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Pharsalus(fär`säləs), ancient city, Thessaly, Greece. Near there in 48 B.C., Julius Caesar decisively defeated Pompey, who had a much larger force. Lucan's Bellum Civile (often called Pharsalia) is an epic of the civil war.
(now Farsala), a city in Greece, in the nome of Larisa in Thessaly. The Pharsalus area was the site of a decisive battle on June 6, 48 B.C., during the Roman Civil War of 49–45 B.C., between the troops of Julius Caesar (30,000 infantry and 1,000–2,000 cavalry) and Pompey the Great (more than 30,000 infantry and 3,000–4,000 cavalry). Caesar’s infantry attacked the enemy infantry from the front. On the flank, Pompey’s cavalry, diverted into pursuit of Caesar’s retreating cavalry, came under a flank attack by Caesar’s reserve infantry and was routed, whereupon Caesar’s cavalry and infantry emerged in the rear of the enemy’s infantry and surrounded them. Pompey fled by sea to Egypt, and his remaining troops (24,000 men) were taken captive. The fall of the republic was hastened by this victory of Caesar’s.