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profligate nobles who thronged his camp fell to debating the distribution

of offices and spoils. It was only a question with them how long it would

be before Caesar's head would be displayed on a pike. When Pompeius showed

some caution and hesitation, the consulars and senators began to taunt him

with indecision and even incompetency. He was thus driven to follow his

antagonist and make the onset. Caesar had taken up a position at Pharsalia,

and here awaited the approach of his enemy.

On the 9th of August, B. C. 48, the Pompeian army offered battle, and the

gage was gladly accepted. Caesar's forces numbered twenty-two thousand men,

while Pompeius had forty-seven thousand infantry and seven thousand horse;

but the first was an army of veterans hardened by every sort of conflict

and exposure, enthusiastically devoted to their general, and ready to live

on roots and bark rather than concede the victory to their foes. A short

but hotly contested battle ensued; in which Pompeius was utterly

overthrown. Scarcely an organized company of his army remained. All were

either killed, captured, or dispersed. Many went over and joined the

standard of Caesar. Pompeius with a few companions escaped from the field

and took ship for Lesbos. Thence he sailed away for Egypt and landed in the

harbor of Pelusium. On stepping ashore he was stabbed to death by an

assassin, who had been sent thither for that work by the court of

Alexandria, who hoped by this bloody deed to win the favor of Caesar. But

they little knew the temper of the man with whom they had to deal. When he

arrived at Alexandria and the gory head of his former colleague was brought

to him as a trophy, he turned away in horror and refused all fellowship

with the murderers. He ordered the remains of Pompeius to be buried with

every mark of honor, and refused to patronize that style of revenge which

had hitherto prevailed as the method of Roman victors.

After the flight and death of Pompeius the remnant of the Optimate party

gathered around Cato in Illyricum; but their numbers were not formidable

nor their military character such as to create alarm. Caesar, therefore,

after the battle of Pharsalia, sent a small force to watch the movements of

Cato, and himself set out with his army for Egypt. In that country the

sovereign Ptolemy Auletes had recently died, leaving a will in which it was

directed that the kingdom should be divided between his daughter,

Cleopatra, and her brother Ptolemy. The guardians of the latter, however,

refused to recognize Cleopatra's rights and undertook her expulsion. But

the princess appealed to Caesar, as did also the party of Ptolemy. It was

to settle this civil broil of the Egyptians that Caesar now entered the

country. The adherents of Ptolemy refused to accept his arbitrament, and

Caesar espoused the cause of Cleopatra; nor is the suspicion wanting that

his judgment in so doing was not a little influenced by the personal charms

of the Egyptian princess. It is alleged that the bronzed warrior of Rome

showed in his relations with the young queen how little he had forgotten

the arts and sentiments of his youth. After a serious war of nine months'

duration the forces of Ptolemy were dispersed and Cleopatra was restored to

her rights.

The provincials of Rome had not yet learned the character of the conqueror

of the Gauls. Rumors were circulated from time to time that he was dead,

that his army had mutinied, that he had been defeated in battle. Such a

story was set afloat in Asia Minor, and Pharnaces of Pontus, son of

Mithridates, raised the standard of revolt. Caesar, hearing of the

rebellion, passed over hastily into the Asiatic province, fell upon

Pharnaces at Ziela, and annihilated his army at a blow. It was on this

occasion that he sent to the Senate that celebrated dispatch in which he

announced his victory in the three words: Veni, vidi, vici. "I came, I saw,

I conquered."

The horizon was now sufficiently cleared to admit of Caesar's return to

Rome. He found affairs at the capital in a state of great confusion. The

Tribune Dolabella and Antonius, to whom Caesar had entrusted the defense of

the city, had managed matters with little skill. More serious by far than

the disquietude occasioned by the imprudence of his subordinates was the

mutiny of the tenth legion at Capua. This body of soldiers had been the