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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


V. The Establishment of the Military Monarchy

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter X - Brundisium, Ilerda, Pharsalus, and Thapsus


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Page 130

Battle at Thapsus

At last Caesar, after being joined by his last reinforcements, made a lateral movement towards Thapsus. Scipio had, as we have said, strongly garrisoned this town, and thereby committed the blunder of presenting to his opponent an object of attack easy to be seized; to this first error he soon added the second still less excusable blunder of now for the rescue of Thapsus giving the battle, which Caesar had wished and Scipio had hitherto rightly refused, on ground which placed the decision in the hands of the infantry of the line. Immediately along the shore, opposite to Caesar's camp, the legions of Scipio and Juba appeared, the fore ranks ready for fighting, the hinder ranks occupied in forming an entrenched camp; at the same time the garrison of Thapsus prepared for a sally. Caesar's camp-guard sufficed to repulse the latter.

His legions, accustomed to war, already forming a correct estimate of the enemy from the want of precision in their mode of array and their ill-closed ranks, compelled--while yet the entrenching was going forward on that side, and before even the general gave the signal-- a trumpeter to sound for the attack, and advanced along the whole line headed by Caesar himself, who, when he saw his men advance without waiting for his orders, galloped forward to lead them against the enemy. The right wing, in advance of the other divisions, frightened the line of elephants opposed to it--this was the last great battle in which these animals were employed-- by throwing bullets and arrows, so that they wheeled round on their own ranks.

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