Appian, The Civil Wars (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [App. BC].
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The War in the Provinces -- Cornificius and Sextius in Africa -- The Adventures of Publius Sittius -- A Battle at Utica -- End of the War in Africa


While these transactions were taking place at Rome all the outlying countries were torn by hostilities growing out of the same commotion. Chief among these wars was the one in Africa between Cornificius and Sextius, the one in Syria between Cassius and Dolabella, and the one against Pompeius around Sicily. Many cities suffered the calamity of capture by siege. I shall pass by the smaller ones and confine myself to the largest, and especially the very celebrated ones of Laodicea, Tarsus, Rhodes, Patara, and Xanthus. I shall relate briefly what took place at each of these.


That part of Africa which the Romans took from the Carthaginians they still call Old Africa. The part that belonged to King Juba, and which was taken by Gaius Cæsar at a later period, they call for that reason New Africa; it might also be called Numidian Africa. Accordingly Sextius, who held the government of New Africa as the appointee of Octavius, summoned Cornificius to abandon Old Africa to him because the whole country had been assigned to Octavius in the allotment of the triumvirs. Cornificius replied that he did not know what allotment the triumvirs had made among themselves, and that since he had received the government from the Senate he would not surrender it to anybody else without the order of the Senate. This was the origin of hostilities between them. Cornificius had the heavier and more numerous army. That of Sextius was more nimble though inferior in number, by which means he was enabled to dash around and detach from Cornificius his inland districts until he was besieged by Ventidius, a lieutenant of Cornificius, who brought against him superior forces and whom he resisted valiantly. Lælius, another lieutenant of Cornificius, ravaged the province of Sextius, sat down before the city of Cirta, and laid siege to it.


Both parties sent ambassadors to secure the alliance of King Arabio and of the so-called Sittians, who received their name from the following circumstance. A certain Sittius, [Note] who was under accusation at Rome, took flight in order to avoid trial. Collecting an army from Italy and Spain, he crossed over to Africa, where he allied himself now with one and now with another of the warring kings of that country. As those with whom he joined himself were always victorious, Sittius acquired a reputation and his army became wonderfully efficient. When Gaius Cæsar pursued the Pompeians to Africa Sittius joined him and destroyed Juba's famous general, Saburra, and received from Cæsar, as a reward for these services, the territory of Masinissa, not all, but the best part of it. Masinissa was the father of this Arabio and the ally of Juba. Cæsar gave his territory to this Sittius, and to Bocchus, the king of Mauritania, and Sittius divided his own portion among his soldiers. Arabio then fled to the sons of Pompey in Spain. He returned to Africa after Cæsar's death and kept sending to the younger Pompeius detachments of his men, whom he received back in a state of good training. He expelled Bocchus from his territory and killed Sittius by stratagem. Although for these reasons he was friendly toward the Pompeians, he nevertheless decided against that party, because it was so extremely unlucky, and joined Sextius, through whom he acquired the favor of Octavius. The Sittians also joined him by reason of their friendship for the elder Cæsar.


Thus encouraged Sextius made a sortie by which Ventidius was killed and his army put to headlong flight. Sextius pursued them, killing and taking prisoners. When Lælius heard the news he raised the siege of Cirta and joined Cornificius. Sextius, elated by his success, advanced against Cornificius himself at Utica and encamped opposite him, although the latter had the superior force. Cornificius sent Lælius with his cavalry to make a reconnoissance, and Sextius ordered Arabio to engage him with his own cavalry in front, and Sextius himself with his light troops fell upon the enemy's flank and threw them into such confusion that Lælius, although not vanquished, feared lest his retreat should be cut off and took possession of a hill near by. Arabio hung upon his rear, killed many, and surrounded the hill. When Cornificius saw this he sallied out with a larger force to assist Lælius. Sextius, who was in his rear, dashed up and attacked him, but Cornificius turned upon him and drove him back, although suffering severely.


Meanwhile Arabio, with a band of men accustomed to climbing rocks, scaled a precipice to the camp of Cornificius and stole into it unobserved. When the camp was captured Roscius, the custodian, offered his throat to one of his assistants and was killed. Cornificius, overcome by the fatigue of the engagement, retired toward Lælius on the hill, not yet knowing what had happened to his camp. While he was retreating the cavalry of Arabio charged upon him and killed him, and when Lælius, looking down from the hill, saw what had happened he killed himself. When the leaders had fallen the soldiers fled in various directions. Of the proscribed who were with Cornificius, some crossed over to Sicily, others took refuge wherever they could. Sextius gave great spoils to Arabio and the Sittians. He brought the cities into allegiance to Octavius and granted pardon to all. This was the end of the war in Africa between Sextius and Cornificius, which seemed inconsiderable by reason of the rapidity with which it was prosecuted.

Appian, The Civil Wars (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [App. BC].
<<App. BC 4.6 App. BC 4.7 (Greek) >>App. BC 4.8

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