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Pompey Chapter 69: Civil war: preparations for battle(cont.)[48 BC]
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|Pompey himself led the right wing of his army against Antony, and placed his father-in-law Scipio in the middle against Lucius Calvinus. The left wing was commanded by Lucius Domitius; and supported by the great mass of the horse. For almost the whole cavalry was posted there, in the hope of crushing Caesar, and cutting off the tenth legion, which was spoken of as the stoutest in all the army, and in which Caesar himself usually fought in person. Caesar observing the left wing of the enemy to be lined and fortified with such a mighty guard of horse, and alarmed at the gallantry of their appearance, sent for a detachment of six cohorts out of the reserves, and placed them in the rear of the tenth legion, commanding them not to stir, lest they should be discovered by the enemy; but when the enemy's horse should begin to charge, and press upon them, that they should make up with all speed to the front through the foremost ranks, and not throw their javelins at a distance, as is usual with brave soldiers, that they may come to a close fight with their swords the sooner, but that they should strike them upwards into the eyes and faces of the enemy; telling them that those fine young dancers would never endure the steel shining in their eyes, but would fly to save their handsome faces. This was Caesar's employment at that time. But while he was thus instructing his soldiers, Pompey on horseback was viewing the order of both armies, and when he saw how well the enemy kept their ranks, expecting quietly the signal of battle; and, on the contrary, how impatient and unsteady his own men were, waving up and down in disorder for want of experience, he was very much afraid that their ranks would be broken upon the first onset; and therefore he gave out orders that the van should make a stand, and keeping close in their ranks, should receive the enemy's charge. Caesar much condemns this command; which he says not only took off from the strength of the blows, which would otherwise have been made with a spring; but also lost the men the impetus, which, more than anything, in the moment of their coming upon the enemy, fills soldiers with impulse and inspiration, the very shouts and rapid pace adding to their fury; of which Pompey deprived his men, arresting them in their course and cooling down their heat. Caesar's army consisted of twenty-two thousand, and Pompey's of somewhat above twice as many.||
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Horse:a. the animal. b. cavalry.