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BCE Europe Battle of Pharsalus Caesar Pompey Osprey

Title:  BCE Europe Battle of Pharsalus Caesar Pompey Osprey
Author:  OSPREY publish
Language:  EN
Theme:  History
Number of villages:  97







The legend SPQR - Senatus Populusque Romanus, the Senate and People of Rome - emblazoned on the standards of the city's all-conquering legions in the last few centuries before Christ was both a potent symbol of the source of the republic's power and a reflection of the smouldering tension inherent in its system of government. This partnership between the haves and have-nots of the republic enabled it to survive defeats that would have fatally crippled more hierarchical states and to ultimately emerge as master of the Mediterranean world. But its very success proved the undoing of this system.

Exploitation of the opportunities made available from conquest drove a wedge between the partners, one that widened until the conflict- resolution mechanisms of the political process broke down completely and force became the sole means of securing and retaining power.
It was for this reason that on the morning of the ninth day of the month Sextilis in the year 706 ab urbe condita, since the founding of the city of Rome, two armies, both Roman, faced off against each other on
the narrow plain north of the River Enipeus in Thessaly, Greece. The battle fought that day - more properly named Palaepharsalus, after the ancient city in the foothills on the northern edge of the plain, rather
than Pharsalus (modern Farsala) south of the river-was the culmination of a process of social disintegration that had been unfolding for nigh on 100 years. The two protagonists involved, Julius Caesar and Gnaeus
Pompey, the greatest warlords the city of Rome had ever produced, were bringing to a climax a social struggle that had been playing out for generations, and doing so on an unprecedented scale, pitting more of
their fellow citizens against each other on a single field than had ever been witnessed before. The significance of this battle may be appreciated from the fact that to this day the date we assign to it - 9 August, 48 BC - is based upon a calendar drawn up by the victor.



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