CHAPTER XXXII. CAESAR'S STRUGGLE WITH POMPEY. - BATTLE OF PHARSALIA.
Hoping to intercept Pompey, Caesar hastened to this port. On his arrival outside of the town, the Consuls, with half the army, had already gone. Pompey, however, was still within the place, with twelve thousand troops, waiting for transports to carry them away. He refused to see Caesar; and, though the latter endeavored to blockade the port, he was unsuccessful, owing to want of ships.
Thus Pompey escaped. With him were the Consuls, more than half the Senate, and the aristocracy. Caesar would have followed them, but a fleet must first be obtained, and matters nearer home demanded his attention.
In sixty days Caesar had made himself master of Italy. On his way to Rome he met Cicero, and invited him to attend the Senate, but he preferred to stay away. Caesar entered the city unattended, and assembled the Senate through the Tribunes, Mark Antony and Cassius Longínus. The attendance was small, as most of the members were with Pompey. In his address to the Senate Caesar spoke of his own forbearance and concessions, of their unjust demands, and their violent suppression of the authority of the Tribunes. He was still willing to send envoys to treat with Pompey, but no one was found willing to go. After three days spent in useless discussion, Caesar decided to act for himself. By his own edict, he restored the children of the victims of Sulla's proscription to their rights and property. The money in the treasury was voted him by the Assembly of the people. He took as much of it as he needed, and started at once for Gaul to join his troops on his way to Spain.
He had much to accomplish. Spain was in the hands of Pompey's lieutenants, Afranius, Petreius, and Varro, who had six legions and allied troops. From Sicily and Sardinia came most of the grain supplies of Rome, and it was important to hold these islands. To Sicily he sent Curio and to Sardinia Valerius. Cato, who was in charge of Sicily, immediately abandoned it and fled to Africa. Sardinia received Caesar's troops with open arms.
Upon his arrival in Gaul, Caesar found that the inhabitants of Massilia had risen against his authority, led by the same Domitius whom he had sent away unharmed from Corfinium. Caesar blockaded the city, and, leaving Decimus Brutus in charge of operations, continued his journey to Spain. He found Afranius and Petreius strongly intrenched at ILERDA in Catalonia (Northern Spain). Within forty days he brought them to terms, and Varro, who was in Southern Spain, was eager to surrender. All Spain was at his feet.
Before leaving Spain, Caesar summoned the leading Spaniards and Romans to Cordova, for a conference. All promised obedience to his authority. He then set sail from Gades to Tarragóna, where he joined his legions and marched back to Massilia, which he found hard pressed and ready to surrender. The gates were opened. All were pardoned, and Domitius was allowed to escape a second time.
Caesar left a portion of his forces in Gaul, and with the rest arrived at Rome in the early winter of 49-48. Thus far he had been successful. Gaul, Spain, Sardinia, Sicily, and Italy were his. He had not succeeded, however, in getting together a naval force in the Adriatic, and he had lost his promising lieutenant, Curio, who had been surprised and killed in Africa, whither he had gone in pursuit of Cato and Pompey's followers.
During Caesar's absence, affairs at Rome had resumed their usual course. He had left the city under charge of his lieutenant, Aemilius Lepidus, and Italy in command of Mark Antony. Caesar was still at Massilia, when he learned that the people of Rome had proclaimed him Dictator. Financial troubles in the city had made this step necessary. Public credit was shaken. Debts had not been paid since the civil war began. Caesar allowed himself only eleven days in Rome. In this time estimates were drawn of all debts as they were one year before, the interest was remitted and the principal declared still due. This measure relieved the debtors somewhat.
It was now nearly a year since Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Pompey, during the nine months that had elapsed since his escape from Brundisium, had been collecting his forces in Epírus. Here had gathered many princes from the East, a majority of the Senatorial families of Rome, Cato and Cicero, the vanquished Afranius, and the renegade Labiénus. There were nine full legions, with cavalry and auxiliaries, amounting in all to 100,000 men.
Caesar reached Brundisium at the end of the year 49. His forces were fewer in number than those of his adversary, amounting to not more than 15,000 infantry and 600 cavalry. But his legionaries were all veterans, inured to toil and hunger, to heat and cold, and every man was devoted to his leader.
On the 4th of January he set sail from Brundisium, landing after an uneventful voyage at Acroceraunia. He advanced at once towards Dyrrachium where were Pompey's head-quarters, occupied Apollonia, and intrenched himself on the left bank of the river Apsus. The country was well disposed and furnished him with ample supplies.
Caesar sent back the vessels on which he crossed to transport his remaining troops, but they were intercepted on their way across and many of them destroyed. He was therefore compelled to confine himself to trifling operations, until his lieutenant, Mark Antony, could fit out a second fleet and bring over the remainder of his legions. When Antony finally crossed, he landed one hundred miles up the coast. Pompey's forces were between him and Caesar, and his position was full of danger; but Caesar marched rapidly round Dyrrachium, and joined him before Pompey knew of his movements.