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Pompey Chapter 60: Civil war: Caesar crosses the Rubicon[49 BC]
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In the meantime, news was brought that Caesar had occupied Ariminum, a great city in Italy, and was marching directly towards Rome with all his forces. But this latter was altogether false, for he had no more with him at that time than three hundred horse and five thousand foot; and he did not mean to tarry for the body of his army, which lay beyond the Alps, choosing rather to fall in on a sudden upon his enemies, while they were in confusion, and did not expect him, than to give them time, and fight them after they had made preparations. For when he came to the banks of the Rubicon, a river that made the bounds of his province, there he made a halt, pausing a little, and considering, we may suppose, with himself the greatness of the enterprise which he had undertaken; then, at last, like men that are throwing themselves headlong from some precipice into a vast abyss, having shut, as it were, his mind's eyes and put away from his sight the idea of danger, he merely uttered to those near him in Greek the words, Anerriphtho kubos," (let the die be cast,) and led his army through it. No sooner was the news arrived, but there was an uproar throughout all the city, and a consternation in the people even to astonishment, such as never was known in Rome before; all the senate ran immediately to Pompey, and the magistrates followed. And when Tullus [Note 1] made inquiry about his legions and forces, Pompey seemed to pause a little, and answered with some hesitation, that he had those two legions ready that Caesar sent back, and that out of the men who had been previously enrolled he believed he could shortly make up a body of thirty thousand men. On which Tullus crying out aloud, "O Pompey, you have deceived us," gave his advice to send off a deputation to Caesar. Favonius, a man of fair character, except that he used to suppose his own petulance and abusive talking a copy of Cato's straight-forwardness, bade Pompey stamp upon the ground, and call forth the forces he had promised. But Pompey bore patiently with this unseasonable raillery; and on Cato putting him in mind of what he had foretold from the very beginning about Caesar, made this answer only, that Cato indeed had spoken more like a prophet, but he had acted more like a friend. |
Note 1: probably this Tullus
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Cato the Younger
Horse:a. the animal. b. cavalry.
Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).