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The Alexandrian Wars
By Julius Caesar

Translated by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn

Chapter 1 

When the war broke out at Alexandria, Caesar sent to Rhodes, Syria,
and Cilicia, for all his fleet; and summoned archers from Crete, and
cavalry from Malchus, king of the Nabatheans. He likewise ordered
military engines to be provided, corn to be brought, and forces dispatched
to him. Meanwhile he daily strengthened his fortifications by new
works; and such parts of the town as appeared less tenable were strengthened
with testudos and mantelets. Openings were made in the walls, through
which the battering-rams might play; and the fortifications were extended
over whatever space was covered with ruins, or taken by force. For
Alexandria is in a manner secure from fire, because the houses are
all built without joists or wood, and are all vaulted, and roofed
with tile or pavement. Caesar's principal aim was, to inclose with
works the smallest part of the town, separated from the rest by a
morass toward the south: with these views, first, that as the city
was divided into two parts, the army should be commanded by one general
and one council; in the second place, that he might be able to succor
his troops when hard pressed, and carry aid from the other part of
the city. Above all, he by this means made sure of water end forage,
as he was but ill provided with the one, and wholly destitute of the
other. The morass, on the contrary, served abundantly to supply him
with both. 

Chapter 2 

Nor were the Alexandrians remiss on their side, or less active in
the conduct of their affairs. For they had sent deputies and commissioners
into all parts, where the powers and territories of Egypt extend,
to levy troops. They had carried vast quantities of darts and engines
into the town, and drawn together an innumerable multitude of soldiers.
Nevertheless workshops were established in every part of the city,
for the making of arms. They enlisted all the slaves that were of
age; and the richer citizens supplied them with food and pay. By a
judicious disposition of this multitude, they guarded the fortifications
in the remoter parts of the town; while they quartered the veteran
cohorts, which were exempted from all other service, in the squares
and open places; that on whatever side an attack should be made, they
might be at hand to give relief, and march fresh to the charge. They
shut up all the avenues and passes by a triple wall built of square
stones, and carried to the height of forty feet. They defended the
lower parts of the town by very high towers of ten stories: besides
which, they had likewise contrived a kind of moving towers, which
consisted of the same number of stories, and which being fitted with
ropes and wheels, could, by means of horses, as the streets of Alexandria
were quite even and level, be conveyed wherever their service was

Chapter 3 

The city abounding in every thing, and being very rich, furnished
ample materials for these several works: and as the people were extremely
ingenious, and quick of apprehension, they so well copied what they
saw done by us that our men seemed rather to imitate their works.
They even invented many things themselves, and attacked our works,
at the same time that they defended their own. Their chiefs every
where represented: "That the people of Rome were endeavoring by degrees
to assume the possession of Egypt; that a few years before Gabinius
had come thither with an army; that Pompey had retreated to the same
place in his flight; that Caesar was now among them with a considerable
body of troops, nor had they gained any thing by Pompey's death; that
Caesar should not prolong his stay; that if they did not find means
to expel him, the kingdom would be reduced to a Roman province: and
that they ought to do it at once, for he, blockaded by the storms
on account of the season of the year, could receive no supplies from
beyond the sea." 

Chapter 4 

Meanwhile, a division arising between Achillas, who commanded the
veteran army, and Arsinoe, the youngest daughter of king Ptolemy,
as has been mentioned above, while they mutually endeavored to supplant
one another, each striving to engross the supreme authority, Arsinoe,
by the assistance of the eunuch Ganymed, her governor, at length prevailed,
and slew Achillas. After his death, she possessed the whole power
without a rival, and raised Ganymed to the command of the army; who,
on his entrance upon that high office, augmented the largesses of
the troops, and with equal diligence discharged all other parts of
his duty. 

Chapter 5 

Alexandria is almost quite hollow underneath, occasioned by the many
aqueducts to the Nile, that furnish the private houses with water;
where being received in cisterns, it settles by degrees, and becomes
perfectly clear. The master and his family are accustomed to use this:
for the water of the Nile being extremely thick and muddy, is apt
to breed many distempers. The common people, however, are forced to
be contented with the latter, because there is not a single spring
in the whole city. The river was in that part of the town which was
in the possession of the Alexandrians. By which circumstance Ganymed
was reminded that our men might be deprived of water; because being
distributed into several streets, for the more easy defense of the
works, they made use of that which was preserved in the aqueducts
and the cisterns of private houses. 

Chapter 6 

With this view he began a great and difficult work; for having stopped
up all the canals by which his own cisterns were supplied, he drew
vast quantities of water out of the sea, by the help of wheels and
other engines, pouring it continually into the canals of Caesar's
quarter. The cisterns in the nearest houses soon began to taste salter
than ordinary, and occasioned great wonder among the men, who could
not think from what cause it proceeded. They were even ready to disbelieve
their senses when those who were quartered a little lower in the town
assured them that they found the water the same as before. This put
them upon comparing the cisterns one with another, and by trial they
easily perceived the difference. But in a little time the water in
the nearest houses became quite unfit for use, and that lower down
grew daily more tainted and brackish. 

Chapter 7 

All doubt being removed by this circumstance, such a terror ensued
among the troops that they fancied themselves reduced to the last
extremity. Some complained of Caesar's delay, that he did not order
them immediately to repair to their ships. Others dreaded a yet greater
misfortune, as it would be impossible to conceal their design of retreating
from the Alexandrians, who were so near them; and no less so to embark
in the face of a vigorous and pursuing enemy. There were besides a
great number of the townsmen in Caesar's quarter, whom he had not
thought proper to force from their houses, because they openly pretended
to be in his interest, and to have quitted the party of their follow-citizens.
But to offer here a defense either of the sincerity or conduct of
these Alexandrians, would be only labor in vain, since all who know
the genius and temper of the people must be satisfied that they are
the fittest instruments in the world for treason. 

Chapter 8 

Caesar labored to remove his soldiers' fears by encouraging and reasoning
with them. For he affirmed "that they might easily find fresh water
by digging wells, as all sea coasts naturally abounded with fresh
springs: that if Egypt was singular in this respect, and differed
from every other soil, yet still, as the sea was open, and the enemy
without a fleet, there was nothing to hinder their fetching it at
pleasure in their ships, either from Paraetonium on the left, or from
the island on the right; and as their two voyages were in different
directions, they could not be prevented by adverse winds at the same
time; that a retreat was on no account to be thought of, not only
by those that had a concern for their honor, but even by such as regarded
nothing but life; that it was with the utmost difficulty they could
defend themselves behind their works; but if they once quitted that
advantage, neither in number or situation would they be a match for
the enemy: that to embark would require much time, and be attended
with great danger, especially where it must be managed by little boats:
that the Alexandrians, on the contrary, were nimble and active, and
thoroughly acquainted with the streets and buildings; that, moreover,
when flushed with victory, they would not fail to run before, seize
all the advantageous posts, possess themselves of the tops of the
houses, and by annoying them in their retreat, effectually prevent
their getting on board; that they must therefore think no more of
retreating, but place all their hopes of safety in victory."

Chapter 9 

Having by this speech re-assured his men, he ordered the centurions
to lay aside all other works, and apply themselves day and night to
the digging of wells. The work once begun, and the minds of all aroused
to exertion, they exerted themselves so vigorously that in the very
first night abundance of fresh water was found. Thus, with no great
labor on our side, the mighty projects and painful attempts of the
Alexandrians were entirely frustrated. Within these two days the thirty-seventh
legion, composed of Pompey's veterans that had surrendered to Caesar,
embarking by order of Domitius Calvinus, with arms, darts, provisions,
and military engines, arrived upon the coast of Africa, a little above
Alexandria. These ships were hindered from gaining the port by an
easterly wind, which continued to blow for several days; but all along
that coast it is very safe to ride at anchor. Being detained, however,
longer than they expected, and distressed by want of water, they gave
notice of it to Caesar, by a dispatch sloop. 

Chapter 10 

Caesar, that he might himself be able to determine what was best to
be done, went on board one of the ships in the harbor, and ordered
the whole fleet to follow. He took none of the land forces with him,
because he was unwilling to leave the works unguarded during his absence.
Being arrived at that part of the coast known by the name of Chersonesus,
he sent some mariners on shore to fetch water. Some of these venturing
too far into the country for the sake of plunder, were intercepted
by the enemy's horse. From them the Egyptians learned that Caesar
himself was on board, without any soldiers. Upon this information,
they thought fortune had thrown in their way a good opportunity of
attempting something with success. They therefore manned all the ships
that they had ready for sea, and met Caesar on his return. He declined
fighting that day, for two reasons, first, because he had no soldiers
on board, and secondly, because it was past four in the afternoon.
The night, he was sensible, must be highly advantageous to his enemies,
who depended on their knowledge of the coast, while he would be deprived
of the benefit of encouraging his men, which could not be done with
any effect in the dark, where courage and cowardice must remain equally
unknown. Caesar, therefore, drew all his ships toward the shore, where
he imagined the enemy would not follow him. 

Chapter 11 

There was one Rhodian galley in Caesar's right wing, considerably
distant from the rest. The enemy observing this, could not restrain
themselves, but came forward with four-decked ships, and several open
barks, to attack her. Caesar was obliged to advance to her relief,
that he might not suffer the disgrace of seeing one of his galleys
sunk before his eyes though, had he left her to perish, he judged
that she deserved it for her rashness. The attack was sustained with
great courage by the Rhodians, who, though at all times distinguished
by their valor and experience in engagements at sea yet exerted themselves
in a particular manner on this occasion, that they might not draw
upon themselves the charge of having occasioned a misfortune to the
fleet. Accordingly they obtained a complete victory, took one four-banked
galley, sunk another, disabled a third, and slew all that were on
board, besides a great number of the combatants belonging to the other
ships. Nay, had not night interposed, Caesar would have made himself
master of their whole fleet. During the consternation that followed
upon this defeat, Caesar, finding the contrary winds to abate, took
the transports in tow, and advanced with the victorious fleet to Alexandria.

Chapter 12 

The Alexandrians, disheartened at this loss, since they found themselves
now worsted, not by the superior valor of the soldiers, but by the
skill and ability of the mariners, retired to the tops of their houses,
and blocked up the entrances of their streets, as if they feared our
fleet might attack them even by land. But soon after, Ganymed assuring
them in council, that he would not only restore the vessels they had
lost, but even increase their number, they began to repair their old
ships with great expectation and confidence, and resolved to apply
more than ever to the putting their fleet in a good condition. And
although they had lost above a hundred and ten ships in the port and
arsenal, yet they did not relinquish the idea of repairing their fleet;
because, by making themselves masters of the sea, they saw they would
have it in their power to hinder Caesar's receiving any reinforcements
or supplies. Besides, being mariners, born upon the sea-coast, and
exercised from their infancy in naval affairs, they were desirous
to return to that wherein their true and proper strength lay, remembering
the advantages they had formerly gained, even with their little ships.
They therefore applied themselves with all diligence to the equipping
a fleet. 

Chapter 13 

Vessels were stationed at all the mouths of the Nile; for receiving
and gathering in the customs. Several old ships were likewise lodged
in the king's private arsenals which had not put to sea for many years.
These last they refitted, and recalled the former to Alexandria. Oars
were wanting; they uncovered the porticos, academies, and public buildings,
and made use of the planks they furnished for oars. Their natural
ingenuity, and the abundance of all things to be met with in the city,
supplied every want. In fine, they had no long navigation to provide
for, and were only solicitous about present exigences, foreseeing
they would have no occasion to fight but in the port. In a few days,
therefore, contrary to all expectation, they had fitted out twenty-two
quadriremes, and five quinqueremes. To these they added a great number
of small open barks; and after testing the efficiency of each in the
harbor, put a sufficient number of soldiers on board, and prepared
every thing necessary for an engagement. Caesar had nine Rhodian galleys
(for of the ten which were sent, one was shipwrecked on the coast
of Egypt), eight from Pontus, five from Lycia, and twelve from Asia.
Of these, ten were quadriremes, and five quinqueremes; the rest were
smaller, and for the most part without decks. Yet, trusting to the
valor of his soldiers, and being acquainted with the strength of the
enemy, he prepared for an engagement. 

Chapter 14 

When both sides were come to have sufficient confidence in their own
strength, Caesar sailed round Pharos, and formed in line of battle
opposite to the enemy. He placed the Rhodian galleys on his right
wing, and those of Pontus on his left. Between these he left a space
of four hundred paces, to allow for extending and working the vessels.
This disposition being made, he drew up the rest of the fleet as a
reserve, giving them the necessary orders, and distributing them in
such a manner that every ship followed that to which she was appointed
to give succor. The Alexandrians brought out their fleet with great
confidence, and drew it up, placing their twenty-two quadriremes in
front, and disposing the rest behind them in a second line, by way
of reserve. They had besides a great number of boats and smaller vessels,
which carried fire and combustibles, with the intention of intimidating
us by their number, cries, and flaming darts. Between the two fleets
were certain flats, separated by very narrow channels, and which are
said to be on the African coast, as being in that division of Alexandria
which belongs to Africa. Both sides waited which should first pass
these shallows, because whoever entered the narrow channels between
them, in case of any misfortune, would be impeded both in retreating
and working their ships to advantage. 

Chapter 15 

Euphranor commanded the Rhodian fleet, who for valor and greatness
of mind deserved to be ranked among our own men rather than the Grecians.
The Rhodians had raised him to the post of admiral, on account of
his known courage and experience. He, perceiving Caesar's design,
addressed him to this effect: "You seem afraid of passing the shallow
first, lest you should be thereby forced to come to an engagement,
before you can bring up the rest of the fleet. Leave the matter to
us; we will sustain the fight (and we will not disappoint your expectations),
until the whole fleet gets clear of the shallows. It is both dishonorable
and afflicting that they should so long continue in our sight with
an air of triumph." Caesar, encouraging him in his design, and bestowing
many praises upon him, gave the signal for engaging. Four Rhodian
ships having passed the shallows, the Alexandrians gathered round
and attacked them. They maintained the fight with great courage, disengaging
themselves by their art and address, and working their ships with
so much skill, that notwithstanding the inequality of number, none
of the enemy were suffered to run alongside, or break their oars.
Meantime the rest of the fleet came up; when, on account of the narrowness
of the place, art became useless, and the contest depended entirely
upon valor. Nor was there at Alexandria a single Roman or citizen
who remained engaged in the attack or defense, but mounted the tops
of the houses and all the eminences that would give a view of the
fight, addressing the gods by vows and prayers for victory.

Chapter 16 

The event of the battle was by no means equal; a defeat would have
deprived us of all resources either by land or sea; and even if we
were victorious, the future would be uncertain. The Alexandrians,
on the contrary, by a victory gained every thing; and if defeated,
might yet again have recourse to fortune. It was likewise a matter
of the highest concern to see the safety of all depend upon a few,
of whom, if any were deficient in resolution and energy, they would
expose their whole party to destruction. This Caesar had often represented
to his troops during the preceding days, that they might be thereby
induced to fight with the more resolution, when they knew the common
safety to depend upon their bravery. Every man said the same to his
comrade, companion, and friend, beseeching him not to disappoint the
expectation of those who had chosen him in preference to others for
the defense of the common interest. Accordingly, they fought with
so much resolution, that neither the art nor address of the Egyptians,
a maritime and seafaring people, could avail them, nor the multitude
of their ships be of service to them; nor the valor of those selected
for this engagement be compared to the determined courage of the Romans.
In this action a quinquereme was taken, and a bireme, with all the
soldiers and mariners on board, besides three sunk, without any loss
on our side. The rest fled toward the town, and protecting their ships
under the mole and forts, prevented us from approaching.

Chapter 17 

To deprive the enemy of this resource for the future, Caesar thought
it by all means necessary to render himself master of the mole and
island; for having already in a great measure completed his works
within the town, he was in hopes of being able to defend himself both
in the island and city. This resolution being taken, he put into boats
and small vessels ten cohorts, a select body of light-armed infantry,
and such of the Gallic cavalry as he thought fittest for his purpose,
and sent them against the island; while, at the same time, to create
a diversion, he attacked it on the other with his fleet, promising
great rewards to those who should first render themselves masters
of it. At first, the enemy firmly withstood the impetuosity of our
men; for they both annoyed them from the tops of the houses, and gallantly
maintained their ground along the shore; to which being steep and
craggy, our men could find no way of approach; the more accessible
avenues being skillfully defended by small boats, and five galleys,
prudently stationed for that purpose. But when after examining the
approaches, and sounding the shallows, a few of our men got a footing
upon the shore, and were followed by others, who pushed the islanders,
without intermission; the Pharians at last betook themselves to flight.
On their defeat, the rest abandoning the defense of the port, quitted
their ships, and retired into the town, to provide for the security
of their houses 

Chapter 18 

But they could not long maintain their ground there: though, to compare
small things with great, their buildings were not unlike those of
Alexandria, and their towers were high, and joined together so as
to form a kind of wall; and our men had not come prepared with ladders,
fascines, or any weapons for assault. But fear often deprives men
of intellect and counsel, and weakens their strength, as happened
upon this occasion. Those who had ventured to oppose us on even ground,
terrified by the loss of a few men, and the general rout, durst not
face us from a height of thirty feet; but throwing themselves from
the mole into the sea, endeavored to gain the town, though above eight
hundred paces distant. Many however were slain, and about six hundred

Chapter 19 

Caesar, giving up the plunder to the soldiers, ordered the houses
to be demolished, but fortified the castle at the end of the bridge
next the island, and placed a garrison in it. This the Pharians had
abandoned; but the other, toward the town, which was considerably
stronger, was still held by the Alexandrians. Caesar attacked it next
day; because by getting possession of these two forts, he would be
entirely master of the port, and prevent sudden excursions and piracies.
Already he had, by means of his arrows and engines, forced the garrison
to abandon the place, and retire toward the town. He had also landed
three cohorts which was all the place would contain; the rest of his
troops were stationed in their ships. This being done, he orders them
to fortify the bridge against the enemy, and to fill with stones and
block up the arch on which the bridge was built, through which there
was egress for the ships. When one of these works was accomplished
so effectually, that no boat could pass out at all, and when the other
was commenced, the Alexandrians sallied, in crowds from the town,
and drew up in an open place, over against the intrenchment we had
cast up at the head of the bridge. At the same time they stationed
at the mole the vessels which they had been wont to make pass under
the bridge, to set fire to our ships of burden. Our men fought from
the bridge and the mole; the enemy from the space, opposite to the
bridge, and from their ships, by the side of the mole. 

Chapter 20 

While Caesar was engaged in these things, and in exhorting his troops,
a number of rowers and mariners, quitting their ships, threw themselves
upon the mole, partly out of curiosity, partly to have a share in
the action. At first, with stones and slings, they forced the enemy's
ships from the mole; and seemed to do still greater execution with
their darts. But when, some time after, a few Alexandrians found means
to land, and attack them in flank, as they had left their ships without
order or discipline, so they soon began to flee, with precipitation.
The Alexandrians, encouraged by this success, landed in great numbers,
and vigorously pressed upon our men, who were, by this time, in great
confusion. Those that remained in the galleys perceiving this, drew
up the ladders and put off from the shore, to prevent the enemy's
boarding them. Our soldiers who belonged to the three cohorts, which
were at the head of the mole to guard the bridge, astonished at this
disorder, the cries they heard behind them, and the general rout of
their party, unable besides to bear up against the great number of
darts which came pouring upon them, and fearing to be surrounded,
and have their retreat cut off, by the departure of their ships, abandoned
the fortifications which they had commenced at the bridge, and ran,
with all the speed they could, toward the galleys: some getting on
board the nearest vessels, overloaded and sank them: part, resisting
the enemy, and uncertain what course to take, were cut to pieces by
the Alexandrians. Others, more fortunate, got to the ships that rode
at anchor; and a few, supported by their bucklers, making a determined
struggle, swam to the nearest vessels. 

Chapter 21 

Caesar, endeavoring to re-animate his men, and lead them back to the
defense of the works, was exposed to the same danger as the rest;
when, finding them universally to give ground, he retreated to his
own galley, whither such a multitude followed and crowded after him,
that it was impossible either to work or put her off. Foreseeing what
must happen, he flung himself into the sea, and swam to the ships
that lay at some distance. Hence dispatching boats to succor his men,
he, by that means, preserved a small number. His own ship, being sunk
by the multitude that crowded into her, went down with all that were
on board. About four hundred legionary soldiers, and somewhat above
that number of sailors and rowers, were lost in this action. The Alexandrians
secured the fort by strong works, and a great number of engines; and
having cleared away the stones with which Caesar had blocked up the
port, enjoyed henceforward a free and open navigation. 

Chapter 22 

Our men were so far from being disheartened at this loss, that they
seemed rather roused and animated by it. They made continual sallies
upon the enemy, to destroy or check the progress of their works; fell
upon them as often as they had an opportunity; and never failed to
intercept them, when they ventured to advance beyond their fortifications.
In short, the legions were so bent upon fighting, that they even exceeded
the orders and exhortations of Caesar. They were inconsolable for
their late disgrace, and impatient to come to blows with the enemy;
insomuch, that he found it necessary rather to restrain and check
their ardor, than incite them to action. 

Chapter 23 

The Alexandrians, perceiving that success confirmed the Romans, and
that adverse fortune only animated them the more, as they knew of
no medium between these on which to ground any further hopes, resolved,
as far as we can conjecture, either by the advice of the friends of
their king who were in Caesar's quarter, or of their own previous
design, intimated to the king by secret emissaries, to send embassadors
to Caesar to request him, "To dismiss their king and suffer him to
rejoin his subjects; that the people, weary of subjection to a woman,
of living under a precarious government, and submitting to the cruel
laws of the tyrant Ganymed, were ready to execute the orders of the
king: and if by his sanction they should embrace the alliance and
protection of Caesar, the multitude would not be deterred from surrendering
by the fear of danger." 

Chapter 24 

Though Caesar knew the nation to be false and perfidious, seldom speaking
as they really thought, yet he judged it best to comply with their
desire. He even flattered himself, that his condescension in sending
back their king at their request, would prevail on them to be faithful;
or, as was more agreeable to their character, if they only wanted
the king to head their army, at least it would be more for his honor
and credit to have to do with a monarch than with a band of slaves
and fugitives. Accordingly, he exhorted the king, "To take the government
into his own hands, and consult the welfare of so fair and illustrious
a kingdom, defaced by hideous ruins and conflagrations. To make his
subjects sensible of their duty, preserve them from the destruction
that threatened them, and act with fidelity toward himself and the
Romans, who put so much confidence in him, as to send him among armed
enemies." Then taking him by the hand, he dismissed the young prince
who was fast approaching manhood. But his mind being thoroughly versed
in the art of dissimulation, and no way degenerating from the character
of his nation, he entreated Caesar with tears not to send him back;
for that his company was to him preferable to a kingdom. Caesar, moved
at his concern, dried up his tears; and telling him, if these were
his real sentiments, they would soon meet again, dismissed him. The
king, like a wild beast escaped out of confinement, carried on the
war with such acrimony against Caesar, that the tears he shed at parting
seemed to have been tears of joy. Caesar's lieutenants, friends, centurions,
and soldiers, were delighted that this had happened; because his easiness
of temper had been imposed upon by a child: as if in truth Caesar's
behavior on this occasion had been the effect of easiness of temper,
and not of the most consummate prudence. 

Chapter 25 

When the Alexandrians found that on the recovery of their king, neither
had they become stronger, nor the Romans weaker; that the troops despised
the youth and weakness of their king; and that their affairs were
in no way bettered by his presence: they were greatly discouraged;
and a report ran that a large body of troops was marching by land
from Syria and Cilicia to Caesar's assistance (of which he had not
as yet himself received information); still they determined to intercept
the convoys that came to him by sea. To this end, having equipped
some ships, they ordered them to cruise before the Canopic branch
of the Nile, by which they thought it most likely our supplies would
arrive. Caesar, who was informed of it, ordered his fleet to get ready,
and gave the command of it to Tiberius Nero. The Rhodian galleys made
part of this squadron, headed by Euphranor their admiral, without
whom there never was a successful engagement fought. But fortune,
which often reserves the heaviest disasters for those who have been
loaded with her highest favors, encountered Euphranor upon this occasion,
with an aspect very different from what she had hitherto worn. For
when our ships were arrived at Canopus, and the fleets drawn up on
each side had begun the engagement, Euphranor, according to custom,
having made the first attack, and pierced and sunk one of the enemy's
ships; as he pursued the next a considerable way, without being sufficiently
supported by those that followed him, he was surrounded by the Alexandrians.
None of the fleet advanced to his relief, either out of fear for their
own safety, or because they imagined he would easily be able to extricate
himself by his courage and good fortune. Accordingly he alone behaved
well in this action, and perished with his victorious galley.

Chapter 26 

About the same time Mithridates of Pergamus, a man of illustrious
descent, distinguished for his bravery and knowledge of the art of
war, and who held a very high place in the friendship and confidence
of Caesar, having been sent in the beginning of the Alexandrian war,
to raise succors in Syria and Cilicia, arrived by land at the head
of a great body of troops, which his diligence, and the affection
of these two provinces, had enabled him to draw together in a very
short time. He conducted them first to Pelusium, where Egypt joins
Syria. Achillas, who was perfectly well acquainted with its importance,
had seized and put a strong garrison into it. For Egypt is considered
as defended on all sides by strong barriers; on the side of the sea
by the Pharos, and on the side of Syria by Pelusium, which are accounted
the two keys of that kingdom. He attacked it so briskly with a large
body of troops, fresh men continually succeeding in the place of those
that were fatigued, and urged the assault with so much firmness and
perseverance, that he carried it the same day on which he attacked
it, and placed a garrison in it. Thence he pursued his march to Alexandria,
reducing all the provinces through which he passed, and conciliating
them to Caesar, by that authority which always accompanies the conqueror.

Chapter 27 

Not far from Alexandria lies Delta, the most celebrated province of
Egypt, which derives its name from the Greek letter so called. For
the Nile, dividing into two channels, which gradually diverge as they
approach the sea, into which they at last discharge themselves, at
a considerable distance from one another, leaves an intermediate space
in form of a triangle. The king understanding that Mithridates was
approaching this place, and knowing he must pass the river, sent a
large body of troops against him, sufficient, as he thought, if not
to overwhelm and crush him, at least to stop his march, for though
he earnestly desired to see him defeated, yet he thought it a great
point gained, to hinder his junction with Caesar. The troops that
first passed the river, and came up with Mithridates, attacked him
immediately, hastening to snatch the honor of victory from the troops
that were marching to their aid. Mithridates at first confined himself
to the defense of his camp, which he had with great prudence fortified
according to the custom of the Romans: but observing that they advanced
insolently and without caution, he sallied upon them from all parts,
and put a great number of them to the sword; insomuch that, but for
their knowledge of the ground, and the neighborhood of the vessels
in which they had passed the river, they must have been all destroyed.
But recovering by degrees from their terror, and joining the troops
that followed them, they again prepared to attack Mithridates.

Chapter 28 

A messenger was sent by Mithridates to Caesar, to inform him of what
had happened. The king learns from his followers that the action had
taken place. Thus, much about the same time, Ptolemy set out to crush
Mithridates, and Caesar to relieve him. The king made use of the more
expeditious conveyance of the Nile, where he had a large fleet in
readiness. Caesar declined the navigation of the river, that he might
not be obliged to engage the enemy's fleet; and coasting along the
African shore, found means to join the victorious troops of Mithridates,
before Ptolemy could attack him. The king had encamped in a place
fortified by nature, being an eminence surrounded on all sides by
a plain. Three of its sides were secured by various defenses. One
was washed by the river Nile, the other was steep and inaccessible,
and the third was defended by a morass. 

Chapter 29 

Between Ptolemy's camp and Caesar's route lay a narrow river with
very steep banks, which discharged itself into the Nile. This river
was about seven miles from the king's camp; who, understanding that
Caesar was directing his march that way, sent all his cavalry, with
a choice body of light-armed foot, to prevent Caesar from crossing,
and maintain an unequal fight from the banks, where courage had no
opportunity to exert itself, and cowardice ran no hazard. Our men,
both horse and foot, were extremely mortified, that the Alexandrians
should so long maintain their ground against them. Wherefore, some
of the German cavalry, dispersing in quest of a ford, found means
to swim the river where the banks were lowest; and the legionaries
at the same time cutting down several large trees, that reached from
one bank to another, and constructing suddenly a mound, by their help
got to the other side. The enemy were so much in dread of their attack,
that they betook themselves to flight; but in vain: for very few returned
to the king, almost all being cut to pieces in the pursuit.

Chapter 30 

Caesar, upon this success, judging that his sudden approach must strike
great terror into the Alexandrians, advanced toward their camp with
his victorious army. But finding it well intrenched, strongly fortified
by nature, and the ramparts covered with armed soldiers, he did not
think proper that his troops, who were very much fatigued both by
their march and the late battle, should attack it; and therefore encamped
at a small distance from the enemy. Next day he attacked a fort, in
a village not far off, which the king had fortified and joined to
his camp by a line of communication, with a view to keep possession
of the village. He attacked it with his whole army, and took it by
storm; not because it would have been difficult to carry it with a
few forces; but with the design of falling immediately upon the enemy's
camp, during the alarm which the loss of this fort must give them.
Accordingly, the Romans, in continuing the pursuit of those that fled
from the fort, arrived at last before the Alexandrian camp, and commenced
a most furious action at a distance. There were two approaches by
which it might be attacked; one by the plain, of which we have spoken
before, the other by a narrow pass, between their camp and the Nile.
The first, which was much the easiest, was defended by a numerous
body of their best troops; and the access on the side of the Nile
gave the enemy great advantage in distressing and wounding our men;
for they were exposed to a double shower of darts: in front from the
rampart, behind from the river; where the enemy had stationed a great
number of ships, furnished with archers and slingers, that kept up
a continual discharge. 

Chapter 31 

Caesar, observing that his troops fought with the utmost ardor, and
yet made no great progress, on account of the disadvantage of the
ground; and perceiving they had left the highest part of their camp
unguarded, because, it being sufficiently fortified by nature, they
had all crowded to the other attacks, partly to have a share in the
action, partly to be spectators of the issue; he ordered some cohorts
to wheel round the camp, and gain that ascent: appointing Carfulenus
to command them, a man distinguished for bravery and acquaintance
with the service. When they had reached the place, as there were but
very few to defend it, our men attacked them so briskly that the Alexandrians,
terrified by the cries they heard behind them, and seeing themselves
attacked both in front and rear, fled in the utmost consternation
on all sides. Our men, animated by the confusion of the enemy, entered
the camp in several places at the same time, and running down from
the higher ground, put a great number of them to the sword. The Alexandrians,
endeavoring to escape, threw themselves in crowds over the rampart
in the quarter next the river. The foremost tumbling into the ditch,
where they were crushed to death, furnished an easy passage for those
that followed. It is ascertained that the king escaped from the camp,
and was received on board a ship; but by the crowd that followed him,
the ship in which he fled was overloaded and sunk. 

Chapter 32 

After this speedy and successful action, Caesar, in consequence of
so great a victory, marched the nearest way by land to Alexandria
with his cavalry, and entered triumphant into that part of the town
which was possessed by the enemy's guards. He was not mistaken in
thinking that the Alexandrians, upon hearing of the issue of the battle,
would give over all thoughts of war. Accordingly, as soon as he arrived,
he reaped the just fruit of his valor and magnanimity. For all the
multitude of the inhabitants, throwing down their arms, abandoning
their works, and assuming the habit of suppliants, preceded by all
those sacred symbols of religion with which they were wont to mollify
their offended kings, met Caesar on his arrival and surrendered. Caesar,
accepting their submission, and encouraging them, advanced through
the enemy's works into his own quarter of the town, where he was received
with the universal congratulations of his party, who were no less
overjoyed at his arrival and presence, than at the happy issue of
the war. 

Chapter 33 

Caesar, having thus made himself master of Alexandria and Egypt, lodged
the government in the hands of those to whom Ptolemy had bequeathed
it by will, conjuring the Roman people not to permit any change. For
the eldest of Ptolemy's two sons being dead, Caesar settled the kingdom
upon the youngest, in conjunction with Cleopatra, the elder of the
two sisters, who had always continued under his protection and guardianship.
The younger, Arsinoe, in whose name Ganymed, as we have seen, tyrannically
reigned for some time he thought proper to banish the kingdom, that
she might not raise any new disturbance, through the agency of seditious
men, before the king's authority should be firmly established. Taking
the sixth veteran legion with him into Syria, he left the rest in
Egypt to support the authority of the king and queen, neither of whom
stood well in the affections of their subjects, on account of their
attachment to Caesar, nor could be supposed to have given any fixed
foundation to their power, in an administration of only a few days'
continuance. It was also for the honor and interest of the republic
that if they continued faithful our forces should protect them; but
if ungrateful that they should be restrained by the same power. Having
thus settled the kingdom, he marched by land into Syria.

Chapter 34 

While these things passed in Egypt, king Deiotarus applied to Domitius
Calvinus, to whom Caesar had intrusted the government of Asia and
the neighboring provinces, beseeching him "not to suffer the Lesser
Armenia which was his kingdom, or Cappadocia, which belonged to Ariobarzanes,
to be seized and laid waste by Pharnaces, because, unless they were
delivered from these insults, it would be impossible for them to execute
Caesar's orders, or raise the money they stood engaged to pay." Domitius,
who was not only sensible of the necessity of money to defray the
expenses of the war, but likewise thought it dishonorable to the people
of Rome and the victorious Caesar, as well as infamous to himself,
to suffer the dominions of allies and friends to be usurped by a foreign
prince, sent embassadors to Pharnaces, to acquaint him, "That he must
withdraw immediately from Armenia and Cappadocia, and no longer insult
the majesty and right of the Roman people, while engaged in a civil
war." But believing that his deputation would have greater weight,
if he was ready to second it himself at the head of an army; he repaired
to the legions which were then in Asia, ordering two of them into
Egypt, at Caesar's desire, and carrying the thirty-sixth: along with
him. To the thirty-sixth legion Deiotarus added two more, which he
had trained up for several years, according to our discipline; and
a hundred horse. The like number of horse were furnished by Ariobarzanes.
At the same time, he sent P. Sextius to C. Plaetorius the questor,
for the legion which had been lately levied in Pontus; and Quinctius
Partisius into Cilicia, to draw thence a body of auxiliary troops.
All these forces speedily assembled at Comana, by orders of Domitius.

Chapter 35 

Meanwhile his embassadors bring back the following answer from Pharnaces:
"That he had quitted Cappadocia; but kept possession of the Lesser
Armenia, as his own, by right of inheritance: that he was willing,
however, to submit every thing to the decision of Caesar, to whose
commands he would pay immediate obedience." C. Domitius, sensible
that he had quitted Cappadocia, not voluntarily, but out of necessity;
because he could more easily defend Armenia, which lay contiguous
to his own kingdom, than Cappadocia, which was more remote: and because
believing, at first, that Domitius had brought all the three legions
along with him, upon hearing that two were gone to Caesar, he seemed
more determined to keep possession; and insisted "upon his quitting
Armenia likewise, as the same right existed in both cases; nor was
it just to demand that the matter should be postponed till Caesar's
return, unless things were put in the condition in which they were
at first." Having returned this answer, he advanced toward Armenia,
with the forces above-mentioned, directing his march along the hills;
for from Pontus, by way of Comana, runs a woody ridge of hills, that
extends as far as Lesser Armenia, dividing it from Cappadocia. The
advantages he had in view, by such a march, were, that he would thereby
effectually prevent all surprises, and be plentifully supplied with
provisions from Cappadocia. 

Chapter 36 

Meantime Pharnaces sends several embassies to Domitius to treat of
peace, bearing royal gifts. All these he firmly rejected, telling
the deputies: "That nothing was more sacred with him, than the majesty
of the Roman people, and recovering the rights of their allies." After
long and continued marches, he reached Nicopolis (which is a city
of Lesser Armenia, situated in a plain, having mountains, however,
on its two sides, at a considerable distance), and encamped about
seven miles from the town. Between his camp and Nicopolis, lay a difficult
and narrow pass, where Pharnaces placed a chosen body of foot, and
all his horse, in ambuscade. He ordered a great number of cattle to
be dispersed in the pass, and the townsmen and peasants to show themselves,
that if Domitius entered the defile as a friend, he might have no
suspicion of an ambuscade, when he saw the men and flocks dispersed,
without apprehension, in the fields; or if he should come as an enemy,
that the soldiers, quitting their ranks to pillage, might be cut to
pieces when dispersed. 

Chapter 37 

While this design was going forward, he never ceased sending embassadors
to Domitius, with proposals of peace and amity, fancying, by this
means, the more easy to ensnare him. The expectation of peace kept
Domitius in his camp; so that Pharnaces, having missed the opportunity,
and fearing the ambuscade might be discovered, drew off his troops.
Next day Domitius approached Nicopolis, and encamped near the town.
While our men were working at the trenches, Pharnaces drew up his
army in order of battle, forming his front into one line, according
to the custom of the country, and securing his wings with a triple
body of reserves. In the same manner, the center was formed in single
files, and two intervals were left on the right and left. Domitius,
ordering part of the troops to continue under arms before the rampart,
completed the fortifications of his camp. 

Chapter 38 

Next night, Pharnaces, having intercepted the couriers who brought
Domitius an account of the posture of affairs at Alexandria, understood
that Caesar was in great danger, and requested Domitius to send him
succors speedily, and come himself to Alexandria by the way of Syria.
Pharnaces, upon this intelligence, imagined that protracting the time
would be equivalent to a victory, because Domitius, he supposed, must
very soon depart. He therefore dug two ditches, four feet deep, at
a moderate distance from each other, on that side where lay the easiest
access to the town and our forces might, most advantageously, attack
him; resolving not to advance beyond them. Between these, he constantly
drew up his army, placing all his cavalry upon the wings without them,
which greatly exceeded ours in number, and would otherwise have been

Chapter 39 

Domitius, more concerned at Caesar's danger than his own, and believing
he could not retire with safety, should he now desire the conditions
he had rejected, or march away without any apparent cause, drew his
forces out of the camp, and ranged them in order of battle. He placed
the thirty-sixth legion on the right, that of Pontus on the left,
and those of Deiotarus in the main body; drawing them up with a very
narrow front, and posting the rest of the cohorts to sustain the wings.
The armies being thus drawn up on each side, they advanced to the

Chapter 40 

The signal being given at the same time by both parties, they engage.
The conflict was sharp and various, for the thirty-sixth legion falling
upon the king's cavalry, that was drawn up without the ditch, charged
them so successfully, that they drove them to the very walls of the
town, passed the ditch, and attacked their infantry in the rear. But
on the other side, the legion of Pontus having given way, the second
line, which advanced to sustain them, making a circuit round the ditch,
in order to attack the enemy in flank, was overwhelmed and borne down
by a shower of darts, in endeavoring to pass it. The legions of Deiotarus
made scarcely any resistance; thus the victorious forces of the king
turned their right wing and main body against the thirty-sixth legion,
which yet made a brave stand; and though surrounded by the forces
of the enemy, formed themselves into a circle, with wonderful presence
of mind, and retired to the foot of a mountain, whither Pharnaces
did not think fit to pursue them, on account of the disadvantage of
the place. Thus the legion of Pontus being almost wholly cut off,
with great part of those of Deiotarus, the thirty-sixth legion retreated
to an eminence, with the loss of about two hundred and fifty men.
Several Roman knights, of illustrious rank, fell in this battle. Domitius,
after this defeat, rallied the remains of his broken army, and retreated,
by safe ways, through Cappadocia, into Asia. 

Chapter 41 

Pharnaces, elated with this success, as he expected that Caesar's
difficulties would terminate as he [Pharnaces] wished, entered Pontus
with all his forces. There, acting as conqueror and a most cruel king,
and promising himself a happier destiny than his father, he stormed
many towns, and seized the effects of the Roman and Pontic citizens,
inflicted punishments, worse than death, upon such as were distinguished
by their age or beauty, and having made himself master of all Pontus,
as there was no one to oppose his progress, boasted that he had recovered
his father's kingdom. 

Chapter 42 

About the same time, we received a considerable check in Illyricum;
which province, had been defended the preceding months, not only without
insult, but even with honor. For Caesar's quaestor, Q. Cornificius,
had been sent there as propraetor, the summer before, with two legions;
and though it was of itself little able to support an army, and at
that time in particular was almost totally ruined by the war in the
vicinity, and the civil dissensions; yet, by his prudence, and vigilance,
being very careful not to undertake any rash expedition, he defended
and kept possession of it. For he made himself master of several forts,
built on eminences, whose advantageous situation tempted the inhabitants
to make descents and inroads upon the country; and gave the plunder
of them to his soldiers (and although this was but inconsiderable,
yet as they were no strangers to the distress and ill condition of
the province, they did not cease to be grateful; the rather as it
was the fruit of their own valor). And when, after the battle of Pharsalia,
Octavius had retreated to that coast with a large fleet; Cornificius,
with some vessels of the inhabitants of Jadua, who had always continued
faithful to the commonwealth, made himself master of the greatest
part of his ships, which, joined to those of his allies, rendered
him capable of sustaining even a naval engagement. And while Caesar,
victorious, was pursuing Pompey to the remotest parts of the earth;
when he [Cornificius] heard that the enemy had, for the most part,
retired into Illyricum, on account of its neighborhood to Macedonia,
and were there collecting such as survived the defeat [at Pharsalia],
he wrote to Gabinius, "To repair directly thither, with the new raised
legions, and join Cornificius, that if any danger should assail the
province, he might ward it off, but if less forces sufficed, to march
into Macedonia, which he foresaw would never be free from commotions,
so long as Pompey lived." 

Chapter 43 

Gabinius, whether he imagined the province better provided than it
really was, or depended much upon the auspicious fortune of Caesar,
or confided in his own valor and abilities, he having often terminated
with success difficult and dangerous wars, marched into Illyricum,
in the middle of winter, and the most difficult season of the year;
where, not finding sufficient subsistence in the province, which was
partly exhausted, partly disaffected, and having no supplies by sea,
because the season of the year had put a stop to navigation, he found
himself compelled to carry on the war, not according to his own inclination,
but as necessity allowed. As he was therefore obliged to lay siege
to forts and castles, in a very rude season, he received many checks,
and fell under such contempt with the barbarians, that while retiring
to Salona, a maritime city, inhabited by a set of brave and faithful
Romans, he was compelled to come to an engagement on his march; and
after the loss of two thousand soldiers, thirty-eight centurions,
and four tribunes, got to Salona with the rest; where his wants continually
increasing, he died a few days after. His misfortunes and sudden death
gave Octavius great hopes of reducing the province. But fortune, whose
influence is so great in matters of war, joined to the diligence of
Cornificius, and the valor of Vatinius, soon put an end to his triumphs.

Chapter 44 

Vatinius, who was then at Brundusium, having intelligence of what
passed in Illyricum, by letters from Cornificius, who pressed him
to come to the assistance of the province, and informed him, that
Octavius had leagued with the barbarians, and in several places attacked
our garrisons, partly by sea with his fleet, partly by land with the
troops of the barbarians; Vatinius, I say, upon notice of these things,
though extremely weakened by sickness, insomuch that his strength
of body no way answered his resolution and greatness of mind; yet,
by his valor, surmounted all opposition, the force of his distemper,
the rigor of the winter and the difficulties of a sudden preparation.
For having himself but a very few galleys, he wrote to Q. Kalenus,
in Achaia, to furnish him with a squadron of ships. But these not
coming with that dispatch which the danger our army was in required,
because Octavius pressed hard upon them, he fastened beaks to all
the barks and vessels that lay in the port, whose number was considerable
enough, though they were not sufficiently large for an engagement.
Joining these to what galleys he had, and putting on board the veteran
soldiers, of whom he had a great number, belonging to all the legions,
who had been left sick at Brundusium, when the army went over to Greece,
he sailed for Illyricum; where, having subjected several maritime
states that had declared for Octavius, and neglecting such as continued
obstinate in their revolt, because he would suffer nothing to retard
his design of meeting the enemy, he came up with Octavius before Epidaurus;
and obliging him to raise the siege, which he was carrying on with
vigor, by sea and land, joined the garrison to his own forces.

Chapter 45 

Octavius, understanding that Vatinius's fleet consisted mostly of
small barks, and confiding in the strength of his own, stopped at
the Isle of Tauris. Vatinius followed him thither, not imagining he
would halt at that place, but being determined to pursue him wherever
he went. Vatinius, who had no suspicion of an enemy, and whose ships
were moreover dispersed by a tempest, perceived, as he approached
the isle, a vessel filled with soldiers that advanced toward him,
in full sail. Upon this he gave orders for furling the sails, lowering
the sail-yards, and arming the soldiers; and hoisting a flag, as a
signal for battle, intimated to the ships that followed to do the
same. Vatinius's men prepared themselves in the best manner their
sudden surprise would allow, while Octavius advanced in good order,
from the port. The two fleets drew up; Octavius had the advantage
in arrangement, and Vatinius in the bravery of his troops.

Chapter 46 

Vatinius, finding himself inferior to the enemy, both in the number
and largeness of his ships, resolved to commit the affair to fortune,
and therefore in his own quinquereme, attacked Octavius in his four-banked
galley. This he did with such violence, and the shock was so great,
that the beak of Octavius's galley was broken. The battle raged with
great fury likewise in other places, but chiefly around the two admirals;
for as the ships on each side advanced to sustain those that fought,
a close and furious conflict ensued in a very narrow sea, where the
nearer the vessels approached the more had Vatinius's soldiers the
advantage. For, with admirable courage, they leaped into the enemy's
ships, and forcing them by this means to an equal combat, soon mastered
them by their superior valor. Octavius's galley was sunk, and many
others were taken or suffered the same fate; the soldiers were partly
slain in the ships, partly thrown overboard into the sea. Octavius
got into a boat, which sinking under the multitude that crowded after
him, he himself, though wounded, swam to his brigantine; where, being
taken up, and night having put an end to the battle, as the wind blew
very strong, he spread all his sails and fled. A few of his ships,
that had the good fortune to escape, followed him. 

Chapter 47 

But Vatinius, after his success, sounded a retreat, and entered victorious
the port whence Octavius had sailed to fight him, without the loss
of a single vessel. He took, in this battle, one quinquereme, two
triremes, eight two-banked galleys, and a great number of rowers.
The next day was employed in repairing his own fleet, and the ships
he had taken from the enemy: after which, he sailed for the island
of Issa, imagining Octavius had retired thither after his defeat.
In this island was a flourishing city, well affected to Octavius,
which however, surrendered to Vatinius, upon the first summons. Here
he understood that Octavius, attended by a few small barks, had sailed,
with a fair wind, for Greece, whence he intended to pass on to Sicily,
and afterward to Africa. Vatinius, having in so short a space successfully
terminated the affair, restored the province, in a peaceable condition,
to Cornificius, and driven the enemy's fleet out of those seas, returned
victorious to Brundusium, with his army and fleet in good condition.

Chapter 48 

But during the time that Caesar besieged Pompey at Dyrrachium, triumphed
at Old Pharsalia, and carried on the war, with so much danger, at
Alexandria, Cassius Longinus, who had been left in Spain as propraetor
of the further province, either through his natural disposition, or
out of a hatred he had contracted to the province, on account of a
wound he had treacherously received there when quaestor, drew upon
himself the general dislike of the people. He discerned this temper
among them, partly from a consciousness that he deserved it, partly
from the manifest indications they gave of their discontent. To secure
himself against their disaffection, he endeavored to gain the love
of the soldiers; and having, for this purpose, assembled them together,
promised them a hundred sesterces each. Soon after, having made himself
master of Medobriga, a town in Lusitania, and of Mount Herminius,
whither the Medobrigians had retired, and being upon that occasion
saluted imperator by the army, he gave them another hundred sesterces
each. These, accompanied by other considerable largesses, in great
number, seemed, for the present, to increase the good-will of the
army, but tended gradually and imperceptibly to the relaxation of
military discipline. 

Chapter 49 

Cassius, having sent his army into winter quarters, fixed his residence
at Corduba, for the administration of justice. Being greatly in debt,
he resolved to pay it by laying heavy burdens upon the province: and,
according to the custom of prodigals, made his liberalities a pretense
to justify the most exorbitant demands. He taxed the rich at discretion,
and compelled them to pay, without the least regard to their remonstrances;
frequently making light and trifling offenses the handle for all manner
of extortions. All methods of gain were pursued, whether great and
reputable, or mean and sordid. None that had any thing to lose could
escape accusation; insomuch, that the plunder of their private fortunes
was aggravated by the dangers they were exposed to from pretended

Chapter 50 

For which reasons it happened that when Longinus as proconsul did
those same things which he had done as quaestor, the provincials formed
similar conspiracies against his life. Even his own dependents concurred
in the general hatred; who, though the ministers of his rapine, yet
hated the man by whose authority they committed those crimes. The
odium still increased upon his raising a fifth legion, which added
to the expense and burdens of the province. The cavalry was augmented
to three thousand, with costly ornaments and equipage: nor was any
respite given to the province. 

Chapter 51 

Meanwhile he received orders from Caesar, to transport his army into
Africa and march through Mauritania, toward Numidia, because king
Juba had sent considerable succors to Pompey, and was thought likely
to send more. These letters filled him with an insolent joy, by the
opportunity they offered him of pillaging new provinces, and a wealthy
kingdom. He therefore hastened into Lusitania, to assemble his legions,
and draw together a body of auxiliaries; appointing certain persons
to provide corn, ships, and money, that nothing might retard him at
his return; which was much sooner than expected: for when interest
called, Cassius wanted neither industry nor vigilance. 

Chapter 52 

Having got his army together, and encamped near Corduba, he made a
speech to the soldiers, wherein he acquainted them with the orders
he had received from Caesar and promised them a hundred sesterces
each, when they should arrive in Mauritania: the fifth legion, he
told them, was to remain in Spain. Having ended his speech, he returned
to Corduba. The same day, about noon, as he went to the hall of justice,
one Minutius Silo, a client of L. Racilius, presented him with a paper,
in a soldier's habit, as if he had some request to make. Then retiring
behind Racilius (who walked beside Cassius), as if waiting for an
answer, he gradually drew near, and a favorable opportunity offering,
seized Cassius with his left hand, and wounded him twice with a dagger
in his right. A shout was then raised and an attack made on him by
the rest of the conspirators, who all rushed upon him in a body. Munatius
Plancus killed the lictor, that was next Longinus; and wounded Q.
Cassius his lieutenant. T. Vasius and L. Mergilio seconded their countryman
Plancus; for they were all natives of Italica. L. Licinius Squillus
flew upon Longinus himself, and gave him several slight wounds as
he lay upon the ground. 

Chapter 53 

By this time, his guards came up to his assistance (for he always
had several beronians and veterans, armed with darts, to attend him),
and surrounded the rest of the conspirators, who were advancing to
complete the assassination. Of this number were Calphurnius Salvianus
and Manilius Tusculus. Cassius was carried home; and Minutius Silo,
stumbling upon a stone, as he endeavored to make his escape, was taken,
and brought to him. Racilius retired to the neighboring house of a
friend, till he should have certain in formation of the fate of Cassius.
L. Laterensis, not doubting but he was dispatched, ran in a transport
of joy to the camp, to congratulate the second and the new-raised
legions upon it, who, he knew, bore a particular hatred to Cassius;
and who, immediately upon this intelligence, placed him on the tribunal,
and proclaimed him praetor. For there was not a native of the province,
nor a soldier of the newly-raised legion, nor a person who by long
residence was naturalized in the province, of which class the second
legion consisted, who did not join in the general hatred of Cassius.

Chapter 54 

Meantime Laterensis was informed that Cassius was still alive; at
which, being rather grieved than disconcerted, he immediately so far
recovered himself, as to go and wait upon him. By this time, the thirtieth
legion having notice of what had passed, had marched to Corduba, to
the assistance of their general. The twenty-first and fifth followed
their example. As only two legions remained in the camp, the second,
fearing they should be left alone, and their sentiments should be
consequently manifested, did the same. But the new-raised legion continued
firm, nor could be induced by any motives of fear to stir from its

Chapter 55 

Cassius ordered all the accomplices of the conspiracy to be seized,
and sent back the fifth legion to the camp, retaining the other three.
By the confession of Minutius, he learned, that L. Racilius, L. Laterensis,
and Annius Scapula, man of great authority and credit in the province,
and equally in his confidence with Laterensis and Racilius, were concerned
in the plot: nor did he long defer his revenge, but ordered them to
be put to death. He delivered Minutius to be racked by his freed-men;
likewise Calphurnius Salvianus; who, turning evidence, increased the
number of the conspirators; justly, as some think; but others pretend
that he was forced. L. Mergilio was likewise put to the torture. Squillus
impeached many others, who were all condemned to die, except such
as redeemed their lives by a fine; for he pardoned Calphurnius for
ten, and Q. Sextius for fifty thousand sesterces, who, though deeply
guilty, yet having, in this manner, escaped death, showed Cassius
to be no less covetous than cruel. 

Chapter 56 

Some days after, he received letters from Caesar, by which he learned
that Pompey was defeated, and had fled with the loss of all his troops,
which news equally affected him with joy and sorrow. Caesar's success
gave him pleasure; but the conclusion of the war would put an end
to his rapines: insomuch, that he was uncertain which to wish for,
victory or an unbounded licentiousness. When he was cured of his wounds,
he sent to all who were indebted to him, in any sums, and insisted
upon immediate payment. Such as were taxed too low, had orders to
furnish larger sums. He likewise instituted a levy of Roman citizens,
and as they were enrolled from all the corporations and colonies,
and were terrified by service beyond the sea, he called upon them
to redeem themselves from the military oath. This brought in vast
revenue, but greatly increased the general hatred. He afterward reviewed
the army, sent the legions and auxiliaries, designed for Africa, toward
the straits of Gibraltar, and went himself to Seville, to examine
the condition of the fleet. He staid there some time, in consequence
of an edict he had published, ordering all who had not paid the sums
in which they were amerced, to repair to him thither; which created
a universal murmuring and discontent. 

Chapter 57 

In the mean time, L. Titius, a military tribune of the native legion,
sent him notice of a report that the thirteenth legion, which Q. Cassius
his lieutenant was taking with him, when it was encamped at Ilurgis,
had mutinied and killed some of the centurions that opposed them,
and were gone over to the second legion, who marched another way toward
the Straits. Upon this intelligence he set out by night with five
cohorts of the twenty-first legion, and came up with them in the morning.
He staid there that day to consult what was proper to be done, and
then went to Carmona, where he found the thirtieth and twenty-first
legions, with four cohorts of the fifth, and all the cavalry assembled.
Here he learned that the new-raised legion had surprised four cohorts,
near Obucula, and forced them along with them to the second legion,
where all joining, they had chosen T. Thorius, a native of Italica,
for their general. Having instantly called a council, he sent Marcellus
to Corduba to secure that town, and Q. Cassius, his lieutenant, to
Seville. A few days after, news was brought that the Roman citizens
at Corduba had revolted, and that Marcellus, either voluntarily or
through force (for the reports were various), had joined them; as
likewise the two cohorts of the fifth legion that were in garrison
there. Cassius, provoked at these mutinies, decamped, and the next
day came to Segovia, upon the river Xenil. There, summoning an assembly,
to sound the disposition of the troops, he found that it was not out
of any regard to him, but to Caesar, though absent, that they continued
faithful, and were ready to undergo any danger for the, recovery of
the province. 

Chapter 58 

Meantime Thorius marched the veteran legions to Corduba; and, that
the revolt might not appear to spring from a seditious inclination
in him or the soldiers, as likewise to oppose an equal authority to
that of Q. Cassius, who was drawing together a great force in Caesar's
name; he publicly gave out that his design was to recover the province
for Pompey; and perhaps he did this through hatred of Caesar, and
love of Pompey, whose name was very powerful among those legions which
M. Varro had commanded. Be this as it will, Thorius at least made
it his pretense; and the soldiers were so infatuated with the thought,
that they had Pompey's name inscribed upon their bucklers. The citizens
of Corduba, men, women, and children, came out to meet the legions,
begging "they would not enter Corduba as enemies, seeing they joined
with them in their aversion to Cassius, and only desired they might
not be obliged to act against Caesar." 

Chapter 59 

The soldiers, moved by the prayers and tears of so great a multitude,
and seeing they stood in no need of Pompey's name and memory to spirit
up a revolt against Cassius, and that he was as much hated by Caesar's
followers as Pompey's; neither being able to prevail with Marcellus
or the people of Corduba to declare against Caesar, they erased Pompey's
name from their bucklers, chose Marcellus their commander, called
him praetor, joined the citizens of Corduba, and encamped near the
town. Two days after, Cassius encamped on an eminence, on this side
the Guadalquivir, about four miles from Corduba, and within view of
the town; whence he sent letters to Bogud, in Mauritania, and M. Lepidus,
proconsul of Hither Spain, to come to his assistance as soon as possible,
for Caesar's sake. Meanwhile he ravaged the country, and set fire
to the buildings around Corduba. 

Chapter 60 

The legions under Marcellus, provoked at this indignity, ran to him,
and begged to be led against the enemy, that they might have an opportunity
of engaging with them before they could have time to destroy with
fire and sword the rich and noble possessions of the inhabitants of
Corduba. Marcellus, though averse to a battle, which, whoever was
victorious, must turn to Caesar's detriment, yet unable to restrain
the legions, led them across the Guadalquivir, and drew them up. Cassius
did the same upon a rising ground, but as he would not quit his advantageous
post, Marcellus persuaded his men to return to their camp. He had
already begun to retire when Cassius, knowing himself to be stronger
in cavalry, fell upon the legionaries with his horse, and made a considerable
slaughter in their rear upon the banks of the river. When it was evident
from this loss, that crossing the river was an error and attended
with great loss, Marcellus removed his camp to the other side of the
Guadalquivir, where both armies frequently drew up, but did not engage,
on account of the inequality of the ground. 

Chapter 61 

Marcellus was stronger in foot, for he commanded veteran soldiers
of great experience in war. Cassius depended more on the fidelity
than the courage of his troops. The two camps being very near each
other, Marcellus seized a spot of ground, where he built a fort, very
convenient for depriving the enemy of water. Longinus, apprehending
he should be besieged in a country where all were against him, quitted
his camp silently in the night, and, by a quick march, reached Ulia,
a town on which he thought he could rely. There he encamped so near
the walls, that both by the situation of the place (for Ulia stands
on an eminence), and the defenses of the town, he was on all sides
secure from an attack. Marcellus followed him and encamped as near
the town as possible. Having taken a view of the place he found himself
reduced, by necessity, to do what was most agreeable to his own inclination;
namely, neither to engage Cassius, which the ardor of his soldiers
would have forced him to, had it been possible, nor to suffer him,
by his excursions, to infest the territories of other states, as he
had done those of Corduba. He therefore raised redoubts in proper
places, and continued his works quite round the town, inclosing both
Ulia and Cassius within his lines. But before they were finished,
Cassius sent out all his cavalry, who he imagined might do him great
service by cutting off Marcellus's provisions and forage, and could
only be a useless encumbrance to him, by consuming his provisions
if he was shut up in his camp. 

Chapter 62 

A few days after, king Bogud, having received Cassius's letters, came
and joined him with all his forces, consisting of one legion, and
several auxiliary cohorts. For as commonly happens in civil dissensions,
some of the states of Spain at that time favored Cassius, but a yet
greater number, Marcellus. Bogud came up to the advanced works of
Marcellus, where many sharp skirmishes happened with various success:
however, Marcellus still kept possession of his works. 

Chapter 63 

Meanwhile Lepidus came to Ulia, from the hither province, with thirty-five
legionary cohorts, and a great body of horse and auxiliaries, with
the intention of adjusting the differences between Cassius and Marcellus.
Marcellus submitted without hesitation: but Cassius kept within his
works, either because he thought his cause the justest, or from an
apprehension that his adversary's submission had prepossessed Lepidus
in his favor. Lepidus encamped at Ulia, and forming a complete junction
with Marcellus, prevented a battle, invited Cassius into his camp,
and pledged his honor to act without prejudice. Cassius hesitated
long, but at last desired that the circumvallation should be leveled,
and free egress given him. The truce was not only concluded, but the
works demolished, and the guards drawn off; when king Bogud attacked
one of Marcellus's forts, that lay nearest to his camp, unknown to
any (except perhaps Longinus, who was not exempt from suspicion on
this occasion), and slew a great number of his men. And had not Lepidus
interposed, much mischief would have been done. 

Chapter 64 

A free passage being made for Cassius, Marcellus joined camps with
Lepidus; and both together marched for Corduba, while Cassius retired
with his followers to Carmona. At the same time, Trebonius, the proconsul,
came to take possession of the province. Cassius having notice of
his arrival, sent his legions and cavalry into winter quarters, and
hastened, with all his effects, to Melaca, where he embarked immediately,
though it was the winter season, that he might not, as he pretended,
intrust his safety to Marcellus, Lepidus, and Trebonius; as his friends
gave out, to avoid passing through a province, great part of which
had revolted from him; but as was more generally believed, to secure
the money he had amassed by his numberless extortions. The wind favoring
him as far as could be expected at that season of the year, he put
into the Ebro, to avoid sailing in the night: and thence continuing
his voyage, which he thought he might do with safety, though the wind
blew considerably fresher, he was encountered by such a storm, at
the mouth of the river, that being neither able to return on account
of the stream, nor stem the fury of the waves, the ship sank, and
he perished. 

Chapter 65 

When Caesar arrived in Syria, from Egypt, and understood from those
who attended him there from Rome, and the letters he received at the
same time, that the government at Rome was badly and injudiciously
conducted, and all the affairs of the commonwealth managed indiscreetly;
that the contests of the tribunes were producing perpetual seditions,
and that, by the ambition and indulgence of the military tribunes,
many things were done contrary to military usage, which tend to destroy
all order and discipline, all which required his speedy presence to
redress them; thought it was yet first incumbent upon him to settle
the state of the provinces through which he passed; that, freeing
them from domestic contentions, and the fear of a foreign enemy, they
might become amenable to law and order. This he hoped soon to effect
in Syria, Cilicia, and Asia, because these provinces were not involved
in war. In Bithynia and Pontus indeed he expected more trouble, because
he understood Pharnaces still continued in the latter, and was not
likely to quit it easily, being flushed with the victory he had obtained
over Domitius Calvinus. He made a short stay in most states of note,
distributing rewards both publicly and privately to such as deserved
them, settling old controversies, and receiving into his protection
the kings, princes, and potentates, as well of the provinces as of
the neighboring countries. And having settled the necessary regulations
for the defense and protection of the country, he dismissed them,
with most friendly feelings to himself and the republic.

Chapter 66 

After a stay of some days in these parts, he named Sextus Caesar,
his friend and relation, to the command of Syria and the legions appointed
to guard it; and sailed himself for Cilicia, with the fleet he had
brought from Egypt. He summoned the states to assemble at Tarsus,
the strongest and finest city of the province; where, having settled
everything that regarded either that province or the neighboring countries,
through his eagerness to march to carry on the war he delayed no longer,
but advancing through Cappadocia with the utmost expedition, where
he stopped two days at Mazaca, he arrived at Comana, renowned for
the ancient and sacred temple of Bellona, where she is worshiped with
so much veneration, that her priest is accounted next in power and
dignity to the king. He conferred this dignity on Lycomedes of Bithynia,
who was descended from the ancient kings of Cappadocia, and who demanded
it in right of inheritance; his ancestors having lost it upon occasion
of the scepter being transferred to another line. As for Ariobarzanes,
and his brother Ariarates, who had both deserved well of the commonwealth,
he confirmed the first in his kingdom, and put the other under his
protection; after which, he pursued his march with the same dispatch.

Chapter 67 

Upon his approaching Pontus, and the frontiers of Gallograecia, Deiotarus,
tetrarch of that province (whose title, however, was disputed by the
neighboring tetrarchs) and king of Lesser Armenia, laying aside the
regal ornaments, and assuming the habit not only of a private person,
but even of a criminal, came in a suppliant manner to Caesar, to beg
forgiveness for assisting Pompey with his army, and obeying his commands,
at a time when Caesar could afford him no protection: urging, that
it was his business to obey the governors who were present, without
pretending to judge of the disputes of the people of Rome.

Chapter 68 

Caesar, after reminding him "of the many services he had done him,
and the decrees he had procured in his favor when consul; that his
defection could claim no excuse for want of information, because one
of his industry and prudence could not but know who was master of
Italy and Rome, where the senate, the people, and the majesty of the
republic resided; who, in fine, was consul after Marcellus and Lentulus;
told him, that he would notwithstanding forgive his present fault
in consideration of his past services, the former friendship that
had subsisted between them, the respect due to his age, and the solicitation
of those connected with him by hospitality, and his friends who interceded
in his behalf: adding, that he would defer the controversy relating
to the tetrarchate to another time." He restored him the royal habit,
and commanded him to join him with all his cavalry, and the legion
he had trained up after the Roman manner. 

Chapter 69 

When he was arrived in Pontus, and had drawn all his forces together,
which were not very considerable either for their number or discipline
(for except the sixth legion, composed of veteran soldiers, which
he had brought with him from Alexandria, and which, by its many labors
and dangers, the length of its marches and voyages, and the frequent
wars in which it had been engaged, was reduced to less than a thousand
men, he had only the legion of Deiotarus, and two more that had been
in the late battle between Domitius and Pharnaces) embassadors arrived
from Pharnaces, "to entreat that Caesar would not come as an enemy,
for he would submit to all his commands." They represented particularly
that "Pharnaces had granted no aid to Pompey, as Deiotarus had done,
whom he had nevertheless pardoned." 

Chapter 70 

Caesar replied, "That Pharnaces should meet with the utmost justice,
if he performed his promises: but at the same time he admonished the
embassadors, in gentle terms, to forbear mentioning Deiotarus, and
not to overrate the having refused aid to Pompey. He told them that
he never did any thing with greater pleasure than pardon a suppliant,
but that he would never look upon private services to himself as an
atonement for public injuries done the province; that the refusal
of Pharnaces to aid Pompey had turned chiefly to his own advantage,
as he had thereby avoided all share in the disaster of Pharsalia;
that he was however willing to forgive the injuries done to the Roman
citizens in Pontus, because it was now too late to think of redressing
them; as he could neither restore life to the dead, nor manhood to
those he had deprived of it, by a punishment more intolerable to the
Romans than death itself. But that he must quit Pontus immediately,
send back the farmers of the revenues, and restore to the Romans and
their allies what he unjustly detained from them. If he should do
this, he might then send the presents which successful generals were
wont to receive from their friends" (for Pharnaces had sent him a
golden crown). With this answer he dismissed the embassadors.

Chapter 71 

Pharnaces promised every thing: but hoping that Caesar, who was in
haste to be gone, would readily give credit to whatever he said, that
he might the sooner set out upon more urgent affairs (for every body
knew that his presence was much wanted at Rome), he performed but
slowly, wanted to protract the day of his departure, demanded other
conditions, and in fine endeavored to elude his engagements. Caesar,
perceiving his drift, did now, out of necessity, what he was usually
wont to do through inclination, and resolved to decide the affair
as soon as possible by a battle. 

Chapter 72 

Zela is a town of Pontus, well fortified, though situated in a plain;
for a natural eminence, as if raised by art, sustains the walls on
all sides. All around is a great number of large mountains, intersected
by valleys. The highest of these, which is celebrated for the victory
of Mithridates, the defeat of Triarius, and the destruction of our
army, is not above three miles from Zela, and has a ridge that almost
extends to the town. Here Pharnaces encamped, with all his forces,
repairing the fortifications of a position which had proved so fortunate
to his father. 

Chapter 73 

Caesar having encamped about five miles from the enemy, and observing
that the valleys which defended the king's camp would likewise defend
his own, at the same distance, if the enemy, who were much nearer,
did not seize them before him; ordered a great quantity of fascines
to be brought within the intrenchments. This being quickly performed,
next night, at the fourth watch, leaving the baggage in the camp,
he set out with the legions; and arriving at daybreak unsuspected
by the enemy, possessed himself of the same post where Mithridates
had defeated Triarius. Hither he commended all the fascines to be
brought, employing the servants of the army for that purpose, that
the soldiers might not be called off from the works; because the valley,
which divided the eminence, where he was intrenching himself from
the enemy, was not above a mile wide. 

Chapter 74 

Pharnaces perceiving this, next morning ranged all his troops in order
of battle before his camp. Caesar, on account of the disadvantage
of the ground, believed that he was reviewing them according to military
discipline; or with a view to retard his works, by keeping a great
number of his men under arms; or through the confidence of the king,
that he might not seem to defend his position by his fortifications
rather than by force. Therefore, keeping only his first line in order
of battle, he commanded the rest of the army to go on with their works.
But Pharnaces, either prompted by the place itself, which had been
so fortunate to his father; or induced by favorable omens, as we were
afterward told; or discovering the small number of our men that were
in arms (for he took all that were employed in carrying materials
to the works to be soldiers); or confiding in his veteran army, who
valued themselves upon having defeated the twenty-second legion; and
at the same time, despising our troops, whom he knew he had worsted,
under Domitius; was determined upon a battle, and to that end began
to cross the valley. Caesar, at first, laughed at his ostentation,
in crowding his army into so narrow a place, where no enemy, in his
right senses, would have ventured: while, in the mean time, Pharnaces
continued his march, and began to ascend the steep hill on which Caesar
was posted. 

Chapter 75 

Caesar, astonished at his incredible rashness and confidence, and
finding himself suddenly and unexpectedly attacked, called off his
soldiers from the works, ordered them to arms, opposed the legions
to the enemy, and ranged his troops in order of battle. The suddenness
of the thing occasioned some terror at first; and our ranks not being
yet formed, the scythed chariots disordered and confused the soldiers:
however, the multitude of darts discharged against them, soon put
a stop to their career. The enemy's army followed them close, and
began the battle with a shout. Our advantageous situation, but especially
the assistance of the gods, who preside over all the events of war,
and more particularly those where human conduct can be of no service,
favored us greatly on this occasion. 

Chapter 76 

After a sharp and obstinate conflict, victory began to declare for
us on the right wing, where the sixth legion was posted. The enemy
there were totally overthrown, but, in the center and left, the battle
was long and doubtful; however, with the assistance of the gods, we
at last prevailed there also, and drove them with the utmost precipitation
down the hill which they had so easily ascended before. Great numbers
being slain, and many crushed by the flight of their own troops, such
as had the good fortune to escape were nevertheless obliged to throw
away their arms; so that having crossed, and got upon the opposite
ascent, they could not, being unarmed, derive any benefit from the
advantage of the ground. Our men flushed with victory, did not hesitate
to advance up the disadvantageous ground, and attack their fortifications,
which they soon forced, notwithstanding the resistance made by the
cohorts left by Pharnaces to guard it. Almost the whole army was cut
to pieces or made prisoners. Pharnaces himself escaped, with a few
horse; and had not the attack on the camp given him an opportunity
of fleeing without pursuit, he must certainly have fallen alive into
Caesar's hands. 

Chapter 77 

Though Caesar was accustomed to victory, yet he felt incredible joy
at the present success; because he had so speedily put an end to a
very great war. The remembrance, too, of the danger to which he had
been exposed, enhanced the pleasure, as he had obtained an easy victory
in a very difficult conjuncture. Having thus recovered Pontus, and
abandoned the plunder of the enemy's camp to the soldiers, he set
out next day with some light horse. He ordered the sixth legion to
return to Italy to receive the honors and rewards they had merited;
and sent home the auxiliary troops of Deiotarus, and left two legions
with Caelius Vincianus to protect the kingdom of Pontus.

Chapter 78 

Through Gallograecia and Bithynia he marched into Asia, and examined
and decided all the controversies of the provinces as he passed, and
established the limits and jurisdictions of the several kings, states,
and tetrarchs. Mithridates of Pergamus, who had so actively and successfully
served him in Egypt, as we have related above, a man of royal descent
and education (for Mithridates, king of all Asia, out of regard to
his birth, had carried him along with him when very young, and kept
him in his camp several years), was appointed king of Bosphorus, which
had been under the command of Pharnaces. And thus he guarded the provinces
of the Roman people against the attempts of barbarous and hostile
kings, by the interposition of a prince firmly attached to the interests
of the republic. He bestowed on him likewise the tetrarchy of Gallograecia,
which was his by the law of nations and family claims, though it had
been possessed for some years by Deiotarus. Thus Caesar, staying nowhere
longer than the necessity of the seditions in the city required, and
having settled all things relating to the provinces with the utmost
success and dispatch, returned to Italy much sooner than was generally



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