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On the date of the battle of Pharsalia.
Vide Dissertation xiv. vol. i. page 524. last line of note. IT is not a new opinion that Cæsar reformed the calendar by the introduction of sixty-seven, and not of eighty-nine days. The same hypothesis was maintained by Guischard, in his controversy with De Lo-Looz ; and he has arranged the chronology of the intermediate period between the commencement of the civil war, U. C. 705, and the death of Cæsar, U. C. 710; in conformity to ita.
It is observable, however, that while this gentleman supposed the battle of Pharsalia to have been fought on the ninth of August in the unrectified year; he placed the death of Pompey on the twenty-ninth of September in the same. This was to introduce between the two events an interval of forty-nine or fifty days: a supposition too improbable to be for a moment entertained. The testimony of history is unanimous to the effect that the death of Pompey ensued upon the battle, with as little delay as the circumstances of the case would admit. A fortnight's interval is the utmost which can be supposed between these two events; an interval of six or seven weeks is altogether incredible.
The proof of this assertion may be easily made out, if the reader will give me leave to trace the course of proceedings, from the time when Cæsar took the field against Pompey, with a little more minuteness than I a Vide the Preface to Oberlinus's Cæsar, page x.
before considered to be necessary: assuming only that U. C. 706, the year of the battle, was an ordinary intercalary year; and consequently that the nominal dates which occur before the proper time of the intercalation in that year, are sixty-seven days in advance of the true, and after it, are forty-four or fortyfive.
Pridie nonas Januarias, Cæsar set sail from Brundisium; that is, January 4, in the year of Numa, U. C. 706; but October 29, in the rectified Julian year, U. C. 705.
Jamque hiems adpropinquabat; viz. longo interposito spatio, after his arrival on the opposite coast. This would be nominally February, U. C. 706, really December, U. C. 705.
Pompeius.. iter in hiberna.. habebat; that is at Dyrrhachium. Cæsar also was preparing sub pellibus hiemare, at the same place. We will suppose this was nominally the end of February, U. C. 706; but really the end of December, U. C. 705. The commencement of the winter season, that is, the ingress of the brumal quarter, which the rectified calendar dates from December 25, will coincide with this point of time.
After this, Multi jam menses transierant, et hiems jam præcipitaverat; yet Cæsar had not been joined by his troops from Brundisium. Præcipitaverat means here, had drawn to a close; as præcipitat in Virgil, means, is drawing to a close:
Et jam nox humida cœlo
So Ovid, Tristium i. iii. 47.
Jamque moræ spatium nox præcipitata negabat,
Versaque ab axe suo Parrhasis Arctos erat.
Servius, Ad Georgic. i. 43: Nam anni quatuor sunt tempora, divisa in ternos menses: qui ipsorum temporum talem faciunt discretionem: ut primo mense Veris novum dicatur Ver: secundo, adultum : tertio, præceps. sicut etiam Sallustius dicit ubique: nova æstas, adulta, præceps. sic Autumnus novus, adultus, præceps. item Hyems nova, adulta, præceps vel extrema * f.
Many months cannot well denote less than three or four since Cæsar first set out; which, combined with the signification of præcipitaverat, must imply that the spring quarter was arrived, or at hand. If U. C. 706, therefore, was intercalary, the course of events since Cæsar's departure from Brundisium, is brought nominally to the end of the intercalary month Merkedonius at least, if not into the ensuing March.
It makes in favour of this conclusion that the same chapter tells us, Sæpe flaverant venti, quibus necessario committendum existimabat. These winds would be south, or south-west, the time of whose blowing was commonly the beginning of spring 8. When An
304, stands as follows: onpa dé τοι κείνης ὥρης καὶ μηνὸς ἐκείνου, | Σκορπίος ἀντέλλων εἴη πυμάτης ἐπὶ VUKTÓS. Again, loco citato, Nam Canis infesto sequitur vestigia cursu, Præcipitantem agitans oriens. Where also the Phænomena, 339, has, avràp oy' aieì | Σείριος ἐξόπιθεν φέρεται μετιόντι ἐοικὼς, | καί οἱ ἐπαντέλλει, καί μιν κατιόντα διώκει. In another passage of the same Fragmenta, 1.348, the verb is used actively with its proper case: Quæ simul existant cernes, quæ tempore eodem
f Cf. ad Æneid. iii. 8: v. 295.
| Præcipitent obitum nocturno tempore nosces. The same idiom occurs repeatedly in Ammianus Marcellinus; though his Latin is not to be quoted as the most classical specimen of the language.
* Frontonis Opera inedita, pars i. p. 69. Epp. ad Marcum Cæsarem, lib. ii. 1: Id vespera et concubia nocte, dum se intempesta nox, ut ait M. Porcius, præcipitat, eodem modo perse
g Pliny, H. N. ii. 47.
tony and Kalenus had at last set sail with the fleet, nacti austrum, and were just arrived off the opposite coast of Epirus ... idem auster increbuit... auster, qui per biduum flaverat, in africum se vertit h.
There was a certain time in every year, at which the sea was considered to become shut; and another, equally well defined, when it was considered to become open. These two periods Vegetius, De Re Militarii, distinguishes by the setting of the Pleiads, November 11, on the one hand, and the vi Ides of March, as the earliest point of time—or the rising of the Pleiads, April 2, or May 10, or 13, or 27, on the other k. This last time in the Athenian year was in the month Munychion; which partly corresponded to March. Demosthenes : αἱ δὲ λήξεις τῶν δικῶν τοῖς ἐμπόροις ἔμμηνοί εἰσιν, ἀπὸ τοῦ βοηδρομιῶνος μέχρι τοῦ μουνυχιῶνος, ἵνα παραχρῆμα τῶν δικαίων τυχόντες ἀνάγωνται'. And again: μουνυχιώνος μηνὸς μέλλων ἐκπλεῖν τὸν ὕστερον ἔκπλουν m. But testimonies to this point will be produced abundantly elsewhere". The effect of them all is to render it almost certain, that, in the ordinary course of things, Cæsar could not expect to be joined by his fleet, before the middle of March in the tropical year.
The events between this junction, and the commencement of the siege of Dyrrhachium °, will bring us at least to the end of March truly; but to the middle of May, forty-five days later, nominally. The siege would consequently begin about the first of April.
Jamque frumenta maturescere incipiebant P. Theophrastus: ὥραι δὲ τοῦ σπόρου τῶν πλείστων δύο. πρώτη δὲ καὶ μάλιστα ἡ περὶ πλειάδων δύσιν 9: which in the Julian year would be about November 11. The grain so
h B. C. iii. 26.
i Lib. v. 9.
H. N. ii. 47. 1 Oratio xxxiii. 29.
k Cf. Ovid, Fasti, iv. 169. v. 599. Pliny,
sown he supposes to ripen, περὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα, παρὰ τοῖς πλείστοις (κριθαὶ μὲν ἐν) ὀγδόῳ (June). πυροὶ δὲ ἔτι προσ€πiλaμßávovσivTM, (July or August.) Pliny repeats these statements verbatim after him $.
On this principle, the corn in Epirus, as we may presume, would not ordinarily be ripe before July or August, nor begin to ripen before the middle of June: and this I should consider to be the time here implied*. The same conclusion follows from the allusion to the æstus, or summer heats, as drying up the springs and from the fact that the various kinds of seeds which Pompey's troops had sown within their own entrenchments, to provide fodder for their horses, were both grown up and consumed *.
Cæsar breaks up his camp before Dyrrhachium ; when the siege had lasted, according to Suetonius, per quatuor pæne menses". If it began about the commencement of April, it would be raised about the middle of July.
From subsequent notes of time, we may safely infer that a week afterwards elapsed before he began