Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War

By Ramon L. Jiménez | Go to book overview

III
Pompey and Cicero Conquer Rome

At the time of Caesar's arrival in 81, Ephesus was an important religious and commercial center and the chief city of the province of Asia. It was the site of the gigantic Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and even then a destination of tourists. Today it is the ruins of the temple and of the ancient city that are the tourist attractions. Its modern descendant, the town of Selçuk, has survived nearby, but its harbor has silted over and the site is now nearly two miles inland.

Marcus Thermus, even though he had been appointed Governor of Asia by Sulla, welcomed Caesar as the son of the Governor of less than a decade before. At this time the Roman army was still mopping up after the peace that Sulla had concluded with Mithradates four years earlier. Several cities in the area that had sided with the King had refused to surrender, the last being the Greek city of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. The siege of Mytilene required a large number of warships, the best source for which was the navy of King Nicomedes IV of Bithynia, a small country on the Black Sea in northwestern Anatolia. His capital was Nicomedia, modern Izmit, on the Propontis, today the Sea of Marmara, about three hundred miles north of Mytilene. Nicomedes owed Rome a favor, having begged for assistance there a decade before when he was attacked by Mithradates, and having been twice restored to his throne by Roman armies. Caesar's father and Nicomedes had become acquainted when the former was Governor of Asia, and it is likely that the nine- or ten-year-old Caesar had met Nicomedes when the King had traveled to Rome in 90 to make his appeal to the Senate. Thus it was only natural that Marcus Thermus would send the young Caesar to make the deal with Nicomedes.

Caesar's visit to the Bithynian court at Nicomedia gave rise to a piece of scandal that became part of the political rhetoric of his opponents for the rest of his life. The report reached Rome that Caesar had been observed at the court of Nicomedes in the role of royal cupbearer, a function customarily performed by the King's male lovers. Although it was nothing unusual for a Roman aristocrat to have a male lover, the notion of the scion of one of Rome's patrician families in the bed of an Asian King was a salacious tidbit that clung to Caesar all his life. Although he denied any dalliance with Nicomedes, he did his

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Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chronology xiii
  • Part One - The Rise of Caesar 1
  • Prologue - Three Men 3
  • I - Sulla Against Caesar 7
  • II - Rome and Its Neighbors 15
  • III - Pompey and Cicero Conquer Rome 25
  • IV - The Road to Gaul and Back 43
  • Part Two Caesar and Pompey 63
  • V - Across the Rubicon 65
  • VI - The First Spanish Campaign 81
  • VII - The Siege of Massilia 99
  • VIII - Curio in Africa 115
  • IX - The Campaign in Macedonia 129
  • X - The Battle of Pharsalus 147
  • Part Three - Caesar and Cleopatra 165
  • XI - The Alexandrian War 167
  • XII - Veni, Vidi, Vici 187
  • XIII - The Last Campaign 205
  • XIV - The Ides of March 223
  • Epilogue 243
  • Notes 251
  • Selected Sources 261
  • Index of Persons 269
  • General Index 277
  • About the Author *
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