About Pharsalus Battlefield

Pharsalus Battlefield was the setting for one of the most decisive and important battles of ancient Rome – the defeat of Pompey the Great by Julius Caesar. It was a battle which Caesar won against the odds and it all but confirmed his position as ruler of Rome, a key moment in the transition from Republic to Empire.

The civil war between Caesar and his senatorial enemies had been underway for over a year when this decisive clash took place. Caesar had followed the senatorial armies, led by Pompey, to Greece and had generally come off second best in the sparring which had taken place since crossing the Adriatic. Most notably Caesar had suffered a defeat at the Battle of Dyrrhachium and his forces were slowly being hemmed in and stripped of supplies by the far larger senatorial army.

While Pompey was in favour of starving Caesar out, his compatriots from the senate favoured a decisive engagement and, against his better judgement, Pompey relented. The Battle of Pharsalus took place on the 9th August 48 BC and saw Pompey’s army decisively defeated and routed. Pompey himself fled the battlefield and was later killed when attempting to find sanctuary in Egypt.

The exact location of Pharsalus Battlefield has been the subject of much debate and there is no absolutely definitive setting which is universally accepted. Likewise, today there are no monuments to the battle and there is nothing to see at the most accepted location, marked on the map, which is just outside the modern Greek city of Farsala.

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