Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Plutarch
Editor: John D. Cox
Not Peer Reviewed

Life of Caesar


XVI.Furthermore, he was so entirely beloved of his soldiers, that to do him service (where otherwise they were no more than other men in any private quarrel) if Caesar's honor were touched, they were invincible, and would so desperately venture themselves and with such fury, that no man was able to abide them.

The wonderful valiantness of Acilius, Cassius, Scoeva, and divers others of Caesar's soldiers.

And this appeareth plainly by the example of Acilius: who in a battle by sea before the city of Marseilles, bording one of his enemies' ships, one cut off his right hand with a sword; but yet he forsook not his target which he had in his left hand, but thrust it in his enemies' faces, and made them fly, so that he wan their ship from them. And Cassius Scaeva also, in a conflict before the city of Dyrrachium, having one of his eyes put out with an arrow, his shoulder stricken through with a dart, and his thigh with another, and having received thirty arrows upon his shield, he called to his enemies, and made as though he would yield unto them. But when two of them came running to him, he crave one of their shoulders from his body with his sword, and hurt the other in the face: so that he made him turn his back, and at the length saved himself, by means of his companions that came to help him. And in Britain also, when the captains of the bands were driven into a marrish or bog full of mire and dirt, and that the enemies did fiercely assail them there, Caesar then standing to view the battle, he saw a private soldier of his thrust in among the captains, and fought so valiantly in their defence, that at the length he drave the barbarous people to fly, and by his means saved the captains, which otherwise were in great danger to have been cast away. Then this soldier, being the hindmost man of all the captains, marching with great pain through the mire and dirt, half swimming and half on foot, in the end got to the other side, but left his shield behind him. Caesar, wondering at his noble courage, ran to him with joy to embrace him. But the poor soldier hanging down his head, the water standing in his eyes, fell down at Caesar's feet, and besought him to pardon him, for that he had left his target behind him. And in Africa also, Scipio

Granius Petronius.

having taken one of Caesar's ships, and Granius Petronius abord on her amongst other, not long before chosen Treasurer; he put all the rest to the sword but him, and said he would give him his life. But Petronius answered him again, that Caesar's soldiers did not use to have their lives given them, but to give others their lives: and with these words he drew his sword, and thrust himself through.