|Do not fly Iberia
Antony Chapter 62: Preliminaries to the battle of Actium[31 BC]
Return to index
But so wholly was he now the mere appendage to the person of Cleopatra, that, although he was much superior to the enemy in land-forces, yet, out of complaisance to his mistress, he wished the victory to be gained by sea, and that, too, when he could not but see how, for want of sailors, his captains, all through unhappy Greece, were pressing every description of men, common travelers and ass-drivers, harvest laborers and boys, and for all this the vessels had not their complements, but remained, most of them, ill-manned and badly rowed. Caesar, on the other side, had ships that were built not for size or show, but for service, not pompous galleys, but light, swift, and perfectly manned; and from his head-quarters at Tarentum and Brundusium he sent messages to Antony not to protract the war, but come out with his forces; he would give him secure roadsteads and ports for his fleet, and, for his land army to disembark and pitch their camp, he would leave him as much ground in Italy, inland from the sea, as a horse could traverse in a single course. Antony, on the other side, with the like bold language, challenged him to a single combat, though he were much the older; and, that being refused, proposed to meet him in the Pharsalian fields, where Caesar and Pompey had fought before. But whilst Antony lay with his fleet near Actium, where now stands Nicopolis, Caesar seized his opportunity, and crossed the Ionian sea, securing himself at a place in Epirus called Torune (ladle). And when those about Antony were much disturbed, their land-forces being a good way off, "Indeed," said Cleopatra, in mockery, "we may well be frightened if Caesar has got hold of the Ladle!"
Event: Battle of Actium