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Roman supremacy in the center of the country. The Helvetii, who lived between Lake Geneva and the Jura, finding themselves in too narrow quarters, had resolved to emigrate and conquer new habitations to the westward. They burned their twelve towns and four hundred villages, and assembled at Geneva to the number of 368,000 persons, men, women, and children, intending to pass through the Roman province into western Gaul. Cæsar prevented this move by a wall nineteen miles in length, which he extended along the left bank of the Rhone; and bringing up three legions from Italy, he followed the Helvetians along their second route, and defeated them near Bibrac'te. The remnant of the nation less than one-third of the number on their muster-rolls when the migration began were ordered back to their native hills.
The Sequani, a Celtic tribe north of the Helvetii, had called in Ariovis'tus, the most powerful of the German chiefs, against their rivals the Edui, who were styled allies and kinsmen of the Romans. Having subdued the Ædui, Ariovistus turned upon his late allies, and demanded twothirds of their lands in payment for his services. All the Gauls begged aid of Cæsar, who met the German prince near the Rhine, in what is now Alsace. So great was the fame of Ariovistus and his gigantic barbarians, who for fourteen years had not slept under a roof, that the Roman soldiers were afraid to fight; and though shamed out of their cowardice by the stirring appeal of their general, every man made his will before going into battle. The result of the combat was the complete destruction of the German host, only Ariovistus and a few followers escaping across the Rhine.
161. The second year, Cæsar conquered the Belgians north of the Seine, and the Senate decreed a public thanksgiving of fifteen days for the subjugation of Gaul. His lieutenant, Decimus Brutus, fought the first naval battle on the Atlantic, with the high-built sailing vessels of the Celts. The maritime tribes revolting the following winter, were subdued; and but for a few brief rebellions, the territories of France and Belgium remained under Roman dominion. Cæsar repaired each winter to his. province of Cisalpine Gaul, to watch affairs in Italy. In 56 B. C., he had to reconcile Pompey with Crassus, and re-arrange, in his camp at Luca, the affairs of the triumvirate.
It was agreed that Pompey and Crassus should be consuls the next year, and that, after their term had expired, the former should govern Spain, and the latter Asia, while the proconsular government of Cæsar in Gaul should be prolonged to a second term of five years. In choosing the most arduous and least lucrative province for himself, Cæsar wished to begin the execution of his great scheme for civilizing the West, and organizing the whole Roman dominion into one compact state. The revolution begun by the Gracchi was not yet completed, and it was easy to see that the strife of parties must come again to the sword, as it had in the time
of Marius and Sulla. In such a case, Cæsar desired to be near Italy, and to have an army trained to perfect discipline and devotion to himself.
162. In the fourth year, B. C. 55, he threw a bridge across the Rhine and invaded Germany. Late in the autumn, he made a reconnoitering expedition to Britain, and received hostages from the tribes. This time the Senate decreed twenty days' thanksgiving, though Cato stoutly insisted that Cæsar ought, rather, to be given up to the vengeance of the barbarians, to avert the anger of the gods for his having seized the German embassadors. The next year, B. C. 54, Cæsar again invaded Britain with five legions. Notwithstanding the brave resistance of a native chief, Cas'sivelau ́nus, he penetrated north of the Thames, took hostages, and imposed tribute; but he left no military posts to hold the island in subjection.
A formidable revolt of the Gauls, the following winter, destroyed one of the six divisions of the Roman army, and imperiled another, commanded by Quintus Cicero, brother of the orator. Cæsar came to its relief, defeated 60,000 of the enemy, and restored quietness to the north. The Germans having aided in this revolt, he again crossed the Rhine near Coblentz, in the summer of 53 B. C. He fought no battles, for the people took refuge among their wooded hills; but the invasion served, as before, to make an imposing display of Roman power.
163. The following year, Gaul was every-where in a blaze of revolt, and the campaign was the most difficult and brilliant of all Cæsar's operations. Ver cinget'orix, king of the Arver'ni, and the ablest of the Gallic chieftains, stirred up all the tribes, and nearly wrested the country from Roman control. While Cæsar was besieging him in Ale'sia, a Gallic army of more than a quarter of a million of men encamped around the Romans and besieged them in turn. But the genius of the proconsul surmounted even this crisis. He kept down all attempts at sortie, while he defeated the outer army; then forced the town to surrender, and captured Vercingetorix himself. Six years later, the Gallic chief adorned the triumph of Cæsar, and was then executed in the Mamertine prison at the foot of the Capitol. The Gauls now saw that resistance was hopeless. The firm and skillful management of Cæsar in pacifying the country and organizing the Roman rule, completed the work that his brilliant victories had prepared; and by the year 50 B. C., Gaul was at peace.
164. Meanwhile, Crassus, fearing that his colleagues would reap all the warlike glory of the league, undertook, after plundering the temples of the East, to make war against Parthia — a war unprovoked by the enemy, unauthorized by the Senate, and unwarranted by his own abilities. Contrary to advice, he plunged into the hot and sandy desert east of the Euphrates, lost the greater part of his army in a battle near Carrhæ (the Haran of Abraham), and was himself slain, soon after, by the treachery of the Parthian general, B. C. 53.
Pompey, now sole consul, no longer pretended any friendship for Cæsar.) The conqueror of Mithridates and the Cilician pirates did not fancy that he could be eclipsed by any man; and the relationship between them was lately dissolved by the death of Julia, the daughter of Cæsar, who had been the wife of Pompey. The enemies of the former obtained a decree of the Senate requiring him to surrender his proconsular power, and return to Rome before becoming candidate for a second consulship. Cato had declared that he would prosecute Cæsar for capital offenses as soon as he should resign his command.
It could hardly have been expected that the governor of Gaul would quit his devoted legions, and all the treasures of the conquered province, to place himself unarmed at the mercy of his enemies. Such virtue had been known in the days of Curtius, but self-surrender for the public good had ceased to be fashionable at Rome. Moreover, Cæsar may well have doubted whether the sacrifice of his life would promote the public interests. The Romans required a master; and his own plans for building up a great empire from the scattered fragments of provinces, by extending equal rights to all the conquered peoples, were doubtless the most enlarged and beneficent that had yet been formed. He believed that the great interests of Rome were consistent with his own.
165. His enemies lost no opportunity to deprive him of resources. Under pretext of a war with Parthia, the two former colleagues of Crassus were required to furnish each one legion to be sent to Asia. Pompey had formerly lent a legion to Cæsar, and now demanded its return. Cæsar dismissed the two legions, giving to each man his share of the treasure which was to be distributed at his approaching triumph. He wrote at the same time to the Senate, offering to resign his command if Pompey would do the same, but not otherwise. The two legions were kept in Italy. After a violent debate, it was enacted that Cæsar should, without conditions, disband his army on a certain day, under penalty of being declared an enemy of the state. The tribunes, Antonius and Cassius, vetoed the motion, but their veto was set aside; and believing their lives in danger, they fled to Cæsar's camp at Raven ́na.
Catiline's deep-laid conspiracy is defeated by Cicero, and its leader slain in battle. Pompey disbands his army and triumphs for his conquests in Asia. He forms with Cæsar, now consul, and Crassus, the first triumvirate. The next year, B. C. 58, Cæsar, as proconsul, assumes the command in Gaul; subdues the Helvetii and the Germans, under Ariovistus, in one campaign; afterward conquers the Belge; twice bridges the Rhine and ravages Germany; twice invades Britain; suppresses revolts in Gaul, and organizes the whole country into a peaceful and permanent part of the Roman dominion. Crassus, in Asia, is overwhelmingly defeated, with the loss of his army and his life, B. C. 53. Pompey breaks with Caesar, and becomes the champion of the Senate.
CESAR MASTER OF ROME.
166. It was time for decisive action. Cæsar crossed the Rubicon, a little river which separated his province from Roman Italy, and advanced with one legion, the troops in Gaul having received orders to follow without delay. To enter the country without resigning his command was itself a declaration of war. Panic seized Rome, and the Senate fled, leaving the public treasures behind. Fifteen thousand recruits, destined for Pompey's army, seized their officers and handed them over, with themselves and the town Corfin'ium, where they were quartered, to Cæsar. Other bodies of recruits followed their example. Pompey, having lost more than half his ten legions, retired to Brundisium; and though besieged by Cæsar, succeeded in escaping with 25,000 men to Greece.
The Roman world was now really divided between the two generals. Pompey controlled Spain, Africa, and the East, and hoped, by commanding the sea and the corn islands, to starve Italy into surrender. Cæsar had only Italy, Illyricum, and Gaul. If Pompey had acted with energy, he might speedily have created an army in the East and regained Rome, but by delay he allowed Cæsar to attack his provinces in detail, and wrest the entire empire from his grasp. The emigrated nobles assembled themselves at Thessalonica and re-organized a senate, in which they made a vain show of keeping up the constitutional forms, while, by their petty jealousies, they hampered every movement of their general-in-chief.
167. Cu'rio, the ablest of Cæsar's lieutenants, captured Sicily, and 'thus averted famine from Rome. In Africa he was less fortunate. Drawn into an unexpected combat with the whole army of King Juba, he was defeated, and chose to be slain rather than meet his general in disgrace. Instead of the anarchy and general proscription which his enemies had predicted, Cæsar soon restored order in Italy, and universal confidence, by the moderation and forbearance of his conduct. Friends and foes were equally protected. The moneyed class, which had most to gain from a settled government, came over to the side of Cæsar, and the "rich lords resumed their daily task of writing their rent-rolls."
His first foreign enterprise was against Spain, where Pompey had seven legions. It was conquered by a severe and toilsome campaign of forty days. Returning through Gaul, Cæsar received the surrender of Massilia, and learned of his appointment to the dictatorship at Rome. He held this high office only eleven days, but long enough to preside at the election of consuls, in which he himself, of course, received the greatest number of votes; to pass laws relieving debtors, and restoring to the enjoyment of their estates the descendants of those whom Sulla had proscribed; and to begin his scheme of consolidating the provinces, by granting the full rights of Roman citizenship to the Gauls.
168. As consul, he then led his army to Brundisium and crossed into Greece. Pompey had assembled from the eastern countries a great army and fleet, the latter of which commanded the sea, and seemed to forbid the passage of Cæsar. But Bibulus, the admiral, confiding in his superior numbers and the wintry season, was off his guard until seven legions were landed in Epirus. The attempt to capture Pompey's camp and treasures, at Dyrra'chium, failed; but the vain confidence inspired by their partial success, in the proud and frivolous young nobles of the refugee party, eventually proved their ruin.
Cæsar was, indeed, in a perilous position; his fleet was destroyed, and he was cut off in a hostile country where food must soon fail. Nevertheless, with his usual good fortune or consummate skill, he contrived to draw his victorious enemy after him to the interior of the country, where Pompey's fleet gave him no advantage, and then to choose his own battlefield at Pharsalia, in Thessaly. The army of Pompey, in horse and foot, numbered 54,000 men; that of Cæsar, scarcely more than 22,000. The former was abundantly supplied both with provisions and military materials, while the latter was near the point of starvation, and compelled to stake its existence on one desperate venture. So certain did the result appear, that the patricians in Pompey's camp were already disputing among themselves the succession to Cæsar's pontificate.
169. On the 9th of August, B. C. 48, the Pompeians crossed the river which separated the two camps, and with their cavalry commenced the attack. Cæsar's horsemen were driven in, but a picked troop of his legionaries, tried on a hundred Gallic fields, unexpectedly charged the assailants. Their orders were to aim their javelins at the enemies' faces. Confused by this novel attack, the cavalry turned and fled; and Pompey, who had been urged by the reproaches of his self-appointed counselors to give battle, contrary to his better judgment, and who had never shared their confidence, did not wait to see the general attack, but galloped away to his
His army was completely routed; 15,000 lay dead upon the field, and 20,000 surrendered on the morning after the battle. Many of the aristocracy hastened to make their peace with the conqueror; the "irreconcilables" either betook themselves to the mountains or the sea, to carry on for years a predatory warfare; or to Africa, where King Juba, of Numidia, perceiving that Caesar's consolidating policy would deprive him of his kingdom, till stood firmly on the Pompeian side. The other client-states withdrew their quotas of ships and men as soon as they saw that Pompey's cause was lost.
170. Pompey fled to Egypt. The young queen, Cleopatra, was now in Syria, having been driven from her kingdom by her brother's guardian, Pothi'nus, who was with an army holding the eastern frontier against her.