Caesar against Rome: The Great Roman Civil War

By Ramon L. Jiménez | Go to book overview

V
Across the Rubicon

For an unplanned and chaotic war of twenty centuries ago, the great Roman Civil War of the mid-first century before the Christian Era is unusually well documented. It is helpful that a master of prose narrative and the Republic's most prolific letter writer were both principals in the conflict, and that they wrote about it in detail, occasionally to each other. Dozens of Cicero's speeches have been preserved, and hundreds of his letters. Only a handful of Caesar's letters are extant; his literary reputation stands on the two Commentaries, the second of which is The Civil War -- on the surface a simple narrative, but in reality one of the most artful and accomplished works in Latin literature.

Caesar's own account of the war came to light only in the aftermath of the Ides of March some five years later, when Mark Antony made a hurried nighttime visit to Calpurnia, Caesar's grieving widow, and took charge of the letters and papers of the general he had served for more than a decade. What he found, among other things, was a manuscript of some fifty thousand words that may have already borne the title Bellum Civile, The Civil War, Caesar's version of events that began with his crossing of the Rubicon in January of 49 BCE. For more than fifteen centuries the text of this manuscript and that of The Gallic War were preserved in copies made by hand until they were printed in Rome, as Caesar's Commentaries, in 1469, on the first printing press in Italy. 1

The Civil War is marked by the same plain style and economy of expression as The Gallic War, and the appearance of objectivity in both is enhanced by Caesar's unusual practice of referring to himself in the third person. Caesar Civil War is the only remaining eyewitness account of the first two years of the war, and it is the eye, and the voice, of the commander himself.

In the ancient world no news traveled faster than a horse, and the news of the Senate's consultum ultimum, its final decree ordering the mobilization of its defensive army, took a full three days to reach Caesar at Ravenna, two hundred and forty miles away. When it arrived, he had two alternatives. He could risk his freedom and his fortune at a trial controlled by his enemies, or he could use his army to frighten the Senate into letting him retain his immunity until he was reelected Consul, in which position he could not be prosecuted.

Caesar does not say what decision he made, only that he addressed his troops, complaining of the wrongs done him by his enemies, and of the illegal

-65-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
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 *
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 282

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.