Pharsalia (Civil War)

Submitted by NoNon on November 26th, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Julius Caesar, a new general with a tattered and tired army, knew he had to march on Rome, which no legion was permitted to do. Marcus Lucanus left us a chronicle of what happened:


It can't happen


Drew from the city for the surgeon knife
Which shore the cancerous limbs cut in too deep,
And shed the life stream from still healthy veins.
True that the guilty fell, but not before


None of the odds are in their favor

All else had perished. Hatred had free course
And anger reigned unbridled by the law
The victor's voice spake once ; but each man struck
Just as he wished or willed. The fatal steel



A team too young and meek against an adversary too powerful


Urged by the servant laid the master low.
Sons dripped with gore of sires ; and brothers fought
For the foul trophy of a father slain,
Or slew each other for the price of blood.


They have every reason and every excuse


Men sought the tombs and, mingliijg with the dead,
Hoped for escape ; the wild beasts' dens were full.
One strangled died ; another from the height
Fell headlong down upon the unpitying earth,



But excuses wear thin when nothing seems right, and nothing right seems to happen


And from the encrimsoned victor snatched his death
One built his funeral pyre and oped his veins,
And scaled the furnace ere his blood was gone.



But the truth is that nothing is what it used to be


Borne through the trembling town the leaders' heads
Were piled in middle forum : hence men knew
Of murders else unpublished. Not on gates
Of Diomedes,' tyrant king of Thrace,



Injuries, defections, suspensions


' Nor of Antseus, Libya's giant brood,
' Were hung such horrors ; nor in Pisa's hall

Were seen and wept for when the suitors died.
Decay had touched the features of the slain
When round the mouldering heap, with trembling steps
The grief-struck parents sought and stole their dead.


Boys are not expected to stand up to men


Fea, the body of my brother slain
Thought to remove, a victim to the peace
In headlong torrents ran a tide of blood,
Which furrowing its path through town and field


In an era where everyone is against them and everything wrong seems to happen


No longer held him, and the dead were thrown
Back on the fields above. With labour huge
At length he struggled to his goal and stretched
In crimson streak across the Tuscan Sea.


Sides have been chosen, with those against  trying to hamper everything they are trying to build.


Took flight from earth, now finds its only home,
Outcast to all besides, but safe with thee :
Vouchsafe thy counsel to my wavering soul
And make my weakness strength.


The odds are too long; we know it can't happen


While Caesar some, Pompeius others, follow in the fight,
Cato is Brutus' guide. Art thou for peace,
Holdiug thy footsteps in a tottering world
Unshaken ? Or wilt thou with the leaders' crimes


But it did happen once, in similar circumstance, against larger odds


And with the people's fury take thy part,
Where further do you march? At last he speaks,
Oh Thunderer, surveying Rome's walls from the Tarpeian Rock.
Oh Phrygian house gods of Iulus, Oh Rome, equal to the highest deity


A man outside the program, defied the odds, shocked the world and began a legacy


Favor my plans! Not with impious weapons do I pursue you.
Here am I, your own soldier, everywhere, now too, if I am permitted.
The man who makes me your enemy, it is he who be the guilty one.
Here I abandoned peace and desecrated law; fortune it is you I follow.


We all know it cannot happen

Farewell to treaties. From now on war is our judge!


But we cannot lose hope either


Hail Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!



November 26th, 2010 at 6:41 PM ^

Victory by Caesar effectively ended the Roman Republic and established the Imperial system. His troops though smaller in number were far more experienced than the Pompeians and included his core veterans from his Gallic, Belgae and German campaigns. Pompey's forces were actually strategically in a good position after an earlier failed attack by Caesar at Dyrrhachium and had success attacking Caesar's logistics - trying to starve his forces out. But given poor advice he changed strategy and offered pitched battle. For those who are interested beyond what is on Wiki net try Theodore Dodge, Caesar, part of his Great Captains series - a 19th century's view of the battle from a US Civil War vet. It has some bias reflective of the prejudices and chauvinisms of the time, but a pretty good general history.

Let's hope victory by the Wolverines does not the end freedom and democracy at the Big House :) We aren't the most experienced squad but we have a lot of heart!

If the Wolverines can stay in the game and reduce it to one offensive possesion or even one offensive play, we have a chance.