DEMINA S.S. Caesar on Decision Making in the Conditions of the Civil War


Svetlana S. Demina

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of World History, Vladimir State University named after Alexander and Nikolay Stoletovs,

Gorkogo St, 87, 600000 Vladimir, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. This article investigates the situations of decision making described in Caesar’s “Commentaries on the Civil War”.

Methods and materials. The information about decisions of Caesar, Pompey and their supporters is investigated by the comparative method.

Analysis. According to Caesar, the commander’s decisions must be independent, rational, and directed to the common good. If the making peace by way of the parley is impossible, the victories with minimal casualties for both battling armies are this good. Caesar shows, that his own decisions corresponded always to this demands unlike Pompey, who was guided by his emotions and the opinions of others. Caesar criticizes slightly and justifies decisions of Curio who was his supporter. In his work, Pompey’s commanders arrive at the decisions in their interests hastily and are ready to abandon their troops for take flight. Curio’s decisions were also ill-advised and hasty, but, unlike Pompey’s commanders, he preferred death in battle to the disgraceful flight. The decisions of the military council and the soldiers of Pompey’s army are in Caesar’s work more rational, than the decisions of their commanders, and are directed to making peace as soon as possible.

Results. The descriptions of the situations of decision making in Caesar’s “Commentaries on the Civil War” are not numerous, but they execute an important propagandistic function. Caesar does not criticize his adversaries, but he shows to the readers, that Pompey and his commanders with their ill-advised, egoistic, wrong and hasty decisions were guilty of the unleashing this civil war, its duration and the numerous victims.

Key words: Ancient Rome, Roman Republic, Caesar, civil war, decision making.

Citation. Demina S.S. Caesar on Decision Making in the Conditions of the Civil War. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 13-21. (in Russian). DOI:

Лицензия Creative Commons

Caesar on Decision Making in the Conditions of the Civil War by Demina S.S. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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