(I've moved the following note from the end of the text:)
[Note. — The accompanying map is reproduced from Pl. VII of M. Heuzey's Les opérations militaires de Jules César; and the symbols which illustrate the theories of Stoffel and Dr. Kromayer have been copied from their maps — Pl. 17 of Guerre civile and Karte 12 of Antike Schlachtfelder respectively.]
No need to squint: see the full-size version, pretty much fully readable.
Among the problems of ancient history of which no solution has yet been generally recognized as definitive is that of the battle-field where the struggle between Pompey and Caesar was decided. Colonel Leake's exposition1 was rejected by von Göler2 and Sir William Napier;3 and the paper4 in which he endeavoured to vindicate it produced little effect. Napier and von Göler constructed theories which were vitiated by the misleading maps on which they worked. M. Léon Heuzey, the chief of the Macedonian mission which collected information for the contemplated final volume of Napoleon the Third's Histoire de Jules César, performed a valuable service by preparing, with the aid of an engineer officer, M. Laloy, the first trustworthy survey of the Pharsalian region; but his dissertation on the battle,5 published in 1886, was bitterly derided by Colonel Stoffel,6 who, however, appropriated his predecessor's maps without acknowledgment. About the same time Mr. Perrin published in the American Journal of Philology7 a valuable article, which, although it convinced many that the battle had been fought, as von Göler, Napier, and Long8 maintained, on the northern bank of the Enipeus, was necessarily written without any knowledge of the works of Heuzey and Stoffel. In the following year the latter published his continuation of Napoleon's history, and announced that he had discovered the site of the battle on the southern bank, adding that any man with a competent knowledge of war could find it for himself in half a day.9 It is to be regretted that he did not examine the views of the consummate military expert who differed from him; but he was ignorant of English, and was, perhaps, unaware that Napier had by anticipation condemned the premisses upon which his 'discovery' rested. His great authority, however, as a military topographer gave currency to his opinion; and it was not until 1896 that it was seriously challenged in an interesting article by Professor Postgate, prefixed to his edition of the seventh book of Lucan's Pharsalia. Nevertheless Stoffel continued to hold the field until 1907, when Dr. Kromayer brought p272out his Antike Schlachtfelder in Griechenland. The rough draft of the present paper had been virtually completed before I saw Dr. Kromayer's book. With relentless logic he demolishes the theories of all those of his predecessors who agree with him in maintaining the claims of the southern against the northern bank of the Enipeus. But, like Stoffel, he does not seem to have known that Napier had ever discussed the question; and even in reply to the arguments of von Göler10 and Long he has nothing to say.
It seems to me then that a paper which not only offers original remarks, but also represents and examines all the extant theories, may justify its existence. My principal object is to attract the criticism of a distinguished English scholar who is conversant with the whole history of the Civil War, and whose opinion, as he told me before I began to write, is opposed to my own, and also of Dr. Kromayer. If I have myself failed to find the truth, I may nevertheless in this way assist its discovery. I venture to express the hope that scholars who may notice this article will bear in mind that the case against the dominant theory, which places the battle-field on the southern bank of the Enipeus, has been argued by a military critic of the very first order — the historian of the Peninsular War — and that, if they think his reasons and those which I shall independently urge unsound, they will not ignore them.
It is now universally admitted that the Enipeus was the river which bisects the Pharsalian plain, and which is called in M. Heuzey's map and in that of Stoffel the Little Tchinarli. In that part of its course which traverses the plain the river is between 60 and 70 metres broad: it is now sometimes quite dry in summer; and its banks, which are very steep, are 6 metres high.11 I have not myself yet been able to explore the district; but, although fuller information is desirable about the country on the northern bank, and especially the rivulets which intersect it, Laloy's survey and the topographical descriptions of Leake, M. Heuzey, Stoffel, and especially Dr. Kromayer, have made it possible to dispense with personal exploration in estimating the various theories which have been already propounded,12 and in endeavouring to determine the main question, — whether the battle-field is to be looked for north or south of the river.
The data furnished by Caesar are as follows. After leaving Metropolis he encamped on a suitable position in the open country (in agris) — that is to say, in the Pharsalian plain — intending, as the crops were nearly ripe, to await p273Pompey's arrival.13 A few days later the united armies of Pompey and Scipio marched southward from Larissa and encamped on a hill.14 Caesar on several successive days offered Pompey battle, drawing up his army first at some little distance from Pompey's camp, afterwards close to the hill: Pompey, on the other hand, formed his line on its lowest slopes (ad infimas radices montis) — or, according to Dr. Kromayer's interpretation of Caesar's words, in the plain below the hill, but close to his own camp15 — apparently in the hope that Caesar would fight on unfavourable ground. Caesar, concluding that Pompey could not be induced to fight on equal terms, determined to break up his camp and keep on the move, with the object partly of facilitating his cornº-supply, partly of wearing out Pompey's troops, who were not accustomed to hard marching, and of finding some chance of bringing him to action. He had actually struck his tents when it was observed that Pompey's army had advanced so far from camp that there seemed to be a chance of fighting on ground which was not unfavourable. It was afterwards ascertained that Pompey had been urged to fight by his whole staff.16 Pompey had 45,000 infantry as well as 2000 time-expired volunteers in line of battle: his right wing was protected by a stream, which Caesar does not name, but describes as riuus quidam impeditis ripis (a rivulet with banks difficult to cross), — a description which leaves it doubtful whether the difficulty was due to the height of the banks or to swamps or other impassable ground in their immediate neighbourhood.17 Caesar adds that 'for this reason' [that is to say, because his right wing was protected by a stream with impeditis ripis] Pompey had posted all his cavalry, archers, and slingers on his left.18 Caesar's cavalry were on his extreme right. While the infantry on both sides were engaged Pompey's cavalry charged Caesar's, repulsed them, and began to turn Caesar's right on their right flank. Thereupon six cohorts of infantry, which Caesar had kept in reserve in anticipation of this movement, charged and routed Pompey's cavalry, who immediately took refuge on lofty hills (montes altissimos). His archers and slingers, who were thus left unprotected, were destroyed; and the six cohorts, continuing their charge, outflanked his left wing and attacked them in the rear. At the same time Caesar brought his third line into action; and the Pompeian infantry, attacked simultaneously in front and rear, turned tail. They, or some of them (for Caesar's words — Pompeianis ex fuga intra uallum compulsis — are naturally not precise), fled into the camp, but did not stop to defend it, and continued their flight. Their example was soon followed by the troops who, before the battle, had been left to defend the camp, and who now fled 'to lofty hills which adjoined the camp' (in altissimos montes qui ad castra pertinebant). Pompey, as soon as he saw the Caesarians inside, mounted a horse, galloped out by the rear gate, rode at full speed for Larissa, and presently made his way with an escort of 30 horsemen to the coast. After getting possession of the camp, Caesar began to throw p274up a contravallation around the hill on which the Pompeians had taken refuge; and, as the hill was without water (quod is mons erat sine aqua), they began to retreat along the heights19 towards Larissa. Thereupon Caesar sent part of his troops back to his own camp, ordered part to hold Pompey's, and marched 'by a more convenient route' (commodiore itinere) to intercept the fugitives. After advancing 6 Roman miles he formed line of battle, whereupon the fugitives halted on a hill which was washed by a stream. Although it was now near night, he proceeded to cut off the hill from the stream by an earthwork in order to prevent them from getting water in the night. At dawn they descended into the plain and surrendered. Caesar then ordered fresh legions to come from camp to join him, sent those which were with him back to camp, and made his way on the same day to Larissa, which is about 27 Roman miles from the Enipeus.20
It will have been observed that Caesar mentions no place-name in connexion with the battle except Larissa. Appian, however, remarking that Pompey encamped opposite Caesar in the neighbourhood of Pharsalus, and that the two camps were 30 stades, or three Roman miles and three-quarters, apart,21 adds that the armies were drawn up between Pharsalus and the Enipeus;22 while, on the other hand, the author of Bellum Alexandrinum,23 Frontinus,24 Eutropius,25 and Orosius26 all agree that the battle was fought at Palaepharsalus. The author of Bellum Alexandrinum, however, in another passage speaks of 'the battle of Pharsalus';27 and Plutarch,28 Polyaenus,29 and Suetonius30 do the same.
Plutarch says that on the morning of the battle, before Pompey's offensive movement was discerned, Caesar was about to march to Scotussa;31 that Pompey's camp was 'close to marshy ground' (πρὸς ἑλώδεσι χωρίοις);32 and that Brutus escaped after the battle by a gate leading to 'a marshy spot full of water and reeds' (πρὸς τόπον ἑλώδη καὶ μεστὸν ὑδάτων καὶ καλάμου).33
Frontinus34 states that Pompey 'posted 600 horsemen on his right flank close to the river Enipeus, which both by its channel and by its overflow made the locality impassable' (Cn. Pompeius . . . dextro latere DC equites propter flumen p275Enipea, qui et alueo suo et alluuie regionem impedierat . . . locauit'), and that Caesar 'posted his left on marshes, in order to avoid being outflanked' (C. Caesar sinistrum latus, ne circumueniri posset, admouit paludibus). Lucan's35 testimony is substantially the same.
We have seen that four ancient writers, one of whom, the author of Bellum Alexandrinum, was in Caesar's confidence, locate the battle-field 'at Palaepharsalus'; and since the author of Bellum Alexandrinum in one passage puts it at Palaepharsalus and in another speaks of 'the battle of Pharsalus,' we are entitled to suppose that Appian, who was notoriously a bad geographer, may have used the word Φάρσαλος carelessly for Παλαιφάρσαλος. This supposition is not weakened but strengthened by the fact that three other ancient writers name Pharsalus as the site; for every one will admit that those who mentioned Palaepharsalus meant Palaepharsalus; whereas nothing is more likely than that Pharsalus — the name which was common to the old town and the new — should have been loosely used to designate the former. Unfortunately direct evidence as to the position of Palaepharsalus is wanting. Pharsalus was undoubtedly on the site of Fersala, about 3 miles south of the Enipeus. Stoffel36 is inclined to place Palaepharsalus north of the river between Orman Magoula and Lazarbogha, where there are traces of ancient ruins; but this is a mere guess. M. Heuzey37 thought that he had found the site on Kontouri, a hill just south of the Enipeus and about 8 miles west-north-west of Fersala. But Mr. Perrin38 has made a serious attempt to solve the problem. Referring to a statement of Strabo39 — that the Thetidium was 'near both the Pharsali, the old and new' — he argues that 'the phrase . . . has no particular force and can with difficulty be accounted for if the two Pharsali were close to each other, or if either was very much nearer than the other to the Thetidium, or on the same line with it as the other. It is,' he continues, 'most naturally accounted for it Palaepharsalus and Pharsalus were approximately equidistant from the Thetidium. In that case, as Pharsalus lay at the extreme southern edge of the Pharsalian plains, Palaepharsalus would naturally be looked for towards the north or northeast.' Mr. Perrin then examines a passage in Polybius,40 from which it may be inferred that the Thetidium was 'on the right of the Enipeus, on a line running south of Scotussa from Pherae westward, and on a military route between Eretria and Scotussa. These details,' he observes, 'enable us to locate it [about 8 miles] N.E. of Pharsalus, nearly if not exactly where Colonel Leake [and M. Heuzey]41 identified it with ruins then visible'; and he infers that Palaepharsalus p276was north of the Enipeus and probably west of 'the main route between Larissa and Pharsalus.' Kiepert42 places it actually on the road.
Mr. Perrin's arguments appear to me to establish a probability in favour of placing Palaepharsalus, which was, beyond question, entirely distinct from Pharsalus, north of the Enipeus. I engage to raise this probability to certainty.
Nobody will venture to reject the authoritative statement that the battle was fought 'at Palaepharsalus'; and nobody who accepts this statement will deny that Palaepharsalus must have been nearer to the battle-field than Pharsalus, and that the battle-field would not have been named after Palaepharsalus if it had been not only hard by Pharsalus but also separated from Palaepharsalus by the broad and deep river-bed.43 But if the battle-field was between Pharsalus and the river, it was almost in contact with Pharsalus; and it is impossible to point to any spot in the neighbourhood on which Palaepharsalus could have situated. We shall see presently that of the five theories which locate the battle-field on the southern bank the only one which can be defended with the least show of reason is that of Dr. Kromayer; and Dr. Kromayer is obliged to place Pompey's line of battle within •a quarter of a mile of Pharsalus. How, then, can he account for the incontrovertible statement that the battle was at Palaepharsalus? He says quite reasonably that he does not know where Palaepharsalus was. But within limits he does know where it was not: he knows that it would be useless to look for it within a quarter of a mile — or a good deal more — of any point on his battle-field, or anywhere in the plain south of the Enipeus nearer than Mount Kontouri. And even if we provisionally accept Stoffel's theory, the difficulty remains.
Let us first consider the main aspects of the question without regard to topographical maps or to particular theories. All unbiassed commentators, I believe, will agree that any competent military critic who had the foregoing data before him would conclude that only one of them points to the conclusion that the battle-field was south of the Enipeus. The exception is the statement of Appian, which all the commentators who look for the site on the southern bank regard as an article of faith, and on which they resolutely take their stand. 'As,' says Dr. Kromayer,44 'the identity of the modern Phersala with the ancient Pharsalus is certain, we may hold that there can no longer be any question about the scene of the battle, but that we must place it between the Little Tschinarli and Phersala.' But, as I have shown, we should not be putting any undue strain upon language if we supposed that by Pharsalus Appian may p277have meant Old Pharsalus. Indeed, what he meant matters little. I take my stand upon the authoritative and far more explicit statement that the battle was fought at Palaepharsalus, with which, as I have shown, the statement of Appian is irreconcilable. Every other indication in our authorities would lead us to believe that the scene was north of the Enipeus. We should certainly suppose that the rear-gate through which Pompey rode when he began his flight was the gate nearest to Larissa;45 and we should doubt whether, in the presence of Caesar's cavalry, it would have been possible for Pompey to ride or lead his horse down the steep left bank of the Enipeus and up its steep right bank — each 20 feet high — without being caught. Moreover, Caesar's object was to bring Pompey to action as soon as possible.46 We may fairly assume then that he would not have unnecessarily encamped in a position which Pompey would know that he could not even approach without heavy loss, and from which, if Pompey acted like a rational commander, it would be impossible to approach him without incurring the same fate. Again, Plutarch, as we have seen, states that on the morning of the battle Caesar was about to march to Scotussa. On the theory that the battle was fought south of the Enipeus he intended to cross a river whose banks were 20 feet high with all his equipage under the eyes of Pompey's army.
General von Göler and Sir William Napier separately and independently argued that the battle could not have been fought on the south of the Enipeus. Von Göler47 says that as Pompey came from the north, namely, from Larissa, Caesar may be supposed to have also encamped on the northern side of the Pharsalian plain, in order to prevent him from utilizing the resources of this rich region. M. Heuzey48 replies that 'in a civil war . . . in the midst of conquered provinces, which had been long reduced to submission, bases of operations were inevitably less fixed and had less importance . . . everything would be open to the conqueror, while the conquered could not even count upon securing a line of retreat. Caesar had himself . . . compromised his communications by quitting Italy for Epirus, and then Epirus for Thessaly.' Pompey's base, he adds, was not Larissa only; for, according to Appian,49 he had secured roads, harbours, and fortresses, by which he could draw supplies from all parts. The most important places for him to hold were the Gulf of Volo [the Sinus Pagasaeus, about 25 miles east of Pharsalus], and especially Demetrias on its northern shore. It was in order to secure the routes leading to this gulf that he determined to choose a position south-east of Caesar's camp, even at the risk of endangering his line of retreat to Larissa. Why, then, we may reasonably ask, did he retreat to Larissa, and thence to the sea, although the road leading to the gulf was twice as short? Cannot M. Heuzey see that nothing was easier than for Caesar, who was the first to reach the Pharsalian plain, to encamp in such a position that he could at once command the roads leading to Pharsalus p278and all places to which Pharsalus gave access on the south and to the Gulf of Volo?50
Von Göler argues further that 'the Enipeus would have formed such a serious obstacle to the flight of Pompey's troops and have contributed so greatly to the breaking up of his army that Caesar would certainly not have omitted to mention it. Pompey's cavalry,' he adds, 'after their defeat fled immediately at full speed to the hills. If they had been obliged first to cross the river, the operation would have been very difficult, and it is nowhere mentioned.'51 These objections, as we shall presently see, have been turned by M. Heuzey, Stoffel, and Dr. Kromayer; but, if I am not mistaken, they remain valid.
Long52 contends that if Pompey had crossed the Enipeus in order to encamp south of it, Caesar would have mentioned the fact, as it would have been a part of Pompey's arrangements for battle. I do not think that any fair critic who intimately knows the Commentaries will underrate this argument.
Napier's arguments, which were stated in a private letter, are summarized as follows by Long:53 — 'It seems impossible that a great general like Caesar should allow Pompeius to pass the Enipeus before him and cut him off from Pharsalus and Scotussa, and also from one of the roads to Thermopylae which endangered Caesar's troops in Greece.54 It is also impossible that so great a general as Pompeius would pass the Enipeus in the face of Caesar's army55 . . . moreover, Caesar does not mention Pompeius's passage of the river; he does not indeed mention his own, but there was no need of that: it was part of his march when no enemy was near him. Napier [also] asks how could Pompeius fly to Larisa by the Decuman gate, if the battle was fought where Leake places it. Caesar's troops were between him and Larisa. Also, how could the flying men of Pompeius cross the Enipeus and make for Larisa? They would have been cut to pieces before they could cross the river.'56
This last objection, as we have seen, has been turned by M. Heuzey, Stoffel, and Dr. Kromayer, all of whom suppose that the beleaguered Pompeians surrendered at the foot of Karadja-Ahmet, south of the river: but of course they p279are all obliged to assume that the fugitives had intended to attempt the passage; and Dr. Kromayer57 himself, in criticizing Mommsen, insists that it would have been impossible to cross the Enipeus in the presence of an enemy. Is it reasonable to assume that Pompey would have placed them in a position in which they might be driven to attempt the impossible?58
Colonel Leake, however, saw nothing absurd in supposing that the routed Pompeians had made good their retreat across the Enipeus; and it is only fair to let him speak for himself. 'What,' he asks, 'was to hinder them? The same route by which they came was still open to them; they had begun their retreat before Caesar attacked and took the fortified camp, which attack, with its consequences, must have occupied some hours. After such a battle, the legionaries of Caesar were not in the best condition to begin a long chase, even were it likely that Caesar should have permitted them to do so, after he had issued his commands that the adverse legionaries should be spared.'59
'What was to hinder them?' 'Nothing,' answers Long,60 'except the impossibility of a defeated army retreating under such circumstances. But there was no retreat to Larisa even under the more favourable circumstances which existed on the real field of battle north of the Enipeus. When Caesar's third line advanced, the men of Pompeius could resist no longer, and they all turned and fled. This is what Leake names a retreat, but it was a disorderly flight, and [on Leake's theory] across a river, if the battle was fought south of the Enipeus.' After the battle Caesar's legionaries, who were in far better condition than those of Pompey,61 were as able to pursue as the latter to retreat: at all events they were capable of beginning one earthwork, constructing and completing another, and intercepting their enemies by a six miles' march.
M. Heuzey62 lays great stress upon the passage in which Dion Cassius63 says that Pompey had not made his camp on a suitable spot and had not secured a line of retreat (οὐδὲ τὸ στρατόπεδον ἐν ἐπιτηδείῳ ἐποιήσατο οὐδ᾽ ἀναφυγὴν οὐδεμίαν ἡττηθέντι οἱ παρεσκεύασε); but I suspect that Pompey knew his own business better than his rhetorical critic.64
Against the view which would discover the battle-field in the southern half of the Pharsalian plain it has often been urged that Caesar would not have described the Enipeus as a rivulet (riuus quidam); but Stoffel,65 who knew how to carry war into the enemy's country, treated the objectors with scorn.
'A combien de discussions oiseuses,' he exclaimed, 'ne se sont pas livrées, soit les commentateurs qui n'avaient pas vu les lieux, soit les ignorants qui les ont visités, sous p280prétexte que le mot riuus, employé par César, ne peut vouloir désigner l'Enipée. César n'écrivait ni pour les grammairiens, ni pour les discoureurs de l'avenir; il écrivait comme homme de guerre et non comme géographe. S'il donne le nom de riuus à l'Enipée, c'est que le jour de la bataille cette rivière n'avait pas plus d'eau qu'un ruisseau. Aussi ne fut‑il frappé que de l'obstacle dû à l'escarpement des rives, "impeditis ripis," et de l'appui que cet obstacle donnait à la droite de l'armée romaine.'
It may be freely admitted that Caesar did not write for grammarians, and that he wrote as a soldier and not as a geographer: but he was a grammarian himself; and there is no necessary inconsistency between writing as a soldier and using words in a sense which is not absurd. 'Riuus,' says Forcellini,66 'proprie et uniuersim est aqua fluens, a fonte vel flumine deducta, siue canali manufacto, siue naturaliter decurrens, non tamen ea quantitate ut amnis dici possit'; and he aptly quotes a couplet from Ovid (Ex Ponto, II.5.21‑2):
ingenioque meo, uena quod paupere manat,
plaudis, et e riuo flumina magna facis.
Even assuming that the Enipeus on the day of the battle contained no more water than a rivulet,67 would not Caesar have given to this famous river its familiar name? Let us examine his usus loquendi. If any one will analyze the passages which Meusel has collected in his Lexicon Caesarianum68 (s.v. flumen), he will find that Caesar mentions twenty-three rivers by name, — the Aliacmon, Apsus, Arar, Axona, Bagrada, Cinga, Danuvius, Dubis, Elaver, Garumna, Genusus, Hiberus, Liger, Matrona, Mosa, Rhenus, Rhodanus, Sabis, Scaldis, Sequana, Sicoris, Tamesis, and Varus; and that in every instance in which he mentions a stream without naming it either it was demonstrably small, or he had not seen it himself, or it was so insignificant that he probably did not know its name.69 He occasionally calls a small stream by the generic name of flumen, just as in one passage he calls small boats by the generic name of naues:70 but I can find no evidence that any stream of respectable size was ever called a riuus; and since it was Caesar's habit to name considerable streams, it is not p281unreasonable to suppose that if Pompey's right wing had rested on the famous Enipeus, Caesar would have mentioned the fact.
But, it will be objected, Frontinus says distinctly that Pompey's right flank was 'close to the river Enipeus, which both by its channel and its overflow made the locality impassable.' He does: but Caesar does not; and the difference is considerable. Besides, on any theory the Enipeus was very close to the battle-field; and, assuming that Pompey's right flank rested immediately on a rivulet, and not upon the Enipeus, the 'overflow' of the latter may have extended sufficiently far to give colour to Frontinus's statement; while if he erred, his mistake is easily explicable.71 Every one must decide for himself whether it is more likely that Caesar would have departed from his constant habit and used an absurdly misleading word,72 or that Frontinus made a very natural topographical mistake, which, for his purpose, was immaterial. Furthermore, this should be borne in mind: — if the riuus was not the Enipeus, the battle was not fought on the southern bank; if the Enipeus and the riuus were one, the battle may have been fought on the northern bank.
Let us now examine, without repeating these general considerations, the various topographical theories.
1. Colonel Leake73 affirms that 'there can scarcely remain a doubt . . . that the camp of Pompey was on the heights . . . eastward of Férsala [that is to say, on the heights of Krindir], and that of Caesar at or near Hadjéverli, at the foot of the rocky height which advances into the plain three miles westward of Férsala.' Accordingly he believes that Pompey's line of battle extended, with its right resting on the Enipeus, along the road between Pharsalus and Larissa. The mons sine aqua he identifies with 'the mountain which rises immediately above the position of the Pompeian camp';74 the hill on which the Pompeians made their final stand with one of the hills near Scotussa; and the stream which flowed beneath it with that 'which Herodotus has named Onochonus.'
Stoffel75 objects that Pompey would not have had room to form his army on the days which preceded the battle on the lower slopes of the hill on which Leake supposes him to have encamped. Start, says Stoffel, from Mount Anavra — the westernmost of the heights which border the Pharsalian plain on p282the south — and ride along their base. Not until you approach their eastern extremity — the hill of Karadja-Ahmet — will you find a site on which Pompey could have ranged 50,000 men in line of battle on the lowest slopes. Dr. Kromayer76 (who defends Leake because he himself adopts one half of his theory) replies that Caesar does not say that Pompey's army was drawn up on the slopes of the hill on which his camp stood: according to Caesar, it was drawn up 'ad infimas radices montis . . . and therefore,' says Dr. Kromayer, 'at the foot of the hill and in the plain.' When, he adds, Caesar remarks that on the morning of the battle Pompey had advanced, contrary to his custom, 'further from the rampart . . . so that there appeared to be a chance of fighting on ground which was not unfavourable' (longius a uallo . . . ut non iniquo loco posse dimicari uideretur), he makes it clear that the iniquitas loci consisted, not in the fact [alleged by Stoffel] that the Pompeians had previously formed upon the slopes of the hill, but in the fact that they had remained too close to their camp. I admit that Caesar's remark, taken by itself, might bear Dr. Kromayer's interpretation; but I am inclined to think that Stoffel understood the words ad infimas radices montis better than his critic. If Caesar had meant what Dr. Kromayer says, would he not have written sub ipsis radicibus montis?77 He says that on the days which preceded the battle he 'formed his line at the foot of the hills occupied by Pompey (collibus Pompeianis aciem subiceret).78 Compared with the statement that Pompey regularly formed his own line ad infimas radices montis, do not these words prove that Pompey's line was on the slopes of the hill?
Let us, however, admit, for the sake of argument, that Stoffel's objection was groundless. Still, it remains certain that the distance in a straight line from the point where, accepting Leake's identification of the mons sine aqua, Caesar must have begun his march to intercept the Pompeians to the point where he must have finally confronted them, is at least nine miles. That Leake uneasily anticipated this objection may be inferred from his having, in defiance of the Commentaries,79 supposed Caesar 'to have computed his distance of six miles from the banks of the Enipeus'! How he contrived to persuade himself that the fugitives succeeded in passing those banks unscathed, and that this extraordinary feat was ignored by Caesar, we have already seen.
2. Mommsen80 was in some measure impressed by von Göler's arguments, but nevertheless clung to the supposed authority of Appian. His theory was that the Caesar encamped on the left bank of the Enipeus near Pharsalus; that Pompey 'pitched his camp opposite to him on the right bank . . . along the slope of the heights of Cynoscephalae'; that, 'as the armies before the battle lay three miles and a half from each other,' the Pompeians could 'secure the communication with their camp by bridges,' but that 'Caesar and his copyists are silent as to the crossing of the river, because this would place in p283too clear a light the eagerness for battle of the Pompeiians apparent otherwise from the whole narrative'; that 'the battle was fought on the left bank . . . in such a way that the Pompeians, standing with their faces towards Pharsalus, leaned their right wing on the river'; that 'as soon as the obstinate resistance of the Roman and Thracian guard of the [Pompeian] camp was overcome,' the beaten Pompeians were 'compelled to withdraw . . . to the heights of Crannon and Scotussa, at the foot of which the camp was pitched,' and 'attempted by moving forward along these hills to regain Larissa' until they were followed by Caesar to halt and cut off 'from access to the only rivulet to be found in the neighbourhood.'
Who can wonder that Stoffel81 characterized Mommsen's account of the battle as a 'récit de pure fantaisie'? It is hardly necessary to point out that Pompey would have found it as hopeless to bridge the Enipeus in the presence of Caesar as the latter found it to repair the bridges over the Allier in the presence of Vercingetorix82 and the bridges over the Sicoris in the presence of Afranius;83 that neither Caesar nor his copyists could have had any motive for striving to conceal 'the eagerness of the Pompeians for battle,' especially as their eagerness was 'apparent otherwise from the whole narrative'; that even if the bridge could have been built the disorganized fugitives would have been captured or destroyed in attempting to cross it;84 that Pompey would not have expected on the days that preceded the battle that Caesar would be mad enough to attempt to cross the Enipeus in order to attack him; and that Caesar would not have crossed it on several successive days and 'formed his line at the foot of the hills occupied by Pompey' (continentibus uero diebus ut progrederetur a castris suis collibusque Pompeianis aciem subiceret);85 that if Pompey had attempted to cross the river on the morning of the battle in order to attack Caesar, Caesar would have destroyed his army before the battle could begin; and that Caesar distinctly says that he formed his line before the battle 'on approaching Pompey's camp' (cum Pompei castris adpropinquasset),86 — an expression which he could not have used without absurdity if the camp had been 'on the slope of the heights of Cynoscephalae' on the further bank of the Enipeus.
3. M. Heuzey differed on one important point from all the writers who agreed with him in placing the battle-field south of the Enipeus: — he refused to identify that river with the riuus on which Pompey's right wing rested. Accordingly he was compelled to identify it with the Tabakhana, a stream which rises just north of Fersala, and, flowing in a direction roughly parallel with the Enipeus and from 3 to 4 miles south of it, enters the river which Stoffel calls the Phersalitis, about 13 miles west by north of Fersala. This p284stream, which M. Heuzey describes as a 'large rivulet' (gros ruisseau), is, he says, 4 or 5 metres wide,87 and 'everywhere difficult to cross.'88 The battle-field is in his opinion indicated by 14 tumuli in the plain west of Fersala, almost all of which were excavated under his superintendence.89 At the bottom, below interments accompanied by coins and Byzantine pottery, were found layers of cinders mingled with charcoal and white dust, which M. Heuzey regarded as the remains of calcined bones.90 He admits that Appian, speaking of the monument which Caesar erected in honour of the brave centurion, Crastinus, implies that the Caesarians who fell were all buried together:91 but Caesar did not bury Pompey's dead; and M. Heuzey argues that the inhabitants must have done so. This hypothesis, he remarks, would explain how the tumuli are scattered: they were hastily erected wherever the fugitives fell.92 Pompey's camp, he maintains, can only be found at one spot: — 'all this part of the chain [of heights which border the plain on the south] is a wall of precipitous rocks; it only opens at one point, about the middle, to form an amphitheatre of gently undulating slopes, called Khaïdharia. The position is just suited for a camping-ground.'93 The hill without water which the fugitives were obliged to abandon he identifies with the scarped plateau of Alogopati, which rises high above Khaïdharia on its south, and the hill, washed by a stream, on which they made their final stand, with Karadja-Ahmet. In other words, M. Heuzey, who places the battle-field more than 6 Roman miles west-south-west of the site which Stoffel selected, agrees with him in his choice of the hill washed by a stream!
But although to M. Heuzey this fact, which compels him to set Caesar's testimony aside, presents no difficulty, he admits that his theory is open to one objection. The Tabakhana, he remarks, 'instead of passing along the battle-field, cuts it in two.'94 This difficulty, however, is only apparent; for 'the configuration of its [the Tabakhana's] bed and that of the country which it traverses seem to prove that its waters no longer follow their natural and primitive course. Thessaly, in particular the Pharsalian plain, present other instances of similar changes.'95
Yet, but deserted channels remain to attest them!96 If M. Heuzey could produce the faintest evidence, I should be willing to admit that the Tabakhana might have changed its course in any direction, not involving a miracle, which suited his convenience. He tells us, however, that Caesar's camp was on a spot, now covered by a wood, a little south of the village of Kousgounar, and 6 kilometres from Khaïdharia, — a distance which, as he points out, exactly corresponds to the 30 stades of Appian.97 But what avails this correspondence when the p285map shows that Caesar's army, before wheeling into line of battle, would have had to cross the riuus which, as M. Heuzey himself insists, is 'everywhere difficult to cross'? As for the tumuli, even supposing that the oldest interments which they contain could be proved to be Roman, the group whose contents are described by M. Heuzey is several kilometres north-west of the alleged battle-field, and therefore obviously far from the line of flight of the routed Pompeians.98 Furthermore, as Dr. Kromayer99 remarks, M. Heuzey places Pompey's camp in a valley between high hills although Caesar places it on a hill: he is constrained to assume that the decuman gate, through which Pompey fled northward to Larissa, looked southward; and the distance from his mons sine aqua to the place which Caesar reached commodiore itinere is not 6 but 9 miles in a straight line!
4. Stoffel, as we have seen, places Pompey's camp on one of the heights of Karadja-Ahmet.100 Let us provisionally accept his statement (with which I agree) that this is the only hill [south of the Enipeus] which corresponds to Caesar's description.101 But it does not appear that he took the trouble to examine the country north of the river: he does not, even for the sake of argument, admit the possibility that the battle may have been fought there. Let us see how he is obliged to twist and torture Caesar's text in order to force it, if possible, into some show of agreement with his own theory. Not only does he insist that Caesar designated the Enipeus as a 'rivulet,' but, whereas Caesar says that the Pompeians fled along the crest of the hills (iugis iis [or eius]), he tells us that their line of flight was marked by 'an extensive hollow' (une large dépression de terrain);102 and, whereas Caesar makes it clear that when he began the march by which he intercepted the fugitives he started from the earthwork which he was constructing round the waterless hill (mons sine aqua), Stoffel is obliged, in order to extend the length of his march to 6 miles, to make him go back without any necessity and start 'from the field of battle' (du champ de bataille).103 But the most interesting feature of the colonel's map is his delineation of the 'more convenient route' (commodiore itinere) by which Caesar marched. Would it have been more convenient first to cross the 'rivulet,' 70 yards wide with its steep banks 20 feet high, and then, after crossing four real rivulets on its right bank, to recross it in order to construct the earthwork which was designed to prevent the fugitives from getting water? And since, in order to get water, it would have been necessary first to descend the steep banks and then reascend them in the presence of Caesar's troops; since, in order to retreat to Larissa, it would have been necessary to pass those same banks in despite of a victorious army, would the construction of the earthwork have been worth the trouble which it cost? Is it to be wondered at that (to say nothing p286of the anticipatory objections of Sir William Napier and of General von Göler), Mr. Warde Fowler104 should have remarked that Stoffel 'failed . . . to reconcile his view with Caesar's language'?
5. Last of all comes Dr. Kromayer,105 whose theory is virtually a combination of the theories of Leake and Stoffel. Like the former he places Pompey's camp on Mount Krindir;106 like the latter he identifies the hill on which the Pompeians made their final stand with the easternmost hill of Karadja-Ahmet. He supposes that Caesar encamped about half a mile north of the Tabakhana and about two miles and one furlong north-west of Pharsalus; that Pompey's line of battle extended from the Enipeus, which it touched just east of the Larissa road, to a point about a quarter of a mile north of Pharsalus; that the hills to which his cavalry fled were south of Mount Sourla and about two miles east by south of Pharsalus; that the mons sine aqua was the hill just east of Mount Sourla, which, as he says, is itself inaccessible on its northern side; that the Pompeians fled thence to Karadja-Ahmet by a long and circuitous route, leading for about a mile and a quarter nearly due south and then gradually winding eastward and north-eastward; and that Caesar marched in the plain along the northern fringe of the hills to intercept them, and, turning Karadja-Ahmet, constructed his earthwork along and close to the southern bank of the Enipeus.
Dr. Kromayer finds no difficulty in supposing that Caesar called the Enipeus a riuus in chapter 88 and a flumen in chapter 97 without giving the slightest indication that flumen and riuus were the same. To him this style of writing seems quite natural, and 'is to be explained by the contrast between the broad bed of the river and the small amount of water in the summer.'107 He reminds us that Caesar calls the same hill a mons and a collis in chapter 85, and that the least insignificant of the flumina which he mentions in p287chapter 49 is only 5 kilometers long.108 I have already observed that Caesar uses the generic term flumen of small as well as of large streams; but there is not a single certain instance in which either he or any other writer describes a considerable stream as a riuus. Moreover, the dullest reader could not fail to see that the mons of chapter 85 was identical with or included the collis; whereas the most intelligent would infer a priori that the flumen of chapter 97 was different from the riuus of chapter 88.
I need not repeat objections which apply to Dr. Kromayer's theory in common with the other four. Nor need I insist upon the fact, which I have established,109 that on the days which preceded the battle Pompey formed 50,000 men in line of battle on the lower slopes of the hill on which his camp stood, and that he could not have done so on the hill of Krindir. But one may reasonably ask whether Caesar would have said that the hills to which the Pompeian infantry fled 'adjoined the camp' (ad castra pertinebant),110 if, after abandoning it, they had been obliged to descend into the plain and move across it for 500 or 600 yards111 before ascending the mons sine aqua; how he could have said that the circuitous route which Dr. Kromayer traces, and which in its first stage led in a direction opposite to that of Larissa, was towards Larissa; and how he could have divined that the fugitives, if they took this route, intended to cross the Enipeus in the neighbourhood of Karadja-Ahmet, where its banks are far more difficult than higher up,112 or, indeed, that they intended to make for Larissa at all. Dr. Kromayer113 himself insists that it would have been impossible for them to cross the Enipeus in the presence of Caesar's army: why, then, did they not cross it higher up, as, on Dr. Kromayer's theory, they could have done before Caesar had time to intercept them? Why, indeed, did they attempt to retreat to Larissa at all, seeing that, as the doctor assures us,114 by the mere fact of crossing the Enipeus they had made such a retreat utterly desperate?
Still, if I were constrained to believe that the battle was fought south of the Enipeus, I should say that Dr. Kromayer's theory is on the whole less vulnerable than those of his rivals.
Except a pen-and‑ink sketch-plan by Sir William Napier, mentioned by Long,115 and based upon erroneous data, the only attempt, so far as I know, that has been made to locate the battle-field on the northern bank is that of von Göler,116 who, also, as we have seen, was obliged to use an extremely p288misleading map. He placed the contending armies between Cynoscephalae and Pharsalus; but M. Heuzey117 believes that the site which he had in view was the plain of Inéli, between the right bank of the Enipeus and the southern slopes of the hills which extend northwards towards Scotussa. If so, he identified the riuus with the rivulet of Orman-Magoula, which M. Heuzey contemptuously describes as a 'maigre filet d'eau . . . que nous avons traversé, au mois de juillet, en mouillant à peine le sabot de nos chevaux.'118 In other words, M. Heuzey would argue that this streamlet could not have been called [riuus quidam] impeditis ripis. But hydrographical conditions were not everywhere the same in Caesar's time as they are now:119 the Allier, for instance, which in 52 B.C. was not fordable before autumn,120 is sometimes reduced in summer in that part of its course which Caesar describes to a shallow stream; moreover, unless the testimony of Lucan, Frontinus, and Plutarch is to be rejected altogether, either the riuus or the Enipeus (if it was the riuus) had overflowed its banks.121 M. Heuzey, however, argues that if the hill on which the Pompeians made their final stand was near Scotussa, the ancient historians of the Civil War would not have forgotten to mention the battle of Cynoscephalae, which had been fought hard by.122 This argument may possibly impress some minds. But M. Heuzey appears to have been momentarily forgetful when he adds123 that, as on von Göler's theory Pompey's camp would have protected Scotussa, Caesar would have been unable to execute the movement which he made in order to intercept the fugitives. Surely he could have afforded to disregard Pompey's camp when he had captured it and when its former occupants and Pompey himself were in full flight!
Dr. Kromayer, who,124 unlike M. Heuzey, assumes that von Göler's site was opposite Pharsalus, observes that on his theory the battle-field was not between the Enipeus and Pharsalus, and that Pompey's right wing did not rest on 'a brook with steep banks' (an einem Bach mit steilen Ufern). But we have seen that the former objection is futile;125 and Dr. Kromayer mistranslates the words impeditis ripis. Caesar does not say that the riuus had steep banks: he only says that its banks were difficult to cross;126 Dr. Kromayer, however, also objects that in von Göler's plan 'the ridge along which the Pompeians retreated is not to be found'; that 'a hill [he means the mons sine aqua] which can be enclosed by an earthwork . . . cannot there be discovered, but only the p289featureless upland of Cynoscephalae';127 that 'the plain at the foot of the hill, into which Caesar ordered the beleaguered Pompeians to descend, does not there exist, but only the narrow valley of Supli'; and finally that 'it is impossible to understand how Caesar could have got in front of the fugitives commodiore itinere and barred their retreat, as there can be no question of such a "more convenient route" in uplands which are everywhere undulating and intersected by small valleys.'128 Of these objections the first two seem to me reasonable, though not conclusive, for might not the word iugum have been fairly used even of undulating uplands if the fugitives had moved along the line of their highest level,129 and is not Caesar's use of the word mons — for instance in his description of the battle of Lutetia130 — sometimes rather vague? Moreover, the objections do not, apparently, apply to the eastern hills, between Scotussa and Orman-Magoula, which von Göler would seem to have had in view. In regard to the plain, Caesar does not say that it was interposed between Larissa and the hill on which the fugitives made their final stand: he only says that the fugitives, when they were about to surrender, descended into it; and the reader will find a plain west of Mount Karadagh marked on M. Heuzey's map. Whether Dr. Kromayer's last objection is valid against the western hills (between Scotussa and the Larissa road) I cannot say; but, as far as I can judge from the map, it does not tell against the heights between Orman-Magoula and Scotussa.
But the object of this paper is not to gain a controversial victory but to help in finding truth; and I will therefore point out the difficulties which seem to me to beset the search for the battle-field on the northern bank. I labour here under the disadvantage of not having yet explored the ground; and my remarks will be purely tentative. The country on the southern bank, as I have already remarked, has been minutely and lucidly described; but for the northern side, except the maps, we have only the general description of Baron Beaujour.131 p290West of the road between Pharsalus and Larissa the battle cannot have been fought; for the only tract in which there is a hill corresponding to the description of that on which the Pompeians made their final stand is in the neighbourhood of Scotussa. M. Heuzey132 maintains that if the site was north of the Enipeus it must have been in the plain of Inéli. In this case Pompey must have encamped on the lower slopes of the hills which rise towards Scotussa and Cynoscephalae; the riuus (assuming that it was not the Enipeus) must have been either the Orman-Magoula rivulet or that which joins it just north of the Enipeus and of the site which Stoffel selected for Pompey's camp; and the 'more convenient route' by which Caesar marched to intercept the fugitives would seem to have been that along which Pompey, according to Stoffel, had marched from Larissa to the Pharsalian plain. The objection to this theory is that it apparently conflicts with the statement that the battle was fought at Palaepharsalus; for, as we have seen,133 it is unlikely that Palaepharsalus lay so far eastward. If the plain of Inéli is to be discarded, the only alternative is to suppose that Pompey encamped on the lower slopes of the heights near the road between Larissa and Pharsalus; that the riuus was one of the two small rivulets which are shown in Stoffel's map134 close to the road on its eastern and its western side; and that the mons sine aqua was one of the heights north of Tatar. On this assumption Caesar was probably encamped with his rear resting on the Enipeus and commanding the road; and 'the more convenient route' apparently skirted the undulating hills on their north.
Let us try to hold the balance fairly. If the battle-field was north of the Enipeus, we must suppose either that Appian — a notoriously careless geographer — made a mistake, or that by 'Pharsalus' he meant 'Palaepharsalus.' The latter assumption is quite reasonable, for the author of Bellum Alexandrinum used Pharsalici as a synonym for Palaepharsalici; this writer, Frontinus, Eutropius, and Orosius agree that the battle was fought at Palaepharsalus; and it is therefore, as we have seen, incredible that it could have been truly described as 'between [New] Pharsalus and the Enipeus.' Furthermore, we are obliged to assume that, owing to floods, the banks of a rivulet were virtually impassable, and that Lucan and Frontinus were mistaken in saying that Pompey's right wing rested on the Enipeus, unless, indeed, we admit that Caesar described that river as riuus quidam. Lastly, we must take account of the objection (which, however, seems to me inconclusive) that north of the Enipeus neither a mons sine aqua nor 'a more convenient route' can be found.
On the other hand, if we accept the testimony of Lucan and Frontinus, we must suppose that either on the day of battle or shortly before the Enipeus was in full flood, and therefore unfordable. If so, Pompey could not have crossed it without a bridge, which he could not have built, and which, if it p291already existed, Caesar would most certainly have mentioned. Or, if the Enipeus was fordable, Pompey would have been obliged to make a causeway135 (which Caesar would also have mentioned) over the morass which both Frontinus and Lucan describe. Anyhow, if the battle-field was south of the Enipeus, we must suppose (1) that Caesar never mentioned this famous river although it played a most important part in the operations which he described; (2) that the four writers (including the only original authority whose work is extant) who affirm that the battle was fought at Palaepharsalus were mistaken; (3) that Caesar, who was anxious to bring Pompey to action, encamped south of the Enipeus although, in the opinion of a military critic of the highest class, it would have been folly for him to do so, and although he must have known that Pompey would not, unless he had wholly lost his judgement, attempt to cross it in his presence;136 (4) that Pompey did, without any conceivable motive, commit this act of folly and dared to transport 50,000 infantry, 7000 cavalry, his slingers and archers, his baggage train, and an enormous camp equipage down steep banks 20 feet high, across a river 70 yards wide, and up steep banks of equal height, — an operation which would have been absolutely impossible unless his engineers had cut down the banks and constructed long sloping roads; (5) that Caesar looked passively on while his enemies were engaged in this equally rash and tedious operation, although he might have cut them to pieces before they could get across; (6) that he then permitted them to seize the road leading from the river to Pharsalus with its southward connections and the road leading eastward to the gulf of Volo, although he could easily have preoccupied both; (7) that Pompey formed his army in line on several successive days on the slopes of a hill on which the men would barely have had room to stand if they had been packed as closely as sardines in a box; (8) that, although it was Caesar's otherwise invariable habit to name well-known rivers which affected his operations, although in his choice of words he was notoriously a purist, he described a famous river, 70 yards wide, of whose name he cannot be supposed to have been ignorant, as riuus quidam, and in another chapter called it a flumen without giving the least indication that flumen and riuus were one; (9) that Pompey, by fleeing through the rear gate of his camp, went out of his way, and that, although he had to cross the Enipeus, he was suffered to escape; (10) that Caesar described certain hills as 'adjoining' Pompey's camp, although in order to reach them from the camp it was necessary to descend into and move across a part of the Pharsalian plain; (11) that he described the first stage of his enemies' flight as 'towards Larissa,' although it was in exactly the opposite direction; (12) that the fugitives went far out of their way in order to attempt the utterly impossible feat of crossing the Enipeus where its steep banks were 20 feet high, in the p292face of a victorious enemy, although they might have crossed it unopposed higher up;137 and (13) that Caesar made his weary soldiers undergo the laborious task of constructing an earthwork to cut them off from the river although, in order to get water, they would have been obliged first to descend and then to ascend those formidable banks.138
The battle of Palaepharsalus was one of the decisive battles of the world; and the discovery of its site would be a notable gain to historical scholarship. If the hills which skirt the Pharsalian plain are still so far undisturbed that they would disclose their secrets to the excavator,139 would not scholars in every European nation be glad to defray the cost? A small international committee, which Dr. Kromayer would, I hope, be willing to assist, could easily settle the details. I think that they would do well to set their labourers to work first on the north of the Enipeus. If they failed here, they might try the one site on the opposite bank which, even on the hypothesis that Caesar, Pompey, and Pompey's beaten army all behaved in a manner which to a great military critic appeared insane, is not absolutely inadmissible, — the little hill of Krindir.140
T. Rice Holmes.
1 Travels in Northern Greece, IV 1835, pp477‑84.
2 Caesars gall. Krieg, etc. II 1880, pp149, 151‑4.
3 G. Long, Decline of the Roman Republic, V 1874, pp220‑1.
4 Trans. Roy. Soc. of Literature, 2nd ser. IV 1853, pp68‑87.
5 Les opérations mil. de Jules César, pp104‑35.
6 Hist. de Jules César, — Guerre civile, II 1887, p240, n1.
7 Vol. VI 1885, pp170‑89.
8 Decline of the Roman Republic, V.213‑21.
9 Guerre civile, II.241.
11 L. Heuzey, Les opérations mil. de J. C. p105; J. Kromayer, Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.406.
13 B. C. III.81, § 3.
14 Ib. 82, § 1; 84, § 2; 85, § 1.
16 B. C. III.84, §§ 1‑2; 85, §§ 2‑4; 86, § 1.
18 B. C. III.88.
19 The MS. reading (ib. 97, § 2) is (diffisi ei loco relicto monte uniuersi) iuris eius (Larisam uersus se recipere coeperunt). As this is nonsense, numerous emendations (H. Meusel, Lex. Caes. Tab. Coniect. p90), most of which are justly ignored by editors, have been proposed. The one commonly accepted is iugis eius; but Meusel (C. I. Caesaris comm. de b. c. 1906, p342) reads iugis iis on the ground that 'this hill [one of the hills on the "massif" of Karadja-Ahmet, selected by Stoffel] has no iugum.'
The uncertainty of the text matters nothing; for the fugitives would undoubtedly have retreated as far as possible on high ground in order to keep the tactical advantage which it afforded them.
20 B. C. III.89, §§ 3‑4; 93‑8.
21 (Πομπήϊος) ἀντεστρατοπέδευσατο Καίσαρι περὶ Φάρσαλον, καὶ τριάκοντα σταδίους ἀλλήλων ἀπεῖχον (B. C. II.65).
22 (Πομπήϊος) παρέτασσε τοὺς λοιποὺς ἐς τὸ μετάξυ Φαρσάλου τε πόλεως καὶ Ἐνιπέως ποταμοῦ, ἔνθα καὶ ὁ Καῖσαρ ἀντιδιεκόσμει (ib. 75).
23 Caesar . . . Palaepharsali rem feliciter gerebat (Bell. Alex. 48, § 1).
25 deinde in Thessalia apud Palaeopharsalum . . . dimicauerunt (20).
27 Pharsalici proelii (Bell. Alex. 42, § 3). I assume that Pharsalici is the adjective of Pharsalus and not of Pharsalia (the Pharsalian district). But for my purpose the point is immaterial.
28 Caesar, 52; Cato, 55‑6; Cicero, 39; Antonius, 8, 62; Brutus, 6; Otho, 13.
29 VIII.23, § 25.
31 Caesar, 43.
32 Brutus, 4.
33 Ib. 6.
at iuxta fluuios et stagna undantis Enipei
Cappadocum montana cohors et largus habenae
Ponticus ibat eques
36 Guerre civile, II.244.
37 Les opérations mil. de J. C. p133.
38 American Journal of Philology, VI 1885, pp178‑9.
39 ἐν δὲ τῇ χώρᾳ ταύτῃ καὶ τὸ Θετιδειόν ἐστι πλήσιον τῶν Φαρσάλων ἀμφοῖν, τῆς τε παλαιᾶς καὶ τῆς νέας (Geogr. IX.5, § 6). This passage alone proves, against the view of Leake, that Palaepharsalus and Pharsalus were not on the same hill, but that their sites were distinct. Moreover, as von Göler observes (Caesars gall. Krieg, etc. II.151), 'if Old and New Pharsalus had been so closely connected, no writer would have described the battle as "at Palaepharsalus," but simply as "at Pharsalus." '
40 XVIII.3, §§ 1‑6.
41 Les opérations mil. de J. C. Pl. VII.
42 Formae orbis antiqui, XV.
43 Stoffel does deny this by implication; and this is one of the weak points of his theory. Professor Postgate justly says (Class. Rev. XIX 1905, p259): 'No Roman writer that I have examined affords any indication whatever that he placed the battle at or near Pharsalus or Fersala. You have to go to late Greek writers such as Plutarch, Appian, Dio Cassius, and Polyaenus, to find this town apparently associated with the engagement.'
44 Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.408.
45 See American Journal of Philology, VI 1885, p182.
46 B. C. III.84, §§ 1‑2; 85, § 2.
47 Caesars gall. Krieg, etc. II 1880, p149.
48 Les opérations mil. de J. C. pp120, 122‑3.
50 Dr. Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.403), who also quotes Appian and infers that Pompey must have drawn his supplies from the Gulf of Volo as well as from Larissa, argues that his lines of communication must have extended northward and eastward and Caesar's southward and westward. No doubt Pompey had a dépôt on the gulf; but in answering M. Heuzey I have answered Dr. Kromayer. Is not the passage in Appian (ἀγορά δὲ Πομπηΐῳ μὲν ἢν πανταχόθεν· οὔτω γὰρ αὐτῷ προδιῴκηντο καὶ ὁδοὶ καὶ λιμένες καὶ φρούρια, ὡς ἔκ τε γῆς ἀεὶ φέρεσθαι, καὶ διὰ θαλάσσης πάντα ἄνεμον αὐτῷ φέρειν) based partly upon a reminiscence of Caesar's description (B. C. III.47, §§ 3‑4) of Pompey's resources at Dyrrachium: — illi omnium rerum copia abundaret; cotidie enim magnus undique nauium numerus conueniebat, quae commeatum supportarent, neque ullus flare uentus poterat quin aliqua ex parte secundum cursum haberent? Appian was not so accurate a writer that we must assume that he intended his statement to apply to Pompey's situation after he had reached the neighbourhood of Palaepharsalus.
51 Caesars gall. Krieg, etc. II 1880, p152.
52 Decline of the Roman Republic, V.216.
53 Ib. p220.
54 See Plutarch, Caesar, 43.
55 It is hardly necessary to say that the passage of the Trebia by the Romans before the battle of the Trebia and of the Aufidus by the Romans and the Carthaginians before the battle of Cannae prove nothing against Napier's argument. The circumstances in these two cases were utterly different from those in which Pompey and Caesar acted.
56 'Napier,' says Long, 'makes some other objections,' about which Long is silent.
57 Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.410.
59 Trans. Roy. Soc. of Literature, 2nd ser. IV 1853, p87.
60 Decline of the Roman Republic, V.219.
61 B. C. III.85, § 2.
62 Les opérations mil. de J. C. p123.
64 Dr. Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.419‑20) argues that 'from a strategical point of view the position [on Mount Krindir, south of the Enipeus, which he believes Pompey to have selected for his camp] was not unfavourable'; for, although 'in case of a defeat his retreat to Larissa was, to be sure, cut off,' he could not have made good his retreat in any case. For him the alternatives were victory or annihilation. Besides, who in Pompey's camp admitted the possibility of defeat?
Obviously, whatever this argument may be worth, it is no answer to the objections stated in the text.
65 Guerre civile, II.243‑4.
66 Totius latinitatis lexicon, V 1871, p247. Cf. S. P. Festi De verborum significatione, ed. C. O. Müller, 1839, p273.
67 As Professor Postgate has pointed out (M. Annaei Lucani de b. c. lib. VII p. xxxix), when Stoffel insists that the Enipeus had no more water than a brook, he contradicts Frontinus and Lucan — 'two out of the three authorities on whom the identification [of the riuus with the Enipeus] is based' — who both affirm that it had overflowed its banks. Yet Stoffel himself says (Guerre civile, II.251) that when it is merely a question of reporting facts Lucan 'shows himself one of the most faithful of historians.'
69 The following are the streams which he did not name:— (1) the river (Dranse) which flowed past Octodurus (Martigny) into the Rhône (B. G. III.1, § 6); (2) the river (Stour) on the banks of which he defeated the Britons on the morning after his second landing in Britain (ib. V.9, § 3); (3) the riuus which he crossed when he was marching in 54 B.C. to relieve Quintus Cicero (ib. 49, § 5); (4) the river in crossing which Indutiomarus was killed (ib. 58, § 6); (5) the river near which Labienus defeated the Treveri (ib. IV.7, § 5); (6) the little stream at Avaricum (Bourges) (ib. VII.15, § 5); (8) the two streamlets that encompassed Alesia (Mont Auxois) (ib. 69, § 2); (8) the river Aternus, near Corfinium (B. C. I.16, § 2); (9) the riuus which bounded the camp of Scipio when he was threatened by Gnaeus Domitius (ib. III.37, § 3); (10) the rivulets near Dyrrachium (ib. 49, § 4); (11) the riuus whose identity we are discussing; and (12) the stream which washed the base of the hill on which the Pompeians, after the battle of Palaepharsalus, made their final stand.
70 B. G. VII.61, § 5. Cf. my Caesar's Conquest of Gaul, 1899, pp763‑5.
71 Mr. Perrin (American Journal of Philology, VI 1885, p186) argues that 'in Livy . . . who followed an account of the battle which certainly was not from so competent a witness as Caesar or Pollio [cf. H. Grohs, Der Werth des Geschichtwerkes des Cassius Dio, 1884, p69], there may have been expressions of local description which led Frontinus to call the stream covering Pompey's right the Enipeus:' at the same time he suggests (p189) that Frontinus's statement may be 'his own expansion and elucidation of Caesar's "riuus quidam impeditis ripis," '; but, as he reasonably adds, the Enipeus, being 'the main river of the scene . . . would naturally suggest itself to one indifferent about and ignorant of the exact geographical details.'
73 Travels in Northern Greece, IV 1835, pp481, 483.
74 Trans. Roy. Soc. of Literature, 2nd ser. IV 1853, p87.
75 Guerre civile, II p242.
76 Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.415.
77 Cf. B. G. I.21, § 1; 48, § 1; B. C. I.45, § 6.
78 Ib. III.84, § 2.
79 Cf. J. Kromayer, Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.409.
80 Röm. Gesch. III 1889, pp424 and note, 428. (Eng. trans. V 1894, pp258‑9, and note, 263.)
81 Guerre civile, II.252.
82 B. G. VII.35.
83 B. C. I.50.
84 Mommsen argues (Röm. Gesch. III 1889, p425, note) that 'the retreat at least of their centre and their right wing was not accomplished in such haste as to be impracticable under the given conditions,' but admits that the retreat of the left wing 'was not accomplished without severe loss.' But the infantry (B. C. III.94, § 2) fled all together.
85 B. C. III.84, § 2.
86 Ib. 88, § 1.
87 Dr. Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.406) says that M. Heuzey's estimate is too high, and that the Tabakhana is only about 2 metres broad.
88 Les opérations mil. de J. C. p132.
90 Ib. pp114, 116.
91 ὁ Καῖσαρ . . . τάφον ἐξαίρετον ἀνέστησεν ἐγγυς τοῦ πολυανδρίου (B. C. II.82).
92 Les opérations mil. de J. C. pp117‑8.
93 Ib. p133.
94 Ib. p134.
96 Ib. pl. VII. The only instance in the Pharsalian plain is that of the Aikli.
97 Ib. p135.
98 Cf. J. Kromayer, Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.413.
99 Ib. p412.
100 Stoffel affirms (Guerre civile, II.243) that at various points on the right of Pompey's alleged camp the slopes of the hill show traces of having been artificially scarped, which, if it is a fact, does not prove that the work was done by Pompey.
Guerre civile, II.244.
Ib. p250 and pl. 17.
Julius Caesar, 1892, p298, note.
M. Heuzey (Les opérations mil. de J. C. p131) denies that Karadja-Ahmet, surrounded as it is by the Enipeus, can have been the mons sine aqua; but this is hardly a valid objection. Karadja-Ahmet is a 'massif,' — a mountain mass; and the particular hill on which, according to Stoffel (pl. 17), the Pompeians were grouped when Caesar began to throw up an earthwork round it, is without water.
Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.417‑20, 424. Cf. W. Drumann, Gesch. Roms, ed. P. Groebe, III.751.
M. Heuzey (Les opérations mil. de J. C. p131), in criticizing Leake's theory, objects that Mount Krindir is 'covered by sharp rocks, which make it impossible to encamp there.' Dr. Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.417, n1), admitting that M. Heuzey's observations are correct in so far as they refer to the summit and north-eastern declivity of Krindir properly so called — the highest and northernmost of the three low hills which are known by that name — points out that on the smaller hills and the plateau-like saddle which connects them with each other and with Mount Sourla there is excellent camping-ground.
Dr. Kromayer (ib. p418), remarking that Pompey must have drawn his water-supply from the Enipeus, and must therefore have made arrangements for the protection of his water-carriers, argues that one of Plutarch's statements is explained by the hypothesis that Pompey's redoubts (castella [B. C. III.88, § 4]
102 Guerre civile, II.244.
103 Ib. p250 and pl. 17.
104 Julius Caesar, 1892, p298, note.
M. Heuzey (Les opérations mil. de J. C. p131) denies that Karadja-Ahmet, surrounded as it is by the Enipeus, can have been the mons sine aqua; but this is hardly a valid objection. Karadja-Ahmet is a 'massif,' — a mountain mass; and the particular hill on which, according to Stoffel (pl. 17), the Pompeians were grouped when Caesar began to throw up an earthwork round it, is without water.
105 Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.417‑20, 424. Cf. W. Drumann, Gesch. Roms, ed. P. Groebe, III.751.
106 M. Heuzey (Les opérations mil. de J. C. p131), in criticizing Leake's theory, objects that Mount Krindir is 'covered by sharp rocks, which make it impossible to encamp there.' Dr. Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.417, n1), admitting that M. Heuzey's observations are correct in so far as they refer to the summit and north-eastern declivity of Krindir properly so called — the highest and northernmost of the three low hills which are known by that name — points out that on the smaller hills and the plateau-like saddle which connects them with each other and with Mount Sourla there is excellent camping-ground.
Dr. Kromayer (ib. p418), remarking that Pompey must have drawn his water-supply from the Enipeus, and must therefore have made arrangements for the protection of his water-carriers, argues that one of Plutarch's statements is explained by the hypothesis that Pompey's redoubts (castella [B. C. III.88, § 4]) were in the plain between his camp and the river. Plutarch, as we have seen (p274, supra), says that the camp was close to marshy ground, and that Brutus escaped by a gate leading to a marshy spot full of water. Dr. Kromayer regards this statement as a proof that Brutus had encamped in the redoubt nearest to the river. But Plutarch does not say that Brutus had his own encampment close to marshy ground; he only says that the Pompeian encampment was so situated. Anyhow his statement is obviously consistent with the view that the battle-field was north of the Enipeus.
107 W. Drumann, Geschichte Roms, ed. P. Groebe, II.751, n4. Mr. A. G. Peskett (Class. Rev. XXI 1907, p187) pleads that the Enipeus 'might at one time be a raging torrent, at another a thread of water, in other words, it might at one time be a riuus, at another a flumen.' Surely not on the same day!
108 Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.411, n3.
111 See Dr. Kromayer's map (Karte 12).
112 L. Heuzey, Les opérations mil. de J. C. p105.
113 'Diese Überschreitung ist aber eine Unmöglichkeit, wenn der Feind so nahe im Nacken sitzt' (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.410).
114 Ib. p419.
115 Decline of the Roman Republic, V.221.
116 Caesars gall. Krieg, etc. Taf. XV Fig. 1. Virtually identical with von Göler's theory is that of Herr K. Seldner (Das Schlachtfeld von Pharsalos, 1883). This program is not mentioned in the British Museum catalogue; but its contents are summarised in Bursian's Jahresbericht, XXXVI 1885, p495.
117 Les opérations mil. de J. C. p125.
118 Ib. p126.
119 See A. Pitt-Rivers, Excavations in Cranborne Chase, I.27; II.56; III.3; IV.19‑20.
120 B. G. VII.35, § 1.
122 Les opérations mil. de J. C. p128.
123 Ib. p129.
124 Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.10. Dr. Kromayer's map misrepresents von Göler's meaning; for it would lead readers to believe that, according to von Göler, Pompey's army was drawn up across the riuus instead of resting its right wing upon it.
126 Cf. B. G. VI.34, § 2 (palus impedita); VII.19, § 1 (hunc [collem] ex omnibus fere partibus palus difficilis atque impedita cingebat non latior pedibus quinquaginta; VII.57, § 4 (is cum animadvertisset perpetuam esse paludem quae influeret in Sequanam atque illum omnem locum magnopere impediret.
If Caesar had been referring to the Enipeus, would he not have written altissimis atque praeruptissimis ripis? Cf. B. G. II.17, § 5; VI.7, § 5.
127 Dr. Kromayer means, as his plan (Karte 11) shows, undulating hills between the Larissa-Pharsalus road and Scotussa. He refers to Baron F. de Beaujour (Voyage mil. dans l'empire Othoman, I 1829, pp173‑4), who observes that 'Entre ces collines [those of "les monts Cynoscéphales"] se prolongent de petites vallées, qui resemblent de loin aux ondulations de la mer, quand elle est légèrement agitée.' Nevertheless the baron places the battle-field north of the Enipeus.
128 Dr. Kromayer also makes these objections against the theories of Leake and Mommsen.
129 In regard to Caesar's use of the word iugum see H. Meusel, Lex. Caes. II.388‑9. In B. G. VII.67, § 5, summum iugum was undoubtedly the ridge of very gently sloping heights little more than 40 metres above the plain. See my Caesar's Conquest of Gaul, 1899, pp780‑1, and C. Jullian's Vercingétorix, 1902, pp379‑82.
130 B. G. VII.62, § 9.
131 See n127, supra.º M. Heuzey's plan (Pl. VII) shows no rivulet on the northern bank which can possibly be identified with Caesar's riuus except that of Orman-Magoula. Stoffel's (Pl. 17) shows two small riui east and west of the Larissa-Pharsalus road and both within less than a quarter of a mile of it, but not flowing into the Enipeus. In Kiepert's Formae orbis antiqui (XV) only the western of these is traced, entering the Enipeus a little more than half a mile west of the road; and the same remark is applicable to Dr. Kromayer's Karte 11, which is based upon the latest information available (see Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.447‑8). Stoffel also shows two tiny rivulets terminating abruptly on the lowest slopes of the heights which ascend towards Scotussa and respectively about one mile five furlongs and two miles and a half east of the Orman-Magoula rivulet; while a rivulet which flows south of the Orman-Magoula railway station and joins the Orman-Magoula rivulet just north of the Enipeus and of the site which he selected for Pompey's camp is also marked in his map.
132 Les opérations mil. de J. C. p125.
134 Guerre civile, Pl. 17. Cf. J. Kromayer, Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. Karte 11.
135 Cf. B. G. VII.58, § 1.
136 It might conceivably be argued, against Sir William Napier, that Caesar would have refrained from opposing Pompey's passage of the Enipeus because he felt confident of being able to defeat him more decisively in a pitched battle. But would Pompey have reckoned upon such forbearance?
137 I need hardly say, however, that if they had done so they would have been intercepted long before they could reach Larissa.
138 Unless the river was in flood, in which case no one will argue that they would have dreamed of crossing it.
139 M. Heuzey thinks (Les opérations mil. de J. C. p113) that 'in a highly cultivated district, where the soil is annually disturbed by the plough, it would be impossible to reckon seriously upon the discovery of any material trace of the camps.' But such traces would be visible below the 'terre végétale,' which alone would be disturbed by the plough. See Stoffel, Guerre civile, II.243, and my Caesar's Conquest of Gaul, 1899, pp. xxviii‑xxx.
140 Dr. Kromayer (Antike Schlachtfelder, etc. II.421, n2) thinks that it would be worth while to excavate the two tumuli which are respectively one kilometre north-east of Fersala and one kilometre and a half north-west of Krindir, one of which, he suggests, may be the πολυάνδριον mentioned by Appian (B. C. II.82).
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 18 Jun 11