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Great Roman Civil War (II)

(49 – 45 BCE)

Preparations for the confrontation in Greece

When Caesar was officially appointed consul together with Publius Servilius1 in 48 BCE he began to stabilize Italy’s economics. Among many other things he instituted intermediaries whose job were to evaluate the worth of fortunes in order to be able to pay off the debt to the creditors. So they were kind of bailiffs taking care of clearing debts. Caesar also abolished some of the punishments for the bribery, established during the time when Pompey was staying next to Rome. Running the errands in Rome and celebrating the Latin holidays took him 11 days. Then he rendered his resignation and set off to Brundisium2. There crossed the trade roads from Italy to Greece and eastwards.

He ordered 12 legions and the whole cavalry to appear but he did not find enough ships to transport through Greece more than 15 000 infantry and 600 riders. Caesar had lost many great soldiers on his way to Hispania and in many Gallic wars. Meanwhile Pompey, within a year that he had had for the preparations, gathered a huge fleet, 8 legions and was still waiting for the additional two (brought from Syria) from his father-in-law, Scipio. He additionally recruited 3000 archers, 1200 slingers and 7000 riders. The significant number of the infantry, hired from the different corners of Italy, must be included as it completed the heavy infantrymen. He decided to winter in Dyrrachium or Apollonia3. In order to prevent Caesar from crossing the sea, Pompey set out the fleet along the coast.

Caesar decided not to take any baggage and leave it in Italy, so that the ships could transport as many soldiers as possible. 7 legions came aboard and they managed to cross the sea docking in the bay not guarded by Pompey, around the city Paleste4. So he decided to send out all the ships and transport the rest of the legions and cavalry. However, on their way back some of the ships were caught by the Bibulus’ fleet. He took over 30 ships and then burnt them. He decided to man each harbor and haven in this part of the coast and watch them so that Caeser would not get any reinforcements. Marcus Octavius5, Pompey’s fleet commander incited Issa to break an alliance with Caesar. He was also trying to talk Salona6 out of the coalition, but the Roman citizens union in the city chose to support Caesar. Octavius thus began a siege, but as a result of the chaos among the soldiers, who were too confident about the victory, he had to step out, also because of the simultaneous and fierce inhabitants’ resistance.

Torso of Pompey the Great
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One of the Pompey’s prefects, Vibulius Rufus, was sent by Caesar as a messenger to Pompey. He highly respected both commanders. He had been already sent by Caesar two times (in Corfinium and in Hispania) so he thought that he would do a good job this time as well. Caesar’s conditions were simple: immediate end of the war, before somebody would suffer heavy losses, and disbanding the army. In the matters concerning the provinces division he thought that the Senate along with the people should make the decision. Finding out about Caesar’s arrival to Greece, Pompey decided to go to Apollonia to prevent Caesar from taking over the seaside cities. In the same day Caesar disembarked with his army, he went to Oricum and although L. Torquatus, Pompey’s supporter was stationed there and wanted to defend the city, people of Greece refused battling with Caesar and the city was surrendered without a fight. After capturing the city, Caesar set off to Apollonia where the commander also wanted to defend, but the inhabitants refuse the fight with the Roman consul.

L. Staberius, who was stationed in the city, escaped covertly and the local authority sent a legation to Caesar, giving him the city. The next messages came and finally nearly half of the Epirus was subservient to Caesar. Pompey decided to march night and day and get to Dyrrachium. He managed to cut Caesar off the city and set a camp. Caesar, on the other hand, fortified by the river Apsus7 (across the river where was Pompey’s camp) and there chose to wait for the rest of his soldiers from Italy. His opponents also decided to wait for the reinforcements.

In Brundisium Caesar’s envoy did everything according to the instructions that he had been given, so he took the vessels and embarked the soldiers. When he set off, he got a message that the coast had been captured by Pompey and thanks to that he was able to return soon enough. A truly paradoxical situation occurred, in which Bibulus, the commander of Pompey’s fleet, cut Caesar off the reinforcements from the sea and Caesar, taking up all the coast, cut him off the land. Starving soldiers decided to sent Bibulus and Libon (who had recently joined Bibulus) as the messengers to Caesar asking for truce. The commanders stated that they wanted to talk not only about the conditions of ending the blockade but also about some serious matters concerning the whole war. Caesar, thus, despite being busy with providing the supplies, immediately went to Oricum to meet the messengers. During the meeting Libon claimed that he wanted to defuse the conflict but neither him nor Bibulus had received an authority to do that. The messenger asked for truce during which he agreed to go to Pompey and present him Caesar’s conditions. He believed for the whole time that the war might be ended peacefully and so he demanded from Libon and Bibulus that his messengers would be protected, but neither of them wanted to take the responsibility. Caesar agreed for truce but only if Bibulus’ fleet would end its sea patrols which would enable Caesar to help his army with the reinforcements. However, when Caesar noticed that the whole Libon’s speech was only about seeing off the current danger concerning his soldier’s hunger, he turned them away and started planning further campaign.

Because of the hunger and other inconveniences on the sea, Bibulus became seriously ill and died. With his death the fleet’s leadership broke and everyone began to command on his own. The fleet commanders were being sent to Pompey to pass Caesar’s conditions. However, in fact the one who would set the peace terms, would also win the war. But Pompey did not intend to give in, mostly because of his ambition.
Pompey’s and Caesar’s camps were separated only by the Aspus river so the soldiers talked a lot and then there were no fights. It proves the great military culture of the Romans and shows how deeply they respected their opponents. We can expect that if the enemies were not the countrymen, there would not be any conversation. There was a well-known rule in Rome: “for among times of arms, the laws fall mute” (inter arma silent leges). However, it still remained obvious that the civil war disagreed even with the soldiers. It was still a time of war during which the only thing needed was the way to end the conflict and the whole campaign.

Caesar sent his legates by the river to agitate for the peace. This led to the peace talks in which the head-chiefs’ messengers took part, but the conversation was broken off with the argument and mutual rounds throwing. There were a few injured, but this occurrence changed the soldiers’ way of thinking, especially after Labienus8 shouted a statement laughing at peace, which – according to him – could not happen until Caesar lived. For this moment the truce was no longer taken into consideration.

Situation in Italy

Here Caesar in his account moved to Rome for a second, where the administrators were still trying to deal with the borrowers who did not want to pay back their debts. M. Celius Rufus, Caesar’s supporter, willing to be a praetor, was trying to endear people to himself. He wanted to help the borrowers and gain their endorsement so he passed a new law stating that a debt could be paid back up to 6 years free of interest. However, towards the administration’s resistance he had to quit it, but he proposed two new instead: one – exempting the tenants from paying the rent, the other – reciting the old debts. As a result of his actions, Senate voted him off. After this incident he turned away from Caesar as he was looking for support which he did not get.

During the war, in Italy appeared some groups of people fighting with each other, a kind of military groups, which attacked and ravaged the cities and this way made use from the war chaos. One of this groups was headed by Milo, to whom Celius, dismissed from the office, sent the messengers. He started making bands, consisting mostly of shepherds. He was planning to attack Naples, but they found out about his intentions in time and deemed him an enemy. Thus Celius dropped the idea of attacking the city. Both him and Milo were killed while inciting people against the authorities. Getting back to the matters in Greece, Libon, heading the fleet of 50 vessels, decided that he would not be able to defend the whole coast so he sailed to Brundisium where he blocked Caesar’s only way to receive the reinforcements.

Greek campaign

Antony, who was staying in Brundisium at that time, armed about 60 ships and made sail with 3 triremes, allegedly to train the rowers. In response Libon sent 5 quadriemes. When they approached, Antony’s vessels9 escaped from the harbor, so they ordered a chase. On cue the ships made sail and in the first attack took over one of the opponents’ vessels and then the rest escaped. After such ignominious defeat Libon resigned from the siege, all the more that the Antony’s cavalry cut him off the water. Caesar waited for the reinforcements for almost whole winter. Finally, he sent a letter to Brundisium in which he insisted on ships setting off with the first free wind. And indeed, Mark Antony and Fufius Calenus, who commanded the fleet in Brundisium, disbanded the ships soon after that and same-day arrived to the coast of Apollonia. However, they were noticed in Dyrrachium by the commander of Pompey’s fleet and thus the chase began. As a result of changing weather conditions Caesar’s fleet managed to escape and hide in a bay. Meanwhile, the enemies’ fleet shattered during the storm before having hit there. Only two of Caesar’s ships did not get to the bay because they had broken away earlier and had to anchor nearby Lissus10 city for the night.
One of Pompey’s commanders wanted to take over the vessels so he sent lots of ships against them, assuring them safety if they gave up at the same time. Ship with young soldiers gave up without a fight and despite the guarantee, everybody was killed. Meanwhile the second ship, having the veterans on board, started talks about capitulation to get to land and disembark safely at night. In the morning about 200 veterans beat twice as big cavalry unit and got to the rest of the army. Hearing that, the union of Roman citizens in the city decided to take in Antony with the army and provide them with everything they needed. Otacilius11, who was stationed in the city, escaped, worried about his life. Antony managed to transport 3 old legions and one from the new recruitment and also 800 riders. Then he sent most of the ships to Italy as they carried the rest of infantry and cavalry.

Both Caesar and Pompey learnt about this situation. Caesar wanted to join Antony as soon as possible but he was far away, beyond the Pompey’s camp. Meanwhile Pompey hoped to cut Caesar off Antony and, if it was possible, destroy the reinforcements. Both set off on the same day but Caesar had longer journey to make as he had to walk upstream to ford. Despite many obstacles, Caesar was the first to gain the place while Pompey had to back out in order not to be surrounded by two armies. He set a camp in Asparagium12. Meanwhile Scipio, Pompey’s supporter who governed a province in Asia Minor, enforced tribute and taxes from the local people to recruit legions. After receiving message from Pompey saying that Caesar was near Dyrrachium13 with his troops, Scipio set off with the whole army.

After joining Antony, Caesar decided to go up-country. Messengers from Thessaly and Aetolia offered to join Caesar, if he would fill their cities with his crew. Caesar sent one legion, 5 cohorts and a handful of cavalry to those places hoping that he would be provided with food in return He also called away the legion defending the coast in Oricum to man the troops. In Macedonia, where Domitius was sent (Caesar’s legate, paradoxically having the same name as his opponent), arrived Scipio with the army. Scipio, although he had first drifted toward Domitius, now turned to Thessaly, toward Cassius, Caesar’s supporter who was staying there. Terrified Cassius escaped to the mountains which led to the decision about a chase. Then a message came from Favonius, informing about Domitius’ and his army’s approach and the necessity to help him. Scipio thus returned and joined his ally. Despite the soldier’s fire he did not choose to start a battle with Domitius, who, on the other hand, aimed at a fight. He pretended to retreat because of the lack of food whereas in fact he hide. Scipio was ready for the chase. He sent before the majority of the cavalry which did not avoid ambush. Two troops were surrounded and almost entirely slaughtered. Scipio’s troops came to a standstill.

Meanwhile, one of Pompey’s sons approached Oricum with the fleet, forced the crew to escape and took over the city. He was also trying to get Lissus but there the soldiers and Roman citizens took up arms. After a few days young Gnaeus Pompeius gave up on the siege.
Caesar and his army were informed that Pompey set the previously mentioned camp. So he set off with nearly all the soldiers and fortified next to the enemy’s camp. The following day he walked his army to allow Pompey to start the final battle. Pompey, however, did not move so Caesar decided to take a long march to cut his enemy off Dyrrachium, which would mean no supplies from the city. Caesar’s departure might have looked like a withdrawal caused by the lack of food so it was not until the next day when Pompey found out about his plans. He set off, rat run, but Caesar was faster again. Pompey was cut off all the supplies. So he decided to build retrenchment on the coastal highland called Petra and ordered to supply the food by sea. Caesar took the nearby hills and began building fortification surrounding Pompey. Because of the mountainous area fortified by Caesar, Pompey’s cavalry was useless. Additionally Caesar managed to provide the safe delivery of grain and undermine Pompey’s authority among other nations. Caesar eventually besieged him, but he still did not want to get into fight.

Pompey did not have many possibilities of what to do so he decided to take over as many hills as possible before Caesar would and had this way in his hand possibly the most extensive territory. This led to many clashes while taking over the hills. IX legion (Caesar’s) got the hill but was forced to retreat during which it would suffer a great loss if it was not for engaging more troops for defense by Caesar. The soldiers struck back successfully and retreated safely. The whole siege was breaking all the rules of being at war. Usually the opponent with the less numerous troops or the one defeated in the battle, or without supplies is being besieged. Caesar, however, besieged an enemy with the well-provided, intact and more numerous troops. In the same time Caesar’s soldiers were starving because there was no more grain in Greece. Here we presumably read about the invention of cereals. Caesar’s soldiers were picking a kind of root, then
smashed it and add to milk which was supposedly tasty. To undermine the opponents’ morale Caesar blocked or turned the courses of the streams leading to Pompey’s camp so he had to look for water in more dangerous places. Over time Pompey’s soldiers started to be ill whereas Caesar’s soldiers did not lack a thing, as grain ripened and the supplies were again regular14.

Six battles were fought the same day. Caesar wrote that Pompey had lost 2000 people while only 20 of Caesar’s soldiers had been killed. He mentioned though, that almost everyone had been injured15. We get to know that, thanks to the soldiers’ commitment, he defended one of his forts on the hill. It also turns out that Pompey and his army were fighting in many different places. After some failures he had to fortify on one of the hills and it was not until the night when he came back to his old fortifications with the army. Caesar intended to endear Achaea16. He sent there some of his commanders with the cohorts. They managed to take over a few cities either voluntarily or by force. To the rest there were sent the messengers. Caesar, informed that Scipio was staying in Macedonia, tried peace talks again. He sent Clodius to convince him to go to Pompey and demand truce on him. As a result of Clodius’ faux pas (criticizing Scipio) he returned to Caesar empty-handed.

Meanwhile in Dyrrachium Pompey was facing another crisis. He was cut off the cities with additional forts which prevented him from an effective cavalry use. He was also lacking feed and grain so the horses were dying form inanition. Pompey thus began to plan how to knock through the encirclement. Caesar too suffered a loss. Two Allobroges brothers, his trusted cavalry commanders, began to rob the soldiers of their pay and haul. The riders complained to Caesar, but he only laid the dust. Nonetheless, the brothers gained the army’s reluctance and out of concern about possible punishment or revenge they became Pompey’s supporters. The loss of two soldiers was not significant, but Caesar perceived it as his personal failure. Additionally, traitors passed many useful information to Pompey – eg. where the bulwarks were not finished or what was the state of the army or its position.

Using the information from the Allobroges, Pompey attacked Caesar’s bulwarks by the seat on the very next day. X legion, left for defense, did not stand the attack from land and sea and had to retreat. Cohorts, sent as the reinforcements along with the escaping soldiers got into panic.
It was not until Antony’s arrival with the huge army, and then Caesar’s when the soldiers started resist successfully. The even managed to build a fortified camp. Meanwhile Caesar got an information that his opponent took over the fort which so far had been empty. Caesar explained here that it used to be his camp but he had withdrawn the soldiers because of his own reasons. The camp now taken over by Pompey was also further fortified but also Pompey withdrew from there after some time. Then it had been empty for some time until one of Pompey’s legates started to occupy it. Caesar, shocked with his defeat from the other day, decided to destroy Pompey’s legion with his 33 cohorts.

Caesar appeared at the fort before Pompey had realized what was going on and after a quick fight he clawed his way inside, slaughtering the vast majority of the soldiers. Despite the initial success, Caesar did not predict further events. His right flank did not get its bearings and started walking down the bank treating it as a camp and looking for a gate. When the noticed that there was no defense, they broke the part of the bank to make their way through and the cavalry followed them. Pompey, noticing what was going on, called 5 legions away from their work and sent for the rescue. He also sent the cavalry to attack this of Caesar. Caesar’s riders, on the other hand, afraid that they would not manage to withdraw, ran away. Also the infantry concerned that it would be crushed to death, bolted. Thus appeared a great crush and many people were simply tramped. Left flank became cut off the right and fearing the possible encirclement, began chaotic retreat. Caesar was not able to hold back the escaping soldiers. The total failure was prevented only by the fact that Pompey, not believing in what he saw, was afraid of an ambush and did not sent his legions to attack the escaping army. Caesar lost over one thousand soldiers and 32 standards. The captives, who went to Pompey’s camp, were killed. In the opponents’ camp they were celebrating as if the war was completely over and they won17. Caesar had to change his plans. He drew back from the siege and made an uplifting speech to his soldiers. The battle of Dyrrachium took place on 6 July 48 BCE.

Caesar’s soldiers, blaming themselves for the defeat, acted as if they would like to fight with Pompey as soon as possible. Caesar though did not want to do that as he was afraid that the army did not get over the last failure yet. At night he sent the tabors back to Apollonia along with one legion, then he sent another two. Together with the rest of the army he set off at the latest. When Pompey noticed his actions, he began a chase, sending the cavalry before, but Caesar already had the edge. Rearguards were forced to fight with the cavalry by the river Genesus18 and thanks to the auxiliary cavalry they managed to scatter his riders. Both commanders settled in their old camps near Asparagus. The bulwarks were unscathed so one part of Pompey’s soldiers went back to the camps for the tabors, whereas the other part walked far away to get food and water. The following day Caesar set off and went farther, but Pompey could not follow him because of the scatter of the army. Pompey firstly was trying to catch up, but after four days he ceased the chase.

The situation was as follows: Pompey could attack Domitius as it was probable that Caesar would like to join him. But he could also crowd Scipio and thus force Pompey to come to help. Pompey, on the other hand, could attack Oricum and Apollonia to cut Caesar off the sea. Caesar, however, did not choose to join Domitius. Because of the unfortunate result in Dyrrachium he lost many allies. Meanwhile Domitius, because of the grain delivery headed unconsciously towards Pompey. Eventually, he was warned and then made for Thessaly where he joined Caesar. Those two armies set off to Gomf19 from where had earlier came the messengers for Caesars, giving him all their stocks to manage. Nonetheless, after hearing about the situation in Dyrrachium, they closed their gates and asked Pompey for the reinforcements. Caesar, despite the obstacles, came to the city and took it over and then gave it for the soldiers to pillage. Then he made for Metropolis, which also had intended to defend, but after being informed about Gomf, they opened their gates. After those events, most of the cities in Thessaly opened their gates for Caesar.

Battle of Pharsalus

A few days later Pompey arrived to Thessaly and joined Scipio. His camp was still in the mood of victory. It may be said that the whole Pompey’s army, including his commanders started to count their chickens before they were hatched. Meanwhile Caesar stocked up on grain and his soldiers were ready to fight. Every day he walked with his army, closer and closer to Pompey’s camp, checking how willing was he to fight. Pompey, on the other hand, having the camp on the hill, gathered the soldiers at the foot of a hill and waited for what was going to happen. Caesar, not able to induce Pompey to leave the fort, chose to move out in order to force his army to set off as they were not used to long journeys. When Caesar was ready to march, he noticed that Pompey edged away from the camp as he was probably being persisted by his commanders to five a fight. It was 9 August 48 BCE.

Pompey intended to use his weight of numbers in cavalry. He planned to scramble through the Caesar’s left flank and destroy his army from behind. On the left flank Pompey put two legions, gathered in the beginning of the war with Caesar in Italy, which he commanded himself. In the middle there was Scipio with the Syrian legions and on the right flank there was Afranius along with
the Cilician legions and the Hispanic cohorts. The right side was protected by the stream with the steep banks so all the cavalry, slingers and archers were put on the left flank. Cumulatively, Pompey had 100 cohorts which gives approximately 45 000 people. Meanwhile Caesar put the X legion on the right flank and XI legion along with the VIII on the left and legion XI joined with the VII on the left. The left flank was commanded by Antony, the middle by Domitius and the right – Sulla. Caesar himself breasted Pompey20. Caesar had 80 cohorts at his disposal which gives approximately 22 000 people. He also predicted the cavalry attack which Pompey had planned and withdrew one cohort from each legion in the third rank and then created out of them a fourth rank, turned against the cavalry.

The battle began with the Caesar’s infantry attack. Pompey ordered to face it without changing the position. The Pompeians stood the attack and Caesar’s cavalry was much weaker than the opponents’. Then he commanded the previously made fourth rank to move and they break the enemies’ cavalry and slaughtered the slingers and archers and then irrupted Pompey’s left flank. Only then Caesar moved his third rank which he had previously told not to move without an order. Thanks to that the new forces replaced the exhausted soldiers and the fourth line got into the opponents’ rear area. Encircled Pompeians bolted, including Pompey, who escaped and hide in the camp. Caesar ordered the siege but Pompey’s soldiers were thinking more about an escape rather than about defending the camp. Realizing his defeat, Pompey ran away through the back gate toward Larissa where he took about 30 people, reached the sea and escaped on the ship transporting grain.

The vast majority of Pompey’s army escaped to the mountains. Caesar divided his forces into two groups: one part stayed in the enemies’ camp, the second one returned to their own, the other – built a bank at the foot of a hill. Caesar took 4 legions to block Pompey’s retreat to Larissa. When the Pompeians noticed those actions, they decided to stay in the mountains. Caesar built the banks which cut the opponents off the river as they could not be provided with water. The Pompeians, scared of starve, capitulated21.
Caesar wrote that he lost bout 200 peopled meanwhile Pompey lost 15 000 in the battle and 24 000 were taken as captives.

Theodatus, orator, shows Caesar the head of Pompey. According to the recent findings Caesar was supposed to grieve over Pompey and paid great respect to his body.
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The following day all the soldiers hiding in the mountains came out and laid down the arms. Caesar went to Larissa. Meanwhile Lelius, commander of Pompey’s fleet, began the beleaguerment of the harbor in Brundisium, totally unaware of what had happened in Thessaly. At the same time the other part of this fleet won over Caesar’s ships in Messana. The siege of the city started and if it was not the news about Caesar’s victory, it would surely become surrendered. Cassius22 was trying to destroy both parts of the opponent’s fleet but when he did not manage to do that, he left with his vessels. Caesar chose to chase Pompey. He, on the other hand, continued to escape, but wherever he came, he was not welcomed. Eventually, he asked king Ptolemy for asylum in Alexandria. Pompey was let to get there but in the same time there were made schemes to kill him. Pompey disembarked from the vessel into a small boat in which were sailing Achillas and Septimius – his future assassins. Caesar’s enemy was stabbed with the dagger a few times and then his head was severed and taken to the king23. This is how one of the Caesar’s greatest enemies, winner of many battles in the campaigns in the East, one of the triumvirs and the defender of the Roman Republic, died, on 28 September 48 BCE.

Caesar came to Alexandria on 2 October 48 BCE with 3200 soldiers, as soon as he learned about Pompey’s24 death. There he intervened in the wrangling over power between an underage Ptolemy and his elder sister, Cleopatra VII25. There was made covertly an army against Caesar (Ptolemy’s supporters) commanded by the previously mentioned assassin, Achillas. When Caesar was staying in the city with his army, a message came, saying that they army was making the advance on the city. Caesar did not have enough soldiers to take on the battle so he chose to fight back in the city. Achilles took over the whole city except for the part occupied by Caesar. He was fighting on the narrow streets, but he also had to keep the attacked harbor with the ships. In the end they were burnt as there was not enough crew to defend them.Caesar manned the Faros island with its famous tower. The island was connected to the land only with the narrow bridge and the person who had Faros could easily defend the access to the harbor.This way Caesar provided himself with food supplies. He managed to take over and fortify the crucial places. He finished his account with the statement: “Such was the beginning of the Alexandrian war.”

Last battles

In his account Caesar did not describe the whole story of the civil war but only its first year. Here we present its further story, in a short summary. Fights in Egypt finished in March 47 BCE. Thanks to the reinforcements sent by Mithridates, Caesar managed to destroy the Egyptian army and restore Cleopatra to power. Then he went to Pontus, where he won the war with the son of late Mithridates and informed the Senate about the victory with these famous words: “Veni, vidi, vici”. In the end he went to Africa to defeat the joined forces of king Juba and the Pompeians. It took him four months and final engagement was the battle of Thapsus on 6 April 46 BCE.

Pompey’s sons: Sextus and Gnaeus escaped to Hispania to continue the war with Caesar. The victor began the siege of Utica where his opponent was stationed, Cato who committed a suicide realizing that he would not be able to defend the city. Caesar assumed that he only needed to defeat Pompey’s sons in Hispania so he returned to Rome to have a triumphal procession. He was appointed dictator for the next 10 years. He extended Rome architecturally, eg. he began the building of Forum Iulium and rebuilt the Senate’s boardroom. He also managed to reform the calendar which after him was named the Julian calendar.

Torso of Cleopatra VII, Caesar’s future mistress.
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Caesar was not at all cruel. Moreover, he helped his opponents which caused quite an astonishment. In 46 BCE Cleopatra came to Rome with Caesarion. Her appearance in the city created a stir among some people, but no one opposed the dictator. In November he went to Hispania to finally finish the war. It was settled with the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 BCE. When the battle went adrift Caesar had to join the ranks and fight along with his soldiers. In the end Caesar’s victory cost the life of 30 000 legionaries from both sides. Caesar returned Rome for another triumphal procession.The war was over and he was the one who won.

Unfortunately, Caesar still had many enemies attached to the Republic. Many of his friends, who owed their positions and fortunes to him, conspired to kill him. He was assassinated on the Ides of March, 15 March 44 BCE.


After defeating Pompey Caesar wanted to carry out many reforms in the country end extend its territory, but his intentions were misread. In the beginning of 44 BCE he proclaimed himself dictator in perpetuity. He could not get any imperial title as he was aware to what extent this system was hated by the society. Despite his death he managed to build a foundation for the Empire. His adopted son, Augustus, had a long way to go before he became the first Roman Emperor but it was his father who had been in fact the slayer of the Republic and also the person thanks to which Rome became the most powerful country and lasted for the next 500 years.

Author: Explore


  1. The consulate concerned the year 48 BCE.
  2. Brundisium - valid harbor by the Adriatic, mentioned in the first book.
  3. Dyrrachium, Apollonia- cities on the Adriatic’s east coast.
  4. Paleste - city in Epirus- northwest coast of Greece, near to Oricum.
  5. Marcus Octavius - commander of Pompey’s fleet.
  6. Salona - port on the coast of Dalmatia.
  7. Apsus - river in Illyria, flows from Macedonia to Adriatic.
  8. Labienus- Caesar’s commander in the Gallic Wars, in the beginning of the war he left Caesar and joined Pompey. Avoiding death in the battle of Pharsalus, he fell in Hispania.
  9. Mark Antony - Caesar’s devoted supporter and friend, after his death he became famous as a triumvir and a friend, then Augustus’ enemy.
  10. Lissus - city in Illyria.
  11. Otacilius Crassus- Pompey’s supporter.
  12. Asparagium - city in Illyria, tens kilometers down from Dyrrachium.
  13. Caesar waged struggles near Dyrrachium from January 48 BCE.
  14. Here the part of the text is missing. We come back in the middle of the battle but I decided to skip the details and describe only its results.
  15. Data about the Pompey’s losses are probably bloated but we do not know the actual ones.
  16. Achaea- during Caesar’s life it was the name for the whole Greece (except from Thessaly).
  17. The battle of Dyrrachium took place on 6 July 48 BCE.
  18. Genusus - river in Illyria.
  19. Gomfy - city in Thessaly.
  20. We do not now why Caesar did not give the details about his troops’ positions, we can only guess out of the further course of the battle.
  21. We talk of course about the battle of Pharsalus which took place on 9 August 48 BCE. It finished with Pompey’s total defeat. Caesar wrote that he had lost about 200 people while Pompey - 15 000 and 24 000 had been taken in captivity. Some of them managed to escape to the neighboring countries.
  22. Casius- Pompey’s supporter, commander of his fleet.
  23. Pompey died on 28 September 48 BCE.
  24. Caesar came to Alexandria on 2 October 48 BCE
  25. Cleopatra- here probably Caesar fell in love with Cleopatra. It is also possible that they had a son, Caesarion.

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