CHAPTER VII. THE BATTLE OF PHARSALIA.
[The gathering armies.] [Pompey's preparations.] [Caesar at Brundusium.]
The gathering of the armies of Caesar and Pompey on the opposite shores of the Adriatic Sea was one of the grandest preparations for conflict that history has recorded, and the whole world gazed upon the spectacle at the time with an intense and eager interest, which was heightened by the awe and terror which the danger inspired. During the year while Caesar had been completing his work of subduing and arranging all the western part of the empire, Pompey had been gathering from the eastern division every possible contribution to swell the military force under his command, and had been concentrating all these elements of power on the coasts of Macedon and Greece, opposite to Brundusium, where he knew that Caesar would attempt to cross the Adriatic Sea, His camps, his detachments, his troops of archers and slingers, and his squadrons of horse, filled the land, while every port was guarded, and the line of the coast was environed by batteries and castles on the rocks, and fleets of galleys on the water. Caesar advanced with his immense army to Brundusium, on the opposite shore, in December, so that, in addition to the formidable resistance prepared for him by his enemy on the coast, he had to encounter the wild surges of the Adriatic, rolling perpetually in the dark and gloomy commotion always raised in such wide seas by wintery storms.
[His address to his army.]
Caesar had no ships, for Pompey had cleared the seas of every thing which could aid him in his intended passage. By great efforts, however, he succeeded at length in getting together a sufficient number of galleys to convey over a part of his army, provided he took the men alone, and left all his military stores and baggage behind. He gathered his army together, therefore, and made them an address, representing that they were now drawing toward the end of all their dangers and toils. They were about to meet their great enemy for a final conflict. It was not necessary to take their servants, their baggage, and their stores across the sea, for they were sure of victory, and victory would furnish them with ample supplies from those whom they were about to conquer.
[Caesar crosses the Adriatic.]
The soldiers eagerly imbibed the spirit of confidence and courage which Caesar himself expressed. A large detachment embarked and put to sea, and, after being tossed all night upon the cold and stormy waters, they approached the shore at some distance to the northward of the place where Pompey's fleets had expected them. It was at a point where the mountains came down near to the sea, rendering the coast rugged and dangerous with shelving rocks and frowning promontories. Here Caesar succeeded in effecting a landing of the first division of his troops, and then sent back the fleet for the remainder.
[He subdues several towns.] [Caesar's advance.] [Distress of the armies.]
The news of his passage spread rapidly to all Pompey's stations along the coast, and the ships began to gather, and the armies to march toward the point where Caesar had effected his landing. The conflict and struggle commenced. One of Pompey's admirals intercepted the fleet of galleys on their return, and seized and burned a large number of them, with all who were on board. This, of course, only renewed the determined desperation of the remainder. Caesar advanced along the coast with the troops which he had landed, driving Pompey's troops before him, and subduing town after town as he advanced. The country was filled with terror and dismay. The portion of the army which Caesar had left behind could not now cross, partly on account of the stormy condition of the seas, the diminished number of the ships, and the redoubled vigilance with which Pompey's forces now guarded the shores, but mainly because Caesar was now no longer with them to inspire them with his reckless, though calm and quiet daring. They remained, therefore, in anxiety and distress, on the Italian shore. As Caesar, on the other hand, advanced along the Macedonian shore, and drove Pompey back into the interior, he cut off the communication between Pompey's ships and the land, so that the fleet was soon reduced to great distress for want of provisions and water. The men kept themselves from perishing with thirst by collecting the dew which fell upon the decks of their galleys. Caesar's army was also in distress, for Pompey's fleets cut off all supplies by water, and his troops hemmed them in on the side of the land; and, lastly, Pompey himself, with the immense army that was under his command, began to be struck with alarm at the impending danger with which they were threatened. Pompey little realized, however, how dreadful a fate was soon to overwhelm him.
[Caesar's impatience.] [He attempts to cross the Adriatic.]