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

By Adrian Goldsworthy

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

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By Adrian Goldsworthy

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

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The situation remained desperate. Now surrounded, Caesar stretched his cohorts out into a single line—a rare formation for a Roman army—and had alternate units face about, so that they could throw missiles or charge in either direction. They then charged and drove the enemy back for some distance. Quickly disengaging, the Caesareans used this temporary advantage to march on towards Ruspina, until they were again attacked by a new force of the enemy. Going round the line, Caesar urged his men to a last effort.

Caesar followed in pursuit and camped nearby. The next morning, 17 March 45, he prepared to march after the enemy, but then saw that they were forming up in battle order on the high ground. Pompey had the bulk of 13 legions, a strong force of cavalry, and some 12,000 Spanish auxiliaries, half of them skirmishers. There was a level plain between this rise and the hill on which the Caesarean camp was located. His army marched out to deploy in the usual three lines, Legio X on the right and III and V Alaudae on the left, each flank guarded by cavalry.

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.

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