Ancient Battles, Still

When, oh when, dear blog readers must be thinking, will self ever be through with Adrian Goldsworthy’s massive Julius Caesar:  Life of a Colossus?  At the rate self has been crawling along, she’ll still be reading this book in a month’s time, and her library fine will be humongous.

At this moment, self is on p. 420.  The dueling generals are Caesar and his erstwhile father-in-law, Pompey.  Caesar is younger (if only by six years), and the more wily and experienced general.  But Pompey believes he has the right of Roman law on his side.  Pompey has just launched a series of attacks on Caesar’s fortified lines:

The Commentaries proudly reported the bravery of Caesar’s legionaries.  In one sector, three cohorts of the Ninth held off an entire legion supported by large numbers of allied archers and slingers.  After a day of bitter fighting, virtually every one of the defenders was wounded, although clearly a good number were still able and willing to fight.  Most of the wounds were caused by missles — 30,000 arrows are said to have been picked up within the fort after the last attacks had been beaten off.  Four out of the six centurions in one cohort were hit in the face and lost an eye.  The shield of one centurion, a man named Scaeva, had been hit by no less than 120 missiles.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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