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Bill Thayer

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Chapters 79‑86

This webpage reproduces part of
The African War

by an unknown writer, attached to the name of
Julius Caesar

Loeb Classical Library

The text is in the public domain.

This text has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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African War

 p283  [Chapters 87‑98]

87 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile those horsemen of Scipio's who had escaped from the battle were proceeding in the direction of Utica when they came to the town of Parada. Being refused admittance by the inhabitants — for the tidings of Caesar's victory had preceded them — they gained possession of the town by force; then, making a pile of faggots in the middle of the market-place and heaping on top all the inhabitants' possessions, they set fire to it and then flung into the flames, alive and bound, the inhabitants of the town themselves, irrespective of rank or age, thereby meting out to them the most cruel of all punishments. Whereupon they came straight to Utica. Now early on M. Cato had come to the conclusion that on account of the benefit they had received from the Julian law1 the men of Utica were but luke-warm supporters of his cause; and so he had expelled the unarmed mob from the town, built a concentration camp in front of the military gate, protected by quite a shallowish trench, and forced them to live there cordoned off by sentries. As for the town's senate, he kept it under restraint. This concentration camp of theirs Scipio's horsemen now attacked and began to storm, for the very reason that they knew that its occupants had been adherents of Caesar's side; and if they massacred them their destruction might serve to avenge their own sense of disappointment. But the people of Utica, emboldened as a result of Caesar's victory, drove back the horsemen with stones and clubs. And so, finding it impossible to gain possession of the camp, the  p285 horsemen hurled themselves upon the town of Utica, where they massacred many of the inhabitants and stormed and looted their houses. As Cato could not persuade them by any means to join him in defending the town or cease from their butchery and pillaging, and as he was aware of their intentions, he distributed a hundred sesterces to each of them by way of appeasing their wanton attitude. Faustus Sulla followed suit and bribed them out of his own pocket; he then left Utica with them and proceeded on his way to Juba's kingdom.

88 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile a considerable number of the fugitives reached Utica. All these, together with the Three Hundred,2 who had contributed money to Scipio for the prosecution of the war, Scipio now called together and urged them to set their slaves at liberty and defend the town. On perceiving that, while some of them agreed with him, others were thoroughly scared at heart and had set their minds on flight, he refrained from further mention of the subject and assigned ships to the latter to enable them to leave for the destination of their individual choice. As for himself, having made all arrangements with the greatest care and entrusted his children to L. Caesar, who at the time was acting as his quaestor, he retired to bed without arousing any suspicions, there being nothing unusual either about the way he looked or the way he talked; and then, having secretly smuggled a dagger into his bedroom, he accordingly stabbed himself. He had collapsed but was still breathing when his doctor and some members of his household, suspecting something amiss, forced their way into the bedroom and proceeded to staunch and bind up the wound; but with his own hands he  p287 tore it open with utter ruthlessness and resolutely made an end of himself. Despite their hatred of him on party grounds, yet, on account of his unique integrity, and because he had proved so very different from the other leaders and had fortified Utica with wonderful defences and extended its battlements, the men of Utica accorded him burial. After Cato's suicide L. Caesar, intending to turn this incident somehow to his personal advantage, delivered a speech to the assembled people in which he urged them all to open their gates, saying that he set great store by C. Caesar's clemency. Accordingly, the gates were thrown open and he came out from Utica and set forth to meet Caesar, the commander-in‑chief. Messalla arrived at Utica in accordance with his instructions and posted guards at all the gates.

89 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Caesar meanwhile advanced from Thapsus and arrived at Usseta, where Scipio had kept a large quantity of stores including, amongst other things, corn,º arms and weapons: there was almost the same small garrison force. Of this arsenal he gained possession on his arrival, and then came to Hadrumetum. Entering this town without opposition, he made an inventory of the arms, corn and money in it, and spared the lives of Q. Ligarius and C. Considius, the son, both of whom were present at that time. Then, quitting Hadrumetum the same day and leaving Livineius Regulus behind there with a legion he hastened on to Utica. On the way he was met by L. Caesar, who incontinently threw himself at his feet and prayed him for one boon, for one alone — to spare him his life. Caesar readily granted him this boon — an act which accorded both with his natural temperament and principles; and in the same way  p289 he followed the normal procedure in sparing the lives of Caecina, C. Ateius, P. Atrius, L. Cella (both father and son), M. Eppius, M. Aquinus, as well as Cato's son and the children of Damasippus. He then arrived at Utica when it was just about dusk and spent that night outside the town.

90 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Early the following morning he entered the town and summoned an assembly, at which he addressed the citizens of Utica in a stirring speech and thanked them for the zealous support they had given him. As, however, for the Roman citizens who were engaged in trade and those members of the Three Hundred who had contributed sums of money to Varus and Scipio, he brought a very detailed accusation against them and dilated at some length upon their crimes, but finally announced that they could come out into the open without fear: their lives at any rate he would spare: their property indeed he would sell, yet on the following condition, that if any man among them personally brought in his own property, he himself would duly register the sale of the property and enter up the money paid under the heading of a fine, so as to enable the man in question to enjoy full security thereafter. For these men, pale with fear and, considering their deserts, with little hope of saving their lives, here was an unexpected offer of salvation. Gladly and eagerly they accepted the terms and besought Caesar to fix a lump sum of money to be paid by the entire Three Hundred as a whole. Accordingly, he required them to pay to the Roman people the sum of two hundred million sesterces in six instalments spread over three years; and this they accepted gladly and without a single murmur, expressing their gratitude to  p291 Caesar and declaring that this day finally marked for them the start of a new life.

91 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile king Juba had fled from the battle and, accompanied by Petreius, by lying up in farms by day and travelling by night, arrived at length in his kingdom and came to the town of Zama. In this town he had his own residence and his wives and children; and it was here he had collected all his money and most precious possessions from all over his kingdom, having fortified the town at the outset of hostilities with very strong defences. But the townsfolk, who had already heard the much-desired tidings of Caesar's victory, refused him admittance on the following grounds: when he entered upon hostilities with the Roman people he had collected a mass of wooden billets and built a vast pyre in the town of Zama in the middle of the market-place, so that, should it so chance he was beaten in the war, he might pile all his possessions on it, then massacre all his citizens and fling them also on to it, set it alight, and then finally slay himself on top of it, and thus be consumed by fire along with his children, wives, citizens, and the entire royal treasure. For a long time Juba earnestly treated with the men of Zama before the gates of the town, employing threats in the first place, as his authority warranted; secondly, realising that he was making but little headway, he besought them with entreaties to let him have access to his own hearth and home; and thirdly, when he observed that they persisted in their determination, and that neither threats nor entreaties on his part had any effect upon them or disposed them the more to admit him, he begged them to hand over to him his wives and children, so  p293 that he could carry them away with him. On observing that the townsfolk vouchsafed him no answer at all he left Zama without gaining any satisfaction from them, and then betook himself to a country residence of his, attended by M. Petreius and a few horsemen.

92 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Whereupon the men of Zama sent envoys to Caesar at Utica to discuss this situation, asking him to send them help before the king should collect a force and attack them: at all events, they said, they were prepared to preserve the town and themselves for him so long as the breath of life remained in them. Caesar congratulated the envoys and bade them return home: he would follow them, and they must make known his coming in advance. He himself left Utica the following day with his cavalry and proceeded with despatch into the royal territory. Meanwhile in the course of his march there came to Caesar several leaders of the royal forces, who begged him to forgive them. To these suppliants he granted pardon, and then came to Zama. Meanwhile the tidings of his leniency and clemency had spread abroad, with the result that practically all the horsemen in the kingdom came to Caesar at Zama; and there they were set free by him from their fears and the danger which involved them.

93 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] During the course of these proceedings on either side Considius, who was in command at Thysdra and was accompanied by his household slaves, a bodyguard of gladiators and some Gaetulians, learned of the massacre of his comrades; and being seriously perturbed by the arrival of Domitius and his legions, and despairing of saving his life, he abandoned the town, made a secret withdrawal with a handful of his  p295 foreign troops and a large sum of money, and beat a hasty retreat to Juba's kingdom. But while he was on the road the Gaetulians who bore him company cut him down in their impatience to loot his treasure, and then made off, as best they could, in various directions. Meanwhile C. Vergilius, who was cut off alike by land and sea, perceived that he was making no progress: that M. Cato had taken his own life at Utica: that the king was a wanderer at large, abandoned by his subjects and held in universal contempt: that Saburra and his troops had been destroyed by Sittius: that Caesar had been received without opposition at Utica; and that out of all that vast army there was nothing left whatever. For his own part, therefore, he accepted the safeguard for himself and his children offered him by the pro‑consul Caninius, who was blockading him, and surrendered himself to the latter with all his effects and the town.

94 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile king Juba, outlawed by all his townships, despaired of saving his life. And so finally, after dining with Petreius, he fought a duel with him with swords, so as to create the impression that both had met a gallant death; and the sword of the stronger man, Juba, easily put an end to Petreius, his weaker adversary. Juba then endeavoured to run himself through the chest with his sword; but not being able to do it, he successfully entreated a slave of his to kill him, and so achieved his purpose.

95 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile P. Sittius had routed the army of Saburra, Juba's lieutenant, killing Saburra himself, and was marching with a small force through Mauretania to join Caesar when he happened to fall  p297 in with Faustus and Afranius, who were in command of the party — some thousand strong — with which they had plundered Utica, and were now making tracks for Spain. And so he promptly laid an ambush by night and attacked them at dawn. A few of the cavalry in their vanguard escaped; but all the rest were either killed or else they surrendered, and Sittius captured alive Afranius as well as Faustus with his wife and children. A few days later some disagreement arose in the army and Faustus and Afranius were killed. As for Pompeia and the children of Faustus, Caesar spared their lives and allowed them to retain all their property.

96 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile Scipio, Damasippus, Torquatus and Plaetorius Rustianus were making for Spain aboard some warships; and after a long and very stormy passage they were carried towards Royal Hippo, where P. Sittius had his fleet at that time. Outnumbered as they were by the latter, Scipio's vessels were surrounded and sunk; and Scipio and those I have just named perished aboard them.

97 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] Meanwhile at Zama Caesar held an auction of the royal property and sold the goods of those who, albeit Roman citizens, had borne arms against the Roman people. He bestowed rewards upon the inhabitants of Zama, who had adopted the policy of barring their gates to the king, farmed out the collection of the royal taxes, and turned the kingdom into a province. Then, leaving C. Sallustius behind there in military command with the powers of proconsul, he himself left Zama and returned to Utica. There he sold the property of those who had held military commands under Juba and Petreius, and exacted the following payments under the title of  p299 fines: from the men of Thapsus — two million sesterces; from their corporation — three million; likewise from the men of Hadrumetum — three million; and from their corporation — five million. But he protected their cities and property from all injury and looting. As for the inhabitants of Leptis, whose property had been plundered in former years by Juba but had been restored to them after the Senate had appointed arbitrators on receiving a deputation of theirs lodging a formal complaint, Caesar now required them to pay by way of fine three million pounds weight of oil annually, because at the beginning of the war in the course of disagreements among their leaders they had entered into an alliance with Juba, and had assisted him with arms, troops and money. The men of Thysdra — not a well-to‑do community — were fined a certain quantity of corn.

98 [Legamen ad paginam Latinam] After making these arrangements he went aboard his fleet at Utica on June 13th, and arrived two days later at Caralis in Sardinia. There he fined the men of Sulci one hundred thousand sesterces for having harboured Nasidius and his fleet and assisted him by supplying troops, and directed that they should pay as tax one‑eighth of their produce instead of one‑tenth. He also sold up the property of a few individuals. Then he embarked on June 27th, and leaving Caralis, sailed along the coast. Twenty-seven days later — for bad weather kept holding him up in the various ports — he arrived at the city of Rome.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Nothing is known of the details of this law, passed in his consulship in 59 B.C., as affecting the citizens of Utica.

[decorative delimiter]

2 Wealthy Roman citizens — bankers and traders — organised in an influential guild or corporation. Whether they formed the whole conventus or only the council of a larger corporation is not clear; nor is it certain, in view of the words eos qui inter CCC in ch. 90, whether they had all contributed funds to Scipio.

Page updated: 26 Jul 13