This week’s historical battle post gets very very old with some Roman warfare…
Cicero and the Senate (frankly they don’t look much more engaged than the Houses of Parliament do…)
Between 49 and 45 BCE the Great Roman Civil war ran between Julius Caesar and the Populares against Pompey and the more conservative end of the Senate.
Pompey, leader of the Optimates
(Not to be confused with …
Portsmouth (Pompey), Pompey NY or Pompeii…but I digress)
On August 24 49BCE Gaius Scribonius Curio, a Caesarian general, faced Publius Attius Varus, King Juba I of Numidia and the Optimates in what is now Algeria and Tunisia.
Gaius Scribonius Curio, son of Gaius Scribonius Curio (yes they created viaducts, straight roads and good lavatories but their imagination in baby naming was somewhat lacking), was a friend of Cicero and himself a great orator. He was regarded as profligate and a man who attracted some attention, but also responsible for the first amphitheatre in Rome, which even came with movable seating.
King Juba of Numidia
Curio did not regard Varus as a significant threat, and when commanded by Caesar to take Africa from the Republicans (though the Romans were not short of confidence, Africa to Romans was essentially Tunisia, not the continent) he took far less troops than were available.
The initial attack from Curio went well for the Populares, Varus was injured and Curio and his forces confidently moved toward attacking Juba’s forces. The information he had, led them to believe that they were heading for part of Juba’s army, which they could have taken…it was in fact most of the Numidian army. During the attack Saburra and his forces ambushed Curio and decimated his troops.
When Curio found himself surrounded he opted to kill himself rather than be captured…Which possibly was a more dignified end for poor old Curio, since the senators that were captured were hauled off to Numidia to be executed and “displayed”.
The civil war itself continued until March 45BCE (Varus’ head made it to Caesar’s desk in 46BCE) and was fought through Italy, Greece, Egypt, Africa (the province not the continent), and Hispania (Spain and Portugal). The Optimates were defeated by Caesar’s forces, and he became Dictator perpetuus (which means precisely what you would expect), and his changes to the political system finally led to the Republic morphing into the Roman Empire.