CHAPTER VIII. FLIGHT AND DEATH OF POMPEY.
[Pursuit of the vanquished.] [Pompey recovers himself.]
Caesar pursued the discomfited and flying bodies of Pompey's army to the camp. They made a brief stand upon the ramparts and at the gates in a vain and fruitless struggle against the tide of victory which they soon perceived must fully overwhelm them. They gave way continually here and there along the lines of intrenchment, and column after column of Caesar's followers broke through into the camp. Pompey, hearing from his tent the increasing noise and uproar, was at length aroused from his stupor, and began to summon his faculties to the question what he was to do. At length a party of fugitives, hotly pursued by some of Caesar's soldiers, broke into his tent. "What!" said Pompey, "into my tent too!" He had been for more than thirty years a victorious general, accustomed to all the deference and respect which boundless wealth, extended and absolute power, and the highest military rank could afford. In the encampments which he had made, and in the cities which he had occupied from time to time, he had been the supreme and unquestioned master, and his tent, arranged and furnished, as it had always been, in a style of the utmost magnificence and splendor, had been sacred from all intrusion, and invested with such a dignity that potentates and princes were impressed when they entered, with a feeling of deference and awe. Now, rude soldiers burst wildly into it, and the air without was filled with an uproar and confusion, drawing every moment nearer and nearer, and warning the fallen hero that there was no longer any protection there against the approaching torrent which was coming on to overwhelm him.
[Pompey disguises himself.] [He escapes from the camp.]
Pompey aroused himself from his stupor, threw off the military dress which belonged to his rank and station, and assumed a hasty disguise, in which he hoped he might make his escape from the immediate scene of his calamities. He mounted a horse and rode out of the camp at the easiest place of egress in the rear, in company with bodies of troops and guards who were also flying in confusion, while Caesar and his forces on the other side were carrying the intrenchments and forcing their way in. As soon is he had thus made his escape from the immediate scene of danger, he dismounted and left his horse, that he might assume more completely the appearance of a common soldier, and, with a few attendants who were willing to follow his fallen fortunes, he went on to the eastward, directing his weary steps toward the shores of the Aegean Sea.
[The Vale of Tempe.] [Its picturesqueness.] [Pompey's sufferings.] [A drink of water.]
The country through which he was traveling was Thessaly. Thessaly is a vast amphitheater, surrounded by mountains, from whose sides streams descend, which, after watering many fertile valleys and plains, combine to form one great central river that flows to the eastward, and after various meanderings, finds its way into the Aegean Sea through a romantic gap between two mountains, called the Vale of Tempe - a vale which has been famed in all ages for the extreme picturesqueness of its scenery, and in which, in those days, all the charms both of the most alluring beauty and of the sublimest grandeur seemed to be combined. Pompey followed the roads leading along the banks of this stream, weary in body, and harassed and disconsolate in mind. The news which came to him from time to time, by the flying parties which were moving through the country in all directions, of the entire and overwhelming completeness of Caesar's victory, extinguished all remains of hope, and narrowed down at last the grounds of his solicitude to the single point of his own personal safety. He was well aware that he should be pursued, and, to baffle the efforts which he knew that his enemies would make to follow his track, he avoided large towns, and pressed forward in by-ways and solitudes, bearing as patiently as he was able his increasing destitution and distress. He reached, at length, the Vale of Tempe, and there, exhausted with hunger, thirst, and fatigue, he sat down upon the bank of the stream to recover by a little rest strength enough for the remainder of his weary way. He wished for a drink, but he had nothing to drink from. And so the mighty potentate, whose tent was full of delicious beverages, and cups and goblets of silver and gold, extended himself down upon the sand at the margin of the river, and drank the warm water directly from the stream.
[Caesar in Pompey's camp.]
While Pompey was thus anxiously and toilsomely endeavoring to gain the sea-shore, Caesar was completing his victory over the army which he had left behind him. When Caesar had carried the intrenchments of the camp, and the army found that there was no longer any safety for them there, they continued their retreat under the guidance of such generals as remained. Caesar thus gained undisputed possession of the camp. He found every where the marks of wealth and luxury, and indications of the confident expectation of victory which the discomfited army had entertained. The tents of the generals were crowned with myrtle, the beds were strewed with flowers, and tables every where were spread for feasts, with cups and bowls of wine all ready for the expected revelers. Caesar took possession of the whole, stationed a proper guard to protect the property, and then pressed forward with his army in pursuit of the enemy.
[Retreat of Pompey's army.] [Surrender of Pompey's army.]