Caesar's Civil War 49-44 BC (Essential Histories) by Adrian Goldsworthy

By Adrian Goldsworthy

While Rome's maximum generals, Julius Caesar and Pompey the nice, became opposed to one another in forty nine BC, Rome was once plunged into civil conflict. This booklet attracts on Caesar's personal account of the battle to chronicle the vicious battles and their aftermath that eventually led to victory for Caesar in forty five BC.

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Example text

The next morning, 17 March 45, he prepared to march after the enemy, but then saw that they were forming up in battle order on the high ground. Pompey had the bulk of 13 legions, a strong force of cavalry, and some 12,000 Spanish auxiliaries, half of them skirmishers. There was a level plain between this rise and the hill on which the Caesarean camp was located. His army marched out to deploy in the usual three lines, Legio X on the right and III and V Alaudae on the left, each flank guarded by cavalry.

Pharnaces celebrated his victory in brutal manner, torturing and executing his prisoners, and castrating large numbers of young Romans who fell into his hands. The forces at Caesar’s disposal were small, consisting of the greatly reduced but veteran Legio VI, along with the survivors of Domitius’s army. These included a legion of Deiotarus’s Galatians which had fled before contact, another raised in Pontus, and Legio XXXVI which, although composed of former Pompeians, had fought well. Though outnumbered, Caesar characteristically chose to advance on Pharnaces, stopping five miles away from the enemy camp outside the town of Zela.

Cleopatra was 21 —more than 30 years younger than Caesar—exceptionally attractive if not quite flawlessly beautiful, highly educated, intelligent, and with a fascinating personality. Thus began one of the most famous romances in history. It was not long before Ptolemy’s advisers felt that their cause could not compete with his sister’s for Caesar’s favour. Leading their army to support the mob of Alexandria, they besieged the palace, blockading Caesar’s men for six months. His 36 ESSENTIAL HISTORIES • CAESAR’S CIVIL WAR This iron helmet, known to modern scholars as the Agen type, was one of several Gallic designs adopted and developed by the Roman army.

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