Story of Rome - Mary Macgregor

Caesar and the Pilot

As Cæsar marched through Italy, town after town threw open its gates to welcome the general who had at last returned from Gaul, where his victories had covered him with glory.

What Pompey thought as he heard of the triumphal progress of his rival we do not know. But he could not fail to see how he had been deceived when he believed that the affection of the people had been centered on himself alone.

Not a single battle did Cæsar have to fight before he reached the gates of Rome. Even here he was free to enter the city, for Pompey, although his army was as large as that of his rival, had fled.

The defence of the city had been left in the hands of the Consuls. But they felt unable to face the general, who came with his army behind him, so they also escaped from the city and joined Pompey. In their fear they did not even stay to open the treasury to take from it the money that would be needed to help Pompey to carry on the war.

Pompey meanwhile crossed the Adriatic Sea and reached Epirus. He knew that in the East his name was still powerful, and would draw many brave warriors to fight for him.

And so it proved, for ere long the numbers of his army were nearly doubled. But the warriors of the East, even when they were brave, had neither the discipline nor the experience of Cæsar's faithful legions.

Cæsar did not stay long in Rome, but after adding to his army many strong soldiers from Gaul and from Germany, he went to Spain. Here he found that Pompey had left officers to guard the Roman provinces, but he forced them to withdraw and soon won over their troops.

Yet, although he was successful in this, the time he spent in Spain was beset with difficulties. Often he had not food enough for his army, while he himself was in danger from ambushes and from plots that were made by his enemies, to take his life.

After securing Spain, Cæsar went back to Rome, where he was at once made Dictator. He only held the position for eleven days, but during that time he used his power to recall the exiles whom Sulla's cruelty had driven away, and to restore to them, or to their children, their privileges as citizens of Rome. He also passed a law for the relief of debtors, which was sure to please the people.

Then having resigned his Dictatorship and been elected Consul, Cæsar hastened to Brundisium, where he had commanded his troops to assemble.

Here he found that there were not nearly enough ships to take his army across to Epirus. But no obstacle could turn him from his purpose, which just then was to pursue Pompey. So he determined to sail at once with seven legions, leaving the others, under Mark Antony, to follow as soon as a sufficient number of ships could be found.

It was only with great difficulty that Cæsar, with his seven legions, was able to land, for the coast of Epirus was being closely watched by Pompey's fleet.

But by sailing to the south he eluded its vigilance, and succeeded in landing at a town called Oricum. Here, day after day, he watched for Mark Antony, with the legions he had left behind. Months passed and still he did not come. For after Cæsar had landed, Pompey bade his fleet guard the coasts still more closely, and Antony was afraid to set sail.

Cæsar, at length, determined that he would wait no longer. He would himself go back and bring his army to Oricum. So he disguised himself as a slave, and hiring a small boat was rowed away, although the sea was covered with the ships of the enemy.

Not only his enemies, but Nature herself, threatened to endanger the life of the great commander. For a storm arose, and the wind blew more and more violently. The current too was strong against the boat, and at length the pilot, thinking that it was impossible to proceed, ordered the rowers to return.

Then Cæsar went to the pilot, and taking his hand he said, 'Go on, my friend, and fear nothing. You carry Cæsar and his fortune on your boat.'

Cæsar! The name was as magic, and the sailors forgot their fears, and once again they pulled their hardest against waves and wind. But their efforts were vain, while each moment the danger became greater.

When the boat began to fill with water, even Cæsar had to yield, and bade the sailors pull for the shore.

As he reached the land, his soldiers, who had missed him, eagerly helped him from the boat, and chid him for risking his life so heedlessly.

Moreover, it seemed that their pride was hurt, for why, they said, should he go into danger for the legions who were at Brundisium? Could he not trust them to gain the victories he desired?

With the spring, Antony and the legions at length arrived, and Cæsar determined to force Pompey to fight without delay.


Front Matter

The Lady Roma
The She-Wolf
The Twin Boys
Numitor's Grandson
The Sacred Birds
The Founding of Rome
The Sabine Maidens
The Tarpeian Rock
The Mysterious Gate
The King Disappears
The Peace-Loving King
Horatius Slays His Sister
Pride of Tullus Hostilius
King Who Fought and Prayed
The Faithless Friend
A Slave Becomes a King
Cruel Deed of Tullia
Fate of the Town of Gabii
Books of the Sibyl
Industry of Lucretia
Death of Lucretia
Sons of Brutus
Horatius Cocles
Mucius Burns Right Hand
The Divine Twins
The Tribunes
Coriolanus and His Mother
The Roman Army in a Trap
The Hated Decemvirs
The Death of Verginia
The Friend of the People
Camillus Captures Veii
The Statue of the Goddess
Schoolmaster Traitor
Battle of Allia
The Sacred Geese
The City Is Rebuilt
Volscians on Fire
Battle on the Anio
The Curtian Lake
Dream of the Two Consuls
The Caudine Forks
Caudine Forks Avenged
Fabius among the Hills
Battle of Sentinum
Son of Fabius Loses Battle
Pyrrhus King of the Epirots
Elephants at Heraclea
Pyrrthus and Fabricius
Pyrrhus is Defeated
Romans Build a Fleet
Battle of Ecnomus
Roman Legions in Africa
Regulus Taken Prisoner
Romans Conquer the Gauls
The Boy Hannibal
Hannibal Invades Italy
Hannibal Crosses the Alps
Battle of Trebia
Battle of Lake Trasimenus
Hannibal Outwits Fabius
Fabius Wins Two Victories
Battle of Cannae
Despair of Rome
Defeat of Hasdrubal
Claudius Enjoy a Triumph
Capture of New Carthage
Scipio Sails to Africa
Romans Set Fire to Camp
Hannibal Leaves Italy
The Battle of Zama
Scipio Receives a Triumph
Flamininus in Garlands
Death of Hannibal
Hatred of Cato for Carthage
The Stern Decree
Carthaginians Defend City
Destruction of Carthage
Cornelia, Mother of Gracchi
Tiberius and Octavius
Death of Tiberius Gracchus
Death of Gaius Gracchus
The Gold of Jugurtha
Marius Wins Notice of Scipio
Marius Becomes Commander
Capture of Treasure Towns
Capture of Jugurtha
Jugurtha Brought to Rome
Marius Conquers Teutones
Marius Mocks the Ambassadors
Metellus Driven from Rome
Sulla Enters Rome
The Flight of Marius
Gaul Dares Not Kill Marius
Marius Returns to Rome
The Orator Aristion
Sulla Besieges Athens
Sulla Fights the Samnites
The Proscriptions of Sulla
The Gladiators' Revolt
The Pirates
Pompey Defeats Mithridates
Cicero Discovers Conspiracy
Death of the Conspirators
Caesar Captured by Pirates
Caesar Gives up Triumph
Caesar Praises Tenth Legion
Caesar Wins a Great Victory
Caesar Invades Britain
Caesar Crosses Rubicon
Caesar and the Pilot
The Flight of Pompey
Cato Dies Rather than Yieldr
Caesar is Loaded with Honours
Nobles Plot against Caesar
The Assassination of Caesar
Brutus Speaks to Citizens
Antony Speaks to Citizens
The Second Triumvirate
Battle of Philippi
Death of Brutus
Antony and Cleopatra
Battle of Actium
Antony and Cleopatra Die
Emperor Augustus