempt was made to incline Cæsar to mercy?
16. What was Cæsar's reply?
17. What was the consequence of this reply?
18. Did he dismiss the soldiers likewise?
19. Whither did Pompey retreat, and with what view?
20. Did he succeed in his aims?
21. What was the consequence of his retreat?
22. Did Cæsar follow Pompey?
23. Was he opposed in his attempt?
24. What was his next enterprise?
25. What was Cæsar's opinion of these commanders?
26. Were they easily conquered?
27. What use did he make of his victory?
28. What was the duration of this campaign, and what were its consequences?
O war! what art thou? At once the proof and scourge of man's fall'n state! After the brightest conquest, what appears Of all thy glories? for the vanquish'd, chains! For the proud victors, what? Alas! to reign O'er desolated nations.--H. More.
1. While Cæsar was thus employed, Pompey was active in making preparations in Epi'rus and Greece to oppose him. 2. All the monarchs of the East had declared in his favour, and sent very large supplies. He was master of nine effective Italian legions, and had a fleet of five hundred large ships, under the conduct of Bib'ulus, an active and experienced commander. Added to these, he was supplied with large sums of money, and all the necessaries for an army, from the tributary provinces round him. 3. He had attacked Antony and Dolabel'la, who commanded for Cæsar in that part of the empire, with such success, that the former was obliged to fly, and the latter was taken prisoner. Crowds of the most distinguished citizens and nobles from Rome came every day to join him. He had at one time above two hundred senators in his camp, among whom were Ci'cero and Ca'to, whose approbation of his cause was equivalent to an army.
4. Notwithstanding these preparations, Cæsar shipped off five of his twelve legions at Brundu'sium, and fortunately steered through the midst of his enemies, timing it so well that he made his passage in one day.
5. Still, however, convinced that the proper time for making proposals for a peace was after gaining advantage, he sent one Ru'fus, whom he had taken prisoner, to effect an accommodation with Pompey, offering to refer all to the senate and people of Rome; but Pompey once more rejected the overture, considering the people of Rome too much in Cæsar's interest to be relied on.
6. Pompey had been raising supplies in Macedo'nia when he was first informed of Cæsar's landing upon the coast of Epi'rus: he now resolved immediately to march to Dyrrach'ium, in order to cover that place from Cæsar's attempts, as all his ammunition and provisions were deposited there. 7. The first place where both armies came in sight of each other was on the opposite banks of the river Ap'sus; and as both were commanded by the two greatest generals then in the world; the one renowned for his conquests in the East, and the other celebrated for his victories over the western parts of the empire, a battle was eagerly desired by the soldiers on either side. 8. But neither of the generals was willing to hazard it upon this occasion: Pompey could not rely upon his new levies; and Cæsar would not venture an engagement till he was joined by the rest of his forces.
9. Cæsar had waited some time with extreme impatience for the coming up of the remainder of his army, and even ventured alone in an open fishing-boat to hasten its arrival; but he was driven back by a storm. 10. However, his disappointment was soon relieved by an information of the landing of the troops at Apollo'nia; he, therefore, decamped in order to meet them; and to prevent Pompey, with his army, from engaging them on their march, as he lay on that side of the river where the succours had been obliged to come on shore.
11. Pompey, being compelled to retreat, led his forces to Aspara'gium, where he was sure of being supplied with every thing necessary for his army, by the numerous fleets which he employed along the coasts of Epi'rus: there he pitched his camp upon a tongue of land (as mariner's express it) that jutted into the sea, where also was a small shelter for his ships. 12. In this place, being most advantageously situated, he began immediately to intrench his camp; which Cæsar perceiving, and finding that he was not likely soon to quit so advantageous a post, began also to intrench behind him. 13. As all beyond Pompey's camp towards the land side was hilly and steep, Cæsar built redoubts upon the hills, stretching from shore to shore, and then caused lines of communication to be drawn from hill to hill, by which he blocked up the camp of the enemy. 14. He hoped by this blockade to force his opponent to a battle, which he ardently desired, and which the other with equal industry declined. Thus both sides continued for some time employed in designs and stratagems, the one to annoy and the other to defend. 15. Cæsar's men daily carried on their works to straiten the enemy; those of Pompey, having the advantage of numbers, did the same to enlarge themselves, and severely galled the enemy by their slingers and archers. 16. Cæsar, however, was indefatigable; he caused blinds or mantalets to be made of the skins of beasts, to cover his men while at work; he cut off all the water that supplied the enemy's camp, and the forage from the horses, so that there remained no more subsistence for them. 17. But Pompey at last resolved to break through his lines, and gain some other part of the country more convenient for encampment. Accordingly, having informed himself of the condition of Cæsar's fortifications from some deserters who came over to him, he ordered the light infantry and archers on board his ships to attack Cæsar's entrenchments by sea, where they were least defended. 18. This was done with such effect, that though Cæsar and his officers used their utmost endeavours to hinder Pompey's designs, yet by means of reiterated attempts, he at last effected his purpose of extricating his army from its present camp, and of encamping in another place by the sea, where he had the convenience both of forage and shipping. 19. Cæsar being thus frustrated in his views of blocking up the enemy, and perceiving the loss he had sustained, resolved at last to force Pompey to a battle, though upon disadvantageous terms. 20. The engagement began by attempting to cut off a legion which was posted in a wood; and this brought on a general battle. The conflict was for some time carried on with great ardour, and with equal fortune; but Cæsar's army being entangled in the entrenchments of the old camps lately abandoned, began to fall into disorder; upon which Pompey pressing his advantage, they at last fled with precipitation. Great numbers perished in the trenches and on the banks of the river, or were pressed to death by their fellows. 21. Pompey pursued his success to the very camp of Cæsar; but either from surprise, under the suddenness of his victory, or fearful of an ambuscade, he with drew his troops into his own camp, and thus lost an opportunity of completing his victory.
22. After this defeat, which was by no means decisive, Cæsar marched, with all his forces united in one body, directly to Gom'phi, a town in the province of Thes'saly. But the news of his defeat at Dyr'rachium had reached this place before him; the inhabitants, therefore, who had before promised him obedience, now changed their minds, and, with a degree of baseness equal to their imprudence, shut their gates against him. 23. Cæsar was not to be injured with impunity. Having represented to his soldiers the great advantage of forcing a place so very rich, he ordered the scaling ladders to be got ready, and causing an assault to be made, proceeded with such vigour that, notwithstanding the height of the walls, the town was taken in a few hours. 24. Cæsar left it to be plundered, and, without delaying his march, went forward to Metrop'olis, another town of the same province, which yielded at his approach. By this means he soon became possessed of all Thes'saly, except Laris'sa, which was garrisoned by Scip'io, with his legion who commanded for Pompey. 25. During this interval, Pompey's officers continually soliciting their commander to come to a battle, he, at length, resolved to renounce his own judgment in compliance with those about him, and gave up all schemes of prudence for those dictated by avarice and passion. 26. Advancing, therefore, into Thes'saly, within a few days after the taking of Gom'phi, he drew down upon the plains of Pharsa'lia, where he was joined by Scip'io, his lieutenant, and the troops under his command. There, waiting the coming of Cæsar, he resolved to engage, and, by a single battle, decide the fate of kingdoms.
Questions for Examination.
1. How was Pompey engaged at this time?
2. What advantages did he possess?
3. What farther contributed to give him hopes of success?
4. Was Cæsar discouraged by these formidable preparations?
5. Was he resolutely bent on hostilities?
6. What was Pompey's first measure?
7. Where did the armies first come in sight of each other?
8. Was an immediate engagement the consequence?
9. Was this junction soon effected?
10. What was the consequence?
11. What was Pompey's next measure?
12. Did he remain long in this place?
13. What means did Cæsar adopt to distress the enemy?
14. What did he promise himself from the adoption of this plan?
15. How were both armies employed?
16. What was the conduct of Cæsar on this occasion?
17. How did Pompey frustrate his designs?
18. Was he successful in his attempts?
19. What was Cæsar's resolution on this occasion?
20. By what means did he effect this?
21. Did Pompey make the most of his victory?
22. Whither did Cæsar betake himself, and what was the consequence of his defeat?
23. Did he quietly submit to this insult?
24. What revenge did he take?
25. How did Pompey act on this occasion?
26. Where was this great contest about to be decided?
Each had proposed an empire to be won; Had each once known a Pompey for his son, Had Cæsar's soul informed each private breast. A fiercer fury could not be expressed.--Lucan.
1. Cæsar had employed all his art for some time in sounding the inclinations of his men; and finding his army once more resolute and vigorous, he advanced towards the plains of Pharsa'lia, where Pompey was encamped.
2. The approach of two armies, composed of the best and bravest troops in the world, together with the greatness of the prize for which they contended, filled every mind with anxiety, though with different expectations. 3. Pompey's army, being most numerous, turned all their thoughts to the enjoyment of the victory; Cæsar's considered only the means of obtaining it; Pompey's army depended upon their numbers, and their many generals; Cæsar's upon their discipline, and the conduct of their single commander. 4. Pompey's partisans hoped much from the justice of their cause; Cæsar's alleged the frequent proposals which they had made for peace without effect. Thus the views, hopes and motives of both seemed different, whilst their hatred and ambition were the same. 5. Cæsar, who was ever foremost in offering battle, led out his army to meet the enemy; but Pompey, either suspecting his troops, or dreading the event, kept his advantageous situation at the foot of the hill near which he was posted. 6. Cæsar, unwilling to attack him at a disadvantage, resolved to decamp the next day, hoping to weary out his antagonist, who was not a match for him in sustaining the fatigues of duty. 7. Accordingly the order for marching was given, and the tents were struck, when word was brought him that Pompey's army had now quitted their intrenchments, and advanced farther into the plain than usual; so that he might engage them at less disadvantage. 8. Upon this he caused his troops to halt, and, with a countenance of joy, informed them that the happy time was at last come, which they had so long wished for, and which was to crown their glory, and terminate their fatigues. He then drew up his troops in order, and advanced towards the place of battle. 9. His forces did not amount to above half those of Pompey; the army of the one was about forty-five thousand foot, and seven thousand horse: that of the other not exceeding twenty-two thousand foot, and about a thousand horse. 10. This disproportion, particularly in the cavalry, had filled Cæsar with apprehensions; he therefore had some days before picked out the strongest and nimblest of his foot soldiers, and accustomed them to fight between the ranks of his cavalry. By their assistance, his thousand horse was a match for Pompey's seven thousand, and had actually got the better in a skirmish that happened between them some days before.
11. Pompey, on the other hand, had a strong expectation of success; he boasted that he could put Cæsar's legions to flight without striking a single blow; presuming that as soon as the armies formed, his cavalry, on which he placed his greatest expectations, would out-flank and surround the enemy. In this disposition Pompey led his troops to battle. 12. As the armies approached, the two generals went from rank to rank, encouraging their men, exciting their hopes, and lessening their apprehensions. 13. Pompey represented to his men that the glorious occasion which they had long besought him to grant was now before them. "What advantages," said he, "could you wish, that you are not now possessed of. Your numbers, your vigour, a late victory, all assure us of a speedy and an easy conquest of those harassed and broken troops, composed of men worn out with age, and impressed with the terrors of a recent defeat; but there is still a stronger bulwark for our protection than the superiority of our strength; and that is, the justice of our cause. You are engaged in the defence of liberty and of your country; you are supported by its laws, and followed by its magistrates; the world are spectators of your conduct, and wish you success: on the contrary, he whom you oppose is a robber, an oppressor of his country, already nearly sunk with the consciousness of his crimes, as well as the ill success of his arms. Show then, on this occasion, all that ardour and detestation of tyranny which should animate Romans, and do justice to mankind."
14. Cæsar, on his part, went among his men with that steady serenity for which he was so much admired in the midst of danger. He insisted on nothing so strongly, as his frequent and unsuccessful endeavours for peace. He spoke with terror of the blood he was about to shed, and pleaded the necessity that urged him to it. He deplored the many brave men that were to fall on both sides, and the wounds of his country, whoever might be victorious. 15. His soldiers answered only with looks of ardour and impatience. He gave the signal to begin. The word on Pompey's side was, "Her'cules the Invincible:" that on Cæsar's, "Ve'nus the Victorious." 16. There was no more space between both armies than to give room for the charge: Pompey therefore ordered his men to receive the first shock without moving from their places, expecting the enemy's ranks to be put into disorder. Cæsar's soldiers were now rushing on with their usual impetuosity, when, perceiving the enemy motionless, they all stopt short, as if by general consent, and halted in the midst of their career. 17. A terrible pause ensued, in which both armies continued to gaze upon each other with mutual terror and dreadful serenity. At length, Cæsar's men having taken breath, ran furiously upon the enemy, first discharging their javelins, and then drawing their swords. The same method was observed by Pompey's troops, who as firmly sustained the attack. His cavalry also were ordered to charge at the very onset, which, with the multitude of archers and slingers, soon obliged Cæsar's men to give ground. 18. Cæsar instantly ordered the six cohorts, that were placed as a reinforcement, to advance, and to strike at the enemy's faces. 19. This had its desired effect: Pompey's cavalry, that were just before sure of the victory, received an immediate check. The unusual method of fighting pursued by the cohorts, their aiming entirely at the visages of the assailants, and the horrible disfiguring wounds they made, all contributed to intimidate them so much, that instead of defending their persons, they endeavoured only to save their faces. 20. A total rout ensued; they fled to the neighbouring mountains, while the archers and slingers, who were thus abandoned, were cut to pieces. 21. Cæsar now commanded the cohorts to pursue their success, and charge Pompey's troops upon the flank: this charge the enemy withstood for some time with great bravery, till Cæsar brought up his third line, which had not yet engaged. 22. Pompey's infantry being thus doubly attacked, in front by fresh troops, and in the rear by the victorious cohorts, could no longer resist, but fled to their camp. The flight began among the strangers. Pompey's right wing still valiantly maintained their ground. 23. Cæsar, however, convinced that the victory was certain, with his usual clemency cried out to pursue the strangers, but to spare the Romans; upon which they all laid down their arms and received quarter. The greatest slaughter was among the auxiliaries, who fled on all sides. 24. The battle had now lasted from break of day till noon, and the weather was extremely hot; nevertheless, the conquerors remitted not their ardour, being encouraged by the example of a general, who thought his victory incomplete till he should become master of the enemy's camp. Accordingly, marching on foot at their head, he called upon them to follow and strike the decisive blow. 25. The cohorts which were left to defend the camp, for some time made a formidable resistance; particularly a great number of Thra'cians and other barbarians, who were appointed for that purpose; but nothing could resist the ardour of Cæsar's victorious army; the enemy were at last driven from the trenches, and compelled to fly to the mountains.
Questions for Examination.
1. What was the state of Cæsar's army immediately before the battle of Pharsalia?
2. What effect had the approaching event on the minds of men?
3. What were the respective advantages of each army?
4. On what did they principally build their hopes?
5. Who was the first to offer battle?
6. How did Cæsar act on this occasion?
7. What followed?
8. What effect had this intelligence on Cæsar's plan?
9. Of what number of troops were each of the armies composed?
10. What did Cæsar consider necessary to be done to remedy this dis-proportion?
11. What were Pompey's expectations and boasts?
12. What was the conduct of the generals?
13. Repeat Pompey's address to his troops?
14. How did Cæsar encourage his men?
15. What effect had this speech, and what was the word on both sides?
16. In what manner did the attack commence?
17. Describe the progress of the battle?
18. What means did Cæsar adopt to prevent a defeat?
19. Was this measure successful?
20. What was the consequence?
21. What were Cæsar's farther commands?
22. What followed?
23. What use did Cæsar make of his victory?
24. Did not fatigue abate the ardour of Cæsar's troops?
25. Did they attempt to defend the camp?
Sad Pompey's soul uneasy thoughts infest, And his Cornelia pains his anxious breast, To distant Lesbos fain he would remove. Far from the war, the partner of his love.--Lucan.
1. Cæsar, seeing the field and camp strewed with his fallen countrymen, was strongly affected at the melancholy prospect, and cried out to one that stood near him, "They would have it so." 2. In the camp, every object presented fresh instances of the blind presumption and madness of his adversaries. On all sides were to be seen tents adorned with ivy and myrtle, couches covered with purple, and sideboards loaded with plate. Every thing gave proof of the highest luxury, and seemed rather the preparatives for a banquet, or the rejoicings for a victory, than dispositions for a battle. 3. A camp so richly furnished would have engaged the attention of any troops but Cæsar's; but there was still something to be done, and he permitted them not to pursue any other object than their enemies. 4. A considerable body having retired to the adjacent mountains, he prevailed on his soldiers to join him in the pursuit, in order to oblige these to surrender. He began by inclosing them with a line drawn at the foot of the mountain; but they quickly abandoned a post which was untenable for want of water, and endeavoured to reach the city of Laris'sa. 5. Cæsar, leading a part of his army by a shorter way, intercepted their retreat. However, these unhappy fugitives again found protection from a mountain, at the foot of which ran a rivulet that supplied them with water. 6. Night approaching, Cæsar's men were almost spent, and fainting with their incessant toil since morning; yet still he prevailed upon them to renew their labours, and cut off the rivulet that supplied the defendants. 7. The fugitives, thus deprived of all hopes of succour or subsistence, sent deputies to the conqueror, offering to surrender at discretion. During this interval of negociation, a few senators that were among them, took the advantage of the night to escape, and the rest, next morning, gave up their arms, and experienced the conqueror's clemency. In fact, he addressed them with great gentleness, and forbade the soldiers to offer violence, or to take any thing from them. 8. Thus Cæsar gained the most complete victory that had ever been obtained; and by his great clemency after the battle, seemed to have deserved it. His loss amounted only to two hundred men; that of Pompey to fifteen thousand; twenty-four thousand men surrendered themselves prisoners of war, and the greatest part of these entered into Cæsar's army, and were incorporated with the rest of his forces. 9. To the senators and Roman knights, who fell into his hands, he generously gave liberty to retire wherever they thought proper; and as for the letters which Pompey had received from those who wished to be thought neutral, Cæsar burnt them all without reading, as Pompey had done on a former occasion. 10. Thus having performed all the duties of a general and a statesman, he sent for the legions which had passed the night in camp, to relieve those which had accompanied him in the pursuit, and arrived the same day at Laris'sa.
11. As for Pompey, who had formerly shown such instances of courage and conduct, when he saw his cavalry routed, on which he had placed his sole dependence, he absolutely lost his reason. 12. Instead of thinking how to remedy this disorder by rallying such troops as fled, or by opposing fresh forces to stop the progress of the conqueror, being totally amazed by this first blow, he returned to the camp, and in his tent waited the issue of an event which it was his duty to have directed, not to follow. There he remained for some moments speechless, till being told that the camp was attacked--"What!" says he, "are we pursued to our very intrenchments?" when, immediately quitting his armour for a habit more suited to his circumstances, he fled on horseback to Laris'sa: thence, perceiving that he was not pursued, he slackened his pace, giving way to all the agonizing reflections which his deplorable situation must naturally suggest. 13. In this melancholy manner he passed along the vale of Tempe, and pursuing the course of the river Pe'neus, at last arrived at a fisherman's hut; here he passed the night, and then went on board a little bark, keeping along the sea-shore, till he descried a ship of some burden, which seemed preparing to sail. In this he embarked; the master of the vessel still paying him that homage which was due to his former station.
14. From the mouth of the river Pe'neus he sailed to Amphip'olis, where, finding his affairs desperate, he steered to Les'bos, to take with him his wife Corne'lia, whom he had left there, at a distance from the dangers and distresses of war. 15. She, who had long flattered herself with the hopes of victory, now felt the agonizing reverse of fortune: she was desired by the messenger, whose tears more than his words proclaimed her unspeakable misfortunes, to hasten away if she expected to see Pompey, who had but one ship, and even that not his own. 16. Her grief, which before was violent, became now insupportable: she fainted, and lay without signs of life. At length recovering, and reflecting that it was no time for vain lamentations, she fled through the city to the seaside.
17. Pompey received and embraced her, and in silent despair supported her in his arms. "Alas!" said Corne'lia, "you who, before our marriage, appeared in these seas as the commander of five hundred sail, are now reduced to make your escape in a single vessel. Why come you in search of an unfortunate woman? Why was I not left to a fate which now you are under the necessity of sharing with me? Happy for me had I executed, long since, my design of quitting this life! But fatally have I been reserved to add to Pompey's sorrows."
18. Pompey instanced the uncertainty of all human affairs, and endeavoured by every argument to give her comfort; then, taking her under his protection, he continued his course, stopping no longer than was necessary for a supply of provisions at the ports which occurred in his passage. 19. He now determined upon applying to Ptol'emy, king of Egypt, to whose father he had been a considerable benefactor. Ptol'emy was yet a minor, and had not the government in his own hands, but was under the direction of an administration. 20. His council insidiously contrived that Pompey should be invited on shore, and murdered before he should come into the king's presence. Achil'las, commander of the forces, and Septim'ius, a Roman, who had formerly been a centurion in Pompey's army, undertook to carry the treacherous design into execution. Attended by three or four more, they put off in a little bark, and rowed to Pompey's ship, that lay about a mile from the shore.
21. Pompey now took leave of Corne'lia, repeating to her a verse of
Soph'ocles, signifying, that "he who trusts his freedom to a tyrant,
from that moment becomes a slave." He then gave his hand to Achil'las,
and, with only two of his own attendants, stepped into the bark. 22.
The frantic Corne'lia hung over the side of the deck, weeping and
exclaiming against his separation from her. "Alas!" said she,
"whither art thou going?"
He spoke; but she, unmoved at his commands, Thus loud exclaiming, stretch'd her eager hands; "Whither, inhuman! whither art thou gone? Still must I weep our common griefs alone?" ROWE'S LUCAN.
In wild astonishment she followed him with her eyes, and uttering to the winds her fruitless lamentations.
23. The mariners, regardless of her sorrows, rowed towards land, without a word passing among them, till Pompey, by way of breaking silence, looking at Septim'ius, whose face he recollected. "Methinks, friend," said he, "you once served under me." Septim'ius noticing these words only by a contemptuous nod of the head, Pompey betook himself to a paper, on which he had minuted a speech intended to be made to the king, and began reading it. In this manner they approached the shore; whilst Corne'lia, whose insufferable sorrow had never let her lose sight of her husband, began to conceive hopes, perceiving that the people on the strand crowded down along the coast as if eager to receive him. 24. Alas! these hopes were soon destroyed. At the instant that Pompey rose, supporting himself upon his freedman's arm, Septim'ius stabbed him in the back, and Achil'las instantly seconded the blow. 25. Pompey, perceiving his death inevitable, calmly disposed himself to meet it with decency; and covering his face with his robe, without a word resigned himself to his fate. 26. At this horrid sight, Corne'lia and her attendants shrieked, so as to be heard to the very shore. But the danger they were in allowing no time to look on, they immediately set sail, and, the wind proving favourable, fortunately escaped the pursuit of the Egyptian galleys. 27. In the mean time, Pompey's murderers, having taken off his head, embalmed it for a present to Cæsar, whilst the body was thrown naked on the strand, and exposed to the view of those whose curiosity was to be satisfied. 28. But his faithful freedman, Philip, still kept near it; and when the crowd dispersed, he washed it in the sea, and looking round for materials to burn it, perceived the wrecks of a fishing-boat, of which he composed a pile. 29. While he was thus piously employed, he was accosted by an old Roman soldier, who had served under Pompey in his youth. "Who art thou?" said he "that art making these humble preparations for Pompey's funeral?"--"One of his freedmen," answered Philip.--"Alas," replied the soldier, "permit me to share with you the honour of this sacred action. Among all the miseries of my exile, it will be my last sad comfort, that I have been able to assist at the funeral of my old commander, and to touch the body of the bravest general that ever Rome produced."
30. Thus were the last rites performed to Pompey. But his ashes (according to Plutarch) were carefully collected, and carried to Corne'lia, who deposited them at his villa near Alba, in Italy. 31. We are told, too, that the Egyptians afterwards erected a monument to him, on the spot on which his funeral pile had been raised, with an inscription to this purpose:--"How poor a tomb covers the man who once had temples erected to his honour!"
32. From Pompey's death we may date the extinction of the republic. From this period the senate was dispossessed of its power; and Rome henceforward was never without master.
Questions for Examination.
1. How was Cæsar affected by the result of the battle?
2. What appearance did Pompey's camp present?
3. Did Cæsar's troops immediately begin to plunder?
4. What became of the fugitives?
5. Did they succeed in the attempt?
6. Were the labours of Cæsar's soldiers now at an end?
7. What effect had this on the fugitives?
8. Was this victory of importance, and what was the loss on both sides?
9. In what manner did Cæsar behave to the vanquished?
10. What followed?
11. What was the conduct of Pompey on this occasion?
12. Mention your reasons for this assertion?
13. Proceed in relating farther particulars?
14. Whither did he next steer his course?
15, 16. What effect had the tidings on Cornelia?
17. Relate what passed at their interview?
18. How did Pompey attempt to comfort her?
19. What determination did he now form? 20. What was his intended reception?
21. Did Pompey fall into the snare?
22. Was his separation from his wife a painful one?
23. What passed in the boat?
24. Were Cornelia's hopes well founded?
25. Did Pompey resist this treacherous attack?
26. Was Cornelia a witness to this horrid transaction?
27. How was the body of Pompey treated?
28. Had he no friend to perform the last offices for him?
29. By whom was he assisted?
30. What became of his remains?
31. What respect did the Egyptians afterwards pay to his memory?
32. What was the face of affairs after Pompey's death?
 The inhabitants of the country now called Switzerland.
 The Helvetians, finding their country too narrow for their increased population, had determined on emigration. Being denied by Cæsar a passage through his province, hostilities commenced, which terminated us above. (Cæsar de Bel. Gal.)
 Inhabitants of the country between the Rhine and the Loire.
 Inhabitants of the modern province of Hainault.
 She was the daughter of Cæsar.
 Crassus was inveigled into the power of Surena, the Parthian general, under the pretence of treating for peace. His head was cut off and sent to Orodes, the king of Parthia, who poured molten gold down his throat.
 This alludes to a boasting speech made some time before by Pompey, when he told the senate not to be alarmed at the news of Cæsar's approach, for that he had only to stamp, and an army would rise at his command.
 Now Lerida in Catalonia.
 It was on this occasion that he encouraged the master of the vessel, to whom he had not before made himself known, with these memorable words--"Fear nothing, for thou carriest Cæsar and all his fortunes."
 Cæsar calls the young patricians that composed Pompey's cavalry "pretty young dancers."
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