In 48 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar, with a force of 22,000 legionaries loyal to the Populares, took position on the banks of the river Enipeus and awaited the inevitable attack by the famous and feared general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, who outnumbered him nearly 3 to 1.
Pompey wins the Battle of PharsalusThis was a battle only Caesar's own fearsome tactical brilliance could hope to tip in his favor, and he quickly set plans in motion to avoid mass suicide by defying standard doctrine, which entailed ordering his infantry to close with Pompey's. He instead kept his legionaries back from the center of the battlefield, confusing the enemy and creating a stalemate in the main thrust.
As the cavalry of Titus Labienus charged Caesar's lines and met with initial gains, Caesar saw an advantage and quickly formed a strategy utilizing the local terrain.A new article by Jake Dominguez Unfortunately, that strategy died with Caesar as a great, vast light shone in the skies, and what could only be described later by survivors as something akin to the fist of Jupiter struck the ground amidst the warring armies on the plains of Pharsalus, reducing every soldier, horse and blade of grass to firy ash. The clear display of the gods' disfavor shook the Republic to its core, and the plebians and the patricians quickly laid their bloody political disputes to rest for fear of further reprisals.
It can be said, though, that despite the tremendously horrific nature of the event, the Republic weathered it and emerged stronger than ever, with the popular will of the citizens well-balanced with the seasoned administration of the Senate.