Caesar's Civil War 49-44 BC. Essential Histories by Adrian Goldsworthy

By Adrian Goldsworthy

While Rome's maximum generals, Julius Caesar and Pompey the nice, grew to become opposed to one another in forty nine BC, Rome used to be plunged into civil battle. This publication attracts on Caesar's personal account of the conflict to chronicle the vicious battles and their aftermath that eventually led to victory for Caesar in forty five BC.

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At present Caesar lacked a fleet and was in no position to follow him. On 18 March he was back in Rome, trying to persuade as many senators as possible to convene. His clemency had surprised and relieved many who were neutral or wavering, though some were still convinced that this was simply a ploy and that, in time, Caesar’s own cruel nature or that of his disreputable followers would prevail. When he led his soldiers to seize the state Treasury held in the FOLLOWING PAGES There was some naval fighting during the Civil War but the most decisive encounters occurred on land.

Soldiering had become a career, but the wages were low, lower than a man could earn as a labourer on the land or as a casual worker in the city. When Caesar doubled the pay of his soldiers, an ordinary legionary still received only 225 denarii (1,000 sesterces) a year. We do not know whether or not there were fixed terms of service, and the traditional maximum of 16 years may still have been in force, although during the civil wars some men served for more than two decades. Active campaigning, especially in a prosperous area, might bring greater rewards in the form of plunder, either taken individually or as the soldier’s share in the booty acquired by the entire army.

They were most probably of the African species rather than the Indian elephant shown here. At Thapsus one legionary of VI Alaudae won fame when he cut off the the trunk of an elephant which had seized a camp follower. (AKG Berlin) In the meantime Labienus was riding up and down along the line, hurling abuse at Caesar’s soldiers in the rough jargon of the camp. An experienced soldier, who had once served with Legio X but was now with another unit, managed to bring down Labienus’s horse with his pilum, and Caesar’s old subordinate was carried from the field.

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