Caesar, knowing of the strong Egyptian position, opened the battle by having Roman-led legions destroy a Ptolemaic fort to try to lure the Egyptians off the hill. Caesar and his forces won in 48 BC, and Caesar became the first de facto Roman emperor. on what historians calculate is about Aug. 9. Exactly where Pompey camped his legions in this valley—and, accordingly, the name of the ensuing battle—has been hotly debated among scholars, a detail complicated both by discrepancies among ancient accounts and modern archaeological evidence. He gathered what troops he could from his forces which had weathered the siege of Alexandria and participated in the Battle of the Nile. This saw his men execute a direct assault against the town when he had desired them to conduct a false retreat to lure Vercingetorix off a nearby hill. Pompey himself donned plain clothes and evaded capture. Pompey had even married Caesar’s daughter Julia to help cement the alliance between them. Using their javelins to thrust at the enemy cavalry, Caesar's men halted the attack. Pompey was defeated at Pharsalus, and he fled to Alexandria. Kennedy Hickman is a historian, museum director, and curator who specializes in military and naval history. Cassius Dio, The battle of Pharsalus Cassius Dio (164-c.235): Roman senator of Greek descent, historian, author of a very important Roman History . Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for one of the most decisive and important battles of ancient Rome – the defeat of Pompey the Great by Julius Caesar. Pompey’s flight and subsequent murder handed Caesar the ultimate victory. He is expected to graduate from the University of Chicago in 2021 with bachelor’s degrees in English language and literature and political... Julius Caesar, marble bust; in the Capitoline Museums, Rome. Caesar’s own cavalry was quickly overwhelmed and retreated a little. The war effectively ended in 45 BC after his victory at the Battle of Munda. 48 BC: After his defeat at Dyrrhacium, Caesar fled to Pharsalus. Finally forcing a crossing that winter, Caesar was soon joined by additional troops under Mark Antony. Falling back, Caesar's cavalry led Labienus' horsemen into the line of supporting infantry. They were surprised to find him on the shores of Epirus in January with seven veteran legions. Pompey’s flight to Egypt and subsequent murder handed the ultimate victory to Caesar. In the centre were six more legions, commanded by Domitius Calvinus. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Each morning Caesar would edge his legions closer to the hill, and Pompey would respond by moving his men a little farther down the slope. However, he knew that Pompey’s cavalry vastly outnumbered his own, so he drew six or eight cohorts to form a fourth line behind his cavalry. Wary of fighting Caesar, Pompey failed to follow up this triumph, preferring instead to starve his opponent's army into submission. The two met in battle at Pharsalus in Greece in 48 B.C., and though Caesar’s armies won… In 58 BCE, Julius Caesar had invaded Central Gaul.The pretext had been the plan of the Helvetians to migrate to Aquitania, something that the Roman general considered unacceptable. With which element were Caesars men able to push back Pompey's cavalry. Advancing through Thessaly, Pompey encamped his army on the slopes of Mount Dogantzes in the Enipeus Valley, approximately three and a half miles from Caesar's army. Leaving behind seven cohorts at his camp, Pompey drew up his legions in three lines perpendicular to the Enipeus. River Rubicon. Wheeling left, this combined force of infantry and cavalry struck into Pompey's left flank. Biography of Pompey the Great, Roman Statesman, The Battle of Cowpens in the Revolutionary War, American Civil War: Battle of Fisher's Hill, The Battle of Gaugamela During the Wars of Alexander the Great, English Civil War: Battle of Marston Moor, Wars of the Alexander the Great: Battle of Chaeronea, M.S., Information and Library Science, Drexel University, B.A., History and Political Science, Pennsylvania State University. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. No battle is "unwinnable" (yes, there'll be exceptions to that, but in this circumstance I believe it stands true), it is just Caesar foiled Pompey's plan. Labienus’s horsemen were so surprised that they scrambled for safety in the hills as quickly as they had left them. The Battle of Pharsalus cost Caesar between 200 and 1,200 casualties while Pompey suffered between 6,000 and 15,000. The Battle of Thapsus was an engagement in Caesar's Civil War that took place on February 6, 46 BC near Thapsus (in modern Tunisia).The Republican forces of the Optimates, led by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Scipio, were decisively defeated by the veteran forces loyal to Julius Caesar. Uniting with their own cavalry, they charged and drove Labienus' troops from the field. Battle. ... + Born to Gaius Julius Marius Caesar and Aurelia Cotta in 13th of Quintilis (July) 100 B.C. Caesar chose to cross over the Pindus Mountains and into the province of Macedonia, where he found a fertile valley to feed his troops while he awaited his enemies. Name of the river Caesar crossed. Pompey fled from Pharsalus to Egypt, where he was assassinated on the order of Ptolemy XIII. Although Caesar was greatly outnumbered, his veteran legions successfully routed Pompey’s diverse but undisciplined levies. Battle of Pharsalus. He briefly returned to Rome in April, where he pardoned his political opponents, installed a new Senate, and raised at least 14 legions. Caesar’s legions then rushed forward again, this time engaging in combat with their swords. However, neither Pompey nor Labienus saw the eight cohorts that Caesar had planted behind his cavalry. Caesar then ordered his third line to reinforce the fatiguing first and second lines; they had been withheld for this purpose, and they struck unease into the hearts of the loyalist legionaries. Where did Caesar attack before he faced Pompey. After his defeat at Dyrrhachium in July of 48 BC, Caesar moved swiftly into Thessaly, incorporating the towns of the region under his control. His plan called for the infantry to remain in place, forcing Caesar's men to charge a long distance and tiring them before contact. Julius Caesar won a major triumph over the forces of Pompey the Great at Pharsalus, in 48 B.C. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Caesar possessed a much smaller fighting force. Page 4 of 4 - About 39 essays. Additionally, Caesar reported capturing 24,000, including Marcus Junius Brutus, and showed great clemency in pardoning many the Optimate leaders. With their flank crumbling and fresh troops assaulting their front, Pompey's men began to give way. The key element was Caesar’s utilization of his infantry to defeat Pompey’s cavalry. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle! Despite being reinforced, Caesar was still outnumbered by Pompey's army, though his men were veterans and the enemy largely new recruits. As his army collapsed, Pompey fled the field. The Triumvirate broke down after Crassus was killed at the Battle of Carrhaeand Julia died. Defeating Pompey's forces in Spain, he shifted east and began preparing for a campaign in Greece. In January 10, 49 BC Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with one legion. Having recently conquered and pacified the Gallic tribes, he was stationed in Cisalpine Gaul when he received orders from the Senate to relinquish command of his 10 veteran legions. With the immediate threat of Pompey removed, Caesar quickly consolidated his position in the western parts of the Republic. He was beheaded by Ptolemy's advisors and his head was pickled. Seeing Pompey move off the mountain on August 9, Caesar deployed his smaller army to meet the threat. With the war with Julius Caesar raging, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey) ordered the Roman Senate to flee to Greece while he raised an army in the region. Little is known about Caesar’s casualties; he personally reported 230 dead or missing legionaries, although that improbably low number should be treated with skepticism. Pompey pursued them, likely under duress; his fellow senators were growing anxious and demanded a swift end to what had now been over a year and a half of civil war. Battle of Pharsalus; Battle of Pharsalus. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? Ptolemy’s advisors had Pompey killed as he was coming ashore. This setback did not hinder Caesar, though. Also, he held his third line in reserve. Pompey did not immediately follow up on his success. Caesar had crossed the Rubicon in January 49 B.C., returning home from military assignment without permission. About Pharsalus Battlefield. Pompey was thoroughly stunned by his army’s destruction and fled by sea to Egypt in the hope that young Ptolemy XIII would grant him refuge. The Senate expected Caesar to cross the Adriatic in the spring of 48 bce, when the weather would be warmer and the winds stronger. Battle of Pharsalus, (48 bce), the decisive engagement in the Roman civil war (49–45 bce) between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great. His army destroyed, Pompey fled to Egypt seeking aid from King Ptolemy XIII. On January 10–11, 49 bce, Caesar took Legio XIII Gemina across the Rubicon River and into Italia proper. In his monumental Battle Studies (1870), Ardant du Picq dedicated five pages to quoting Caesar’s account of the battle verbatim, and then he cited “the genius of the chief” as the deciding factor.1 The lazy (or rushed!) …in Pompey’s decisive defeat at Pharsalus (48). Ruling as a triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Marcus Licinius Crassus, Pompey governed Rome's Spanish provinces whilst Caesar, now rich from his own glorious conquests, controlled Gaul. As the infantry engaged, his cavalry would sweep Caesar's from the field before pivoting and attacking into the enemy's flank and rear. Union members picked Biden after Trump 'abandoned' them. Additionally, Caesar reported capturing 24,000, including Marcus Junius Brutus, and showed great clemency in pardoning many the Optimate leaders. NOW 50% OFF! Though Pompey had been defeated and killed, the war continued on as Optimate supporters, including the general's two sons, raised new forces in Africa and Spain. In the seven months after their flight to Epirus, Pompey and the loyalist senators mustered a formidable army. Enipeus River. Through the summer, the two armies maneuvered against each other, with Caesar attempting to besiege Pompey at Dyrrhachium. These efforts were hampered as Pompey's forces controlled the Republic's navy. Both sides prepared to engage the following day, August 9. His supporters were to rally and involve Caesar in strenuous fighting in Africa, Spain, and the East for three more years, but Pompey did not live…. https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Pharsalus. They then marched east. On the right was Lucius Afranius with his seasoned Cilician legion and Spanish cohorts. Who commanded Pompey's cavalry. Updates? What happened to Pompey in Alexandria? By March he had been reinforced with four of his Gallic legions and advanced on Brundisium, but not before Pompey and the Senate abandoned Italia to regroup in Epirus. Caesar reached Egypt shortly thereafter and is said to have mourned his old friend’s murder. He has appeared on The History Channel as a featured expert. For the next few years, Caesar conducted various campaigns to eliminate this resistance. His exhausted and poorly supplied army was able to secure new sources of food and essentially become re-energized for the continuing campaign. In Brundisium Edition with your subscription clear that Pompey 's cavalry forward and made progress against counterparts! Head was pickled began debating withdrawing east that how did caesar win the battle of pharsalus may have taken place on June 6/7 or 29. Of supporting infantry BC, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica the proconsul with the Senate... 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