Livy, Periochae 111-115

Titus Livius or Livy (59 BCE - 17 CE): Roman historian, author of the authorized version of the history of the Roman republic.

A large part of Livy's History of Rome since the Foundation is now lost, but fortunately we have an excerpt, called the Periochae, which helps us reconstruct the general scope. This translation was made by Jona Lendering.


From Book 111 (which is the third dealing with the civil war)

[111.1] [48 BCE] Praetor Marcus Caelius Rufus, who had provoked riots in the city by inciting the plebs with the prospect of a debt cancellation, was expelled from office and from the city, and joined the exile Milo, who was building an army of runaway slaves.

[111.2] Both of them were killed when they tried to stir up war.

[111.3] Queen Cleopatra of Egypt was exiled by her brother Ptolemy [XIII].

[111.4] Because of the avarice and cruelty of propraetor Quintus Cassius, the inhabitants of Cordoba in Hispania, together with the two legions of [Terentius] Varro, abandoned the cause of Caesar.

[111.5] Gnaeus Pompey was besieged at Dyrrhachium by Caesar and, after storming the latter's forts with great losses to the other side, freed himself from the siege and transferred the war to Thessaly, where his army was defeated at Pharsalus.

[111.6] Cicero remained in Pompey's camp, because there was never a man less suited to war than he. Caesar pardoned all enemies who put themselves in the hands of the victor.

From Book 112 (which is the fourth dealing with the civil war)

[112.1] Itnote tells about the panic and flight of the members of the defeated party to various parts of the world.

[112.2] When Gnaeus Pompey went to Egypt, he was, by order of king Ptolemy (Pompey's own pupil) but at the instigation of Pothinus and the king's influential teacher Theodotus, murdered in a small bark, before he could set foot ashore, by Achillas, who had been commanded to commit this crime.

[112.3] Pompey's wife Cornelia and his son Sextus Pompeius escaped to Cyprus1.

[112.4] When Caesar arrived in pursuit on the third day, Theodotus showed him Pompey's head and ring, but Caesar was offended and wept.

[112.5] Without running any risks he entered a riotous Alexandria.

[112.6] Caesar, who had been made dictator, restored Cleopatra as queen of Egypt and he won through - at great personal risk - when Ptolemy attacked him, following the advice of the very men who had advised him to kill Pompey.

[112.7] When Ptolemy made his escape, his ship capsized in the Nile.

[112.8] Itnote also contains an account of the difficult march of Marcus [Porcius] Cato and his legions across the African desert, and an unsuccessful war against [king] Pharnacesnote waged by Gnaeus Domitius.

From Book 113 (which is the fifth dealing with the civil war)

[113.1] [47] The Pompeian faction had consolidated its position in Africa and after Cato had declined an offer of joint command, the sole command was given to Publius Scipio.

[113.2] When a debate took place about the sack of the city of Utica, whose citizens favored Caesar, and Cato maintained that it should not be done whereas Juba argued for its destruction, Cato was elected as the town's protector and warden.

[113.3] Gnaeus Pompeius, son of Pompey the Great, assembled an army in Hispania, and because neither Afranius nor Petreius wanted to be commander, he personally started the war against Caesar.

[113.4] King Pharnaces of Pontus, the son of Mithridates, was defeatednote without the slightest delay in the campaign.

[113.5] The tribune of the plebs Publius Dolabella caused unrest when he proposed a law to cancel debts, and the plebs started to revolt. However, Mark Antony, the master of horse, sent soldiers into the city and 800 people were killed.

[113.6] Caesar allowed his veterans, who were rebellious and demanded their discharge, what they asked, and crossed into Africa, where he fought at great personal risk against king Juba's men.

From Book 114 (which is the sixth dealing with the civil war)

[114.1] [46] Caecilius Bassus, a Roman knight of the Pompeian faction, provoked a war in Syria, and Sextus Caesar, abandoned by a legion that had transferred its allegiance to Bassus, was killed.

[114.2] Caesar defeated the praetor Scipio and Juba at Thapsus and captured their camp.

[114.3] When Cato received this news in Utica, he stabbed himself and although his son intervened and tried to rescue him, he reopened the wound that was being nursed, and died at the age of forty-eight.

[114.4] Petreius killed Juba and himself.

[114.5] Publius Scipio was captured on his ship, and added to his honorable death honorable last words.

[114.6] When his enemies asked him how the general was doing, he replied "the general is doing fine".

[114.7] Faustus and Afranius were killed.

[114.8] Cato's son was pardoned.

[114.9] Caesar's deputy commander [Decimus] Brutus won a battle in Gaul and defeated the rebellious Bellovaces.

From Book 115 (which is the seventh dealing with the civil war)

[115.1] Caesar celebrated four triumphs: for his victories in Gaul, Egypt, Pontus, and Africa. He also gave a banquet and several shows.

[115.2] At the request of the Senate, he allowed former consul Marcus Marcellus to return.

[115.3] However, Marcellus could not benefit from this kindness, because he was murdered in Athens by his client Gnaeus Magius.

[115.4] Caesar had the citizens counted, and 150,000 people were registered.

[115.5] He set out for Hispania to fight against Gnaeus Pompeius, and after both sides had conducted several operations and stormed several cities, Caesar won at great risk his greatest victory near the town of Munda.

[115.6] Gnaeus Pompeius was killed and Sextus made his escape.