The following is contained in the Fiftieth of Dio's Rome:
1. How Caesar and Antony began hostilities against each other (chaps. 1-14).
2. How Caesar conquered Antony at Actium (chaps. 15-35).
Duration of time, two years, in which there were the magistrates (consuls) here enumerated:
B.C. 32 Cn. Domitius L. F. Cn. N. Ahenobarbus, C. Sosius C. F. T. N. 31 Caesar (III), M. Valerius M. F. Messalla Corvinus.
The Roman people had been robbed of their democratic form of government, but had not become a monarchy in the strict sense of the term; Antony and Caesar still controlled affairs on an equal footing, having divided by lot most of the functions of government between them, and though nominally they considered all the rest as belonging to them in common, in reality they were trying to appropriate it to themselves, according as either of them was able to seize any advantage over the other. But afterwards, when Sextus had now perished, the Armenian king had been captured, the forces that had warred upon Caesar were quiet, and the Parthians were stirring up no trouble, these two turned openly against each other and the people were actually reduced to slavery. The causes for the war and the pretexts they had for it were as follows. Antony charged Caesar with having removed Lepidus from his office, and with having taken possession of his territory and of the troops of both him and Sextus, which ought to have been their common property; and he demanded the half of these as well as the half of the soldiers that had been levied in the parts of Italy which belonged to both of them. Caesar's charge against Antony was that he was holding Egypt and other countries without having drawn them by lot, had killed Sextus (whom he himself had willingly spared, he said), and by deceiving, arresting, and putting in chains the Armenian king had cause much ill repute to attach to the Roman people. He, too, demanded half of the spoils, and above all he reproached him with Cleopatra and the children of hers which Antony had acknowledged as his own, the gifts bestowed upon them, and particularly because he was calling the boy Caesarion and was bringing him into the family of Caesar. These were the charges they made against each other and were in a way their justification of their conduct, and they communicated them to each other partly by private letters and partly by public speeches on the part of Caesar and public messages on the part of Antony. On this pretext also they were constantly sending envoys back and forth, wishing to appear as far as possible justified in the complaints they made and at the same time to reconnoitre each other's position. Meanwhile they were collecting funds, ostensibly for a different purpose, and were making all other preparations for war as if against other persons, until the time that Gnaeus Domitius and Gaius Sosius, both belonging to Antony's party, became consuls. Then they made no further concealment, but became openly hostile. It happened in the following way.
Domitius did not openly attempt any revolutionary measures, since he had experienced many disasters. Sosius, however, had had no experience with misfortunes, and so on the very first day of the year he said much in praise of Antony and inveighed much against Caesar. Indeed, he would have introduced measures immediately against the latter, had not Nonius Balbus, a tribune, prevented it. Caesar, it seems, had suspected what he was going to do and wished neither to ignore it nor by offering opposition to appear to be beginning the war; hence he did not enter the senate at this time nor even live in the city at all, but invented some excuse which kept him out of town, not only for the reasons given, but also in order that he might deliberate at his leisure according to the reports brought to him and then act, after mature reflection, as necessity dictated. But afterwards he returned and convened the senate, surrounding himself with a guard of soldiers and friends who carried concealed daggers; and sitting with the consuls upon his chair of state, he spoke from there at length and with moderation in defence of himself, and brought many accusations against Sosius and Antony. And when neither of the consuls themselves nor anyone else ventured to utter a word, he bade the senators come together again on a specified day, giving them to understand that he would prove by certain documents that Antony was in the wrong The consuls, accordingly, as they did not dare to reply to him and could not endure to be silent, left the city secretly before the day appointed and later made their way to Antony, followed by not a few of the other senators. And when Caesar learned this he declared that he had sent them away voluntarily, hoping thus that it might not be thought that they had abandoned him because of some wrong-doing on his part, and added that he granted the rest who so wished permission to depart unmolested to Antony.
This action of theirs was counterbalanced by the arrival of others who fled from Antony in turn to Caesar, among them being Titius and Plancus, though they had been honored by Antony among the foremost and knew all his secrets. For after the consuls had taken the step described and Caesar, moreover, in their absence had convened the senate and had read and said all that he wished, and after Antony, hearing of these things, had assembled a kind of senate from among those who were with him, and after considerable talk on both sides of the question had taken up the war and renounced his connection with Octavia as his wife, then it was that Titius and Plancus, because of some friction with him or because of anger against Cleopatra, deserted him. And Caesar was very glad to receive them and learned from them all about Antony's affairs, what he was doing, what he had in mind to do, what was written in his will, and the name of the man who had the will; for these two men had attached their seals to it. Thereupon Caesar became still more violently enraged and did not shrink from searching for the document, seizing it, and then carrying it into the senate and later into the assembly, and reading it. For the clauses contained in it were of such a nature that this most lawless procedure on Caesar's part brought upon him no reproach from the citizens; for Antony had borne witness to Caesarion that he was truly sprung from Caesar, had given some enormous presents to his children by the Egyptian queen, who were being reared by him, and had ordered that his body be buried in Alexandria by her side.
This caused the Romans in their indignation to believe that the other reports in circulation were also true, to the effect that if Antony should prevail, he would bestow their city upon Cleopatra and transfer the seat of power to Egypt. And they became so angry at this that all, not only Antony's enemies or those who were not siding with either man, but even his most intimate friends, censured him severely; for in their consternation at what was read and in their eagerness to counteract Caesar's suspicion of them, they spoke in the same way as the rest. They deprived him of the consulship, to which he had been previously elected, and of all his authority in general. They did not, to be sure, declare him an enemy in so many words, because they were afraid his adherents would also have to be regarded in the light of enemies, in case they should not abandon him; but by this action they showed their attitude more plainly than by any words. For they voted to the men arrayed on his side pardon and praise if they would abandon him, and declared war outright upon Cleopatra, put on their military cloaks as if he were close at hand, and went to the temple of Bellona, where they performed through Caesar as fetialis all the rites preliminary to war in the customary fashion. These proceedings were nominally directed against Cleopatra, but really against Antony. For she had enslaved him so absolutely that she persuaded him to act as gymnasiarch to the Alexandrians; and she was called "queen" and "mistress" by him, had Roman soldiers in her bodyguard, and all of these inscribed her name upon their shields. She used to frequent the market-place with him, joined him in the management of festivals and in the hearing of lawsuits, and rode with him even in the cities, or else was carried in a chair while Antony accompanied her on foot along with her eunuchs. He also termed his headquarters "the palace," sometimes wore an oriental dagger at his belt, dressed in a manner not in accordance with the customs of his native land, and let himself be seen even in public upon a gilded couch or a chair of that kind. He posed with her for portrait paintings and statues, he representing Osiris or Dionysus and she Selene or Isis. This more than all else made him seem to have been bewitched by her through some enchantment. For she so charmed and enthralled not only him but also the rest who had any influence with him that she conceived the hope of ruling even the Romans; and whenever she used an oath her strongest phrase in swearing was by her purpose to dispense justice on the Capitol.
This was the reason they voted for war against Cleopatra, but they made no such declaration against Antony, forsooth, knowing full well that he would become an enemy in any event, since he certainly was not going to prove false to her and espouse Caesar's cause; and they wished to have this additional reproach to put upon him, that he had voluntarily taken up war on the side of the Egyptian woman against his native country, though no ill-treatment had been accorded him personally by the people at home.
Accordingly, the men of fighting age were being rapidly assembled on both sides, money was being collected from every quarter, and all the equipment of war was being speedily gathered together. The preparations as a whole far surpassed in size anything that had ever been seen before; for all these nations coöperated with one side or other in the war: Caesar had, in the first place, Italy (he had even attached to his cause all those who had been placed in colonies by Antony, partly by frightening them, since they were few in number, and partly by conferring benefits upon them; for example, among his other acts, he personally gave a new charter to the colonists who had settled in Bononia, so that the impression might prevail that the colony had been sent out by him), and besides Italy he also had in alliance with him Gaul, Spain, Illyricum, the Africas (including not only those who long since had adopted the Latin tongue, with the exception of the people in Cyrenaica, but also those who had belonged to Bogud and Bocchus), Sardinia, Sicily, and the rest of the islands adjacent to the aforementioned divisions of the mainland. On Antony's side were the regions subject to Rome in continental Asia, the regions of Thrace, Greece, and Macedonia, the Egyptians, the people of Cyrene and the surrounding country, the islanders dwelling near them, and practically all the kings and potentates whose territories bordered upon that part of the Roman empire then under his control some taking the field themselves and others represented by lieutenants. And such was the zeal of both sides that the alliances which they made with the two leaders were cemented by oaths of allegiance.
Such was the strength of the contestants. As for Antony, he on his part swore to his own soldiers that he would admit no truce in the war he wage, and promised in addition that within two months after his victory he would relinquish his office and restore to the senate and the people all its authority; and it was with difficulty, forsooth, that certain persons prevailed upon him to postpone this act to the sixth month, so that he might be able to settle the public business at his leisure. And however far he was from intending to carry out this offer, he yet made the proposal as if he were certainly and without fail going to conquer. For he saw that his own forces were much the stronger by reason of their superior numbers, and hoped by means of bribes to weaken those of his opponents; indeed, he proceeded to send gold in every direction, and particularly to Italy in general and especially to Rome, and thus tried to shake the allegiance of each individual element and to tempt them of to his side. For this reason Caesar on his part kept a more vigilant watch over everything else, and made donations of money to his soldiers.
Such was the enthusiasm of the two sides and such were their preparations; meanwhile many and divers rumors were noised abroad by men, and many clear portents were shown by the gods. For example, an ape entered the temple of Ceres during a service and upset everything in it; an owl flew first into the temple of Concord and then to practically all the other most holy temples, and finally, when it had been driven away from every other place, it settled upon the temple of the Genius Populi, and it was not only not caught, but did not depart until late in the day. The chariot of Jupiter was demolished in the Circus at Rome, and for many days a torch would rise over the sea toward Greece and dart up into the sky. Much damage was also caused by storm; thus, a trophy which stood upon the Aventine fell, a statue of Victory fell from the back wall of the theatre, and the wooden bridge was utterly demolished. And many objects were destroyed by fire also, and moreover there was a huge flow of lava from Aetna which damaged cities and fields. Now when the Romans saw and heard about these things, they recalled also the incident of the serpent, realising that it too had given them a sign which bore upon the present situation. A little before this, it seems, a two-headed serpent, so huge that its length came to eighty-five feet, had suddenly appeared in Etruria, and after doing much damage had been killed by lightning. Now all these signs had significance for the whole people; for it was the Romans on whom would fall the brunt of the fighting on both sides alike, and it was fated that many perish in each army at this time and that afterward all the survivors should belong to the victor. In the case of Antony, an omen of his defeat was given beforehand by the children in Rome; for although nobody suggested it, they formed two parties, of which one called itself the Antonians the other the Caesarians, and they fought with each other for two days, when those who bore Antony's name were defeated. And his death was portended by what happened to a statue of him that stood on the Alban Mount beside that of Jupiter; for in spite of its being of marble it sent forth streams of blood.
All alike were excited over these events, yet in that year nothing further took place. For Caesar, on his part, was busy settling matters in Italy, especially when he discovered the presence of money sent by Antony, and so could not go to the front before winter; and as for Antony, although he set out with the intention of carrying the war into Italy before they should suspect his movements, yet when he came to Corcyra and ascertained that the advance guard of ships sent to reconnoitre his position was lying off the Ceraunian mountains, he suspected that Caesar himself with all his fleet had arrived, and hence proceeded no further. Instead, he sailed back to the Peloponnesus, the season being already late autumn, and passed the winter at Patrae, distributing his soldiers in every direction in order that they might keep guard over the strategic points and secure more easily an abundance of provisions. Meanwhile men were going over voluntarily from each to the other side, senators as well as others, and Caesar caught a spy, Lucius Messius; but he released him, in spite of his being one of the men who had previously been captured at Perusia, after having first showed him his entire force. And Caesar sent Antony a letter, bidding him either withdraw from the sea a day's journey on horseback and permit him to land in security, on condition that they should join battle within five days, or else cross over to Italy himself on the same understanding. He did not, of course, expect that anything would come of it, and indeed Antony made a great deal of fun of him, saying, "Who will be our arbitrator if the compact is transgressed in any way?" But he hoped to inspire his own soldiers with courage and his opponents with terror by making this demand.
As consuls for the next year after this Caesar and Antony had been appointed at the time when they had settled the offices for eight years at once, and this was the last year of the period; but as Antony had been deposed, as I have stated, Valerius Messalla, who had once been proscribed by them, became consul with Caesar. About this time a madman rushed into the theatre at one of the festivals and seized the crown of the former Caesar and put it on, whereupon he was torn to pieces by the bystanders. A wolf was caught as it was running into the temple of Fortune and killed, and in the Circus at the very time of the horse-race a dog killed and devoured another dog. Fire also consumed a considerable portion of the Circus itself, along with the temple of Ceres, another shrine dedicated to Spes, and a large number of other structures. The freedmen were thought to have caused this; for all of them who were in Italy and possessed property worth two hundred thousand sesterces or more had been ordered to contribute an eighth of it. This resulted in numerous riots, murders, and the burning of many buildings on their part, and they were not brought to order until they were subdued by armed force. In consequence of this the freemen who held any land in Italy grew frightened and kept quiet; for they also had been ordered to give a quarter of their annual income, and though they were on the point of rebelling against this extortion, they were not bold enough after what had just happened to make any disturbance, but reluctantly brought in their contributions without resort to arms. Therefore it was believed that the fire was due to a plot originated by the freedmen; yet this did not prevent it from being recorded among the out-and-out portents, because of the number of buildings burned.
Although such omens had appeared to them, the two leaders neither were dismayed nor relaxed their preparations for war, but spent the winter in spying upon and annoying each other. For Caesar had set sail from Brundisium and had proceeded as far as Corcyra, intending to attack while off their guard the enemy forces lying off Actium, but he encountered a storm and received damage which caused him to withdraw. When spring came, Antony made no move at any point; for the crews that manned his triremes were made up of all sorts of races, and as they had been wintering at a distance from him, they had had no practice and their numbers had been diminished by disease and desertions. Moreover Agrippa had captured Methone by storm and killed Bogud there, and was now watching for the merchant vessels that came to land and was making descents from time to time on various parts of Greece, all of which disturbed Antony greatly. But Caesar was encouraged by this and wished to bring into play as soon as possible the enthusiasm of his army, which was splendidly trained, and to wage the war in Greece near his rival's bases rather than in Italy near Rome. Therefore he assembled all his troops that were of any value, and likewise all the men of influence, both senators and knights, at Brundisium, wishing to make the first coöperate with him and to keep the others from beginning a rebellion as they might if left by themselves, but chiefly with the purpose of showing to all the world that he had the largest and strongest element among the Romans in sympathy with himself. From Brundisium he sent orders to all these that they should take along with them a stated number of servants and also, except in the case of the soldiers, should carry with them their own supplies. Thereupon he crossed the Ionian Gulf with the entire array. He was leading them, not to the Peloponnesus or against Antony, but toward Actium, where the greater part of his rival's fleet was at anchor, to see if he could forestall Antony by gaining possession of it, willing or unwilling.
With this object in view Caesar disembarked the cavalry at the foot of the Ceraunian mountains and sent them to the point mentioned, while he himself with his ships seized Corcyra, which had been deserted by the garrisons there, and come to anchor in the Fresh Harbor, so named because it is made fresh by the river which empties into it. there he established a naval station, and with that as his base made excursions to Actium. But no one came out to meet him or would hold parley with him, though he challenged them to do one of two things either come to terms or give battle. But the first alternative they would not accept because of their confidence, nor the second, because of their fear. He then occupied the site where Nicopolis now stands, and took up a position on high ground there from which there is a view over all the outer sea around the Paxos islands and over the inner, or Ambracian, gulf, as well as over the intervening waters, in which are the harbors of Nicopolis. This spot he fortified, and he constructed walls from it down to Comarus, the outer harbor, and consequently commanded Actium by land and sea, watching it from above with his army and blockading it with his fleet. I have even heard the report that he actually transported triremes from the outer sea to the gulf by way of the fortifications, using newly flayed hides smeared with olive oil instead of runways, yet I am unable to name any exploit of these ships inside the gulf and therefore cannot believe the tradition; for it certainly would have been no small task to draw triremes over so narrow and uneven a tract of land on hides. Nevertheless, this feat is said to have been accomplished in the manner described. Now Actium is a place sacred to Apollo and is situated in front of the mouth of the strait leading into the Ambracian Gulf opposite the harbors of Nicopolis. This strait extends for a long distance in a narrow course of uniform breadth, and both it and all the waters in front of it furnish an excellent place in which to anchor and lie in wait. The forces of Antony had occupied these positions in advance, had built towers on each side of the mouth, and had stationed ships in the intervening waters at intervals so that they could both sail out and return in safety. The men were encamped on the farther side of the narrows, beside the sanctuary, in a level and broad space, which, however, was more suitable as a place for fighting than for encamping; it was because of this fact more than any other that they suffered severely from disease, not only during the winter, but much more during the summer.
As soon as Antony learned of Caesar's arrival he did not delay, but hastened to Actium with his followers. And he arrived there not long afterwards, but did not at once risk an encounter, though Caesar constantly drew up his infantry in battle order in front of the enemy's camp, often sailed against them with his ships and carried off their transports, with the object of joining battle with only such as were then present, before Antony's entire command should assemble. For this very reason the latter was unwilling to stake his all on the cast, and he had recourse for select days to feeling out his enemy and to skirmished until he had gathered his legions. With these, especially since Caesar no longer kept assailing him as before, he crossed the narrows and encamped not far from him, after which he sent cavalry around the gulf and thus invested him on both sides. Caesar, accordingly, remained quiet himself, and no longer accepted any encounter which he could avoid, but sent some troops into Greece and Macedonia with the intention of drawing Antony off in that direction. While they were so engaged Agrippa made a sudden dash with his fleet and captured Leucas and the vessels which were there, took Patrae by conquering Quintus Nasidius in a sea-fight, and later reduced Corinth also. Accordingly, when all this had happened, and when Marcus Titius and Statilius Taurus made a sudden charge upon Antony's cavalry and defeated it and won over Philadelphus, king of Paphlagonia, and meanwhile Gnaeus Domitius, having some grievance against Cleopatra, transferred his allegiance also, to be sure, he proved of no service to Caesar, since he fell sick and died not long after, yet he created the impression that it was because of his disapproval of the situation on the side on which he was that he had deserted to the other, for many others followed his example, Antony no longer felt the same confidence, but was suspicious of everybody. For this reason he tortured and put to death, among others, Iamblichus, king of a tribe of the Arabians, and handed over Quintus Postumius, a senator, to be torn asunder. Finally he became afraid that Quintus Dellius and Amyntas, the Galatian, who, as it chanced, had been sent into Macedonia and Thrace to secure mercenaries, would espouse Caesar's cause, and he set out to overtake them, pretending that he wished to render them assistance in case any hostile force should attack them. And in the meantime a naval battle occurred. Lucius Tarius, it seems, was anchored with a few ships opposite Sosius, who hoped to achieve a notable success by attacking him before the arrival of Agrippa, to whom the whole fleet had been entrusted. Accordingly, Sosius waited for a thick mist, so that Tarius should not beforehand because aware of his numbers and flee, and suddenly sailed out just before dawn and immediately at the first assault routed his opponent and pursued him, but failed to capture him; for Agrippa by chance met Sosius on the way, so that he not only gained nothing from the victory, but perished, together with Tarconditomotus and many others.
Now, because of this reverse and because Antony himself on his return had been defeated in a cavalry battle by Caesar's advance guard, he decided not to let his men encamp thereafter in two different places, and so during the night he left the intrenchments which were near his opponents and retired to the other side of the narrows, where the largest part of his army was encamped. And when provisions also began to fail him because he was shut off from bringing in grain, he held a council to deliberate whether they should remain where they were and hazard an encounter or should move somewhere else and protract the war. After various opinions had been expressed by different men, Cleopatra prevailed with her advice that they should entrust the best strategic positions to garrisons, and that the rest should depart with herself and Antony to Egypt. She had reached this opinion as the result of being disturbed by omens. For swallows had built their nest about her tent and on the flagship, on which she was sailing, and milk and blood together had dripped from beeswax; also the statues of herself and Antony in the guise of gods, which the Athenians had placed on their Acropolis, had been hurled down by thunderbolts into the theatre. In consequence of these portents and of the resulting dejection of the army, and of the sickness prevalent among them, Cleopatra herself became alarmed and filled Antony with fears. They did not wish, however, to sail out secretly, nor yet openly, as if they were in flight, lest they should inspire their allies also with fear, but rather as if they were making preparations for a naval battle, and incidentally in order that they might force their way though in case there should be any resistance. Therefore they first chose out the best of the vessels and burned the rest, since the sailors had become fewer by death and desertion; next they secretly put all their most valuable possessions on board by night. Then when the ships were ready, Antony called his soldiers together and spoke as follows:
"The preparations for the war which it was my duty to attend to have all been adequately made, soldiers, in advance. First, there is your immense throng, all the chosen flower of our dependents and allies; and to such a degree are you masters of every form of combat that is in vogue among us that each of you, unsupported, is formidable to your adversaries. Again, you yourselves surely see how large and how fine a fleet we have, and how many fine hoplites, cavalry, slingers, peltasts, archers, and mounted archers. Most of these arms are not found at all on the other side, and those that they have are much fewer and far less powerful than ours. Moreover, their funds are scanty, and that, too, though they have been raised by forced contributions and cannot last long, and at the same time they have rendered the contributors better disposed toward us than toward the men who took their money; hence the population is in no way favorable to them, and is on the point of open revolt besides. Our resources, on the other hand, drawn as they have been from our accumulations, have caused no one person to feel aggrieved, and will aid us all collectively.
"In addition to these considerations, numerous and important as they are, I hesitate on general principles to add anything personal concerning myself by way of boasting; yet since this, too, is one of the factors which contribute to victory in war, and in the opinion of all men is of supreme importance, I mean that men who are to wage war successfully must also have an excellent general, necessity itself has rendered quite inevitable what I shall say about myself, in order that you may realize even better than you do this truth, that you yourselves are the kind of soldiers that could win even without a good leader, and that I am the kind of leader that could prevail even with poor soldiers. For I am at that age when men are at their very prime, both in body and in mind, and are hampered neither by the rashness of youth nor by the slackness of old age, but are their strongest, because they occupy the mean between these two extremes. Moreover, I have the advantage of such natural gifts and of such a training that I can with the greatest ease make the right decision in every case and give it utterance. As regards experience, which, as you know, causes even the ignorant and the uneducated to appear to be of some value, I have been acquiring that through my whole political and my whole military career. For from boyhood down to the present moment I have continually trained myself in these matters; I have been ruled much and have ruled much, and thereby I have learned, on the one hand, all the tasks of whatever kind the leader must impose, and, on the other, all the duties of whatever kind the subordinate must obediently perform. I have known fear, I have known confidence; thereby I have schooled myself, through the one, not to be afraid of anything too readily, and, through the other, not to venture on any hazard too heedlessly. I have known good fortune, I have known failure; consequently I am able to avoid both despair and excess of pride.
"I speak to you who know what I say is true, and make you who hear it my witnesses to its truth, not with the intention of uttering idle boasts about myself, enough for me, so far as fame is concerned, is your consciousness of it, but to the end that you may in this way bring home to yourselves how much better we are equipped than our opponents. For while they are inferior to us not only in number of troops and in abundance of money, but also in diversity of equipment, yet in no one respect are they so lacking as in the youth and inexperience of their commander. About his deficiencies in general I do not need to speak precisely of in detail, but I will sum up the whole matter and say, what you also know, that he is a veritable weakling in body and has never by himself been city in any important battle either on the land or on the sea. Indeed, at Philippi, in one and the same conflict, it was I that conquered and he that was defeated.
"So great is the difference between us two; but, as a rule, it is those who have the better equipment that secure the victories. Now if our opponents have any strength at all, you will find it to exist in their heavy-armed force and on land; as for their ships, they will not even be able to sail out against us at all. For you yourselves, of course, see the length and beam of our vessels, which are such that even if the enemy's were a match for them in number, yet because of these advantages on our side they could do no damage either by charging bows-on or by ramming our sides. For in the one case the thickness of our timbers, and in the other the very height of our ships, would certainly check them, even if there were no one on board to ward them off. Where, indeed, will anyone find a chance to assail ships which carry so many archers and slingers, who have the further advantage of striking their assailants from the towers aloft? But if anyone should manage to come up close, how could he fail to get sunk by the very number of our oars, or how could he fail to be sent to the bottom when shot at by all the warriors on our decks and in our towers? Do not imagine, now, that they possess any particular seamanship just because Agrippa won a naval battle off Sicily; for they contended, not against Sextus, but against his slaves, not against a like equipment with ours, but against one far inferior. And if anyone is inclined to make much of their good fortune in that combat, he is bound to reckon on the other side the defeat which Caesar himself suffered at the hands of Sextus himself; in this way he will find, not merely that our chances are equal, but that all the considerations on our side are far more numerous and far better than on theirs. In a word, how large a part does Sicily form of the whole empire, and how large a fraction of our force did the troops of Sextus possess, that anyone should reasonably fear Caesar's armament, which is precisely the same as before and has grown neither larger nor better, merely because of his good luck, rather than take courage because of his defeat? It is precisely in view of these considerations, therefore, that I have not cared to risk a first engagement with the infantry, where they appear to have strength in a way, in order that no one of you should become disheartened as the result of a reverse in that arm; instead, I have chosen to begin with the ships, where we are strongest and have a vast superiority over our antagonists, in order that after a victory with these we may scorn their infantry also. For you know well that the turn of the scale in this war depends for both sides entirely upon just this I mean our fleets; for if we come out victorious with this arm we shall thenceforth suffer no harm from any of their other forces either, but shall cut them off on an islet, as it were, since all the regions round about are in our possession, and shall subdue them without trouble, if inn of other way, at least by hunger.
"Now I think that there is no further need even of words to show you that we shall be struggling, not for small or insignificant ends, but in a contest such that, if we are zealous, we shall obtain the greatest rewards, and if careless, we shall suffer the most grievous misfortunes. Why, what would they not do to us, if they should prevail, when they have put to death practically all the followers of Sextus who were of any prominence, and have even destroyed many followers of Lepidus though they coöperated with Caesar's party? But why do I mention this, seeing that they have removed from his command altogether Lepidus himself, who was guilty of no wrong and furthermore had been their ally, and keep him under guard as if he were a prisoner of war, and when they have also extracted contributions of money from all the freedmen of Italy and from all the rest likewise who possess any land, going so far as to force some of them actually to resort to arms, and then for that act to put large numbers to death? Is it possible that those who have not spared their allies will spare us? Will those who levied tribute upon the property of their own adherents keep their hands from ours? Will they show humanity as victors who, even before gaining supremacy, have committed every conceivable outrage? Not to spend time in speaking of the experience of other people, I will enumerate their acts of insolence toward ourselves. Who does not know that, although I was chosen a partner and colleague of Caesar and was given the management of public affairs on equal terms with him, and received like honors and offices, in possession of which I have continued for so long a time, yet I have been deprived of them all, so far as lay in his power; I have become a private citizen instead of a commander, disenfranchised instead of consul, and this not by the action of the people nor yet of the senate (for how could that be, when the consuls and some other senators went so far as to flee at once from the city in order to escape casting any such vote?), but by the act of this one man and of his adherent, who do not perceive that they are training a sovereign to rule over themselves first of all? Why, the man who dared while I was still alive and in possession of so great power and was conquering the Armenians, to hunt out my will, to take it forcibly from those who received it, to open it and read it public column how, I say, should a man like that spare either you or anybody else? And how will he show any kindness to others to whom he is bound by no tie, when he has shown himself such a man toward me his friend, his table-companion, his kinsman?
"Now in case we are to draw any inferences from his decrees, he threatens you openly, at any rate he has made the majority of you enemies outright, but against me personally no such declaration has been made, though he is at war with me and is already acting in every way like one who has not only conquered me but also murdered me. Hence, when he has treated me in such a way, me, whom he pretends not even yet at this day to regard as an enemy, he surely will not keep his hands off you, with whom even he clearly admits that he is at war. What in the world does he mean, then, by threatening us all alike with arms, but in the decree declaring that he is at war with some and not with others? It is not, by Jupiter, with the intention of making any distinction among us, or of treating one class in one way and another in another, if he prevails, but it is in order to set us at variance and bring us in collision, and thus render us weaker. For of course he is not unaware that while we are in accord, and acting as one in everything, he can never get the upper hand, but that if we quarrel, and some choose one policy and the rest another, he may perhaps prevail; and it is for this reason that he acts as he does toward us.
"Just as I, therefore, and the Romans associated with me foresee the danger, in spite of our enjoying a kind of immunity so far as the decrees are concerned, and as we comprehend his plot, and yet neither abandon you nor look privately to our own advantage, in like manner you, too, whom even he himself does not deny that he regards as hostile, yes, most hostile, ought to bear in mind all these facts, and counting both our dangers and our hopes as common to us all, you should coöperate in every way in what we have to do and eagerly share in our zeal, balancing against each other what we shall suffer (as I have explained) if defeated, and what we shall gain if victorious. For while it is a great thing for us just to escape being the victims of insult and greed, if by any chance we are defeated, yet it is greatest of all to conquer and thus to be able to accomplish all we have prayed for. On the other hand, it is most disgraceful for us, who are so many and so valiant, who have weapons, money, ships, and horses, to choose the worse instead of the better course, and when it is in our power to confer liberty upon the other side as well as upon ourselves, to prefer to share their slavery with them. Our aims, you must know, are so opposed that, whereas he desires to reign as a sovereign over you, I wish to free them as well as you, and this indeed I have confirmed by oath. Therefore, as men who are to struggle for both sides alike and to win blessings in which all will share, let us earnestly strive, soldiers, to prevail at the present moment and to gain happiness for all time."
After speaking to this effect Antony put all his most prominent associates on board the ships, to prevent them from beginning any mutiny if left by themselves, as Dellius and some other deserters had done; he also embarked great numbers of archers, slingers, and heavy-armed troops. For seeing that the size of Caesar's ships and the number of marines were chiefly responsible for the defeat of Sextus, Antony had built his vessels much higher in the water than those of his opponents, constructing only a few triremes, but instead some ships with four and some with ten banks of oars, and all the remainder in between these two; upon these he had built lofty towers, and he had put aboard a large number of men, who could thus fight from walls, as it were. Caesar, for his part, was observing their equipment and making his preparations, and when he learned from Dellius and others their intention, he also assembled his army and spoke to this effect:
"Observing, soldiers, both from what I have learned by hearsay and from what I have proved by experience, that almost all of the greatest undertakings of warfare, or rather, I may say, the undertakings of men without exception, turn out in favor of those whose thoughts and acts are upon the higher level of justice and reverence for the gods, I have myself taken to heart this truth above all others, and I advise you also to have regard for it. For even if we possess ever so vast and mighty a force, such that even a man who chose the less just of two courses might expect to win with it aid, nevertheless I base my confidence far more upon the causes underlying the war than upon such a force. For that we who are Romans and lords of the greatest and best portion of the world should be despised and trodden under foot by an Egyptian woman is unworthy of our fathers, who overthrew Pyrrhus, Philip, Perseus, and Antiochus, who drove the Numantians and the Carthaginians from their homes, who cut down the Cimbri and the Ambrones; it is unworthy also of ourselves, who have subjugated the Gauls, subdued the Pannonians, advanced as far as the Ister, crossed the Rhine, and passed over the sea into Britain. Would not all those who have performed the exploits I have named grieve mightily if they should learn that we had succumbed to an accursed woman? Should we not be acting most disgracefully if, after surpassing all men everywhere in valor, we should then meekly bear the insults of this throng, who, oh heavens! are Alexandrians and Egyptians (what worse or what truer name could one apply to them?), who worship reptiles and beasts as gods, who embalm their own bodies to give them the semblance of immortality, who are most reckless in effrontery but most feeble in courage, and who, worst of all, are slaves to a woman and not to a man, and yet have dared to lay claim to our possessions and to use us to help them acquire them, expecting that we will voluntarily give up to them the prosperity which we possess? Who would not lament at seeing Roman soldiers acting as bodyguards of their queen? Who would not groan at hearing that Roman knights and senators fawn upon her like eunuchs? Who would not weep when he hears and sees Antony himself, the man twice consul, often imperator, to whom was committed in common with me the management of the public business, who was entrusted with so many cities, so many legions when he sees that this man has now abandoned all his ancestors' habits of life, has emulated all alien and barbaric customs, that he pays no honor to us or to the laws or to his fathers' gods, but pays homage to that wench as if she were some Isis or Selene, calling her children Helios and Selene, aand finally taking for himself the title of Osiris or Dionysus, and, after all this, making presents of whole islands and parts of the continents, as though he were master of the whole earth and the whole sea? All these things seem marvellous and incredible to you, soldiers, as I am well aware, but you ought therefore to be the more indignant. For if that is actually true which you do not believe even when you hear it, and if that man in his luxurious indulgence does commit acts at which anyone would grieve who learns of them, would it not be reasonable that you should go past all bounds in your rage?
"Yet I myself was so devoted to him at the beginning that I gave him a share in our command, married my sister to him, and granted him legions. After that I felt so kindly, so affectionately, towards him, that I was unwilling to wage war on him merely because he had insulted my sister, or because he neglected the children that she had borne him, or because he preferred the Egyptian woman to her, or because he bestowed upon that woman's children practically all your possessions, or for any other cause. My reason was, first of all, that I did not think it proper to assume the same attitude toward Antony as toward Cleopatra; for I adjudged her, if only on account of her foreign birth, to be an enemy by reason of her very conduct, but I believed that he, as a citizen, might still be brought to reason. Later I entertained the hope that he might, if not voluntarily, at least reluctantly, change his course as a result of the decrees passed against her. Consequently I did not declare war upon him at all. He, however, has looked haughtily and disdainfully upon my efforts, and will neither be pardoned though we would fain pardon him, nor be pitied though we try to pity him. He is either heedless or mad for, indeed, I have heard and believed that he has been bewitched by that accursed woman and therefore pays no heed to our generosity or kindness, but being a slave to that woman, he undertakes the war and its self-chosen dangers on her behalf against us and against his country. In view of all this, what is left to us but the duty of fighting him, together with Cleopatra, and repelling him?
"Therefore let no one count him a Roman, but rather an Egyptian, nor call him Antony, but rather Serapion; let no one think he was ever consul or imperator, but only gymnasiarch. For he has himself, of his own free will, chosen the latter names instead of the former, and casting aside all the august titles of his own land, has become one of the cymbal players from Canopus. Again, let no one fear him on the ground that he will turn the scale of the war. For even in the past he was of no account, as you who conquered him at Mutina know clearly enough. And even if he did at one time attain to some valor through campaigning with us, be well assured that he has now spoiled it utterly by his changed manner of life. For it is impossible for one who leads a life of royal luxury, and coddles himself like a woman, to have a manly thought or do a manly deed, since it is an inevitable law that a man assimilates himself to the practices of his daily life. A proof of this is that in the one war which he has waged in all this long time, and the one campaign that he has made, he caused the death of vast numbers of citizens in the battles, returned in utter disgrace from Praaspa, and lost ever so many men besides in his flight. So, then, if any one of us were called upon to execute a ridiculous dance or to cut a lascivious fling, such a person would surely have to yield the honors to him, since these are the specialities he has practised, but now that the occasion calls for arms and battle, what is there about him that anyone should dread? His physical fitness? But he has passed his prime and become effeminate. His strength of mind? But he plays the woman and has worn himself out with unnatural lust. His piety toward our gods? But he is at war with them as well as with his country. His faithfulness to his allies? But who does not know how he deceived and imprisoned the Armenian? His kindness to his friends? But who has not seen the men who have miserably perished at his hands? His reputation with the soldiers? But who even of them has not condemned him? A sign of this is that numbers daily come over to our side. For my part I think that all our citizens will do this, as on a former occasion when he was on his way from Brundisium to Gaul. So long, to be sure, as they expected to get rich without danger, some were very glad to cleave to him; but they will not care to fight against us, their own countrymen, on behalf of what does not belong to them at all, especially when they may without risk gain both their lives and their happiness by joining us.
"Some one may say, however, that he has many allies and much wealth. But how have we been wont to conquer the inhabitants of the continent of Asia? The famous Scipio Asiaticus can bear witness, or the fortunate Sulla, or Lucullus, or Pompey, or my father Caesar, or you yourselves, who vanquished the supporters of Brutus and Cassius. This being so, in proportion as you think the wealth of Antony and his allies is so much greater than that of others, you ought to be all the more eager to make it your own; for it is worth while, in order to win the greatest prizes, to wage the greatest contests. And yet I can tell you of no greater prize that is set before you than to maintain the renown of your forefathers, to preserve your own proud traditions, to take vengeance on those who are in revolt against us, to repel those who insult you, to conquer and rule all mankind, to allow no woman to make herself equal to a man. Against the Taurisci and Iapydes and Dalmatians and Pannonians you yourselves who are now present battled most zealously, often to win a few walls and a barren land; and you subdued all these people, though they are admittedly most warlike; yes, by Jupiter, against Sextus also, to win Sicily only, and against this very Antony, to win Mutina only, you carried on similar struggles, and so zealously that you came out victorious over both. And now will you show any less zeal against a woman who has designs upon all your possessions, and against her husband who has distributed to her children all your property, and against their noble associates and table companions whom they themselves stigmatize as 'privy' councillors? Why should you? Because of their number? But no number of persons can conquer valor. Because of their race? But they have practised carrying burdens rather than warfare. Because of their experience? But they know better how to row than how to fight at sea. I, for my part, am really ashamed that we are going to contend with such creatures, by vanquishing whom we shall gain no glory, whereas if we are defeated we shall be disgraced.
"And surely you must not think that the size of their vessels or the thickness of the timbers of their ships is a match for our valor. What ship ever by itself either wounded or killed anybody? Will they not by their very height and staunchness be more difficult for their rowers to move and less obedient to their pilots? Of what use can they possibly be to the fighting men on board of them, when these men can employ neither frontal assault nor flank attack, manoeuvres which you know are essential in naval contests? For surely they do not intend to employ infantry tactics against us on the sea, nor on the other hand are they prepared to shut themselves up as it were in wooden walls and undergo a siege, since that would be decidedly to our advantage I mean assaulting wooden barriers. For if their ships remain in the same place, as if fastened there, it will be possible for us to rip them open with our beaks, it will be possible, too, to damage them with our engines from a distance, and also possible to burn them to the water's edge with incendiary missiles; and if they do venture to stir from their place, they will not overtake anyone by pursuing nor escape by fleeing, since they are so heavy that they are entirely too inert to inflict any damage, and so huge that they are exceptionally liable to suffer it.
"Indeed, what need is there to spend time in speaking further of them, when we have already often made trial of them, not only off Leucas but also here just the other day, and so far from proving inferior to them, we have everywhere shown ourselves superior? Hence you should be encouraged not so much by my words as by your own deeds, and should desire to put an end forthwith to the whole war. For be well assured that if we beat them to-day we shall have no further trouble. For in general it is a natural characteristic of human nature everywhere, that whenever a man fails in his first contests he becomes disheartened with respect to what is to come; and as for us, we are so indisputably superior to them on land that we could vanquish them even if they had never suffered any injury. And they are themselves so conscious of this truth for I am not going to conceal from you what I have heard that they are discouraged at what has already happened and despair of saving their lives if they stay where they are, and they are therefore endeavoring to make their escape to some place or other, and are making this sally, not with the desire to give battle, but in expectation of flight. In fact, they have placed in their ships the best and most valuable of the possessions they have with them, in order to escape with them if they can. Since, then, they admit that they are weaker than we, and since they carry the prizes of victory in their ships, let us not allows them to sail anywhere else, but let us conquer them here on the spot and take all these treasures away from them."
Such were Caesar's words. After this he formed a plan to let them slip by, intending to fall upon them in the rear as they fled, for he hoped on his own part that by swift sailing he should speedily capture Antony and Cleopatra, and expected that then, when they had made it clear that they were attempting to run away, he could in consequence of their act win over the rest without fighting. He was restrained, however, by Agrippa, who feared that they would be too slow for the fugitives, who were going to use sails, and he was also confident himself that he would conquer without difficulty, because in the meantime a violent rainstorm, accompanied by a mighty wind, had struck Antony's fleet, though not his own, and had thrown it utterly into confusion. Hence he abandoned his plan, and following the plan of Antony, put large numbers of infantry on board his ships also, and placed all his friends in auxiliary boats in order that they might quietly sail here and there, giving the necessary advice to men in action and reporting to him what he ought to know; then he waited for the enemy to sail out. And when they set sail at the sound of the trumpet, and with their ships in dense array drew up their line a little outside the strait and advanced no further, Caesar set out as if to engage with them, if they stood their ground, or even to make them retire. But when they neither came out against him on their side nor turned to retire, but remained where they were, and not only that, but also vastly increased the density of their line by their close formation, Caesar checked his course, in doubt what to do. He then ordered his sailors to let their oars rest in the water, and waited for a time; after this he suddenly, at a given signal, led forward both his wings and bent his line in the form of a crescent, hoping if possible to surround the enemy, or otherwise to break their formation in any case. Antony, accordingly, fearing this flanking and encircling movement, advanced to meet it as best he could, and thus reluctantly joined battle with Caesar.
So they engaged and began the conflict, each side indulging in a great deal of exhortation to its own men in order to call forth the skill and zeal of the fighters, and also hearing many orders shouted out to them from the men on shore. The struggle was not of a similar nature on the two sides, but Caesar's followers, having smaller and swifter ships, would dash forward and ram the enemy, being armored on all sides to avoid receiving damage. If they sank a vessel, well and good; if not, they would back water before coming to grips, and would either ram the same vessels suddenly again, or would let those go and turn their attention to others; and having done some damage to these also, so far as they could in a brief time, they would proceed against others and then against still others, in order that their assault upon any vessel might be so far as possible unexpected. For since they dreaded the long-range missiles of the enemy no less than their fighting at close quarters, they wasted no time either in the approach or in the encounter, but running up suddenly so as to reach their object before the enemy's archers could get in their work, they would inflict injuries or else cause just enough disturbance to escape being held, and then would retire out of range. The enemy, on the other hand, tried to hit the approaching ships with dense showers of stones and arrows, and to cast iron grapnels upon their assailants. And in case they could reach them they got the better of it, but if they missed, their own boats would be pierced and would sink, or else in their endeavor to avoid this calamity they would waste time and lay themselves more open to attack by other ships; for two or three ships would fall at one time upon the same ship, some doing all the damage they could while the others took the brunt of the injuries. On the one side the pilots and the rowers endured the most hardship and fatigue, and on the other side the marines; and the one side resembled cavalry, now making a charge and now retreating, since it was in their power to attack and back off at will, and the others were like heavy-armed troops guarding against the approach of foes and trying their best to hold them. Consequently each gained advantages over the other; the one party would run in upon the lines of oars projecting from the ships and shatter the blades, and the other party, fighting from the higher level, would sink them with stones and engines. On the other hand, there were also disadvantages on each side: the one party could do no damage to the enemy when it approached, and the other party, if in any case it failed to sink a vessel which it rammed, was hemmed in no longer fought an equal contest.
The battle was indecisive for a long time and neither antagonist could get the upper hand anywhere, but the end came in the following way. Cleopatra, riding at anchor behind the combatants, could not endure the long and anxious waiting until a decision could be reached, but true to her nature as a woman and an Egyptian, she was tortured by the agony of the long suspense and by the constant and fearful expectation of either possible outcome, and so she suddenly turned to flight herself and raised the signal for the others, her own subjects. And thus, when they straightway raised their sails and sped out to sea, since a favoring wind had by chance arisen, Antony thought they were fleeing, not at the bidding of Cleopatra, but through fear because they felt themselves vanquished, and so he followed them. When this took place the rest of the soldiers became both discoraged and confused, and wishing to make their own escape also in some way or another, they proceeded, some to raise their sails and others to throw the towers and the furnishings into the sea, in order to lighten the vessels and make good their escape. While they were occupied in this way their adversaries fell upon them; they had not pursued the fugitives, because they themselves were without sails and were prepared only for a naval battle, and there were many to fight against each ship, both from afar and alongside. Therefore on both sides alike the conflict took on the greatest variety and was waged with the utmost bitterness. For Caesar's men damaged the lower parts of the ships all around, crushed the oars, snapped off the rudders, and climbing on the decks, seized hold of some of the foe and pulled them down, pushed off others, and fought with yet others, since they were now equal to them in numbers; and Antony's men pushed their assailants back with boathooks, cut them down with axes, hurled down upon them stones and heavy missiles made ready for just this purpose, drove back those who tried to climb up, and fought with those who came within reach. An eye-witness of what took place might have compared it, likening small things to great, to walled towns or else islands, many in number and close together, being besieged from the sea. Thus the one party strove to scale the boats as they would the dry land or a fortress, and eagerly brought to bear all the implements that have to do with such an operation, and the others tried to repel them, devising every means that is commonly used in such a case.
As the fight continued equal, Caesar, at a loss what he should do, sent for fire from the camp. Previously he had wished to avoid using it, in order to gain possession of the money; but now that he saw it was impossible for him to win in any other way, he had recourse to this, as the only thing that would assist him. And now another kind of battle was entered upon. The assailants would approach their victims from many directions at once, shoot blazing missiles at them, hurl with their hands torches fastened to javelins and with the aid of engines would throw from a distance pots full of charcoal and pitch. The defenders tried to ward these missiles off one by one, and when some of them got past them and caught the timbers and at once started a great fire, as must be the case in a ship, they used first the drinking water which they carried on board and extinguished some of the conflagrations, and when that was gone they dipped up the sea-water. And if they used great quantities of it at once, they would somehow stop the fire by main force; but they were unable to do this everywhere, for the buckets they had were not numerous nor large size, and in their confusion they brought them up half full, so that, far from helping the situation at all, they only increased the flames, since salt water poured on a fire in small quantities makes it burn vigorously. So when they found themselves getting the worst of it in this respect also, they heaped on the blaze their thick mantles and the corpses, and for a time these checked the fire and it seemed to abate; but later, especially when the wind raged furiously, the flames flared up more than ever, fed by this very fuel. So long as only a part of the ship was on fire, men would stand by that part and leap into it, hewing away or scattering the timbers; and these detached timbers were hurled by some into the sea and by others against their opponents, in the hope that they, too, might possibly be injured by these missiles. Others would go to the still sound portion of their ship and now more than ever would make use of their grappling-irons and their long spears with the purpose of binding some hostile ship to theirs and crossing over to it, if possible, or, if not, of setting it on fire likewise. But when none of the enemy came near enough, since they were guarding against this very thing, and when the fire spread to the encircling walls and descended into the hold, the most terrible of fates came upon them. Some, and particularly the sailors, perished by the smoke before the flame so much as approached them, while others were roasted in the midst of it as though in ovens. Others were consumed in their armor when it became heated. There were still others, who, before they should suffer such a death, or when they were half-burned, threw off their armor and were wounded by the shots which came from a distance, or again leaped into the sea and were drowned, or were struck by their opponents and sank, or were mangled by sea-monsters. Those alone found a death that was tolerable, considering the sufferings which prevailed, who were killed by their fellows in return for the same service, or else killed themselves, before any such fate could befall them; for they not only had no tortures to endure, but when dead had the burning ships for their funeral pyres.
When Caesar's forces saw the situation, they at first refrained from approaching the enemy, since some of them were still able to defend themselves; but when the fire began to destroy the ships, and the men, far from being able to do any harm to an enemy, could not even help themselves any longer, they eagerly sailed up to them in the hope that they might possibly gain possession of the money, and they endeavored to extinguish the fire which they themselves had caused. Consequently many of these men also fell victims to the flames and to their own rapacity.