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Orosius, Book 6

      Chapters 13-22 :   55 to 1 B.C.  

Adapted from the translation by I.W. Raymond (1936). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each chapter.   


Previous chapters (1-12)

[13] L   In the six hundred and ninety-seventh year of the City, Crassus, who shared the consulship with Pompey {55 B.C.},obtained by lot the command against the Parthians. He was a man of insatiable cupidity. When he heard of the riches of the Temple at Jerusalem that Pompey had left untouched, he turned aside to Palestine and came to Jerusalem, where he entered the Temple and plundered its treasures. 2 Thence directing his course through Mesopotamia towards Parthia he requisitioned auxiliaries from the allied states, wherever his march led, and exacted tribute. As soon as he had crossed the Euphrates, he met Vageses, who had been sent as an envoy by Orodes, the king of the Parthians. Vageses violently reproached the Roman for being led by avarice to cross the Euphrates contrary to the terms of the treaty of Lucullus and Pompey. He predicted that on account of this he would soon be burdened with Chinese iron instead of with Parthian gold.

3 When the Romans had arrived in the neighbourhood of Carrhae, the Parthians under their prefects Surenas and Silacea suddenly fell upon them and overwhelmed them with arrows. Many senators, as well as some men of consular and praetorian rank, lost their lives. Crassus also, the son of Crassus, and a distinguished young man, was killed while fighting in the line of battle. In addition, four cohorts, together with the lieutenant Vargunteius, were surprised in open country and killed. 4 Surenas set out quickly with his cavalry and by a forced march sought to overtake Crassus. Later he surrounded him and, after the latter had pleaded in vain for a conference, killed him; he would have preferred, however, to have taken him alive. A few escaped under cover of the night and took refuge in Carrhae.

5 When this disaster of the Romans became known, many provinces of the East would have withdrawn from the alliance and protection of the Roman people, had not Cassius, after collecting a few of the soldiers who had fled, exercised exceptional spirit, courage, and moderation, and thus restrained Syria, which was then in revolt. Cassius killed Antiochus and defeated his mighty forces in a battle. He also fought the Parthians who had been dispatched by Orodes into Syria and who had recently entered Antioch. He drove them off and slew their leader, Osages.

[14] L   Thus Rome's fortune constantly underwent alternating changes and may be compared to the level of the Ocean, which is never the same from day to day. For a space of seven days the level rises by increases that gradually grow less, and then in the same number of days falls as a result of natural loss and internal absorption. 2 To begin with events that now follow next in order, a Roman army perished at the hands of the conquering Cimbri and Tigurini near the Rhone River. Rome felt herself to be in terrible straits, but when the disaster threatened by the Cimbri was quickly warded off she was elated by her great success and forgot her earlier failures. 3 The Italic War and the carnage of Sulla later restrained her boasting about her recent good fortune. Yet after this domestic and internal calamity, by which she was almost disembowelled and consumed to her very marrow, not only was Rome again restored in about an equal space of time, but her boundaries were also enlarged. When Lucullus had subdued Asia, when Pompey had subdued Spain, and when Caesar had subdued Gaul, the Roman Empire stretched to almost the extreme boundaries of the earth. 4 This wide movement of expansion was followed by disasters far-reaching in scope. A Roman consul was killed and his army wiped out in the territory of the Parthians; the seeds of that terrible civil war between Pompey and Caesar were sown; and in the midst of all this, the city of Rome herself was suddenly swept by fire and reduced to ashes.

5 In the seven hundredth year after her founding, the greater part of the City was attacked by a fire of uncertain origin. People say that never before had so great a fire swept and devastated the City. Tradition tells us that fourteen sections of the City, together with the vicus jugarius, were completely destroyed. At this time the Civil War, which had long been in the course of preparation as a result of grave dissensions and important movements, now commences.

[15] L   When returning as a conqueror from Gaul, Caesar requested that a second consulship be voted him even while he was still absent. This request was denied by the consul Marcellus {49 B.C.} with the support of Pompey. The Senate then decreed that Caesar should not come into the City until he had first disbanded his army. By the authority of the consul Marcellus, Pompey was sent with the imperium to the legions stationed at Luceria. 2 Caesar then betook himself to Ravenna. M. Antony and Q. Cassius, the tribunes of the plebs, intervened in Caesar's behalf, but upon being barred from the curia and forum by order of the consul Lentulus, they set out, accompanied by Curio and Caelius, to join Caesar. 3 After crossing the Rubicon River, Caesar came to Ariminum, where he at once instructed the five cohorts, the only body of troops he had with him at that time, what he expected them to do. With these cohorts, according to Livy, he set out to attack the whole world.

4 Bitterly bewailing the injustices done him, Caesar openly declared that the restoration of the tribunes to Rome was the cause of the Civil War. He then received from Lucretius, through Antony, the seven cohorts stationed at Sulmo; the three legions stationed at Corfinium with Domitius, he transferred to his own party. Alarmed at the increasing strength of Caesar, Pompey and the entire Senate were driven, so to speak, from Italy, and crossed over to Greece where they selected Dyrrachium as the base from which to carry on the war. 5 Caesar came to Rome, where, after breaking down the doors of the treasury, he seized the money that had been refused him. He took away four thousand one hundred and thirty-five pounds of gold and nearly nine hundred thousand pounds of silver. 6 He then left for Ariminum to join his legions, and, crossing the Alps rapidly, came to Massilia.

Leaving Trebonius there with three legions to storm the city because it had refused to receive him, Caesar hastened to the Spanish provinces that the Pompeian generals L. Afranius, M. Petreius, and M. Varro were holding with their legions. After overcoming Petreius and Afranius in many battles, Caesar concluded a pact with them and let them go. 7 In Further Spain, however, he took over two legions from the hands of M. Varro. Moreover, his own generals were equally successful. Curio drove Cato from Sicily, Valerius drove Cotta from Sardinia, and Varus expelled Tubero from Africa. Upon his return to Massilia, which had been captured after a siege, Caesar thoroughly sacked the city, conceding to the inhabitants only their lives and liberty.

8 In Illyria, however, Dolabella, a member of Caesar's faction, upon being defeated by Octavius and Libo and deprived of his troops, fled to Antonius. Basilus and Sallustius, with the separate legions that they commanded, and Antonius and Hortensius, the latter coming with his fleet from the Etruscan Sea, all together set out to do battle with Octavius and Libo, who, however, defeated them. 9 When Antonius had surrendered himself and his fifteen cohorts to Octavius, all were led away to Pompey by Libo. Curio, who crossed from Sicily to Africa with an army, was immediately overtaken by King Juba and slaughtered with his entire forces. While he was attempting to storm Salonae, Octavius lost almost all the troops that he was leading. 10 Caelius revolted from Caesar and joined Milo in exile. Both were killed when they were trying, with the help of a band of slaves, to carry Capua by assault. Bibulus died from lack of food and sleep, being overwhelmed with shame at Corcyra, because the enemy had made a laughing-stock of the defenses he had constructed along the sea and before the town.

11 Appius Claudius Censorinus, who was guarding Greece at Pompey's order, wished to test the already discredited credibility of the Pythian oracle. He compelled the prophetess to descend into the grotto where she is said to have replied to his query about the war: "O Roman, this war does not concern you; you will obtain the Hollows of Euboea." Now these Hollows people call the Euboean Gulf. So Appius departed, confused by the perplexing prophecy.

12 The consulting of the oracle by Appius reminds me to take up with my critics a point they have raised. They complain everywhere that through the Christian faith their sacred rites have been forbidden them and their ceremonies abolished. They complain especially on the ground that when the consultation of entrails and prophecies was discontinued, future disasters were not avoided, since they could not be foreseen. 13 Why, then, long before the reign of Caesar and the birth of Christ, as their own authorities bear witness, had the credibility of the Pythian oracle vanished? It vanished, indeed, because it was despised. To carry the argument further, why was it despised unless it had proven false or groundless, or at least dubious? Hence, wisely the poet foretold:
  Men depart without counsel and detest the seat of the Sibyl.    { Vergil, Aeneid, iii. 452 }

14 And let them not by any chance consider it of little moment that the oracle was abolished because it fell into contempt and became out of date, that is, both the divinity and the place. It was that same Pythian Apollo who, they say, appeared after the death of Python as the heir to the seat, to powers of divination, and to the name of that great serpent who was the founder and chief of all prophecy. 15 Moreover, they also say that he chose to render the responses in the place where the power of divination itself, along with its author, apparently originated. His name is forcibly vented throughout other parts of the world by all those who are possessed with madness and pour meaningless words from their foaming mouths. A great number of earthly kings have run to him as if to find the living voice of a divinity who could be consulted. Even the Romans have very often sent the richest of gifts to him. 16 And if this Pythian Apollo, due to the slow infiltration of knowledge, came to be despised, given up, and abandoned, what life can be expected of a dead animal, what truth, indeed, from a mad woman?
  When the Tuscan at the altars has blown his pipe of ivory,   { Vergil, Georgics, iii. 193 }

what finally, after the intestines of a splendid animal had been laid open, in his greed for gain would the oracle not invent, if, as they themselves admit, Apollo himself leads one astray by speaking either obscurely or falsely? 17 Wherefore, even though in the meantime they are unwilling to follow us, let them tolerate calmly our action in prohibiting by a true judgment that which their own forefathers were led by experience to despise.

18 Meanwhile, at Dyrrachium many kings of the East joined Pompey with reinforcements. When Caesar arrived there, he besieged him in vain, blockading him on the land side by a ditch fifteen miles long, though the sea remained open to him. 19 Pompey overthrew a certain fortress near the sea, which Marcellinus was guarding, and killed the garrison stationed there by Caesar. Caesar then set out to attack Torquatus and his single legion. 20 When Pompey was informed of the danger threatening his allies, he concentrated all his forces at that spot, but Caesar abandoned the siege and moved against him immediately. Torquatus, however, rushed forth instantly and attacked the rear guard of Caesar, 21 whose soldiers became terrified by this twofold peril and took flight, even though Caesar himself tried in vain to stop them. But Pompey, whom Caesar admitted was the victor, recalled his army from the pursuit. Four thousand of Caesar's soldiers, twenty-two centurions, and some of the Roman cavalry fell in that battle.

22 When Caesar proceeded to Thessaly by a forced march through Epirus, Pompey followed with huge forces and engaged him in battle. 23 The lines of battle were then drawn up on both sides. Pompey stationed eighty-eight cohorts in a triple line. There were forty thousand infantrymen and six hundred cavalry on the left wing, and five hundred on the right, not to speak of many kings, a great many Roman senators and knights, and a large force of light-armed troops. 24 Caesar in like manner drew up his eighty cohorts in a triple line. His troops numbered less than thirty thousand infantry and a thousand horse. 25 One could moan at the sight of the concentrated strength of Rome standing on the Pharsalian fields arrayed for mutual slaughter; had harmony only reigned, no nations or kings could have withstood them.

26 In the first engagement, the cavalry of Pompey was repulsed and his left flank was exposed. When mutual slaughter had gone on for a long time and while the issue was still in doubt, with Pompey on one side encouraging his soldiers, saying "spare the citizens," but not sparing them, and on the other side, Caesar crying "soldier, hit them in the face," the whole army of Pompey finally took flight and abandoned their camp to plunder. 27 Fifteen thousand of Pompey's troops and thirty-three centurions were slain in this battle. This was the result of the battle fought at Palaeopharsalus.

In his flight Pompey came upon a merchant vessel at the mouth of the Peneus River and crossed into Asia. 28 Thence he reached Egypt by way of Cyprus. As soon as he touched shore, he was killed by order of the young Ptolemy, who hoped thereby to win the favour of the victorious Caesar. The wife and children of Pompey took flight and the rest of Pompey's fleet was destroyed and all those on board were slaughtered with the utmost cruelty. Pompeius Bithynicus also lost his life there, while Lentulus, a man of consular rank, was killed at Pelusium.

29 After having arranged his affairs in Thessaly, Caesar went to Alexandria. Upon seeing the head and ring of Pompey that were brought to him, he burst into tears. When he had betaken himself to the royal palace, he was cheated by the keepers, who, to prevent Caesar from getting the spoils, cunningly stripped their own temples in order that they might show that the royal treasures were gone and at the same time inflame the populace against Caesar. 30 Moreover, Achillas, the royal commander, whose hands were stained with Pompey's blood, was also planning to kill Caesar. When he was ordered to dismiss his army consisting of twenty thousand armed troops, he not only scorned the order but even drew up his troops in battle array. 31 During the combat orders were issued to set fire to the royal fleet, which by chance was drawn on shore. The flames spread to part of the city and there burned four hundred thousand books stored in a building which happened to be nearby. So perished that marvellous monument of the literary activity of our ancestors, who had gathered together so many great works of brilliant geniuses. 32 In regard to this, however true it may be that in some of the temples there remain up to the present time book chests, which we ourselves have seen, and that, as we are told, these were emptied by our own men in our own day when these temples were plundered - this statement is true enough - yet it seems fairer to suppose that other collections had later been formed to rival the ancient love of literature, and not that there had once been another library which had books separate from the four hundred thousand volumes mentioned, and for that reason had escaped destruction.

33 Later Caesar captured the island on which Pharos was situated. Achillas came there with the soldiers of Gabinius and he fought a great battle in which a great number of Caesar's troops fell and all the slayers of Pompey were killed. 34 When hard pressed by the force of the enemy's attack, Caesar boarded a skiff. This quickly became heavy from the added weight and sank, but Caesar swam two hundred yards to a ship, holding high the hand that held his papers. Soon afterward he was compelled to engage in a naval encounter and by a great stroke of luck sank or captured the vessels of the royal fleet.

[16] L   In reply to the Alexandrians, who were making entreaties on behalf of their king, Caesar gave warning that the king would do better to cultivate Roman friendship. Nevertheless the king, as soon as he was free, immediately declared war. He and his army were at once destroyed in a battle in which twenty thousand men, according to report, were slain, while twelve thousand men and seventy warships surrendered. Five hundred of the victors are also said to have fallen. 2 The young king entered a boat in order to escape, but so many jumped into the skiff that he was forced under the water and drowned. His body, which was washed ashore, was identified by a golden breastplate. After sending this breastplate in advance to Alexandria, Caesar forced all the Alexandrians, who were in despair, to surrender, and he bestowed the kingdom of Egypt on Cleopatra. 3 Thence he overran Syria and conquered Pharnaces in Pontus.

When Caesar later came to Rome, he was made dictator and consul. He then crossed to Africa and at Thapsus engaged in battle with Juba and Scipio, a great number of whose men he killed. The camps of both were plundered and sixty elephants were captured. 4 Cato committed suicide at Utica. Juba paid a man to cut his throat and Petreius transfixed himself with the same sword. Scipio, hurriedly taking ship for Spain, was turned back by the wind to Africa, where he cut his own throat. 5 On the same ship, T. Torquatus was likewise slain. Caesar ordered the grandchildren of Pompey the Great to be killed and, at the same time, the daughter of Pompey together with Faustus Sulla, Afranius, and his son Petreius. 6 Thereupon Caesar entered the city and was given four triumphs.

Having set in order the affairs of the restored Republic, Caesar immediately set out for the Spains against the Pompeii, that is, against the sons of Pompey. Seventeen days after leaving the City, he arrived at Saguntum and at once engaged the two Pompeii, Labienius, and Attius Varus in many battles with varying success. 7 The last battle was fought at the Munda River. There huge forces contended and the slaughter of the combatants was so great that even Caesar  - since his own veterans were not ashamed to yield ground -  seeing that his battle line was being cut to pieces and forced back, was beginning to entertain the idea of suicide, anticipating the disgrace of coming defeat, when suddenly the army of the Pompeii broke and turned to flight. 8 Indeed this battle was finished on the very day that Pompey, the father, had fled from the City to wage war, and for four years afterward the thunders of this Civil War reverberated incessantly over the whole earth. T. Labienus and Attius Varus were slain in the line of battle, but Gnaeus Pompeius escaped with a hundred horse. 9 His brother Sextus Pompeius, quickly gathering together a considerable band of Lusitani, engaged in battle with Caesonius, but after being defeated, he was killed in flight.

The city of Munda, after its inhabitants had suffered severe casualties from Caesar's assault, was finally captured with great difficulty.

[17] L   Caesar returned to Rome. There he attempted to make minor changes in the form of the government of the Republic, which were contrary to the precedents set by the forefathers. While he was in the Senate House, he was stabbed twenty-three times and died. This conspiracy was instigated by Brutus and Cassius, but they also say that the greater part of the senate knew of it 2 and that there were more than sixty accomplices. The two Brutuses, C. Cassius, and the other conspirators, with drawn daggers withdrew to the Capitol. For a long time the people deliberated whether they should burn the Capitol together with the perpetrators of the murder. 3 In their grief, the people took up Caesar's body and cremated it in the Forum on a pyre erected from pieces broken from the tribunal benches.

4 Rome spread her own misfortunes over the length and breadth of her realm and, turning to accomplish her own ruin, rendered satisfaction to all the separate nations in the very places where she had conquered them. In Asia, Europe, and Africa - I do not say in the three parts of the world, but in all the corners of the three divisions - Rome exhibited her own sons as gladiators and presented to enemies, who were enjoying the holiday, a spectacle of a vengeance that arouses pity. 5 And yet the matter did not end when causes of war and those responsible for them had been destroyed; the seeds, returning to the soil and germinating in the self-same field, were destined at once to produce a great increase of disasters for those who harvested them with much sweat. Caesar, the victor of the Civil War, was killed by his fellow citizens. Large numbers were implicated as accomplices in the murder of this man. 6 Caesar, done to death so shamefully, would ordinarily have found many avengers. But at this time the greater part of the nobility was linked in a single chain of crime to the end that this great source of evil might rather lead to a great war and not be settled by the prompt infliction of a penalty. 7 We are told in fable that when the famous Medea had once sown the teeth of a dead serpent armed men sprang forth from the earth, as if indeed the crop were appropriate to the seed, and that they soon destroyed one another in combat. 8 Verily poets in their fancies have invented this story. But upon the death of Caesar to how many armies did our Rome give birth from his ashes! How many great wars did his death stir up as a proof of his virulent fertility, not to serve merely as reading matter for youths, but actually to be a spectacle for the people to see! 9 And yet the beginning of all these calamities was pride: from it civil wars blazed forth, from it they again multiplied. Therefore the slaughter of those who unjustly strove after murder was justifiable, provided that the punishment for this ambitious rivalry was visited upon the same persons who caused it. This will always be so until those who have declined a partnership in power learn to bear the rule of a master and, when supreme authority has been vested in one man, all men submit to a far different mode of life, that is, to humbly strive to please rather than to offend by an insolent spirit. 10 For such a salutary doctrine of humility a teacher was needed. Therefore, when the affairs of Augustus Caesar had been opportunely arranged, the Lord Christ was born, who, though in the image of God, humbly took upon Himself the form of a servant, that finally at that time the teaching of humility might become more effective, and that throughout the whole world the punishment for pride might serve as a warning to all.

[18] L   In the seven hundred and tenth year of the City, Octavianus, according to the terms of the will of his uncle Julius Caesar, became his heir and assumed his name. After he had later won control of affairs, he was called Augustus. As soon as he, still a youth, had come to Rome, he dedicated his talents to civil wars. 2 To unfold briefly that mass of evils, he waged five civil wars, that is, those involving Mutina, Philippi, Perusia, Sicily, and Actium. Of these, two (the first and last) he fought against M. Antony, the second against Brutus and Cassius, the third against L. Antonius, and the fourth against Sextus Pompeius, the son of Cn. Pompey. 3 After Antony had been declared an enemy by the Senate and had besieged D. Brutus at Mutina, the consuls Hirtius and Pansa {43 B.C.}, together with Caesar, were sent to liberate Brutus and to subdue Antony. 4 Pansa, who arrived first, was trapped in an ambush; while his forces were being slaughtered, he himself was seriously wounded by a javelin and died from the wound some days later. Hirtius, bringing aid to his colleague, destroyed Antony's great army with frightful carnage. Thus far Caesar had guarded his camp. 5 In a second engagement with Antony, both sides suffered severe losses. For at that time and place, the consul Hirtius was killed, Antony fled after being defeated, and Caesar won the victory. To him, D. Brutus confessed his part in the conspiracy that had resulted in the murder of Julius Caesar and poured forth prayers of repentance. 6 At Smyrna, Dolabella killed Trebonius, one of Caesar's assassins. The senate declared Dolabella an enemy. Both armies of the slain consuls submitted to Caesar, 7 and later D. Brutus was captured and put to death by the Sequani in Gaul. Basilus, likewise one of the assassins, was slain by his own slaves. 8 Through the intercession of Lepidus, Caesar took Antony into his favour and as a pledge of their friendly reconciliation married the latter's daughter.

9 When they had reached the city, a rumour about a future proscription arose. C. Thoranius, a man of praetorian rank, fearing nothing of that kind, was killed in his own home by an attack of the soldiery. Many others were also slain, 10 and in order that indiscriminate slaughter might not rage on a wider scale and without restraint, the names of one hundred and thirty-two senators were posted on the proscription list. The first list included those ordered and named by Lepidus, the second those by Antony, and the third those by Caesar. 11 On his list Antony had proscribed his enemy Tullius Cicero and also his own uncle L. Caesar and - what made the crime worse - he did this while his mother was still alive. To his list, Lepidus added the name of his own brother, L. Paulus, 12 and later thirty Roman knights were added to the number of proscribed. Over a long period of time many murders took place, the homes of the proscribed were demolished, and everything was stolen.

13 In Syria, however, Dolabella waged many battles with Cassius, but when he met defeat Dolabella took his own life. After assembling great armies, Brutus and Cassius united their forces at Athens and laid waste all Greece. Cassius forced the Rhodians to surrender after attacking them on land and sea; he left them nothing but their lives. 14 Caesar and Antony then pursued Brutus and Cassius into Macedonia with a great military force, and compelled them to commit suicide. It is very clear, however, that this battle was brought to an end, not by courage on the part of Antony but by the good fortune of Caesar. 15 The latter, feeling ill at the time, decided to confine himself to his camp so that he might rest. However, on the advice and entreaty of his physician, who confessed that he had been warned in a dream to lead Caesar from his camp on that day in order to save his life, Caesar made a great effort and set out with his troops for the field. Forthwith his own camp was captured by the enemy. But the troops of Caesar in turn captured the camp of Cassius. 16 Reduced to desperation, Brutus and Cassius both resolved to commit suicide before the battle came to an end. Cassius offered his head to the executioners whom they had summoned, while Brutus offered his side. 17 At Rome, Fulvia, the wife of Antony and mother-in-law of Caesar, exercised her authority after the manner of a woman. Nobody knows whether in this change from the rank of a consul to that of a king she is to be counted as the last representative of a declining power or the first of a rising power, but certainly she acted in a haughty manner towards those who were placing her in a position to be arrogant. 18 She even assailed Caesar with insults, party strife, and plots after he had returned to Brundisium. When he warded off her attacks, she betook herself to Greece to join Antony.

19 After Sextus Pompeius had found his name among the number of those proscribed, he turned to piracy and laid waste the whole coast of Italy with slaughter and pillage. He quickly seized Sicily and by cutting off the flow of provisions brought famine upon Rome. 20 The triumvirs - not to say tyrants -  Lepidus, Caesar, and Antony, speedily made peace with him. But once Pompeius, contrary to the terms of agreement, had allowed fugitives to join his forces, he was regarded as an enemy. 21 Menas, the freedman of Pompeius, with a fleet of sixty vessels, deserted to the side of Caesar who appointed him commander of the whole fleet. He and Statilius Taurus immediately fought a naval engagement against Menecrates, the Pompeian leader. 22 Caesar himself then fought a very bloody naval battle against these same Pompeians; but very soon after he lost almost all his victorious fleet by shipwreck at Scylaceum. 23 Ventidius in three great battles routed the Persians and Parthians who had broken into Syria, and killed their king Pacorus in the battle line on the very day, indeed, on which Crassus had been slain by the Parthians.

After capturing only one fort, Antony made peace with Antiochus in order that he himself might appear to have been the one who had brought so important an affair to a conclusion. 24 He placed Ventidius in charge of Syria and ordered him to make war upon Antigonus, who at that time had by chance vanquished the Jews, and who, after the capture of Jerusalem, had despoiled the Temple and transferred the rule to Herod. Ventidius at once defeated Antigonus and accepted his surrender. 25 The freedman Menas, who had returned with six ships to Pompeius and had been kindly received by him, then set fire to the fleet of Caesar. Incidentally Caesar only a short time before had lost another fleet by a second shipwreck. This Menas was later overcome by Agrippa in a naval engagement and went over to the side of Caesar with six triremes. Caesar for the third time spared the deserter's life, but he left him powerless. 26 After that, Agrippa fought a naval engagement against Demochares and Pompeius between Mylae and the Liparian Islands and was victorious in an encounter in which he sank or captured thirty vessels and damaged the remainder. Pompeius then took refuge in Messana.

27 Meanwhile Caesar crossed over to Tauromenium, but Pompeius defeated him by a sudden attack. After many of his ships had been sunk and a great number of his troops lost, Caesar fled to Italy and then immediately returned to Sicily, 28 where he met Lepidus who was coming from Africa. The latter by terror, threats, and a display of arrogance made good his claim to the greater part of the troops. 29 Several days later, at the order of Caesar who had drawn up his battle lines and was watching the engagement from the shore, Agrippa fought a terrific naval battle against Pompeius and was victorious, sinking or capturing one hundred and sixty-three ships. Pompeius with seventeen ships barely managed to slip away and escaped.

30 Lepidus, who was now much puffed up with pride on account of the fact that he had twenty legions, plundered Messana, which had been turned over to his soldiers. Later he twice spurned Caesar himself who had come in person, and even went so far as to give an order that spears be hurled at him. 31 By wrapping a cloak around his left arm, Caesar managed to ward off the attack and then made his escape. He quickly spurred his horse and riding back to his own men then drew up his forces and marched against Lepidus, the greater part of whose legions went over to Caesar's side as soon as they had suffered a few casualties. 32 When Lepidus finally realised where his pride had led him, he laid aside his military cloak, put on a dark grey garment, and humbly petitioned Caesar. He was granted his life and property, but was condemned to perpetual exile. Taurus, Caesar's prefect, accepted the allegiance of almost all Sicily, after it had been thoroughly cowed and subdued by warfare. 33 Forty-four legions were now under the sole command of Caesar. The soldiers, somewhat arrogant on account of their numbers, began agitating for land grants; but Caesar, who had great courage, discharged twenty thousand of them from service and restored thirty thousand slaves to their masters; six thousand slaves who no longer had masters he had crucified. 34 When Caesar entered the City with an ovation, the Senate decreed that he should be given the tribunician power for life. At this time from an inn situated on the other side of the Tiber a spring of oil burst out and poured forth a great stream throughout the whole day.

[19] L   After Antony had crossed the Araxes, he was beset on all sides by every kind of misfortune and barely managed in the end to make his way back with a few men to Antioch. Though defeated by the great numbers of the cavalry and archers in all of the many battles he attempted, he always managed to escape. But once he was caught in unexplored and unknown parts of the country and compelled by severe hunger to eat unspeakable foods; many of his soldiers surrendered to the enemy. 2 From this region he crossed to Greece and ordered Pompeius, who after his defeat at the hands of Caesar was recruiting an army for the renewal of the war, to come to him with a small force. Pompeius, fleeing from Antony's generals, Titius and Furnius, after he had repeatedly been defeated in battle on land and sea, was captured and a little while later put to death.

3 Caesar subdued and conquered Illyria, Pannonia, and part of Italy. Antony, who had captured Artabanes, the king of Armenia, by treachery and fraud, forced the king, whom he had bound with a silver chain, to reveal the location of the royal treasures. He next stormed the city where the king had disclosed that the treasures were hidden and carried off a large amount of gold and silver. 4 He became puffed up with pride over the possession of this money and gave orders for war to be declared against Caesar and for divorce proceedings to be instituted against his own wife, Octavia, who was Caesar's sister. He also bade Cleopatra to leave Alexandria and join him. 5 He himself set out for Actium, where he had stationed his fleet. When he found that almost a third of his rowers had perished from hunger, he said, without any display of emotion, "Let oars only be safe, for as long as Greece has men, we shall not lack for rowers." 6 Caesar then set out from Brundisium for Epirus with two hundred and thirty beaked ships.

Agrippa, whom Caesar had ordered to proceed in advance, captured a large number of merchant vessels loaded with grain and arms on their way from Egypt, Syria, and Asia, to assist Antony. Agrippa also worked his way into the Peloponnesian Gulf and took by storm the city of Mothona, which was defended by a very strong garrison of Antony's. 7 Next he captured Corcyra; he then pursued and routed the fugitives in a naval battle, and finally, after accomplishing many acts of the utmost cruelty, came back to Caesar.

Alarmed by the fact that his soldiers were deserting and were hungry, Antony decided to hasten the beginning of the battle. After quickly drawing up his troops, he advanced toward Caesar's camp but suffered defeat. 8 On the third day after the battle, Antony transferred his camp to Actium and prepared to decide the issue by a naval engagement. There were two hundred and thirty beaked ships in Caesar's fleet and thirty without beaks, triremes equal in swiftness to Liburnian vessels; eight legions, not counting five praetorian cohorts, were stationed on board the fleet. 9 Antony's fleet had one hundred and seventy ships, but this smaller number was offset by their exceptional size, for in height they stood ten feet above the level of the sea.

10 This battle at Actium was both famous and great. From the fifth to the seventh hour, it raged with terrific losses on both sides and with the issue still undecided; the later hours of the day and the following night turned the scales of victory in Caesar's favour. 11 Queen Cleopatra was the first to flee with sixty of her swift vessels. Antony then pulled down the standard of the commander's ship and followed his wife in flight. At daybreak Caesar completed his victory. 12 On the side of the conquered, twelve thousand, according to report, lost their lives; six thousand were wounded, and of these a thousand died later despite [medical] care.

13 Antony and Cleopatra decided to send part of the royal treasure and the children born of their marriage on ahead to the Red Sea. After stationing garrisons around the two extremities of Egypt, Pelusium and Paraetonium, they themselves prepared a fleet and troops for the renewal of the struggle.

14 Caesar, who had been named imperator for the sixth time and consul for the fourth time (in this instance with M. Licinius Crassus) {30 B.C.} went to Brundisium where he assigned different legions to posts throughout the world. From there he set out for Syria and soon drew near Pelusium where Antony's garrison of their own free will welcomed him. 15 In the meantime Cornelius Gallus, whom Caesar had sent in advance, received the allegiance of the four legions that Antony had placed as a garrison about Cyrene. After first defeating Antony, he then captured Paraetonium, the first city of Egypt from the side of Libya, and then without delay again defeated him at Pharos.

16 Antony contended with Caesar in a cavalry battle but was miserably defeated and took flight. At dawn of the Kalends of August, when Antony was going down to the harbour to draw up his fleet, all his ships suddenly went over to Caesar's side. When he had thus been deprived of his only source of protection, he became alarmed and with a few men hastened to the royal palace. 17 When Caesar was menacing him and the city was in a state of turmoil, Antony stabbed himself with a sword and was carried half dead to the tomb, where Cleopatra, resolved on death, had concealed herself. 18 Cleopatra, realizing that she would be spared to grace the triumphal procession, sought a voluntary death. She was found dead, having been bitten on her left arm, it is believed, by the fangs of a serpent. Caesar at once summoned Psylli, snake charmers who are accustomed to draw off the poison of serpents from the wounds of men by sucking and drinking, but they could not save her.

19 Caesar, now victorious, obtained control over Alexandria, by far the richest and greatest of all cities. Its riches so enhanced Rome's wealth that the abundance of money raised the value of property and other sellable goods to double what they had been up to this time. 20 Caesar ordered Antony's elder son to be put to death and also P. Canidius, who had always been one of Caesar's bitterest enemies and who was disloyal to Antony as well. Cassius Palmensis, the last victim to atone for the murder of his father, Caesar, was put to death as was also Q. Ovinius. It was especially charged that he, a senator of the Roman people, had not been ashamed to superintend, most improperly, Cleopatra's spinning and weaving. 21 From Alexandria, Caesar and his infantry went into Syria and thence departed into Asia for winter quarters. Later he came to Brundisium by way of Greece.

[20] L   In the seven hundred and twenty-fifth year after the founding of the City and during the consulship of the emperor Caesar Augustus who was then consul for the fifth time (in this instance with Sex. Appuleius) {29 B.C.}, Caesar returned from the East as a conqueror. On the sixth of January, he entered the City in triple triumph. It was at this time, when all the civil wars had been lulled to sleep and brought to an end, that he first gave orders for the gates of Janus to be closed. 2 On this day Caesar was first saluted as Augustus. This title, which everyone up to that time had held inviolate and one to which other rulers hitherto had not presumed, signifies that the assumption of the supreme power to rule the world was legitimate. From that time on the highest power of the state reposed in one man and so it remained thereafter. This type of government the Greeks call monarchy.

3 Furthermore, every believer, or even disbeliever, knows that this is also the same day (namely, the sixth of January) on which we observe the Epiphany, that is, the Feast of the Apparition and Manifestation of the Sacrament of the Lord. 4 There is no reason nor does the occasion now call for a fuller discussion of this sacred rite which we most faithfully keep. Let it appear that we have left it for interested inquirers to look into and that we have not forced it upon those who are indifferent. Yet it was fair to have recorded this event faithfully, so that the empire of Caesar might be proven in every respect to have been prepared for the future advent of Christ.

5 In the first place, when Augustus was entering the city on his return from Apollonia after the murder of his uncle C. Caesar, though the sky was clear and cloudless at the time, about the third hour a circle resembling a rainbow suddenly formed around the sun's disk. This phenomenon apparently indicated that Augustus alone was the most powerful man in this world and alone was the most renowned in the universe; it was in his time that Christ would come, He who alone had made and ruled the sun itself and the whole world.

6 In the second place, when Augustus, after receiving in Sicily the legions from Pompeius and Lepidus, had restored thirty thousand slaves to their masters and by his own authority had distributed forty-four legions for the protection of the world, he entered the City with an ovation. He decreed that all the former debts of the Roman people should be remitted and the records of account books should also be destroyed. In those same days an abundant spring of oil, to use my former expression, flowed through the course of a whole day from an inn. What is more evident than that by this sign the coming nativity of Christ was declared in the days when Caesar was ruling the whole world? For Christ is interpreted as meaning anointed, to speak in the language of the people among whom and from whom He was born. 7 Therefore at that time when the tribunician power was decreed to Caesar to be held forever, a spring of oil at Rome flowed throughout the whole day. Under the principate of Caesar and under the Roman Empire throughout a whole day, that is, throughout the entire duration of the Roman Empire, signs in the heavens and prodigies on the earth were very clear to those who did not heed the voices of the prophets. These signs and prodigies revealed that Christ and from Him, Christians, that is, the Anointed One and from Him, the anointed ones, would copiously and incessantly come forth from an inn, that is, from an hospitable and bountiful Church; that all slaves who still acknowledged their master must be restored by Caesar, and the others who were found without a master must be delivered to death and to punishment; and that the debts due for their sins must be remitted under Caesar's rule in that City in which the oil had spontaneously flowed.

8 In the third place, after his triumphal entry into the city, no doubt on that very day mentioned above, he, consul for the fifth time, had the gates of Janus closed for the first time after a lapse of two hundred years and assumed the very distinguished name of Augustus. What is there that we can more faithfully and truthfully believe and recognise - when peace, name, and day united together for the purpose of such a manifestation - than that he had been predestined by some hidden order of events for the service of His preparation? Caesar on that day, the same on which the Lord a few years later was to make His appearance, chose the banner of peace and assumed the title of power.

9 But what happened after Caesar's fourth return to the city, when he had brought the Cantabrian War to an end and had pacified all nations, will be better set forth in its proper place in order to bear witness to the faith we practise.

[21] L   In the seven hundred and twenty-sixth year of the city, when the emperor Augustus Caesar was consul for the sixth time and M. Agrippa for the second time {28 B.C.}, Caesar, realising how little would have been accomplished in Spain in the course of two hundred years, if he permitted the Cantabri and Astures, the two bravest peoples of Spain, to enjoy their own laws, opened the gates of Janus and in person set out with an army for the Spanish provinces. 2 The land of the Cantabri and Astures is part of the province of Gallaecia, where the extended range of the Pyrenees terminates in the north not far from the second ocean. 3 These tribes, who not only were ready to defend their own freedom but also dared to take away the liberty of their neighbours, were ravaging the Vaccaei, Turmogidi, and Autrigones by incessant raids.

Caesar then pitched his camp near Segisama and surrounded almost all of Cantabria with three armies. 4 After his army had long wearied itself without accomplishing anything and had often exposed itself to danger, Caesar finally ordered a fleet to be brought from the Gulf of Aquitania through the Ocean, and the troops to be disembarked while the enemy were off their guard. 5 The Cantabri finally fought a mighty battle under the walls of Attica; when defeated they took refuge on Mount Vinnius, which was a natural fortress. They were there reduced to desperate straits by the hunger brought on by the siege. Next, the town of Racilium was captured and destroyed, though for a long time it offered strong resistance. 6 The legates Antistius and Firmius fought many severe battles and subdued the further parts of Gallaecia, which are wooded and mountainous and which border on the Ocean. 7 By means of a ditch fifteen miles long they also surrounded and besieged Mount Medullius, which towered above the Minius River;on this mountain a large number of the enemy had taken refuge. 8 When this group of men, by nature wild and fierce, realised that they were neither able to withstand a siege nor strong enough to fight it out, they agreed to take their own lives because of their fear of slavery. Almost all unhesitatingly killed themselves by fire, sword, or poison.

9 The Astures, who had pitched camp near the Astura River, would have overpowered the Romans by the soundness of their strategy and the strength of their forces had they not been betrayed and forestalled. Their sudden attempt to overwhelm the three legates, whose legions were divided into equal columns, became known in time when their own men disclosed the plan. 10 Later when they had withdrawn from the war, they were overcome in battle by Carisius, but not without causing the Romans to suffer heavy losses. Some of the Astures escaped from the battle and fled to Lancia. As the soldiers were preparing to attack the invested city with fire, the general Carisius not only persuaded his own men to desist from using fire but also prevailed upon the barbarians voluntarily to surrender. As a testimonial of his victory, he strove hard to leave the city intact and uninjured. 11 Caesar carried away this reward from his Cantabrian victory: he could now order the gates of war to be barred fast. Thus for a second time in these days, through Caesar's efforts, Janus was closed; this was the fourth time that this had happened since the founding of the city.

12 Later Claudius Drusus, the stepson of Caesar, after having been allotted Gaul and Raetia, subdued the largest and bravest tribes of Germany with his armies. 13 For at that time, just as if they were hastening toward the day set for peace, all the tribes were moved like waves toward a trial of war or an agreement of peace, with the intention of accepting the terms of peace if they were defeated, or if they should conquer, of enjoying tranquillity and peace. 14 The Noricans, Illyrians, Pannonians, Dalmatians, Moesians, Thracians and the Sarmatian Dacians, the largest and strongest peoples of Germany, were either overcome or subdued by different generals and shut in by the mightiest of rivers, the Rhine and the Danube. 15 Drusus in Germany conquered first the Usipetes and then the Tencteri and Chatti, and slaughtered the Marcomanni almost to the last man. 16 Later, in a single battle, which was severe upon his own men as well, he overcame the bravest tribes (the Cherusci, Suebi, and Sugambri) to whom nature gave strength, and practice experience in the use of their strength. 17 We can judge their courage and fierceness from the fact that if ever their women were shut in amid their own carts by an advance of the Romans and if their arms and everything that in their rage might serve them as a weapon failed them, they were wont to dash their small children on the ground and then throw them in the faces of the enemy, committing murder twice by the separate slaughters of their children.

18 At that time also, in Africa, Caesar's general Cossus confined within a limited area the Musolani and Gaetuli, who were accustomed to range far and wide, and thus forced them through fear to keep away from the Roman boundaries.

19 In the meantime, embassies of the Indians and Scythians, after traversing the whole world, at length came upon Caesar at Tarraco, a city of Hither Spain, beyond which they could not have sought him. They accorded him the same glory as Alexander the Great. 20 Just as the embassy of the Spaniards and Gauls came to Alexander at Babylon in the centre of the East to consider peace, so in Spain in the furthest West, eastern India and northern Scythia besought Caesar as suppliants and brought tribute from their countries. 21 After conducting the Cantabrian War for five years, Caesar turned back and restored all Spain to a state of lasting peace. Then, after he had taken some rest to relieve his weariness, he returned to Rome.

22 In those days Caesar often fought in person, and many wars also were fought by his generals and lieutenant generals. Among others Piso was dispatched against the Vindelici. When he had subdued them, he returned as a victor to greet Caesar at Lugdunum. 23 Tiberius, the stepson of Caesar, who had most cruelly slaughtered and destroyed the Pannonians when they had risen in a new revolt, 24 immediately engaged the Germans in war. As a conqueror he carried off forty thousand of them as captives. 25 This truly was a great and most formidable war waged by fifteen legions over a period of fifteen years; nor had there been, according to the testimony of Suetonius, another conflict equally great since the Punic wars.

26 In these same days, Quintilius Varus treated the conquered peoples in an exceedingly haughty and avaricious manner; he and the three legions accompanying him were totally destroyed by the Germans who revolted. 27 Caesar Augustus took this disaster suffered by the state so hard that his intense sorrow made him dash his head against a wall, crying out, "O, Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions."

28 Agrippa, however, overcame the Bosporani and, after recovering in battle the Roman standards formerly carried off under Mithridates, forced the defeated enemy to surrender.

29 The Parthians acted as if the eyes of the entire world, both conquered and pacified, were focused upon them, and as if the entire strength of the Roman Empire were to be directed against them alone. They had long been conscious of the fact that the slaughter suffered by Crassus would have to be avenged. Therefore they voluntarily returned to Caesar the standards that they had taken away on the death of Crassus and after giving royal hostages obtained a lasting treaty by humbly promising to observe good faith.

[22] L   In the year of the city seven hundred and fifty-two, when all nations, from the East to the West, from the North to the South, and throughout the entire circuit of the Ocean, were united in the bonds of peace, Caesar Augustus had the gates of Janus closed for the third time. 2 From that time onward they remained bolted in complete stillness for almost twelve years. Rust even gathered upon them and it was not until Augustus was a very old man that they were forced to be opened because of a revolt of the Athenians and the commotion raised by the Dacians. 3 During this period when the gates of Janus were closed, the emperor strove by the maintenance of peace to nourish and to enlarge the state which he had acquired by war, establishing many laws to inculcate in men the habit of discipline through a reverence that was willingly given. 4 The title "lord" he avoided on the ground that he was only a man. Once, indeed, when he was attending a play, this line was spoken in the farce: "Oh, what a just and gracious lord"; whereupon the entire audience sprang to its feet and applauded violently, as if these words had been spoken of him. He immediately checked their unseemly flattery with a look and a gesture, and on the following day rebuked them in a severely worded edict. Thereafter he would not permit even his own children or grandchildren to call him lord either in jest or in earnest.

5 At that time, that is, in the year when Caesar, by God's ordination, established the firmest and truest peace, Christ was born, whose coming that peace waited upon and at whose birth the angels joyfully sang in the hearing of men, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will." It was at this time that he who had secured universal supremacy refused to be called Lord of men, or rather dared not, when the true Lord of all mankind was born among men. 6 It was also in this year when God had deigned to assume the appearance and nature of man, that this same Caesar, whom God had predestined for this great mystery, for the first time ordered a census to be taken of each and every province and that all men should be enrolled. In these days, then, Christ was born and His name was entered in the Roman census list immediately after His birth. 7 This is that earliest and most famous acknowledgment which designated Caesar first of all men and the Romans lords of the world; for in the census list all men were entered individually, and in it the very Maker of all men wished to be found and enrolled as a man among men. From the very foundation of the world and the beginning of the human race an honour of this kind had never been granted, not even to Babylon or to Macedonia, not to mention any kingdom of lesser rank. 8 Neither is there any doubt that it is clear to everyone from his own knowledge, faith, and investigation, that it was by the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that this City prospered, was protected, and brought to such heights of power, since to her, in preference to all others, He chose to belong when He came, thereby making it certain that He was entitled to be called a Roman citizen according to the declaration made in the Roman census list.

9 Now that I have reached the epoch when the Lord Christ first brought light into this world by His coming and granted a very peaceful reign to Caesar, let me conclude this sixth book of mine. 10 The seventh, provided God gives me the requisite strength, will embrace the budding years of Christianity, its growth amid efforts made to suppress it, and its present state of advancement which is so sharply criticised by those whose statements force us to reply in kind. 11 Since I have from the beginning declared both that men are sinners and that they are punished for their sins, so now, apart from the proposition that all men in general are inclined to sin and individually are chastised for their sins, I shall set forth first the various persecutions of the Christians and the retributions that followed.

Book 7


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