In the rear of the plain where Pompey’s lines were extended was the camp from which the army had been drawn out to prepare for the battle. The camp fires of the preceding night were moldering away, for it was a warm summer morning; the intrenchments were guarded, and the tents, now nearly empty, stood extended in long rows within the inclosure. In the midst of them was the magnificent pavilion of the general, furnished with every imaginable article of luxury and splendor. Attendants were busy here and there, some rearranging what had been left in disorder by the call to arms by which the troops had been summoned from their places of rest, and others providing refreshments-and food for their victorious comrades when they should return from the battle. In Pompey’s tent a magnificent entertainment was preparing. The tables were spread with every luxury, the sideboards were loaded with plate, and the whole scene was resplendent with utensils and decorations of silver and gold.
[Sidenote: His confidence of victory.]
Pompey and all his generals were perfectly certain of victory. In fact, the peace and harmony of their councils in camp had been destroyed for many days by their contentions and disputes about the disposal of the high offices, and the places of profit and power at Rome, which were to come into their hands when Caesar should have been subdued. The subduing of Caesar they considered only a question of time; and, as a question of time, it was now reduced to very narrow limits. A few days more, and they were to be masters of the whole Roman empire, and, impatient and greedy, they disputed in anticipation about the division of the spoils.
To make assurance doubly sure, Pompey gave orders that his troops should not advance to meet the onset of Caesar’s troops on the middle ground between the two armies, but that they should wait calmly for the attack, and receive the enemy at the posts where they had themselves been arrayed.
[Sidenote: The battle of Pharsalia.] [Sidenote: Defeat of Pompey.] [Sidenote: Scene of horror.]
The hour at length arrived, the charge was sounded by the trumpets, and Caesar’s troops began to advance with loud shouts and great impetuosity toward Pompey’s lines. There was a long and terrible struggle, but the forces of Pompey began finally to give way. Notwithstanding the precautions which Pompey had taken to guard and protect the wing of his army which was extended toward the land, Caesar succeeded in turning his flank upon that side by driving off the cavalry and destroying the archers and slingers, and he was thus enabled to throw a strong force upon Pompey’s rear. The flight then soon became general, and a scene of dreadful confusion and slaughter ensued. The soldiers of Caesar’s army, maddened with the insane rage which the progress of a battle never fails to awaken, and now excited to phrensy by the exultation of success, pressed on after the affrighted fugitives, who trampled one upon another,