Battle that Philippi (42 BCE): decisive battle in the war in between the republican assassins that Caesar and also his avengers, the triumvirs, who won. Together a consequence, Rome was destine to become a monarchy.

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In October 42 BCE, 2 Roman armies approached every other close to Philippi, a city in Macedonia. The very first army belonged to Brutus and also Cassius, the assassins the Julius Caesar and also defenders the the roman inn republic It arrived from the southeast. A little later, the triumvirs mark Antony and Octavian come from the west, wishing come avenge the assassination of Caesar. The first army supplied Neapolis (modern Kavala) together its it is provided base, and also had to cross mountains to obtain its food to the battlefield; the second army supplied Amphipolis, which was even an ext distant. The clash remained in the first place a battle of the supply corpses.

Because Brutus and Cassius had occupied the best positions (two small hills west of Philippi), mark Antony tried to circumvent Philippi by structure a causeway with the wetlands come the south of the city. Had he succeeded, he would certainly have reduced off his enemies" line of communication. However Cassius uncovered it and also built a transverse dam. If his enemy was for this reason occupied, note Antony suddenly ordered his men to storm Cassius" camp. They were an extremely successful, and also Cassius, believing the all to be lost, cursed suicide before he had learned that Brutus had actually at the exact same time beat the military of Octavian and had caught the camp of note Antony and also Octavian. In various other words, both sides had actually won a victory and suffered a defeat.

A second clash was decisive: a couple of work later, note Antony and also Octavian were able to attract Brutus into a battle that the ought not have accepted. In the end, the triumvirs were victorious.

Eleven years later, Octavian defeated Mark Antony in ~ Actium and also became sole leader of the roman world, agree the lock Augustus.The double battle at Philippi had actually been much more than just a fight in between rival factions: it had been about the future the the republic, i beg your pardon would end up being a monarchy.

Below is the account of the fight by Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165), the author of a Roman history and among the most underestimated of every Greek historians. His background of the roman Civil wars survives in its entirety. The 4th book, ar 105-138, contains an excellent account that the double battle of Philippi.

The translation was made through Horace White; note by Jona Lendering.

Appian, polite Wars, 4.105-138

The first battle the Philippi

<105> Philippi is a city the was formerly referred to as Datus, and also before the Crenides,note<"Wells".> due to the fact that there are numerous springs bubbling roughly a hill there. Philipnote fortified it due to the fact that he considered it fantastic stronghold versus the Thracians, and also named the from himself, Philippi. The is located on a precipitous hill and its dimension is exactly that that the summit that the hill. There are woods ~ above the north v which Rhascupolisnote led the military of Brutus and also Cassius. On the southern is a marsh prolonging to the sea. Top top the east are the gorges the the Sapaeans and also Corpileans, and also on the west a an extremely fertile and beautiful plain prolonging to the communities of Murcinus and Drabiscus and the river Strymon, about 65 kilometers. Here it is said that Persephone was lugged off while collection flowers, and also here is the flow Zygactes, in cross which they say the the yoke that the god"s chariot to be broken, indigenous which situation the river got its name. The level slopes bottom so that activity is straightforward to those descending indigenous Philippi, but toilsome to those going increase from Amphipolis.

The battlefield checked out from Philipi, with the 2 hills in the distance.

<§106> there is an additional hill not far from Philippi i m sorry is dubbed the Hill of Dionysus, in which are gold mines dubbed the Asyla. 2 kilometer farther room two various other hills, in ~ a distance of 3¼ kilometer from Philippi itself and 1½ kilometer from every other. On this hills Cassius and also Brutus were encamped, the former on the southern and the last on the north of the two. They did not development against the retreating military of Norbanusnote due to the fact that they learned that Antony was approaching, Octavian having actually been left behind in ~ Epidamnus ~ above account the sickness. The level was admirably suited for fighting and the hill-tops for camping, due to the fact that on one side of them to be marshes and ponds extending as much as the river Strymon, and also on the other gorges destitute the roads and impassable. Between these hills, 1½ kilometer apart, place the key pass indigenous Europe come Asia as between gates. Throughout this space they developed a fortification native camp to camp, leave a door in the middle, so that the 2 camps ended up being virtually one. Alongside this fortification flowed a river, i beg your pardon is referred to as by part the Ganga and by rather the Gangites, and also behind it was the sea, where they might keep their supplies and also shipping in safety. Your depot to be on the island of Thasos, 20 kilometre distant, and also their triremes were anchored at Neapolis, in ~ a street of 12½ kilometer.

Mark Antony

<§107> Brutus and Cassius to be satisfied through the position and proceeded to fortify their camps, yet Antony moved his military rapidly, wishing to anticipate the adversary in occupying Amphipolis as an useful position because that the battle. As soon as he found it currently fortified by Norbanus he was delighted. Leaving his gives there and also one legion, under the command the Pinarius, he progressed with the greatest boldness and encamped in the level at a street of only 1½ kilometer from the enemy, and also straightway the superiority the the enemy"s situation and also the inferiority that his own ended up being evident. The previous were ~ above elevated ground, the last on the plain; the previous procured fuel indigenous the mountains, the last from the marsh; the former acquired water native a river, the last from wells fresh dug; the former attracted their offers from Thasos, requiring carriage of just a couple of kilometers, if the last was 65 kilometers from Amphipolis. Still it seems that Antony was compelled to perform as the did, because that there to be no various other hill, and the rest of the plain, lied in a sort of hollow, was liable to inundation at time from the river; because that which reason likewise the fountains that water were found fresh and also abundant in the wells the were dug there. Antony"s audacity, although that was moved to the by necessity, confounded the opponent when they witnessed him pitch his camp so close to them and also in together a contemptuous path as quickly as the arrived. He raised plenty of towers and fortified self on every sides with ditches, wall, and palisade. The enemy likewise completed your fortification wherever their job-related was defective. Cassius, observing the Antony"s development was reckless, expanded his fortification in ~ the only location where it was still wanting, indigenous the camp come the marsh, a room which had actually been overlooked on account of its narrowness, so the there was currently nothing unfortified except the cliffs on Brutus" flank and the wetland on the of Cassius and also the sea lying against the marsh. In the center everything to be intercepted by ditch, palisade, wall, and also gates.


<§108> In this means both sides had fortified themselves, in the meantime do trial that each other by cavalry skirmishes only. As soon as they had actually done all the they intended and also Octavian had arrived (for, although he was no yet solid enough because that a battle, he could be carried along the ranks reclining in a litter), he and Antony prepared for battle forthwith. Brutus and also Cassius likewise drew the end their forces on their greater ground, yet did no come down. They decided not to provide battle, hoping to wear out the adversary by want of supplies.

There were nineteen legions of infantry on each side, yet those that Brutus and also Cassius lacked something of gift full, if those of Octavian and Antony were complete. Of mounties the latter had actually 13,000 and also the former 20,000, including Thracians ~ above both sides. For this reason in the multitude of men, in the spirit and also bravery that the commanders, and in arms and also munitions, to be beheld a most magnificent screen on both sides; however they go nothing for number of days.

Brutus and Cassius did not wish come engage, yet rather to continue wasting the opponent by absence of provisions, since they themselves had actually abundance from Asia, every transported by the sea from close in ~ hand, all the adversary had nothing in abundance and nothing indigenous their own territory. Lock could attain nothing through vendors in Egypt, due to the fact that that nation was tired by famine, nor from Spain or Africa by factor of Pompeius,note nor from Italy by factor of Murcus and Domitius. Macedonia and Thessaly, which were the only nations then providing them, wouldn"t suffice lot longer.


<§109> responsibility chiefly of these facts Brutus and also his generals protracted the war. Antony, fearful of the delay, fixed to pressure them come an engagement. He created a setup of effecting a passage with the wetland secretly, if possible, in stimulate to gain in the enemy"s behind without your knowledge, and also cut off your avenue of it is provided from Thasos. For this reason he arrayed his forces for battle with every the standards set each day, so the it could seem the his entire military was attracted up, when a component of his force was really functioning night and day do a small passage in the marsh, cutting down reeds, throwing up a causeway top top them, and flanking it through stone, so the the planet should not autumn away, and also bridging the deeper components with piles, every in the profoundest silence. The reeds, which to be still growing roughly his passage-way, impede the opponent from seeing his work.

After functioning ten work in this path he sent a pillar of troops by night suddenly, who populated all the strong positions in ~ his lines and also built number of redoubts in ~ the same time. Cassius to be amazed at the ingenuity and the secrecy that this work, and also he created the counter architecture of cutting Antony turn off from his redoubts. He brought a transverse wall across the entirety marsh from his camp come the sea, cutting and also bridging in the exact same manner together Antony had done, and setting up the palisade on the peak of his mounds, for this reason intercepting the i made by Antony, so the those inside might not escape to him, nor he render assistance to them.

<§110> as soon as Antony saw this around noon, instantly, through rage and fury, the turned his very own army, which was dealing with in one more direction, and also led it versus the cross-fortification the Cassius between his camp and also the marsh. He lugged tools and also ladders intended to take it it by storm and force his means into Cassius" camp.

While he to be making this audacious charge, obliquely and up hill, across the room that be separated the two armies, the soldiers the Brutus to be provoked in ~ the insolence the the enemy in dashing boldly athwart your front while castle stood over there armed. So they fee on their very own account, without any type of order from your officers, and killed with much slaughter (as herbal in a flank attack) every they came up with. The battle once started they fee upon the army of Octavian, also, which was drawn up opposite, put it come flight, gone after it to the camp i m sorry Antony and also Octavian had in common, and also captured it. Octavian himself was no there, having been warned in a dream to beware of the day, together he has himself composed in his Memoirs.

The battlefield, checked out from Octavian"s camp

<§111> as soon as Antony witnessed that battle was join he was delighted because he had required it, for he had been in trouble around his offers he judged the inadvisable to revolve again toward the plain, lest in do the evolution his ranks need to be thrown right into disorder. For this reason he continued his charge, as he had begun it, on the run, and advanced under a shower of missiles, and also forced his way till that struck the convoy of Cassius which had actually not moved from that assigned position and also which was amazed at this unanticipated audacity. He courageously damaged this advance guard and also dashed against the fortification that ran in between the marsh and the camp, demolished the palisade, filled up the ditch, undermined the works, and killed the males at the gates, disregarding the missiles hurled indigenous the wall, until he had required an entrance v the gates, and also others had actually made breaches in the fortification, and still others had actually climbed increase on the débris. All this to be done so rapidly that those who had just now caught the fortification met Cassius" men, that had been at work in the marsh, coming to the help of your friends, and, with a powerful charge, placed them to flight, drove them into the marsh, and then at once wheeled against the camp the Cassius itself. These were only the men who had scaled the fortification through Antony, the remainder being involved in conflict with the enemy on the various other side that the wall

<§112> As the camp remained in a solid position it was guarded by just a couple of men, for which reason Antony easily overcame them. Cassius" soldiers outside the camp were currently being beaten, and also when they experienced that the camp was taken lock scattered in disorderly flight. The success was complete and alike on one of two people side, Brutus defeating the enemy"s left wing and taking their camp, if Antony overcame Cassius and also ravaged his camp through irresistible courage. There was great slaughter ~ above both sides, yet by reason of the level of the plain and the clouds the dust they were ignorant of every other"s fate. As soon as they learned the facts they recalled their scattered forces. Those who went back resembled porters quite than soldiers, and did not at once perceive each various other nor check out anything clearly. Otherwise either party would have actually flung under their burdens and fiercely attacked the others moving off plunder in this disorderly fashion. According to conjecture the number of killed ~ above the next of Cassius, including slave shield-bearers, was about 9,000, and on the side of Octavian double that number.

<§113> once Cassius was driven out the his fortifications and no much longer had also a camp to go to, he hurried increase the hill to Philippi and took a inspection of the situation. As he could not see accurately on account of the dust, nor might he see everything, but only that his own camp to be captured, he ordered Pindarus, his shield-bearer, to loss upon him and also kill him. If Pindarus still delay a messenger ran up and also said that Brutus had actually been victorious top top the other wing, and also was ravaging the enemy"s camp. Cassius simply answered, "Tell him that ns pray his victory may be complete." Then, transforming to Pindarus, the said, "What room you wait for? Why execute you not supply me from mine shame?" Then, as he gift his throat, Pindarus slew him.

This is one account that the fatality of Cassius. Rather say that as some horsemen were approaching, happen the good news indigenous Brutus, he took them because that enemies and also sent Titinius to uncover out exactly; the the horsemen pressed around Titinius joyfully as a friend of Cassius, and at the very same time uttered according to hurrahs; that Cassius, reasoning that Titinius had actually fallen right into the hand of enemies, said, "Have ns waited to view my girlfriend torn native me?" and that he withdrew to a tent v Pindarus, and Pindarus was never seen afterward. Hence some people think that he eliminated Cassius without orders.

Thus Cassius finished his life on his birthday, top top which, together it happened, the battle was fought, and also Titinius killed himself due to the fact that he had actually been also late.

<§114> Brutus wept over the dead human body of Cassius and called the the last of the Romans, an interpretation that his same in virtue would never exist again. That reproached him for haste and also precipitancy, but at the same time that esteemed him happy because he to be freed indigenous cares and troubles, "which," that said, "are top Brutus, whither, ah, whither?"

He yielded the corpse come friends to be buried secretly lest the army should be moved to tears at the sight; and also himself passed the whole night, without food and also without care for his very own person, restoring bespeak in Cassius" army. In the morning the enemy attracted up their army in bespeak of battle, so the they could not it seems ~ to have been beaten. Brutus, perceiving their design, exclaimed, "Let us arm likewise and make believe that we have suffered defeat." for this reason he placed his forces in line, and also the adversary withdrew. Brutus said to his friends, jestingly, "They challenged us once they thought we were exhausted out, yet they dared not placed us come the test."

Map of the second battle the Philippi

<§121> note Antony marshalled his guys again on the adhering to day. As the adversary would not come down also then, he to be disgusted, yet he continued to lead the end his guys daily. Brutus had actually a part of his military in line lest he should be compelled come fight; and with another component he guarded the road by which his supplies were conveyed.

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There to be a hill really near the camp that Cassius, which it was daunting for an enemy to occupy, since by factor of the nearness, it to be exposed to arrows from the camp. Nevertheless, Cassius had placed a security on it, lest any kind of one must make bolder to attack it. As it had been abandoned by Brutus, the military of Octavian populated it by night with 4 legions and also protected themselves with wickerwork and also hides versus the enemy"s bowmen. As soon as this place was secured they moved ten other legions a street of more than a kilometer towards the sea. 750 meter farther they put two legions, in order to prolong themselves in this manner rather to the sea, with a see of breaking through the enemy"s heat either follow me the sea itself, or with the marsh, or in some various other way, and to cut off your supplies. Brutus counteracted this activity by building fortified write-ups opposite your camps and also in other ways.