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II.23‑44

This webpage reproduces part of
Civil Wars

by
Julius Caesar

Loeb Classical Library
1914

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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III.31‑55

Caesar
Civil Wars

p197 Book III (chapters 1‑30)

1 Caesar as dictator presided over the elections and Julius Caesar and P. Servilius were created consuls this being the year in which the laws permitted Caesar to hold the consulship. On the conclusion of these proceedings, as credit throughout Italy was somewhat restricted and loans were not being repaid, he decided that arbitrators should be appointed to estimate the value of real and movable property as it had been before the war and that the creditors should be paid on that basis. He considered that this was the most suitable method at once of removing or diminishing the fear of that general repudiation of debts which is apt to follow war and civil strife and of maintaining the good faith of the debtors. Moreover, on motions brought before the people by the praetors and tribunes, he restored to their former rights persons who, in those critical times when Pompeius had kept in Rome a detachment of his troops as a bodyguard, had been convicted of bribery under the Pompeian law, and whose trials had been carried through, each in a single day, with one set of judges hearing the evidence and another voting on the issue. As these persons had offered themselves to him at the beginning of the civil war in case he should wish to use their services in the war, he accounted them as having been actually in his service since they had placed themselves at his disposal. p199For he had determined that they ought to be restored by a decision of the popular assembly rather than be supposed to be reinstated by his own act of kindness, his object being that he might not appear either ungrateful in the matter of returning a benefit, or too presumptuous in robbing the popular assembly of its right to confer a favour.

2 He allowed eleven days for carrying out these measures and for holding the Latin festival and all the elections. He then resigned the dictatorship, quitted the city, and went to Brundisium. He had ordered twelve legions and all the cavalry to come there. But he found only enough ships to allow of his transporting in the crowded space fifteen thousand legionary soldiers and five hundred horse. This alone hindered Caesar's speedy conclusion of the war. And even these forces were embarked below their full strength, for many had dropped out in all the Gallic wars, and the long march from Spain had taken off a large number, and the unwholesome autumn in Apulia and round Brundisium, after the extremely healthy districts of Gaul and Spain, had affected the whole army with weakness.

3 Pompeius, availing himself for the purpose of collecting forces of a whole year which had been free from war and without disturbance from an enemy, had gathered a large fleet from Asia and the Cyclades islands, from Corcyra, Athens, Pontus, Bithynia, Syria, Cilicia, Phoenice, Egypt; had contracted for the building of a large fleet wherever possible; had requisitioned a large sum of money from Asia, Syria, and all the kings, potentates, and tetrarchs, and from the free communities of Achaia; and had compelled the tax-farming associations of the provinces of which he was himself in control to pay over large sums.

p201 4 He had made up nine legions of Roman citizens: five from Italy, which he had conveyed across the sea; one of veterans from Cilicia, which, being formed out of two legions, he styled the Twin Legion; one from Crete and Macedonia out of veteran troops which, when disbanded by their former commanders, had settled in those provinces; two from Asia, for the levying of which the consul Lentulus had arranged. Besides, he had distributed among the legions by way of supplement a large number of men from Thessaly, Boeotia, Achaia, and Epirus. With these he had mixed men who had served under Antonius. Besides these he was expecting two legions with Scipio from Syria. He had archers from Crete and Lacedaemon, from Pontus and Syria and the other states, to the number of three thousand; also two cohorts, six hundred strong, of slingers, and seven thousand horsemen. Of these Deiotarus had brought six hundred Gauls, and Ariobarzanes five hundred from Cappadocia; Cotys had provided the same number from Thrace and had sent his son Sadala; from Macedonia there were two hundred under the command of Rhascypolis, a man of marked valour. The young Pompeius had brought with his fleet five hundred of the Gabinian troops from Alexandria, Gauls and Germans, whom A. Gabinius had left there with King Ptolomaeus on garrison duty. He had collected eight hundred from his own slaves and from his list of herdsmen. Tarcondarius Castor and Domnilaus had provided three hundred from Gallograecia; of these the one had come with his men, the other had sent his son. From Syria two hundred had been sent by Antiochus of Commagene, on whom Pompeius bestowed large rewards, and among them many mounted archers. To these Pompeius had added p203Dardani and Bessi, partly mercenaries, partly secured by his authority or influence, also Macedonians, Thessalians, and men of other nations and states, and had thus filled up the number stated above.

5 He had collected a very large quantity of cornº from Thessaly, Asia, Egypt, Crete, Cyrene, and other districts. He had made up his mind to winter at Dyrrachium, Apollonia, and all the coast towns, so as to prevent Caesar from crossing the sea, and for that reason had distributed his fleet all along the sea-coast. The young Pompeius was in command of the Egyptian ships, D. Laelius and G. Triarius of the Asiatic, C. Cassius of the Syrian, G. Marcellus, with G. Coponius, of the Rhodian, Scribonius Libo and M. Octavius of the Liburnian and Achaean fleet. M. Bibulus, however, was put in charge of the whole maritime operations and controlled everything; in him was centred the supreme command.

6 Caesar, as soon as he came to Brundisium, after haranguing the troops and bidding them, as they had almost reached the end of their toils and dangers, to leave with a quiet mind their slaves and baggage in Italy, and themselves embark, lightly equipped so that a larger number of men could be put on board, and to hope for everything from victory and his generosity, on their raising a unanimous shout that he should give such commands as he wished, and that whatever he commanded they would do with a quiet mind, on January 4 weighed anchor. Seven legions, as explained above, were on board. On the next day he touched land. Having found a quiet harbourage among the Ceraunian rocks and other dangerous places, and fearing all the ports, which he believed to be in the occupation of the enemy, he p205disembarked his troops at a place called Palaeste without damage to a single one of his ships.

7 Lucretius Vespillo and Minucius Rufus were at Oricum with eighteen Asiatic ships, of which they had been put in command by D. Laelius; and M. Bibulus was at Corcyra with a hundred and ten ships. But the former had not sufficient confidence in themselves to venture out of port, since Caesar had conveyed thither twelve warships in all to protect the coast: among them four decked ships; and Bibulus, having his ships disorganized and his rowers dispersed, did not come up in time, because Caesar was seen off the mainland before the report of his approach could in any way reach those districts.

8 The soldiers having been disembarked, the ships are sent back by Caesar to Brundisium the same night, so that the rest of the legions and the cavalry could be transported. Fufius Calenus, the legate, was set over this task, with orders to employ all speed in transporting the legions. But the ships, having started too late from the land and missed the night breeze, met with difficulties on their return. For Bibulus, having been informed at Corcyra of Caesar's approach, hoping to be able to fall in with some portion of the loaded ships, fell in with them empty; and coming across about thirty of them, he vented on them the rage caused by vexation at his own slackness, and burnt them all, slaying in the same fire crews and captains, hoping for the rest to be deterred by the greatness of the punishment. This business accomplished, he occupied with his fleets all the roadsteads and shores far and wide from the port of Saso to that of Curicum, and carefully disposing his outposts, himself lying on board, though the weather was very severe, not shirking any difficulty or duty, p207nor waiting for reinforcement if only he could come to the grapple with Caesar. . . .

9 On the departure of the Liburnian galleys from Illyricum M. Octavius comes to Salonae with the ships under his command. There he diverts Issa from its friendship with Caesar, stirring up the Dalmatians and the rest of the Barbarians. Failing to influence the Roman citizen body at Salonae, either by promises or by threatenings of peril, he set himself to besiege the town. Now, the town was strongly protected by the nature of its site and by a hill. But the Roman citizens, rapidly constructing wooden towers, protected themselves with them, and, being weak in resistance owing to their small numbers, worn out by constant wounds, betook themselves to the last resource of despair and armed all their grown-up slaves, and cut off the hair of all their women to make catapult ropes. Octavius, having ascertained their sentiments, surrounded the town with five camps and began to press the inhabitants at once by blockade and by siege operations. Prepared to endure everything they suffered most in the matter of the corn supply. To remedy this they sent envoys to Caesar and begged his aid. The rest of their troubles they endured by themselves as well as they could. And after a long interval, when the protracted siege had made the Octavians rather careless, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the hour of noon when the enemy had withdrawn, they placed their boys and women on the walls that no particular of their daily routine might be missed by the besiegers, and forming themselves into a band together with those whom they had just recently liberated, they burst into the nearest camp of Octavius. This being taken by storm, with a p209similar onset they attacked the second, then the third and fourth and the remaining one in its turn, and drove the men out of all the camps, and having slain a great number, forced the rest and Octavius himself to fly to the ships. Such was the end of the siege. And now winter was approaching, and Octavius, despairing of the siege of the town after receiving such heavy losses, retired to Dyrrachium to Pompeius.

10 We have shown that L. Vibullius Rufus, Pompeius' chief engineer, twice fell into the hands of Caesar and was released by him, once at Corfinium and a second time in Spain. In consideration of the benefits that he had conferred on him Caesar had decided that Vibullius was a suitable person to send with instructions to Gn. Pompeius, and he also understood that he had influence with Gn. Pompeius. Now this was the main purport of his instructions — that each of them ought to put an end to his obstinacy, lay down his arms, and no longer tempt fortune. Sufficiently serious losses had been incurred on both sides, which might serve them as a lesson and warn them to fear further mischances: Pompeius had been driven from Italy after the loss of Sicily and Sardinia and the two Spains, and one hundred and thirty cohorts of Roman citizens in Italy and Spain; he himself had suffered by the death of Curio and the disaster to the African army, and the surrender of Antonius and his troops at Curicta. So let them spare themselves and the republic, since by their own losses they were already a sufficient example to themselves of what fortune could do in war. This was the one time for treating of peace, when each had confidence in himself and both seemed on an equality. But if fortune should show but a little partiality to one of the two p211the one who should seem superior would not adopt terms of peace, nor would he who was sure that he would have everything be contented with an equal division. Conditions of peace should now be sought at Rome from the senate and the people, since it had not been possible to agree on them before. Meanwhile it ought to satisfy the republic and themselves if each should at once swear in a public assembly that he would disband his army within the next three days. If they laid aside their arms and gave up the reinforcements on which they now relied, each would necessarily be contented with the judgment of the people and the senate. That these proposals might be more easily approved by Pompeius, he said that he would disband all his land forces.

11 Vibullius, having disembarked at Corcyra, thought it no less necessary that Pompeius should be informed of the sudden approach of Caesar, that he might be able to take counsel thereon before they should begin to discuss the instructions, and so, continuing his journey night and day and changing horses at every town to gain speed, he hurried to Pompeius to announce Caesar's approach. Pompeius was at that time in Candavia, and was on his way from Macedonia to Apollonia and Dyrrachium to winter quarters. But, disturbed by the fresh crisis, he began to make for Apollonia by longer marches, lest Caesar should occupy the towns on the sea-coast. But Caesar, after landing his troops, set out for Oricum on the same day. When he had come there, L. Torquatus, who was in control of the town by Pompeius' order and had in it a garrison of Parthini, endeavoured to defend the town by closing the gates; but on his bidding the Greeks to mount the wall and take up arms and on their reusing to fight against the p213imperial power of the Roman people, while the townsmen also of their own accord attempted to admit Caesar, despairing of all aid he opened the gates and surrendered himself and the town to Caesar and was kept by him safe and unharmed.

12 On the recovery of Oricum Caesar with no interval of delay set out for Apollonia. Hearing of his approach, L. Staberius, who was in command there, began to collect a supply of water for the citadel, and to fortify it and to exact hostages from the inhabitants. But they refused to give them or to shut their gates against the consul, or to decide anything for themselves that should be contrary to the decision of the whole of Italy and of the Roman people. Having ascertained their sentiments, Staberius secretly fled from Apollonia. The inhabitants sent envoys to Caesar and admitted him into the town. Their lead was followed by the Byllidenses, the Amantini, and the rest of the neighbouring communities and the whole of Epiros, and sending envoys to Caesar they promised to do his bidding.

13 But Pompeius, when he learnt of what had happened at Oricum and Apollonia, fearing for Dyrrachium, hurried there, marching night and day. At the same time Caesar was said to be approaching, and so great a terror fell on the army of Pompeius, because their leader, joining night to day in his hurry, had never paused in his march, that nearly all the men from Epiros and the neighbouring districts abandoned the colours, many flung away their arms, and the march resembled a flight. But when Pompeius had halted near Dyrrachium and had ordered his camp to be measured out, his army being still in a state of panic. Labienus is the first to come forward and swear that he will not desert him and p215that he will undergo any hazard no matter what, that fortune may bestow on his leader. The rest of the legates swear the same oath; they are followed by the tribunes and centurions, and the whole army takes the same pledge. Caesar, finding himself forestalled in his march to Dyrrachium, stays his rapid advance and pitches his camp by the River Apsus, in the territory of the Apolloniates, that the communities which had deserved well of him might be protected by a garrison, and decides to wait there for the arrival of the rest of his legions from Italy and to winter in tents. Pompeius did the same, and, pitching his camp the other side of the River Apsus, conveyed thither all his forces and auxiliaries.

14 Calenus, having put on board his legions and cavalry at Brundisium as Caesar had ordered him, as far as his supply of ships allowed, weighed anchor, and when he had gone a little way from the port he received a dispatch from Caesar which informed him that all the harbours and shores were occupied by the fleets of the enemy. Learning this, he returns to the port and recalls all his ships. One of these, which kept on its way and did not attend to the command of Calenus, because it was without soldiers and was under private management, was carried to Oricum and attacked and taken by Bibulus, who inflicted punishment on slaves and freemen, even down to beardless boys, and killed them all without exception. Thus on a brief conjuncture and supreme moment of crisis hung the safety of the whole army.

15 Bibulus, as shown above, was with his fleet at Oricum, and just as he was excluding Caesar from the sea and the harbour, so he was himself being excluded from all landing in that district, for all p217the shores were occupied by Caesar with garrisons placed at intervals, nor was any opportunity given him of procuring wood or water, or of mooring his ships ashore. The position was one of great difficulty, as they were oppressed by extreme scarcity of necessaries, to such an extent that they were obliged to bring up by merchant-ships from Corcyra supplies of wood and water as of other stores, and it even happened at the same time that, experiencing rather rough weather, they were compelled to catch the night's moisture in the skins with which the ships were covered. Yet these difficulties they bore with patience and equanimity and thought it their duty not to expose their shores nor abandon their harbours. But being in such straits as I have explained, and Libo having joined Bibulus, both commanders held a colloquy from their ships with the legates M. Acilius and Statius Murcus, one of whom was in command of the walls of the town, the other of the land garrisons, stating that if opportunity is offered them they are willing to confer with Caesar on matters of the highest importance. To this they add a few words by way of confirming their action so that it might be evident that they were intending to treat about an arrangement. Meanwhile they demand a truce, and the others grant their request. For what they proposed seemed of importance, and they were aware that Caesar was particularly anxious for this, and something was thought to have been gained by the instructions of Vibullius.

16 Caesar, who had set out at that time with one legion to recover the more distant communities and to expedite the food supply, which he was finding insufficient, was at Buthrotum, a town over against Corcyra. There informed by letter by Acilius and p219Murcus about the demands of Libo and Bibulus he leaves his legion and himself returns to Oricum. On his arrival there they are invited to a conference. Libo comes out and makes excuses for Bibulus because he was of extremely passionate character and had also a private feud with Caesar contracted in his aedileship and praetorship. For this reason he said Bibulus had avoided a colloquy lest issues of the highest prospects and advantage should be hindered by his irascibility. He said that his own desire for a settlement and the laying down of arms was and always had been extreme, but that he had no influence in the matter, because by the advice of their council they had entrusted the entire control of war and everything else to Pompeius. But now that they had ascertained Caesar's demands they would send to Pompeius, and he would carry out the rest of the negotiations by himself with their encouragement. Meanwhile the truce should hold good till the messengers could return from Pompeius, and the one side should do no injury to the other. To this he adds a few words about the cause and about his own forces and auxiliaries.

17 Caesar did not consider at the time that any reply was needed to these remarks, nor do we now think that there is any sufficient reason for recording them. Caesar's demand was that he should be allowed to send envoys to Pompeius without danger, and that they should undertake that this should be done or should themselves receive the envoys and conduct them to him. As regards a truce, there was this distinction between them in their conduct of the war: they with their fleet were hindering his ships and reinforcements; he was preventing them from watering and from landing. If they desired any concession p221in this respect, let them make some concessions themselves about their surveillance by sea; if they retained that, he would retain his position also. Nevertheless it was possible, he said, to treat of an arrangement without making any such concessions, nor did these considerations hinder that treatment. Libo neither receives Caesar's envoys nor guarantees them from peril, but refers the whole question to Pompeius; one point he urges, about the truce, and contends for it with the utmost eagerness. And when Caesar understood that his whole speech was framed with a view to the present danger and the avoidance of want, and that he offered no prospect or proposal of peace, he returned to the consideration of his further plan of campaign.

18 Bibulus, being prevented from landing for many days and being attacked by a serious disease caused by cold and hard work, since he could not be successfully treated nor was willing to abandon the duty he had undertaken, failed to hold out against the severity of his illness. On his death the chief command fell to no one person, but each controlled his own fleet separately at his own discretion. After the tumult which had been aroused by the sudden approach of Caesar had quieted down, Vibullius, as soon as it seemed suitable, taking into his confidence Libo and L. Lucceius and Theophanes, whom Pompeius had been in the habit of consulting about his most important affairs, began to treat of Caesar's proposals. As soon as he had begun his discourse Pompeius interrupted him and prevented him from speaking further. "What," said he, "is the use of life or citizenship to me which I shall be supposed to hold by the bounty of Caesar? It will be impossible to remove this opinion when on the conclusion p223 of the war I shall be thought to have been fetched back to Italy from which I set out." Caesar learned of these doings from those who were present at the conversation. Nevertheless he endeavoured in other ways to treat of peace by means of conferences.

19 The River Apsus alone separated the two camps of Pompeius and Caesar and the men engaged in frequent conversations, nor meanwhile did a single missile cross the line, by a compact made between the speakers. Caesar sends his legate P. Vatinius to the bank of the river to urge points that seemed most conducive to peace and to exclaim frequently in a loud voice: "Should not citizens be permitted to send envoys in safety to their fellow-citizens about peace, a privilege granted even to fugitive slaves from the Pyrenean forests and to pirates, especially when their object is to prevent citizens from contending in arms against citizens?" Much he said in the suppliant tones that he was bound to use in the interests of his own and the general safety, and was heard in silence by both forces. A reply came from the other side that Aulus Varro professed his intention of coming to a conference the next day and considering with them how envoys could come safely and explain what they wanted, and a fixed time is arranged for this. And when they came on the next day, a great multitude came together from both sides, and there was great suspense about the result, and the minds of all seemed earnestly turned towards peace. From among this concourse Titus Labienus comes forward, who begins to talk and dispute with Vatinius, but says nothing about peace. A sudden shower of missiles from every quarter breaks off their discourse; protected by the arms of the soldiers, he avoided p225them, but many are wounded, among them Cornelius Balbus, M. Plotius, L. Tiburtius, and some centurions and soldiers. Then Labienus exclaimed: "Cease then to talk about a settlement, for there can be no peace for us till Caesar's head is brought in!"

20 About the same time the praetor M. Caelius Rufus, espousing the cause of the debtors, at the beginning of his magistracy placed his tribunal close to the chair of G. Trebonius, the city praetor, and promised to assist anyone who should appeal about the valuation and the payments to be fixed by an arbitrator, in accordance with Caesar's arrangements when present in Rome. But through the equitable decrees and humanity of Trebonius, who was of opinion that in this crisis law should be administered with clemency and moderation, it happened that none could be found to originate an appeal. For to make the excuse of poverty and to complain either of one's own calamities or of the calamitous times and to set forth the difficulties of sale is possible for a man of merely ordinary spirit, but for persons who admit their indebtedness to cling to the whole of their possessions, what an audacious, what a shameless spirit does that mark! And thus no one was found to make this demand. And so Caelius proved himself harder to deal with than the very persons whose interests were concerned; and, lest he should seem to have taken up a disgraceful cause to no purpose, his next step was to promulgate a law that the money owed shall be paid without accumulation of interest on that day six years.

21 As the consul Servilius with the rest of the magistrates opposed this, and Caelius effected less than he expected, to kindle general enthusiasm he p227cancelled his former law and promulgated two others one whereby he made a free gift of a year's rent of houses to the hirers, another authorizing a repudiation of debts; and when the mob made a rush at G. Trebonius and some persons were wounded, Caelius drove him from his tribunal. The consul Servilius brought a motion before the senate dealing with these events, and the senate decided that Caelius should be removed from the service of the state. In accordance with this decree the consul excluded him from the senate, and on his attempting to make a speech in public removed him from the platform. Deeply moved by the smart of his disgrace, he made a public pretence of going to Caesar, but secretly sent messages to Milo, who after the murder of Clodius had been condemned on that charge, and summoning him into Italy — because Milo, having given public shows on a large scale, had with him the residue of a school of gladiators — associated him with himself and sent him on in front to the Thurine district to raise the farmers. When he had himself reached Casilinum, and when at one and the same time his military standards and arms were seized at Capua and the gladiators, who were preparing the betrayal of the town, were seen at Naples, finding himself shut out from Capua by the detection of his designs and fearing danger, because the Roman citizen body, considering that he should be regarded as a public enemy, had taken up arms, he abandoned his design and turned aside from his journey.

22 Meanwhile Milo after sending dispatches round the municipal towns to the effect that in what he was doing he was acting by the order and authority of Pompeius, on instructions conveyed to him through Vibullius, began to stir up those whom he supposed to be p229oppressed by debt. When he could make no progress with them he let loose some slaves from their dungeons and began to besiege Cosa, in the Thurine district. There meeting with the praetor Q. Pedius at the head of a legion, he was struck by a stone from the wall and perished. And Caelius, setting forth, as he gave out, to Caesar, reached Thurii. There, on trying to tamper with certain inhabitants of the municipality and promising money to Caesar's Gallic and Spanish horsemen who had been sent there on garrison duty, he was killed by them. Thus the first outbreak of a serious movement, which kept Italy harassed by the burden of work imposed on the magistrates by the crisis, came promptly and easily to an end.

23 Libo, setting out from Oricum with the fleet of fifty ships under his command, came to Brundisium and occupied the island over against the port of Brundisium, because he thought it better to guard one place by which our men would necessarily have to go out than to keep all the shores and harbours closely blockaded. Approaching suddenly, he found some merchantmen; these he burned, and one loaded with corn he towed off, filling our men with great terror. Then landing by night some soldiers and archers, he dislodged the cavalry outpost and made such good use of the opportunities of his position that he sent a dispatch to Pompeius saying that, if he liked, he might order the rest of his ships to be beached and repaired, and that with his own fleet he would keep off Caesar's reinforcements.

24 Antonius was at that time at Brundisium; and having confidence in the valour of his soldiers, he protected with fascines and screens about sixty row-boats belonging to his large ships, and, putting picked men p231on board, stationed them singly at various places along the coast, and gave orders that two triremes which he had caused to be built at Brundisium should go out to the mouth of the harbour under the pretence of exercising the rowers. When Libo saw them advance so boldly he sent five quadriremes against them, hoping that they could be intercepted. On their approaching our ships, our veteran crews began to retreat to the harbour, while the foe, impelled by their zeal, incautiously followed. Then suddenly, the signal being given, the Antonian rowboats threw themselves on the foe from every side, and at the first onset captured one of these quadriremes with its rowers and fighting men and compelled the rest to a discreditable flight. In addition to this loss they were prevented from watering by horsemen stationed by Antonius along the sea-coast, and Libo, moved by this need and by his disgrace, departed from Brundisium and abandoned the blockade of our men.

25 Many months had now passed and winter was far advanced, yet his ships and legions did not come to Caesar from Brundisium. And in fact some opportunities for this seemed to Caesar to have been passed over, since steady winds had often blown by which, in his opinion, they should without fail have set their course. And the further this period of time extended the more keen were the officers of the enemy's fleet in their vigilance, and the greater confidence they had of stopping him. They were upbraided, too, by frequent letters from Pompeius urging them to hinder the rest of his forces, since they had not stopped Caesar on his first arrival, and every day they were expecting a more difficult season for transport, as the winds were slackening. Moved p233by these considerations, Caesar wrote in severer terms to his partisans at Brundisium, that when they got a suitable wind they should not let slip the opportunity of sailing, whether they were able to direct their course to the shores of the Apolloniates or to those of the Labeates, and run their ships ashore there. These places were mostly out of the range of observation of the enemy's fleet, because they did not venture to trust themselves too far from the harbours.

26 Displaying audacity and valour, with M. Antonius and Fufius Calenus directing operations, and the soldiers themselves giving much encouragement and refusing no danger for Caesar's safety, they weigh anchor with a south wind, and on the second day sail past Apollonia. When they had been seen from the mainland, Coponius, who was at Dyrrachium in command of the Rhodian fleet, leads his ships out of port, and when on the wind falling light he had now approached near our force, the same south wind rose again and served to protect our side. Yet he did not on that account desist from his attempt, but kept hoping that even the violence of the storm could be overcome by the toil and perseverance of the sailors, and though we had been carried past Dyrrachium by the strong force of the wind, he none the less kept pursuing us. Our men, though experiencing the kindness of fortune, nevertheless feared an attack by the fleet in case the wind should drop. Coming to a harbour named Nymphaeum, three miles beyond Lissus, a harbour which was protected from the south-west wind but was not safe from the south, they took their ships in there, reckoning the danger from the storm less than that from the enemy's fleet. And as soon as they entered there, by an incredible p235piece of luck the south wind which had blown for two days changed into a south-west wind.

27 Herein might be seen the sudden shifting of fortune. Those who had lately been in fear for themselves were now sheltered by a perfectly safe harbour; those who had brought peril on our ships were forced to fear peril for themselves. And so by the change of circumstances the rough weather protected our ships and shattered the Rhodian vessels, so that the decked ships, numbering sixteen, were all without exception crushed and utterly wrecked; and of the large number of rowers and fighting men, some were dashed on the rocks and killed, others were dragged off by our men. All these Caesar saved and sent back home.

28 Two of our ships, overtaken by night owing to the slow progress of their course, not knowing what position the rest had taken, anchored opposite Lissus, and Otacilius Crassus, who was in command of Lissus, was preparing to capture these by sending against them a number of row-boats and other small craft; at the same time he was treating for the surrender of their crews, and promising them freedom from injury if they surrendered. One of these ships had taken on board two hundred and twenty men of the legion of recruits, the other rather less than two hundred from the veteran legion. Here might be learnt what security men derive from strength of mind. For the recruits, terrified by the number of the ships and exhausted by the rough water and seasickness, after receiving a solemn pledge that the enemy would do them no harm, surrendered themselves to Otacilius; and all of them, when brought to him, are most cruelly massacred before his eyes in violation of the sanctity of his oath. But the men of the veteran p237legion though equally distressed by the discomforts of the storm and the bilge-water, considered it their duty to relax nothing of their pristine valour, and, having spun out the first part of the night by treating of terms and making a pretence at surrender, compel their helmsman to run the ship aground, and themselves finding a suitable spot, finished the rest of the night there; and at early dawn, when about four hundred horsemen, who were guarding that part of the sea-coast, and others who had followed them under arms from the garrison, were sent against them by Otacilius, they defended themselves, and after slaying some of the foe retired unhurt on our force.

29 After this had taken place the corporation of Roman citizens who were in occupation of Lissus, a town which Caesar had previously made over to them and for the fortification of which he had arranged, admitted Antonius and assisted him in every way. Otacilius, fearing for himself, flies from the town and makes his way to Pompeius. Antonius, having disembarked all his forces, the sum of which consisted of three veteran legions and one of recruits and eight hundred cavalry, sends back most of his ships to Italy to transport the rest of his horse and foot, but leaves his pontoons, a kind of Gallic ship, at Lissus, intending that, if Pompeius, thinking Italy unguarded, should transport his army thither, as it was generally expected that he would, Caesar might have some means of going in pursuit; and he hastily sends him messages stating in what districts he had disembarked his army and what number of troops he had conveyed across.

30 Caesar and Pompeius become aware of this almost simultaneously. For they had themselves seen the p239ships sailing past Apollonia and Dyrrachium, as they had directed their march by land to follow them; but for the first few days they did not know whither their course had carried them. And when they had found this out they each adopted different plans, Caesar to unite himself as quickly as possible with Antonius, Pompeius to confront the approaching enemy on their march, in case he might be able to attack them unawares from an ambuscade; and on the same day they each led out their forces from their permanent camps, quitting the River Apsus, Pompeius secretly by night, Caesar openly by day. But Caesar had the longer journey up stream, with a larger circuit, to enable him to cross by a ford; Pompeius, since he had not to cross the river, his route being open, hastened by forced marches towards Antonius, and on learning of his approach, finding a suitable spot, stationed his forces there and kept all his men in camp, forbidding fires to be lighted that his arrival might be kept more secret. These facts are immediately reported to Antonius through some Greeks. He sent messengers to Caesar and kept his men one day in camp; on the next day Caesar reached him. On learning of his arrival, Pompeius, to escape being shut in by two armies, quits that spot and with all his forces arrives at Asparagium, a town of the Dyrrachians, and there pitches his camp in a suitable place.


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Page updated: 7 Feb 13