Caesar: A Sketch
by James Anthony Froude
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Antony's position was most dangerous, for Pompey's whole army lay between him and Caesar; but Caesar marched rapidly round Durazzo, and had joined his friend before Pompey knew that he had moved.

[Sidenote: May, B.C. 48.] Though still far outnumbered, Caesar was now in a condition to meet Pompey in the field, and desired nothing so much as a decisive action. Pompey would not give him the opportunity, and kept within his lines. To show the world, therefore, how matters stood between them, Caesar drew a line of strongly fortified posts round Pompey's camp and shut him in. Force him to surrender he could not, for the sea was open, and Pompey's fleet had entire command of it. But the moral effect on Italy of the news that Pompey was besieged might, it was hoped, force him out from his entrenchments. If Pompey could not venture to engage Caesar on his own chosen ground, and surrounded by his Eastern friends, his cause at home would be abandoned as lost. Nor was the active injury which Caesar was able to inflict inconsiderable. He turned the streams on which Pompey's camp depended for water. The horses and cattle died. Fever set in with other inconveniences. The labor of the siege was, of course, severe. The lines were many miles in length, and the difficulty of sending assistance to a point threatened by a sally was extremely great. The corn in the fields was still green, and supplies grew scanty. Meat Caesar's army had, but of wheat little or none; they were used to hardship, however, and bore it with admirable humor. They made cakes out of roots, ground into paste and mixed with milk; and thus, in spite of privation and severe work, they remained in good health, and deserters daily came into them.

So the siege of Durazzo wore on, diversified with occasional encounters, which Caesar details with the minuteness of a scientific general writing for his profession, and with those admiring mentions of each individual act of courage which so intensely endeared him to his troops. Once an accidental opportunity offered itself for a successful storm, but Caesar was not on the spot. The officer in command shrank from responsibility; and, notwithstanding the seriousness of the consequences, Caesar said that the officer was right.

[Sidenote: June, B.C. 48.] Pompey's army was not yet complete. Metellus Scipio had not arrived with the Syrian legions. Scipio had come leisurely through Asia Minor, plundering cities and temples and flaying the people with requisitions. He had now reached Macedonia, and Domitius Calvinus had been sent with a separate command to watch him. Caesar's own force, already too small for the business on hand, was thus further reduced, and at this moment there fell out one of those accidents which overtake at times the ablest commanders, and gave occasion for Caesar's observation, that Pompey knew not how to conquer.

There were two young Gauls with Caesar whom he had promoted to important positions. They were reported to have committed various peculations. Caesar spoke to them privately. They took offence and deserted. There was a weak spot in Caesar's lines at a point the furthest removed from the body of the army. The Gauls gave Pompey notice of it, and on this point Pompey flung himself with his whole strength. The attack was a surprise. The engagement which followed was desperate and unequal, for the reliefs were distant and came up one by one. For once Caesar's soldiers were seized with panic, lost their order, and forgot their discipline. On the news of danger he flew himself to the scene, threw himself into the thickest of the fight, and snatched the standards from the flying bearers. But on this single occasion he failed in restoring confidence. The defeat was complete; and, had Pompey understood his business, Caesar's whole army might have been overthrown. Nearly a thousand men were killed, with many field officers and many centurions. Thirty-two standards were lost, and some hundreds of legionaries were taken. Labienus begged the prisoners of Pompey. He called them mockingly old comrades. He asked them how veterans came to fly. They were led into the midst of the camp and were all killed.

Caesar's legions had believed themselves invincible. The effect of this misfortune was to mortify and infuriate them. They were eager to fling themselves again upon the enemy and win back their laurels; but Caesar saw that they were excited and unsteady, and that they required time to collect themselves. He spoke to them with his usual calm cheerfulness. He praised their courage. He reminded them of their many victories, and bade them not be cast down at a misadventure which they would soon repair; but he foresaw that the disaster would affect the temper of Greece and make his commissariat more difficult than it was already. He perceived that he must adopt some new plan of campaign, and with instant decision he fell back upon Apollonia.

[Sidenote: July, B.C 48.] The gleam of victory was the cause of Pompey's ruin. It was unlooked for, and the importance of it exaggerated. Caesar was supposed to be flying with the wreck of an army completely disorganized and disheartened. So sure were the Pompeians that it could never rally again that they regarded the war as over; they made no efforts to follow up a success which, if improved, might have been really decisive; and they gave Caesar the one thing which he needed, time to recover from its effects. After he had placed his sick and wounded in security at Apollonia, his first object was to rejoin Calvinus, who had been sent to watch Scipio, and might now be cut off. Fortune was here favorable. Calvinus, by mere accident, learnt his danger, divined where Caesar would be, and came to meet him. The next thing was to see what Pompey would do. He might embark for Italy. In this case Caesar would have to follow him by Illyria and the head of the Adriatic. Cisalpine Gaul was true to him, and could be relied on to refill his ranks. Or Pompey might pursue him in the hope to make an end of the war in Greece, and an opportunity might offer itself for an engagement under fairer terms. On the whole he considered the second alternative the more likely one, and with this expectation he led his troops into the rich plains of Thessaly for the better feeding which they so much needed. The news of his defeat preceded him. Gomphi, an important Thessalian town, shut its gates upon him; and, that the example might not be followed, Gomphi was instantly stormed and given up to plunder. One such lesson was enough. No more opposition was ventured by the Greek cities.

[Sidenote: August 9, B.C. 48.] Pompey meanwhile had broken up from Durazzo, and after being joined by Scipio was following leisurely. There were not wanting persons who warned him that Caesar's legions might still be dangerous. Both Cicero and Cato had advised him to avoid a battle, to allow Caesar to wander about Greece till his supplies failed and his army was worn out by marches. Pompey himself was inclined to the same opinion. But Pompey was no longer able to act on his own judgment. The senators who were with him in the camp considered that in Greece, as in Rome, they were the supreme rulers of the Roman Empire. All along they had held their sessions and their debates, and they had voted resolutions which they expected to see complied with. They had never liked Pompey. If Cicero was right in supposing that Pompey meant to be another Sylla, the senators had no intention of allowing it. They had gradually wrested his authority out of his hands, and reduced him to the condition of an officer of the Senatorial Directory. These gentlemen, more especially the two late consuls, Scipio and Lentulus, were persuaded that a single blow would now make an end of Caesar. His army was but half the size of theirs, without counting the Asiatic auxiliaries. The men, they were persuaded, were dispirited by defeat and worn out. So sure were they of victory that they were impatient of every day which delayed their return to Italy. They accused Pompey of protracting the war unnecessarily, that he might have the honor of commanding such distinguished persons as themselves. They had arranged everything that was to be done. Caesar and his band of cutthroats were in imagination already despatched. They had butchered hitherto every one of them who had fallen into their hands, and the same fate was designed for their political allies. They proposed to establish a senatorial court after their return to Italy, in which citizens of all kinds who had not actually fought on the Senate's side were to be brought up for trial. Those who should be proved to have been active for Caesar were to be at once killed, and their estates confiscated. Neutrals were to fare almost as badly, Not to have assisted the lawful rulers of the State was scarcely better than to have rebelled against them. They, too, were liable to death or forfeiture, or both. A third class of offenders was composed of those who had been within Pompey's lines, but had borne no part in the fighting. These cold-hearted friends were to be tried and punished according to the degree of their criminality. Cicero was the person pointed at in the last division. Cicero's clear judgment had shown him too clearly what was likely to be the result of a campaign conducted as he found it on his arrival, and he had spoken his thoughts with sarcastic freedom. The noble lords came next to a quarrel among themselves as to how the spoils of Caesar were to be divided. Domitius Ahenobarbus, Lentulus Spinther, and Scipio were unable to determine which of them was to succeed Caesar as Pontifex Maximus, and which was to have his palace and gardens in Rome. The Roman oligarchy were true to their character to the eve of their ruin. It was they, with their idle luxury, their hunger for lands and office and preferment, who had brought all this misery upon their country; and standing, as it were, at the very bar of judgment, with the sentence of destruction about to be pronounced upon them, their thoughts were still bent upon how to secure the largest share of plunder for themselves.

The battle of Pharsalia was not the most severe, still less was it the last, action of the war. But it acquired a special place in history, because it was a battle fought by the Roman aristocracy in their own persons in defence of their own supremacy. Senators and the sons of senators; the heirs of the names and fortunes of the ancient Roman families; the leaders of society in Roman saloons, and the chiefs of the political party of the optimates in the Curia and Forum, were here present on the field; representatives in person and in principle of the traditions of Sylla, brought face to face with the representative of Marius. Here were the men who had pursued Caesar through so many years with a hate so inveterate. Here were the haughty Patrician Guard, who had drawn their swords on him in the senate-house, young lords whose theory of life was to lounge through it in patrician insouciance. The other great actions were fought by the ignoble multitude whose deaths were of less significance. The plains of Pharsalia were watered by the precious blood of the elect of the earth. The battle there marked an epoch like no other in the history of the world.

For some days the two armies had watched each other's movements. Caesar, to give his men confidence, had again offered Pompey an opportunity of fighting. But Pompey had kept to positions where he could not be attacked. To draw him into more open ground, Caesar had shifted his camp continually. Pompey had followed cautiously, still remaining on his guard. His political advisers were impatient of these dilatory movements. They taunted him with cowardice. They insisted that he should set his foot on this insignificant adversary promptly and at once; and Pompey, gathering courage from their confidence, and trusting to his splendid cavalry, agreed at last to use the first occasion that presented itself.

One morning, on the Enipeus, near Larissa, the 9th of August, old style, or toward the end of May by real time, Caesar had broken up his camp and was preparing for his usual leisurely march, when he perceived a movement in Pompey's lines which told him that the moment which he had so long expected was come. Labienus, the evil genius of the Senate, who had tempted them into the war by telling them that his comrades were as disaffected as himself, and had fired Caesar's soldiers into intensified fierceness by his barbarities at Durazzo, had spoken the deciding word: "Believe not," Labienus had said, "that this is the army which defeated the Gauls and the Germans. I was in those battles, and what I say I know. That army has disappeared. Part fell in action; part perished of fever in the autumn in Italy. Many went home. Many were left behind unable to move. The men you see before you are levies newly drawn from the colonies beyond the Po. Of the veterans that were left, the best were killed at Durazzo."

A council of war had been held at dawn. There had been a solemn taking of oaths again. Labienus swore that he would not return to the camp except as a conqueror; so swore Pompey; so swore Lentulus, Scipio, Domitius; so swore all the rest. They had reason for their high spirits. Pompey had forty-seven thousand Roman infantry, not including his allies, and seven thousand cavalry. Caesar had but twenty-two thousand, and of horse only a thousand. Pompey's position was carefully chosen. His right wing was covered by the Enipeus, the opposite bank of which was steep and wooded. His left spread out into the open plain of Pharsalia. His plan of battle was to send forward his cavalry outside over the open ground, with clouds of archers and slingers, to scatter Caesar's horse, and then to wheel round and envelop his legions. Thus he had thought they would lose heart and scatter at the first shock. Caesar had foreseen what Pompey would attempt to do. His own scanty cavalry, mostly Gauls and Germans, would, he well knew, be unequal to the weight which would be thrown on them. He had trained an equal number of picked active men to fight in their ranks, and had thus doubled their strength. Fearing that this might be not enough, he had taken another precaution. The usual Roman formation in battle was in triple line. Caesar had formed a fourth line of cohorts specially selected to engage the cavalry; and on them, he said, in giving them their instructions, the result of the action would probably depend.

Pompey commanded on his own left with the two legions which he had taken from Caesar; outside him on the plain were his flying companies of Greeks and islanders, with the cavalry covering them. Caesar, with his favorite 10th, was opposite Pompey. His two faithful tribunes, Mark Antony and Cassius Longinus, led the left and centre. Servilia's son, Marcus Brutus, was in Pompey's army. Caesar had given special directions that Brutus, if recognized, should not be injured. Before the action began he spoke a few general words to such of his troops as could hear him. They all knew, he said, how earnestly he had sought for peace, how careful he had always been of his soldiers' lives, how unwilling to deprive the State of the services of any of her citizens, to whichever party they might belong. Crastinus, a centurion, of the 10th legion, already known to Caesar for his gallantry, called out, "Follow me, my comrades, and strike, and strike home, for your general. This one battle remains to be fought, and he will have his rights and we our liberty. General," he said, looking to Caesar, "I shall earn your thanks this day, dead or alive."

Pompey had ordered his first line to stand still to receive Caesar's charge.[5] They would thus be fresh, while the enemy would reach them exhausted—a mistake on Pompey's part, as Caesar thought; "for a fire and alacrity," he observes, "is kindled in all men when they meet in battle, and a wise general should rather encourage than repress their fervor."

The signal was given. Caesar's front rank advanced running. Seeing the Pompeians did not move, they halted, recovered breath, then rushed on, flung their darts, and closed sword in hand. At once Pompey's horse bore down, outflanking Caesar's right wing, with the archers behind and between them raining showers of arrows. Caesar's cavalry gave way before the shock, and the outer squadrons came wheeling round to the rear, expecting that there would be no one to encounter them. The fourth line, the pick and flower of the legions, rose suddenly in their way. Surprised and shaken by the fierceness of the attack on them, the Pompeians turned, they broke, they galloped wildly off. The best cavalry in those Roman battles were never a match for infantry when in close formation, and Pompey's brilliant squadrons were carpet-knights from the saloon and the circus. They never rallied, or tried to rally; they made off for the nearest hills. The archers were cut to pieces; and the chosen corps, having finished so easily the service for which they had been told off, threw themselves on the now exposed flank of Pompey's left wing. It was composed, as has been said, of the legions which had once been Caesar's, which had fought under him at the Vingeanne and at Alesia. They ill liked, perhaps, the change of masters, and were in no humor to stand the charge of their old comrades coming on with the familiar rush of victory. Caesar ordered up his third line, which had not yet been engaged; and at once on all sides Pompey's great army gave way, and fled. Pompey himself, the shadow of his old name, long harasssd out of self-respect by his senatorial directors, a commander only in appearance, had left the field in the beginning of the action. He had lost heart on the defeat of the cavalry, and had retired to his tent to wait the issue of the day.

The stream of fugitives pouring in told him too surely what the issue had been. He sprang upon his horse and rode off in despair. His legions were rushing back in confusion. Caesar, swift always at the right moment, gave the enemy no leisure to re-form, and fell at once upon the camp. It was noon, and the morning had been sultry; but heat and weariness were forgotten in the enthusiasm of a triumph which all then believed must conclude the war. A few companies of Thracians, who had been left on guard, made a brief resistance, but they were soon borne down. The beaten army, which a few hours before were sharing in imagination the lands and offices of their conquerors, fled out through the opposite gates, throwing away their arms, flinging down their standards, and racing, officers and men, for the rocky hills which at a mile's distance promised them shelter.

The camp itself was a singular picture. Houses of turf had been built for the luxurious patricians, with ivy trained over the entrances to shade their delicate faces from the summer sun; couches had been laid out for them to repose on after their expected victory; tables were spread with plate and wines, and the daintiest preparations of Roman cookery. Caesar commented on the scene with mournful irony. "And these men," he said, "accused my patient, suffering army, which had not even common necessaries, of dissoluteness and profligacy!"

Two hundred only of Caesar's men had fallen. The officers had suffered most. The gallant Crastinus, who had nobly fulfilled his promise, had been killed, among many others, in opening a way for his comrades. The Pompeians, after the first shock, had been cut down unresisting. Fifteen thousand of them lay scattered dead about the ground. There were few wounded in these battles. The short sword of the Romans seldom left its work unfinished.

"They would have it so," Caesar is reported to have said, as he looked sadly over the littered bodies in the familiar patrician dress.[6] "After all that I had done for my country, I, Caius Caesar, should have been condemned by them as a criminal if I had not appealed to my army."

[Sidenote: B.C. 48.] But Caesar did not wait to indulge in reflections. His object was to stamp the fire out on the spot, that it might never kindle again. More than half the Pompeians had reached the hills and were making for Larissa. Leaving part of his legions in the camp to rest, Caesar took the freshest the same evening, and by a rapid march cut off their line of retreat. The hills were waterless, the weather suffocating. A few of the guiltiest of the Pompeian leaders, Labienus, Lentulus, Afranius, Petreius, and Metellus Scipio (Cicero and Cato had been left at Durazzo), contrived to escape in the night. The rest, twenty-four thousand of them, surrendered at daylight. They came down praying for mercy, which they had never shown, sobbing out their entreaties on their knees that the measure which they had dealt to others might not be meted out to them. Then and always Caesar hated unnecessary cruelty, and never, if he could help it, allowed executions in cold blood. He bade them rise, said a few gentle words to relieve their fears, and sent them back to the camp. Domitius Ahenobarbus, believing that for him at least there could be no forgiveness, tried to escape, and was killed. The rest were pardoned.

So ended the battle of Pharsalia. A hundred and eighty standards were taken and all the eagles of Pompey's legions. In Pompey's own tent was found his secret correspondence, implicating persons, perhaps, whom Caesar had never suspected, revealing the mysteries of the past three years. Curiosity and even prudence might have tempted him to look into it. His only wish was that the past should be forgotten: he burnt the whole mass of papers unread.

Would the war now end? That was the question. Caesar thought that it would not end as long as Pompey was at large. The feelings of others may be gathered out of abridgments from Cicero's letters:

Cicero to Plancius.[7]

"Victory on one side meant massacre, on the other slavery. It consoles me to remember that I foresaw these things, and as much feared the success of our cause as the defeat of it. I attached myself to Pompey's party more in hope of peace than from desire of war; but I saw, if we had the better, how cruel would be the triumph of an exasperated, avaricious, and insolent set of men; if we were defeated, how many of our wealthiest and noblest citizens must fall. Yet when I argued thus and offered my advice I was taunted for being a coward."

Cicero to Caius Cassius.[8]

"We were both opposed to a continuance of the war [after Pharsalia]. I, perhaps, more than you; but we agreed that one battle should be accepted as decisive, if not of the whole cause, yet of our own judgment upon it. Nor were there any who differed from us save those who thought it better that the Constitution should be destroyed altogether than be preserved with diminished prerogatives. For myself I could hope nothing from the overthrow of it, and much if a remnant could be saved.... And I thought it likely that, after that decisive battle, the victors would consider the welfare of the public, and that the vanquished would consider their own."

To Varro.[9]

"You were absent [at the critical moment]. I for myself perceived that our friends wanted war, and that Caesar did not want it, but was not afraid of it. Thus much of human purpose was in the matter. The rest came necessarily; for one side or the other would, of course, conquer. You and I both grieved to see how the State would suffer from the loss of either army and its generals; we knew that victory in a civil war was itself a most miserable disaster. I dreaded the success of those to whom I had attached myself. They threatened most cruelly those who had stayed quietly at home. Your sentiments and my speeches were alike hateful to them. If our side had won, they would have shown no forbearance."

To Marcus Marius.[10]

"When you met me on the 13th of May (49), you were anxious about the part which I was to take. If I stayed in Italy, you feared that I should be wanting in duty. To go to the war you thought dangerous for me. I was myself so disturbed that I could not tell what it was best for me to do. I consulted my reputation, however, more than my safety; and if I afterwards repented of my decision it was not for the peril to myself, but on account of the state of things which I found on my arrival at Pompey's camp. His forces were not very considerable, nor good of their kind. For the chiefs, if I except the general and a few others, they were rapacious in their conduct of the war, and so savage in their language that I dreaded to see them victorious. The most considerable among them were overwhelmed with debt. There was nothing good about them but their cause. I despaired of success and recommended peace. When Pompey would not hear of it, I advised him to protract the war. This for the time he approved, and he might have continued firm but for the confidence which he gathered from the battle at Durazzo. From that day the great man ceased to be a general. With a raw and inexperienced army he engaged legions in perfect discipline. On the defeat he basely deserted his camp and fled by himself. For me this was the end: I retired from a war in which the only alternatives before me were either to be killed in action or be taken prisoner, or fly to Juba in Africa, or hide in exile, or destroy myself."

To Caecina.[11]

"I would tell you my prophecies but that you would think I had made them after the event. But many persons can bear me witness that I first warned Pompey against attaching himself to Caesar, and then against quarrelling with him. Their union (I said) had broken the power of the Senate; their discord would cause a civil war. I was intimate with Caesar; I was most attached to Pompey; but my advice was for the good of them both.... I thought that Pompey ought to go to Spain. Had he done so, the war would not have been. I did not so much insist that Caesar could legally stand for the consulship as that his name should be accepted, because the people had so ordered at Pompey's own instance. I advised, I entreated. I preferred the most unfair peace to the most righteous war. I was overborne, not so much by Pompey (for on him I produced an effect) as by men who relied on Pompey's leadership to win them a victory, which would be convenient for their personal interests and private ambitions. No misfortune has happened in the war which I did not predict."

[1] To Atticus, ix. 18.

[2] "Tullia bids me wait till I see how things go in Spain, and she says you are of the same opinion. The advice would be good, if I could adapt my conduct to the issue of events there. But one of three alternatives must happen. Either Caesar will be driven back, which would please me best, or the war will be protracted, or he will be completely victorious. If he is defeated, Pompey will thank me little for joining him. Curio himself will then go over to him. If the war hangs on, how long am I to wait? If Caesar conquers, it is thought we may then have peace. But I consider, on the other hand, that it would be more decent to forsake Caesar in success than when beaten and in difficulties. The victory of Caesar means massacre, confiscation, recall of exiles, a clean sweep of debts, every worst man raised to honor, and a rule which not only a Roman citizen but a Persian could not endure.... Pompey will not lay down his arms for the loss of Spain; he holds with Themistocles that those who are masters at sea will be the victors in the end. He has neglected Spain. He has given all his care to his ships. When the time comes he will return to Italy with an overwhelming fleet. And what will he say to me if he finds me still sitting here?—Let alone duty, I must think of the danger.... Every course has its perils; but I should surely avoid a course which is both ignominious and perilous also.

"I did not accompany Pompey when he went himself? I could not. I had not time. And yet, to confess the truth, I made a mistake which, perhaps, I should not have made. I thought there would be peace, and I would not have Caesar angry with me after he and Pompey had become friends again. Thus I hesitated; but I can overtake my fault if I lose no more time, and I am lost if I delay.—I see that Caesar cannot stand long. He will fall of himself if we do nothing. When his affairs were most flourishing, he became unpopular with the hungry rabble of the city in six or seven days. He could not keep up the mask. His harshness to Metellus destroyed his credit for clemency, and his taking money from the treasury destroyed his reputation for riches.

"As to his followers, how can men govern provinces who cannot manage their own affairs for two months together? Such a monarchy could not last half a year. The wisest men have miscalculated.... If that is my case, I must bear the reproach ... but I am sure it will be as I say. Caesar will fall, either by his enemies or by himself, who is his worst enemy.... I hope I may live to see it, though you and I should be thinking more of the other life than of this transitory one: but so it come, no matter whether I see it or foresee it."—To Atticus, x. 8.

[3] "Nam hic nunc praeter foeneratores paucos nec homo nec ordo quisquam est nisi Pompeianus. Equidem jam effeci ut maxime plebs et qui antea noster fuit populus vester esset."—Caelius to Cicero, Ad Fam., viii. 71.

[4] Caesar says nothing of his putting to sea in a boat, meaning to go over in person, and being driven back by the weather. The story is probably no more than one of the picturesque additions to reality made by men who find truth too tame for them.

[5] I follow Caesar's own account of the action. Appian is minutely circumstantial, and professes to describe from the narratives of eye- witnesses. But his story varies so far from Caesar's as to be irreconcilable with it, and Caesar's own authority is incomparably the best.

[6] Suetonius, quoting from Asinius Pollio, who was present at the battle.

[7] Ad Familiares, iv. 14.

[8] Ibid., xv. 15.

[9] Ad Fam., ix. 6.

[10] Ibid., vii. 3.

[11] Ad Fam., vi. 6.


The strength of the senatorial party lay in Pompey's popularity in the East. A halo was still supposed to hang about him as the creator of the Eastern Empire, and so long as he was alive and at liberty there was always a possibility that he might collect a new army. To overtake him, to reason with him, and, if reason failed, to prevent him by force from involving himself and the State in fresh difficulties, was Caesar's first object. Pompey, it was found, had ridden from the battlefield direct to the sea, attended by a handful of horse. He had gone on board a grain vessel, which carried him to Amphipolis. At Amphipolis he had stayed but a single night, and had sailed for Mitylene, where he had left his wife and his sons. The last accounts which the poor lady had heard of him had been such as reached Lesbos after the affair at Durazzo. Young patricians had brought her word that her husband had gained a glorious victory, that he had joined her father, Metellus Scipio, and that together they were pursuing Caesar with the certainty of overwhelming him. Rumor, cruel as usual,

Had brought smooth comforts false, worse than true wrongs.

Rumor had told Cornelia that Caesar had "stooped his head" before Pompey's "rage." Pompey came in person to inform her of the miserable reality. At Mitylene Pompey's family were no longer welcome guests. They joined him on board his ship to share his fortunes, but what those fortunes were to be was all uncertain. Asia had seemed devoted to him. To what part of it should he go? To Cilicia? to Syria? to Armenia? To Parthia? For even Parthia was thought of. Unhappily the report of Pharsalia had flown before him, and the vane of sentiment had everywhere veered round. The Aegean islands begged him politely not to compromise them by his presence. He touched at Rhodes. Lentulus, flying from the battlefield, had tried Rhodes before him, and had been requested to pass on upon his way. Lentulus was said to be gone to Egypt. Polite to Pompey the Rhodians were, but perhaps he was generously unwilling to involve them in trouble in his behalf. He went on to Cilicia, the scene of his old glory in the pirate wars. There he had meant to land and take refuge either with the Parthians or with one of the allied princes. But in Cilicia he heard that Antioch had declared for Caesar. Allies and subjects, as far as he could learn, were all for Caesar. Egypt, whither Lentulus had gone, appeared the only place where he could surely calculate on being welcome. Ptolemy the Piper, the occasion of so much scandal, was no longer living, but he owed the recovery of his throne to Pompey. Gabinius had left a few thousand of Pompey's old soldiers at Alexandria to protect him against his subjects. These men had married Egyptian wives and had adopted Egyptian habits, but they could not have forgotten their old general. They were acting as guards at present to Ptolemy's four children, two girls, Cleopatra and Arsinoe, and two boys, each called Ptolemy. The father had bequeathed the crown to the two elder ones, Cleopatra, who was turned sixteen, and a brother two years younger. Here at least, among these young princes and their guardians, who had been their father's friends, their father's greatest benefactor might count with confidence on finding hospitality.

For Egypt, therefore, Pompey sailed, taking his family along with him. He had collected a few ships and 2,000 miscellaneous followers, and with them he arrived off Pelusium, the modern Damietta. His forlorn condition was a punishment sufficiently terrible for the vanity which had flung his country into war. But that it had been his own doing the letters of Cicero prove with painful clearness; and though he had partially seen his error at Capua, and would then have possibly drawn back, the passions and hopes which he had excited had become too strong for him to contend against. From the day of his flight from Italy he had been as a leaf whirled upon a winter torrent. Plain enough it had long been to him that he would not be able to govern the wild forces of a reaction which, if it had prevailed, would have brought back a more cruel tyranny than Sylla's. He was now flung as a waif on the shore of a foreign land; and if Providence on each occasion proportioned the penalties of misdoing to the magnitude of the fault, it might have been considered that adequate retribution had been inflicted on him. But the consequences of the actions of men live when the actions are themselves forgotten, and come to light without regard to the fitness of the moment. The senators of Rome were responsible for the exactions which Ptolemy Auletes had been compelled to wring out of his subjects. Pompey himself had entertained and supported him in Rome when he was driven from his throne, and had connived at the murder of the Alexandrians who had been sent to remonstrate against his restoration. It was by Pompey that he had been forced again upon his miserable subjects, and had been compelled to grind them with fresh extortions. It was not unnatural under these circumstances that the Egyptians were eager to free themselves from a subjection which bore more heavily on them than annexation to the Empire. A national party had been formed on Ptolemy's death to take advantage of the minority of his children. Cleopatra had been expelled. The Alexandrian citizens kept her brother in their hands, and were now ruling in his name; the demoralized Roman garrison had been seduced into supporting them, and they had an army lying at the time at Pelusium, to guard against Cleopatra and her friends.

Of all this Pompey knew nothing. When he arrived off the port he learnt that the young king with a body of troops was in the neighborhood, and he sent on shore to ask permission to land. The Egyptians had already heard of Pharsalia. Civil war among the Romans was an opportunity for them to assert their independence, or to secure their liberties by taking the side which seemed most likely to be successful. Lentulus had already arrived, and had been imprisoned—a not unnatural return for the murder of Dion and his fellow-citizens. Pompey, whose name more than that of any other Roman was identified with their sufferings, was now placing himself spontaneously in their hands. Why, by sparing him, should they neglect the opportunity of avenging their own wrongs, and of earning, as they might suppose that they would, the lasting gratitude of Caesar? The Roman garrison had no feeling for their once glorious commander. "In calamity," Caesar observes, "friends easily become foes." The guardians of the young king sent a smooth answer, bidding Pompey welcome. The water being shallow, they despatched Achillas, a prefect in the king's army, and Septimius, a Roman officer, whom Pompey personally knew, with a boat to conduct him on shore. His wife and friends distrusted the tone of the reception, and begged him to wait till he could land with his own guard. The presence of Septimius gave Pompey confidence. Weak men, when in difficulties, fall into a kind of despairing fatalism, as if tired of contending longer with adverse fortune. Pompey stepped into the boat, and when out of arrow-shot from the ship was murdered under his wife's eyes. His head was cut off and carried away. His body was left lying on the sands. A man who had been once his slave, and had been set free by him, gathered a few sticks and burnt it there; and thus the last rites were bestowed upon one whom, a few months before, Caesar himself would have been content to acknowledge as his superior.

So ended Pompey the Great. History has dealt tenderly with him on account of his misfortunes, and has not refused him deserved admiration for qualities as rare in his age as they were truly excellent. His capacities as a soldier were not extraordinary. He had risen to distinction by his honesty. The pirates who had swept the Mediterranean had bought their impunity by a tribute paid to senators and governors. They were suppressed instantly when a commander was sent against them whom they were unable to bribe. The conquest of Asia was no less easy to a man who could resist temptations to enrich himself. The worst enemy of Pompey never charged him with corruption or rapacity. So far as he was himself concerned, the restoration of Ptolemy was gratuitous, for he received nothing for it. His private fortune, when he had the world at his feet, was never more than moderate; nor as a politician did his faults extend beyond weakness and incompetence. Unfortunately he had acquired a position by his negative virtues which was above his natural level, and misled him into overrating his capabilities. So long as he stood by Caesar he had maintained his honor and his authority. He allowed men more cunning than himself to play upon his vanity, and Pompey fell—fell amidst the ruins of a Constitution which had been undermined by the villanies of its representatives. His end was piteous, but scarcely tragic, for the cause to which he was sacrificed was too slightly removed from being ignominious. He was no Phoebus Apollo sinking into the ocean, surrounded with glory. He was not even a brilliant meteor. He was a weak, good man, whom accident had thrust into a place to which he was unequal; and ignorant of himself, and unwilling to part with his imaginary greatness, he was flung down with careless cruelty by the forces which were dividing the world. His friend Lentulus shared his fate, and was killed a few days later, while Pompey's ashes were still smoking. Two of Bibulus's sons, who had accompanied him, were murdered as well.

Caesar meanwhile had followed along Pompey's track, hoping to overtake him. In Cilicia he heard where he was gone; and learning something more accurately there of the state of Egypt, he took two legions with him, one of which had attended him from Pharsalia, and another which he had sent for from Achaia. With these he sailed for Alexandria. Together, so much had they been thinned by hard service, these legions mustered between them little over 3,000 men. The force was small, but Caesar considered that, after Pharsalia, there could be no danger for him anywhere in the Mediterranean. He landed without opposition, and was presented on his arrival, as a supposed welcome offering, with the head of his rival. Politically it would have been better far for him to have returned to Rome with Pompey as a friend. Nor, if it had been certain that Pompey would have refused to be reconciled, were services such as this a road to Caesar's favor. The Alexandrians speedily found that they were not to be rewarded with the desired independence. The consular fasces, the emblem of the hated Roman authority, were carried openly before Caesar when he appeared in the streets; and it was not long before mobs began to assemble with cries that Egypt was a free country, and that the people would not allow their king to be insulted. Evidently there was business to be done in Egypt before Caesar could leave it. Delay was specially inconvenient. A prolonged absence from Italy would allow faction time to rally again. But Caesar did not look on himself as the leader of a party, but as the guardian of Roman interests, and it was not his habit to leave any necessary work uncompleted. The etesian winds, too, had set in, which made it difficult for his heavy vessels to work out of the harbor. Seeing that troubles might rise, he sent a message to Mithridates of Pergamus,[1] to bring him reinforcements from Syria, while he himself at once took the government of Egypt into his hands. He forbade the Alexandrians to set aside Ptolemy's will, and insisted that the sovereignty must be vested jointly in Cleopatra and her brother as their father had ordered.[2]he cries of discontent grew bolder. Alexandria was a large, populous city, the common receptacle of vagabonds from all parts of the Mediterranean. Pirates, thieves, political exiles, and outlaws had taken refuge there, and had been received into the king's service. With the addition of the dissolute legionaries left by Gabinius, they made up 20,000 as dangerous ruffians as had ever been gathered into a single city. The more respectable citizens had no reason to love the Romans. The fate of Cyprus seemed a foreshadowing of their own. They too, unless they looked to themselves, would be absorbed in the devouring Empire. They had made an end of Pompey, and Caesar had shown no gratitude. Caesar himself was now in their hands. Till the wind changed they thought that he could not escape, and they were tempted, naturally enough, to use the chance which fate had given them.

Pothinus, a palace eunuch and one of young Ptolemy's guardians, sent secretly for the troops at Pelusium, and gave the command of them to Achillas, the officer who had murdered Pompey. The city rose when they came in, and Caesar found himself blockaded in the palace and the part of the city which joined the outer harbor. The situation was irritating from its absurdity, but more or less it was really dangerous. The Egyptian fleet which had been sent to Greece in aid of Pompey had come back, and was in the inner basin. It outnumbered Caesar's, and the Alexandrians were the best seamen in the Mediterranean. If they came out, they might cut his communications. Without hesitation he set fire to the docks; burnt or disabled the great part of the ships; seized the Pharos and the mole which connected it with the town; fortified the palace and the line of houses occupied by his troops; and in this position he remained for several weeks, defending himself against the whole power of Egypt. Of the time in which legend describes him as abandoned to his love for Cleopatra, there was hardly an hour of either day or night in which he was not fighting for his very life. The Alexandrians were ingenious and indefatigable. They pumped the sea into the conduits which supplied his quarters with water, for a moment it seemed with fatal effect. Fresh water was happily found by sinking wells. They made a new fleet; old vessels on the stocks were launched, others were brought down from the canals on the river. They made oars and spars out of the benches and tables of the professors' lecture rooms. With these they made desperate attempts to retake the mole. Once with a sudden rush they carried a ship, in which Caesar was present in person, and he was obliged to swim for his life.[3] Still, he held on, keeping up his men's spirits, and knowing that relief must arrive in time. He was never greater than in unlooked-for difficulties. He never rested. He was always inventing some new contrivance. He could have retired from the place with no serious loss. He could have taken to his ships and forced his way to sea in spite of the winds and the Alexandrians. But he felt that to fly from such an enemy would dishonor the Roman name, and he would not entertain the thought of it.

[Sidenote: B.C. 47.] The Egyptians made desperate efforts to close the harbor. Finding that they could neither capture the Pharos nor make an impression on Caesar's lines, they affected to desire peace. Caesar had kept young Ptolemy with him as a security. They petitioned that he should be given up to them, promising on compliance to discontinue their assaults. Caesar did not believe them. But the boy was of no use to him; the army wished him gone, for they thought him treacherous; and his presence would not strengthen the enemy. Caesar, says Hirtius, considered that it would be more respectable to be fighting with a king than with a gang of ruffians. Young Ptolemy was released, and joined his countrymen, and the war went on more fiercely than before. Pompey's murderers were brought to justice in the course of it. Pothinus fell into Caesar's hands, and was executed. Ganymede, another eunuch, assassinated Achillas, and took his place as commander-in-chief. Reinforcements began to come in. Mithridates had not yet been heard of; but Domitius Calvinus, who had been left in charge of Asia Minor, and to whom Caesar had also sent, had despatched two legions to him. One arrived by sea at Alexandria, and was brought in with some difficulty. The other was sent by land, and did not arrive in time to be of service. There was a singular irony in Caesar being left to struggle for months with a set of miscreants, but the trial came to an end at last. Mithridates, skilful, active, and faithful, had raised a force with extraordinary rapidity in Cilicia and on the Euphrates. He had marched swiftly through Syria; and in the beginning of the new year Caesar heard the welcome news that he had reached Pelusium, and had taken it by storm. Not delaying for a day, Mithridates had gone up the bank of the Nile to Cairo. A division of the Egyptian army lay opposite to him, in the face of whom he did not think it prudent to attempt to cross, and from thence he sent word of his position to Caesar. The news reached Caesar and the Alexandrians at the same moment. The Alexandrians had the easiest access to the scene. They had merely to ascend the river in their boats. Caesar was obliged to go round by sea to Pelusium, and to follow the course which Mithridates had taken himself. Rapidity of movement made up the difference. Taking with him such cohorts as could be spared from his lines, Caesar had joined Mithridates before the Alexandrians had arrived. Together they forced the passage; and Ptolemy came only for his camp to be stormed, his army to be cut to pieces, and himself to be drowned in the Nile, and so end his brief and miserable life.

Alexandria immediately capitulated. Arsinoe, the youngest sister, was sent to Rome. Cleopatra and her surviving brother were made joint sovereigns; and Roman rumor, glad to represent Caesar's actions in monstrous characters, insisted in after years that they were married. The absence of contemporary authority for the story precludes also the possibility of denying it. Two legions were left in Egypt to protect them if they were faithful, or to coerce them if they misconducted themselves. The Alexandrian episode was over, and Caesar sailed for Syria. His long detention over a complication so insignificant had been unfortunate in many ways. Scipio and Cato, with the other fugitives from Pharsalia, had rallied in Africa, under the protection of Juba. Italy was in confusion. The popular party, now absolutely in the ascendant, were disposed to treat the aristocracy as the aristocracy would have treated them had they been victorious. The controlling hand was absent; the rich, long hated and envied, were in the power of the multitude, and wild measures were advocated, communistic, socialistic, such as are always heard of in revolutions, meaning in one form or another the equalization of wealth, the division of property, the poor taking their turn on the upper crest of fortune and the rich at the bottom. The tribunes were outbidding one another in extravagant proposals, while Caesar's legions, sent home from Greece to rest after their long service, were enjoying their victory in the license which is miscalled liberty. They demanded the lands, or rewards in money, which had been promised them at the end of the war. Discipline was relaxed or abandoned. Their officers wore unable, perhaps unwilling, to control them. They, too, regarded the Commonwealth as a spoil which their swords had won, and which they were entitled to distribute among themselves.

In Spain, too, a bad feeling had revived. After Caesar's departure his generals had oppressed the people, and had quarrelled with one another. The country was disorganized and disaffected. In Spain, as in Egypt, there was a national party still dreaming of independence. The smouldering traditions of Sertorius were blown into flame by the continuance of the civil war. The proud motley race of Spaniards, Italians, Gauls, indigenous mountaineers, Moors from Africa, the remnants of the Carthaginian colonies, however they might hate one another, yet united in resenting an uncertain servitude under the alternate ascendency of Roman factions. Spain was ripe for revolt. Gaul alone, Caesar's own province, rewarded him for the use which he had made of his victory, by unswerving loyalty and obedience.

On his landing in Syria, Caesar found letters pressing for his instant return to Rome. Important persons were waiting to give him fuller information than could be safely committed to writing. He would have hastened home at once, but restless spirits had been let loose everywhere by the conflict of the Roman leaders. Disorder had broken out near at hand. The still recent defeat of Crassus had stirred the ambition of the Asiatic princes; and to leave the Eastern frontier disturbed was to risk a greater danger to the Empire than was to be feared from the impatient politics of the Roman mob, or the dying convulsions of the aristocracy.

Pharnaces, a legitimate son of Mithridates the Great, had been left sovereign of Upper Armenia. He had watched the collision between Pompey and Caesar with a neutrality which was to plead for him with the conqueror, and he had intended to make his own advantage out of the quarrels between his father's enemies. Deiotarus, tributary king of Lower Armenia and Colchis, had given some help to Pompey, and had sent him men and money; and on Pompey's defeat, Pharnaces had supposed that he might seize on Deiotarus's territories without fear of Caesar's resentment. Deiotarus had applied to Domitius Calvinus for assistance; which Calvinus, weakened as he was by the despatch of two of his legions to Egypt, had been imperfectly able to give. Pharnaces had advanced into Cappadocia. When Calvinus ordered him to retire, he had replied by sending presents, which had hitherto proved so effective with Roman proconsuls, and by an equivocating profession of readiness to abide by Caesar's decision. Pharnaces came of a dangerous race. Caesar's lieutenant was afraid that, if he hesitated, the son of Mithridates might become as troublesome as his father had been. He refused the presents. Disregarding his weakness, he sent a peremptory command to Pharnaces to fall back within his own frontiers, and advanced to compel him if he refused. In times of excitement the minds of men are electric, and news travels with telegraphic rapidity if not with telegraphic accuracy. Pharnaces heard that Caesar was shut up in Alexandria and was in a position of extreme danger, that he had sent for all his Asiatic legions, and that Calvinus had himself been summoned to his assistance. Thus he thought that he might safely postpone compliance till the Roman army was gone, and he had the country to himself. The reports from Egypt were so unfavorable that, although as yet he had received no positive orders, Calvinus was in daily expectation that he would be obliged to go. It would be unsafe, he thought, to leave an insolent barbarian unchastised. He had learnt in Caesar's school to strike quickly. He had not learnt the comparison between means and ends, without which celerity is imprudence. He had but one legion left; but he had a respectable number of Asiatic auxiliaries, and with them he ventured to attack Pharnaces in an intricate position. His Asiatics deserted. The legion behaved admirably; but in the face of overwhelming numbers, it could do no more than cut its way to security. Pharnaces at once reclaimed his father's kingdom, and overran Pontus, killing, mutilating, or imprisoning every Roman that he encountered; and in this condition Caesar found Asia Minor on his coming to Syria.

It was not in Caesar's character to leave a Roman Province behind him in the hands of an invader, for his own political interests. He saw that he must punish Pharnaces before he returned to Rome, and he immediately addressed himself to the work. He made a hasty progress through the Syrian towns, hearing complaints and distributing rewards and promotions. The allied chiefs came to him from the borders of the Province to pay their respects. He received them graciously, and dismissed them pleased and satisfied. After a few days spent thus, he sailed for Cilicia, held a council at Tarsus, and then crossed the Taurus, and went by forced marches through Cappadocia to Pontus. He received a legion from Deiotarus which had been organized in Roman fashion. He sent to Calvinus to meet him with the survivors of his lost battle; and when they arrived, he reviewed the force which was at his disposition. It was not satisfactory. He had brought a veteran legion with him from Egypt, but it was reduced to a thousand strong. He had another which he had taken up in Syria; but even this did not raise his army to a point which could assure him of success. But time pressed, and skill might compensate for defective numbers.

Pharnaces, hearing that Caesar was at hand, promised submission. He sent Caesar a golden crown, in anticipation perhaps that he was about to make himself king. He pleaded his desertion of Pompey as a set-off against his faults. Caesar answered that he would accept the submission, if it were sincere; but Pharnaces must not suppose that good offices to himself could atone for injuries to the Empire.[4] The provinces which he had invaded must be instantly evacuated; his Roman prisoners must be released, and their property must be restored to them.

Pharnaces was a politician, and knew enough of Caesar's circumstances to mislead him. The state of Rome required Caesar's presence. A campaign in Asia would occupy more time than he could afford, and Pharnaces calculated that he must be gone in a few days or weeks. The victory over Calvinus had strengthened his ambition of emulating his father. He delayed his answer, shifted from place to place, and tried to protract the correspondence till Caesar's impatience to be gone should bring him to agree to a compromise.

Caesar cut short negotiations. Pharnaces was at Zela, a town in the midst of mountains behind Trebizond, and the scene of a great victory which had been won by Mithridates over the Romans. Caesar defied auguries. He seized a position at night on the brow of a hill directly opposite to the Armenian camp, and divided from it by a narrow valley. As soon as day broke the legions were busy intrenching with their spades and pickaxes. Pharnaces, with the rashness which if it fails is madness, and if it succeeds is the intuition of genius, decided to fall on them at a moment when no sane person could rationally expect an attack; and Caesar could not restrain his astonishment when he saw the enemy pouring down the steep side of the ravine, and breasting the ascent on which he stood. It was like the battle of Maubeuge over again, with the difference that he had here to deal with Asiatics, and not with the Nervii. There was some confusion while the legions were exchanging their digging tools for their arms. When the exchange had been made, there was no longer a battle, but a rout. The Armenians were hurled back down the hill, and slaughtered in masses at the bottom of it. The camp was taken. Pharnaces escaped for the moment, and made his way into his own country; but he was killed immediately after, and Asia Minor was again at peace.

Caesar, calm as usual, but well satisfied to have ended a second awkward business so easily, passed quickly down to the Hellespont, and had landed in Italy before it was known that he had left Pontus.

[1] Supposed to have been a natural son of Mithridates the Great. The reason for the special confidence which Caesar placed in him does not appear. The danger at Alexandria, perhaps, did not appear at the moment particularly serious.

[2] Roman scandal discovered afterward that Caesar had been fascinated by the charms of Cleopatra, and allowed his politics to be influenced by a love affair. Roman fashionable society hated Caesar, and any carrion was welcome to them which would taint his reputation. Cleopatra herself favored the story, and afterward produced a child, whom she named Caesarion. Oppius, Caesar's most intimate friend, proved that the child could not have been his—of course, therefore, that the intrigue was a fable; and the boy was afterward put to death by Augustus as an impostor. No one claims immaculate virtue for Caesar. An amour with Cleopatra may have been an accident of his presence in Alexandria. But to suppose that such a person as Caesar, with the concerns of the world upon his hands, would have allowed his public action to be governed by a connection with a loose girl of sixteen is to make too large a demand upon human credulity; nor is it likely that, in a situation of so much danger and difficulty as that in which he found himself, he would have added to his embarrassments by indulging in an intrigue. The report proves nothing, for whether true or false it was alike certain to arise. The salons of Rome, like the salons of London and Paris, took their revenge on greatness by soiling it with filth; and happily Suetonius, the chief authority for the scandal, couples it with a story which is demonstrably false. He says that Caesar made a long expedition with Cleopatra in a barge upon the Nile; that he was so fascinated with her that he wished to extend his voyage to Aethiopia, and was prevented only by the refusal of his army to follow him. The details of Caesar's stay at Alexandria, so minutely given by Hirtius, show that there was not a moment when such an expedition could have been contemplated. During the greater part of the time he was blockaded in the palace. Immediately after the insurrection was put down, he was obliged to hurry off on matters of instant and urgent moment. Of the story of Cleopatra's presence in Rome at the time of his murder, more will be said hereafter.

[3] Legend is more absurd than usual over this incident. It pretends that he swam with one hand, and carried his Commentaries, holding them above water, with the other. As if a general would take his MSS. with him into a hot action!

[4] "Neque provinciarum injurias condonari iis posse qui fuissent in se officiosi."—De Bello Alexandrino, 70.


Cicero considered that the Civil War ought to have ended with Pharsalia; and in this opinion most reasonable men among the conservatives were agreed. They had fought one battle; and it had gone against them. To continue the struggle might tear the Empire to pieces, but could not retrieve a lost cause; and prudence and patriotism alike recommended submission to the verdict of fortune. It is probable that this would have been the result, could Caesar have returned to Italy immediately after his victory. Cicero himself refused to participate in further resistance. Cato offered him a command at Corcyra, but he declined it with a shudder, and went back to Brindisi; and all but those whose consciences forbade them to hope for pardon, or who were too proud to ask for it, at first followed his example. Scipio, Cato, Labienus, Afranius, Petreius, were resolute to fight on to the last; but even they had no clear outlook, and they wandered about the Mediterranean, uncertain what to do, or whither to turn. Time went on, however, and Caesar did not appear. Rumor said at one time that he was destroyed at Alexandria. The defeat of Calvinus by Pharnaces was an ascertained fact. Spain was in confusion. The legions in Italy were disorganized, and society, or the wealthy part of society, threatened by the enemies of property, began to call for some one to save it. All was not lost. Pompey's best generals were still living. His sons, Sextus and Cnaeus, were brave and able. The fleet was devoted to them and to their father's cause, and Caesar's officers had failed, in his absence, to raise a naval force which could show upon the sea. Africa was a convenient rallying point. Since Curio's defeat, King Juba had found no one to dispute his supremacy, and between Juba and the aristocracy who were bent on persisting in the war, an alliance was easily formed. While Caesar was perilling his own interest to remain in Asia to crush Pharnaces, Metellus Scipio was offering a barbarian chief the whole of Roman Africa, as the price of his assistance, in a last effort to reverse the fortune of Pharsalia. Under these scandalous conditions, Scipio, Labienus, Cato, Afranius, Petreius, Faustus Sylla, the son of the Dictator, Lucius Caesar, and the rest of the irreconcilables, made Africa their new centre of operations. Here they gathered to themselves the inheritors of the Syllan traditions, and made raids on the Italian coasts and into Sicily and Sardinia. Seizing Caesar's officers when they could find them, they put them invariably to death without remorse. Cicero protested honorably against the employment of treacherous savages, even for so sacred a cause as the defence of the constitution;[1] but Cicero was denounced as a traitor seeking favor with the conqueror, and the desperate work went on. Caesar's long detention in the East gave the confederates time. The young Pompeys were strong at sea. From Italy there was an easy passage for adventurous disaffection. The shadow of a Pompeian Senate sat once more, passing resolutions, at Utica; while Cato was busy organizing an army, and had collected as many as thirteen legions out of the miscellaneous elements which drifted in to him. Caesar had sent orders to Cassius Longinus to pass into Africa from Spain, and break up these combinations; but Longinus had been at war with his own provincials. He had been driven out of the Peninsula, and had lost his own life in leaving it. Caesar, like Cicero, had believed that the war had ended at Pharsalia. He found that the heads of the Hydra had sprouted again, and were vomiting the old fire and fury. Little interest could it give Caesar to match his waning years against the blinded hatred of his countrymen. Ended the strife must be, however, before order could be restored in Italy, and wretched men take up again the quiet round of industry. Heavy work had to be done in Rome. Caesar was consul now—annual consul, with no ten years' interval any longer possible. Consul, dictator, whatever name the people gave him, he alone held the reins; he alone was able to hold them. Credit had to be restored; debtors had to be brought to recognize their liabilities. Property had fallen in value since the Civil Wars, and securities had to be freshly estimated. The Senate required reformation; men of fidelity and ability were wanted for the public offices. Pompey and Pompey's friends would have drowned Italy in blood. Caesar disappointed expectation by refusing to punish any one of his political opponents. He killed no one. He deprived no one of his property. He even protected the money-lenders, and made the Jews his constant friends. Debts he insisted must be paid, bonds fulfilled, the rights of property respected, no matter what wild hopes imagination might have indulged in. Something only he remitted of the severity of interest, and the poor in the city were allowed their lodgings rent free for a year.

He restored quiet, and gave as much satisfaction as circumstances permitted. His real difficulty was with the legions, who had come back from Greece. They had deserved admirably well, but they were unfortunately over-conscious of their merits. Ill-intentioned officers had taught them to look for extravagant rewards. Their expectations had not been fulfilled; and when they supposed that their labors were over, they received orders to prepare for a campaign in Africa. Sallust, the historian, was in command of their quarters in Campania. They mutinied, and almost killed him. He fled to Rome. The soldiers of the favored 10th legion pursued him to the gates, and demanded speech with Caesar. He bade them come to him, and with his usual fearlessness told them to bring their swords.

The army was Caesar's life. In the army lay the future of Rome, if Rome was to have a future. There, if anywhere, the national spirit survived. It was a trying moment; but there was a calmness in Caesar, a rising from a profound indifference to what man or fortune could give or take from him, which no extremity could shake.

The legionaries entered the city, and Caesar directed them to state their complaints. They spoke of their services and their sufferings. They said that they had been promised rewards, but their rewards so far had been words, and they asked for their discharge. They did not really wish for it. They did not expect it. But they supposed that Caesar could not dispense with them, and that they might dictate their own terms.

During the wars in Gaul, Caesar had been most munificent to his soldiers. He had doubled their ordinary pay. He had shared the spoils of his conquests with them. Time and leisure had alone been wanting to him to recompense their splendid fidelity in the campaigns in Spain and Greece. He had treated them as his children; no commander had ever been more careful of his soldiers' lives; when addressing the army he had called them always "commilitones," "comrades," "brothers-in-arms."

The familiar word was now no longer heard from him. "You say well, quirites," [2] he answered; "you have labored hard, and you have suffered much; you desire your discharge—you have it. I discharge you who are present. I discharge all who have served their time. You shall have your recompense. It shall never be said of me that I made use of you when I was in danger, and was ungrateful to you when the peril was past."

"Quirites" he had called them; no longer Roman legionaries, proud of their achievements, and glorying in their great commander, but "quirites"—plain citizens. The sight of Caesar, the familiar form and voice, the words, every sentence of which they knew that he meant, cut them to the heart. They were humbled, they begged to be forgiven. They said they would go with him to Africa, or to the world's end. He did not at once accept their penitence. He told them that lands had been allotted to every soldier out of the ager publicus, or out of his own personal estates. Suetonius says that the sections had been carefully taken so as not to disturb existing occupants; and thus it appeared that he had been thinking of them and providing for them when they supposed themselves forgotten. Money, too, he had ready for each, part in hand, part in bonds bearing interest, to be redeemed when the war should be over. Again, passionately, they implored to be allowed to continue with him. He relented, but not entirely.

"Let all go who wish to go," he said; "I will have none serve with me who serve unwillingly."

"All, all!" they cried; "not one of us will leave you"—and not one went. The mutiny was the greatest peril, perhaps, to which Caesar had ever been exposed. No more was said; but Caesar took silent notice of the officers who had encouraged the discontented spirit. In common things, Dion Cassius says, he was the kindest and most considerate of commanders. He passed lightly over small offences; but military rebellion in those who were really responsible he never forgave.

[Sidenote: B.C. 46.] The African business could now be attended to. It was again midwinter. Winter campaigns were trying, but Caesar had hitherto found them answer to him; the enemy had suffered more than himself; while, as long as an opposition Senate was sitting across the Mediterranean, intrigue and conspiracy made security impossible at home. Many a false spirit now fawning at home on Caesar was longing for his destruction. The army with which he would have to deal was less respectable than that which Pompey had commanded at Durazzo, but it was numerically as strong or stronger. Cato, assisted by Labienus, had formed into legions sixty thousand Italians. They had a hundred and twenty elephants, and African cavalry in uncounted multitudes. Caesar perhaps despised an enemy too much whom he had so often beaten. He sailed from Lilybaeum on the 19th of December, with a mere handful of men, leaving the rest of his troops to follow as they could. No rendezvous had been positively fixed, for between the weather and the enemy it was uncertain where the troops would be able to land, and the generals of the different divisions were left to their discretion. Caesar on arriving seized and fortified a defensible spot at Ruspinum.[3] The other legions dropped in slowly, and before a third of them had arrived the enemy were swarming about the camp, while the Pompeys were alert on the water to seize stray transports or provision ships. There was skirmishing every day in front of Caesar's lines. The Numidian horse surrounded his thin cohorts like swarms of hornets. Labienus himself rode up on one occasion to a battalion which was standing still under a shower of arrows, and asked in mockery who they were. A soldier of the 10th legion lifted his cap that his face might be recognized, hurled his javelin for answer, and brought Labienus's horse to the ground. But courage was of no avail in the face of overwhelming numbers. Scipio's army collected faster than Caesar's, and Caesar's young soldiers showed some uneasiness in a position so unexpected. Caesar, however, was confident and in high spirits.[4] Roman residents in the African province came gradually in to him, and some African tribes, out of respect, it was said, for the memory of Marius. A few towns declared against the Senate in indignation at Scipio's promise that the province was to be abandoned to Juba. Scipio replied with burning the Roman country houses and wasting the lands, and still killing steadily every friend of Caesar that he could lay hands on. Caesar's steady clemency had made no difference. The senatorial faction went on as they had begun till at length their ferocity was repaid upon them.

The reports from the interior became unbearable. Caesar sent an impatient message to Sicily that, storm or calm, the remaining legions must come to him, or not a house would be left standing in the province. The officers were no longer what they had been. The men came, but bringing only their arms and tools, without change of clothes and without tents, though it was the rainy season. Good will and good hearts, however, made up for other shortcomings. Deserters dropped in thick from the Senate's army. King Juba, it appeared, had joined them, and Roman pride had been outraged, when Juba had been seen taking precedence in the council of war, and Metellus Scipio exchanging his imperial purple in the royal presence for a plain dress of white.

[Sidenote: April 6, B.C. 46.] The time of clemency was past. Publius Ligarius was taken in a skirmish. He had been one of the captives at Lerida who had given his word to serve no further in the war. He was tried for breaking his engagement, and was put to death. Still, Scipio's army kept the field in full strength, the loss by desertions being made up by fresh recruits sent from Utica by Cato. Caesar's men flinched from facing the elephants, and time was lost while other elephants were fetched from Italy, that they might handle them and grow familiar with them. Scipio had been taught caution by the fate of Pompey, and avoided a battle, and thus three months wore away before a decisive impression had been made. But the clear dark eyes of the conqueror of Pharsalia had taken the measure of the situation and comprehended the features of it. By this time he had an effective squadron of ships, which had swept off Pompey's cruisers; and if Scipio shrank from an engagement it was possible to force him into it. A division of Scipio's troops were in the peninsula of Thapsus.[5] If Thapsus was blockaded at sea and besieged by land, Scipio would be driven to come to its relief, and would have to fight in the open country. Caesar occupied the neck of the peninsula, and the result was what he knew it must be. Scipio and Juba came down out of the hills with their united armies. Their legions were beginning to form intrenchments, and Caesar was leisurely watching their operations, when at the sight of the enemy an irresistible enthusiasm ran through his lines. The cry rose for instant attack; and Caesar, yielding willingly to the universal impulse, sprang on his horse and led the charge in person. There was no real fighting. The elephants which Scipio had placed in front wheeled about and plunged back into the camp, trumpeting and roaring. The vallum was carried at a rush, and afterward there was less a battle than a massacre. Officers and men fled for their lives like frightened antelopes, or flung themselves on their knees for mercy. This time no mercy was shown. The deliberate cruelty with which the war had been carried on had done its work at last. The troops were savage, and killed every man that they overtook. Caesar tried to check the carnage, but his efforts were unavailing. The leaders escaped for the time by the speed of their horses. They scattered with a general purpose of making for Spain. Labienus reached it, but few besides him. Afranius and Faustus Sylla with a party of cavalry galloped to Utica, which they expected to hold till one of the Pompeys could bring vessels to take them off. The Utican towns-people had from the first shown an inclination for Caesar. Neither they nor any other Romans in Africa liked the prospect of being passed over to the barbarians.

[Sidenote: B.C. 46.] Cowards smarting under defeat are always cruel. The fugitives from Thapsus found that Utica would not be available for their purpose, and in revenge they began to massacre the citizens. Cato was still in the town. Cato was one of those better natured men whom revolution yokes so often with base companionship. He was shocked at the needless cruelty, and bribed the murderous gang to depart. They were taken soon afterward by Caesar's cavalry. Afranius and Sylla were brought into the camp as prisoners. There was a discussion in the camp as to what was to be done with them. Caesar wished to be lenient, but the feeling in the legions was too strong. The system of pardons could not be continued in the face of hatred so envenomed. The two commanders were executed; Caesar contenting himself with securing Sylla's property for his wife, Pompeia, the great Pompey's daughter. Cato Caesar was most anxious to save; but Cato's enmity was so ungovernable that he grudged Caesar the honor of forgiving him. His animosity had been originally the natural antipathy which a man of narrow understanding instinctively feels for a man of genius. It had been converted by perpetual disappointment into a monomania, and Caesar had become to him the incarnation of every quality and every principle which he most abhorred. Cato was upright, unselfish, incorruptibly pure in deed and word; but he was a fanatic whom no experience could teach, and he adhered to his convictions with the more tenacity, because fortune or the disposition of events so steadily declared them to be mistaken. He would have surrendered Caesar to the Germans as a reward for having driven them back over the Rhine. He was one of those who were most eager to impeach him for the acts of his consulship, though the acts themselves were such as, if they had been done by another, he would himself have most warmly approved; and he was tempted by personal dislike to attach himself to men whose object was to reimpose upon his country a new tyranny of Sylla. His character had given respectability to a cause which, if left to its proper defenders, would have appeared in its natural baseness, and thus on him rested the responsibility for the color of justice in which it was disguised. That after all which had passed he should be compelled to accept his pardon at Caesar's hands was an indignity to which he could not submit, and before the conqueror could reach Utica he fell upon his sword and died. Ultimus Romanorum has been the epitaph which posterity has written on the tomb of Cato. Nobler Romans than he lived after him; and a genuine son of the old Republic would never have consented to surrender an imperial province to a barbarian prince. But at least he was an open enemy. He would not, like his nephew Brutus, have pretended to be Caesar's friend, that he might the more conveniently drive a dagger into his side.

The rest of the party was broken up. Scipio sailed for Spain, but was driven back by foul weather into Hippo, where he was taken and killed. His correspondence was found and taken to Caesar, who burnt it unread, as he had burnt Pompey's. The end of Juba and Petreius had a wild splendor about it. They had fled together from Thapsus to Zama, Juba's own principal city, and they were refused admission. Disdaining to be taken prisoners, as they knew they inevitably would be, they went to a country house in the neighborhood belonging to the king. There, after a last sumptuous banquet, they agreed to die like warriors by each other's hand. Juba killed Petreius, and then ran upon his own sword.

So the actors in the drama were passing away. Domitius, Pompey, Lentulus, Ligarius, Metellus Scipio, Afranius, Cato, Petreius, had sunk into bloody graves. Labienus had escaped clear from the battle; and knowing that if Caesar himself would pardon him Caesar's army never would, he made his way to Spain, where one last desperate hope remained. The mutinous legions of Cassius Longinus had declared for the Senate. Some remnants of Pompey's troops who had been dismissed after Lerida had been collected again and joined them; and these, knowing, as Labienus knew, that they had sinned beyond forgiveness, were prepared to fight to the last and die at bay.

One memorable scene in the African campaign must not be forgotten. While Caesar was in difficulty at Ruspinum, and was impatiently waiting for his legions from Sicily, there arrived a general officer of the 10th, named Caius Avienus, who had occupied the whole of one of the transports with his personal servants, horses, and other conveniences, and had not brought with him a single soldier. Avienus had been already privately noted by Caesar as having been connected with the mutiny in Campania. His own habits in the field were simple in the extreme, and he hated to see his officers self-indulgent. He used the opportunity to make an example of him and of one or two others at the same time.

He called his tribunes and centurions together. "I could wish," he said, "that certain persons would have remembered for themselves parts of their past conduct which, though I overlooked them, were known to me; I could wish they would have atoned for these faults by special attention to their duties. As they have not chosen to do this, I must make an example of them as a warning to others.

"You, Caius Avienus, instigated soldiers in the service of the State to mutiny against their commanders. You oppressed towns which were under your charge. Forgetting your duty to the army and to me, you filled a vessel with your own establishment which was intended for the transport of troops; and at a difficult moment we were thus left, through your means, without the men whom we needed. For these causes, and as a mark of disgrace, I dismiss you from the service, and I order you to leave Africa by the first ship which sails.

"You, Aulus Fonteius [another tribune], have been a seditious and a bad officer. I dismiss you also.

"You, Titus Salienus, Marcus Tiro, Caius Clusinas, centurions, obtained your commissions by favor, not by merit. You have shown want of courage in the field; your conduct otherwise has been uniformly bad; you have encouraged a mutinous spirit in your companies. You are unworthy to serve under my command. You are dismissed, and will return to Italy."

The five offenders were sent under guard on board ship, each noticeably being allowed a single slave to wait upon him, and so were expelled from the country.

This remarkable picture of Caesar's method of enforcing discipline is described by a person who was evidently present;[6] and it may be taken as a correction to the vague stories of his severity to these officers which are told by Dion Cassius.

[1] To Atticus, xi. 7.

[2] Citizens.

[3] Where the African coast turns south from Cape Bon.

[4] "Animum enim altum et erectum prae se gerebat."—De Bello Africano.

[5] Between Carthage and Utica.

[6] De Bella Africano, c. 54. This remarkably interesting narrative is attached to Caesar's Commentaries. The author is unknown.


[Sidenote: B.C. 45.] The drift of disaffection into Spain was held at first to be of little moment. The battle of Thapsus, the final breaking up of the senatorial party, and the deaths of its leaders, were supposed to have brought an end at last to the divisions which had so long convulsed the Empire. Rome put on its best dress. The people had been on Caesar's side from the first. Those who still nursed in their hearts the old animosity were afraid to show it, and the nation appeared once more united in enthusiasm for the conqueror. There were triumphal processions which lasted for four days. There were sham fights on artificial lakes, bloody gladiator shows, which the Roman populace looked for as their special delight. The rejoicings being over, business began. Caesar was, of course, supreme. He was made inspector of public morals, the censorship being deemed inadequate to curb the inordinate extravagance. He was named Dictator for ten years, with a right of nominating the person whom the people were to choose for their consuls and praetors. The clubs and caucuses, the bribery of the tribes, the intimidation, the organized bands of voters formed out of the clients of the aristocracy, were all at an end. The courts of law were purified. No more judges were to be bought with money or by fouler temptations. The Leges Julias became a practical reality. One remarkable and darable reform was undertaken and carried through amidst the jests of Cicero and the other wits of the time—the revision of the Roman calendar. The distribution of the year had been governed hitherto by the motions of the moon. The twelve annual moons had fixed at twelve the number of the months, and the number of days required to bring the lunar year into correspondence with the solar had been supplied by irregular intercalations, at the direction of the Sacred College. But the Sacred College during the last distracted century had neglected their office. The lunar year was now sixty-five days in advance of the sun. The so-called winter was really the autumn, the spring the winter. The summer solstice fell at the beginning of the legal September. On Caesar as Pontifex Maximus devolved the duty of bringing confusion into order, and the completeness with which the work was accomplished at the first moment of his leisure shows that he had found time in the midst of his campaigns to think of other things than war or politics. Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, was called in to superintend the reform. It is not unlikely that he had made acquaintance with Sosigenes in Egypt, and had discussed the problem with him in the hours during which he is supposed to have amused himself "in the arms of Cleopatra." Sosigenes, leaving the moon altogether, took the sun for the basis of the new system. The Alexandrian observers had discovered that the annual course of the sun was completed in 365 days and six hours. The lunar twelve was allowed to remain to fix the number of the months. The numbers of days in each month were adjusted to absorb 365 days. The superfluous hours were allowed to accumulate, and every fourth year an additional day was to be intercalated. An arbitrary step was required to repair the negligence of the past. Sixty-five days had still to be made good. The new system, depending wholly on the sun, would naturally have commenced with the winter solstice. But Caesar so far deferred to usage as to choose to begin, not with the solstice itself, but with the first new moon which followed. It so happened in that year that the new moon was eighty days after the solstice; and thus the next year started, as it continues to start, from the 1st of January. The eight days were added to the sixty-five, and the current year was lengthened by nearly three months. It pleased Cicero to mock, as if Caesar, not contented with the earth, was making himself the master of the heavens. "Lyra," he said, "was to set according to the edict;" but the unwise man was not Caesar in this instance.[1]

While Sosigenes was at work with the calendar, Caesar personally again revised the Senate. He expelled every member who had been guilty of extortion or corruption; he supplied the vacancies with officers of merit, with distinguished colonists, with foreigners, with meritorious citizens, even including Gauls, from all parts of the Empire. Time, unfortunately, had to pass before these new men could take their places, but meanwhile he treated the existing body with all forms of respect, and took no step on any question of public moment till the Senate had deliberated on it. As a fitting close to the war he proclaimed an amnesty to all who had borne arms against him. The past was to be forgotten, and all his efforts were directed to the regeneration of Roman society. Cicero paints the habits of fashionable life in colors which were possibly exaggerated; but enough remains of authentic fact to justify the general truth of the picture. Women had forgotten their honor, children their respect for parents. Husbands had murdered wives, and wives husbands. Parricide and incest formed common incidents of domestic Italian history; and, as justice had been ordered in the last years of the Republic, the most abandoned villain who came into court with a handful of gold was assured of impunity. Rich men, says Suetonius, were never deterred from crime by a fear of forfeiting their estates; they had but to leave Italy, and their property was secured to them. It was held an extraordinary step toward improvement when Caesar abolished the monstrous privilege, and ordered that parricides should not only be exiled, but should forfeit everything that belonged to them, and that minor felons should forfeit half their estates.

Cicero had prophesied so positively that Caesar would throw off the mask of clemency when the need for it was gone, that he was disappointed to find him persevere in the same gentleness, and was impatient for revenge to begin. So bitter Cicero was that he once told Atticus he could almost wish himself to be the object of some cruel prosecution, that the tyrant might have the disgrace of it.[2]

He could not deny that "the tyrant" was doing what, if Rome was to continue an ordered commonwealth, it was essential must be done. Caesar's acts were unconstitutional! Yes; but constitutions are made for men, not men for constitutions, and Cicero had long seen that the Constitution was at an end. It had died of its own iniquities. He had perceived in his better moments that Caesar and Caesar only could preserve such degrees of freedom as could be retained without universal destruction. But he refused to be comforted. He considered it a disgrace to them all that Caesar was alive.[3] Why did not somebody kill him? Kill him? And what then? On that side too the outlook was not promising. News had come that Labienus and young Cnaeus Pompey had united their forces in Spain. The whole Peninsula was in revolt, and the counter-revolution was not impossible after all. He reflected with terror on the sarcasms which he had flung on young Pompey. He knew him to be a fool and a savage. "Hang me," he said, "if I do not prefer an old and kind master to trying experiments with a new and cruel one. The laugh will be on the other side then." [4]

Far had Cicero fallen from his dream of being the greatest man in Rome! Condemned to immortality by his genius, yet condemned also to survive in the portrait of himself which he has so unconsciously and so innocently drawn.

The accounts from Spain were indeed most serious. It is the misfortune of men of superior military ability that their subordinates are generally failures when trusted with independent commands. Accustomed to obey implicitly the instructions of their chief, they have done what they have been told to do, and their virtue has been in never thinking for themselves. They succeed, and they forget why they succeed, and in part attribute their fortune to their own skill. With Alexander's generals, with Caesar's, with Cromwell's, even with some of Napoleon's, the story has been the same. They have been self-confident, yet when thrown upon their own resources they have driven back upon a judgment which has been inadequately trained. The mind which guided them is absent. The instrument is called on to become self-acting, and necessarily acts unwisely. Caesar's lieutenants while under his own eye had executed his orders with the precision of a machine. When left to their own responsibility they were invariably found wanting. Among all his officers there was not a man of real eminence. Labienus, the ablest of them, had but to desert Caesar, to commit blunder upon blunder, and to ruin the cause to which he attached himself. Antony, Lepidus, Trebonius, Calvinus, Cassius Longinus, Quintus Cicero, Sabinus, Decimus Brutus, Vatinius, were trusted with independent authority, only to show themselves unfit to use it. Cicero had guessed shrewdly that Caesar's greatest difficulties would begin with his victory. He had not a man who was able to govern under him away from his immediate eye.

Cassius Longinus, Trebonius, and Marcus Lepidus had been sent to Spain after the battle of Pharsalia. They had quarrelled among themselves. They had driven the legions into mutiny. The authority of Rome had broken down as entirely as when Sertorius was defying the Senate; and Spain had become the receptacle of all the active disaffection which remained in the Empire. Thither had drifted the wreck of Scipio's African army. Thither had gathered the outlaws, pirates, and banditti of Italy and the Islands. Thither too had come flights of Numidians and Moors in hopes of plunder; and Pompey's sons and Labienus had collected an army as numerous as that which had been defeated at Thapsus, and composed of materials far more dangerous and desperate. There were thirteen legions of them in all, regularly formed, with eagles and standards; two which had deserted from Trebonius; one made out of Roman Spanish settlers, or old soldiers of Pompey's who had been dismissed at Lerida; four out of the remnants of the campaign in Africa; the rest a miscellaneous combination of the mutinous legions of Longinus and outlawed adventurers who knew that there was no forgiveness for them, and were ready to fight while they could stand. It was the last cast of the dice for the old party of the aristocracy. Appearances were thrown off. There were no more Catos, no more phantom Senates to lend to rebellion the pretended dignity of a national cause. The true barbarian was there in his natural colors.

Very reluctantly Caesar found that he must himself grapple with this last convulsion. The sanguinary obstinacy which no longer proposed any object to itself save defiance and revenge, was converting a war which at first wore an aspect of a legitimate constitutional struggle, into a conflict with brigands. Clemency had ceased to be possible, and Caesar would have gladly left to others the execution in person of the sharp surgery which was now necessary. He was growing old: fifty-five this summer. His health was giving way. For fourteen years he had known no rest. That he could have endured so long such a strain on mind and body was due only to his extraordinary abstinence, to the simplicity of his habits, and the calmness of temperament which in the most anxious moments refused to be agitated. But the work was telling at last on his constitution, and he departed on his last campaign with confessed unwillingness. The future was clouded with uncertainty. A few more years of life might enable him to introduce into the shattered frame of the Commonwealth some durable elements. His death in the existing confusion might be as fatal as Alexander's. That some one person not liable to removal under the annual wave of electoral agitation must preside over the army and the administration, had been evident in lucid moments even to Cicero. To leave the prize to be contended for among the military chiefs was to bequeath a legacy of civil wars and probable disruption; to compound with the embittered remnants of the aristocracy who were still in the field would intensify the danger; yet time and peace alone could give opportunity for the conditions of a permanent settlement to shape themselves. The name of Caesar had become identified with the stability of the Empire. He no doubt foresaw that the only possible chief would be found in his own family. Being himself childless, he had adopted his sister's grandson, Octavius, afterward Augustus, a fatherless boy of seventeen; and had trained him under his own eye. He had discerned qualities doubtless in his nephew which, if his own life was extended for a few years longer, might enable the boy to become the representative of his house and perhaps the heir of his power. In the unrecorded intercourse between the uncle and his niece's child lies the explanation of the rapidity with which the untried Octavius seized the reins when all was again chaos, and directed the Commonwealth upon the lines which it was to follow during the remaining centuries of Roman power.

Octavius accompanied Caesar into Spain. They travelled in a carriage, having as a third with them the general whom Caesar most trusted and liked, and whom he had named in his will as one of Octavius's guardians, Decimus Brutus—the same officer who had commanded his fleet for him at Quiberon and at Marseilles, and had now been selected as the future governor of Cisalpine Gaul. Once more it was midwinter when they left Rome. They travelled swiftly; and Caesar, as usual, himself brought the news that he was coming. But the winter season did not bring to him its usual advantages, for the whole Peninsula had revolted, and Pompey and Labienus were able to shelter their troops in the towns, while Caesar was obliged to keep the field. Attempts here and there to capture detached positions led to no results. On both sides now the war was carried on upon the principles which the Senate had adopted from the first. Prisoners from the revolted legions were instantly executed, and Cnaeus Pompey murdered the provincials whom he suspected of an inclination for Caesar. Attagona was at last taken. Caesar moved on Cordova; and Pompey, fearing that the important cities might seek their own security by coming separately to terms, found it necessary to risk a battle.

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