Published in Greek Translation

(Taken from Polybius 'Histories' Books I and VI)

Translator's Introduction.

Polybius (c. 200-118 B.C.) was born in Megalopolis, Arcadia, and was the son of Lycortas, the commander of the army of the Achaean League. After the defeat of Perseus, the King of Macedonia, by Lucius Aemilius Paullus, in 167 B.C. Polybius was sent to Rome as a hostage, and he remained in this position until 150. During this time he tutored Paullus' son, Scipio Aemilianus, to whom he became closely attached, and whom he accompanied during the Third Punic War which ended with the complete destruction of Carthage in 146. Polybius' "Histories" cover the period 264-145 B.C. but concentrate particularly on 220-167, the fifty-three years during which Rome subdued Carthage, conquered Greece and became the mistress of the Mediterranean world. Polybius was a remarkably sophisticated historian with strong views on the importance of explaining events and not just recounting them. He also took the trouble to travel to many of the places which feature in his historical writings. He is seen by many as a worthy successor of Thucydides in terms of his critical reasoning, factual integrity and objectivity, and is undoubtedly the foremost source for the times about which he wrote, and was a key source for Livy, the Latin historian of the Augustan Age, who has traditionally been the writer most closely associated with the Punic Wars.      

One of the most important aspects of Polybius' work, and the part which has been translated in the extracts below, is his analysis of the Roman constitution. As a Greek, this interest came naturally to Polybius, since it was a common belief among Greeks that the nature of its political constitution was the key to the fortunes of a state. His view that the intricate interdependency of the elements of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy within the constitution of the state was the principal reason for Rome's success in achieving its position of international dominance is fascinating. Indeed without his careful analysis, one might have thought that Rome had succeeded, in spite of its constitution, rather than because of it. While Rome's remarkable tenacity in withstanding Hannibal's invasion in the years 218-202 and its subsequent crushing of Carthage and the Hellenistic Greek states must point to some of the strengths inherent in the mixed constitution of Rome, his analysis is too abstract to be entirely compelling, and fails to take account of the dominance, which was scarcely hidden, of a small number of aristocratic families, such as the Cornelii Scipiones and the Claudii Pulchri, within the Roman state. In view of Polybius' close association with Scipio Aemilianus this is perhaps surprising, but then his almost hagiographic treatment of the latter is one of the weaknesses in his work.  

The Greek historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who, like Livy, also wrote in the Augustan period, was a critic of Polybius' style and said that no one could read all of his work. Certainly Polybius is not easily translated. He uses many words not in use in the classic period of Attic Greek, i.e. the Fifth and Fourth Centuries B.C., and his writing is perhaps rather more compressed and elliptical, and makes more use of the Genitive Absolute construction, than is common in the authors of that period. However, Polybius remains a Greek historian of the most select group, and, despite the above comments of Dionysius, was read very widely by both Greek and Latin writers in subsequent times.   

Book I.  Introduction.
1) (1) If it had happened that praise with regard to history itself had been passed over by those writing about (human) affairs, it would perhaps have been necessary (for me) to exhort all (readers) to (adopt) the choice and receipt of such records, because there is no better guide for men than the knowledge of past affairs. (2) But, in truth, all (historians), everyone without exception, so to speak, have made use of this (theme) at their beginning and ending, asserting that education, in the truest sense, and training in political affairs is the study of history, and the clearest, and, indeed, the only teacher of how to bear, with dignity, the vicissitudes of fortune (is) the remembrance of others' reversals of fortune. (3) It (is) evident (then) that no one should feel obliged to repeat the same things as those which have already been said so eloquently and so often, and least of all in my own case. For the unexpected (nature) of the events, (4) about which I have undertaken to write, is, in itself, sufficient to challenge and stimulate everyone, both young and old, to the study of my work. (5) For can any man be so small-minded or so indifferent that he does not wish to know how and under what system of government almost all of the (countries) across the inhabited word were conquered and fell under the sole rule of the Romans in a little less than fifty-three years (i.e. 120-167 B.C.), (something) which is not known to have happened previously, (6) and, again, who (is) so passionate about any other subjects of spectacle or study that he could regard anything (as) more important than the (acquisition) of this knowledge?  
Book VI.  

From the preface.
2) (1) I am not unaware, then, that some will be at a loss as to the reason why I have left off framing and delivering the continuous flow of my narrative, (and) have postponed until this moment my account of the aforesaid constitution: (2) but I think I have made it clear in many (passages) that for me this (analysis) was from the outset one part of the essential (aspects) of my entire design; (3) and especially at the beginning of, and the preface to, this history, in which I stated that the best and most useful function of my work for the readers of this study was to come to know and to understand how and under what system of government almost all of the (countries) across the inhabited world were conquered and fell under the sole rule of the Romans in a little less than fifty three years, (something) which is not known to have happened previously. (4) This (purpose) having been chosen, I could find no more suitable time for a pause and an examination of the things which I am about to say about the constitution than the place where we now are. (5) For, just as in private life, whenever those wishing to make judgments about good or bad men come to make a true test about the (conduct of) a life, they do not make inspections at a time of uncomplicated ease, but during the mishaps arising from sudden reversals of fortune and during the lucky (moments) arising from success, (6) (while) thinking that the only true test of a perfect man is the capacity to bear complete change of fortune with magnanimity and with dignity, it is necessary to consider a constitution in the same way too. (7) And so, not seeing anyone come upon a sharper or greater degree of change in our (day) than that which befell the Romans, I reserved this (as) the place for my study of their aforesaid constitution ................

On the Roman constitution at its prime. 

11) (1) From (the time of) Xerxes' crossing into Greece, and (more especially) some thirty(-two) years after that, the (details) of the aforesaid (Roman constitution passed) ever continuously (through even more successful modifications and) reached its best and perfect (form) at the time of the Hannibalic (wars), when, for this (reason), I have composed this digression .................... (11) There were three elements controlling the (Roman) constitution, all of which I have mentioned before; and everything was so fairly and suitably ordered and regulated in turn by means of these (elements), that no one, not even (one) of the natives, could ever say with any certainty whether the constitution as a whole (was) an aristocracy or a democracy or a monarchy. (12) In fact, it was natural that this (should be) the case. For if we were to scrutinise the authority of the consuls, it would appear completely monarchic and royal, and, if at that of the Senate, on the contrary, (as) aristocratic; and, indeed, if one were to look at the power of the people, it would seem to be clearly democratic. (13) What parts of the state each element ruled over, both then, and, except for a few modifications, still (does) now, is as follows.

The Consuls.

12) (1) The consuls, before they are required to lead out the armies, are present in Rome and are in charge of all public affairs. (2) For all the rest of the magistrates, except the tribunes, are subject (to them) and obey them, and (it is) they (who) present (foreign) ambassadors to the Senate. (3) Besides these duties, they refer urgent matters (to the Senate) for deliberation, (and) they are entirely responsible for the implementation of its decrees. And, indeed, when matters concerning public affairs come (to them), it is their duty to consider those things which must be authorised by the people, and summon (meetings of) the popular assembly, bring the measures before them, (and) execute the decisions of the majority on their behalf. (5) And, in truth, with regard to the preparations for war, and, generally speaking, of arrangements in the field, they have almost absolute power. (6) For they have the power to impose upon the allies whatever they think appropriate, to enlist soldiers and select those who are suitable (for service). (7) In addition to the things which have been stated, they have the authority to inflict whatever punishment they wish on those under their command (while they are) on active service. (8) And they also have authority to spend as much public money as they see fit, being accompanied by a quaestor, who readily complies with everything that they have instructed. (9) So that, whenever one should concentrate (one's attention) on this element (alone), one could reasonably say that the state is plainly a monarchic and a royal (one). (10) And, if any of these (functions) or the (functions) which I am about to describe should suffer change, either in the present or (at) some time in the future, it would not be in any way contrary to the analysis which is now being made by me.

The Senate.

13) (1) Now, the Senate has, in the first place, control of the Treasury, and regulates revenue and expenditure alike. (2) For the quaestors cannot make any disbursement for the needs of each department (of state) without the decrees of the Senate, except for (those of) the consuls. (3) The Senate has the power (to approve) what is by far the most important and largest (item of) expenditure, (that is) what the censors lay down for the repair and construction of public (buildings) every five years (i.e. each lustrum), and it makes a grant to the censors for this (purpose). (4) Similarly, all of the crimes (committed) in Italy, which require a public investigation, and I speak of such (as) treason, conspiracy, poisoning, (and) assassination, these are the concern of the Senate. Besides these, (5) if any private citizen or city across Italy requires the arbitration (of a dispute), or a formal censure, or help or protection, all these (matters) are the responsibility of the Senate. (6) And, indeed, if there is a need to dispatch some embassy to any (countries) outside Italy, either to reconcile (peoples who are quarrelling), or to remind (them) of their duty, or to impose formal demands, or to receive (submissions), or to declare war, it demonstrates its concern for these things. (7) In the same way too, whenever (foreign) embassies  arrive in Rome, how each one should be treated and what answer should be given (to them), all these (questions) are addressed by the Senate. These (matters) have absolutely nothing to do with the people. (8) So, again, if anyone were living (in Rome) with no consul being present, the constitution might appear completely aristocratic. (9) Indeed, many Greeks, and (many) kings likewise, happen to have believed this, because almost all their business was ratified by the Senate.

The People.

14) (1) So, might one not reasonably ask what sort of part, and whatever is (the part which is) left for the people in the constitution, (2) when the Senate exercises control over the (functions) which I have described in turn, and, especially, as all revenue and expenditure are managed by it, and, again, when the consuls have absolute power over the preparations for war and absolute authority over the soldiers in the field? (3) But (this lack is) assuredly not (the case), (as) a part is left to the people too, and (the part that) is left (is) most important. (4) For the people is the sole source of honour and punishment in the constitution, (and it is) by these (powers) alone that kingdoms and states and, in short, the whole life of mankind are held together. (5) For whether such a distinction between these does not happen to be recognised, or, if recognised, it is badly managed, none of the business in hand can be dealt with properly; for how (is this) likely, if good things are held in equal honour with bad things? (6) The people, then, often tries (cases involving) money (fines), whenever the penalty for the crime (is) a considerable (one), and, especially, (when the accused are) those who have held distinguished magistracies. And it alone tries (cases) where the death (penalty is involved). (7) And, with regard to this arrangement, there is one (custom) worthy of commendation and record alongside the others. For, in the case of those being tried in relation to the death (penalty), whenever they are in the process of being sentenced, this practice gives them permission to depart openly, (thus) passing a voluntary sentence of exile upon themselves, so long as one tribe among those determining the verdict is still left not having voted. (8) There is safety for these exiles in the city of Naples, and (that) of Praeneste, and of Tibur, and at other (cities) where such sureties are in existence. (9) And, indeed, (it is) the people (who) bestow offices on those (who are) worthy (of them); this is the noblest reward for good character within (the gift of) the state. (10) It also has the power with regard to the examination of laws, and, most importantly, it deliberates over war and peace. (11) Furthermore, with regard to forming alliances, the cessation of hostilities and the making of treaties, it is the (people) who have the authority to ratify each one of these (matters), or the reverse. (12) So, again, from these (considerations) one could reasonably say that the people have the greatest part (in the constitution) and that the state is a democratic (one).

Division of political power at Rome.

15. (1) So, in what way the (functions) of the state have been divided up between each element has been described; (and) again in what way each of these parts can, when they choose, counteract or cooperate with each other will now be explained. (2) The consul, then, when, having obtained the authority which has been mentioned beforehand, he sets out with his force, seems to be in total control with regard to the accomplishment of the (tasks) which he has been given, (3) but he is in need of (the support of) the people and the Senate, and without them he is not able to bring his operations to a successful conclusion. (4) For (it is) obvious that the legions always need their supplies to be sent after (them); but without the the decree of the Senate neither corn nor clothing nor pay can be supplied to the legions, (5) so that the undertakings of the generals are unavailing if the Senate sets out to be unhelpful or obstructive. (6) And, in truth, (whether) the plans and designs of the generals are accomplished or not depends upon the Senate; for it has the authority to send out another commander when the one-year period of time has passed, or to allow the existing (one) to stay on. (7) And, indeed, the Senate has the power to exaggerate and magnify the successes of the generals, or, on the contrary, to diminish and belittle (them); (8) for these (processions), which are called 'triumphs' by them, through which the vividness of the deeds which have been achieved by the generals is brought before the eyes of their (fellow-)citizens, they cannot stage them, as is fitting, or indeed ever hold (them) at all, unless the Senate agrees and grants the funds for them. (9) As for the people, it is exceedingly important for them (i.e. the consuls) to court (their favour), even if they may happen to be in a place very far away indeed from home; for, as I have stated before in an earlier passage, it is the (people) that effects the ratification and rejection of the cessation of hostilities and the making of treaties. (10) But, most importantly, when laying down their office, they have to provide an account of their actions before it. (11) So, in no way is it safe for commanders (i.e. consuls) to regard lightly the good-will either of the Senate or of the multitude.

16. The People's influence over the Senate.

(1) Then, again, the Senate, which has so much power, is compelled, in the first place, to take account of the multitude in relation to public affairs, and to respect the wishes of the people, (2) and it cannot carry out the most serious and the most important investigations and punishments relating to offences against the state, for which the death penalty follows, unless the people join (them) in ratifying what has been decreed. (3) The same (is) the case even in matters pertaining to it; for if anyone brings forward a law aiming to remove from the Senate some of its current authority in accordance with custom, or depriving (them) of their privileges and honours, or even effecting by oath a reduction in their personal property, in all of (these cases) the people are empowered to pass such (measures) or not. (4) But, most important of all, if one of the tribunes interposes his veto, the Senate (not only) cannot bring any kind of debate to a conclusion, but cannot meet or sit (in council) at all -- (5) now the tribunes are always bound to implement the decisions of the people, and, especially, to respect its will -- therefore, for the sake of all the things which have been mentioned, the Senate stands in awe of the masses and pays attention to the people's (wishes).

The Powers of the Senate.

17) (1) In like manner, again, the people is dependent on the Senate and is bound to respect its wishes, both collectively and on an individual basis. (2) For there are many contracts, which one cannot readily count, which are given out by the censors in every (part) of Italy for the repair and construction of public (buildings), and also as many (revenues) as accrue from the many rivers, harbours, gardens, mines (and) lands, when taken together under the government of the Romans; (3) (and) it transpires that all these activities which have been mentioned are managed by the people and almost everyone, so to speak, is engaged in the buying or undertaking of these (contracts). (4) For some purchase the contracts from the censors for themselves, others join them as partners, and, again, others provide security for the contractors and pledge their property to the treasury for them. (5) Now, the Senate has control over all these aforesaid (transactions); for it can grant an (extension of) time, and, if a mishap occurs, (it can) lighten, or agree a release from the contract altogether, if fulfilling it (is) impossible. (6) Then, there are, in fact, many ways in which the Senate can cause great hardships for, or, on the contrary, come to the assistance of, those who are managing the public (property); for the appeal in all such cases is referred to it. (7) But, most importantly, the judges in most (trials) are drawn from it, whether the contracts (are) public or private, whenever there are heavy charges. (8) Consequently, everyone is bound to its good faith, and fearful of the uncertainty of their need (for its support), is cautious about obstruction and resistance to the will of the Senate. (9) And, for a similar reason too, (people) oppose the enterprises of the consuls with reluctance, since they may all, as individuals and collectively, come under their authority in the field.

Interdependency brings strength.

18) (1) Such, then, is the power of each of the elements to harm or help one another, and it turns out that their union is suited to every situation, so that it is impossible to find a political structure better than this constitution. (2) For, whenever some imminent common threat from outside compels them to be of one mind and work with one another, it happens that the strength of the state becomes so great and of such a kind (3) that no task that needs to be done is neglected, inasmuch as everyone vies unfailingly with one another to meet their designs, nor does what has been decided fall short of the time required, since each person, collectively and individually, cooperates with regard to the accomplishment of the business before them. (4) Consequently, the peculiar (form) of the constitution happens to be irresistible, and able to achieve everything that it decides to do. (5) Moreover, whenever, having been freed from these external threats, (the people) reap the prosperity and abundance which comes from their successes, as they enjoy this affluence, while being flattered and becoming idle, they turn to insolence and arrogance, (something) which usually happens, (6) it is then, especially, that this very constitution is seen as able to bring a cure from within itself. (7) For, when any one of the elements becomes puffed up and contends in rivalry (with the others) and seeks to rule over more than it should, (it becomes) apparent, in accordance with the recent passage, that none (of the three) is completely independent, but that the designs of each one can be restrained and blocked by the others, and that none of the elements swells up and becomes overbearing. (8) For the rules of every situation remain laid down, any aggressive impulse is checked, and, from the outset, each (element) fears the censure of their fellow-elements.


Published in Greek Translation


In Chapters 201-234 of Book VII of his "Histories", Herodotus gives an account of the heroic stand made by Leonidas, the King of Sparta, and three hundred of his fellow-countrymen against the huge Persian army of King Xerxes, which was invading Greece, at the narrow mountain pass of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. The self-sacrifice of Leonidas and his men is one of the most renowned military exploits of ancient history, and served to inspire future generations of Greeks to courageous deeds. A dramatic account of the events at Thermopylae was provided by the film "Three Hundred" (2007). Herodotus' works have recently been translated by Tom Holland (Penguin Classics 2011), as an addition to that of Aubrey de Selincourt (Penguin Classics, first published in 1954) The text for this translation is taken from "Herodotus, the Persian Wars", Volume III (Loeb Classical Library, first published 1922), with an English translation by A.D. Godley. This text and translation is also available on the Perseus website. In this translation, in accordance with his usual practice, Sabidius seeks to keep as close as possible to the structure of Herodotus' sentences and to the words which he employed.

1)   A description of Thermopylae and its neighbourhood Chapter 201).

201. King Xerxes, then, was encamped in the territory of the city of Trachis, which belonged to Malis, and the Greeks (were encamped) in the pass. This place is called Thermopylae (i.e. The Hot Gates) by most of the Greeks, but Pylae (i.e. The Gates) by the natives and their neighbours. Then each lay encamped in these places, while the former was master of everything which extended from Trachis northwards, and the latter of (all) those (places) lying towards the south and on this part of the mainland.

2) Composition of the Greek force at Thermopylae; his decision to remain at Thermopylae (Chapters 202-207). 

202.  The Greeks who were awaiting the Persian in this place were these: of the Spartans, three hundred hoplites (i.e. men-at-arms), and a thousand Tegeans and Matineans, half from each (of these places), a hundred and twenty from Orchomenus in Arcadia, and a thousand from the rest of Arcadia; besides the Arcadians (there were) four hundred (men) from Corinth, and two hundred from Phlius and eighty Mycenaeans. These had come from the Peloponnese, and from the Boeotians (there were) seven hundred Thespians and four hundred Thebans.

203 (1). In addition to these, the Opuntian Locrians in full force, and a thousand Phocians were summoned. For the Greeks, themselves, had called upon them, saying through messengers that they themselves had come as an advance guard of the others, and (that) the rest of the allies were expected every day, and the sea was being carefully watched by the Athenians and the Aeginetans, and by those who had been enrolled in the naval force and (that) for them there was nothing to be afraid of. (2) For the invader of Greece was not a god, but a man, and there was no mortal, nor (ever) would be, on whom, at his birth, (some element of) evil had not been commingled (with other things) from the beginning, and with the greatest of them (receiving) the greatest (number of these). The (man) who was marching against (them), as he was a mortal, was surely bound to fall from glory, When they heard this, they came to the assistance of the Greeks at Trachis.

204.  Now all these had their own generals, each with regard to his city, but he who was admired the most and who was the leader of the whole army was Leonidas, the (son) of Anaxandrides, the (son) of Eurycrates, the (son) of Polydorus, the (son) of Alcamenes, the (son) of Telechus, the (son) of Archelaus, the (son) of Hegesilaus, the (son) of Doryssus, the (son) of Leobotes, the (son) of Echestratus, the (son) of Agis, the (son) of Eurysthenes, the (son) of Aristodemus, the (son) of Aristomachus, the (son) of Cleodaeus, the (son) of Hyllus, the (son) of Heracles, who (i.e. Leonidas) had acquired the kingship in Sparta unexpectedly.

205 (1). For, since he had two elder brothers, Cleomenes and Dorieus, he had excluded (from his mind) any thought of the kingship. But, when Cleomenes died without male issue, And Dorieus was no longer alive, as he had died also in Sicily, so indeed the kingship fell to Leonidas, because he had been born before Cleombrotus (for he was Anaxandrides' youngest son) and what is more he had married Cleomenes' daughter (i.e. Gorgo). (2) He then came to Thermopylae, having picked, in accordance with the law, three hundred men (i.e. his "ἱππεῖς", the 300 chosen men who formed the royal bodyguard), who also happened to have sons . And he came bringing also those Thebans, (whom) I mentioned when reckoning up the total, of whom Leontiades, the (son) of Eurymachus, was in command. Leonidas took pains to bring these (Thebans) alone among the Greeks for this reason, (namely) that they had been regularly accused of favouring the Medes. He summoned them to the war, as he wished to know whether they would send (their men) with (him), or whether they would plainly reject the Greek alliance. They sent the men, but with other thoughts in their minds.

206 (1). These, Leonidas and his men, the Spartans sent first, so that the rest of the allies would see them and march, and (so that) they would not take the side of the Medes as well, (as they might) if they perceived that they were delaying; for at that moment the Carneia (i.e. the national festival in honour of Apollo, held in September) was in their way, but, once they had celebrated the festival, they intended to leave a garrison at Sparta and march quickly to the rescue with their whole force. (2) So, the rest of the allies were also minded to act similarly themselves; for the Olympiad was due to fall at the same time as these activities; so they sent their advance guard, certainly not supposing that the war at Thermopylae would be concluded so quickly.

207.  Indeed, they had been minded to act in this way; but the Greeks at Thermopylae, when the Persian drew near to the entrance (to the pass), became afraid, and began to think about quitting their posts. Now, it seemed good to the rest of the Peloponnesians to return to the Peloponnese and keep the Isthmus under guard; the Phocians and the Locrians were greatly angered by this suggestion, and Leonidas voted that they should remain there, and that they should send messengers to the cities demanding that they should come to their assistance, as they were too few to ward off the host of the Medes.

3)  Persian scouts and the Greeks; Xerxes' conversation with Demaratus (Chapters 209-210). 

208 (1). While they debated these (matters), Xerxes sent a mounted scout to see how many they were
and what they might be doing. While he was still in Thessaly, he had heard that a small army was gathered there, and that their leaders were Lacedaemonians, including Leonidas, who was a descendant of Heracles. (2) When the horsemen rode up to the camp, he gazed at, and looked down on, the camp, yet not (on) all (of it); for it was not possible to see who had been stationed inside the wall, which they had repaired and (which) they were now guarding; but he did take notice of those (who were) outside, whose arms were laid in front of the wall; and it happened that at that time the Lacedaemonians had been posted outside. (3) There he saw some of the men exercising, and others combing their hair. When he saw these things, he was amazed, and made a note of their number. Having made an exact note of everything, he rode back at his leisure; for no one pursued (him) or paid much attention (to him); when he returned, he told Xerxes about all the things he had seen.

209 (1). When Xerxes heard (these things), he could not understand the truth, (namely) that they were preparing to kill to the best of their ability, or to be slain; as what they were doing appeared laughable to him, he summoned Demaratus, the (son) of Ariston, who was in his camp; (2) when he arrived, Xerxes asked him about each of these matters), as he wanted to understand what was going on with regard to the Lacedaemonians. But he said, "You heard me before concerning these men, when we were setting out for Greece, but you subjected me to laughter for saying how I saw these things would turn out. For it is my greatest concern, (O) King, to express the truth in your presence. (3) Now, hear (me) once more: these men have come to fight us over the pass, and for this they are preparing themselves. For their custom is as follows: whenever they are about to endanger their lives, they arrange (the hair on) their heads. (4) But know that, if you overcome these (men) and the force which remains behind at Sparta, there is no other nation among men which will resist and withstand you; for you are now coming face to face with the finest kingdom and city and the most valiant men among those in Greece." (5) What he was saying seemed wholly incredible to Xerxes, and he then asked in what way they would fight against his army, as they were so few. He replied, "O King, treat me as a liar, if these things I am telling you do not turn out in this way."

4) The fighting at Thermopylae and the repulse of the Persians Chapters 210-211).

210 (1). Although he said these things, he did not persuade Xerxes. Indeed, he allowed four days to pass, all the time expecting that they would take to flight; but, when on the fifth (day) they were (still) not withdrawing, but seemed to him to be remaining (there) through their arrogance and folly, he became angry and sent the Medes and the Cissians against them, telling (them) to take (them) captive, and bring (them) into his presence. (2) When the Medes bore down upon and attacked the Greeks, many (of them) fell, but others attacked as well, and were not driven back, although they suffered grievous losses, but they made (it) plain to all, and not least to the King himself, that there were many men but few warriors. The battle went on all day.

211 (1). Since the Medes were (so) roughly handled, they then withdrew (from the fight), and the Persians, whom the King called Immortals, and whom Hydarnes led, attacked in their place, (thinking) that they would make easy work (of the Greeks). (2) But, when they too joined battle with the Greeks, they fared no better than the army of the Medes, but the same (happened), because they were fighting in a narrower place and were using shorter spears than the Greeks, and could not make use of their numbers.(3) The Lacedaemonians, however, fought in a memorable manner, showing themselves (as) experienced fighters among inexperienced (ones), as when they turned their backs (and) apparently fled in a mass, and the barbarians, seeing (them) fleeing, would pursue (them) with a shout and a clash of arms, and they, allowing themselves to be overtaken, would turn around and cast down a countless number of Persians; and a few of the Spartans fell there too. When the Persians, making an attempt on the pass, and attacking in every kind of manner, could gain no (ground) at all, they drew back.

5) Flank movement by a Persian force, guided by Ephialtes, over the hills (Chapters 213-218).

212 (1). During these assaults in the battle, it is said that the King, as he watched, jumped up from his throne, fearing for his army. In this way, then, did they contend (in battle), and on the next (day) the barbarians fought with no more success. They joined battle, anticipating that, because they had suffered so many wounds, they would be so few that they would no longer be able to resist. (2) But the Greeks had been drawn up by rank in accordance with their nation, and each (of these) fought in turn, except the Phocians. They had been stationed on the mountain to guard the path. So, when the Persians found that nothing (was) in any way different from what they had experienced the (day) before, they withdrew.

213 (1). The King being at a loss as to how to deal with the present difficulty, Ephialtes, the (son) of Eurydemus, a man of Malia, came to speak with him; he, thinking that he would receive a great reward from the King, pointed out the path that led over the mountain to Thermopylae, and (thereby) caused the destruction of those Greeks remaining there. (2) Later, in fear of the Lacedaemonians, he fled to Thessaly, and, while he was in exile, a price was put on his head by the Pylagori, when the Amphictyons had assembled at Pylae. Then, some time after that, he returned to Anticyra, (where) he was slain by Athenades, a man of Trachis. (3) This Athenades slew Ephialtes for another reason, which I shall explain later in this history, but he was no less honoured by the Lacedaemonians.

214 (1). Thus Ephialtes died after these (events), yet there is another story told, (namely) that Onetes, the (son) of Phanagoras, a man of Carystus, and Corydallus of Anticyra, are the ones who spoke these words to the King , and led the Persians around the mountain, but to me (it is) not credible at all. (2) For, in the first place, one must form a judgment for this (reason), (namely) that the Pylagori of the Greeks put a price on the head, not of Onetes and Corydallus, but on (that of) Ephialtes the Trachinian, doubtless having learned the exact truth by every possible means; and, secondly, we know that Ephialtes fled for this reason. Certainly, Onetes might have known about this path, even if was not a Malian, if he had frequented the country many times. But, as Ephialtes was the (man) who guided (them) along the path around the mountain, I record him as guilty.

215.  Since Xerxes was pleased at what Ephialtes had undertaken to accomplish, he became overjoyed at once, and sent out Hydarnes and the (men) whom Hydarnes commanded; he set out from the camp at around (the time of) the lighting of the lamps. Now the native Malians had also discovered this path, and, after they had found it, they guided the Thessalians to Phocis, at the time when the Phocians, by fencing in the pass with a wall, were sheltering from invasion. For so long, indeed, had the Malians acknowledged that the path was not beneficial (to them).

216.  This path runs in the following way: it begins at the Asopus river, which flows through the gorge, and the same name Anopaea is fixed on this mountain and on the path. This Anopaea stretches across the ridge of the mountain, and ends at Alpenus, which is the city of the Locrians nearest to (that) of the Malians, and at the rock called Blackbuttock and at the seats of the Cercopes (i.e. legendary knavish dwarfs), and here is its narrowest (part).

217 (1). The Persians, having crossed the Asopus, marched all night, the mountains of Oeta being on their right and those of Trachis on their left. As dawn appeared, they came to the summit of the mountain. (2) In this (part) of the mountain, a thousand hoplites of the Phocians were on guard duty, as I have stated previously, defending their own country and keeping watch over the path. The lower (part of the) pass was guarded by those (of whom) I have spoken; and the Phocians were guarding the path across the mountain, as they had volunteered to undertake (this task) (in discussion) with Leonidas.

218 (1). The Phocians realised that they were on the summit in this way: the ascent of the Persians was concealed as the mountain was covered entirely with oak-trees. There was a stillness in the air, but a loud noise occurred like leaves being trodden under foot, whereupon the Phocians sprang up and began to don their armour, and at once the barbarians were there. (2) When they saw the men putting on their armour, they were amazed. For they had expected that no one would appear to oppose them, (and now) they were met by an army. Then Hydarnes, fearing that the Phocians were Lacedaemonians, asked Ephialtes what country this army was from, and, when he learned the truth, he drew up the Persians for battle. (3) When they were assailed by a thick shower of arrows, the Phocians went in flight to the top of the mountain, supposing that they had set out against them in the first place, and made ready to perish (there). This was their intention, but the Persians with Ephialtes and Hydarnes paid no attention (to them), and went down the mountain with all speed.

6)  Withdrawal of part of the Greek force by Leonidas' order. Final battle; annihilation of the Lacedaemomians and Thespians (Chapters 219-225).

219 (1). The seer Megistias, having examined the sacrificial offerings, was the first to warn the Greeks who were at Thermopylae that death would be awaiting them at dawn, and then afterwards deserters came who reported the circuit made by the Persians. These (men) gave their signals while it was still night, and the day-watchers, running down from the heights, (were) the third (to give this report) when daybreak was already appearing. (2) Then the Greeks held a council, and their opinions were divided; some would not allow that they should leave their post, but others wanted to free themselves, and dispersing each (band of men) took itself to its own city, but others among them got ready to remain there with Leonidas.

220 (1). Now, it is said (that) Leonidas himself sent them away, as he was concerned that they would be killed: but in his (view) it was not fitting for those among the Spartans who were there to abandon the post (that) they had come to guard at the outset. (2) In this (matter) I am rather strongly of the opinion that Leonidas, when he perceived that the allies were weak-spirited and unwilling to meet danger together with (him), bade them depart, but for him it was not honourable to go back; but, were he to remain there, he would leave (a name of) great renown, and the prosperity of Sparta would not be utterly destroyed. (3) For it had been foretold by the Pythian priestess to the Spartans, who were consulting (her) about this war right from the start after it had broken out, that either Lacedaemon would be laid waste by the barbarians or their king would be killed. She proclaimed this to them in hexameter verses, speaking as follows:

(4) "For you, O dwellers of wide-wayed Sparta, either your great and glorious city must be sacked by the sons of Perseus (i.e. the Persians), or (if) not that, then the whole land of Lacedaemon, as it pines, will mourn for a king from the line of Heracles (i.e. Leonidas). For neither the might of bulls, nor (that) of lions, can withstand this (foe) face to face; for he has the might of Zeus; I declare that he cannot be checked until he utterly tears asunder one of these (i.e. the city or the king)."

Considering this and wishing to lay up a store of glory for the Spartans alone, Leonidas sent the allies away, rather than that those departing should go away in such a disorderly manner because of a difference of opinion.

221.  The strongest proof I have of this (is) the fact that it is quite clear that Leonidas, lest he be slain with (the rest of) them, tried to dismiss Megistias, the Acarnanian, said to be a descendant of Melampus, and (who was) the seer who followed this expedition, the one who, from the sacrificial offerings, told (the Greeks) what was going to happen to them. But he, although he had been dismissed, did not himself leave, but he did send way his only son, who was serving in the army.

222.  Now, those allies who were sent away went off, and, in going, they were obeying Leonidas, and only the Thespians and the Thebans remained with the Lacedaemonians. Of these, the Thebans were remaining unwillingly and against their wishes. For Leonidas was holding them, and keeping (them) in the condition of hostages; the Thespians, however, (stayed there) most willingly, and they refused to abandon Leonidas and his companions, (and) to be freed (from his command), but stayed and died with (him); Demophilus, the (son) of Diadromes, was in command of them.

223 (1). Xerxes, after he had made libations at sunrise, waited until the time when any market-place (becomes) very full (i.e. mid-morning) and (then) made his assault; for he had been so advised by Ephialtes, as the descent from the mountain is more direct, and the way much shorter, than the circuit and the ascent. (2) So, the barbarians who were with Xerxes attacked, and the Greeks with Leonidas, (knowing) that they were proceeding towards their death, now advanced much further than (they had) at first into the wider (part) of the defile. For on the previous days a wall of fortification was being guarded, and, withdrawing gradually into the narrow (parts), they had fought (there). (3) But now they joined battle outside the narrows, and a large number of the barbarians fell (there); for the captains of their companies lashed every man with whips, urging (them) ever forward. Many of them fell into the sea and drowned, and, yet, many more were trampled alive under foot; there was no regard for who (it was that) perished. (4) For, as they knew that someone among those who were coming round the mountain was about to bring death to them, they displayed to the utmost as much bodily strength as they had towards the barbarians, (fighting) recklessly and with the frenzy of desperation.

224 (1). Now, by that time most of them already had broken spears, and they were slaying the Persians with their swords. Then, Leonidas fell in that struggle, being a most valiant warrior, and with him others famous Spartans, whose names I have learned, as being men of (great) worth, and I have also learned (the names) of all the three hundred. (2) Many other famous Persians fell there too, including two sons of Darius, Abrocomes and Hyperanthes, born to Darius by Phratagune, daughter of Artanes. Artanes was the brother of king Darius and son of Hystaspes, the (son) of Arsames. Now, when he gave his daughter in marriage to Darius, he gave his whole property as a dowry, since she was his only child.

225 (1). Two brothers of Xerxes fell in the battle there, and over the body of Leonidas there was a great struggle between the Persians and the Lacedaemonians, until, through their courage, the Greeks took it and dragged (it) away, and four times put their adversaries to flight. This (struggle) lasted until the (men) with Ephialtes arrived. (2) When the Greeks realised they had come, from then onwards the nature of the battle altered; for they withdrew back to the narrow (part) of the way, and, as they went, they passed behind the wall and took up position crowded together on the hillock, all of them that remained, except the Thebans. The hillock is at the entrance (to the pass), where now stands the stone lion in honour of Leonidas. (3) In this place, as they defended themselves with swords, as many of them as still happened to have them, and (if not) with their hands and teeth, the barbarians, (by) throwing (missiles), overwhelmed them, some pursuing (them) from the front and demolishing the wall of fortification, and others, who had surrounded (them) from all sides, standing round about.

7)  Individual instances of bravery; the commemorative inscriptions; the fortunes of the few survivors; Theban surrender to Xerxes (Chapters 226-233). 

226 (1).  Although the Lacedaemonians and the Thespians bore themselves in such a manner, yet the bravest man (of them all), it is said, was the Spartan Dieneces. They say that he spoke the following words before they joined battle with the Medes, when he had learned from a certain Trachinian, that, whenever the barbarians discharged their bowshots, the sun was hidden by the multitude of arrows; so great was their number. (2) He, not being (at all) disturbed by this, and making light of the multitude of the Medes, said that the stranger from Trachis brought them wholly good news, (for) if the Medes were keeping the sun hidden, (then) the battle against them would be in the shade and not in the sun.

227.  This saying, and others of a similar nature, they claim, Dieneces left (behind) as a memorial; after him, two Lacedaemonian brothers, Alpheus and Maron, the sons of Orsiphantus, are said to have been the most courageous. Among the Thespians, (the man) whose name was held in the highest repute was Dithyrambus, the (son) of Harmatides.

228 (1). Over those who were buried there in the very (place) where they fell, and with them those that had died before (those) who had been dismissed by Leonides had departed, there is written an inscription which says this:

"μυριάσιν ποτὲ τῇδε τριηκοσίαις ἔμαχοντο
     ἐκ Πελοποννάσου χιλιάδες τέτορες."
(Four thousand here from Pelops' land,
      Against three million once did stand.)

(2) That is inscribed for all of them, but, for the Spartans, (there is one) of their own:

"ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις
     κείμεθα τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι."
(Go tell the Spartans, O you that passes by,
    That here in obedience to their words we lie.)

(3) That (one) was for the Lacedaemonians, and this (one) was for the seer:

"μνῆμα τόδε κλεινοῖο  Μεγιστία, ὅν ποτε Μῆδοι
   Σπερχειὸν ποταμὸν κτεῖναν
μάντιος, ὃς τότε κῆρας ἐπερχομένας σάφα εἰδώς
   οὐκ ἔτλη Σπάρτης ἡγεμόνα προλιπεῖν."
(Here lies the hero Megistias who died
   When the Medes crossed over Spercheius' tide,
The seer well knew his doom was nigh,
   Yet from the Spartan king he scorned to fly.)

(4) Now, except for the seer's inscription, the Amphictyons are the ones who honoured them with inscriptions and pillars; Simonides, the (son) of Leoprepes, was the (man) who inscribed the (epitaph) of the seer Megistias, in accordance with their guest-friendship.

229 (1).
It is said that of these three hundred, Eurytus and Aristodemus could both of them have agreed a common line of action, either to have returned safely together to Sparta, as they had been released by Leonidas and were lying sick in Alpeni with an extreme eye infection, or, if they did not wish to return home, to die with the others. While they could have done either of these things, they could not agree, but had different opinions. Eurytus, having learned of the Persians' circuit, (and, after) demanding his armour and putting (it) on, bid his helot lead him to the fighting; when he had led him, he (i.e. the helot) then departed after leading (him there), but he (i.e. Eurytus) rushed into the throng and perished; Aristodemus, his heart failing (him), hung back. (2) Now, if either Aristodemus alone had been sick and had returned to Sparta, or there had been a return journey involving both of them together, I do not think that the Spartans would have shown any anger towards them; but, as it was, when one of them had died, and the other, having the same excuse (as his comrade might have offered), yet was unwilling to die, they (i.e. the Spartans) were bound to display great anger towards Aristodemus.

230.  Some, then, say that Aristodemus came back safely to Sparta, and with some such excuse as this; others (say) that he had been sent from the camp (as) a messenger, and that, although he could have arrived in time for the battle, he chose not to, but lingered on the way and (so) survived, while his fellow-messenger arrived at the battle and was slain.

231.  When Aristodemus returned to Lacedaemon, he met with both censure and disgrace; he was dishonoured (by) suffering as follows: no one among the Spartans would kindle fire for him or speak with (him). And he had to face reproach, being called Aristodemus the coward.   

232.  But at the battle of Plataea (i.e. where the Spartans under Pausanias defeated the Persians in 479 B.C.) he retrieved all the blame which had been laid upon (him); it is said too that another of these three hundred had survived; his name was Pantites; as he was dishonoured, when he returned to Sparta, he hanged himself.

233 (1). The Thebans, of whom Leontiades was in command, fought against the King's army, as long as they were for a time with the Greeks under compulsion; but, when they saw the Persian side gaining the upper (hand), and, when the Greeks with Leonidas, were hurrying towards the hillock, they then separated themselves (from them) and stretched out their hands and came nearer to the barbarians, saying the truest of words, that they were on the side of the Medes and had been among the first to give earth and water to the King, that they had come to Thermopylae, while being under constraint, and were guiltless of the harm being done to the King. (2) And so, (by) saying these things, they saved their lives; for the Thessalians bore witness to their words; however, they were not fortunate in all respects; for, when the barbarians captured them as they were approaching, they killed some of them as they drew near, and, at Xerxes' command, they were branded with the King's marks, beginning with their commander Leontiades; some time afterwards (i.e. in 431 B.C.), the Plataeans murdered his son Eurymachus, when, leading four hundred Theban troops, he seized the city of Plataea.

8)  Epilogue (Chapter 234).

234.  Thus did the Greeks contend (in battle) at Thermopylae ....


Published in Greek Translation


Appian of Alexandria was born in 95 A.D. and died in 165 A.D. His main work was the "Historia Romana," in Greek, of which Books XIII-XVII have come down to us complete. These are usually renumbered as Books I-V of his "Civil Wars", and are an invaluable source of information. Although Appian makes a number of factual errors in his works, which have disconcerted his critics, these are rarely of any significance, and would not have greatly concerned Appian himself, whose purpose would have been to entertain as well as to inform, his readers. In this he is outstandingly successful, as his account of the civil wars is eminently readable and full of additional information not available in other sources.

From this work, Sabidius had selected three extracts from Book II, which covers the twenty years from 64 to 44. These extracts deal in turn with the following: 1) the period 64 to 49, which cover, often in a quite compressed fashion, the conspiracy of Catiline, the years of the First Triumvirate and the outbreak of the civil war between Caesar and Pompey, 2) a detailed account of the decisive battle of Pharsalus in 48 B.C.; and 3) the comparison between Alexander the Great and Caesar, with which Book II concludes. Also included in Book II is a summary account of the other campaigns in the Civil War of 49-44 B.C., a very detailed consideration of the background and circumstances of Caesar's murder in 44, and the tense aftermath to this, including the speeches made by Brutus and Mark Antony.

The Greek text of Appian used by Sabidius is that edited by L.Mendelsson, Teubner of Leipzig, (1879), which is available on the Perseus website. In providing his own translation, Sabidius has had available the English translations of Horace White, Macmillan (1899) and of John Carter, Penguin Books (1996). The introduction and very detailed notes which accompany the latter are particularly recommended to the reader.


Chapter 1. (Sections 1-7). The Catilinarian conspiracy (64-62 B.C.) 
(1)  Pompey and Caesar are introduced. After the sole rule of (Lucius Cornelius) Sulla (Felix) and those (things) that (Quintus) Sertorius and (Marcus) Perperna (Vento) did in Spain, other such civil (disturbances) occurred among the Romans, until Gaius (Julius) Caesar and (Gnaeus) Pompeius Magnus waged war against each other, and Caesar destroyed Pompey and certain (men) killed Caesar in the senate-house, on the grounds that he was acting as a king. How these (things) happened and how Pompey and Gaius were killed this second (book) of the civil (wars) will show. 
Pompey, having recently cleared the sea of the bands of pirates, of whom there were everywhere more than enough, particularly at that time, had overthrown Mithridates, king of Pontus, after the pirates, and was regulating his kingdom and those other nations that he had subdued in the East. Caesar was still a young (man), (but) powerful both in speech and in action, daring in all (things) and having expectations above everyone else, and lavish beyond his means in pursuit of honours: when yet aedile and praetor, he was in debt, and was gratifying to the multitude, as the people are always approving of those who are generous in their expenditure.

(2)  The character and intentions of Catiline. Gaius (N.B. his praenomen was actually Lucius) (Sergius) Catilina, widely renowned due to the greatness of his reputation and the splendour of his birth, (but) a mad man, who was thought to have once killed his son on account of his love for Aurelia Orestilla, since Orestilla would not submit to be married to (someone) who had a son, and, having been a friend and also an especially zealous partisan of Sulla, and, having been reduced to poverty through his ambition, but still courted by the powerful, both men and women, he stood for the consulship in order to pass on to absolute power by means of it.  Confidently expecting to be elected, he was beaten because of this suspicion (of him), and (Marcus Tullius) Cicero, the most eloquent man (of his time) at speaking and oratory gained office instead of him, but Catiline mocked those who had voted for him by way of insult, calling (him) a 'new (man),' due to the obscurity of his birth, for so they call those (who are) well-known through their own (merits) and not through (those) of their ancestors, and, because (he was) a stranger to the city, (calling him) 'the tenant', by which term they designate those who dwell in houses belonging to others. From this (time) he turned away from politics completely, as not leading quickly and surely to sole rule, but (being) full of strife and contention; but, acquiring much money from many women who hoped that their husbands would be killed in the uprising, he conspired with certain (men) from the Senate and (from) those who were called knights, and he also gathered together plebeians, alien residents and slaves. And with him the leaders of all (these men) were (Publius) Cornelius Lentulus (Crus) and (Gaius Cornelius) Cethegus, who (were) then the city praetors, and he sent round (messengers) throughout Italy to those of Sulla's (soldiers), who had squandered the gains of their former life (of plunder) and who were longing for similar doings; (he sent) Gaius Manlius to Faesulae in Etruria, and others to Picenum and Apulia, who raised an army for him in secret.

(3)  Disclosure of the conspiracy to Cicero.  Fulvia, a distinguished woman, disclosed all these (facts) to Cicero while they were still unknown; her lover, Quintus Curius, a man who had been expelled from the Senate on account of many shameful deeds, and who was deemed suitable to be in this plot of Catiline's, proclaimed to his mistress in a very flippant and boastful manner (things) such as that he would shortly be in a position of power. Also, word of what was happening in Italy was now spreading abroad. Then, Cicero posted guards at intervals throughout the city, and sent out many distinguished (men) to suspect (places) to keep an eye on what was happening. Catiline, although nobody was yet venturing to lay hands on him on account of a lack of knowledge, as yet, of the exact (situation), but nevertheless fearing that delay would lead to suspicion and placing his hope in rapidity (of action), forwarded money to Faesulae, and, enjoining his fellow-conspirators to kill Cicero and set fire to the city at a number of separate places on the same night, he left to (join) Gaius Manlius, with the intention of gathering a second army to invade the city while it was burning. Lentulus and his fellow-conspirators decided (lit. It seemed good to Lentulus and his fellow-conspirators) that, when they learned that Catiline had arrived at Faesulae, that Lentulus himself and Cethegus should lie in wait at Cicero's door at dawn, with concealed daggers, and, having been admitted on account of their rank, and (while) talking about something or other, that they should extend the conversation in the courtyard, and, having drawn (him) away fro the others, they should kill (him); and that Lucius (Calpurnius) Bestia, the tribune, should immediately convene an assembly (of the people) by herald, and accuse Cicero of always (being) cowardly, and stirring up war, and throwing the the city into confusion when there was no danger at all, and that, immediately, on the night following Bestia's speech to the assembly, others should set fire to the city in twelve places, and loot (it) and kill the leading (citizens).

(4)  Arrest of the conspirators.  Thus it had been decided by Lentulus, Cethegus, (Lucius) Statilius and (Lucius) Cassius (Longinus), the leaders of the uprising, and they were awaiting the right moment; meanwhile, ambassadors of the Allobroges, who (were in Rome) making a complaint against their magistrates, were approached to (join) the conspiracy of Lentulus, in order to make a rebellion against the Romans in Gaul. Together with them, Lentulus sent to Catiline (Titus) Vulturcius, a man of Croton, who was carrying letters written without signatures (lit. without names); being in doubt, the Allobroges communicated (what had happened) to (Quintus) Fabius (?Maximus) Sanga, who was the Allobroges' patron, as indeed all cities have (lit. there is to all cities) a certain patron in Rome. Learning (this information) from Sanga, Cicero arrested the Allobroges and Vulturcius as they were leaving (the city), and immediately brought (them) before the Senate; they confessed those things which they had conspired (to do) with Lentulus and his associates, and, when they had been produced before (them), they testified that Cornelius Lentulus had often said that it was decreed by fate that three Cornelii should be sole rulers of the Romans, of whom (Lucius Cornelius) Cinna and Sulla had already been (this).  

(5)  The Senate debates the fate of the conspirators. When they had testified, the Senate stripped Lentulus of his office, and Cicero, having put each (conspirator) in the houses of the praetors, returned at once and took a vote concerning them. There was uproar at the senate-house, as the exact (situation) was still not known, and (there was) fear of the conspirators. Then, the slaves and freedmen of Lentulus himself and of Cethegus went around by back streets to (attack) the houses of the praetors in order to rescue their masters. (On) hearing this, Cicero rushed out of the senate-house, and, having stationed guards at the required (places), he came back and expedited the taking of the vote. (Decimus Junius) Silanus, who had been chosen to be the consul-elect, spoke first, for it is customary among the Romans for the (man) who is about to be consul to deliver his opinion first, I think, because he would have to carry out many of the decrees, and hence would give the most careful and cautious consideration to each (one). Many (senators) agreed with Silanus, who thought that the men should be served with the ultimate penalty, until (the debate came) to (Ti. Claudius) Nero, whose turn to speak had come around. Nero judged that it was right to keep them under guard, until they had destroyed Catiline in battle, and they might learn the most accurate (account of the facts).

(6)  Execution of the conspirators. Gaius Caesar, while not being free from suspicion of complicity with these men, although Cicero did not have the courage to challenge him in the assembly, because he was so popular with the people, proposed that Cicero should distribute these men among the cities of Italy which he himself should approve, until, after Catiline had been defeated in battle, they should be brought to court, and that he should not do anything irrevocable to these noblemen in advance of argument and trial. Since this opinion appeared just and acceptable, most (of the senators) changed their minds completely, until (Marcus Porcius) Cato, now clearly revealing his suspicion with regard to Caesar, and Cicero, with apprehensions concerning the coming night, lest the crowd, who were sympathetic to these men and who were still hanging around in the forum, fearful both for themselves and for those (men), might do something desperate, persuaded (the Senate) to sentence (them) without trial as (men) caught in the act. Cicero at once, while the Senate was still in session, leading each of them from the houses (where they were being held) to the prison, with the crowd unaware (of this), saw (them) put to death, and, as he journeyed back, he signified to the (people) in the forum that they were dead. They dispersed in alarm, pleased for themselves that they had escaped detection.

Thus the city was relieved from the great fear which had hung over it on that day.

(7)  Defeat and death of Catiline; and the adulation of Cicero. As for Catiline, who had gathered about twenty thousand (lit. two myriads of) (men) and had already armed a quarter of them, and who was in the process of withdrawing to Gaul to (obtain) further resources, (Gaius) Antonius (Hybrida), the other consul, having intercepted (him) at the foot of the Alps, defeated without much difficulty the strange venture of the man, who had madly conceived (it) in his mind, and who, still more madly, put it to the test without preparation. Indeed, neither Catiline nor any other of his noble associates thought to flee, but, charging at their enemies, they  perished.

Catiline's uprising, having brought the city almost to the extremity of danger, ended in this way. Cicero, being well-known to everyone for the power of his oratory alone, was now in (people's) mouths for his actions as well, and was unquestionably considered to be the saviour of his country as it was disintegrating. Also, there were thanks and praises of every kind (bestowed) upon him by the assembly. Then, when Cato had addressed him as father of his country, the people cheered. And this title, having begun with Cicero, seems to some to have now devolved upon those emperors who appear worthy (of it): for, although they are kings, this is not voted to them immediately from the beginning together with their other titles, but only in conjunction with time, as an ultimate testimonial to outstanding (achievements).

Chapter 2. (Sections 8-14).  The First Triumvirate and Caesar's first consulship (61-59 B.C.) 

(8)  Caesar's attempt to stand for the consulship in absentia is blocked. Caesar, after he had been chosen (as) praetor for Spain, was detained in Rome for some (time) by his creditors, as he owed much more than his assets on account of his political ambition: (this was) when he was reported to have said that he needed twenty-five million (lit. two thousand and fifty myriads of) (sesterces) in order to own nothing at all. Having settled with those who were hounding (him), when he arrived in Spain, he was able to neglect dealing with the cities, hearing cases in court or all such matters of a similar nature to those (things), but, having gathered an army, he attacked those Spaniards who still remained (independent) one by one, until he demonstrated that Spain (was) tributary to the Romans in its entirety, and he also sent  much money to the public treasury in Rome. For these (reasons) the Senate granted him a triumph, and he was making preparations for the most splendid procession during those days (when) there was canvassing going on for the office of consul, and it was necessary for a candidate to present himself (in person), and it was not lawful for one to have entered (the city) and still to go back again for the triumph. Then he, being eager, for many (reasons) to secure the office, and having a procession (which was) not (yet) ready, sent to the Senate, asking that they should permit his candidacy to be declared in his absence through his friends, for, although he knew it was against the law, yet it had happened already in the case of others. When Cato opposed him and used up the last day for the declaration of candidates with speeches, Caesar, abandoning his triumph, entered (the city), and, having made his declaration for the office, he awaited the election.

(9)  The establishment of the First Triumvirate. Meanwhile, Pompey, having acquired great glory and power from his Mithridatic campaigns, was requiring the Senate to ratify those many (concesssions) which he had granted to kings, rulers and cities. Through envy, many of the (senators) obstructed (him), and especially (Lucius Licinius) Lucullus, the (man) who had commanded the army against Mithridates before Pompey, (and) who was declaring that the victory over Mithridates (was) his own, because he had left him to Pompey in a very weak state. Moreover, (Marcus Licinius) Crassus was helping Lucullus. Accordingly, feeling violently irritated, Pompey made an alliance with Caesar, swearing an oath that he would support (him) for the consulship; then, he immediately reconciled Crassus to him. These three (men), having very great power over everything, then contributed jointly to the needs of one another. Varro, a certain writer of theirs (i.e. of the Romans), encompassing (this alliance) in a book, described (it as) "The Three-headed Monster".

Viewing them with suspicion, the Senate, to (provide) opposition to Caesar, voted for Lucius (N.B. his praenomen was actually Marcus) (Calpurnius) Bibulus to be his colleague:

(10)  Caesar tricks Bibulus. immediately there were disputes between them, and preparations of armed forces (were) secretly (made) against each other. Caesar, who was clever at acting, made speeches to Bibulus in the Senate about harmony, (saying) that they would damage the public interest if they fell out. As he was believed to be so minded, keeping Bibulus unprepared and unaware of what was already going on and still suspecting nothing, he secretly got ready a large band and proposed in the senate-chamber laws on behalf of the poor, and he distributed land among them, and, in particular, the very best of this (land) around Capua, which was leased in the public interest, to those who were fathers of three children, (thus) bringing to himself a large reward through the favour of the crowd; for twenty thousand (lit. two myriads) of those who were rearing at least three (children) appeared at once. When many (senators) opposed this motion, he pretended to be angry, (and, saying) that they were doing wrong, he rushed out of the Senate, and for the whole of the (rest of the) year convened (it) no more, but addressed the people from the rostra. He asked both Pompey and Crassus in public (for their opinion) on the laws; they commended them, and the people came to the voting (booths) with concealed daggers.

(11)  Caesar forces his land law through. The Senate - for no one had convened it, nor was it lawful to convene it by means of the other of the (two) consuls - assembled at the house of Bibulus, but did nothing equivalent to the force and preparation of Caesar. Nevertheless, they considered that Bibulus should oppose the laws and bear a reputation not for negligence but for defeat. Having been persuaded, Bibulus accordingly burst into the forum while Caesar was still speaking.With strife and tumult occurring, there had already been blows, and men with daggers had smashed Bibulus' rods and insignia  and wounded (a number) of the tribunes who were around him. But, not at all afraid, Bibulus bared his neck, and, with a shout, called upon Caesar's partisans to (do) the deed: "For if I cannot persuade Caesar to do what (is) right," he said, "I shall, (by) dying thus, lay upon him the guilt and stigma (of it)." But his friends led him away against his will to the adjacent temple of Jupiter Stator. Then, Cato, having been summoned, pushed (his way) into the midst (of the crowd) like a young (man), and began to make a speech, but was lifted up off the ground and carried out by Caesar's men. Secretly, he ran back again to the rostra by another route, but despaired of giving a speech, as no one would listen (to him). Then, he heckled Caesar rudely, until (he was) again (lifted up) off the ground and ejected, and Caesar ratified his laws.      

(12)  Vettius claims to have been induced to murder Caesar and Pompey. In addition to this, (Caesar) made the people swear to regard (these laws) as binding and ordered the Senate to swear an oath (to obey them). When many, including Cato, refused, Caesar proposed, and the Senate ratified, the death (penalty) for anyone not prepared to swear; then, becoming alarmed, they took the oath forthwith, and (all) the others, including the tribunes (did so as well). For it was no longer appropriate to speak against (it), when the law had been approved by the rest. Then, (Lucius) Vettius, a common citizen, ran into the forum with a drawn dagger and said that he had been sent by Bibulus and Cicero and Cato to kill Caesar and Pompey, and that Postumius, a lictor of Bibulus, had given him the dagger. This affair being open to suspicion from both (sides), Caesar stirred up the mob, and he deferred examining Vettius until the following (day). When conjecture with regard to something cunning occurred, Caesar did not let it go, saying that men who were afraid (of him) had done this, until the people agreed with him to protect those who were the objects of the plot. Bibulus, abandoning everything out of hand, as though (he were) a private person, did not leave his house for the whole of the rest of his term of office, while Caesar, himself, (now) having sole power over public affairs, no longer continued to make investigations concerning Vettius.

(13)  Caesar's programme during his consulship. He brought forward other laws to win the favour of the people, and he confirmed all Pompey's acts, as he had promised him, The so-called knights, who were in between the people and the Senate in rank, and (who were) extremely powerful in all other matters on account of undertaking the farming of the taxes, the collection of which from the subject peoples they had contracted for, and the large number of very trusty servants (which they had kept) for this (purpose), had, for a long (time), been asking the Senate that they should have (lit. there should be to them) some release from a part of these taxes. But the Senate kept deferring (the matter). As Caesar was then needing nothing from the Senate but was employing the people only, he excused them from a third (part) of their obligations. They, when had experienced this unexpected favour far beyond their deserts, extolled him to the skies, and this other body, more influential than the people, was attached to Caesar through this one political act. He gave spectacles and wild beast hunts beyond his means, borrowing money from all (sources) and surpassing all former (exhibitions) in preparation, cost, and splendid gifts; for these (reasons) (the people) chose him to govern Gaul, both on this side of the Alps and beyond the Alps, for five years, and they gave (him) four legions of an army to command.

(14)  Caesar's partisans are rewarded. Seeing that his absence (from Rome) would be prolonged and that resentment (towards him would be) greater because of the very great (favours) which he had granted, he married his daughter to Pompey, although she was betrothed to (Quintus Servilius) Caepio, as he feared that even though he was a friend, he might begrudge the extent of his good fortune, and he advanced the boldest of his partisans to the magistracies for the coming year. he declared his friend Aulus Gabinius consul; as Lucius (Calpurnius) Piso was about to be consul with him, he himself married his daughter Calpurnia, although Cato cried out that the supreme post was being bargained away by marriages. (As) tribunes he chose (Publius) Vatinius and (Gaius) Clodius, surnamed Pulcher, whom, although he had fallen under suspicion of something shameful with Julia (N.B. this is wrong; it was Pompeia), the wife of Caesar himself, he did not bring to trial, as he was very popular with the people, although he did divorce his wife, but others prosecuted (him) for sacrilege at the sacred rites, and Cicero supported his accusers. When he was summoned (as) a witness, Caesar did not testify against (him), but then even declared (him) a tribune in order to act as a foil against Cicero, who was already decrying the union of the three men as a monarchy. Thus, they turned a private grievance to good use and benefited (one) enemy in order to take revenge upon another. It seems, however, that Clodius had previously repaid Caesar and helped (him) to (secure) the governorship of Gaul.

Chapter 3. (Sections 15-23).  The affairs of the First Triumvirate (58-52 B.C.)

(15) (58 B.C.)  Cicero is driven into exile. Such (things) Caesar did as consul, and, laying down his magistracy, he proceeded at once to his next (office). Then, Clodius indicted Cicero for breaking the law, in that he had put to death Lentulus, Cethegus (and) their associates instead of putting (them) on trial. Having shown most noble resolution in that affair, he became very feeble when facing trial, and putting on humble raiment and covered in squalour and dirt, he accosted (those) whom he met in the streets, not being ashamed to bother those who knew nothing about (the matter), so that his actions excited a change from compassion to laughter on account of his unseemly (appearance). Into such trepidation did he fall at this single trial of his own, (a man) who all his life had examined brilliantly in other (people's cases), and in a somewhat similar (manner) they say that Demosthenes the Athenian did not undertake his own case, but fled rather than (going) to trial. When Clodius interrupted his pleas in the streets with insults, Cicero abandoned all (hope), and he even fled into voluntary exile, and a multitude of his friends associated themselves with him, and the Senate recommended the man to cities and kings and potentates. Then, Clodius demolished his house and his country residences, and was so elated by this (business) that he was already comparing (himself) with Pompey, who possessed the greatest power in the city (of Rome).

(16)  (57 B.C.)    Cicero returns from exile. Then he (i.e. Pompey) encouraged (Titus Annius) Milo, who had been appointed to office together with Clodius, (and) who was bolder than Clodius, to (seek) the consulship and incited (him) against Clodius and directed (him) to vote for the return of Cicero, hoping that Cicero, when he returned, remembering what he had suffered, would no longer speak about the existing state of affairs, but would inflict court cases and (other) proceedings upon Clodius.

So Cicero, who had been exiled by means of Pompey, returned home by means of Pompey about sixteen months after his banishment: and (the Senate) rebuilt his house and his country residences by public expenditure. When everyone received him magnificently at the (city) gates, they say that a whole day was spent on these greetings, just as something similar happened in the case of Demosthenes, when he returned home.

(17)  (56 B.C.)   The First Triumvirate is renewed. Now Caesar, having performed many brilliant (exploits) among the Celts and the Britons (N.B. the conference of Luca, at which the First Triumvirate was renewed, occurred before either of Caesar's expeditions to Briton in 55 and 54 B.C.), such as have been described in my history of the Celts, had returned full of riches to the (part of) Gaul bordering upon Italy around the river Po, in order to give his army a break from continuous warfare for a short (time). While he sent large (sums of) money from there to many (persons) in Rome, the annual magistrates and those otherwise distinguished (men), who were going out to (be) governors of provinces or army camps, came to meet (him), such that there were a hundred and twenty lictors and more than two hundred senators around him at any one time, some returning thanks for what they had already had, and others seeking to enrich themselves, and others also seeking to achieve some other such (thing) for themselves. For now all (things) could be done by him on account of his large army, the strength of his finances and his readiness to oblige everyone. Pompey and Crassus, his partners in power, came to him also. They decided (lit. It seemed good to them) in their conference that Pompey and Crassus should be consuls again, and that another five year period should be voted to Caesar to (extend) the governorship of the provinces (lit. nations) which he (already) held.

Thus they separated from one another, and (Lucius) Domitius Ahenobarbus competed with Pompey for the consulship: on the appointed day they both went down to the Campus (Martius) for the election. There were scuffles between their followers (lit. those around them) and they were locked in a struggle, until someone smote Domitius' torch-bearer with a sword. After this there was a scattering, and Domitius himself (only) escaped to his house with difficulty, and some of Pompey's clothing was carried home stained with blood. Both of them came within so great (a nearness) of danger. (N.B. This incident actually occurred in another context during Pompey's second consulship in 55 B.C.)

(18)  (55 B.C.)  Crassus is defeated and killed by the Parthians. So, Crassus and Pompey having been chosen (as) consuls, voted Caesar another five year term, as they had promised, and, allotting the provinces and an army to (each of) them, Pompey chose Spain and Africa, but, sending friends to (take charge of) these, he himself remained in Rome, while Crassus (took) Syria and (the region) close to Syria, due to his desire for war with the Parthians, as (he thought it would be) straightforward, glorious and profitable. But on his departure from the city many strange ill-omens occurred, and the tribunes warned (him) not to go to war with the Parthians, because they had done nothing wrong, but, when he did not obey, they invoked public imprecations (upon him), and, as Crassus did not heed (them), he perished in Parthia together with his son of the same name and his army: for not quite (lit. a full) ten thousand (lit. myriad of) (men) out of a hundred thousand (lit. ten myriads) escaped to Syria. But my Parthian history will describe Crassus' disaster, and, as the Romans were suffering from a food shortage, they chose Pompey to be the overseer of the grain supply, and, just as (they had) against the pirates, they gave (him) twenty assistants from the Senate. Arranging them in a similar manner, he spread (them) out over the provinces and he immediately filled Rome with abundant supplies, by which means (lit. whence) he was exalted to (gain) still more great glory and power.

(19)  (54 B.C.)  The causes of the collapse of republican government. Also at this time Caesar's daughter, who was pregnant by Pompey, dies. Then, as this marriage had been terminated, fear fell upon everyone that Caesar and Pompey, with their great armies, would shortly be torn apart from each other, especially as the republic had been disorganised and unmanageable for some (time): for the magistrates were appointed by faction or bribery, and, with wrongful zeal, by the use of stones or swords, and corruption or the acceptance of bribes prevailed at that time in a most shameless manner, and the people themselves went to the elections (already) hired. Somewhere there was discovered a stake of eight hundred talents which had been deposited for the sake of the consulship (lit. the eponymous magistracy). The consuls (holding office) throughout each year despaired of leading armies and waging war anywhere, as they had been shut out by the power of these three men; instead of holding military commands, those among them who were more base prepared gain for themselves from the treasury of the state and from the election of their own successors. For these (reasons), good (men) forsook holding office altogether, so that at one time the city was without consuls for eight months because of the disorder of this kind, while Pompey deliberately overlooked all these (things) in order that the need for a dictator might come about as a result.

(20)  (53 B.C.)  Pompey schemes to become dictator. Many (citizens) were beginning to talk to each other about this, (saying) that the only remedy for the present evils was the power of a sole ruler, but that there was a need to choose (someone) powerful and mild (of temperament) at the same time, (thereby) intimating Pompey, who commanded a sufficient army, and who appeared to be a friend of the people and who led the Senate by virtue of his prestige, and (who was) self-controlled and temperate in his manner of life, and who either was, or was thought to be, easy of access with regard to meetings. In word, he bore this expectation with displeasure, but in fact (lit. in deed) he secretly did everything (he could) to (promote) it, and willingly overlooked the disorder of the state and the anarchy arising from the disorder. Although Milo, who had aided (him) in the (business) concerning Clodius, and who was popular with the people on account of the return of Cicero, considered that it was the right time (lit. in season) to stand for the consulship, he kept on delaying the elections, (52 B.C.) until Milo, indignant that Pompey was (being) disloyal towards him, went to his home town (of) Lanuvium, which they say was the first city in Italy that Diomedes founded during his wanderings from Troy, and there are a hundred and fifty stades (i.e. about nineteen miles) to (reach) it from Rome.

(21) Clodius is murdered by Milo. When Clodius was coming on horseback from his country estate, and met him at Bovillae, they merely looked at each other with hostility, and passed (each other) by, but a servant of Milo, attacking Clodius, either because he had been ordered (to do so), or because he was his master's enemy, stabbed (him) in the back with a dagger. Then, his groom carried him to a nearby inn, but Milo, following with his servants, finished him off, (whether he was) still alive or (was) dead, although he claimed that he neither advised nor ordered the killing: but, because he was likely (to be accused) by everyone, he considered that he should not leave the deed unfinished. When this event had been reported in Rome, the people, (being) thunderstruck, passed the night in the forum, and some (of them) displayed Clodius' body on the rostra: after some of the tribunes and the friends of Clodius, and all the rest of the crowd together with them, had seized it, they carried (it) away to the senate-house, either for the sake of honour, or to (provide) a reproach to the Senate for ignoring such (deeds). Then, the more reckless among those who were there, heaping up the benches and the ceremonial chairs of the senators, constructed a funeral-pyre for him, as a result of which the senate-house and many of the houses in the neighbourhood were consumed with fire together with (the body of) Clodius.

(22)  Further unrest in Rome as Milo tries to avoid prosecution. Milo had such fortitude (lit. There was such fortitude to Milo) that he was not more given to fear about the murder than (he was) indignant at the honour (paid to) Clodius by his funeral. So, collecting a mob of servants and countrymen, and (after) distributing money to the people and buying one of the tribunes, Marcus Caelius (Rufus), he very boldly came back. As soon as he entered (the city), Caelius dragged him to the forum to (face) those who had accepted (money) from him, as though (he were) in front of an assembly (of the people), but (while) pretending that he was very angry and not (willing) to grant any delay to justice, (actually) hoping that, if those present should let him go, he should escape a more real trial. Milo, saying that he had not planned the deed, for he would not have set out for this purpose with his luggage and his wife, directed the rest of his speech against Milo, as a desperado and a friend of desperadoes, who had burnt the senate-house to ashes over his body, but, while he was still speaking, the rest of the tribunes and (the) uncorrupted (section) of the people burst into the forum, armed with weapons. Caelius and Milo, having put on slaves' clothing, escaped, but there was much carnage among the others, yet they did not seek the associates of Milo, but slaughtered anyone they met, citizens and strangers alike, and especially those who were distinct due to their clothing or their sacrificial knives (made) from gold (i.e. knights). As the government (was) in a state of chaos, when this riot took place together with rage and motive, (those) who were, for the most part, servants and armed (men) against unarmed (ones) turned to pillage. They abstained from no crime (lit. No deed was absent from them), but they even plundered within houses, and, in fact (lit. in deed), while they were standing around, they searched for every kind of portable property for themselves, but, in theory (lit. in word), (for) the associates of Milo: Milo was, for several days, their excuse for fire, stones, and every kind of outrage (lit. deed).

(23)  Pompey is appointed sole consul. The Senate came together in fear and looked to Pompey in order that he should be their dictator at once: for the present (evils) seemed to them to need remedies of such a kind. But, at the instigation of Cato, they appointed (him) consul without a colleague, so that (by) ruling alone he might have the power of a dictator but the accountability of a consul. (Being) the first of the consuls who had two of the greatest provinces, an army, (public) money and monarchical power within the city through being sole consul, he decreed that Cato, in order that he should not cause trouble by being present, should annex Cyprus from King Ptolemy (N.B. The date is a mistake: Cato was sent to Cyprus in 58 B.C. not 52, and he returned in 56), although this law had already been exacted by Clodius, because once, when he had been captured by pirates, Ptolemy, through meanness, had sent (only) two talents towards his ransom. Cato settled the affairs of Cyprus, with Ptolemy having thrown his money into the sea and killing himself, when he learned of what had been decreed. Pompey proposed the prosecution of all those who had offended, and especially for the taking and giving of bribes, for he thought (lit. it seemed to him) that that the public malaise had started in this (area), and that he would effect a speedy remedy, and he laid down by law that anyone who wished (to do so) could call a magistrate to account (for any acts) from (the time of) his own first consulship (i.e. 70 B.C.) to the present. The period was a little less than twenty years, during which Caesar had also been consul (i.e. in 59 B.C.). So, when Caesar's friends suspected that he had gone back such a very long (time) in order to (cast) hurt or insult upon Caesar, and urged (him) to correct the present (situation) rather than rake up the past against so many distinguished men, and naming Caesar also among the others, Pompey was vexed concerning Caesar, (saying) that he was above suspicion, seeing that his own second consulship (i.e. in 55 B.C.) was included in the period, and that he had gone back a considerable (time) to (effect) a proper correction of the republic which had been afflicted for so long.

Chapter 4. (Sections 24-31).  Conflict between Pompey and Caesar begins to grow. (52-50 B.C.)

(24)  Pompey's prosecutions for bribery. (After) saying these (things), he passed the law, and immediately there was a multitude of prosecutions of various kinds. In order that the jurors might not be intimidated, he watched over them himself, having placed his army around (the court). The first (men) convicted in their absence (were) Milo for the murder of Clodius, Gabinius, both for violation of the law and impiety, because he had gone into Egypt with an army without legal authorisation, when the Sibylline (Books) had forbidden (it), (Publius Plautius) Hypsaeus, (Gaius) Memmius, Sextus (i.e. probably Publius Sestius) and many others for bribery or corruption of the populace. When the mob interceded for (Marcus Aemilius) Scaurus, Pompey annoiunced that they should await the verdict of the court: and, when the people again interrupted the accusers, some slaughter occurred, following a charge of Pompey's soldiers, and the people then kept quiet and Scaurus was convicted. Exile was the sentence of all (of them) and, in the case of Gabinius, there was a confiscation (of his property) as well. Then the Senate, applauding these (actions) very greatly, voted Pompey another two legions and another (period of) time for the rule of his provinces. As Pompey's law offered freedom from sentence to anyone who disclosed (the guilt of) another, Memmius, who had been convicted of bribery, summoned Lucius Scipio (i.e. Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio Nasica), the father-in-law of Pompey, (to court) to (face) a similar charge of bribery. When, for this (reason), Pompey assumed the clothing of those on trial, many of the jurors assumed (similar clothing). So, Memmius, taking pity on the republic, abandoned his prosecution.  

(25)  Caesar is warned to be on his guard against Pompey. When Pompey had completed the (reforms) which required one-man rule, he made Scipio his colleague for the rest of the year. After this, although others had been invested in the consulship, Pompey, nonetheless, oversaw (them) and held the power, and at that time was all-in-all in Rome: for the good-will of the Senate rested upon him, through their jealousy of Caesar who had made no use of it at all during his consulship, and because Pompey had so speedily restored the ailing republic, and had not been troublesome or oppressive to any of them during his (term of) office.

When crowds of those who had been exiled went to Caesar and advised (him) to be on his guard against Pompey, (saying) that his bribery law was especially instituted against him, Caesar sought to reassure them and spoke well of Pompey, and he persuaded the tribunes to introduce a law to make it possible for Caesar to stand for a second consulship in his absence. And this was ratified when Pompey was still consul, and he did not object (to it) in any way. (51 B.C.) Caesar, however, suspecting that the Senate would oppose (this), feared that he would become a private citizen through the action of his enemies, and schemed to be in power until he was elected consul, and he asked the Senate that he should keep possession, for a little more time, of his present governorship of Gaul, or of a part of it. When (Marcus Claudius) Marcellus, who was consul after Pompey, prevented (this), they say that Caesar, striking the hilt of his sword, replied to the person disclosing (this news): "This will give (it) to me." (N.B. According to Plutarch, it was actually one of Caesar's centurions who acted thus.)

(26)  Marcellus seeks to provoke Caesar. Caesar had established the city of Novum Comum at the foot of the Alps as a colony with Latin rights, by which those who were chief magistrates on an annual basis should become Roman citizens - for this was the effect of Latin rights.  As an insult to Caesar, Marcellus had one of the men of Novum Comum, who had been their chief magistrate, and on account of this was considered to be a Roman (citizen), flogged with rods for some (reason), although Romans did not suffer this (punishment); through his anger he revealed his intention that these stripes should be the mark of a foreigner. And he told (the man) to take them and show (them) to Caesar. In outrageous fashion, Marcellus had already proposed to send successors in his provinces, (thus) taking (them) away before his time (was up). Pompey, however, prevented (this) with plausibility of speech and the pretence of good-will, (saying) that they ought not to offer an affront to a distinguished man who had been useful to his country in so many (ways) (merely) in relation to a short interval of time, but he made (it) clear that Caesar must (lit. that it was necessary for Caesar to) give up his command immediately after his time (had expired).

(50 B.C.) For this (reason), the bitterest enemies of Caesar were chosen (as) consuls for the coming (year), (Lucius) Aemilius Paullus and (Gaius) Claudius Marcellus, cousin of the previous Marcellus, and (Gaius Scribonius) Curio (as) tribune, and he was also a bitter enemy of Caesar, but very agreeable towards the people and most accomplished at speaking. Of these, Caesar was not able to induce Claudius with money, but he bribed Paullus for fifteen hundred (lit. a thousand and five hundred) talents not to assist him in any way but not to cause (him) difficulty, and also Curio to join (him) for a still larger (sum), knowing that he was troubled by many debts.

From this money Paulus constructed the basilica named Paulli, a very beautiful building, for (the benefit of) the Roman (people):

(27) Curio seeks to put pressure on Pompey to give up his command.  in order that he might not be detected changing his allegiance so suddenly, Curio put forward a very heavy (programme of) repairing many roads, and himself to be the overseer of these for five years, knowing that none of this would happen, but hoping that the friends of Pompey would oppose (him), and that he himself would have this (as) some cause of offence against Pompey.  As things turned out as he had expected, he had a pretext for disagreement, and Claudius proposed to send successors to Caesar in his provinces: for his time was at an end. Paullus kept silent. Although Curio was thought to differ from both, he praised the motion of Claudius, but added to it that Pompey also should give up his provinces and his army like Caesar: for in this way (he said) that the republic would be free within the city and without fear from any direction. While many opposed (this) as unfair on account of the (fact) that, in the case of Pompey, his time had not yet expired, Curio now laid (it) bare more clearly and firmly that they ought not to send (out) successors to Caesar, unless they were to bring that about in the case of Pompey also: for, as they were suspicious of each other, (he argued) that there would be no firm peace in the city unless they were both (lit. all) private citizens. He said these (things) because he knew that Pompey would not give up his command, and (because) he saw that the people were somewhat angry with him on account of the bribery cases. As his opinion was plausible, the people praised Curio as (being) the only (man) willing to bear the enmity of both (of them) in a manner worthy of the city (of Rome), and, on one occasion, they escorted him (home) scattering flowers as though (he were) an athlete in some great and difficult contest: for it seemed then that nothing was more perilous than a disagreement with Pompey.

(28)  Curio denounces Pompey. While being tended for sickness somewhere in Italy, Pompey sent (a letter) to the Senate with some artfulness, praising Caesar's exploits and recounting his own from the beginning, (saying) that his third consulship, and the provinces and an army in addition to it, had been granted to him, not sought by him, but, with regard to (the powers) which he had received, he said, "I shall willingly give (them) back to those who want to take (them) back, not waiting for the time which has been laid down (for their expiration)." The artfulness of what he had written implied the fairness of Pompey and a stirring up (of prejudice) against Caesar, as not being prepared to give back his command, even at the allotted time. When he arrived (in the city) he said other such (things) to them, and also then promised to give up his command. As a friend and a connexion by marriage to Caesar, he said that the latter would be glad to lay down (his command): for he had had (lit. there had been to him) a long and painful campaign against very warlike peoples, and, having added much (land) to (Roman) territory, he would come back to honours and sacrifices, and take a rest. He said these (things) in order that successors should be appointed immediately, while he himself would merely be under a promise. Curio, exposing his artifice, said that he should not (lit. it was necessary [for him] not to) make promises but rather lay down (his command) at once, and that Caesar should not be deprived of his army, until he had become a private citizen: for, on account of their personal enmity, it would profit neither the latter nor the Romans that such great power should be (held) by one (man) but that each of them should hold (power) against the other, in case some (threat) should subdue the republic by force. Throwing off any disguise, he denounced Pompey unsparingly as (one) aiming at tyranny, and (he said) that, unless he were to lay down his command now, he would never let go of (it) at all. He thought that, if they were to refuse to comply, they should both be voted public enemies, and an army should be levied against them: and by this (means) he very effectively concealed that he had been bought by Caesar.

(29)  Pompey is unwilling to lay aside his command. Pompey, being furious, and after threatening him, withdrew at once to the suburbs (i.e. to his house on the Campus Martius) in indignation. The Senate now had suspicions of both (of them), but they nevertheless considered Pompey (to be) the more republican, and they were displeased with Caesar because of his contempt for them during his consulship: some thought that (it would) really not (be) safe to take away power from Pompey until after he (i.e. Caesar) had laid down (his), since he was outside the city and (was a man) of greater ambition. Curio held the opposite opinion (lit. turned this [opinion] upside down), (namely) that Caesar should (lit. that it was necessary for them that Caesar should) be at hand against Pompey, or that they should disband both (armies) at the same time. As he did not persuade (them), he dismissed the Senate, with everything unfinished: a tribune had the power (to do) this: at this time it was a source of particular regret to Pompey that he had once more restored this office, which had been reduced by Sulla to (a state) of extreme feebleness, to its ancient (vigour). Nevertheless, as they were breaking up, this single (decree) was passed, (namely) that Caesar and Pompey should each send one legion of soldiers to Syria as a garrison on account of Crassus' disaster. Then, Pompey craftily demanded back the legion which he had recently lent to Caesar due to the disaster to Caesar's two generals, (Quintus)Titurius (Sabinus) and (Lucius Aurunculeus) Cotta, He sent it to Rome, having awarded each man two hundred and fifty drachmas, and he sent (it) together with another (legion) of his own.

(30)  The Senate votes that both Caesar and Pompey should lay down their commands. As no threat appeared concerning Syria, these (legions) went into winter quarters at Capua; those who had been sent by Pompey to Caesar spread many various reports derogatory to Caesar, and maintained (the view) to Pompey that Caesar's army, as they had been worn out by protracted service (lit. by service and time) and were longing for their homes, would come over to him whenever they were to cross the Alps. They spoke in this manner either through ignorance or because they had been corrupted, but (in fact) every man was strong in his enthusiasm and labour on Caesar's behalf, both due to military discipline (lit. the habit of warriors) and due to those gains which war (usually) brings to the victors, and which they had received from Caesar in addition: for he gave generously in order to mould (them) to (the things) which he was planning. Pompey, however, relying on what had been reported (to him), neither assembled the army nor (made) the preparations in accordance with so great a task. The Senate then asked the opinion of each (member): and Claudius unscrupulously divided (the question) and asked them successively whether successors to Caesar should be sent (lit. it seemed good [to them] to send successors to Caesar) and whether Pompey should be deprived of his command. The majority of them rejected the latter (proposition), but voted for the successors to Caesar. But when Curio repeated the question whether both (of them) should lay aside their powers (lit. what [was] in their hands), twenty-two voted against and three hundred and seventy turned back to the opinion of Curio, as the expedient (course) to avoid (lit. away from) (civil) conflict, whereupon Claudius dismissed the Senate, exclaiming, "Have your way (lit. May you prevail), (and) have Caesar (as) your master."

(31)  Pompey is given command of the republic's forces. When a false rumour burst upon (the scene) that Caesar, having crossed the Alps, was marching on the city, there was great tumult and panic among everyone, and Claudius moved that the army at Capua should go to meet Caesar as (he was) a (public) enemy. When Curio opposed (this) on the grounds (that the rumour was) false, he said: "If I am prevented by the vote of a public body from doing what is in the (public) interest, I shall conduct (affairs) in accordance with my own (power) as a consul." After saying these (words), he rushed out of the Senate to the suburbs with his colleague, and, proffering his sword to Pompey, he said, "I, and my fellow-leader here also, command you to march against Caesar on behalf of your country: and, for this purpose, we give you the army (that) is now around Capua or any other part of Italy, and any such other (force) as you may wish to levy." He complied as he had been ordered by the consuls, but yet he added, "Unless (there is) something better," (either) to deceive or to contrive (to give) the impression of fairness at that time. Curio had no authority (lit. There was no authority to Curio) outside the city - for the tribunes were not allowed (lit. it was not permitted to the tribunes) to go beyond the walls - but publicly (lit. amongst the people) he deplored what was happening and demanded that the consuls should proclaim that no one had to obey Pompey in any way when he was conscripting. Then, as he could achieve nothing, since his term of office (lit. time) as a tribune was then expiring, and, fearing on his own behalf and despairing that he could still be of assistance to Caesar, he went to him in haste.

Chapter 5. (Sections 32 -35). The outbreak of civil war. 

(32)  Caesar's negotiations with the Senate break down. He (i.e. Caesar) had recently sailed across the sea from Britain (N.B. The timing is incorrect here; Caesar actually left Britain in the autumn of 54 B.C.), and after (going through) the (lands) of the Gauls along the Rhine (and) traversing the Alpine mountains with five thousand infantry and three hundred cavalry, he arrived at Ravenna, which was bordering on Italy and (was) the last (place) in Caesar's province. (After) greeting Curio warmly and acknowledging his thanks for what had happened, he reviewed the current (circumstances). Curio thought (lit. It seemed good to Curio) that he should assemble his whole army now and lead (it) to Rome, but Caesar (thought) that he should still try to come to terms. So, he told his friends to make an agreement, (namely) that he would give up all his provinces and armies, except that he should keep only two legions and Illyria with Cisalpine Gaul (lit. Gaul within the Alps), until he should be elected consul. Pompey thought it was sufficient (lit. It seemed good enough to Pompey), but, when the consuls blocked (it), Caesar sent (a letter) to the Senate, and Curio, (after) travelling two thousand three hundred stades (i.e. about a hundred and fifty miles) in three days, delivered this letter to the new consuls as they entered the Senate-house on the Kalends of January (lit. on [the day of] the new moon of the year). (49 B.C.) The letter included a solemn catalogue of (the things) which Caesar had achieved from the beginning (of his career), and a proposal that he was willing to lay aside (his command) together with Pompey, but that, if the latter continued in office, he would not give up (his command) but would come at once in haste to provide in support of his country and himself. Whereupon they all shouted out loudly that, as this was considered a declaration of war, Lucius Domitius should be his successor. Then, Domitius set out at once with four thousand (men) from the draft.

(33)  The Senate expels Caesar's supporters. When (Marcus) Antonius (i.e. Mark Antony) and (Quintus) Cassius (Longinus), who were tribunes after Curio, agreed with Curio's opinion, the Senate, more obstinate than ever, considered Pompey's army to be their protector and Caesar's (to be) their enemy. Then, the consuls, (Gaius Claudius) Marcellus and (Lucius Cornelius) Lentulus (Crus), ordered Antony and his friends (lit. those around Antony) to leave the Senate. lest they should suffer something harmful despite being tribunes. Then Antony sprang from his chair in anger and called upon them in the name of the gods (to witness) that they were offering insults to the office (of tribune), although it was sacred and inviolable, and also to themselves, (saying) that while they were expressing an opinion which they considered in the public interest, they were being driven out with contumely, although they had not performed any murder or sacrilege. Having said these (words), he rushed out like (a man) possessed, prophesying that they were about to experience (lit. there was about to be to them) slaughter, proscription, exile, confiscation of property and other such (evils) of this kind, and invoking dire curses on those responsible. Curio and Cassius ran out together with him: for some soldiers of Pompey were already observed standing around the Senate-house. They made their way to Caesar that very night with the utmost speed in a hired vehicle, concealing themselves (by) wearing slaves' clothing. Caesar showed them, still dressed in this manner, to his army, and he aroused their anger (by) saying that, after they had performed such great (deeds), they were regarded (as public) enemies, and (that) they were expelling in disgrace men such as these who had dared to say a word (lit. something) on their behalf.

(34) The Civil War breaks out. The war had (now) opened up on both sides, and was already openly declared, and the Senate, thinking that Caesar's army would only arrive from (the land) of the Gauls after some time (lit. with time), and that he would never rush into so great an enterprise with so few (men), directed Pompey to assemble a hundred and thirty thousand (lit. thirteen myriads of) Italian (soldiers), and especially those of them who had served with experience of war, and to enlist as many stout-hearted foreigners as possible from the surrounding provinces. For the war they immediately voted him all the money in the public (treasury) and their own private (fortunes), if this should be needed to pay for the soldiers: they levied additional (contributions) on the cities with passion and party-spirit, which they collected (lit. omitting nothing) with the utmost urgency. Caesar had sent (messengers) to his own army, but, as he was always wont (to rely) upon the dismay caused by his speed of execution and the consternation caused by his daring rather than upon the strength of his preparations, he decided, with his five thousand (men), to be the first to attack in this great war, and to be the first to occupy the vital (positions) in Italy.

(35)  Caesar crosses the Rubicon and captures Ariminum. Accordingly. he he sent forward some of his centurions with a few of his very boldest (men), dressed in civilian garb, to enter Ariminum and suddenly seize the city. This was the first (city) in Italy, after (one leaves) Gaul. At around evening, he withdrew from dinner, on the grounds that he was unwell (lit. sick in respect of his body), leaving his friends, who were still eating, behind (him), and, mounting a horse-drawn carriage, he drove to Ariminum, with his cavalry following at a distance. Coming at a fast pace  to the river Rubicon, which marks the boundary of Italy, he halted his journey, and, (while) gazing at the stream, he revolved (matters) in his mind, as he thought of all the evils that would result if he crossed under (lit. with) arms. Recovering himself, he said to those who were present: "My friends, stopping this crossing will be the beginning of troubles for me, but crossing over (will be thus) for all mankind." Having said these (words) like a man inspired, he crossed with a rush, having uttered that common (phrase): "Let the die be cast!" Then resuming his fast journey, he captured Ariminum at around dawn and proceeded forwards, stationing guards at key positions, and subduing everything in his path (lit. at his feet) either by force or through generosity. There was flight and migration in panic from the whole countryside, and a disorganised rush with lamentation, because (people) did not know the exact (situation) but thought that Caesar with a boundless army was driving forward with all his might.

B.  THE BATTLE OF PHARSALUS (Sections 65-82) (48 B.C.)

Chapter 10. (Sections 65 -71)

(65) Pompey holds a council of war. After Caesar's withdrawal, Pompey set up a council (of war). (Lucius) Afranius thought (lit. It seemed good to Afranius) that he should send the fleet, in which they were far superior, after Caesar, and should harass (him), wandering and destitute (as he was), and that Pompey himself should lead his infantry in haste to Italy, which was well-disposed towards him and free of enemies, and, having made himself master of it, as well as of Gaul and Spain, he could then attack Caesar once more from their own home (territory) and the country which was (the seat of) imperial power. Overlooking these (words) which constituted very good (advice) to him, he was persuaded by those who said that Caesar's army would shortly desert to him, due to hunger, and that there would not be much left for them (to do) anyway after the victory which had occurred at Dyrrachium: (they said) that the opposite (course) would be disgraceful, (namely) to leave Caesar behind as he was fleeing and that the victor should flee like those who had been defeated. Siding with these (advisers), especially out of respect for the eastern nations, who were looking to him, and due to his concern for Lucius Scipio, who was still in Macedonia, lest anything harmful should happen (to him), but most of all because he intended to take advantage of his army being keen for battle, he advanced and pitched his camp opposite to Caesar's near Pharsalus, and they were separated from each other by a distance of thirty stades (i.e. about four miles).

(66)  Pompey prefers to reduce Caesar's army through want rather than risk a battle.  Pompey had (lit. There were to Pompey) supplies from every quarter: for the roads, harbours and strongholds had been so provided by him beforehand that (these supplies) were brought from the land at all times, and every wind brought him (supplies) by sea: Caesar, however, was suffering, (and) only had whatever he could, with some difficulty, find and seize. Even so, no one deserted him, but they (all) longed, through a (kind of) divine passion, to come to grips with the enemy, and they considered that, as they had been practised in war for ten years, they were much superior to those who were still raw recruits, but, with regard to digging ditches, building fortifications and laborious foraging for corn, they (were) weaker by reason of their advancing age: it seemed altogether better to them, tired (as they were), to do something (rather than) to perish through inaction and hunger. Perceiving these (things), Pompey considered that (it would be) dangerous to risk everything on a single engagement against their men, (who were) well-trained and desperate, and that (it would be) more effective and safer to exhaust them by want, as they controlled no land, nor could they make use of the sea, nor did they have any ships for the purpose of rapid flight.

So, on the basis of this excellent analysis, he decided to prolong the war and to move the enemy from famine to plague.

(67)  Pompey is forced to prepare for battle against his own better judgment. There were around him a great number of men from the Senate of equal rank to himself, very distinguished men called knights, and many kings and potentates; some through inexperience, others because they were unduly elated by their successes at Dyrrachium - there were (some) who (said) that he had more (men) (lit. there were more [men] to him) than the enemy - and some, who, being thoroughly tired of the war, were pressing for a swifter rather than a suitable outcome, they all urged him to (join) battle, pointing out that Caesar was always drawing up his men for battle, and challenging (him). But he, especially from that very (fact), explained to them that this was necessary for Caesar due to his want (of provisions), and for this (reason) (it was) a good time for them to remain quiet, because Caesar was compelled by necessity. Yet, harassed by the whole army, which was unduly elated by the (victories) at Dyrrachium and (by) those men of rank, who mocked him for his love of power, (saying) that he was willing to delay in order to retain his power over so many (men) of equal rank (to himself), and, for this (reason), calling him king of kings and Agamemnon, because the latter ruled over kings on account of the war, he abandoned his own analysis and gave in to them, with the god deceiving (him) now and on other (occasions) throughout the whole war. For, becoming sluggish and dilatory in everything, contrary to his nature, he prepared for battle against his will, to his own detriment and (to that) of those who had persuaded him (to do so).

(68)  Omens of disaster.  That night, three of Caesar's legions were going out for the purpose of foraging, for he, applauding Pompey for his dilatoriness, and not imagining that he would change his plan in any way, sent (them) out to (obtain) food, but he was delighted when he perceived his preparations for an armed engagement, which he guessed Pompey had been pressured into by his army, and he very quickly recalled all his own (forces) and made counter-preparations. (While) offering sacrifices in the middle of the night, he invoked Mars and his own ancestress Venus - forname, it was believed that the family of the Julians was descended by name from Aeneas and from Ilus, (the son) of Aeneas, (and) he vowed that he would build a temple in Rome to her as the bringer of victory, if he were successful. When a flame from heaven, having flown (through the air) from Caesar's camp to that of Pompey, was extinguished, Pompey and his associates (lit. those around Pompey) said that something splendid would accrue (lit. there would be something splendid) to them from the enemy, but Caesar (said) that he would fall upon and extinguish the (cause) of Pompey. That same night, some of Pompey's sacrificial animals escaped and were not recaptured, and a swarm of bees, a sluggish (form of) life, settled on the altar. Shortly before dawn, a panic befell his army, and going around it himself and quieting (it), he was relieved by a deep sleep: when his friends aroused him, he said that (in) a dream he was just dedicating a temple in Rome to Venus, the bringer of victory.

(69)  Contrast between the unrealistic expectations of Pompey's army and his own profound anxiety.
His friends and his whole army, in ignorance of Caesar's vow, were delighted when they heard of this, and, in other respects as well, they went into action in an unreasonable manner with eagerness and a contempt (for the enemy), as though (victory) had been achieved (already). Indeed, many of them had already decorated their tents with laurel branches, the symbol of victory: and their slaves were preparing a most splendid banquet; and there were (some) who were even already competing with one another over Caesar's high-priesthood. Pompey, (being) experienced in the (business) of war, turned away from such (squabbles), and, (although) feeling a just resentment against them, he concealed (it) and kept his silence through hesitation and dread, as though he were no longer commanding, but being commanded, and doing everything under compulsion and against his (better) judgment. So great a melancholy had come over (lit. befallen) this man of such great deeds and who had been most fortunate in every undertaking until that day, either because, having decided what was the best course of action, he had not convinced (his army), but was gambling (lit. casting the die) with regard to the security of so great a multitude of men and also of (what had been) until that day his own invincible reputation; or (because) some presentiment of approaching evil was already troubling him, as though he was about to be deprived, all at once on that very day, of (his position of) such great power. Then, (after) simply saying to his friends that, whichever one of them should be victorious, this day would be the beginning of great evils for the Romans for all time, he drew up (his forces) for the battle: indeed, in this (remark) some (people), thinking that his real intention slipped out in a (moment of) fear, considered that Pompey would not have given up the supreme power, even if he had prevailed.

(70) The number of troops engaged in the battle.  As (the size of the two) armies was disputed between the many (writers) reporting (on the battle), I think I should (lit. it seems good to me to) follow in particular those Roman (authorities) who give the most plausible (figures) concerning the troops (who came) from Italy, in whom they had especial confidence, (but) they do not enumerate or record (the names of) the allied (element), as they were foreigners and of small account in themselves in terms of additional support: on the one hand, Caesar had (lit. [there were] to Caesar) about twenty- two thousand (lit. about two thousand on top of two myriads of) (men), and around a thousand of these were cavalry, and. on the other hand, Pompey had (lit. [there were] to Pompey) more than double (that number), and of these about seven thousand (were) cavalry. Thus, it seems to those reporting the most reliable (details) that seventy thousand (lit. seven myriads of) Italian soldiers were engaged (lit. met one another) in the battle: others give the smaller (number) of sixty thousand (lit. six myriads), but then others still, grossly exaggerating, say that there were four hundred thousand (lit. forty myriads). Of these, some think that Pompey had (lit. there were to Pompey) one and a half times as many (as Caesar), and others about two parts out of three. So great are the doubts about the true (figure): however that may be, each of them relied especially on those from Italy. (As) allied (support) Caesar had (lit. there was to Caesar) cavalry from (Cisalpine) Gaul and another contingent from Transalpine Gaul (lit. from those Gauls [who live] beyond the Alps): from the Greeks, Dolopians, Acarnanians, and Aetolians served him as light infantry (i.e. peltasts). Such were those in alliance with Caesar, but Pompey had (lit. [there were] to Pompey) all the peoples of the East in great numbers, some (fighting) on horseback, others on foot, from Greece, Spartans, commanded by their own kings, and the rest of the Peloponnesus, and Boeotians with them.  The Athenians also took the field, although they had proclaimed that, (being) consecrated to the Thesmophorae (i.e. Demeter and Persephone), they would do no harm to the army of either, but yet they were attracted to the glory of the war, because they were contending for the prize of the leadership of the Romans.

(71)  Pompey's eastern supporters are listed.  In addition to the Greeks, (there were present) nearly all (the peoples) whom (one meets) as one goes around the circuit of the eastern sea: Thracians and Hellespontines, Bithynians and Phrygians and Ionians, Lydians and Pamphylians, Pisidians and Paphlagonians, and the people of Cilicia, Syria and Phoenicia, and Jews and their neighbours, the Arabs, Cypriots, Rhodians, and Cretan slingers and other such islanders. Kings and princes were there, leading their troops, (namely) Deiotarus, the tetrarch of the eastern Galatians, and Ariarathes, king of the Cappadocians. The general Taxiles was leading the Armenians from the near side of the Euphrates, and Megabates, the deputy of King Artapates (i.e. Artavasdes), those Armenians from beyond the Euphrates; and some other minor potentates also took part with (Pompey) in the action. It is said that sixty ships came to him from the sovereigns of Egypt, Cleopatra and her brother, who was still a boy. But these did not fight with (him); nor did the rest of his fleet, but it remained inactive (lit. without employment) at Corcyra. It seems that Pompey acted foolishly in this respect by disregarding his ships, by which, as he was greatly superior in these, he could have deprived the enemy of supplies brought in from all points, and in engaging in an infantry battle with men who boasted of their deep endurance and who became like wild bears in battle. For, although he was on his guard against them at Dyrrachium, it seems that he was misled by some divinely sent recklessness, (and) this happened at a good time for Caesar in every respect: for this (reason) Pompey's army became most thoughtlessly aroused, and overrode its own commander and rushed into (lit. turned to) action without any previous experience of war.

Chapter 11.  (Sections 72-82)

(72)  Pompey's address to his army. However, God arranged this to (bring in) the beginning of that power that now commands everything: then each (man), assembling his soldiers, urged (them) on, with Pompey speaking as follows: "You, my soldiers, are the leaders in this action, rather than being led: for, although I still wished to wear our Caesar's (army), you, yourselves, have invited this contest. So like judges of the battle, you should act as those who are much superior to those who are inferior (in numbers). and despise (the enemy) as victors (do) the vanquished and  as  young (men) do old men and as fresh troops (do) (those who are) much wearied, and you have (lit. there is to you) all the strength and resources, and the consciousness of your (good) cause. For we are fighting for freedom and our country, with the laws and an honourable reputation (on our side), and with so many men, both from the Senate and knights, against one man who has seized the government by robbery. So, go (forward), as you have determined, with (every) good expectation, and keeping in your sight that flight of theirs which occurred at Dyrrachium, and all those standards which we took when we defeated them."

(73) Caesar reminds his troops of the reasons why there are fighting.  Pompey spoke thus. Caesar (addressed) his own men as follows: "This day will decide everything. Remember your promises to me at Dyrrachium and (the things) which you swore to one another while I was watching, (namely) that you would not return (from the field) except as conquerors. My men, these are (those to fight) against whom we have come from the Pillars of Hercules: they (are) those who have fled from Italy (to escape) us, (they are those) who, after we have fought such great wars for ten years and accomplished innumerable victories and have acquired four hundred nations of Spaniards and Gauls and Britons for our country, have sought to disband (us) unrecompensed, without a triumph and any rewards, and neither (by) inviting them to (do) the right (things), have I persuaded (them), nor have I won (them) over by favours. You know (those) whom I have released unharmed, hoping that we should obtain (lit. that there would be to us) some fairness from them. So, bear all these (words) of mine in your (minds) today, and, if you have experienced anything of me, my care (for you), my good faith and my generous gifts.

(74)  Caesar tells his troops why they will be victorious and how they should treat their defeated enemies. "It is not difficult for warriors hardened in war to overcome new recruits, who are still without experience of conflict, and especially when they have turned towards indiscipline and disobedience towards their commander, whom I have learned was afraid and unwilling to proceed to an engagement, and who has already passed the zenith of his luck, and has become sluggish and dilatory in everything (that he does), and no longer gives orders but rather receives them. These (words) of mine are only about his Italian (soldiers), since you should neither think about his allies nor should you pay them attention (lit. hold them in your mind) nor fight with them at all. They are slaves from Syria, Phrygia and Lydia, always ready to flee and be enslaved: I know well, and you will shortly see, that Pompey himself will not assign them (a place) in his battle-line. So, I say, hold fast only to the Italians, even if their allies come running among you and make a noise after the manner of dogs. When you have put them to flight, let us spare them, as they are our kindred, but, with regard to their allies, let us give them cause for consternation. Before all else, so that I may know that you are mindful of what you agreed, at all events to choose victory or death, as you go into battle on my behalf, pull down the walls of your (camp) and fill up its ditch with earth, so that we may have nothing, if we do not conquer, and the enemy may see that we are without a camp and may know that we must (lit. it is a necessity for us to) take up our quarters in theirs."

(75)  The battle-lines are drawn up.  After he had spoken these (words), he nevertheless sent down two thousand of his very old men to guard the tents; the rest, as they departed, demolished the earth-wall in total silence and threw it into the ditch. Seeing this, Pompey, although some (of his friends) thought they were preparing for flight, recognised their daring and groaned within himself that, although they had famine, the appropriate cure for wild beats, they were proceeding against these wild beasts in hand-to-hand (combat). But there was no drawing back now, as their affairs were on a razor's (edge). Wherefore, leaving four thousand of his Italian (troops) to guard his camp, he drew up the rest between the city of Pharsalus and the river Enipeus, (opposite) where Caesar was marshalling (his men), and each of them divided his Italian (troops) into three (lines) in the forefront (of his army), set apart a short (distance) from each other, and stationed his cavalry on the wings of each division. Thus was placed the Italian (contingent), upon which both of them especially relied: the allied (elements) were marshalled by themselves as if for show. There was much noise and many tongues among Pompey's allied (element): of these, Pompey stationed the Macedonians, the Peloponnesians, the Boeotians and the Athenians near the Italian contingent, and he ordered the rest, as Caesar had guessed, to lie in wait outside the line of battle, (and,) whenever the conflict should come close (to them), to surround the enemy and to pursue (them), doing whatever damage they could, and to ransack Caesar's camp itself, which was without fortifications.

(76) The commanders of the lines of each army are indicated.  In command of Pompey's formation were his father-in-law Scipio in the centre, and Domitius (Ahenobarbus) on the left, and Lentulus (Crus) on the right. Afranius and Pompey guarded the camp. (N.B. In the case of Pompey this is an error: he was actually in command of one of the wings.) In command on Caesar' (side) were (Publius Cornelius) Sulla, Antony, and (Gnaeus) Domitius (Calvinus), and he himself took up his place on the right wing, amongst the tenth legion, as was his custom. Seeing this, the enemy transferred the best of their cavalry against it, in order, as they were superior (in numbers), to surround (it), if they could. Realising (this), Caesar placed three thousand of his most daring infantrymen in an ambush, (and) ordered them, when they should perceive the enemy trying to outflank (him), to leap up and, raising their spears, to thrust (them) right into the faces of the men: for, as they were inexperienced and fresh, (and) still in the bloom of youth, they would not (be able to) endure the risk to their faces. So they constructed such (plans) against each other, and they went through (the ranks of) each (army), dealing with urgent matters and encouraging (their men) to be brave (lit. towards bravery), and also giving (them) the watchword, Caesar (choosing) Venus the Bringer of Victory, and Pompey Hercules the Invincible.  

(77)  The thoughts of both Caesar and Pompey as they await the beginning of the battle.  When everything was ready on both sides, they waited for a long time in profound silence, delaying still and hesitating, and looking steadfastly at each other (to see) which (of them) would start the battle. For they felt pity for the common soldiers (lit. the multitude), as no Italian forces had met in battle on a single field hitherto, and they had pity for the valour (of those men) who were the elite of both sides, and especially when they saw Italians engaging with Italians. When they were coming close to this disaster, the ambition which had blazed up and blinded (them) both was extinguished and quickly turned to fear, and (cool) reason purged their thirst for fame, and calculated the peril and the cause (of the war), (namely) that two men (who were) striving with one another for supremacy were running a risk around their own security, and were not far from being still less than everyone else, and that so great a number of noblemen (were doing the same) on their account. And it entered their minds that they, who had lately been friends and relatives by marriage and had cooperated with each other on many (occasions) to (gain) rank and power, were now drawing swords against each other, and (that) they were leading those who were under their command into the same impiety, and (that men) who were of the same nation, city, tribe and family, and, in some cases, even brothers (would fight) with one another: for not even these (circumstances) were wanting in this battle, but, when so many tens of thousands (lit. myriads) of men from one nation were attacking (lit. going against) each other, unexpected things happened. Pondering these (things), each (of them) was seized at that moment with an unavailing repentance (lit. a repentance that was no longer possible), and, since he would become on that day either the foremost or the least of those on earth, (each one) shrank from beginning such a battle. It is said (lit. They say) that both of them shed a tear.

(78)  The battle begins: Caesar's hidden infantry successfully ambush Pompey's cavalry.  While they were still hesitating and watching each other, the day was advancing.  All his Italian (troops) waited in complete stillness where they had been placed: but when Pompey saw that his allied (forces) had been thrown into confusion by the delay, and feared that they might initiate disorder, he gave the signal (for battle) first, and Caesar sounded (his signal) in reply, and, at once, the trumpets, of which there were many in the (different) divisions of so large a host, aroused the (men), and the officers, running about, urged (them) on. They advanced confidently towards each other, but with awe and in absolute silence, as they were used to war, (having taken part) in many such encounters. And now, as they approached one another, there was a first (discharge) of arrows and stones, and, as the cavalry were a little in front of the infantry, (there were) skirmishes and charges against each other. Then, as Pompey's (cavalry) prevailed, they began to outflank the tenth legion. Then, when Caesar gave the signal to the (men) lying in ambush, they sprang up (and) advanced against the cavalry, striking upwards with their spears in the faces of the riders (lit. at the riders in respect of their faces), and the latter, not being able to endure them or their savagery or the blows to their mouths and at their eyes, fled in a disorderly manner. Thereupon, Caesar's cavalry (N.B. It was not his cavalry, but the six cohorts of infantrymen he had kept in reserve to ambush Pompey's cavalry), who had been afraid of being surrounded themselves, at once began to encircle (Pompey's) infantry.

(79)  Pompey's left wing is overwhelmed.  Having learned (this), Pompey ordered his infantry not to advance any further, or to break the line of formation, or to hurl their javelins, but, standing in a defensive line, to ward off the advancing (enemy) with their spears in hand-to-hand combat. Some (people) praise this tactic of his as the best (step to take) during an encirclement, but Caesar criticises (it) in his letters: for (he says) that blows occur with more force by being thrown, and that the men (are made) more enthusiastic by charging: and those who are made to stand (still) lose heart, and that these are easily hit targets for those charging at (them) on account of their being stationary (lit. their inactivity). And so (he says) it then happened: for the tenth legion, with (Caesar) himself, surrounded Pompey's left (wing), which had become denuded of its cavalry, and threw javelins at their ribs from every quarter as it stood immobile, until falling upon their disordered (ranks) in force, they routed (them) and set the victory in train. Among the rest of their ranks there were yet many and various acts of injury and death: but no cry (came) from so gerat a legionary force as they were accomplishing such (deeds), nor any screams from those being killed or wounded but only groans and sighs from them as they fell in good order where they had been stationed. The allies, who were watching the battle, as though (it were) a contest (during games), were astounded at the good discipline (shown).and, not having the courage to (attack) Caesar's tents, although (only) a few of the older men were guarding them,nor did they accomplish anything else, but stood dumbfounded.

(80)  While the rout of Pompey's army proceeds, Caesar tells his men to spare the Italians soldiers and only slaughter the allied forces.   As Pompey's left (wing) gave way, even then (the legionaries) themselves retired step-by-step and at the same time they engaged in close combat, but the allies fled headlong without any resistance, crying out: "We are beaten!" Then, falling upon their own tents and fortifications as though (they were) the enemy's, they pulled down and plundered whatever they could carry off in their flight. Now, the rest of the heavily-armed (contingent) of Italians, perceiving the defeat on that (wing), withdrew gradually, at first in good order and still continuing to resist as strongly as they could, but, when the enemy pressed heavily upon them as if in victory, thy turned to flight. Then Caesar with especially great inventiveness, in order that they should not (have to) engage again, and the result should decide not a single battle but the whole war, sent heralds everywhere into the ranks, (and) they ordered the victors to leave their fellow-countrymen untouched, and proceed only against their allies. Then they came near to the defeated (troops), advising them to stand (still) without fear. As the message was closely examined man-to-man, they halted: and now this was the distinguishing mark among Pompey's soldiers, (namely) the phrase "Stand without fear!", as all the rest of the Italians were similarly clad and spoke the same language, and Caesar's troops, passing through them, began to kill the allies, who were unable to resist: and the most tremendous carnage then took place.

(81) Caesar leads his troops to assault Pompey's camp; and Pompey flees in despair.  When Pompey saw the fight (of his men), he became deranged (lit. beside himself) (and) retired to his camp on foot, and, on reaching his tent, he sat down speechless, in such a manner as they say Ajax, the (son) of Telamon, suffered at Troy in the midst of his enemies through a madness sent by the gods: for Caesar's message caused (them) to halt without fear of harm, and, when their enemies ran through (them), they began to disperse group by group. As the day was declining, Caesar, running frantically hither and thither through his army, implored (his men) to continue their exertions, until they should take Pompey's encampment, (and) telling (them) that, if the enemy were to rally once more, they would have been victorious on one day (only), but that, if they were to take their camp, they would have decided  the war successfully by this one exploit. So, he stretched out his hands to them in entreaty, and was the first to lead the charge. Although they were tired in body, his reasoning and their commander gathering (them) together, lightened their spirits. The success of what had occurred (so far), and the hope that they would capture the encampment and the many (contents) within it, buoyed (them) up: and men in the midst of hope and good fortune feel exhaustion least. So they falling upon it, set to work with great contempt for its defenders, and, when Pompey learned (of this), he broke off from his strange silence, (to say) simply: "So (they are) in our camp too, are they?" and, having spoken (thus), he changed his clothing, and mounting a horse, together with four friends, he did not halt his course until he came to Larissa at daybreak. Then Caesar established himself in Pompey's camp, as he had threatened (to do), when he was preparing (for the battle), and he himself feasted upon his food, and his whole army (upon) that of their enemies.

(82) The number of casualties in the battle, and the awards given for bravery.  (Of those) on both sides (who) died, at least of the Italians, for no calculation at all was made of the allies, due to their number and the contempt (in which they were held), from Caesar's army (there were) thirty centurions and two hundred legionaries, or, as it seems to others, one thousand two hundred, and from Pompey's men, (there were) ten senators, (one) of which was Lucius Domitius (Ahenobarbus), who had been sent to Gaul (as) the successor to Caesar himself, and (there were) around forty illustrious (men) of those called knights: and for the rest of his army, some (writers) exaggerating (the number) say twenty thousand five hundred, but Asinius Pollio, (who was) a general under Caesar in that battle, records that six thousand dead (bodies) were found among those in Pompey's (army).

This was the outcome of the famous battle of Pharsalus. Caesar himself carried off the palm for courage in the first and second (place) by (the consent) of all, as he had been acknowledged to be the bravest, and the tenth legion together with him. The third (place went to) the centurion Crassinius (i.e. Crastinus), whom Caesar, as he was leaving for the battle, asked what (result) he was expecting, and he had replied loudly in a proud voice: "We shall conquer, O Caesar, and today you will approve my (conduct), whether I am living or dead." The (whole) army testified that he darted through each rank like (a man) possessed, and that he performed many splendid (deeds). When sought for, he was found among the dead, (and) Caesar placed decorations of valour upon his (body) and buried (them) with (him), and he erected a special tomb (for him) near the (grave) of all the other men.


Chapter 21. (Sections 149-154)

(149) Caesar goes to his death, having ignored the warnings of the seer; an account of the deeds of Alexander.  So died Gaius Caesar on the day which they call the Ides of March, around the middle of Anthesterion (i.e. a month in the Ionic Greek calendar), that day which the seer prophesied that he would not survive; making fun of him, he said at dawn: "(Well,) the Ides have come." But the latter, nothing daunted, replied: "(Yes,) but they have not passed." But, disdaining such prophesies made to him with such confidence by the seer, and the other portents which I have mentioned earlier, he went his way and died, being in his fifty-sixth year (of age), a man most fortunate in all (things), possessing a divine spark, disposed to grand designs, and fittingly compared with Alexander. For both were extremely ambitious in all (things), most warlike, most rapid in progressing what they had decided, most reckless with regard to dangers, most unsparing of their bodies, and not trusting in strategy but rather in daring and good luck. One of them (i.e. Alexander) made a long journey through the desert to (the shrine) of Ammon during the season of burning heat, and crossed the Pamphylian gulf when the sea was marvellously held back, when a god kept back the deep from him until he had passed, and rain (fell upon him) while he was on the march. In India, he ventured upon an unnavigated sea, and he was the first to climb up a scaling-ladder and leap alone upon an enemy wall (where) he received thirteen wounds. Moreover, he was always undefeated (and) finished almost every war in one or two engagements, and he conquered many foreign (lands) in Europe, and subdued Greece, a race extremely difficult to govern and freedom loving, (who) believed that it had obeyed no one before him, except Philip (and that only) for a short (time) on the pretext of him being their leader in war. To sum up Alexander's good fortune and power in a word, he acquired as much of the earth as he saw, and he died both ready and keen on (conquering) the rest (of it).

(150) An enumeration of Caesar's exploits.  The Ionian (i.e. Adriatic) sea yielded to Caesar, becoming calm and navigable in the middle of winter, and he sailed across the western ocean to Britain, (something) which had not previously been done, (even) in an attempt, and he instructed the helmsmen to wreck their ships (by) running (them) ashore on the British rocks. He was also exposed to the force of another stormy sea, (when) alone in a small boat at night, and he ordered the helmsman to spread his sails and to have confidence in Caesar's good luck rather than in the sea. He often charged at the enemy all by himself, with all the others being afraid, and he himself fought thirty times in the (land of) the Gauls alone, until he had conquered four hundred of the tribes of those (people who had been) so menacing to the Romans that an exemption was inscribed in the law concerning priests and old men, "unless a Gallic war should be declared". Then, old men and priests were required to serve. (Once) during the Alexandrian war, when he was trapped on a bridge by himself and was in great peril, he ripped off his purple (cloak) and leapt into the sea, and, being sought by the enemy, he swam underwater for a long (distance), only drawing breath at intervals, until, approaching a friendly ship, he stretched out his hands and revealed himself and was rescued.

Engaging in these civil wars, either through fear, as he himself used to say, or from a desire for power, in his case he met in battle the best generals and many large armies, no longer barbarians but Romans at the very peak of success and good fortune: and he overcame (them) all in one or two engagements in each case, not that his troops were undefeated like Alexander's, since they were evidently worsted by the Gauls, when the great disaster overtook them under the generalship of Cotta and Titurius, and in Spain (Marcus) Petreius and Afranius hemmed them in like they were being besieged, and at Dyrrachium and in Africa they were manifestly put to flight, and in Spain they were struck with terror by the young Pompey. But Caesar, himself, was undaunted, and undefeated at the end of every war; he held, by force and by good-will, the power of the Romans, which already ruled the earth and sea from the farthest west (lit. from the setting of the sun) to the river Euphrates, (and he held it) much more firmly and with more authority than Sulla, and he showed himself (to be) a king against the wishes (of the people), even if he did not receive the title. And he died, planning other wars.

(151)  A number of their shared qualities.  It happened that their armies were equally devoted and favourably disposed to both of them, and in battle (they were) like wild animals, but they were often disobedient to both (of them) and mutinous on account of their hardships. Yet they mourned and yearned for (them) alike when they were dead, and paid (them) divine honours. They were both well-formed in body, and handsome. Both were descended from Jupiter (lit. They were both from Jupiter in descent), the one through Aeacus and Hercules, and the other from Anchises and Venus. Although they were very ready to fight determined (opponents), they were very quick to (make) peace and pardon their captives, and, in addition to a pardon, (to be) benefactors, and they desired nothing but simply to conquer.

To this extent let these (things) be compared, although the two of them did not set out towards empire from (a position) of equal power, but one from a kingdom established by Philip, and the other from a private (station), well-born and illustrious indeed, but very short of money.

(152)  Both of them ignore bad omens.  Both (of them) were disdainful of the omens relating to themselves, but they did not deal harshly with the seers who prophesied their death, and, on more than one occasion, the very same omen occurred to (them) both, (pointing) to the same (end): for twice in each (case), a lobeless (liver) occurred, and, on the first occasion, it indicated a perilous risk: in (the case of) Alexander, (it happened when he was) among the Oxydracae, and he was scaling the enemy's wall at the head of his Macedonians, and, when his ladder broke, he was left isolated on top; leaping with (great) daring inwards towards the enemy, and, having been struck on the chest and on the neck by a very heavy club, and having then fallen, he was rescued with some difficulty by his Macedonians, who broke down the gates due to their concern (for him); and in (the case of) Caesar (it happened) in Spain, when, with this army being in great fear of the young Pompey and hesitating to go into battle, he charged ahead of everyone into the space between the two armies and received two hundred darts on his shield, until his army, (driven) by shame and fear (for his safety), rushed forward (and) rescued him. Thus, the first lobeless (victim) brought them (both) into danger, and the second (brought them) to death itself. For the seer Peithagoras told Apollodorus, who was afraid of both Alexander and Hephaistion, and who was sacrificing, not to be afraid, as both (of them) would soon be out of the way: when Hephaistion died at once, Apollodorus feared lest some conspiracy against the king might take place, and revealed the prophecy to him. He smiled and asked Peithagoras what the omen meant; when he said that it meant that his last (day was upon him), he smiled again, and commended Apollodorus for his good-will and the seer for his frankness.

(153)  The fatal consequences of their failure to heed bad omens.  As Caesar was entering the Senate for the last (time), as  has been related by me shortly before, the same omens were observed (lit. occurred): but he said in jest that such (a thing) had also happened to him in Spain. When the seer replied that he was in danger then too, but that the omen was now more deadly, he yielded somewhat to this honest (warning), and still went on sacrificing once more, until, becoming vexed with the priests for delaying him, he went in and was murdered. The same kind of (thing) also happened to Alexander. For, as he was returning from India to Babylon with his army, and was already coming close (to it), the Chaldeans called upon (him) to postpone his entry for the time being (lit. for the present [moment]). When he replied with the iambic (verse) that "He who guesses correctly (is) the best prophet," (i.e. this is a quotation from a lost play of Euripides) the Chaldeans urged (him) not to enter with his army, (while) looking towards the setting sun, but to go around and take the city (looking) towards the rising sun. He is said to have yielded to this (suggestion) and to have started to go around, but, becoming irritated by a lake and some marshy ground, he disregarded the second prophecy too, and made his entrance looking towards the setting sun. At all events, he sailed down the Euphrates to the river Pallacotta, which, taking (its water) from the Euphrates, carries (it) by means of marshes and ponds, and prevents the irrigation of the land of Assyria, (and), while he was considering the damming of this river and was sailing out for this (purpose), they say that he mocked the Chaldeans, because he had both entered Babylon and sailed out of it safely. But he was destined to die as soon as he returned to it. Caesar indulged in mockery of a similar kind. For, as the seer had predicted the day of his death, (saying) that he would not survive the Ides of March, when the day came, he said in mockery of the seer, that the Ides have come (lit. are here): and yet he died on that very (day). Thus, they made fun of the omens concerning themselves in a similar manner, and were not angry with the seers who prophesied these (things), and yet they were condemned by the letter of these prophecies.

(154)  Both Alexander and Caesar were lovers of learning.  They were also lovers of beauty with regard to the science of excellence (N.B. perhaps 'astronomy' is meant here), both of their own country, Greek and foreign, and, with regard to those of the Indians, Alexander carefully examined the Brahmins, who seemed to be the astronomers and the wise men among the Indians, as the Magi (are) among the Persians, and Caesar (interrogated) those of the Egyptians, when he was in Egypt, establishing Cleopatra (on the throne). So, as a result, he made many (improvements) for the Romans concerning the peaceful (arts), and, with regard to the calendar, which was still in disorder because of the intercalated months till then in use, for it was calculated by them in accordance with the moon, he changed (it) to the course of the sun, as the Egyptians reckoned (it). It happened in his (case) that not one of those who had conspired against his person escaped but received the punishment they deserved at the hands of his son (i.e. Octavian), just as those who killed Philip (were punished) by Allexander. How they received (this), the following books will show.


Published in Greek Translation

Sabidius has prepared this item as a tribute to his grandson Hector Charles Metcalfe. 
A number of epithets are used by Homer to describe the Trojan hero Hector in Homer's "Iliad". These are listed below, according as to whether they are general epithets that might apply to others as well or whether they have a more specific reference to the actual attributes of Hector himself. Of the latter, "Hector of the shining (or flashing) helmet" is perhaps the most common and best known, but the final book of the "Iliad" - Book XXII - ends with the words "Hector, tamer of horses."
In the list below each epithet is written in Ancient Greek, with a transliteration in brackets, followed by a translation. 


1.  διίφιλος (diiphilos) - beloved of Zeus.

2.  δῖος (dios) - godlike.

3.  μέγας (megas) - mighty.

4.  φαίδιμος (phaidimos) - glorious.


1.  ἀνδρόφανος (androphanos) - manslaying.

2.  ἱππόδαμος  (hippodamos) - tamer of horses.

3.  κορυφαίολος (koryphaiolos) - of the shining helmet.

4.  χαλκοκορυστής (chalkokorystes) - bronze-armoured.



Published in Greek Translation


Sections 419B-420A (or 17-18).

Great Pan is dead.

This dialogue is set in Delphi in about 83 A.D. A group of learned men are discussing how oracular prophecy works, and why oracles have become less vocal and important than in the classical past. The conversation has turned to "daimones" (divine spirits, spoken of by Hesiod and Plato, as intermediaries between gods and men); the question whether divine beings can die elicits from a historian called Philip the haunting story of the death of Pan. Because the events described took place during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), Christian legend was later able to claim that they coincided in time with the crucifixion of Jesus,  and  therefore that they represented the demise of paganism.
The story, and the general theme of the dialogue, have had considerable literary influence. John Milton wrote in his "Hymn: On the Morning of Christ's Nativity":
"The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum
Runs through the arched roofs in words deceiving."
And Elizabeth Barrett Browning in "The Dead Pan" (1844) reworked Plutarch thus:
"And that dismal cry rose slowly
And sank slowly through the air,
Full of spirit's melancholy
And eternity's despair!
And they heard the words it said - 
Pan is dead - Great Pan is dead - 
       Pan is dead."
In the final part of the passage the contribution of the grammarian Demetrius, who is on his way home from Britain to Tarsus, throws light on the exploration of the British Isles during the governorship of Agricola (77-85 A.D.)
The text of this extract from Plutarch's "De defectu oraculorum", and this introductory prologue, are taken from "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002.  
But concerning the death of such beings I have heard the report of a man (who was) not foolish or deceitful. For he was Epitherses, the father of Aemilianus the orator whom some of you have even listened to, my fellow-citizen and a teacher of grammar. This man said that once, (while) sailing to Italy, he embarked upon a ship carrying commercial goods and many passengers. And in due course at evening time the wind dropped around the Echinades islands and the drifting ship came near to (the islands) of Paxi; and most of the passengers were awake, and many also still drinking after dinner (lit. having dined). And suddenly a voice was heard from (one) of the islands of the Paxi, of someone calling Thamus so loudly  that they were amazed. Now Thamus was an Egyptian pilot, but not known by name to many on board. And so, having been called twice, he was silent, but the third time he answered the person calling (him). And that person, raising his voice, said, "When you come opposite to the Palodes, announce that Great Pan is dead." Epitherses said that all who heard this were astounded, holding a discussion among themselves as to whether it was best to do what had been commanded or not to meddle and to let (things) alone, (but) Thamus decided thus, that, if there were wind, to sail past keeping a quiet stillness, but that, (if there were) a calm around the place, to announce what he had heard. And so, when they came to the Palodes, there being neither wind nor wave, Thamus, looking from the stern to the land, said (the words) as he heard (them) that Great Pan was dead. No sooner had he stopped (speaking) than a mighty groaning, mixed at the same time with (exclamations of) amazement, occurred, not from one person but from many people. And, as is natural with many being present, the word soon spread throughout Rome, and Thamus, having been sent for, came to be sent for by Tiberius Caesar. And Tiberius believed his word to such an extent that he made enquiry and investigated about Pan. And the scholars around him, who were (lit. being) many, conjectured that he had been born of Hermes and Penelope.  
Moreover, Philip had some of those present as witnesses (who were) scholars of old Aemilianus.
And Demetrius reported that many of the islands around Britain (i.e. the Scillies) were desolate (and) scattered, of which some were named after divine beings and heroes. And he himself sailed at the command of the emperor for the purpose of enquiry and observation to the nearest lying of the desolate (islands), having not many inhabitants, all being revered and unharmed by the Britons. And he, having just arrived, there occurred a mighty tumult in the air and many portents, and winds swept down and lightning-flashes fell; and, when this abated, the islanders said that the passing of one of the mightier (souls) had happened. "For, as a lamp (when) lit," they said, "does nothing terrible, but (when) extinguished is distressing to many, so these great souls give forth a gentle and inoffensive light, but the passing and dissolution of them often, as indeed now, foster winds and storms, and often infect the air with pestilential conditions." However, there was one island there, in which Cronus was confined, guarded by Briareus while he sleeps (lit. sleeping); for they had devised sleep as a bondage for him, and there were about him many daemonic attendants and servants.


Published in Greek Translation


Plutarch (c. 46-120 A.D.), biographer, historian and moral philosopher, was born in Boeotia in central Greece, studied at Athens, visited Egypt and Italy, and spent the last thirty years of his life in Boeotia and Delphi. His most famous work is his "Parallel Lives", in which the life of an eminent Greek is paired with that of a famous Roman with whom there were, in his view, points of resemblance. For example, the "Life of Antony" is given in parallel with that of Demetrius I Poliorcetes of Macedon (336-283 B.C.): both are presented as great generals but flawed men and the victims of great changes of fortune. The most famous translation of Plutarch's "Lives" is that by Sir Thomas North (1579), which was Shakespeare's major source for "Julius Caesar", "Coriolanus" and, of course, "Antony and Cleopatra".


The extract below is a translation of the text included in "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Sections 84-86.2.

The Roman world was torn apart in the late 30s B.C. by its two most powerful figures, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus, but here referred to as Caesar), and Marcus Antonius (Antony), who was involved in a passionate love affair with Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. After Octavian had defeated Antony and Cleopatra off Actium in NW Greece in 31 B.C., they fled to Egypt, where Antony committed suicide. Cleopatra was then cornered by Caesar in Alexandria. Although in the immediate aftermath of Actium, Cleopatra was generally portrayed by Octavian's propaganda as someone who had been a dangerous enemy of the Roman people, in time her beauty, the romance of her relationship with Antony, and the pathos of her death, well brought out in this extract, began to prevail in the popular imagination. 


Cornelius Dolabella was a conspicuous young man among the companions of Caesar. This man was not on unfriendly terms towards Cleopatra. And so now, doing a favour to her at her request (lit. having been asked), having sent (a message) secretly, he reported (to her) that Caesar himself was starting out by land through Syria, and had resolved to send her with her children to Rome within three days (lit. on the third day). Having heard this, in the first place she asked Caesar to allow her to bring libations to Antony; on his agreement, having been brought to the tomb, and having fallen upon the funerary urn, together with her attendant women, she said, "O dear Antony, I buried you recently with my hands still free, and now I am pouring a libation, being a prisoner, and guarded so that I can, neither by beatings nor by lamentations, despoil this body, (which is) that of a slave, and watched over for the purpose of triumphing over you. Do not expect any other honours or libations. These (are) the last from Cleopatra the captive for you. For nothing separated us from each other (while) living, but in death we are likely to exchange places, you, the Roman, lying here, while I, the hapless one, getting only so much of your country as my portion. For if (there is) any strength in the gods there (i.e. in the Underworld) (for the gods here have betrayed us), do not forsake your wife while she lives (lit. living), nor allow yourself to be triumphed over in my person, but hide and bury me with yourself here, as nothing among these countless evils that there are is so terrible (lit. great) and dreadful as the short time which I have lived apart from you."
Having lamented such things, and having garlanded and embraced the urn, she ordered a bath to be prepared for herself. Having bathed and having reclined, she had a splendid dinner. And someone came from the countryside carrying a certain basket; when the guards enquired (lit. the guards enquiring) what he was bringing, having opened (the basket) and having removed the leaves, he showed that the dish (inside was) full of figs. (The guards) marvelling at their beauty and their size, smiling, he invited (them) to take (some); trusting (him) they bade (him) to bring (them) in. After her dinner, Cleopatra, taking a writing-tablet already written upon and sealed, sent (it) to Caesar, and, sending away (all) the others except her faithful women, she closed the doors. And Caesar opening the tablet, when he found prayers and lamentations, (she) asking that she should be buried with Antony, he quickly understood what had been done. To begin with he set out himself to bring assistance, but then he sent men in order to investigate as quickly as possible. But swift suffering had occurred. For, coming at a run and finding that the guards had perceived nothing, opening the doors, they found her lying dead on a golden couch arrayed as a queen. Of her women, the one called Iras was dying at her feet and another, Charmion, already tottering and heavy-headed, was trying to adjust the diadem around her head. When someone said (lit. someone saying) to her in anger, "(This is) a fine thing, Charmion," she said, "It is indeed a very fine thing and befitting the descendant of so many kings." She said nothing more but fell there by the side of the couch. It is said that the asp was brought in with those figs and was hidden by the leaves above (them), for thus Cleopatra had given orders that the creature should fasten upon her body with herself not being aware (of it). But when, having removed some of the figs, she saw (it), she said, "So here it is", and she held out her arm bared for the bite.


Published in Greek Translation


Chapter 17, verses 16-34.

St. Paul in Athens.

The "Acts of the Apostles" forms the second part of the literary work begun by the "Gospel of St. Luke". It describes the rapid spread of Christianity through the Mediterranean world, a process facilitated by the wide currency of Greek (now in "koine"  or "common"  form, having lost its earlier dialects.) "Acts" is our main source for the earliest history of the Church. 


In Chapter 17 Paul has just arrived in Athens after his missionary journey through Greece. The date is about 50 A.D. ("Acts" was written some forty years later.) Athens had lost its political power since its subjugation to Rome, but remained the cultural and intellectual centre of the ancient world. Its art and architecture were an impressive monument to its past glory. At the beginning of this passage Paul is waiting for his companions Silas and Timothy.


The Greek text of the passage translated below, and the the above introduction, is taken from "A Greek Anthology", JACT, Cambridge University Press, 2002. 
Now, as Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him seeing the city full of idols. And so he debated in the synagogue with the Jews and devout persons and on each day in the agora with those who happened to be present. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also debated with him and some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others (said), "He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods", because he preached (about) Jesus and the resurrection. Taking hold of him, they led (him) to the Areopagus (i.e. the Hill of Ares), saying, "Can we learn what is this new teaching which is being spoken of by you?" For you bring some strange things to our ears; and so we wish to know what these things mean (lit. want to be)." Now all the Athenians and the visiting strangers spent their time in nothing other than saying something or listening to something quite new. Standing in the middle of the Areopagus, Paul said, "Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious in everything. For going along and observing your objects of worship I even found an altar on which had been inscribed 'To an unknown god'. And so what you are worshipping unawares, I announce this to you (now). The god who made the world and everything in it, he being lord of heaven and of the earth does not dwell in temples made by human hands nor is he served by human hands because he is in need of anything, (but) he himself gives life and breath and everything (else) to all men. From one (man) he made every race of men to dwell on the whole surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons and and the boundaries of their territory, that they should seek God (to see) if they could reach out for him and find (him), though he is really not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being, as some of the poets among you have also said, for we are his offspring too. And so, being the offspring of God, we ought not to think that divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, a work of art and the imagination of man. Therefore God, overlooking the times of ignorance, is now commanding men everywhere that they should all repent, for he has fixed a day on which he is going to judge the inhabited (world) through a man whom he has designated, providing assurance to all men that he has raised him from the dead." 

Now hearing of the resurrection of the dead, some jeered, but others said, "We shall hear you again concerning this." Thus Paul departed from the midst of them. But certain men sticking to him, became believers, amongst whom also (were) Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman, Damaris by name, and others with them.


Though the number of immediate converts resulting from Paul's visit to Athens was small, the new faith had for the first time confronted - and shown some common ground with  - Greek philosophy. 


Published in Greek Translation

The motto of St Andrews University, "aien aristeuein", "Ever to excel!", is unusual because it is in Greek. It is taken from line 206 of Book VI of Homer's renowned epic poem, the "Iliad", probably first written down in the first half of the Eighth Century B.C. in the new Greek alphabetic script, very possibly designed specifically for this purpose. This quotation is contained in a speech made by Glaucus, the leader, together with Sarpedon, of the Lycian contingent, which came to the assistance of Troy against their Greek assailants. In this speech which he makes to the Greek hero, Diomedes, King of Argos, Glaucus tells of his illustrious ancestry, and, in particular, gives an account of the deeds of his famous grandfather, Bellerophon, the slayer of the dread Chimaera. The University's motto, αἴεν ἀριστεύειν", comes in the midst of the following extract (lines 206-211 of Book VI), which I now read, first in the original Greek verse, transliterated into Roman script, and then in English.

"Hippolochos d' em' etikte, // kai ek tou phaimi genesthai:
pempe de m'es Troiain, // kai moi mala poll' epetellen
aien aristeuein // kai hupeirochon emmenai allown,
maide genos paterown aischunemen, // hoi meg' aristoi
en t' Ephurai egenonto // kai en Lukiai eureiai.
tautais toi geneais te // kai haimatos euchomai einai." 
"Hippolochus begat me, and I declare that I am his son; and he sent me to Troy, and he very often enjoined (upon me) that I should ever excel and be distinguished above others, and not disgrace the stock of my forebears, who were by far the noblest in Ephyra and in broad Lycia. I avow that I am truly of this family and of this blood."
Subscribe to this RSS feed