Mediterranean war

The Civil War affected the entire Roman world and ultimately destroyed a centuries-old political system. Many ordinary citizens were swept up into the armies, to serve in brutal conditions. Some died in battle, many more probably through disease and privations, while others were permanently crippled. At least some soldiers, especially auxiliary troops such as Gauls, were accompanied on campaign by their wives and children, who in turn suffered from the rigours of hard journeys and poor food. Yet it was not just soldiers and their families who were caught up in the conflict, for many civilian communities also suffered. An extreme case was a town like Gomphi in Thessaly, which Caesar permitted his soldiers to sack in an effort to restore their spirits after the retreat from Dyrrachium. In such circumstances Roman soldiers were extremely brutal, impossible for their officers to restrain even had they wished to do so. Caesar deliberately did not march into Corfinum at night in 49 because he did not trust his men to keep their discipline once they slipped off into the dark streets, and he did not wish to begin the campaign by plundering an Italian city. In 46, it was also considered a considerable achievement when Caesar's men were camped outside Hadrumentum and he was able to prevent them from plundering it.

Communities within the area of any of the campaigns were likely to suffer even if they were not subjected to a sack. The armies needed food in vast quantities. Most hoped to gain as much of this as possible from willing allies or to ship supplies in from elsewhere, but this was not always possible, especially as operations became more protracted. The needs of the local population mattered little when the armies sent out foraging expeditions to gather up all the grain and cattle they could find. There were also cases when the armies clashed within urban areas, often causing damage. The siege of Caesar's small force in Alexandria brought considerable destruction on the city, as buildings were demolished or set on fire.

The Civil War pitted legion against legion and made Rome vulnerable to foreign enemies. The most spectacular success was enjoyed by Phamaces, until his army was destroyed at Zela. Other threats failed to materialise. Parthia had already invaded Syria once after its victory over Crassus, and seemed on the brink of doing so once again in late 50. Internal problems, during which the victorious commander at Carrhae was executed by the king as a potential rival, absorbed Parthia and delayed a new offensive. In the west, Caesar's conquest of Gaul had been quick and spectacularly successful, but the new province had not yet been properly consolidated. In fact there were no repeats of the rebellions that had broken out between 54 and 51 during Caesar's lifetime, but it did take another generation and further unrest before the province was fully pacified. Other allied countries sought to benefit from involvement in the Civil War. Deiotarus sent troops to aid Pompey in part because he was his client but also in the hope of securing his kingdom. Juba's attitude was similar. In Egypt the rivals in their own civil war tried to win favour from victors in the Roman conflict, Cleopatra gaining greatly from this and preserving some measure of independence for an area that had been in something of an anomalous position between ally and province for some time.

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