The Civil War of 49 B.c. is one of the most important wars of European history, if only for the fact that it ended an old world order and paved the way for a new one which was to endure in Europe for nearly two thousand years. It is also one of the most dramatic wars of history, perhaps the most truly ‘tragic’, in the Greek sense of the word, of them all—so ‘tragic’ that it has never found a poet to do it justice, or to bring its leading characters fairly upon the stage. It was certainly the most unnecessary of wars. It involved the whole of Western civilization, and yet no really deep-seated emotions or animosities, racial, national, social, or even individual, caused the conflagration. It was, in fact, nothing but a trial of strength, with no constructive objective in view, between two men, highly educated, humane, related by marriage, not unfriendly to one another, members of the same society and the same clubs, as it were, whose interests, even, need not have been incompatible. It is generally agreed that the great majority of the senatorial aristocracy very definitely did not want the war; and it seems quite clear that the small minority, of some twenty-two, who did were powerless to commence it or wage it without the will and leadership of Pompeius. It is also agreed that Caesar, while prepared to fight for his skin and his dignitas, and to that extent responsible, did not want war and made sincere efforts both to avoid it and to stop it.