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Plutarch's Lives

Part 23 out of 35

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subdued, a district which, it is said, contained fifteen several
nations and five thousand considerable towns, besides abundance of
villages. To another government, three times as large as this, he
appointed Philip, one of his friends.

Some little time after the battle with Porus, Bucephalas died, as
most of the authorities state, under cure of his wounds, or as
Onesicritus says, of fatigue and age, being thirty years old.
Alexander was no less concerned at his death, than if he had lost
an old companion or an intimate friend, and built a city, which he
named Bucephalia, in memory of him, on the bank of the river
Hydaspes. He also, we are told, built another city, and called it
after the name of a favorite dog, Peritas, which he had brought up
himself. So Sotion assures us he was informed by Potamon of

But this last combat with Porus took off the edge of the
Macedonians' courage, and stayed their further progress into
India. For having found it hard enough to defeat an enemy who
brought but twenty thousand foot and two thousand horse into the
field, they thought they had reason to oppose Alexander's design
of leading them on to pass the Ganges too, which they were told
was thirty-two furlongs broad and a hundred fathoms deep, and the
banks on the further side covered with multitudes of enemies. For
they were told that the kings of the Gandaritans and Praesians
expected them there with eighty thousand horse, two hundred
thousand foot, eight thousand armed chariots, and six thousand
fighting elephants. Nor was this a mere vain report, spread to
discourage them. For Androcottus, who not long after reigned in
those parts, made a present of five hundred elephants at once to
Seleucus, and with an army of six hundred thousand men subdued all
India. Alexander at first was so grieved and enraged at his men's
reluctancy, that he shut himself up in his tent, and threw himself
upon the ground, declaring, if they would not pass the Ganges, he
owed them no thanks for anything they had hitherto done, and that
to retreat now, was plainly to confess himself vanquished. But at
last the reasonable persuasions of his friends and the cries and
lamentations of his soldiers, who in a suppliant manner crowded
about the entrance of his tent, prevailed with him to think of
returning. Yet he could not refrain from leaving behind him
various deceptive memorials of his expedition, to impose upon
after-times, and to exaggerate his glory with posterity, such as
arms larger than were really worn, and mangers for horses, with
bits of bridles above the usual size, which he set up, and
distributed in several places. He erected altars, also, to the
gods, which the kings of the Praesians even in our time do honor
to when they pass the river, and offer sacrifice upon them after
the Grecian manner. Androcottus, then a boy, saw Alexander there,
and is said often afterwards to have been heard to say, that he
missed but little of making himself master of those countries;
their king, who then reigned, was so hated and despised for the
viciousness of his life, and the meanness of his extraction.

Alexander was now eager to see the ocean. To which purpose he
caused a great many row-boats and rafts to be built, in which he
fell gently down the rivers at his leisure, yet so that his
navigation was neither unprofitable nor inactive. For by several
descents upon the banks, he made himself master of the fortified
towns, and consequently of the country on both sides. But at a
siege of a town of the Mallians, who have the repute of being the
bravest people of India, he ran in great danger of his life. For
having beaten off the defendants with showers of arrows, he was
the first man that mounted the wall by a scaling ladder, which, as
soon as he was up, broke and left him almost alone, exposed to the
darts which the barbarians threw at him in great numbers from
below. In this distress, turning himself as well as he could, he
leaped down in the midst of his enemies, and had the good fortune
to light upon his feet. The brightness and clattering of his
armor when he came to the ground, made the barbarians think they
saw rays of light, or some bright phantom playing before his body,
which frightened them so at first, that they ran away and
dispersed. Till seeing him seconded but by two of his guards,
they fell upon him hand to hand, and some, while he bravely
defended himself, tried to wound him through his armor with their
swords and spears. And one who stood further off, drew a bow with
such just strength, that the arrow finding its way through his
cuirass, stuck in his ribs under the breast. This stroke was so
violent, that it made him give back, and set one knee to the
ground, upon which the man ran up with his drawn scimitar,
thinking to dispatch him, and had done it, if Peucestes and
Limnaeus had not interposed, who were both wounded, Limnaeus
mortally, but Peucestes stood his ground, while Alexander killed
the barbarian. But this did not free him from danger; for besides
many other wounds, at last he received so weighty a stroke of a
club upon his neck, that he was forced to lean his body against
the wall, still, however, facing the enemy. At this extremity,
the Macedonians made their way in and gathered round him. They
took him up, just as he was fainting away, having lost all sense
of what was done near him, and conveyed him to his tent, upon
which it was presently reported all over the camp that he was
dead. But when they had with great difficulty and pains sawed off
the shaft of the arrow, which was of wood, and so with much
trouble got off his cuirass, they came to cut out the head of it,
which was three fingers broad and four long, and stuck fast in the
bone. During the operation, he was taken with almost mortal
swoonings, but when it was out he came to himself again. Yet
though all danger was past, he continued very weak, and confined
himself a great while to a regular diet and the method of his
cure, till one day hearing the Macedonians clamoring outside in
their eagerness to see him, he took his cloak and went out. And
having sacrificed to the gods, without more delay he went on board
again, and as he coasted along, subdued a great deal of the
country on both sides, and several considerable cities.

In this voyage, he took ten of the Indian philosophers prisoners,
who had been most active in persuading Sabbas to revolt, and had
caused the Macedonians a great deal of trouble. These men, called
Gymnosophists, were reputed to be extremely ready and succinct in
their answers, which he made trial of, by putting difficult
questions to them, letting them know that those whose answers were
not pertinent, should be put to death, of which he made the eldest
of them judge. The first being asked which he thought most
numerous, the dead or the living, answered, "The living, because
those who are dead are not at all." Of the second, he desired to
know whether the earth or the sea produced the largest beast; who
told him, "The earth, for the sea is but a part of it." His
question to the third was, Which is the cunningest of beasts?
"That," said he, "which men have not yet found out." He bade the
fourth tell him what argument he used to Sabbas to persuade him to
revolt. "No other," said he, "than that he should either live or
die nobly." Of the fifth he asked, Which was eldest, night or
day? The philosopher replied, "Day was eldest, by one day at
least." But perceiving Alexander not well satisfied with that
account, he added, that he ought not to wonder if strange
questions had as strange answers made to them. Then he went on and
inquired of the next, what a man should do to be exceedingly
beloved. "He must be very powerful," said he, "without making
himself too much feared." The answer of the seventh to his
question, how a man might become a god, was, "By doing that which
was impossible for men to do." The eighth told him, "Life is
stronger than death, because it supports so many miseries." And
the last being asked, how long he thought it decent for a man to
live, said, "Till death appeared more desirable than life." Then
Alexander turned to him whom he had made judge, and commanded him
to give sentence. "All that I can determine," said he, "is, that
they have every one answered worse than another." "Nay," said the
king, "then you shall die first, for giving such a sentence."
"Not so, O king," replied the gymnosophist, "unless you said
falsely that he should die first who made the worst answer." In
conclusion he gave them presents and dismissed them.

But to those who were in greatest reputation among them, and lived
a private quiet life, he sent Onesicritus, one of Diogenes the
Cynic's disciples, desiring them to come to him. Calanus, it is
said, very arrogantly and roughly commanded him to strip himself,
and hear what he said, naked, otherwise he would not speak a word
to him, though he came from Jupiter himself. But Dandamis
received him with more civility, and hearing him discourse of
Socrates, Pythagoras, and Diogenes, told him he thought them men
of great parts, and to have erred in nothing so much as in
having too great respect for the laws and customs of their
country. Others say, Dandamis only asked him the reason why
Alexander undertook so long a journey to come into those parts.
Taxiles, however, persuaded Calanus to wait upon Alexander. His
proper name was Sphines, but because he was wont to say Cale,
which in the Indian tongue is a form of salutation, to those he
met with anywhere, the Greeks called him Calanus. He is said to
have shown Alexander an instructive emblem of government, which
was this. He threw a dry shriveled hide upon the ground, and trod
upon the edges of it. The skin when it was pressed in one place,
still rose up in another, wheresoever he trod round about it, till
he set his foot in the middle, which made all the parts lie even
and quiet. The meaning of this similitude being that he ought to
reside most in the middle of his empire, and not spend too much
time on the borders of it.

His voyage down the rivers took up seven months' time, and when he
came to the sea, he sailed to an island which he himself called
Scillustis, others Psiltucis, where going ashore, he sacrificed,
and made what observations he could as to the nature of the sea
and the sea-coast. Then having besought the gods that no other
man might ever go beyond the bounds of this expedition, he ordered
his fleet of which he made Nearchus admiral, and Onesicritus
pilot, to sail round about, keeping the Indian shore on the right
hand, and returned himself by land through the country of the
Orites, where he was reduced to great straits for want of
provisions, and lost a vast number of men, so that of an army of
one hundred and twenty thousand foot and fifteen thousand horse,
he scarcely brought back above a fourth part out of India, they
were so diminished by diseases, ill diet, and the scorching heats,
but most by famine. For their march was through an uncultivated
country whose inhabitants fared hardly, possessing only a few
sheep, and those of a wretched kind, whose flesh was rank and
unsavory, by their continual feeding upon sea-fish.

After sixty days march he came into Gedrosia, where he found great
plenty of all things, which the neighboring kings and governors of
provinces, hearing of his approach, had taken care to provide.
When he had here refreshed his army, he continued his march
through Carmania, feasting all the way for seven days together.
He with his most intimate friends banqueted and reveled night and
day upon a platform erected on a lofty, conspicuous scaffold,
which was slowly drawn by eight horses. This was followed by a
great many chariots, some covered with purple and embroidered
canopies, and some with green boughs, which were continually
supplied afresh, and in them the rest of his friends and
commanders drinking, and crowned with garlands of flowers. Here
was now no target or helmet or spear to be seen; instead of armor,
the soldiers handled nothing but cups and goblets and Thericlean
drinking vessels, which, along the whole way, they dipped into
large bowls and jars, and drank healths to one another, some
seating themselves to it, others as they went along. All places
resounded with music of pipes and flutes, with harping and
singing, and women dancing as in the rites of Bacchus. For this
disorderly, wandering march, besides the drinking part of it, was
accompanied with all the sportiveness and insolence of bacchanals,
as much as if the god himself had been there to countenance and
lead the procession. As soon as he came to the royal palace of
Gedrosia, he again refreshed and feasted his army; and one day
after he had drunk pretty hard, it is said, he went to see a prize
of dancing contended for, in which his favorite Bagoas, having
gained the victory, crossed the theater in his dancing habit, and
sat down close by him, which so pleased the Macedonians, that they
made loud acclamations for him to kiss Bagoas, and never stopped
clapping their hands and shouting till Alexander put his arms
round him and kissed him.

Here his admiral, Nearchus, came to him and delighted him so with
the narrative of his voyage, that he resolved himself to sail out
of the mouth of Euphrates with a great fleet, with which he
designed to go round by Arabia and Africa, and so by Hercules's
Pillars into the Mediterranean; in order for which, he directed
all sorts of vessels to be built at Thapsacus, and made great
provision everywhere of seamen and pilots. But the tidings of the
difficulties he had gone through in his Indian expedition, the
danger of his person among the Mallians, the reported loss of a
considerable part of his forces, and a general doubt as to his own
safety, had begun to give occasion for revolt among many of the
conquered nations, and for acts of great injustice, avarice, and
insolence on the part of the satraps and commanders in the
provinces, so that there seemed to be an universal fluctuation and
disposition to change. Even at home, Olympias and Cleopatra had
raised a faction against Antipater, and divided his government
between them, Olympias seizing upon Epirus, and Cleopatra upon
Macedonia. When Alexander was told of it, he said his mother had
made the best choice, for the Macedonians would never endure to be
ruled by a woman. Upon this he dispatched Nearchus again to his
fleet, to carry the war into the maritime provinces, and as he
marched that way himself, he punished those commanders who had
behaved ill, particularly Oxyartes, one of the sons of Abuletes,
whom he killed with his own hand, thrusting him through the body
with his spear. And when Abuletes, instead of the necessary
provisions which he ought to have furnished, brought him three
thousand talents in coined money, he ordered it to be thrown to
his horses, and when they would not touch it, "What good," he
said, "will this provision do us?" and sent him away to prison.

When he came into Persia, he distributed money among the women, as
their own kings had been wont to do, who as often as they came
thither, gave every one of them a piece of gold; on account of
which custom, some of them, it is said, had come but seldom, and
Ochus was so sordidly covetous, that to avoid this expense, he
never visited his native country once in all his reign. Then
finding Cyrus's sepulchre opened and rifled, he put Polymachus,
who did it, to death, though he was a man of some distinction, a
born Macedonian of Pella. And after he had read the inscription,
he caused it to be cut again below the old one in Greek
characters; the words being these: "O man, whosoever thou art,
and from whencesoever thou comest (for I know thou wilt come), I
am Cyrus, the founder of the Persian empire; do not grudge me this
little earth which covers my body." The reading of this sensibly
touched Alexander, filling him with the thought of the uncertainty
and mutability of human affairs. At the same time, Calanus having
been a little while troubled with a disease in the bowels,
requested that he might have a funeral pile erected, to which he
came on horseback, and after he had said some prayers and
sprinkled himself and cut off some of his hair to throw into the
fire, before he ascended it, he embraced and took leave of the
Macedonians who stood by, desiring them to pass that day in mirth
and good-fellowship with their king, whom in a little time, he
said, he doubted not but to see again at Babylon. Having thus
said, he lay down, and covering up his face, he stirred not when
the fire came near him, but continued still in the same posture
as at first, and so sacrificed himself, as it was the ancient
custom of the philosophers in those countries to do. The same
thing was done long after by another Indian, who came with Caesar
to Athens, where they still show you "the Indian's monument." At
his return from the funeral pile, Alexander invited a great many
of his friends and principal officers to supper, and proposed a
drinking match, in which the victor should receive a crown.
Promachus drank twelve quarts of wine, and won the prize, which
was a talent, from them all; but he survived his victory but three
days, and was followed, as Chares says, by forty-one more, who
died of the same debauch, some extremely cold weather having set
in shortly after.

At Susa, he married Darius's daughter Statira, and celebrated also
the nuptials of his friends, bestowing the noblest of the Persian
ladies upon the worthiest of them, at the same time making in an
entertainment in honor of the other Macedonians whose marriages
had already taken place. At this magnificent festival, it is
reported, there were no less than nine thousand guests, to each of
whom he gave a golden cup for the libations. Not to mention other
instances of his wonderful magnificence, he paid the debts of his
army, which amounted to nine thousand eight hundred and seventy
talents. But Antigenes, who had lost one of his eyes, though he
owed nothing, got his name set down in the list of those who were
in debt, and bringing one who pretended to be his creditor, and to
have supplied him from the bank, received the money. But when the
cheat was found out, the king was so incensed at it, that he
banished him from court, and took away his command, though he was
an excellent soldier, and a man of great courage. For when he was
but a youth, and served under Philip at the siege of Perinthus,
where he was wounded in the eye by an arrow shot out of an engine,
he would neither let the arrow be taken out, nor be persuaded to
quit the field, till he had bravely repulsed the enemy and forced
them to retire into the town. Accordingly he was not able to
support such a disgrace with any patience, and it was plain that
grief and despair would have made him kill himself, but that the
king fearing it, not only pardoned him, but let him also enjoy the
benefit of his deceit.

The thirty thousand boys whom he left behind him to be taught and
disciplined, were so improved at his return, both in strength and
beauty, and performed their exercises with such dexterity and
wonderful agility, that he was extremely pleased with them, which
grieved the Macedonians, and made them fear he would have the less
value for them. And when he proceeded to send down the infirm and
maimed soldiers to the sea, they said they were unjustly and
infamously dealt with, after they were worn out in his service
upon all occasions, now to be turned away with disgrace and sent
home into their country among their friends and relations, in a
worse condition than when they came out; therefore they desired
him to dismiss them one and all, and to account his Macedonians
useless, now he was so well furnished with a set of dancing boys,
with whom, if he pleased, he might go on and conquer the world.
These speeches so incensed Alexander, that after he had given them
a great deal of reproachful language in his passion, he drove them
away, and committed the watch to Persians, out of whom he chose
his guards and attendants. When the Macedonians saw him escorted
by these men, and themselves excluded and shamefully disgraced,
their high spirits fell, and conferring with one another, they
found that jealousy and rage had almost distracted them. But at
last coming to themselves again, they went without their arms,
with on]y their under garments on, crying and weeping, to offer
themselves at his tent, and desired him to deal with them as their
baseness and ingratitude deserved. However, this would not
prevail; for though his anger was already something mollified, yet
he would not admit them into his presence, nor would they stir
from thence, but continued two days and nights before his tent,
bewailing themselves, and imploring him as their lord to have
compassion on them. But the third day he came out to them, and
seeing them very humble and penitent, he wept himself a great
while, and after a gentle reproof spoke kindly to them, and
dismissed those who were unserviceable with magnificent rewards,
and with this recommendation to Antipater, that when they came
home, at all public shows and in the theaters, they should sit on
the best and foremost seats, crowned with chaplets of flowers. He
ordered, also, that the children of those who had lost their lives
in his service, should have their fathers' pay continued to them.

When he came to Ecbatana in Media, and had dispatched his most
urgent affairs, he began to divert himself again with spectacles
and public entertainments, to carry on which he had a supply of
three thousand actors and artists, newly arrived out of Greece.
But they were soon interrupted by Hephaestion's falling sick of a
fever, in which, being a young man and a soldier too, he could not
confine himself to so exact a diet as was necessary; for whilst
his physician Glaucus was gone to the theater, he ate a fowl for
his dinner, and drank a large draught of wine, upon which he
became very ill, and shortly after died. At this misfortune,
Alexander was so beyond all reason transported, that to express
his sorrow, he immediately ordered the manes and tails of all his
horses and mules to be cut, and threw down the battlements of the
neighboring cities. The poor physician he crucified, and forbade
playing on the flute, or any other musical instrument in the camp
a great while, till directions came from the oracle of Ammon, and
enjoined him to honor Hephaestion, and sacrifice to him as to a
hero. Then seeking to alleviate his grief in war, he set out, as
it were, to a hunt and chase of men, for he fell upon the
Cossaeans, and put the whole nation to the sword. This was called
a sacrifice to Hephaestion's ghost. In his sepulchre and monument
and the adorning of them, he intended to bestow ten thousand
talents; and designing that the excellence of the workmanship and
the singularity of the design might outdo the expense, his wishes
turned, above all other artists, to Stasicrates, because he always
promised something very bold, unusual, and magnificent in his
projects. Once when they had met before, he had told him, that of
all the mountains he knew, that of Athos in Thrace was the most
capable of being adapted to represent the shape and lineaments of
a man; that if he pleased to command him, he would make it the
noblest and most durable statue in the world, which in its left
hand should hold a city of ten thousand inhabitants, and out of
its right should pour a copious river into the sea. Though
Alexander declined this proposal, yet now he spent a great deal of
time with workmen to invent and contrive others even more
extravagant and sumptuous.

As he was upon his way to Babylon, Nearchus, who had sailed back
out of the ocean up the mouth of the river Euphrates, came to tell
him he had met with some Chaldaean diviners, who had warned him
against Alexander's going thither. Alexander, however, took no
thought of it, and went on, and when he came near the walls of the
place, he saw a great many crows fighting with one another, some
of whom fell down just by him. After this, being privately
informed that Apollodorus, the governor of Babylon, had
sacrificed, to know what would become of him, he sent for
Pythagoras, the soothsayer, and on his admitting the thing, asked
him, in what condition he found the victim; and when he told him
the liver was defective in its lobe, "A great presage indeed!"
said Alexander. However, he offered Pythagoras no injury, but was
sorry that he had neglected Nearchus's advice, and stayed for the
most part outside the town, removing his tent from place to place,
and sailing up and down the Euphrates. Besides this, he was
disturbed by many other prodigies. A tame ass fell upon the
biggest and handsomest lion that he kept, and killed him by a
kick. And one day after he had undressed himself to be anointed,
and was playing at ball, just as they were going to bring his
clothes again, the young men who played with him perceived a man
clad in the king's robes, with a diadem upon his head, sitting
silently upon his throne. They asked him who he was, to which he
gave no answer a good while, till at last coming to himself, he
told them his name was Dionysius, that he was of Messenia, that
for some crime of which he was accused, he was brought thither
from the sea-side, and had been kept long in prison, that Serapis
appeared to him, had freed him from his chains, conducted him to
that place, and commanded him to put on the king's robe and
diadem, and to sit where they found him, and to say nothing.
Alexander, when he heard this, by the direction of his
soothsayers, put the fellow to death, but he lost his spirits, and
grew diffident of the protection and assistance of the gods, and
suspicious of his friends. His greatest apprehension was of
Antipater and his sons, one of whom, Iolaus, was his chief
cupbearer; and Cassander, who had lately arrived, and had been
bred up in Greek manners, the first time he saw some of the
barbarians adore the king, could not forbear laughing at it aloud,
which so incensed Alexander, that he took him by the hair with
both hands, and dashed his head against the wall. Another time,
Cassander would have said something in defense of Antipater to
those who accused him, but Alexander interrupting him said, "What
is it you say? Do you think people, if they had received no
injury, would come such a journey only to calumniate your father?"
To which when Cassander replied, that their coming so far from the
evidence was a great proof of the falseness of their charges,
Alexander smiled, and said those were some of Aristotle's
sophisms, which would serve equally on both sides; and added, that
both he and his father should be severely punished, if they were
found guilty of the least injustice towards those who complained.
All which made such a deep impression of terror in Cassander's
mind, that long after when he was king of Macedonia, and master of
Greece, as he was walking up and down at Delphi, and looking at
the statues, at the sight of that of Alexander he was suddenly
struck with alarm, and shook all over, his eyes rolled, his head
grew dizzy, and it was long before he recovered himself.

When once Alexander had given way to fears of supernatural
influence, his mind grew so disturbed and so easily alarmed, that
if the least unusual or extraordinary thing happened, he thought
it a prodigy or a presage, and his court was thronged with
diviners and priests whose business was to sacrifice and purify
and foretell the future. So miserable a thing is incredulity and
contempt of divine power on the one hand, and so miserable, also,
superstition on the other, which like water, where the level has
been lowered, flowing in and never stopping, fills the mind with
slavish fears and follies, as now in Alexander's case. But upon
some answers which were brought him from the oracle concerning
Hephaestion, he laid aside his sorrow, and fell again to
sacrificing and drinking; and having given Nearchus a splendid
entertainment, after he had bathed, as was his custom, just as he
was going to bed, at Medius's request he went to supper with him.
Here he drank all the next day, and was attacked with a fever,
which seized him, not as some write, after he had drunk of the
bowl of Hercules; nor was he taken with any sudden pain in his
back, as if he had been struck with lance, for these are the
inventions of some authors who thought it their duty to make the
last scene of so great an action as tragical and moving as they
could. Aristobulus tells us, that in the rage of his fever and a
violent thirst, he took a draught of wine, upon which he fell into
delirium, and died on the thirtieth day of the month Daesius.

But the journals give the following record. On the eighteenth of
the month, he slept in the bathing-room on account of his fever.
The next day he bathed and removed into his chamber, and spent
his time in playing dice with Medius. In the evening he bathed
and sacrificed, and ate freely, and had the fever on him through
the night. On the twentieth, after the usual sacrifices and
bathing, he lay in the bathing-room and heard Nearchus's narrative
of his voyage, and the observations he had made in the great sea.
The twenty-first he passed in the same manner, his fever still
increasing, and suffered much during the night. The next day the
fever was very violent, and he had himself removed and his bed set
by the great bath, and discoursed with his principal officers
about finding fit men to fill up the vacant places in the army.
On the twenty-fourth he was much worse, and was carried out of his
bed to assist at the sacrifices, and gave order that the general
officers should wait within the court, whilst the inferior
officers kept watch without doors. On the twenty-fifth he was
removed to his palace on the other side the river, where he slept
a little, but his fever did not abate, and when the generals came
into his chamber, he was speechless, and continued so the
following day. The Macedonians, therefore, supposing he was dead,
came with great clamors to the gates, and menaced his friends so
that they were forced to admit them, and let them all pass through
unarmed along by his bedside. The same day Python and Seleucus
were dispatched to the temple of Serapis to inquire if they should
bring Alexander thither, and were answered by the god, that they
should not remove him. On the twenty-eighth, in the evening, he
died. This account is most of it word for word as it is written
in the diary.

At the time, nobody had any suspicion of his being poisoned, but
upon some information given six years after, they say Olympias put
many to death, and scattered the ashes of Iolaus, then dead, as if
he had given it him. But those who affirm that Aristotle
counseled Antipater to do it, and that by his means the poison was
brought, adduce one Hagnothemis as their authority, who, they say,
heard king Antigonus speak of it, and tell us that the poison was
water, deadly cold as ice, distilling from a rock in the district
of Nonacris, which they gathered like a thin dew, and kept in an
ass's hoof; for it was so very cold and penetrating that no other
vessel would hold it. However, most are of opinion that all this
is a mere made-up story, no slight evidence of which is, that
during the dissensions among the commanders, which lasted several
days, the body continued clear and fresh, without any sign of such
taint or corruption, though it lay neglected in a close, sultry

Roxana, who was now with child, and upon that account much honored
by the Macedonians, being jealous of Statira, sent for her by a
counterfeit letter, as if Alexander had been still alive; and when
she had her in her power, killed her and her sister, and threw
their bodies into a well, which they filled up with earth, not
without the privity and assistance of Perdiccas, who in the time
immediately following the king's death, under cover of the name of
Arrhidaeus, whom he carried about him as a sort of guard to his
person, exercised the chief authority Arrhidaeus, who was Philip's
son by an obscure woman of the name of Philinna, was himself of
weak intellect, not that he had been originally deficient either
in body or mind; on the contrary, in his childhood, he had showed
a happy and promising character enough. But a diseased habit of
body, caused by drugs which Olympias gave him, had ruined not only
his health, but his understanding.


After Sylla became master of Rome, he wished to make Caesar put
away his wife Cornelia, daughter of Cinna, the late sole ruler
of the commonwealth, but was unable to effect it either by
promises or intimidation, and so contented himself with
confiscating her dowry. The ground of Sylla's hostility to
Caesar, was the relationship between him and Marius; for Marius,
the elder, married Julia, the sister of Caesar's father, and had
by her the younger Marius, who consequently was Caesar's first
cousin. And though at the beginning, while so many were to be
put to death and there was so much to do, Caesar was overlooked
by Sylla, yet he would not keep quiet, but presented himself to
the people as a candidate for the priesthood, though he was yet
a mere boy. Sylla, without any open opposition, took measures
to have him rejected, and in consultation whether he should be
put to death, when it was urged by some that it was not worth
his while to contrive the death of a boy, he answered, that they
knew little who did not see more than one Marius in that boy.
Caesar, on being informed of this saying, concealed himself, and
for a considerable time kept out of the way in the country of
the Sabines, often changing his quarters, till one night, as he
was removing from one house to another on account of his health,
he fell into the hands of Sylla's soldiers, who were searching
those parts in order to apprehend any who had absconded.
Caesar, by a bribe of two talents, prevailed with Cornelius,
their captain, to let him go, and was no sooner dismissed but he
put to sea, and made for Bithynia. After a short stay there
with Nicomedes, the king, in his passage back he was taken near
the island Pharmacusa by some of the pirates, who, at that time,
with large fleets of ships and innumerable smaller vessels
infested the seas everywhere.

When these men at first demanded of him twenty talents for his
ransom, he laughed at them for not understanding the value of
their prisoner, and voluntarily engaged to give them fifty. He
presently dispatched those about him to several places to raise
the money, till at last he was left among a set of the most
bloodthirsty people in the world, the Cilicians, only with one
friend and two attendants. Yet he made so little of them, that
when he had a mind to sleep, he would send to them, and order
them to make no noise. For thirty-eight days, with all the
freedom in the world, he amused himself with joining in their
exercises and games, as if they had not been his keepers, but
his guards. He wrote verses and speeches, and made them his
auditors, and those who did not admire them, he called to their
faces illiterate and barbarous, and would often, in raillery,
threaten to hang them. They were greatly taken with this, and
attributed his free talking to a kind of simplicity and boyish
playfulness. As soon as his ransom was come from Miletus, he
paid it, and was discharged, and proceeded at once to man some
ships at the port of Miletus, and went in pursuit of the
pirates, whom he surprised with their ships still stationed at
the island, and took most of them. Their money he made his
prize, and the men he secured in prison at Pergamus, and made
application to Junius, who was then governor of Asia, to whose
office it belonged, as praetor, to determine their punishment.
Junius, having his eye upon the money, for the sum was
considerable, said he would think at his leisure what to do with
the prisoners, upon which Caesar took his leave of him, and went
off to Pergamus, where he ordered the pirates to be brought
forth and crucified; the punishment he had often threatened them
with whilst he was in their hands, and they little dreamed he
was in earnest.

In the meantime Sylla's power being now on the decline, Caesar's
friends advised him to return to Rome, but he went to Rhodes,
and entered himself in the school of Apollonius, Molon's son, a
famous rhetorician, one who had the reputation of a worthy man,
and had Cicero for one of his scholars. Caesar is said to have
been admirably fitted by nature to make a great statesman and
orator, and to have taken such pains to improve his genius this
way, that without dispute he might challenge the second place.
More he did not aim at, as choosing to be first rather amongst
men of arms and power, and, therefore, never rose to that height
of eloquence to which nature would have carried him, his
attention being diverted to those expeditions and designs, which
at length gained him the empire. And he himself, in his answer
to Cicero's panegyric on Cato, desires his reader not to compare
the plain discourse of a soldier with the harangues of an orator
who had not only fine parts, but had employed his life in this

When he was returned to Rome, he accused Dolabella of
maladministration, and many cities of Greece came in to attest
it. Dolabella was acquitted, and Caesar, in return for the
support he had received from the Greeks, assisted them in their
prosecution of Publius Antonius for corrupt practices, before
Marcus Lucullus, praetor of Macedonia. In this cause he so far
succeeded, that Antonius was forced to appeal to the tribunes
at Rome, alleging that in Greece he could not have fair play
against Grecians. In his pleadings at Rome, his eloquence soon
obtained him great credit and favor, and he won no less upon the
affections of the people by the affability of his manners and
address, in which he slowed a tact and consideration beyond what
could have been expected at his age; and the open house he kept,
the entertainments he gave, and the general splendor of his
manner of life contributed little by little to create and
increase his political influence. His enemies slighted the
growth of it at first, presuming it would soon fail when his
money was gone; whilst in the meantime it was growing up and
flourishing among the common people. When his power at last was
established and not to be overthrown, and now openly tended to
the altering of the whole constitution, they were aware too
late, that there is no beginning so mean, which continued
application will not make considerable, and that despising a
danger at first, will make it at last irresistible. Cicero was
the first who had any suspicions of his designs upon the
government, and, as a good pilot is apprehensive of a storm when
the sea is most smiling, saw the designing temper of the man
through this disguise of good-humor and affability, and said,
that in general, in all he did and undertook, he detected the
ambition for absolute power, "but when I see his hair so
carefully arranged, and observe him adjusting it with one
finger, I cannot imagine it should enter into such a man's
thoughts to subvert the Roman state." But of this more

The first proof he had of the people's good-will to him, was
when he received by their suffrages a tribuneship in the army,
and came out on the list with a higher place than Caius
Popilius. A second and clearer instance of their favor appeared
upon his making a magnificent oration in praise of his aunt
Julia, wife to Marius, publicly in the forum, at whose funeral
he was so bold as to bring forth the images of Marius, which
nobody had dared to produce since the government came into
Sylla's hands, Marius's party having from that time been
declared enemies of the State. When some who were present had
begun to raise a cry against Caesar, the people answered with
loud shouts and clapping in his favor, expressing their joyful
surprise and satisfaction at his having, as it were, brought up
again from the grave those honors of Marius, which for so long a
time had been lost to the city. It had always been the custom
at Rome to make funeral orations in praise of elderly matrons,
but there was no precedent of any upon young women till Caesar
first made one upon the death of his own wife. This also
procured him favor, and by this show of affection he won upon
the feelings of the people, who looked upon him as a man of
great tenderness and kindness of heart. After he had buried his
wife, he went as quaestor into Spain under one of the praetors,
named Vetus, whom he honored ever after, and made his son his
own quaestor, when he himself came to be praetor. After this
employment was ended, he married Pompeia, his third wife, having
then a daughter by Cornelia, his first wife, whom he afterwards
married to Pompey the Great. He was so profuse in his expenses,
that before he had any public employment, he was in debt
thirteen hundred talents, and many thought that by incurring
such expense to be popular, he changed a solid good for what
would prove but short and uncertain return; but in truth he was
purchasing what was of the greatest value at an inconsiderable
rate. When he was made surveyor of the Appian Way, he
disbursed, besides the public money, a great sum out of his
private purse; and when he was aedile, be provided such a number
of gladiators, that he entertained the people with three hundred
and twenty single combats, and by his great liberality and
magnificence in theatrical shows, in processions, and public
feastings, he threw into the shade all the attempts that had
been made before him, and gained so much upon the people, that
everyone was eager to find out new offices and new honors for
him in return for his munificence.

There being two factions in the city, one that of Sylla, which
was very powerful, the other that of Marius, which was then
broken and in a very low condition, he undertook to revive this
and to make it his own. And to this end, whilst he was in the
height of his repute with the people for the magnificent shows
he gave as aedile, he ordered images of Marius, and figures of
Victory, with trophies in their hands, to be carried privately
in the night and placed in the capitol. Next morning, when some
saw them bright with gold and beautifully made, with
inscriptions upon them, referring them to Marius's exploits over
the Cimbrians, they were surprised at the boldness of him who
had set them up, nor was it difficult to guess who it was. The
fame of this soon spread and brought together a great concourse
of people. Some cried out that it was an open attempt against
the established government thus to revive those honors which had
been buried by the laws and decrees of the senate; that Caesar
had done it to sound the temper of the people whom he had
prepared before, and to try whether they were tame enough to
bear his humor, and would quietly give way to his innovations.
On the other hand, Marius's party took courage, and it was
incredible how numerous they were suddenly seen to be, and what
a multitude of them appeared and came shouting into the capitol.
Many, when they saw Marius's likeness, cried for joy, and Caesar
was highly extolled as the one man, in the place of all others,
who was a relation worthy of Marius. Upon this the senate met,
and Catulus Lutatius, one of the most eminent Romans of that
time, stood up and inveighed against Caesar, closing his speech
with the remarkable saying, that Caesar was now not working
mines, but planting batteries to overthrow the state. But when
Caesar had made an apology for himself, and satisfied the
senate, his admirers were very much animated, and advised him
not to depart from his own thoughts for anyone, since with the
people's good favor he would erelong get the better of them all,
and be the first man in the commonwealth.

At this time, Metellus, the High-Priest, died, and Catulus and
Isauricus, persons of the highest reputation, and who had great
influence in the senate, were competitors for the office; yet
Caesar would not give way to them, but presented himself to the
people as a candidate against them. The several parties seeming
very equal, Catulus, who, because he had the most honor to lose,
was the most apprehensive of the event, sent to Caesar to buy
him off, with offers of a great sum of money. But his answer
was, that he was ready to borrow a larger sum than that, to
carry on the contest. Upon the day of election, as his mother
conducted him out of doors with tears, after embracing her, "My
mother," he said, "today you will see me either High-Priest, or
an exile." When the votes were taken, after a great struggle,
he carried it, and excited among the senate and nobility great
alarm lest he might now urge on the people to every kind of
insolence. And Piso and Catulus found fault with Cicero for
having let Caesar escape, when in the conspiracy of Catiline he
had given the government such advantage against him. For
Catiline, who had designed not only to change the present state
of affairs, but to subvert the whole empire and confound all,
had himself taken to flight, while the evidence was yet
incomplete against him, before his ultimate purposes had been
properly discovered. But he had left Lentulus and Cethegus in
the city to supply his place in the conspiracy, and whether they
received any secret encouragement and assistance from Caesar is
uncertain; all that is certain, is, that they were fully
convicted in the senate, and when Cicero, the consul, asked the
several opinions of the senators, how they would have them
punished, all who spoke before Caesar sentenced them to death;
but Caesar stood up and made a set speech, in which he told
them, that he thought it without precedent and not just to take
away the lives of persons of their birth and distinction before
they were fairly tried, unless there was an absolute necessity
for it; but that if they were kept confined in any towns of
Italy Cicero himself should choose, till Catiline was defeated,
then the senate might in peace and at their leisure determine
what was best to be done.

This sentence of his carried so much appearance of humanity, and
he gave it such advantage by the eloquence with which he urged
it, that not only those who spoke after him closed with it, but
even they who had before given a contrary opinion, now came over
to his, till it came about to Catulus's and Cato's turn to
speak. They warmly opposed it, and Cato intimated in his speech
the suspicion of Caesar himself, and pressed the matter so
strongly, that the criminals were given up to suffer execution.
As Caesar was going out of the senate, many of the young men who
at that time acted as guards to Cicero, ran in with their naked
swords to assault him. But Curio, it is said, threw his gown
over him, and conveyed him away, and Cicero himself, when the
young men looked up to see his wishes, gave a sign not to kill
him, either for fear of the people, or because he thought the
murder unjust and illegal. If this be true, I wonder how Cicero
came to omit all mention of it in his book about his consulship.
He was blamed, however, afterwards, for not having made use of
so fortunate an opportunity against Caesar, as if he had let it
escape him out of fear of the populace, who, indeed, showed
remarkable solicitude about Caesar, and some time after, when he
went into the senate to clear himself of the suspicions he lay
under, and found great clamors raised against him, upon the
senate in consequence sitting longer than ordinary, they went up
to the house in a tumult, and beset it, demanding Caesar, and
requiring them to dismiss him. Upon this, Cato, much fearing
some movement among the poor citizens, who were always the first
to kindle the flame among the people, and placed all their hopes
in Caesar, persuaded the senate to give them a monthly allowance
of corn, an expedient which put the commonwealth to the
extraordinary charge of seven million five hundred thousand
drachmas in the year, but quite succeeded in removing the great
cause of terror for the present, and very much weakened Caesar's
power, who at that time was just going to be made praetor, and
consequently would have been more formidable by his office.

But there was no disturbance during his praetorship, only what
misfortune he met with in his own domestic affairs. Publius
Clodius was a patrician by descent, eminent both for his riches
and eloquence, but in licentiousness of life and audacity
exceeded the most noted profligates of the day. He was in love
with Pompeia, Caesar's wife, and she had no aversion to him.
But there was strict watch kept on her apartment, and Caesar's
mother, Aurelia, who was a discreet woman, being continually
about her, made any interview very dangerous and difficult. The
Romans have a goddess whom they call Bona, the same whom the
Greeks call Gynaecea. The Phrygians, who claim a peculiar title
to her, say she was mother to Midas. The Romans profess she was
one of the Dryads, and married to Faunus. The Grecians affirm
that she is that mother of Bacchus whose name is not to be
uttered, and, for this reason, the women who celebrate her
festival, cover the tents with vine-branches, and, in accordance
with the fable, a consecrated serpent is placed by the goddess.
It is not lawful for a man to be by, nor so much as in the
house, whilst the rites are celebrated, but the women by
themselves perform the sacred offices, which are said to be
much the same with those used in the solemnities of Orpheus.
When the festival comes, the husband, who is either consul or
praetor; and with him every male creature, quits the house. The
wife then taking it under her care, sets it in order, and the
principal ceremonies are performed during the night, the women
playing together amongst themselves as they keep watch, and
music of various kinds going on.

As Pompeia was at that time celebrating this feast, Clodius, who
as yet had no beard, and so thought to pass undiscovered, took
upon him the dress and ornaments of a singing woman, and so came
thither, having the air of a young girl. Finding the doors
open, he was without any stop introduced by the maid, who was in
the intrigue. She presently ran to tell Pompeia, but as she was
away a long time, he grew uneasy in waiting for her, and left
his post and traversed the house from one room to another, still
taking care to avoid the lights, till at last Aurelia's woman
met him, and invited him to play with her, as the women did
among themselves. He refused to comply, and she presently
pulled him forward, and asked him who he was, and whence he
came. Clodius told her he was waiting for Pompeia's own maid,
Abra, being in fact her own name also, and as he said so,
betrayed himself by his voice. Upon which the woman shrieking,
ran into the company where there were lights, and cried out, she
had discovered a man. The women were all in a fright. Aurelia
covered up the sacred things and stopped the proceedings, and
having ordered the doors to be shut, went about with lights to
find Clodius, who was got into the maid's room that he had come
in with, and was seized there. The women knew him, and drove
him out of doors, and at once, that same night, went home and
told their husbands the story. In the morning, it was all about
the town, what an impious attempt Clodius had made, and how he
ought to be punished as an offender, not only against those whom
he had affronted, but also against the public and the gods.
Upon which one of the tribunes impeached him for profaning the
holy rites, and some of the principal senators combined together
and gave evidence against him, that besides many other horrible
crimes, he had been guilty of incest with his own sister, who
was married to Lucullus. But the people set themselves against
this combination of the nobility, and defended Clodius, which
was of great service to him with the judges, who took alarm and
were afraid to provoke the multitude. Caesar at once dismissed
Pompeia, but being summoned as a witness against Clodius, said
he had nothing to charge him with. This looking like a paradox,
the accuser asked him why he parted with his wife. Caesar
replied, "I wished my wife to be not so much as suspected."
Some say that Caesar spoke this as his real thought; others,
that he did it to gratify the people, who were very earnest to
save Clodius. Clodius, at any rate, escaped; most of the judges
giving their opinions so written as to be illegible, that they
might not be in danger from the people by condemning him, nor in
disgrace with the nobility by acquitting him.

Caesar, in the meantime, being out of his praetorship, had got
the province of Spain, but was in great embarrassment with his
creditors, who, as he was going off, came upon him, and were
very pressing and importunate. This led him to apply himself to
Crassus, who was the richest man in Rome, but wanted Caesar's
youthful vigor and heat to sustain the opposition against
Pompey. Crassus took upon him to satisfy those creditors who
were most uneasy to him, and would not be put off any longer,
and engaged himself to the amount of eight hundred and thirty
talents, upon which Caesar was now at liberty to go to his
province. In his journey, as he was crossing the Alps, and
passing by a small village of the barbarians with but few
inhabitants and those wretchedly poor, his companions asked the
question among themselves by way of mockery, if there were any
canvassing for offices there; any contention which should be
uppermost, or feuds of great men one against another. To which
Caesar made answer seriously, "For my part, I had rather be the
first man among these fellows, than the second man in Rome." It
is said that another time, when free from business in Spain,
after reading some part of the history of Alexander, he sat a
great while very thoughtful, and at last burst out into tears.
His friends were surprised, and asked him the reason of it. "Do
you think," said he, "I have not just cause to weep, when I
consider that Alexander at my age had conquered so many nations,
and I have all this time done nothing that is memorable?" As
soon as he came into Spain he was very active, and in a few
days had got together ten new cohorts of foot in addition to the
twenty which were there before. With these he marched against
the Calaici and Lusitani and conquered them, and advancing as
far as the ocean, subdued the tribes which never before had been
subject to the Romans. Having managed his military affairs with
good success, he was equally happy in the course of his civil
government. He took pains to establish a good understanding
amongst the several states, and no less care to heal the
differences between debtors and creditors. He ordered that the
creditor should receive two parts of the debtor's yearly
income, and that the other part should be managed by the debtor
himself, till by this method the whole debt was at last
discharged. This conduct made him leave his province with a
fair reputation; being rich himself, and having enriched his
soldiers, and having received from them the honorable name of

There is a law among the Romans, that whoever desires the honor
of a triumph must stay without the city and expect his answer.
And another, that those who stand for the consulship shall
appear personally upon the place. Caesar was come home at the
very time of choosing consuls, and being in a difficulty between
these two opposite laws, sent to the senate to desire that since
he was obliged to be absent, he might sue for the consulship by
his friends. Cato, being backed by the law, at first opposed
his request; afterwards perceiving that Caesar had prevailed
with a great part of the senate to comply with it, he made it
his business to gain time, and went on wasting the whole day in
speaking. Upon which Caesar thought fit to let the triumph
fall, and pursued the consulship. Entering the town and coming
forward immediately, he had recourse to a piece of state-policy
by which everybody was deceived but Cato. This was the
reconciling of Crassus and Pompey, the two men who then were
most powerful in Rome. There had been a quarrel between them,
which he now succeeded in making up, and by this means
strengthened himself by the united power of both, and so under
the cover of an action which carried all the appearance of a
piece of kindness and good-nature, caused what was in effect a
revolution in the government. For it was not the quarrel
between Pompey and Caesar, as most men imagine, which was the
origin of the civil wars, but their union, their conspiring
together at first to subvert the aristocracy, and so quarreling
afterwards between themselves. Cato, who often foretold what
the consequence of this alliance would be, had then the
character of a sullen, interfering man, but in the end the
reputation of a wise but unsuccessful counselor.

Thus Caesar being doubly supported by the interests of Crassus
and Pompey, was promoted to the consulship, and triumphantly
proclaimed with Calpurnius Bibulus. When he entered on his
office, he brought in bills which would have been preferred with
better grace by the most audacious of the tribunes than by a
consul, in which he proposed the plantation of colonies and
division of lands, simply to please the commonalty. The best
and most honorable of the senators opposed it, upon which, as he
had long wished for nothing more than for such a colorable
pretext, he loudly protested how much against his will it was to
be driven to seek support from the people, and how the senate's
insulting and harsh conduct left no other course possible for
him, than to devote himself henceforth to the popular cause and
interest. And so he hurried out of the senate, and presenting
himself to the people, and there placing Crassus and Pompey, one
on each side of him, he asked them whether they consented to the
bills he had proposed. They owned their assent, upon which he
desired them to assist him against those who had threatened to
oppose him with their swords. They engaged they would, and
Pompey added further, that he would meet their swords with a
sword and buckler too. These words the nobles much resented, as
neither suitable to his own dignity, nor becoming the reverence
due to the senate, but resembling rather the vehemence of a boy,
or the fury of a madman. But the people were pleased with it.
In order to get a yet firmer hold upon Pompey, Caesar having a
daughter, Julia, who had been before contracted to Servilius
Caepio, now betrothed her to Pompey, and told Servilius he
should have Pompey's daughter, who was not unengaged either, but
promised to Sylla's son, Faustus. A little time after, Caesar
married Calpurnia, the daughter of Piso, and got Piso made
consul for the year following. Cato exclaimed loudly against
this, and protested with a great deal of warmth, that it was
intolerable the government should be prostituted by marriages,
and that they should advance one another to the commands of
armies, provinces, and other great posts, by means of women.
Bibulus, Caesar's colleague, finding it was to no purpose to
oppose his bills, but that he was in danger of being murdered in
the forum, as also was Cato, confined himself to his house, and
there let the remaining part of his consulship expire. Pompey,
when he was married, at once filled the forum with soldiers, and
gave the people his help in passing the new laws, and secured
Caesar the government of all Gaul, both on this and the other
side of the Alps, together with Illyricum, and the command of
four legions for five years. Cato made some attempts against
these proceedings, but was seized and led off on the way to
prison by Caesar, who expected he would appeal to the tribunes.
But when he saw that Cato went along without speaking a word,
and not only the nobility were indignant, but that the people,
also, out of respect for Cato's virtue, were following in
silence, and with dejected looks, he himself privately desired
one of the tribunes to rescue Cato. As for the other senators,
some few of them attended the house, the rest being disgusted,
absented themselves. Hence Considius, a very old man, took
occasion one day to tell Caesar, that the senators did not meet
because they were afraid of his soldiers. Caesar asked, "Why
don't you then, out of the same fear, keep at home?" To which
Considius replied, that age was his guard against fear, and that
the small remains of his life were not worth much caution. But
the most disgraceful thing that was done in Caesar's consulship,
was his assisting to gain the tribuneship for the same Clodius
who had made the attempt upon his wife's chastity, and intruded
upon the secret vigils. He was elected on purpose to effect
Cicero's downfall; nor did Caesar leave the city to join his
army, till they two had overpowered Cicero, and driven him out
of Italy.

Thus far have we followed Caesar's actions before the wars of
Gaul. After this, he seems to begin his course afresh, and to
enter upon a new life and scene of action. And the period of
those wars which he now fought, and those many expeditions in
which he subdued Gaul, showed him to be a soldier and general
not in the least inferior to any of the greatest and most
admired commanders who had ever appeared at the head of armies.
For if we compare him with the Fabii, the Metelli, the Scipios,
and with those who were his contemporaries, or not long before
him, Sylla, Marius, the two Luculli, or even Pompey himself,
whose glory, it may be said, went up at that time to heaven for
every excellence in war, we shall find Caesar's actions to have
surpassed them all. One he may be held to have outdone in
consideration of the difficulty of the country in which he
fought, another in the extent of territory which he conquered;
some, in the number and strength of the enemies whom he
defeated; one man, because of the wildness and perfidiousness of
the tribes whose good-will he conciliated, another in his
humanity and clemency to those he overpowered; others, again in
his gifts and kindnesses to his soldiers; all alike in the
number of the battles which he fought and the enemies whom he
killed. For he had not pursued the wars in Gaul full ten years,
when he had taken by storm above eight hundred towns, subdued
three hundred states, and of the three millions of men, who made
up the gross sum of those with whom at several times he engaged,
he had killed one million, and taken captive a second.

He was so much master of the good-will and hearty service of his
soldiers, that those who in other expeditions were but ordinary
men, displayed a courage past defeating or withstanding when
they went upon any danger where Caesar's glory was concerned.
Such a one was Acilius, who, in the sea-fight before Marseilles,
had his right hand struck off with a sword, yet did not quit his
buckler out of his left, but struck the enemies in the face with
it, till he drove them off, and made himself master of the
vessel. Such another was Cassius Scaeva, who, in a battle near
Dyrrhachium, had one of his eyes shot out with an arrow, his
shoulder pierced with one javelin, and his thigh with another;
and having received one hundred and thirty darts upon his
target, called to the enemy, as though he would surrender
himself. But when two of them came up to him, he cut off the
shoulder of one with a sword, and by a blow over the face forced
the other to retire, and so with the assistance of his friends,
who now came up, made his escape. Again, in Britain, when some
of the foremost officers had accidentally got into a morass full
of water, and there were assaulted by the enemy, a common
soldier, whilst Caesar stood and looked on, threw himself into
the midst of them, and after many signal demonstrations of his
valor, rescued the officers, and beat off the barbarians. He
himself, in the end, took to the water, and with much
difficulty, partly by swimming, partly by wading, passed it, but
in the passage lost his shield. Caesar and his officers saw it
and admired, and went to meet him with joy and acclamation. But
the soldier, much dejected and in tears, threw himself down at
Caesar's feet, and begged his pardon for having let go his
buckler. Another time in Africa, Scipio having taken a ship of
Caesar's in which Granius Petro, lately appointed quaestor, was
sailing, gave the other passengers as free prize to his
soldiers, but thought fit to offer the quaestor his life. But
he said it was not usual for Caesar's soldiers to take, but give
mercy, and having said so, fell upon his sword and killed

This love of honor and passion for distinction were inspired
into them and cherished in them by Caesar himself, who, by his
unsparing distribution of money and honors, showed them that he
did not heap up wealth from the wars for his own luxury, or the
gratifying his private pleasures, but that all he received was
but a public fund laid by for the reward and encouragement of
valor, and that he looked upon all he gave to deserving soldiers
as so much increase to his own riches. Added to this, also,
there was no danger to which he did not willingly expose
himself, no labor from which he pleaded all exemption. His
contempt of danger was not so much wondered at by his soldiers,
because they knew how much he coveted honor. But his enduring
so much hardship, which he did to all appearance beyond his
natural strength, very much astonished them. For he was a spare
man, had a soft and white skin, was distempered in the head, and
subject to an epilepsy, which, it is said, first seized him at
Corduba. But he did not make the weakness of his constitution a
pretext for his ease, but rather used war as the best physic
against his indispositions; whilst by indefatigable journeys,
coarse diet, frequent lodging in the field, and continual
laborious exercise, he struggled with his diseases, and
fortified his body against all attacks. He slept generally in
his chariots or litters, employing even his rest in pursuit of
action. In the day he was thus carried to the forts, garrisons,
and camps, one servant sitting with him, who used to write down
what he dictated as he went, and a soldier attending behind with
his sword drawn. He drove so rapidly, that when he first left
Rome, he arrived at the river Rhone within eight days. He had
been an expert rider from his childhood; for it was usual with
him to sit with his hands joined together behind his back, and
so to put his horse to its full speed. And in this war he
disciplined himself so far as to be able to dictate letters from
on horseback, and to give directions to two who took notes at
the same time, or, as Oppius says, to more. And it is thought
that he was the first who contrived means for communicating with
friends by cipher, when either press of business, or the large
extent of the city, left him no time for a personal conference
about matters that required dispatch. How little nice he was in
his diet, may be seen in the following instance. When at the
table of Valerius Leo, who entertained him at supper at Milan, a
dish of asparagus was put before him, on which his host instead
of oil had poured sweet ointment. Caesar partook of it without
any disgust, and reprimanded his friends for finding fault with
it. "For it was enough," said he, "not to eat what you did not
like; but he who reflects on another man's want of breeding,
shows he wants it as much himself." Another time upon the road
he was driven by a storm into a poor man's cottage, where he
found but one room, and that such as would afford but a mean
reception to a single person, and therefore told his companions,
places of honor should be given up to the greater men, and
necessary accommodations to the weaker, and accordingly ordered
that Oppius, who was in bad health, should lodge within, whilst
he and the rest slept under a shed at the door.

His first war in Gaul was against the Helvetians and Tigurini,
who having burnt their own towns, twelve in number, and four
hundred villages, would have marched forward through that part
of Gaul which was included in the Roman province, as the
Cimbrians and Teutons formerly had done. Nor were they inferior
to these in courage; and in numbers they were equal, being in
all three hundred thousand, of which one hundred and ninety
thousand were fighting men. Caesar did not engage the Tigurini
in person, but Labienus, under his directions, routed them near
the river Arar. The Helvetians surprised Caesar, and
unexpectedly set upon him as he was conducting his army to a
confederate town. He succeeded, however, in making his retreat
into a strong position, where, when he had mustered and
marshalled his men, his horse was brought to him; upon which he
said, "When I have won the battle, I will use my horse for the
chase, but at present let us go against the enemy," and
accordingly charged them on foot. After a long and severe
combat, he drove the main army out of the field, but found the
hardest work at their carriages and ramparts, where not only the
men stood and fought, but the women also and children defended
themselves, till they were cut to pieces; insomuch that the
fight was scarcely ended till midnight. This action, glorious
in itself, Caesar crowned with another yet more noble, by
gathering in a body all the barbarians that had escaped out of
the battle, above one hundred thousand in number, and obliging
them to reoccupy the country which they had deserted, and the
cities which they had burnt. This he did for fear the Germans
should pass in and possess themselves of the land whilst it lay

His second war was in defense of the Gauls against the Germans,
though some time before he had made Ariovistus, their king,
recognized at Rome as an ally. But they were very insufferable
neighbors to those under his government; and it was probable,
when occasion offered, they would renounce the present
arrangements, and march on to occupy Gaul. But finding his
officers timorous, and especially those of the young nobility
who came along with him in hopes of turning their campaigns with
him into a means for their own pleasure or profit, he called
them together, and advised them to march off, and not run the
hazard of a battle against their inclinations, since they had
such weak and unmanly feelings; telling them that he would take
only the tenth legion, and march against the barbarians, whom he
did not expect to find an enemy more formidable than the Cimbri,
nor, he added, should they find him a general inferior to
Marius. Upon this, the tenth legion deputed some of their body
to pay him their acknowledgments and thanks, and the other
legions blamed their officers, and all, with great vigor and
zeal, followed him many days' journey, till they encamped within
two hundred furlongs of the enemy. Ariovistus's courage to some
extent was cooled upon their very approach; for never expecting
the Romans would attack the Germans, whom he had thought it more
likely they would not venture to withstand even in defense of
their own subjects, he was the more surprised at Caesar's
conduct, and saw his army to be in consternation. They were
still more discouraged by the prophecies of their holy women,
who foretell the future by observing the eddies of rivers, and
taking signs from the windings and noise of streams, and who now
warned them not to engage before the next new moon appeared.
Caesar having had intimation of this, and seeing the Germans lie
still, thought it expedient to attack them whilst they were
under these apprehensions, rather than sit still and wait their
time. Accordingly he made his approaches to the strong-holds
and hills on which they lay encamped, and so galled and fretted
them, that at last they came down with great fury to engage.
But he gained a signal victory, and pursued them for four
hundred furlongs, as far as the Rhine; all which space was
covered with spoils and bodies of the slain. Ariovistus made
shift to pass the Rhine with the small remains of an army, for
it is said the number of the slain amounted to eighty thousand.

After this action, Caesar left his army at their winter-quarters
in the country of the Sequani, and in order to attend to affairs
at Rome, went into that part of Gaul which lies on the Po, and
was part of his province; for the river Rubicon divides Gaul,
which is on this side the Alps, from the rest of Italy. There
he sat down and employed himself in courting people's favor;
great numbers coming to him continually, and always finding
their requests answered; for he never failed to dismiss all with
present pledges of his kindness in hand, and further hopes for
the future. And during all this time of the war in Gaul, Pompey
never observed how Caesar was on the one hand using the arms of
Rome to effect his conquests, and on the other was gaining over
and securing to himself the favor of the Romans, with the wealth
which those conquests obtained him. But when he heard that the
Belgae, who were the most powerful of all the Gauls, and
inhabited a third part of the country, were revolted, and had
got together a great many thousand men in arms, he immediately
set out and took his way thither with great expedition, and
falling upon the enemy as they were ravaging the Gauls, his
allies, he soon defeated and put to flight the largest and least
scattered division of them. For though their numbers were
great, yet they made but a slender defense, and the marshes and
deep rivers were made passable to the Roman foot by the vast
quantity of dead bodies. Of those who revolted, all the tribes
that lived near the ocean came over without fighting, and he,
therefore, led his army against the Nervii, the fiercest and
most warlike people of all in those parts. These live in a
country covered with continuous woods, and having lodged their
children and property out of the way in the depth of the forest,
fell upon Caesar with a body of sixty thousand men, before he
was prepared for them, while he was making his encampment. They
soon routed his cavalry, and having surrounded the twelfth and
seventh legions, killed all the officers, and had not Caesar
himself snatched up a buckler, and forced his way through his
own men to come up to the barbarians, or had not the tenth
legion, when they saw him in danger, run in from the tops of the
hills, where they lay, and broken through the enemy's ranks to
rescue him, in all probability not a Roman would have been
saved. But now, under the influence of Caesar's bold example,
they fought a battle, as the phrase is, of more than human
courage, and yet with their utmost efforts they were not able to
drive the enemy out of the field, but cut them down fighting in
their defense. For out of sixty thousand men, it is stated that
not above five hundred survived the battle, and of four hundred
of their senators not above three.

When the Roman senate had received news of this, they voted
sacrifices and festivals to the gods, to be strictly observed
for the space of fifteen days, a longer space than ever was
observed for any victory before. The danger to which they had
been exposed by the joint outbreak of such a number of nations
was felt to have been great; and the people's fondness for
Caesar gave additional luster to successes achieved by him. He
now, after settling everything in Gaul, came back again, and
spent the winter by the Po, in order to carry on the designs he
had in hand at Rome. All who were candidates for offices used
his assistance, and were supplied with money from him to corrupt
the people and buy their votes, in return of which, when they
were chosen, they did all things to advance his power. But what
was more considerable, the most eminent and powerful men in Rome
in great numbers came to visit him at Lucca, Pompey, and
Crassus, and Appius, the governor of Sardinia, and Nepos, the
proconsul of Spain, so that there were in the place at one time
one hundred and twenty lictors, and more than two hundred
senators. In deliberation here held, it was determined that
Pompey and Crassus should be consuls again for the following
year; that Caesar should have a fresh supply of money, and that
his command should be renewed to him for five years more. It
seemed very extravagant to all thinking men, that those very
persons who had received so much money from Caesar should
persuade the senate to grant him more, as if he were in want.
Though in truth it was not so much upon persuasion as
compulsion, that, with sorrow and groans for their own acts,
they passed the measure. Cato was not present, for they had
sent him seasonably out of the way into Cyprus; but Favonius,
who was a zealous imitator of Cato, when he found he could do no
good by opposing it, broke out of the house, and loudly
declaimed against these proceedings to the people, but none gave
him any hearing; some slighting him out of respect to Crassus
and Pompey, and the greater part to gratify Caesar, on whom
depended their hopes.

After this, Caesar returned again to his forces in Gaul, where
he found that country involved in a dangerous war, two strong
nations of the Germans having lately passed the Rhine, to
conquer it; one of them called the Usipes, the other the
Tenteritae. Of the war with this people, Caesar himself has
given this account in his commentaries, that the barbarians,
having sent ambassadors to treat with him, did, during the
treaty, set upon him in his march, by which means with eight
hundred men they routed five thousand of his horse, who did not
suspect their coming; that afterwards they sent other
ambassadors to renew the same fraudulent practices, whom he kept
in custody, and led on his army against the barbarians, as
judging it mere simplicity to keep faith with those who had so
faithlessly broken the terms they had agreed to. But Tanusius
states, that when the senate decreed festivals and sacrifices
for this victory, Cato declared it to be his opinion that Caesar
ought to be given into the hands of the barbarians, that so the
guilt which this breach of faith might otherwise bring upon the
state, might be expiated by transferring the curse on him, who
was the occasion of it. Of those who passed the Rhine, there were
four hundred thousand cut off; those few who escaped were
sheltered by the Sugambri, a people of Germany. Caesar took
hold of this pretense to invade the Germans, being at the same
time ambitious of the honor of being the first man that should
pass the Rhine with an army. He carried a bridge across it,
though it was very wide, and the current at that particular
point very full, strong, and violent, bringing down with its
waters trunks of trees, and other lumber, which much shook and
weakened the foundations of his bridge. But he drove great
piles of wood into the bottom of the river above the passage,
to catch and stop these as they floated down, and thus fixing
his bridle upon the stream, successfully finished this bridge,
which no one who saw could believe to be the work but of ten

In the passage of his army over it, he met with no opposition;
the Suevi themselves, who are the most warlike people of all
Germany, flying with their effects into the deepest and most
densely wooded valleys. When he had burnt all the enemy's
country, and encouraged those who embraced the Roman interest,
he went back into Gaul, after eighteen days' stay in Germany.
But his expedition into Britain was the most famous testimony of
his courage. For he was the first who brought a navy into the
western ocean, or who sailed into the Atlantic with an army to
make war; and by invading an island, the reported extent of
which had made its existence a matter of controversy among
historians, many of whom questioned whether it were not a mere
name and fiction, not a real place, he might be said to have
carried the Roman empire beyond the limits of the known world.
He passed thither twice from that part of Gaul which lies over
against it, and in several battles which he fought, did more
hurt to the enemy than service to himself, for the islanders
were so miserably poor, that they had nothing worth being
plundered of. When he found himself unable to put such an end
to the war as he wished, he was content to take hostages from
the king, and to impose a tribute, and then quitted the island.
At his arrival in Gaul, he found letters which lay ready to be
conveyed over the water to him from his friends at Rome,
announcing his daughter's death, who died in labor of a child by
Pompey. Caesar and Pompey both were much afflicted with her
death, nor were their friends less disturbed, believing that the
alliance was now broken, which had hitherto kept the sickly
commonwealth in peace, for the child also died within a few days
after the mother. The people took the body of Julia, in spite
of the opposition of the tribunes, and carried it into the field
of Mars, and there her funeral rites were performed, and her
remains are laid.

Caesar's army was now grown very numerous, so that he was forced
to disperse them into various camps for their winter-quarters,
and he having gone himself to Italy as he used to do, in his
absence a general outbreak throughout the whole of Gaul
commenced, and large armies marched about the country, and
attacked the Roman quarters, and attempted to make themselves
masters of the forts where they lay. The greatest and strongest
party of the rebels, under the command of Abriorix, cut off
Costa and Titurius with all their men, while a force sixty
thousand strong besieged the legion under the command of
Cicero, and had almost taken it by storm, the Roman soldiers
being all wounded, and having quite spent themselves by a
defense beyond their natural strength. But Caesar, who was at a
great distance, having received the news, quickly got together
seven thousand men, and hastened to relieve Cicero. The
besiegers were aware of it, and went to meet him, with great
confidence that they should easily overpower such an handful of
men. Caesar, to increase their presumption, seemed to avoid
fighting, and still marched off, till he found a place
conveniently situated for a few to engage against many, where he
encamped. He kept his soldiers from making any attack upon the
enemy, and commanded them to raise the ramparts higher, and
barricade the gates, that by show of fear, they might heighten
the enemy's contempt of them. Till at last they came without
any order in great security to make an assault, when he issued
forth, and put them to flight with the loss of many men.

This quieted the greater part of the commotions in these parts
of Gaul, and Caesar, in the course of the winter, visited every
part of the country, and with great vigilance took precautions
against all innovations. For there were three legions now come
to him to supply the place of the men he had lost, of which
Pompey furnished him with two, out of those under his command;
the other was newly raised in the part of Gaul by the Po. But
in a while the seeds of war, which had long since been secretly
sown and scattered by the most powerful men in those warlike
nations, broke forth into the greatest and most dangerous war
that ever was in those parts, both as regards the number of men
in the vigor of their youth who were gathered and armed from all
quarters, the vast funds of money collected to maintain it, the
strength of the towns, and the difficulty of the country where
it was carried on. It being winter, the rivers were frozen, the
woods covered with snow, and the level country flooded, so that
in some places the ways were lost through the depth of the snow;
in others, the overflowing of marshes and streams made every
kind of passage uncertain. All which difficulties made it seem
impracticable for Caesar to make any attempt upon the
insurgents. Many tribes had revolted together, the chief of
them being the Arverni and Carnutini ; the general who had the
supreme command in war was Vergentorix, whose father the Gauls
had put to death on suspicion of his aiming at absolute

He having disposed his army in several bodies, and set officers
over them, drew over to him all the country round about as far
as those that lie upon the Arar, and having intelligence of the
opposition which Caesar now experienced at Rome, thought to
engage all Gaul in the war. Which if he had done a little
later, when Caesar was taken up with the civil wars, Italy had
been put into as great a terror as before it was by the Cimbri.
But Caesar, who above all men was gifted with the faculty of
making the right use of everything in war, and most especially
of seizing the right moment, as soon as he heard of the revolt,
returned immediately the same way he went, and showed the
barbarians, by the quickness of his march in such a severe
season, that an army was advancing against them which was
invincible. For in the time that one would have thought it
scarce credible that a courier or express should have come with
a message from him, he himself appeared with all his army,
ravaging the country, reducing their posts, subduing their
towns, receiving into his protection those who declared for him.
Till at last the Edui, who hitherto had styled themselves
brethren to the Romans, and had been much honored by them,
declared against him, and joined the rebels, to the great
discouragement of his army. Accordingly he removed thence, and
passed the country of the Lingones, desiring to reach the
territories of the Sequani, who were his friends, and who lay
like a bulwark in front of Italy against the other tribes of
Gaul. There the enemy came upon him, and surrounded him with
many myriads, whom he also was eager to engage; and at last,
after some time and with much slaughter, gained on the whole a
complete victory; though at first he appears to have met with
some reverse, and the Aruveni show you a small sword hanging up
in a temple, which they say was taken from Caesar. Caesar saw
this afterwards himself, and smiled, and when his friends
advised it should be taken down, would not permit it, because he
looked upon it as consecrated.

After the defeat a great part of those who had escaped, fled
with their king into a town called Alesia, which Caesar
besieged, though the height of the walls, and number of those
who defended them, made it appear impregnable; and meantime,
from without the walls, he was assailed by a greater danger than
can be expressed. For the choice men of Gaul, picked out of
each nation, and well armed, came to relieve Alesia, to the
number of three hundred thousand; nor were there in the town
less than one hundred and seventy thousand. So that Caesar
being shut up betwixt two such forces, was compelled to protect
himself by two walls, one towards the town, the other against
the relieving army, as knowing it these forces should join, his
affairs would be entirely ruined. The danger that he underwent
before Alesia, justly gained him great honor on many accounts,
and gave him an opportunity of showing greater instances of his
valor and conduct than any other contest had done. One wonders
much how he should be able to engage and defeat so many
thousands of men without the town, and not be perceived by those
within, but yet more, that the Romans themselves, who guarded
their wall which was next the town, should be strangers to it.
For even they knew nothing of the victory, till they heard the
cries of the men and lamentations of the women who were in the
town, and had from thence seen the Romans at a distance carrying
into their camp a great quantity of bucklers, adorned with gold
and silver, many breastplates stained with blood, besides cups
and tents made in the Gallic fashion. So soon did so vast an
army dissolve and vanish like a ghost or dream, the greatest
part of them being killed upon the spot. Those who were in
Alesia, having given themselves and Caesar much trouble,
surrendered at last; and Vergentorix, who was the chief spring
of all the war, putting his best armor on, and adorning his
horse, rode out of the gates, and made a turn about Caesar as he
was sitting, then quitted his horse, threw off his armor, and
remained seated quietly at Caesar's feet until he was led away
to be reserved for the triumph.

Caesar had long ago resolved upon the overthrow of Pompey, as
had Pompey, for that matter, upon his. For Crassus, the fear of
whom had hitherto kept them in peace, having now been killed in
Parthia, if the one of them wished to make himself the greatest
man in Rome, he had only to overthrow the other; and if he again
wished to prevent his own fall, he had nothing for it but to be
beforehand with him whom he feared. Pompey had not been long
under any such apprehensions, having till lately despised
Caesar, as thinking it no difficult matter to put down him whom
he himself had advanced. But Caesar had entertained this design
from the beginning against his rivals, and had retired, like an
expert wrestler, to prepare himself apart for the combat.
Making the Gallic wars his exercise-ground, he had at once
improved the strength of his soldiery, and had heightened his
own glory by his great actions, so that he was looked on as one
who might challenge comparison with Pompey. Nor did he let go
any of those advantages which were now given him both by Pompey
himself and the times, and the ill government of Rome, where all
who were candidates for offices publicly gave money, and without
any shame bribed the people, who having received their pay, did
not contend for their benefactors with their bare suffrages, but
with bows, swords, and slings. So that after having many times
stained the place of election with the blood of men killed upon
the spot, they left the city at last without a government at
all, to be carried about like a ship without a pilot to steer
her; while all who had any wisdom could only be thankful if a
course of such wild and stormy disorder and madness might end no
worse than in a monarchy. Some were so bold as to declare
openly, that the government was incurable but by a monarchy, and
that they ought to take that remedy from the hands of the
gentlest physician, meaning Pompey, who, though in words he
pretended to decline it, yet in reality made his utmost efforts
to be declared dictator. Cato perceiving his design, prevailed
with the senate to make him sole consul, that with the offer of
a more legal sort of monarchy he might be withheld from
demanding the dictatorship. They over and above voted him the
continuance of his provinces, for he had two, Spain and all
Africa, which he governed by his lieutenants, and maintained
armies under him, at the yearly charge of a thousand talents out
of the public treasury.

Upon this Caesar also sent and petitioned for the consulship,
and the continuance of his provinces. Pompey at first did not
stir in it, but Marcellus and Lentulus opposed it, who had
always hated Caesar, and now did every thing, whether fit or
unfit, which might disgrace and affront him. For they took away
the privilege of Roman citizens from the people of New Comum,
who were a colony that Caesar had lately planted in Gaul; and
Marcellus, who was then consul, ordered one of the senators of
that town, then at Rome, to be whipped, and told him he laid
that mark upon him to signify he was no citizen of Rome, bidding
him, when he went back again, to show it to Caesar. After
Marcellus's consulship, Caesar began to lavish gifts upon all
the public men out of the riches he had taken from the Gauls;
discharged Curio, the tribune, from his great debts; gave
Paulus, then consul, fifteen hundred talents, with which he
built the noble court of justice adjoining the forum, to supply
the place of that called the Fulvian. Pompey, alarmed at these
preparations, now openly took steps, both by himself and his
friends, to have a successor appointed in Caesar's room, and
sent to demand back the soldiers whom he had lent him to carry
on the wars in Gaul. Caesar returned them, and made each
soldier a present of two hundred and fifty drachmas. The
officer who brought them home to Pompey, spread amongst the
people no very fair or favorable report of Caesar, and flattered
Pompey himself with false suggestions that he was wished for by
Caesar's army; and though his affairs here were in some
embarrassment through the envy of some, and the ill state of the
government, yet there the army was at his command, and if they
once crossed into Italy, would presently declare for him; so
weary were they of Caesar's endless expeditions, and so
suspicious of his designs for a monarchy. Upon this Pompey grew
presumptuous, and neglected all warlike preparations, as
fearing no danger, and used no other means against him than mere
speeches and votes, for which Caesar cared nothing. And one of
his captains, it is said, who was sent by him to Rome, standing
before the senate-house one day, and being told that the senate
would not give Caesar a longer time in his government, clapped
his hand on the hilt of his sword, and said, "But this shall."

Yet the demands which Caesar made had the fairest colors of
equity imaginable. For he proposed to lay down his arms, and
that Pompey should do the same, and both together should become
private men, and each expect a reward of his services from the
public. For that those who proposed to disarm him, and at the
same time to confirm Pompey in all the power he held, were
simply establishing the one in the tyranny which they accused
the other of aiming at. When Curio made these proposals to the
people in Caesar's name, he was loudly applauded, and some threw
garlands towards him, and dismissed him as they do successful
wrestlers, crowned with flowers. Antony, being tribune,
produced a letter sent from Caesar on this occasion, and read
it, though the consuls did what they could to oppose it. But
Scipio, Pompey's father-in-law, proposed in the senate, that if
Caesar did not lay down his arms within such a time, he should
be voted an enemy; and the consuls putting it to the question,
whether Pompey should dismiss his soldiers, and again, whether
Caesar should disband his, very few assented to the first, but
almost all to the latter. But Antony proposing again, that both
should lay down their commissions, all but a very few agreed to
it. Scipio was upon this very violent, and Lentulus the consul
cried aloud, that they had need of arms, and not of suffrages,
against a robber; so that the senators for the present
adjourned, and appeared in mourning as a mark of their grief for
the dissension.

Afterwards there came other letters from Caesar, which seemed
yet more moderate, for he proposed to quit everything else, and
only to retain Gaul within the Alps, Illyricum, and two
legions, till he should stand a second time for consul. Cicero,
the orator, who was lately returned from Cilicia, endeavored to
reconcile differences, and softened Pompey, who was willing to
comply in other things, but not to allow him the soldiers. At
last Cicero used his persuasions with Caesar's friends to accept
of the provinces, and six thousand soldiers only, and so to make
up the quarrel. And Pompey was inclined to give way to this,
but Lentulus, the consul, would not hearken to it, but drove
Antony and Curio out of the senate-house with insults, by which
he afforded Caesar the most plausible pretense that could be,
and one which he could readily use to inflame the soldiers, by
showing them two persons of such repute and authority, who were
forced to escape in a hired carriage in the dress of slaves.
For so they were glad to disguise themselves, when they fled out
of Rome.

There were not about him at that time above three hundred horse,
and five thousand foot; for the rest of his army, which was left
behind the Alps, was to be brought after him by officers who had
received orders for that purpose. But he thought the first
motion towards the design which he had on foot did not require
large forces at present, and that what was wanted was to make
this first step suddenly, and so as to astound his enemies with
the boldness of it; as it would be easier, he thought, to throw
them into consternation by doing what they never anticipated,
than fairly to conquer them, if he had alarmed them by his
preparations. And therefore, he commanded his captains and
other officers to go only with their swords in their hands,
without any other arms, and make themselves masters of Ariminum,
a large city of Gaul, with as little disturbance and bloodshed
as possible. He committed the care of these forces to
Hortensius, and himself spent the day in public as a stander-by
and spectator of the gladiators, who exercised before him. A
little before night he attended to his person, and then went
into the hall, and conversed for some time with those he had
invited to supper, till it began to grow dusk, when he rose from
table, and made his excuses to the company, begging them to stay
till he came back, having already given private directions to a
few immediate friends, that they should follow him, not all the
same way, but some one way, some another. He himself got into
one of the hired carriages, and drove at first another way, but
presently turned towards Ariminum. When he came to the river
Rubicon, which parts Gaul within the Alps from the rest of
Italy, his thoughts began to work, now he was just entering upon
the danger, and he wavered much in his mind, when he considered
the greatness of the enterprise into which he was throwing
himself. He checked his course, and ordered a halt, while he
revolved with himself, and often changed his opinion one way and
the other, without speaking a word. This was when his purposes
fluctuated most; presently he also discussed the matter with his
friends who were about him, (of which number Asinius Pollio was
one,) computing how many calamities his passing that river would
bring upon mankind, and what a relation of it would be
transmitted to posterity. At last, in a sort of passion,
casting aside calculation, and abandoning himself to what might
come, and using the proverb frequently in their mouths who enter
upon dangerous and bold attempts, "The die is cast," with these
words he took the river. Once over, he used all expedition
possible, and before it was day reached Ariminum, and took it.
It is said that the night before he passed the river, he had an
impious dream, that he was unnaturally familiar with his own

As soon as Ariminum was taken, wide gates, so to say, were
thrown open, to let in war upon every land alike and sea, and
with the limits of the province, the boundaries of the laws were
transgressed. Nor would one have thought that, as at other
times, the mere men and women fled from one town of Italy to
another in their consternation, but that the very towns
themselves left their sites, and fled for succor to each other.
The city of Rome was overrun as it were with a deluge, by the
conflux of people flying in from all the neighboring places.
Magistrates could no longer govern, nor the eloquence of any
orator quiet it; it was all but suffering shipwreck by the
violence of its own tempestuous agitation. The most vehement
contrary passions and impulses were at work everywhere. Nor
did those who rejoiced at the prospect of the change altogether
conceal their feelings, but when they met, as in so great a city
they frequently must, with the alarmed and dejected of the other
party, they provoked quarrels by their bold expressions of
confidence in the event. Pompey, sufficiently disturbed of
himself; was yet more perplexed by the clamors of others; some
telling him that he justly suffered for having armed Caesar
against himself and the government; others blaming him for
permitting Caesar to be insolently used by Lentulus, when he
made such ample concessions, and offered such reasonable
proposals towards an accommodation. Favonius bade him now stamp
upon the ground; for once talking big in the senate, he desired
them not to trouble themselves about making any preparations for
the war, for that he himself, with one stamp of his foot, would
fill all Italy with soldiers. Yet still Pompey at that time had
more forces than Caesar; but he was not permitted to pursue his
own thoughts, but being continually disturbed with false reports
and alarms, as if the enemy was close upon him and carrying all
before him, he gave way, and let himself be borne down by the
general cry. He put forth an edict declaring the city to be in
a state of anarchy, and left it with orders that the senate
should follow him, and that no one should stay behind who did
not prefer tyranny to their country and liberty.

The consuls at once fled, without making even the usual
sacrifices; so did most of the senators, carrying off their own
goods in as much haste as if they had been robbing their
neighbors. Some, who had formerly much favored Caesar's cause,
in the prevailing alarm, quitted their own sentiments, and
without any prospect of good to themselves, were carried along
by the common stream. It was a melancholy thing to see the city
tossed in these tumults, like a ship given up by her pilots, and
left to run, as chance guides her, upon any rock in her way.
Yet, in spite of their sad condition, people still esteemed the
place of their exile to be their country for Pompey's sake, and
fled from Rome, as if it had been Caesar's camp. Labienus even,
who had been one of Caesar's nearest friends, and his
lieutenant, and who had fought by him zealously in the Gallic
wars, now deserted him, and went over to Pompey. Caesar sent
all his money and equipage after him, and then sat down before
Corfinium, which was garrisoned with thirty cohorts under the
command of Domitius. He, in despair of maintaining the defense,
requested a physician, whom he had among his attendants, to give
him poison; and taking the dose, drank it, in hopes of being
dispatched by it. But soon after, when he was told that Caesar
showed the utmost clemency towards those he took prisoners, he
lamented his misfortune, and blamed the hastiness of his
resolution. His physician consoled him, by informing him that
he had taken a sleeping draught, not a poison; upon which, much
rejoiced, and rising from his bed, he went presently to Caesar,
and gave him the pledge of his hand, yet afterwards again
went over to Pompey. The report of these actions at Rome,
quieted those who were there, and some who had fled thence

Caesar took into his army Domitius's soldiers, as he did all
those whom he found in any town enlisted for Pompey's service.
Being now strong and formidable enough, he advanced against
Pompey himself, who did not stay to receive him, but fled to
Brundisium, having sent the consuls before with a body of troops
to Dyrrhachium. Soon after, upon Caesar's approach, he set to
sea, as shall be more particularly related in his Life. Caesar
would have immediately pursued him, but wanted shipping, and
therefore went back to Rome, having made himself master of all
Italy without bloodshed in the space of sixty days. When he
came thither, he found the city more quiet than he expected, and
many senators present, to whom he addressed himself with
courtesy and deference, desiring them to send to Pompey about
any reasonable accommodations towards a peace. But nobody
complied with this proposal; whether out of fear of Pompey, whom
they had deserted, or that they thought Caesar did not mean what
he said, but thought it his interest to talk plausibly.
Afterwards, when Metellus, the tribune, would have hindered him
from taking money out of the public treasure, and adduced some
laws against it, Caesar replied, that arms and laws had each
their own time; "If what I do displeases you, leave the place;
war allows no free talking. When I have laid down my arms, and
made peace, come back and make what speeches you please. And
this," he added, "I tell you in diminution of my own just right,
as indeed you and all others who have appeared against me and
are now in my power, may be treated as I please." Having said
this to Metellus, he went to the doors of the treasury, and the
keys being not to be found, sent for smiths to force them open.
Metellus again making resistance, and some encouraging him in
it, Caesar, in a louder tone, told him he would put him to
death, if he gave him any further disturbance. "And this," said
he, "you know, young man, is more disagreeable for me to say,
than to do." These words made Metellus withdraw for fear, and
obtained speedy execution henceforth for all orders that Caesar
gave for procuring necessaries for the war.

He was now proceeding to Spain, with the determination of first
crushing Afranius and Varro, Pompey's lieutenants, and making
himself master of the armies and provinces under them, that he
might then more securely advance against Pompey, when he had no
enemy left behind him. In this expedition his person was often
in danger from ambuscades, and his army by want of provisions,
yet he did not desist from pursuing the enemy, provoking them to
fight, and hemming them with his fortifications, till by main
force he made himself master of their camps and their forces.
Only the generals got off, and fled to Pompey.

When Caesar came back to Rome, Piso, his father-in-law, advised
him to send men to Pompey, to treat of a peace; but Isauricus,
to ingratiate himself with Caesar, spoke against it. After
this, being created dictator by the senate, he called home the
exiles, and gave back then rights as citizens to the children of
those who had suffered under Sylla; he relieved the debtors by
an act remitting some part of the interest on their debts, and
passed some other measures of the same sort, but not many. For
within eleven days he resigned his dictatorship, and having
declared himself consul, with Servilius Isauricus, hastened
again to the war. He marched so fast, that he left all his army
behind him, except six hundred chosen horse, and five legions,
with which he put to sea in the very middle of winter, about
the beginning of the month January, (which corresponds pretty
nearly with the Athenian month Posideon,) and having past the
Ionian Sea, took Oricum and Apollonia, and then sent back the
ships to Brundisium, to bring over the soldiers who were left
behind in the march. They, while yet on the march, their bodies
now no longer in the full vigor of youth, and they themselves
weary with such a multitude of wars, could not but exclaim
against Caesar, "When at last, and where, will this Caesar let
us be quiet? He carries us from place to place, and uses us as
if we were not to be worn out, and had no sense of labor. Even
our iron itself is spent by blows, and we ought to have some
pity on our bucklers and breastplates, which have been used so
long. Our wounds, if nothing else, should make him see that we
are mortal men, whom he commands, subject to the same pains and
sufferings as other human beings. The very gods themselves
cannot force the winter season, or hinder the storms in their
time; yet he pushes forward, as if he were not pursuing, but
flying from an enemy." So they talked as they marched leisurely
towards Brundisium. But when they came thither, and found
Caesar gone off before them, their feelings changed, and they
blamed themselves as traitors to their general. They now railed
at their officers for marching so slowly, and placing themselves
on the heights overlooking the sea towards Epirus, they kept
watch to see if they could espy the vessels which were to
transport them to Caesar.

He in the meantime was posted in Apollonia, but had not an army
with him able to fight the enemy, the forces from Brundisium
being so long in coming, which put him to great suspense and
embarrassment what to do. At last he resolved upon a most
hazardous experiment, and embarked, without anyone's knowledge,
in a boat of twelve oars, to cross over to Brundisium, though
the sea was at that time covered with a vast fleet of the
enemies. He got on board in the night time, in the dress of a
slave, and throwing himself down like a person of no
consequence, lay along at the bottom of the vessel. The river
Anius was to carry them down to sea, and there used to blow a
gentle gale every morning from the land, which made it calm at
the mouth of the river, by driving the waves forward; but this
night there had blown a strong wind from the sea, which
overpowered that from the land, so that where the river met the
influx of the sea-water and the opposition of the waves, it was
extremely rough and angry; and the current was beaten back with
such a violent swell, that the master of the boat could not make
good his passage, but ordered his sailors to tack about and
return. Caesar, upon this, discovers himself, and taking the
man by the hand, who was surprised to see him there, said, "Go
on, my friend, and fear nothing; you carry Caesar and his
fortune in your boat." The mariners, when they heard that,
forgot the storm, and laying all their strength to their oars,
did what they could to force their way down the river. But when
it was to no purpose, and the vessel now took in much water,
Caesar finding himself in such danger in the very mouth of the
river, much against his will permitted the master to turn back.
When he was come to land, his soldiers ran to him in a
multitude, reproaching him for what he had done, and indignant
that he should think himself not strong enough to get a victory
by their sole assistance, but must disturb himself, and expose
his life for those who were absent, as if he could not trust
those who were with him.

After this, Antony came over with the forces from Brundisium,
which encouraged Caesar to give Pompey battle, though he was
encamped very advantageously, and furnished with plenty of
provisions both by sea and land, whilst he himself was at the
beginning but ill-supplied, and before the end was extremely
pinched for want of necessaries, so that his soldiers were
forced to dig up a kind of root which grew there, and tempering
it with milk, to feed on it. Sometimes they made a kind of
bread of it, and advancing up to the enemy's outposts, would
throw in these loaves, telling them, that as long as the earth
produced such roots they would not give up blockading Pompey.
But Pompey took what care he could, that neither the loaves nor
the words should reach his men, who were out of heart and
despondent, through terror at the fierceness and hardiness of
their enemies, whom they looked upon as a sort of wild beasts.
There were continual skirmishes about Pompey's outworks, in all
which Caesar had the better, except one, when his men were
forced to fly in such a manner that he had like to have lost his
camp. For Pompey made such a vigorous sally on them that not a
man stood his ground; the trenches were filled with the
slaughter, many fell upon their own ramparts and bulwarks,
whither they were driven in flight by the enemy. Caesar met
them, and would have turned them back, but could not. When he
went to lay hold of the ensigns, those who carried them threw
them down, so that the enemies took thirty-two of them. He
himself narrowly escaped; for taking hold of one of his
soldiers, a big and strong man, that was flying by him, he bade
him stand and face about; but the fellow, full of apprehensions
from the danger he was in, laid hold of his sword, as if he
would strike Caesar, but Caesar's armor-bearer cut off his arm.
Caesar's affairs were so desperate at that time, that when
Pompey, either through over-cautiousness, or his ill fortune,
did not give the finishing stroke to that great success, but
retreated after he had driven the routed enemy within their
camp, Caesar, upon seeing his withdrawal, said to his friends,
"The victory to-day had been on the enemies' side, if they had
had a general who knew how to gain it." When he was retired
into his tent, he laid himself down to sleep, but spent that
night as miserably as ever he did any, in perplexity and
consideration with himself, coming to the conclusion that he had
conducted the war amiss. For when he had a fertile country
before him, and all the wealthy cities of Macedonia and
Thessaly, he had neglected to carry the war thither, and had sat
down by the seaside, where his enemies had such a powerful
fleet, so that he was in fact rather besieged by the want of
necessaries, than besieging others with his arms. Being thus
distracted in his thoughts with the view of the difficulty and
distress he was in, he raised his camp, with the intention of
advancing towards Scipio, who lay in Macedonia; hoping either to
entice Pompey into a country where he should fight without the
advantage he now had of supplies from the sea, or to overpower
Scipio, if not assisted.

This set all Pompey's army and officers on fire to hasten and
pursue Caesar, whom they concluded to be beaten and flying. But
Pompey was afraid to hazard a battle on which so much depended,
and being himself provided with all necessaries for any length
of time, thought to tire out and waste the vigor of Caesar's
army, which could not last long. For the best part of his men,
though they had great experience and showed an irresistible
courage in all engagements, yet by their frequent marches,
changing their camps, attacking fortifications, and keeping
long night-watches, were getting worn-out and broken; they being
now old, their bodies less fit for labor, and their courage,
also, beginning to give way with the failure of their strength.
Besides, it was said that an infectious disease, occasioned by
their irregular diet, was prevailing in Caesar's army, and what
was of greatest moment, he was neither furnished with money nor
provisions, so that in a little time he must needs fall of

For these reasons Pompey had no mind to fight him, but was
thanked for it by none but Cato, who rejoiced at the prospect of
sparing his fellow-citizens. For he when he saw the dead bodies
of those who had fallen in the last battle on Caesar's side, to
the number of a thousand, turned away, covered his face, and
shed tears. But everyone else upbraided Pompey for being
reluctant to fight, and tried to goad him on by such nicknames
as Agamemnon, and king of kings, as if he were in no hurry to
lay down his sovereign authority, but was pleased to see so many
commanders attending on him, and paying their attendance at his
tent. Favonius, who affected Cato's free way of speaking his
mind, complained bitterly that they should eat no figs even this
year at Tusculum, because of Pompey's love of command.
Afranius, who was lately returned out of Spain, and on account
of his ill success there, labored under the suspicion of having
been bribed to betray the army, asked why they did not fight
this purchaser of provinces. Pompey was driven, against his own
will, by this kind of language, into offering battle, and
proceeded to follow Caesar. Caesar had found great difficulties
in his march, for no country would supply him with provisions,
his reputation being very much fallen since his late defeat.
But after he took Gomphi, a town of Thessaly, he not only found
provisions for his army, but physic too. For there they met
with plenty of wine, which they took very freely, and heated
with this, sporting and reveling on their march in bacchanalian
fashion, they shook off the disease, and their whole
constitution was relieved and changed into another habit.

When the two armies were come into Pharsalia, and both encamped
there, Pompey's thoughts ran the same way as they had done
before, against fighting, and the more because of some unlucky
presages, and a vision he had in a dream. But those who were
about him were so confident of success, that Domitius, and
Spinther, and Scipio, as if they had already conquered,
quarreled which should succeed Caesar in the pontificate. And
many sent to Rome to take houses fit to accommodate consuls and
praetors, as being sure of entering upon those offices, as soon
as the battle was over. The cavalry especially were obstinate
for fighting, being splendidly armed and bravely mounted, and
valuing themselves upon the fine horses they kept, and upon
their own handsome persons; as also upon the advantage of their
numbers, for they were five thousand against one thousand of
Caesar's. Nor were the numbers of the infantry less
disproportionate, there being forty-five thousand of Pompey's,
against twenty-two thousand of the enemy.

Caesar, collecting his soldiers together, told them that
Corfinius was coming up to them with two legions, and that
fifteen cohorts more under Calenus were posted at Megara and
Athens; he then asked them whether they would stay till these
joined them, or would hazard the battle by themselves. They all
cried out to him not to wait, but on the contrary to do whatever
he could to bring about an engagement as soon as possible. When
he sacrificed to the gods for the lustration of his army, upon
the death of the first victim, the augur told him, within three
days he should come to a decisive action. Caesar asked him
whether he saw anything in the entrails, which promised a
happy event. "That," said the priest, "you can best answer
yourself; for the gods signify a great alteration from the
present posture of affairs. If, therefore, you think yourself
well off now, expect worse fortune; if unhappy, hope for
better." The night before the battle, as he walked the rounds
about midnight, there was a light seen in the heaven, very
bright and flaming, which seemed to pass over Caesar's camp, and
fall into Pompey's. And when Caesar's soldiers came to relieve
the watch in the morning, they perceived a panic disorder among
the enemies. However, he did not expect to fight that day, but
set about raising his camp with the intention of marching
towards Scotussa.

But when the tents were now taken down, his scouts rode up to
him, and told him the enemy would give him battle. With this
news he was extremely pleased, and having performed his
devotions to the gods, set his army in battle array, dividing
them into three bodies. Over the middlemost he placed Domitius
Calvinus; Antony commanded the left wing, and he himself the
right, being resolved to fight at the head of the tenth legion.
But when he saw the enemies' cavalry taking position against
him, being struck with their fine appearance and their number,
he gave private orders that six cohorts from the rear of the
army should come round and join him, whom he posted behind the
right wing, and instructed them what they should do, when the
enemy's horse came to charge. On the other side, Pompey
commanded the right wing, Domitius the left, and Scipio,
Pompey's father-in-law, the center. The whole weight of the
cavalry was collected on the left wing, with the intent that
they should outflank the right wing of the enemy, and rout that
part where the general himself commanded. For they thought no
phalanx of infantry could be solid enough to sustain such a
shock, but that they must necessarily be broken and shattered

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