Roman History, 47

Cassius Dio  translated by Earnest Cary

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1After forming this compact and taking oaths they hastened to Rome, giving the impression that they were all going to rule on equal terms, but each having the intention of getting the entire power himself. Yet they had learned in advance very clearly before this, and very plainly at this time also, what was going to happen. 2For in the case of Lepidus a serpent that coiled about a centurion’s sword and a wolf that entered his camp and his tent while he was eating dinner and knocked over the table foretold at once his future power and the trouble that was to follow it; in the case of Antony, the flowing of milk round about the trenches and the resounding of a kind of chant at night foreshadowed the satisfactions that he was to experience and the destruction that was to grow out of them. 3These portents befell them before they entered Italy; but in Caesar’s case it was at this very time, immediately after the covenant had been made, that an eagle settled upon his tent and killed two crows which had attacked it and were trying to pluck out its feathers—a sign which gave him the victory over both his rivals.

2So they came to Rome with all their troops, first Caesar and then the others, each one separately, and immediately they enacted through the tribunes the laws they had agreed upon. 2For the measures which they dictated and forced through not only assumed the name of law, but actually had to be supported by petitions, since the triumvirs required to be besought earnestly to pass them. Hence sacrifices were voted in honour of them as if for successes and the people changed their attire as if they had been blessed by fortune, although great fear was upon them because of these very acts and still greater fear because of omens. 3For the standards of the army which was guarding the city became covered with cobwebs, pieces of armour were seen to rise up from the earth to the sky and a great clashing that came from them was heard; in the shrine of Aesculapius bees gathered in swarms on the ceiling, and crowds of vultures settled on the temple of the Genius Populi and on that of Concordia.

3And while the people were still in this state of mind, those murders by proscription which Sulla had once indulged in were once more resorted to and the whole city was filled with corpses. Many were killed in their houses, many even in the streets and here and there in the fora and around the temples; 2the heads of the victims were once more set up upon the rostra and their bodies either allowed to lie where they were, to be devoured by dogs and birds, or else cast into the river. Everything that had been done before in the days of Sulla occurred also at this time, except that only two white tablets were posted, one for the senators and one for the others. 3The reason for this I have not been able to learn from anyone else or to find out myself; for the only reason that might occur to one, namely, that fewer were to be put to death, is by no means true, since many more names were posted, owing to the fact that there were more persons making the lists. However, this circumstance did not cause these proscriptions to differ from the murders on the earlier occasion; 4since the posting of the names of the prominent citizens, not promiscuously along with those of the rabble, but separately, must surely have seemed a very absurd distinction to the men who were to be murdered on precisely the same terms. But over against this one difference there were not a few other conditions of a very distressing nature that fell to their lot, although Sulla’s proscriptions, to all appearances, left no room for outdoing them. 4In Sulla’s time, to be sure, the perpetrators had committed their shocking deeds on the spur of the moment, inasmuch as they were trying this sort of thing for the first time, and not as the result of deliberate planning, and hence in most cases they behaved less wickedly, since they were acting, not with malice aforethought, but as chance dictated; and the victims, encountering misfortunes which came upon them suddenly and had never before been heard of by them, found some alleviation in the unexpectedness of their sufferings. 2At this time, however, when men had either taken part themselves in all the former terrible deeds, or had beheld them, or were at any rate thoroughly acquainted with them from recent descriptions, and accordingly in all the time between, in the expectation of a recurrence of similar outrages, had, on the one hand, been devising many additional horrors, with the idea that they would inflict them, and, on the other hand, been conjuring up additional terrors with the idea that they would suffer them, the perpetrators resorted to the most unusual devices in their emulation of the outrages of yore and their consequent eagerness to introduce into their schemes, by their ingenuity, novel features of some sort; and the victims, reflecting upon all that they might suffer, underwent great tortures in their minds even before their bodies were put to torture, as if they were already in the very midst of their sufferings. 5Another reason for their faring worse on this occasion than before was that previously only the enemies of Sulla and of the leaders associated with him were destroyed, whereas among the friends of Sulla or of the other men no one perished, at least not at Sulla’s bidding; 2so that, apart from the very wealthy, who can never be at peace on such occasions with the man more powerful than themselves, all the rest had no cause for fear. In this second series of murders, however, not only the men’s enemies or the rich were being killed, but also their best friends, incredible as it may seem. 3For in general almost nobody had incurred the enmity of those men for any mere private cause, to such an extent as to be murdered by them; but it was their public relations and their changing of their allegiance from one political leader to another that had created for the Romans not only their friendships, but also their violent enmities. 4For everyone who had made common cause or coöperated with his neighbour in anything was regarded by all the rest in the light of an enemy. And thus it came about that the same persons had become friends of some one of the leaders and enemies of them all as a body, so that while privately each leader was merely taking vengeance upon those who had plotted against him, as a group they were destroying even their dearest friends. 5For in consequence of the dealings they had had with one another they kept a sort of reckoning of the items of “friend” and “enemy,” and no one of their number could take vengeance on one of his own enemies, if he was a friend of one of the other two, without giving up some friend in return; and because of their resentment over what was past and their suspicion regarding the future they cared nothing about the saving of an associate as over against their vengeance upon an adversary, and therefore readily gave their friends in return. 6In consequence they were now offering up to each other their staunchest friends in return for their bitterest enemies, and getting their most implacable foes in return for their closest comrades, sometimes exchanging equal numbers and sometimes several for one or fewer for more, and carrying on their negotiations in general after the fashion of a market, particularly in over-bidding one another as at an auction. 2If one person was found who matched another in value so that there was a parity between them, there was an even exchange; but those whose value was enhanced by some excellence or rank or even relationship perished each at the price of several lives. For, as is natural in civil wars, which last a long time and involve many incidents, many had in the course of the strife come into collision even with their nearest relatives. 3For example, Antony had found an enemy in his uncle, Lucius Caesar, and Lepidus in his brother, Lucius Paullus. But though the lives of these men were spared, yet many of the rest were slaughtered even in the houses of their friends and relatives, at whose hands they most confidently expected to be saved and honoured. 4For, in order that no one should hesitate to kill another out of fear of being deprived of the rewards,—inasmuch as Marcus Cato, in his quaestorship, had demanded back from those who had murdered anyone in the time of Sulla all that they had received for their work,—they proclaimed that the name of none of the perpetrators should be registered in the public records. 5Encouraged by this, men proceeded to slay, in addition to the others, also the well-to -do, even when they had no dislike for any of them. For since they stood in need of vast sums of money and had no other source from which to satisfy the desires of their soldiers, they affected a kind of common enmity against the rich. 6And among the many other lawless acts they committed in carrying out this policy, they took a lad and enrolled him among the youths of military age, in order that they might kill him as now classed among the grown men.

7These acts were committed chiefly by Lepidus and Antony; for they had been honoured by the former Caesar for many years, and as they had been holding offices and governorships for a long time they had many enemies. 2But Caesar seems to have taken part in the business merely because of his sharing the authority, since he himself had no need at all to kill a large number; for he was not naturally cruel and had been brought up in his father’s ways. Moreover, as he was still a young man and had just entered politics, he was under no necessity in any case of hating many persons violently, and, besides, he wished to be loved. 3A proof of this is that from the time he broke off his joint rulership with his colleagues and held the power alone he no longer did anything of the sort. And even at this time he not only refrained from destroying many but actually saved a very large number; and he treated with great severity those who betrayed their masters or friends and very leniently those who helped others; 4witness the case of Tanusia, a woman of note. She at first concealed her husband Titus Vinius, one of the proscribed, in a chest at the house of a freedman named Philopoemen and so made it appear that he had been killed. Later she waited for a popular festival, which a relative of hers was to direct, and through the influence of Caesar’s sister Octavia brought it about that Caesar alone of the triumvirs entered the theatre. 5Then she rushed in and informed him of her deed, of which he was still ignorant, brought in the chest itself and produced from it her husband. Caesar, astonished, released all of them—for death was the penalty also for such as concealed anyone—and enrolled Philopoemen among the knights.

8So Caesar saved the lives of as many as he could; and Lepidus allowed his brother Paulus to escape to Miletus and was not inexorable toward the others. But Antony killed savagely and mercilessly, not only those whose names had been posted, but likewise those who had attempted to assist any of them. 2He always viewed their heads, even if he happened to be eating, and sated himself to the fullest extent on this most unholy and pitiable sight. And even Fulvia also caused the death of many, both to satisfy her enmity and to gain their wealth, in some cases men with whom her husband was not even acquainted; 3at any rate, when he saw the head of one man, he exclaimed: “I knew not this man!” When, however, the head of Cicero also was brought to them one day (he had been overtaken and slain in flight), Antony uttered many bitter reproaches against it and then ordered it to be exposed on the rostra more prominently than the rest, in order that it might be seen in the very place where Cicero had so often been heard declaiming against him, together with his right hand, just as it had been cut off. 4And Fulvia took the head into her hands before it was removed, and after abusing it spitefully and spitting upon it, set it on her knees, opened the mouth, and pulled out the tongue, which she pierced with the pins that she used for her hair, at the same time uttering many brutal jests. 5Yet even this pair saved some persons from whom they got more money than they could expect to obtain by their death; and in order that the places for their names on the tablets might not be empty, they inscribed others in their stead. Indeed, with the exception of releasing his uncle at the earnest entreaty of his mother Julia, Antony performed no praiseworthy act.

9For these reasons the murders took many forms, and also the rescues in individual instances were of divers kinds. Many perished at the hands of their dearest friends, and many were saved by their bitterest enemies. Some slew themselves, and others were released by the very men who came upon them to murder them. Some who betrayed masters or friends were punished, and others were honoured for this very reason; of those who helped others save their lives, some paid the penalty and others actually received rewards. 2For since it was not one man who was concerned, but three, each doing anything and everything according to his own desire and his private advantage and regarding different sets of men as enemies or friends, and each having often occasion to desire earnestly that the life of a man be spared whom one of the others wished to destroy, or, on the other hand, that a man be put to death whom one of the others wished to have survive, many complicated situations resulted, according as they felt good-will or hatred toward anyone. 10I shall accordingly refrain from giving an accurate and detailed description of all such incidents, since this would be a vast undertaking and there would be no great gain to my history, but shall relate what I regard as most worthy of remembrance.

2In one case a slave had hidden his master in a villa, and then, when even so the master was likely to perish through information given by a third person, this slave changed clothes with him, and wearing his master’s apparel, went to meet the pursuers as if he were himself the master, and was murdered. So they turned aside, thinking they had slain the man they wished, and when they had departed, the master made his escape to some other place. 3Again, another slave likewise changed his entire dress with his master and entered a covered litter himself, making his master one of the carriers; and so, when they were overtaken, he was killed without being even looked at, while the master was spared as being a porter. 4These, perhaps, are instances of favours repaid by these slaves to their indulgent masters in recognition of some kindness previously received. But there was also a branded runaway slave who, so far from betraying the man who had branded him, very gladly saved him. It was discovered that he was smuggling his master to some place of safety and a pursuit was begun; so he killed a man who met him by chance, gave the man’s clothes to his master, and placing the corpse upon a pyre, 5he himself took his master’s clothing and ring, went to meet the pursuers, and upon claiming that he had killed his master while fleeing, his word was believed, because of his spoils and the marks of the branding, and thus he not only saved his master, but at the same time gained honour for himself. 6Now these anecdotes redound to the memory of no persons known by name; but there was Hosidius Geta, whose son arranged a funeral for him, as though he were already dead, and saved him in that way, and Quintus Cicero, the brother of Marcus, whose son secreted him and saved his life, so far as it was in his power to do so. 7For the boy concealed his father so well that he could not be discovered, and when tormented for it by all kinds of torture, did not utter a syllable; but his father, learning what was being done, was filled at once with admiration and pity for the boy, came out into the open of his own free will and surrendered himself to his slayers.

11Such were the conspicuous deeds of bravery and filial devotion performed at that time. On the other hand, Popillius Laenas killed Marcus Cicero, although Cicero had once defended him as his advocate, 2and in order that by means of optical proof as well as by report he might have the credit of having murdered him, he set up a statue of himself sitting crowned beside his victim’s head, with an inscription that recorded his name and his deed. By this act he pleased Antony so much that he secured more than the price offered. 3Again, Marcus Terentius Varro was a man who had given no offence, but his name was identical with that of one of the proscribed, except for the agnomen, and he was afraid that he might because of this suffer a fate similar to that of Cinna; therefore he issued a statement making known this fact (he was tribune at the time) 4and for this he became the subject of amusement and ridicule. Now the uncertainty of life was illustrated not only by this incident, but also by the case of Lucius Philuscius, who had previously been proscribed by Sulla and had escaped, had his name now inscribed on the tablet once more and perished, whereas Marcus Valerius Messalla, who had been condemned to death by Antony, not only continued to live in safety, but was later appointed consul in place of Antony himself. 5So it is that many come out safe from the most desperate situations, while just as many who feel no fear lose their lives. Hence one should neither be so alarmed in the face of the calamities of the moment as to lose all hope, nor be so carried away by his immediate elation as to be reckless, but, by placing his expectation of the future midway between the two, should make reliable calculations for either event.

12Such, at any rate, was the course of events at that time, and while very many of those who were not proscribed also lost their lives, because they either were hated or had money, yet very many whose names were posted not only survived but were also restored from exile, and some of them were even elected to office. They were finding refuge with Brutus, with Cassius, and with Sextus, 2but the majority directed their flight toward Sextus. For Sextus had formerly been chosen to command the fleet and for a time had dominated the sea, so that he had surrounded himself with a force of his own, even though he had subsequently been deprived of his office by Caesar. He had occupied Sicily, and then, when the order of proscription was passed against him, too, and all the other murders were taking place, he proved of the greatest assistance to those who were in like condition. 3For, anchoring near the coast of Italy, he kept sending to Rome and to the other cities, offering among other things to those who saved anybody double the reward that had been proposed for those who should murder them, and promising to the men themselves a refuge, assistance, money, and honours. 13Therefore a considerable number came to him. As to the exact number, now, either of those who were proscribed or slaughtered or of those who escaped, I refrain even at the present time from recording it, because many names originally inscribed on the tablets were erased and many were later inscribed in their place, and of these not a few were saved and many perished who were not on the lists. 2And it was not permitted in any case even to mourn for the victims, and many lost their lives on this account also. And finally, when the calamities broke down all their assumed calm and no one even of the most stout-hearted could longer bear up against them, but in all their work and conversation their countenances were gloomy and they had no thought of celebrating the new-year festival, as was their wont, they were ordered by a proclamation to be of good cheer, on pain of death if they should disobey. So they were forced to rejoice over their common evils as over blessings. 3Yet why do I mention such a thing, when they voted to those men (to the triumvirs, I mean) the civic crowns and other distinctions as to benefactors and saviours of the state? For these men not only would not allow themselves to be blamed because they were murdering people, but, what is more, wished to be praised because the number of their victims was not greater. 4And to the populace they once openly stated that they had emulated neither the cruelty of Marius and Sulla, that they should be hated, nor, on the other hand, the mildness of Caesar, that they should be despised and consequently plotted against.

14So much for the murders; but many strange proceedings took place also in connection with the property of persons left alive. To be sure, the triumvirs announced, as if they were indeed just and humane rulers, that they would give to the widows of the slain their dowries, and to the male children a tenth and to the female children a twentieth of the property of each one’s father; 2but these portions were not actually given save in a few cases, and the possessions of the other classes of persons were plundered with impunity even down to the last farthing. For, in the first place, they levied upon all the houses, both in the city and in the rest of Italy, a tax which was the entire amount of the annual rent in the case of dwellings which people had leased, and half of that amount in the case of such as they occupied themselves, all based on the value of the domicile; and secondly, from those who possessed lands they took away half of the revenues they produced. 3Furthermore, they required that the soldiers should receive their support free from the cities in which they were wintering, and also distributed them throughout the country districts, pretending that they were sent to take charge of the confiscated property or that of the persons who still opposed them. For they counted the latter class as enemies, because they had not come over to the side of the triumvirs before the appointed day. Thus the whole country outside the towns was also pillaged. 4Indeed, the triumvirs not only allowed the soldiers to do this, in order that, having their pay even in advance of their services, they might devote all their zeal to their commanders’ interests, but also promised to give them cities and lands. And to carry out this promise they appointed special commissioners to divide the lands among them and to establish them in colonies. Now the mass of the soldiers was made loyal by these measures; but in the case of the more prominent, they tempted some with the possessions of those who were being put to death, both by lowering the price on certain articles and by granting others to them free, and others they honoured with the offices and priesthoods of the victims. 5For, in order that they themselves might with impunity secure the finest both of the lands and of the buildings and yet might give their followers all they wanted, the triumvirs gave notice that no one but themselves and the soldiers should visit the auction unless he wanted to buy something; whoever did so should die. And they managed even those who came under these conditions in such a way that they detected no irregularity and had to pay the very highest price for what they wanted, and consequently had no further desire to buy.

15This was the course followed in regard to the property of the proscribed. As to the offices and priesthoods of such as had been put to death, they distributed these, not in the fashion prescribed by law, but apparently just as suited their fancy. 2As regards the consulship, when Caesar resigned the office,—thus giving up willingly the position he had so eagerly desired that he had even made war to gain it,—and when his colleague died, they appointed Publius Ventidius, although he was praetor at the time, and another man; and to the praetorship vacated by Ventidius they promoted one of the aediles. 3Afterwards they relieved all the praetors, who still had five days to hold office, and sent them to be governors of the provinces, and installed others in their places. Some laws they abolished entirely and in others inserted new provisions; and, in brief, they ordered everything else just as seemed good to them. 4They did not, to be sure, lay claim to titles which were offensive and had therefore been done away with, but they managed matters according to their own wish and desire, so that Caesar’s sovereignty by comparison appeared all gold.

That year, besides doing these things, they voted a temple to Serapis and Isis. 16And when Marcus Lepidus and Lucius Plancus became consuls, tablets were again set up, not involving the death of any one this time, but defrauding the living of their property. 2For the triumvirs found themselves in need of more money, inasmuch as they already owed large sums to large numbers of soldiers, were spending large sums on undertakings then being carried out by them, and expected to spend far more still on the wars in prospect; they therefore proceeded to collect funds. 3Now the reintroduction of the taxes which had been formerly abrogated, or the establishment of new ones, and the institution of the joint contributions, which they levied in large numbers both on the land and on the slaves, caused the people some little distress, it is true; 4but that those who were in the slightest degree still prosperous, not only senators or knights, but even freedmen, men and women alike, should be listed on the tablets and mulcted of another “tithe” of their wealth irritated everybody exceedingly. 5For it was in name only that a tenth of each one’s property was exacted; in reality not so much as a tenth was left. For since they were not ordered to contribute a stated amount according to the value of their possessions, but had the duty of assessing the value of their own goods, they were as a result liable to be accused of not having made a fair assessment and to lose in addition what they had left. 17And even if some persons did somehow escape this fate, yet they were brought into straits by the assessments, found themselves terribly short of ready money, and so, like the others, were deprived of practically everything. Moreover, the following device, distressing even to hear about, but most distressing in practice, was put into operation. 2Any one of the proscribed who wished to do so was permitted, if he would abandon all his property, to make requisition afterwards for one-third of it, which meant getting nothing and having trouble besides. For when they were being openly and violently despoiled of two-thirds, how were they to recover the other third, especially since their goods were being sold for an extremely low price? 3For, in the first place, a great deal of property was being offered at auction all at once and most people were without gold or silver and the rest did not dare to show by buying that they had money, lest they should lose that too, and consequently the prices were lowered; in the second place, anything would be sold to the soldiers far below its value. 4Hence none of the private citizens saved anything worth mentioning; for, over and above all the other exactions, they had to furnish slaves for the navy, buying them if they had none, and the senators had to repair the roads at their individual expense. Only those, indeed, who bore arms gained great wealth. 5For they were far from satisfied with their pay, though it was given in full, or with their outside perquisites, though these were very numerous, or with the prizes bestowed for the murders, though they were exceedingly large, or with the lands they acquired, though they were practically a free gift to them; but in addition some would ask for and receive all the property of those who died, and others would force their way into the families of the survivors who were old and childless. 6For they had reached such a degree of greed and shamelessness that one man actually asked Caesar himself for the property of Atia, his mother, who had died at that time and had been honoured with a public funeral.

18While these three men were behaving in this wise, they were also magnifying the former Caesar to the utmost degree. For as they were eager for sole rulership and were striving for it, they vindictively pursued the rest of the assassins, 2with the idea that in this way they would be preparing, long in advance, immunity for themselves in what they were doing as well as safety; and so they eagerly did everything which tended to his honour, in expectation of some day being themselves thought worthy of like honours, and for this reason they exalted him, not only by the honours which had already been voted him, but also by others which they now added. 3Thus, on the first day of the year they themselves took an oath and made all the rest swear that they would consider all his acts binding; and the same thing is still done to -day in honour of all those who successively enter upon the supreme power and also of those who have possessed it and have not been dishonoured. 4They also laid the foundation of a shrine to him, as hero, in the Forum, on the spot where his body had been burned, and caused an image of him, together with a second image, that of Venus, to be carried in the procession at the Circensian games. And whenever news came of a victory anywhere, they assigned the honour of a thanksgiving to the victor by himself and to Caesar, though dead, by himself. 5And they compelled everybody to celebrate his birthday by wearing laurel and by merry-making, passing a law that those who neglected these observances should be accursed in the sight of Jupiter and of Caesar himself, and, in the case of senators or senators’ sons, that they should forfeit a million sesterces. 6Now it happened that the Ludi Apollinares fell on the same day, and they therefore voted that his birthday feast should be celebrated on the previous day, on the ground that there was an oracle of the Sibyl which forbade the holding of a festival on Apollo’s day to any god except Apollo. 19Besides granting him these honours, they made the day on which he had been murdered, a day on which there had always been a regular meeting of the senate, an unlucky day. The room in which he had been murdered they closed for the time being and later transformed into a privy. They also built the Curia Julia, named after him, beside the place called the Comitium, as had been voted. 2Moreover, they forbade any likeness of him to be carried at the funerals of his relatives,—just as if he were in very truth a god,—though this was an ancient custom and was still being observed. And they enacted that no one who took refuge in his shrine to secure immunity should be driven or dragged away from there — 3a distinction which had never been granted even to anyone of the gods, save to such as were worshipped in the days of Romulus. Yet after men began to congregate in that region even this place had inviolability in name only, without the reality; for it was so fenced about that no one could any longer enter it at all.

4These were the honours which they granted to Caesar; they also allowed the Vestal Virgins to employ one lictor each, because one of them, not being recognised, had been insulted while returning home from dinner toward evening. And they assigned the offices in the city for several years ahead, thus at the same time honouring their friends and strengthening their cause for a longer time by controlling the succession of those officials.

20When all this had been accomplished, Lepidus remained there, as I have said, to take up the administration of the city and of the rest of Italy, and Caesar and Antony set out upon their campaign. It should be explained that Brutus and Cassius, after the compact made by them with Antony and the rest, had at first gone regularly into the Forum and discharged the duties of the praetorship with the same ceremonial as before. 2But when some began to be displeased at the killing of Caesar, they withdrew, pretending to be in haste to reach the governorships abroad to which they had been appointed. And yet Cassius was praetor urbanus and had not yet celebrated the Ludi Apollinares. But, although absent, he performed that duty most brilliantly through his colleague Antony; 3he did not himself sail away from Italy at once, however, but lingered with Brutus in Campania and watched the course of events. And in their capacity as praetors they kept sending letters to the people at Rome, until Caesar Octavianus began to take a hand in affairs and to win the affections of the populace. 4Then, despairing of the republic and at the same time fearing him, they departed. The Athenians gave them a splendid reception; for, though they were honoured by nearly everybody else for what they had done, the inhabitants of this city voted them bronze images by the side of those of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, thus intimating that Brutus and Cassius had emulated their example.

21Meanwhile, learning that Caesar was growing stronger, they neglected Crete and Bithynia, whither they were being sent, since they saw no prospect of any noteworthy aid in those countries; but they turned to Syria and to Macedonia, although these provinces did not belong to them at all, because they excelled as strategical positions and in point of money and troops. 2Cassius went to Syria, because its people were acquainted with him and friendly as a result of his campaign with Crassus, while Brutus proceeded to unite Greece and Macedonia. For the inhabitants of those districts were inclined to give heed to him in any case because of the glory of his deeds and in the expectation of a similar service to their country, 3and particularly because he had acquired numerous soldiers, some of them survivors of the battle of Pharsalus, who were even then still wandering about in that region, and others who by reason either of sickness or slack discipline had been left behind from the force which had set out with Dolabella. And money also came to him from Trebonius in Asia. 4So for these reasons he won over Greece without the least effort, although for that matter it contained no force worth mentioning. He reached Macedonia at the moment when Gaius Antonius had just arrived and Quintus Hortensius, who was his predecessor in the governorship, was about to retire; 5however, he experienced no trouble. For Hortensius embraced his cause at once, and Antonius was weak, being hindered during Caesar’s supremacy in Rome from performing any of the duties belonging to his office. 6Vatinius, who was governor of Illyricum near by, came from there to Dyrrachium, seized it before Brutus could prevent, and acted as an enemy in the present strife, but could not injure him at all; for his soldiers, who disliked him and furthermore despised him by reason of a disease, went over to the other side. 7So Brutus, taking over these troops, led an expedition against Antonius, who was in Apollonia; and when Antonius came out to meet him, Brutus won over his soldiers, shut him up within the walls when he fled thither before him, and captured him alive through betrayal, but did him no harm.

22After this success, Brutus next acquired all Macedonia and Epirus, and then despatched a letter to the senate, stating what he had accomplished and placing at its disposal himself as well as the provinces and the soldiers. 2The senators, who, as it chanced, already felt suspicious of Caesar, praised him highly and bade him be governor of all that region. When, then, he had had his command confirmed by the decree, he not only felt more encouraged himself, but also found his subjects ready to support him unreservedly. 3For a time he both communicated with Caesar, when the latter appeared to be making war on Antony, urging him to resist his enemy and to become reconciled with the writer himself, and was himself making preparations to sail to Italy, because the senate had summoned him; 4but after Caesar had got matters thoroughly in hand in Rome and was proceeding openly to take vengeance on his father’s slayers, Brutus remained where he was, deliberating how he should successfully ward off the other’s attack when it occurred; and besides managing admirably the other districts as well as Macedonia, he calmed the minds of his legions when they had been stirred to mutiny by Antonius.

23For Antonius, although Brutus had not even deprived him of his praetorian dress, was not content to keep quiet, his safety and office secure, but was stirring up a revolt among the soldiers of Brutus. 2And when he was discovered at this work before he had done any great harm, he was stripped of his praetorian insignia, and delivered up to be guarded, though not confined, that he might not cause any rebellion. Yet he did not remain quiet even then, but concocted more schemes of rebellion than ever, so that some of the soldiers came to blows with one another and others set out for Apollonia to fetch Antonius himself, with the intention of rescuing him. 3This, however, they were unable to do; for Brutus had learned beforehand from some intercepted letters what was to be done and by putting him into a covered litter, on the pretence that he was moving a sick man, got him out of the way. The soldiers, unable to find Antonius and being also afraid of Brutus, seized a hill commanding the city. 4Brutus induced them to come to an understanding, and by taking a few of the most audacious, of whom he executed some and dismissed others from his service, induced the other mutineers to arrest and kill those who had been sent away, on the ground that they were chiefly responsible for the sedition; and he asked for the surrender of the quaestor and the lieutenants of Antonius. 24Now Brutus did not deliver any of these officials into their hands, but put them aboard ships, as if he were going to drown them, and so conveyed them to safety; fearing, however, that the troops would change sides again when they should hear reports of the events in Rome, all exaggerated to inspire alarm, 2he delivered Antonius to a certain Gaius Clodius to guard and left him in Apollonia. Meanwhile Brutus himself took the largest and strongest part of the army and retired into upper Macedonia, whence he later sailed to Asia, in order to remove his men as far as possible from Italy and to support them on the subject territory there. 3Among the various allies whom he gained at this time was Deiotarus, although this ruler was very old and had refused his assistance to Cassius.

While Brutus was delaying there, a plot was formed against him by Gellius Publicola, and Mark Antony also sent some men and attempted to rescue his brother. 4Clodius, accordingly, as he could not keep his prisoner in custody alive, killed him, either on his own responsibility or following instructions from Brutus; for the story is that at first Brutus made his prisoner’s safety of supreme importance, but later, after learning that Decimus had perished, cared nothing more about it. 5Gellius was detected, but suffered no punishment; for Brutus released him, inasmuch as he had always held him to be among his best friends and knew that his brother, Marcus Messalla, was on very close terms with Cassius. The man also made an attempt upon Cassius, but suffered no harm in that case, either. 6The reason was that his mother Polla learned of the plot in advance, and fearing for Cassius lest he should be caught off his guard (for she was very fond of him) and for her son lest he should be detected, in person and of her own free will informed Cassius of the plot beforehand, and received the life of her son as a reward. However, she did not succeed in making a better man of him; for he deserted his benefactors to join Caesar and Antony.

25Now as soon as Brutus learned of the attempt of Mark Antony and of the killing of Antony’s brother, he feared that some other insurrection might take place in Macedonia during his absence, and immediately hastened to Europe. On the way he took charge of the territory which had belonged to Sadalus, who had died childless and had left it to the Romans, 2and he also invaded the country of the Bessi, in the hope that he might at one and the same time punish them for the mischief they were doing and invest himself with the title and dignity of imperator, thinking that he should thus carry on his war against Caesar and Antony more easily. He accomplished both objects chiefly by the aid of a certain prince named Rhascyporis. And after going thence into Macedonia and making himself master of everything there, he withdrew again into Asia.

3In addition to these activities Brutus stamped upon the coins which were being minted his own likeness and a cap and two daggers, indicating by this and by the inscription that he and Cassius had liberated the fatherland. 26Meanwhile Cassius crossed over to Trebonius in Asia, forestalling Dolabella, and after securing money from him, attached to himself many of the cavalry, which Dolabella had sent before him into Syria, and also many Asiatics and Cilicians besides. 2He next brought Tarcondimotus, also, and the people of Tarsus into the alliance, though against their will, for the Tarsians were so devoted to the former Caesar, and out of regard for him to the second also, that they changed the name of their city to Juliopolis after him. After accomplishing this much Cassius went to Syria, and without striking a blow completely won over both the people and the legions. 3The situation in Syria at that time was as follows. Caecilius Bassus, a knight, who had made the campaign with Pompey and in the retreat had arrived at Tyre, was secretly spending his time there in the mart. The governor of Syria was Sextus; for since he was not only quaestor but also a relative of Caesar’s, Caesar had placed in his charge all the Roman interests in that quarter, having done this on the occasion of his march from Egypt against Pharnaces. 4So Bassus at first remained quiet, satisfied if only he might be allowed to live; but when some men in like case had associated themselves with him and he had attached to himself various soldiers of Sextus who came there at different times to garrison the city, and when, moreover, many alarming reports kept coming in from Africa about Caesar, 5he was no longer content with the existing state of affairs, but began to stir up a rebellion, his aim being either to help the followers of Scipio and Cato and the Pompeians or to win for himself some political power. But he was discovered by Sextus before he had finished his preparations, and explained that he was collecting these troops for the use of Mithridates the Pergamenian in an expedition against Bosporus; his story was believed, and he was released. 6So after this he forged a letter, which he pretended had been sent to him by Scipio, on the basis of which he announced that Caesar had been defeated and had perished in Africa and claimed that the governorship of Syria had been assigned to him. 7He then seized Tyre with the aid of the forces he had got ready, and from there he advanced against the legions of Sextus, but was defeated and wounded while attacking him. After this experience, he did not again make an attempt by force upon Sextus, but sent messages to his soldiers, and in some way or other won some of them to himself to such an extent that they murdered Sextus with their own hands.

27When Sextus was dead, Bassus gained possession of all his army except a few; for the soldiers who had been wintering in Apamea withdrew into Cilicia before his arrival, and although he pursued them, he did not win them over. Returning then to Syria, he took the title of praetor and fortified Apamea, so as to have it as a base for the war. 2And he proceeded to enlist the men of military age, not only freemen but slaves as well, to gather money, and to prepare arms. While he was thus engaged, one Gaius Antistius besieged him. Later they had a fairly equal struggle, and when neither party was able to gain any great advantage, they parted, without any definite truce, to await the bringing up of allies. 3Antistius was joined by such persons of the vicinity as favoured Caesar and by soldiers who had been sent from Rome by Caesar, while Bassus was joined by Alchaudonius the Arabian. He it was who had formerly made terms with Lucullus, as I have stated, and later joined with the Parthians against Crassus. 4On this occasion he was summoned by both sides, but entered the space between the city and the camps and before making any answer called for bids for his services as an ally; and as Bassus outbid Antistius, he assisted him, and in the battle proved greatly superior in his archery. 5Even the Parthians, too, came at the invitation of Bassus, but on account of the winter failed to remain with him for any considerable time, and hence did not accomplish anything of importance. Bassus prevailed for a time, to be sure, but was later again held in check by Marcius Crispus and Lucius Staius Murcus.

28Affairs with them were in this state when Cassius came on the scene and at once conciliated all the cities because of the renown of his acts while quaestor and of his fame in general, and attached the legions of Bassus and of the others without any further trouble. 2While he was encamped in one place with all of these forces, a great downpour from the sky suddenly occurred, during which wild swine rushed into the camp, through all the gates at once, overturning and throwing into confusion everything there; hence some inferred from this his immediate rise to power and his subsequent overthrow. 3So when Cassius had secured possession of Syria, he set out for Judaea on learning that the followers of Caesar who had been left behind in Egypt were approaching; 4and without any difficulty he won to his cause both them and the Jews. Next he sent away, without harming them in the least, Bassus and Crispus and such others as did not care to share the campaign with him; as for Staius, he retained him in the rank which he had when he came there and entrusted the fleet to him besides.

5Thus Cassius quickly became strong; and he sent a despatch to Caesar about reconciliation, and to the senate about the situation, composed in similar language to that of Brutus. Therefore the senate confirmed him in the governorship of Syria and voted for the war with Dolabella. 29Dolabella, it will be recalled, had been appointed to govern Syria and had set out while consul, but travelling by way of Macedonia and Thrace, had been late in arriving in the province of Asia, and he had delayed there also. 2He was still there when he received news of the decree, and so did not go on into Syria, but remained where he was; and he treated Trebonius in such a manner as to inspire in him a firm belief in his friendly disposition toward him, and thus to secure from him, with his full consent, food for his soldiers and the privilege of living with him in security. 3And when Trebonius became in this way imbued with confidence and ceased to be on his guard, Dolabella one night suddenly seized Smyrna, where they were staying, slew him, and hurled his head at Caesar’s statue; and after that he occupied all Asia. 4When the Romans at home heard of this, they declared war upon him; for as yet Caesar had neither conquered Antony nor got the affairs of the city under his control. They also set a definite day before which Dolabella’s followers must leave off friendship with him if they also were not to be regarded in the light of enemies. 5And they instructed the consuls to take complete charge of the measures against him and of the war, as soon as they should have brought their present business to a successful conclusion (for they did not yet know that Cassius held Syria); however, in order that he should not become more powerful in the meantime, they gave the governors of the neighbouring provinces charge of the matter. 6When they subsequently learned the truth about Cassius, they passed the decree mentioned above before anything had been done by the provincial governors.

30Dolabella, accordingly, after becoming in this way master of Asia, came into Cilicia while Cassius was in Palestine, took over the people of Tarsus with their consent, conquered a few of Cassius’ guards who were at Aegae, and invaded Syria. 2From Antioch he was repulsed by the garrison of the place, but he gained Laodicea without a struggle on account of the friendship which its inhabitants felt for the former Caesar. Thereupon he became powerful for a few days, especially as the fleet came to him speedily from Asia, and he crossed over to Arados with the object of getting both money and ships from the people of that island also; 3there he was intercepted with only a few followers, and ran into danger. But he made his escape, and then encountering Cassius, who was marching against him, he joined battle with him and was defeated. He was then shut up and besieged in Laodicea, entirely cut off from the main land (for Cassius was assisted by some Parthians among others), 4though he was still powerful on the sea, not only because of the ships he had from Asia, but also because of those from Egypt which Cleopatra had sent him, and powerful also by reason of the money which came to him from her. This situation lasted until Staius got together a fleet, and sailing into the harbour of Laodicea, defeated the ships that sailed out to meet him, and barred Dolabella from the sea also. 5Then, prevented on both sides from bringing in supplies, he was forced by lack of provisions to make a sortie; but he was quickly driven back within the fortress, and seeing that it was being betrayed, he feared that he might be taken alive, and so took his own life. His example was followed by Marcus Octavius, his lieutenant. 6To these two burial was conceded by Cassius, although they had cast out Trebonius unburied; and the men who had participated in the campaign with them and survived obtained both safety and pardon, in spite of their having been regarded as enemies by the Romans at home. 7Furthermore, the Laodiceans also suffered no harm apart from a forced contribution of money. But for that matter no one else was punished, either, although many of them subsequently plotted against Cassius.

31While this was going on the people of Tarsus had attempted to keep from the pass through the Taurus Tillius Cimber, an assassin of Caesar, who was then governor of Bithynia and was hurrying forward to help Cassius. Out of fear, however, they abandoned the place and at the time made a truce with him, because they thought him strong; but afterwards, when they perceived the small number of his troops, they neither received him into their city nor furnished him with provisions. 2And when he had constructed a fort against them and had set out for Syria, believing it to be of more importance to aid Cassius than to destroy their city himself, they made an attack upon this fort and got possession of it, and then set out for Adana, a place on their borders always at variance with them, giving as an excuse that it was supporting the cause of Cassius. 3Now when Caesar heard of this, he at first, while Dolabella was still alive, sent Lucius Rufus against them, but later came himself; and finding that they had already surrendered to Rufus without a struggle, he inflicted no severe penalty upon them, except to take away all their money, private and public. 4As a result, the people of Tarsus received praise from the triumvirs (for they were already holding sway in Rome), and were inspired with hope of obtaining some return for their losses. 5Cleopatra also, on account of the aid she had sent to Dolabella, was granted the right to have her son called king of Egypt; this son, whom she named Ptolemy, she pretended was her son by Caesar, and she was therefore wont to call him Caesarion.

32And when Cassius had settled matters in Syria and in Cilicia, he came into Asia to meet Brutus. For when they learned of the league of the triumvirs and what these men were doing against them, they came together there and made common cause more than ever. 2As they shared the responsibility for the war and looked forward to the danger in the same degree, and as they did not even now recede from their determination to defend the freedom of the people, but were eager to overthrow these men also, inasmuch as they were three in number and were engaged in such evil undertakings, they proceeded with the greater zeal to make all their plans in common and to carry them out. 3In short, they resolved to enter Macedonia and to hinder the others from crossing over there, or even to forestall them by crossing over into Italy; but inasmuch as the triumvirs were reported to be still settling affairs in Rome and it was thought likely that they would have their hands full with Sextus, who was lying in wait against them near by, they did not carry out their plans immediately. 4Instead, they not only visited various places themselves, but also sent others in various directions, winning over such as were not yet in accord with them, and collecting both money and troops.

33Nearly all the other peoples in that region, even those who had before been waiting for the turn of events, at once came to terms; but Ariobarzanes, the Rhodians, and the Lycians, while not opposing them, were yet unwilling to form an alliance with them. 2Brutus and Cassius therefore suspected them of favouring their enemies, since they had been well treated by the former Caesar, and they feared that when they themselves should have departed those peoples would cause some turmoil and lead the rest to revolt. Hence they determined to turn their attention to them first, in the hope that, since they themselves were far superior to them in point of armed forces and were also lavish with the favours they bestowed, they might soon either persuade or force them to join their cause. 3The Rhodians, who had so great an opinion of the strength of their fleet that without waiting for Cassius they sailed to the mainland against him and displayed to his army the fetters they were bringing with the idea that they were going to capture many alive, were nevertheless defeated by him in a naval battle, first near Myndus and later close to Rhodes itself; he accomplished this through Staius, who overcame their skill by the superior number and size of his ships. 4Afterwards Cassius himself crossed over to their island, where he met with no resistance, possessing, as he did, their good-will because of the stay he had made there while pursuing his education; and though he did the people no harm, yet he appropriated their ships, money, and public and sacred treasures, with the exception of the chariot of the Sun. Afterwards he arrested and killed Ariobarzanes.

34As for Brutus, he overcame in battle the combined army of the Lycians which met him near the border, and when it fled in a body into the camp, captured it without a blow; he won over the majority of the cities without a struggle, but Xanthus he besieged. 2Suddenly the inhabitants made a sortie, hurling fire upon his machines, and at the same time shooting their arrows and javelins, and he was brought into the greatest danger. Indeed, his forces would have been utterly destroyed had they not pushed their way through the very fire and unexpectedly attacked their assailants, who were light-armed. 3These they hurled back within the walls, and themselves rushing in along with them, they cast fire into some of the houses, striking terror into those who witnessed what was being done and giving those at a distance the impression that they had captured absolutely everything; thereupon the inhabitants of their own accord helped set fire to the rest, and most of them slew one another. 4Later Brutus came to Patara and invited the people to conclude an alliance; but they would not obey, for the slaves and the poorer portion of the free population, who had just received, the former their freedom and the latter remission of their debts, prevented their making terms. So at first he sent them the captive Xanthians, to whom many of them were related by marriage, in the hope that through these he might bring them around; 5but when they yielded none the more, in spite of his offering to each man his own kin as a free gift, he set up an auction block in a safe place under the very wall and bringing up the prominent Xanthians one at a time, auctioned them off, to see if by this means at least he could bring the people of Patara to terms. But when they would not even then come over to him, he sold only a few and let the rest go. 6And when the people inside saw this, they no longer held out, but forthwith attached themselves to his cause, regarding him as an upright man; and they were punished only by the imposition of a fine. The people of Myra also did likewise when Brutus captured their general at the harbour and then released him. And thus he secured the control of the other districts also in a short time.

35After accomplishing these results Brutus and Cassius came again into Asia; and all the suspicions which they were harbouring against each other as the result of calumnious talk, such as is wont to arise in similar conditions, they brought forward and discussed with each other in privacy, and after becoming reconciled again they hastened into Macedonia. 2And they found that Gaius Norbanus and Decidius Saxa had anticipated them by crossing the Ionian Sea before Staius arrived, occupying the whole country as far as Mt. Pangaeum and encamping near Philippi. 3This city is situated near Pangaeum and Symbolon. Symbolon(“Junction”) is the name they give the place where the mountain mentioned joins on (symballei) to another that extends into the interior, and it is between Neapolis and Philippi; for the former town was near the sea, opposite Thasos, while the latter is situated within the mountains on the plain. 4And inasmuch as Saxa and Norbanus, as it chanced, had already occupied the most direct pass across, Brutus and Cassius did not even try to get through that way but went round by a longer road that passes by a place called Crenides. 5Here, too, they encountered a garrison, but overpowered it, got inside the mountains, approached the city along the high ground, and there encamped, nominally each by himself; but, as a matter of fact, they bivouacked together. 6For, in order that the soldiers might preserve better discipline and be easier to manage, the camp consisted of two separate parts; but as all of it, including the intervening space, was surrounded by a ditch and a rampart, the entire circuit was the same for both, and from it they derived their safety in common.

36Brutus and Cassius were far superior in numbers to their adversaries then present and hence drove out the others and got possession of Symbolon; in this way they were able not only to bring provisions from the sea over a shorter route but also to secure them from the plain by making descents thither. 2For Norbanus and Saxa did not venture to offer them battle even with their entire force, though they sent out horsemen as skirmishers, wherever opportunity offered; but, as they accomplished nothing, they were careful for their own part rather to keep their camp well guarded than to expose it to danger, and sent urgent summons to Caesar and Antony. 3For these leaders, so long as they heard that Cassius and Brutus were busy with the Rhodians and the Lycians, had supposed that their adversaries would have fighting on their hands there for a long time, and therefore had not made haste to come, but had merely sent Saxa and Norbanus ahead into Macedonia. 4But when they perceived that the Lycians and Rhodians had been overpowered, they bestowed praise upon these peoples and promised to make them a present of money, and they themselves at once set out from the city. Both, however, encountered delays. Antony had to spend some time at Brundisium, where he was shut up by Staius, and Caesar at Rhegium, after he had first turned aside to meet Sextus, who held Sicily and was making an attempt on Italy.

37When, however, it seemed to them to be impossible to overthrow Sextus, and the operations of Cassius and Brutus urged them to greater haste, they left a small part of their army to garrison Italy and with the major portion safely crossed the Ionian Sea. 2Caesar fell sick and was left behind at Dyrrachium, while Antony marched toward Philippi; and for a time he was a source of some strength to his soldiers, but after laying an ambush for some of the enemy when they were gathering grain and failing in his attempt, even he was no longer hopeful. 3Caesar heard of the situation and feared the outcome in either case, whether Antony, acting alone, should be defeated in an engagement or should conquer, for in the one event he felt that Brutus and Cassius would gain strength to oppose him, and in the other that Antony would certainly do so; therefore he made haste, though still sick. 4At this the followers of Antony also took courage; and since it seemed the only safe course for them to encamp all together, they assembled the three divisions in one place and in one stronghold. 5While the armies were encamped opposite each other, sallies and counter-sallies took place on both sides, as chance dictated; but for some time no regular battle was joined, although Caesar and Antony were exceedingly eager to bring on a conflict. 6For not only were their forces stronger than those of their adversaries, but they were not so abundantly supplied with provisions, because their fleet was away fighting Sextus and they were therefore not masters of the sea.

38Hence these men, for the reasons given and because of Sextus, who held Sicily and was making an attempt on Italy, were full of eagerness owing to their fear that while they delayed he might capture Italy and come into Macedonia. 2As for Cassius and Brutus, they had in general no aversion to a battle, inasmuch as the weakness of their troops was counterbalanced by their superior numbers; but when they reflected upon the situation of their opponents and upon their own and observed that fresh allies were being added to their own numbers every day 3and that they had abundant food by the aid of their ships, they held off in the hope of gaining their ends without danger and loss of men. For, as they were genuine friends of the people and were contending with citizens, they consulted the interests of the latter no less than those of their own associates, and desired to afford safety and liberty to both alike. 4For some time, therefore, they waited, for the reasons given, not wishing to come to blows with them. The troops, however, composed mostly of subject nations, were vexed by the delay and despised their antagonists because they had offered inside their camp the sacrifice of purification, which regularly precedes a conflict, and thus showed signs of fear; hence they were eager for the battle and talked to the effect that if there should be more delay, they would abandon the camp and disperse. In these circumstances Brutus and Cassius reluctantly joined battle.

39That this struggle proved tremendous and surpassed all previous civil conflicts of the Romans would be naturally surmised,—not that it was greater than they in either the number of the combatants or as regards their valour, since far larger masses and braver men than they had fought on many fields, but because now as never before liberty and popular government were the issues of the struggle. For though they again came to blows with one another just as they had done previously, 2yet these later struggles were for the purpose of finding out what master they should obey, whereas on the present occasion the one side was trying to lead them to autocracy, the other side to self-government. Hence the people never attained again to absolute freedom of speech, even though vanquished by no foreign nation 3(the subject and the allied forces then present with them were of course merely a kind of complement of the citizen army); but the people at one and the same time triumphed over and were vanquished by themselves, defeated themselves and were defeated, and consequently they exhausted the democratic element and strengthened the monarchical. 4And yet I do not say that it was not beneficial for the people to be defeated at that time—what else, indeed, can one say regarding the contestants on both sides than that the vanquished were Romans and that the victor was Caesar!—for they were no longer capable of maintaining harmony in the established form of government. 5It is, of course, impossible for an unadulterated democracy that has grown to so proud an empire to exercise moderation; and so they would later on have undertaken many similar conflicts one after another, and some day would certainly have been either enslaved or ruined.

40We may infer also from the portents which appeared to them at that time that it was manifestly a supreme struggle in which they were engaged; for Heaven, even as it is ever accustomed to give warning signs before the most unusual events, foretold to them accurately both in Rome and in Macedonia all the results that would come of it. 2Thus, in the city the sun at one time would be diminished and grow extremely small, and again would show itself huge and trebled in size, and once it even shone forth at night; thunderbolts descended at many places and in particular upon the altar of Jupiter Victor; meteors darted hither and thither; notes of trumpets, clashing of arms, and shouts of armed hosts were heard by night from the gardens both of Caesar and of Antony, which were close together beside the Tiber. 3Moreover, a dog dragged the body of another dog to the temple of Ceres, where he dug up the earth with his paws and buried it. A child was born with hands that had ten fingers each, and a mule gave birth to a prodigy of two species, the front part of it resembling a horse and the rest a mule. 4The chariot of Minerva while returning to the Capitol from the races in the Circus was dashed to pieces, and the statue of Jupiter on the Alban Mount sent forth blood from its right shoulder and right hand at the very time of the Feriae. 5These were the warnings they had from Heaven; and there were also rivers in their land which gave out entirely or began to flow backward. And on the part of men, whatever of their doings were directed by chance seemed to point to the same end; 6thus, during the Feriae the prefect of the city celebrated the festival of Latiaris, which neither belonged to him nor was ordinarily observed at that time, and the plebeian aediles celebrated in honour of Ceres contests in armour in place of the games in the Circus. 7These were the events occurring in Rome; and certain oracles also both before and after the events were recited which pointed to the downfall of the republic. In Macedonia, of which Mt. Pangaeum and the territory surrounding it are regarded as a part, bees in swarms surrounded the camp of Cassius, and in the course of the purification of the camp some one set the garland upon his head wrong end foremost, 8and a boy fell down while carrying a Victory in a procession such as the soldiers hold. But the thing which most of all portended the destruction that was to come upon them, so that it became plain even to their enemies, was that many vultures and also many other birds that devour corpses gathered above the heads of the conspirators only and gazed down upon them, screaming and screeching in a horrible and frightful manner.

41To that side, then, these signs brought evil, while to the other, so far as we know, no bad omen occurred, but visions appeared to them in their dreams as follows. 2A Thessalian dreamed that the former Caesar had bidden him tell Caesar that the battle would occur on the second day after that one and to request him to assume and wear some article which the other Caesar had used to wear while dictator; Caesar therefore immediately put his father’s ring on his finger and wore it often afterwards. 3This was the Thessalian’s vision; but the physician who attended Caesar dreamed that Minerva commanded him to lead his patient, though still in poor health, from his tent and place him in the line of battle—the very means by which he was actually saved. For whereas in most cases safety is the lot of such as remain in the camp and within its ramparts, while it is dangerous to go into the midst of weapons and battles, this was reversed in the case of Caesar, since it was very manifestly the result of his leaving the intrenchments and mingling with the combatants that he survived, although by reason of his sickness he found it difficult to stand even without his arms.

42The contest took place as follows. Although no arrangement had been made as to when they should begin the battle, yet as if by some compact they all armed themselves at dawn, advanced into the space between the two camps leisurely, as though they were competitors in a game, and then quietly drew themselves up in battle order. 2When they had taken their stand facing each other, exhortations were addressed to each side, partly to the armies collectively and partly to the separate bodies of troops, according as the speakers were the generals or the lieutenants or the lesser officers; and much that was said consisted of the necessary advice called for by the immediate danger and also of sentiments that bore upon the consequences of the battle,—words such as men would speak who were to encounter danger at the moment and were looking forward with anxiety to the future. 3For the most part the speeches were very similar, inasmuch as on both sides alike they were Romans with their allies. Still, there was a difference. The officers of Brutus set before their men the prizes of liberty and democracy, of freedom from tyrants and freedom from masters; 4they cited the benefits of equality and the excesses of monarchy, appealing to what they themselves had suffered or had heard related about other peoples; and giving instances of the working of each system separately, they besought them to strive for the one and to avoid the other, to conceive a passion for the former and to take care that they should not suffer the latter. 5The opposing leaders, on the other hand, urged their army to take vengeance on the assassins of Caesar, to get the property of their antagonists, to be filled with a desire to rule all the men of their own race, and—the thing which heartened them most—they promised to give them twenty thousand sesterces apiece.

43Thereupon watchwords were going around—for the followers of Brutus it was “Liberty” and for the other side whatever the word was which was given out,—and then one trumpeter on each side sounded the first note, 2after which the rest joined in, first those who sounded the “at rest” and the “ready” signals on their trumpets while standing in a kind of circular space, and then the others who were to rouse the spirit of the soldiers and incite them to the onset. Then there was suddenly a great silence, and after waiting a little the leaders uttered a piercing shout and the lines on both sides joined in. Then the heavy-armed troops gave the war-cry, beat their shields with their spears and then hurled their spears, while the slingers and the archers discharged their stones and missiles. Then the two bodies of cavalry rode out against each other and the cuirassiers following behind them came to close quarters with each other.

44For a long time there was pushing of shield against shield and thrusting with the sword, as they were at first cautiously looking for a chance to wound others without being wounded themselves, since they were as eager to save themselves as to slay their antagonists; but later, when their ardour increased and their rage was inflamed, they rushed together recklessly and paid no more attention to their own safety, but in their eagerness to destroy their adversaries would even throw away their own lives. 2Some cast away their shields and seizing hold of the foes facing them choked them by means of their helmets while they struck them in the back, or else tore away their armour and smote them on the breast. Others seized hold of the swords of their opponents, who were thus as good as unarmed, and then ran their own into their bodies; and some exposed a part of their own bodies to be wounded and thus gained a freer use of the rest. 3Some clutched their opponents in an embrace that prevented either one from striking and perished through the commingling of their swords and bodies. Some died of a single blow, others of many, and they neither were conscious of their wounds, since death forestalled their suffering, nor lamented their end, since they never reached the point of grieving. 4One who killed another thought in the excessive joy of the moment that he could never die; and whoever fell lost consciousness and had no knowledge of his state.

45Both sides remained precisely where they were at the beginning and neither side retired or pursued, but there, just as they were, they wounded and were wounded, slew and were slain, until late in the day. 2And if each side as a whole had joined in the conflict with the other as a whole, as generally happens in a struggle like this, or if Brutus had been arrayed against Antony and Cassius against Caesar, they would have proved equally matched. But as it was, Brutus forced Caesar, because of his sickness, to yield ground, while Antony vanquished Cassius, who was by no means his equal in warfare. 3And so at this time, since they were not opposing each other as united armies, but each side was in part defeated and in part victorious, the result was practically the same for each; for both had conquered and had been defeated, each had routed its adversaries and had been routed, pursuits and flights had been the fortune of both alike, and the camps on both sides had been captured. 4For, as the combatants were many, they stretched far out over the plain, so that they could not see each other distinctly; and not alone in the battle could each one recognize only what was opposite him, but also when the rout took place both armies fled in opposite directions to their respective camps, which were separated from each other by a considerable distance, without stopping to look back.Because of this fact and of the immense quantities of dust that rose they were ignorant of the outcome of the battle, and those who had won thought that they had conquered everywhere, and those who were defeated that they had been worsted everywhere; and they did not learn what had happened until their intrenchments had been pillaged and the victors on each side encountered each other as they went back to their own quarters.

46So far, then, as the battle was concerned, both sides both conquered and were defeated, as I have described; for they certainly did not again resume the conflict at this time, but as soon as they saw each other as they turned and went back, and recognized what had taken place, they withdrew, neither side venturing anything further. 2As for their mutual successes and reverses, the whole camp of Caesar and Antony and everything within it was captured,—and Caesar’s dream found a most striking confirmation in this circumstance, for if he had remained where he was he would certainly have perished with the rest, 3—while Cassius, on his side, returned in safety from the battle, and then escaped to a different spot when he found that he had been despoiled of his camp, but suspecting that Brutus, too, had been defeated and that a party of the victors was coming in pursuit of himself, he made haste to die. 4For he had sent a centurion to view the situation and report to him where Brutus was and what he was doing, and this man, falling in with some horsemen whom Brutus had sent out to seek his colleague, turned back with them and proceeded leisurely, with the idea that there was no hurry, because no danger presented itself; but Cassius, seeing them afar off, suspected that they were enemies 5and ordered Pindarus, a freedman, to kill him. And the centurion slew himself on the body of Cassius when he learned that Cassius had perished on account of his own delay.

47Now Brutus immediately sent the body of Cassius secretly to Thasos, since he shrank from burying it where he was, for fear he should cause grief and dejection to fall upon the army if they should witness what was taking place. 2But he took in charge the remnant of Cassius’ soldiers, consoled them in a speech, won their devotion by a gift of money to make up for what they had lost, and then transferred his position to their intrenchments, which were more suitable. Making his headquarters there, he proceeded to harass his opponents in various ways, especially by assaulting their camp at night. 3For he had no intention of joining issue with them again in a set battle, but, having great hopes of overcoming them in time without risking an engagement, he tried to throw them into confusion in various ways and to disturb them by night, and once he diverted the course of the river and washed away a considerable part of their camp. 4Now Caesar and Antony were running short of both food and money, and consequently did not so much as recompense their soldiers for the property they had lost by pillage; furthermore, the force that was sailing to them in transports from Brundisium was destroyed by Staius. 5Yet they could not safely transfer their position to any other region nor return to Italy, and so, even as late as this, they once more placed in their arms all their hopes not merely of victory but even of safety; and they were eager to have a decisive engagement before their reverse at sea became noised abroad among their own men and their opponents. 48But as Brutus was unwilling to join battle with them, they managed in some way to cast pamphlets into his camp, urging his soldiers either to embrace their cause (and they made them certain promises) or to come to blows if they had the least particle of strength. 2During this delay some of the German contingent deserted from their side to Brutus, and Amyntas, the general of Deiotarus, and Rhascyporis deserted Brutus and came to them—though Rhascyporis, as some say, immediately returned home. As for Brutus, this incident made him afraid that the disaffection might spread and so he decided to join issue with his foes. 3And since there were many captives in his camp, and he had no way to guard them during the progress of the battle and could not trust them to refrain from doing mischief, he put the majority of them to death contrary to his own inclination, being a slave in this matter to necessity; but he was the more ready to do it because his opponents had killed such of his soldiers as had been taken alive. 4After doing this he armed his men for battle. And when the two armies were already drawn up in line of battle, two eagles that flew above the heads of the two armies battled together and foretold to the combatants the outcome of the war; for just as the eagle on the side of Brutus was beaten and fled, so his heavy-armed force was defeated after a long and close struggle, and then, when many had fallen, his cavalry also gave way, though it fought nobly. 5Thereupon the victors pursued them as they fled in various directions, although they neither killed nor captured any one; but they kept watch on the separate forces during the night and did not allow them to unite again.

49Now Brutus, who had made his escape up to a well-fortified stronghold, undertook to break through in some way to his camp; but when he was unsuccessful, and furthermore learned that some of his soldiers had made terms with the victors, he no longer had any hope, but despairing of safety and disdaining capture, he also took refuge in death. He first uttered aloud this sentence of Heracles:


“O wretched Valour, thou wert but a name, And yet I worshipped thee as real indeed; But now, it seems, thou wert but Fortune’s slave.”
Then he called upon one of the bystanders to kill him. His body received burial at Antony’s hands—all but his head, which was sent to Rome; but as the ships encountered a storm during the voyage across from Dyrrachium, that was thrown into the sea. 3At his death the majority of his soldiers immediately transferred their allegiance when a proclamation of amnesty was issued to them; but Porcia perished by swallowing a red-hot coal. 4And most of the prominent men who had held offices or still survived of the number of Caesar’s assassins or of those who had been proscribed straightway killed themselves, or, like Favonius, were captured and put to death; the remainder escaped to the sea at this time and later joined Sextus.

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