Caesar’s ships lay at anchor in Alexandria’s Great Harbor. Instead of sending his reinforcements from the 37th Legion and their few auxiliary companions ashore, Caesar kept them on board ship, spreading them out between the merchantmen and all the vessels of his now sizable fleet of thirty-four warships. There was neither the room nor the necessity to house them with the 6th and 28th Legions ashore in Alexandria’s occupied sector.
The reinforcements had brought grain with them, Caesar had sourced some water for them en route to locating them, and they could shelter under the leather tarpaulins that the crews stretched over the decks at night to provide warmth and to collect rainwater. In this way Caesar could use the fresh, newly arrived troops as marines if another naval battle developed, while reserving the more experienced 6th and the 28th for tasks on land.
Another factor also came into play. Throughout Caesar’s career as a general, whenever one of his units let him down he invariably turned his back on it and called on other units to take the forefront in future battles. The 28th Legion had let him down through its mutinous questioning of his orders and the wisdom of staying in Alexandria. Worse, its men had panicked over the sabotaged water supply when the veterans of the 6th had not. He would not forget the way the 28th acted; and when it came to the next phases of his Alexandrian campaign, it would be relegated to guard duty around the Roman sector while the newly arrived 37th and the trusty 6th were allocated the more dangerous missions, the missions that could only enhance their reputations and status.
On Caesar’s return to Alexandria the Egyptians immediately commenced offensive operations against the newly arrived vessels. From time to time previously they had sent fireboats from the Inner Harbor through the two arches in the Hepstadion, the causeway linking Pharos Island with the mainland, aiming to set alight Caesar’s warships anchored in the Great Harbor, and now they resumed the same tactic. To protect his precious warships against this kind of attack, Caesar seems to have placed his cargo ships around the outside of the anchorage, like wagons circled against an Indian attack in more recent times, with the more valuable warships moored inside the circle.
This time the Egyptians had success with their small-boat tactics. The fact that the warships were inside the ring worked for the attackers—artillery on the warships couldn’t lower their elevation to fire at the small craft once they were close alongside the merchantmen. Soon, burning Egyptian small boats were banging alongside Roman cargo ships, with their flames licking the woodwork and racing up into the rigging of the tubby “round ships,” as they were called. Fires ignited by the burning small craft caught and spread. According to Cassius Dio, several of Caesar’s merchantmen were burned to the waterline in this way, while others were captured after their crews and passengers abandoned them in fear of the fires. The captured Roman cargo ships were victoriously towed away to the Inner Harbor.
The Egyptians now also had maritime success of another kind. Within a few days of Caesar’s victory in the naval contest down the coast, and “against all expectations” of the Romans, says Colonel Hirtius, the Egyptians deployed dozens of warships in the Inner Harbor. These were the remaining ships that Ganymede’s work parties had been laboring to resurrect when the first four had been sent against Caesar. From high points in the city Caesar’s amazed troops were able to see five quinqueremes, twenty-two quadriremes, and at least four smaller biremes undertaking rowing trials on the Inner Harbor just days after the battle off the Libyan coast.
This unexpected development alarmed everyone in the Roman camp, including Caesar, who realized that the enemy once again possessed the capacity to cut off his continued supply by sea. As usual, Caesar now took the initiative. He ordered preparations for a naval battle to destroy the Egyptian fleet, calling on the men of the 37th Legion to select some two thousand of their number to serve as marines in the coming struggle. The rest would be transferred to the merchantmen to sit out the battle.
There was something of a double-edged sword about this request from Caesar. It was great honor to be asked by the commander in chief to take the lead in the upcoming operation. But legionaries considered marines their inferiors. Marines were invariably freedmen, former slaves, and were not Roman citizens, which put them low in the Roman social order, well below citizen soldiers of the legions. Like legionaries, marines signed up for long-term paid enlistments, but their enlistment periods lasted considerably longer than those of legionaries, and they were paid much less. Because ships’ decks were often wet, and in battle sometimes awash with blood, marines served barefoot, to ensure a better footing. Even when they were on land they went without shoes. For proud, status-conscious Roman legionaries, to be called on to serve as marines was asking a great deal of them. And this was why Caesar asked the men of the 37th to choose those among them who must swallow their pride, remove their footwear, and find their sea legs. But choose they did.
When, a day or so later, all was ready, and with the chosen men from the 37th Legion aboard his cruisers and frigates ready to go to war as marines, Caesar boarded his flagship. He was very conscious of the fact that although the 37th Legion had provided the marines he had asked for, the men were not enthusiastic about it. Before any battle, if time permitted, Caesar always gave a speech to his troops, to fire them up, as was the custom of the times. He knew that on this occasion that speech would be particularly important.
Before the order to sail was given, the captains of all thirty-four of his warships and officers of the 37th Legion were summoned aboard Caesar’s flagship. Once on board, they heard him give a speech to the soldiers and crew on his own vessel. Surrounded by these officers and his staff, he told the men crowding the deck around him and hanging from the rigging what he had been telling them for days, that if the Egyptians came off better in a naval contest they would have mastery of the sea. If that were to happen, he reminded his listeners, neither sea nor land offered the Romans a way of escape.
“It seems a hard and pitiful state of affairs,” Caesar said, “that a mere handful of you should be struggling for decisive victory and the safety of us all. If any one of you fails in spirit or courage, the remainder will have to look out for themselves without having had the opportunity of fighting on their own behalf.”
Having reminded his temporary marines of the responsibility they bore, for the fate not only of themselves but also of all those who must wait behind, Caesar gave his officers their individual instructions. They then returned to their ships, where they repeated Caesar’s message to their own men.
Colonel Hirtius was to say that the men in the ranks impressed the same point on their colleagues—about so much depending on so few. Some of them had volunteered for this fight in the unaccustomed role of marine; others had been nominated by the ranks to take part. Either way, Hirtius would note, they had an obligation not to let down the men who were staying behind and relying on them to succeed. And they knew it. In very emphatically imparting this responsibility to them, Caesar was cleverly sidestepping the matter of service as marines. Now all that mattered was not letting down the team, or themselves, or Caesar.
The two anchors on Caesar’s cruiser came rattling up from the harbor floor. On command, oars jutted from the rowing ports along both sides of the flagship, then bit into the water. To the slow beat of the timekeeper’s mallets, the oars mechanically dragged through the water, and the Rhodian warship began to make its way toward the harbor entrance, with Caesar’s standard fluttering in the breeze. Behind, the thirty-three other ships of Caesar’s augmented battle fleet followed, leaving the merchantmen riding at anchor, with, from their decks, their 37th Legion passengers watching their comrades go to meet their destiny. Some of the men left behind would have been waving, cheering, and applauding their departing colleagues. Others, their arms folded, would have been silent and apprehensive as they watched the fleet leave the Great Harbor.
Turning left once they cleared the harbor, and sailing around Pharos Island, the Roman ships approached the Inner Harbor from the west. The Egyptians quickly saw that the Romans meant to do battle, and their ships promptly prepared to meet them. With trumpets summoning them to their battle stations, and amid an air of excitement and anticipation, thousands of Egyptians ran along the docks to join their ships—sailors, rowers, and marines—yelling encouragement to one another. The men who were to serve as marines in this action had been carefully chosen from among their countrymen for the valor they had shown to date in this war with the Romans. Untying from the docks or upping anchor, the Egyptian ships swiftly moved to take up their appointed positions in their battle lines. Both sides were full of confidence according to Colonel Hirtius, as their ships formed up, facing each other.
Entrance to the Inner Harbor from the west was made difficult by extensive shoals, through which there was only a narrow, deep-water passage, which could prove treacherous in all but the calmest conditions. This was why the Egyptians had created the arches in the causeway that allowed craft to enter the Great Harbor from the Inner Harbor. The opposing fleets formed up on either side of these shoals, the Egyptians inside the Inner Harbor, the Romans outside, in the open sea.
The Egyptians placed their twenty-seven principal ships in a front line, with their frigates forming a second line behind them. They also brought out a large number of small boats equipped with quick-firing catapults, their crews armed with bolts dipped in tar and holding burning firebrands. Caesar assigned his nine powerful Rhodian heavy cruisers to his right wing, and the eight cruisers and frigates from Pontus to his left. He left a gap of a little under half a mile between these two squadrons. Behind this front line he placed his lighter ships from Asia and Lycia. Prior to upping anchor he had given each skipper in the second line a particular ship in the front line that he was to shadow and support. Caesar himself was aboard a Rhodian ship on the right.
If there was going to be a battle, one side or the other would have to send ships through the narrow channel in the shoals to reach their opponents, but for some time the two sides faced off across the shoals with neither commander prepared to commit vessels to the channel, each knowing that once through, they could be cut off on the other side of the shoals.
In the city, the men of the 6th Legion and their comrades of the 28th had taken up vantage points on rooftops and at high windows in their sector, so they could watch what took place in the Inner Harbor. Throughout the city, Egyptian soldiers, militia, and civilians did the same, making themselves comfortable, as if preparing to watch a sporting event. On both sides, men offered prayers and vows to their gods in hopes of bringing victory to their men out on the water.
For perhaps an hour, nothing happened. The ships of both sides did not advance, with their oars only occasionally moving to maintain their positions. Finally, tiring of the standoff and impatient to come to grips with the Egyptians, the Rhodian commander, Admiral Euphranor, set his cruiser in motion and came around alongside Caesar’s flagship.
“It seems to me, Caesar,” the Rhodian admiral called across the strip of water separating the two warships as they wallowed just yards apart, his words being noted by an officer at Caesar’s side, “you’re afraid that if you enter the shoals with your leading ships you might be forced to fight before you can deploy the rest of the fleet.” He pointed to the ships of the Rhodian squadron. “Leave it to us. We’ll bear the brunt of the fighting while the rest are following up. We won’t let you down. We’re ashamed and indignant to watch those people flaunting themselves before us any longer.”
So, praising Euphranor’s valor and enthusiasm, and knowing that the Rhodian would probably launch into the attack whether he approved or not, Caesar agreed to Euphranor’s plan and gave him permission to take four of his cruisers through the channel to engage the enemy. After wishing Euphranor luck, he signaled for the rest of the fleet to follow his lead when he gave the signal for an all-out attack.
As Euphranor’s four cruisers filed through the channel one by one, Caesar held back. Once inside the Inner Harbor, Euphranor’s ships moved to left and right and formed up in line abreast. The ships of the Egyptian front line began to move forward. All of the Egyptian cruisers closed around the Rhodians like jackals. Then four of their number increased to attack speed, and each charged one of the four waiting Rhodians. Euphranor and his three fellow Rhodian masters were experts at this game. Seeing an enemy ship bearing down on them, they were able to issue orders that brought oars on one side or another into action and that accordingly brought their bow around so that they were always facing the enemy head-on.
If, as the captain of a classical warship, you couldn’t catch your opponent broadside, your second objective was to charge him from front or rear, and then run alongside him with your own oars withdrawn at the last moment, using your hull and your momentum to run over his projecting oars on one side. If you did this correctly, you would crush the other ship’s oars like matchsticks, leaving him as powerless and immobile as if you had lopped off a man’s leg.
But Euphranor and his trio of fellow skippers were all able to maneuver so that they met the Egyptian attacks head-on. With shuddering crunches all eight cruisers collided and came to a dead stop. Then their oars began to dig and pull, and all the adversaries reversed away, launching missiles as they went. No critical damage had been done to the ships of either side. As the combatants separated, another four Egyptian cruisers charged the Rhodians. Again Euphranor and his colleagues were able to swing their prows around and meet the attacks head-on, and again the Egyptians smashed into the Rhodians with almighty thuds. It was like pairs of mountain rams butting each other.
Caesar had held back long enough. Seeing the two sets of cruisers exhausting their crews without result, he raised his battle standard high and set his own Rhodian cruiser in motion. Soon he was leading the remainder of his fleet through the channel to the other side of the shoals, and his ships were fanning out to follow their individual orders. In response, the rest of the Egyptian ships moved forward to meet the Romans.
As the newly arrived craft filled the confined space of the Inner Harbor, there was no room for high-speed ramming. It was now just a matter of getting alongside an enemy and boarding him. No science was required, no seafaring skill was called for. And the advantage of numbers was nullified by the fierce determination of a few.
Some battles, the Romans said, were won more by Mars than by Minerva—more by courage than by skill. According to Colonel Hirtius, victory on the Alexandrian harbor all came down to courage—plus, he said, the knowledge on the Roman side that defeat was not an option. If Caesar could not gain control of the harbor, he was doomed. The Egyptians, on the other hand, could always console themselves with the thought that even a loss in a battle here did not mean they had lost the war. And that heightened desperation level seems to have made the difference as the Roman troops of the 37th Legion, equipped with swords and axes, swarmed aboard enemy vessels.
Three Egyptian biremes were sunk by boarding parties, and another was captured. One of the largest of the Egyptian cruisers, a quinquereme, also was captured. The rest of the Egyptian ships turned and fled back toward the docks. When Roman ships gave chase to the fleeing Egyptians, passing close by the island of Pharos on their left, they came under heavy covering fire from Egyptian forces occupying piers and waterside buildings on the island’s southwestern shore, and were forced to withdraw to avoid a hail of heavy stones and burning darts with smoky tails. The battle had ended.
Not a single Roman ship was lost in the engagement. As Caesar led his victorious craft back through the shoals and around Pharos Island to the Great Harbor, he would have been thinking seriously of another waterborne raid on the Inner Harbor to finally eliminate the still substantial Egyptian fleet, whose capital ships outnumbered his own. But, as his officers would have pointed out, the Egyptian forces occupying most of Pharos Island effectively protected the Inner Harbor.
Another Egyptian fireboat raid through the causeway arches soon after the Roman ships returned to anchor in the Great Harbor, although unsuccessful, would have made clear, too, how vital it was to seal off the causeway. While Caesar had a toehold on the island with troops occupying the lighthouse on the eastern tip, that was not enough to control the island as a whole, and he decided that before he did anything else he must occupy both the island and the causeway.
According to legend, the low, rocky Pharos Island had, prior to the coming of Alexander the Great, only been home to a colony of seals. Now it housed a suburb of Alexandria that was in effect a large town, with, in peacetime, a population of twenty-five thousand or more, many of them sailors, fishermen, and shipbuilders. The island’s buildings mirrored those of downtown Alexandria, except they were not as high—the tallest were only thirty feet tall, according to Hirtius. Philo of Alexander was to say that there was no Jewish population on Pharos Island, but once a year the Jews of Alexandria crossed to the island for a festival to celebrate the first translation of the commandments of Moses into Greek, which had taken place on the island. Many other Alexandrians also attended this annual festival.
By this stage in the fighting at Alexandria between Caesar and the Egyptians, now several months old, some of the women, children, and elderly of Pharos Island would have evacuated to the mainland, leaving their menfolk to serve on the Egyptian warships and as militia holding the island in conjunction with the regular army. Yet, despite the dangers, many civilians still occupied their island homes.
Caesar made preparations to take the island, selecting ten legionary cohorts comprising four thousand men for an amphibious landing, backed by handpicked members of the auxiliary reinforcements and those men among his five hundred Gallic cavalry troopers whom he thought would be suited to act as infantry. Most of the legionaries chosen for this operation would have come from the 37th Legion, as they were already on the ships in the harbor. But it seems that to lead the operation Caesar had one or both cohorts of the 6th Legion make a dash from their position in the occupied zone and join their comrades in the harbor.
Within days of the naval engagement in the Inner Harbor the Roman operation to take Pharos Island was under way. It began with Caesar’s larger warships attacking the island from the northern, seaward side with missile fire. Once some Egyptian defenders had been drawn off to counter this attack, Caesar launched his infantry against the southern side. He personally directed this landing operation from the deck of one of his warships. For the landing he had assembled scores of ships’ boats and fishing boats. These landing craft came under sustained fire from the rocky shore and the rooftops of buildings lining the shore. At the same time, the Egyptians sent five warships and a number of smaller craft from the Inner Harbor via the causeway arches, and these skillfully maneuvered to keep the Romans from making a landing.
Another problem encountered by the Romans was a natural one. The water around the steep, craggy shoreline of the island on the Great Harbor side was found to be quite deep—too deep for troops to jump overboard from their landing craft without submerging. Finally, one boatload of legionaries, improvising a sounding rope to determine the depth, managed to find a spot beside the forbidding rocks where it was shallow enough for them to jump overboard. Into the water they went, and from there they clambered onto the rocks.
From this point these troops were able to climb the rock face and reach flat, solid land. Other boats quickly followed their example and landed troops at the same place. When they saw Roman troops successfully making a landing, Egyptian militia formed up on level ground in their path to prevent their expanding their foothold. The panting, waterlogged, sweating legionaries who’d made it ashore formed up in their units; then, apparently led by the men of the 6th, they made a determined charge—so determined that it scattered the defenders. Seeing this, the remaining civilians on the island abandoned their homes in terror and fled en masse in the thousands across the causeway to the city and safety behind Egyptian lines.
To counter this landing on Pharos Island, Ganymede had Egyptian marines quickly mobilized. These men landed on the southwestern end of the island, from ships in the Inner Harbor, and once on Pharos they hurried to throw back the Romans now streaming ashore at the opposite end. The Egyptian reinforcements hastily occupied buildings in the Romans’ path and took up defensive positions on their flat roofs, preparing to rain down javelins, stones, and slingshot on the Romans.
The legionaries had not come prepared with scaling ladders or other assault equipment, but this didn’t prevent them from taking one building after another. Again it seems that the 6th Legion was to the fore in this gritty, determined offensive, its troops moving from house to house, securing one before attacking the next, fighting their way upstairs to the rooftops and slaying the defenders, leaving bloody bodies in heaps as they progressively cleared building after building.
Terrified Egyptian marines, seeing and hearing their comrades in neighboring houses being methodically and ruthlessly slain by the veteran legionaries as one building after another fell to them, lost their earlier courage. Many panicked. Terror robs men of reason and judgment, so Colonel Hirtius was to observe, and this proved to be the case now. Some of the Egyptians threw away their weapons, cast off their armor, and dove from the tops of harborside buildings into the water and swam to the mainland—a distance of three-quarters of a mile in Hirtius’s estimation. Many more surrendered to the unstoppable Roman troops rather than fight or die.
All of Pharos Island fell to the Roman invaders, and with barely a casualty in their own ranks. In the process, the legionaries killed a number of Egyptian fighters and took another six thousand prisoner. It seems that these Egyptian prisoners were kept on the island, guarded by the auxiliary troops, with the intent that they would be sold into slavery once the war was over. As their reward, Caesar let his long-suffering men loot the island’s deserted houses and public buildings for an hour or two. In other places, at other times, Caesar’s army was invariably trailed by an entourage of merchants and prostitutes. The merchants would set up for business in the center of the legions’ camps and buy the soldiers’ booty from them, and the prostitutes would soon after relieve the legionaries of much of their profit. Caesar never prohibited fraternization between his soldiers and whores and local women. “My soldiers fight just as well when they are stinking of perfume,” Suetonius quotes him saying more than once. With neither women to carouse with nor merchants to deal with, on this occasion Caesar’s legionaries could do no more than pile up their loot and make plans to sell it after they had won this Alexandrian campaign.
Once his men had pillaged all they could carry and made their booty piles, their commander had them demolish buildings along the waterfront on the southern side of the island. During the afternoon they used stone from the demolitions to build a fort commanding the causeway arch nearest the island and to fill in the opening beneath the bridge over the arch, making it impassable to shipping. The Egyptians had begun to build a fort at the other end of the causeway, the city end, to protect the second, smaller arch. That night, leaving a mixed force of eighteen hundred men from various units, not including the 6th Legion, occupying the fort at the island end of the causeway, Caesar took the remainder of his assault troops off in small boats.
With the Egyptians still controlling the city end of the causeway and controlling one arch through which they could still launch attacks on the Great Harbor, the following day Caesar initiated a new attack, this time against the Egyptians’ causeway fort. While he himself supervised the operation from a frigate in the harbor, the eighteen hundred men on shore advanced down the causeway from their new Pharos Island fort while Caesar’s warships unleashed a barrage of bolts, arrows, and stones against the unfinished Egyptian fort.
The covering fire was so intense that the Egyptians at this position were forced to vacate their position and retreat to the city, allowing Caesar’s troops moving down the causeway to easily occupy the incomplete fort. Caesar ordered these troops to then fill in the archway with rocks, as they had at the far end, and to build a barricade in the water on the western side of the arch. Caesar had his vessel tie up beside the causeway, and he then climbed up onto the causeway itself with members of his staff to personally supervise this engineering work.
After the Roman troops had been carrying rocks from demolished buildings on Pharos Island along the causeway to the bridge for an hour or so and dropping the stones into the water, the Egyptians mounted a counterattack. Massing troops and artillery at the city end of the causeway they opened up a heavy barrage of missiles on the legionaries working on the causeway. At the same time they sent men in small boats ranging along the western side of the causeway. Seeing this, a number of Caesar’s smaller ships, his undecked frigates, put in to the causeway, and their crews clambered up onto the causeway, some men intending to watch the battle at the southern end, while others soon became actively involved in the melee by raining stones and slingshot down on the Egyptians in the small boats on the far side of the causeway, driving many of the boats away.
Ganymede, the Egyptian commander, now saw an opportunity to embarrass Caesar. While the Romans’ attention was focused on the southern end of the causeway, the Egyptians ferried a number of troops across the Inner Harbor and landed them on the island near the northern end of the causeway. When the seamen on the causeway saw Egyptians advancing down the causeway toward them from the direction of the island, and saw Caesar himself then withdraw to his ship, they lost their nerve and ran back to their own vessels.
As the Egyptians came dashing up to them, waving their weapons and yelling triumphantly, the sailors tumbled in terrified disorder down the side of the causeway and crushed together to board the nearest vessels. Crewmen still on board, seeing so many men trying to get aboard at once, and also seeing the Egyptian troops close behind, hauled in their gangways and began to push off. Desperate men, most of whom couldn’t swim, clung to the sides of ships, which soon became overloaded. One after the other, Roman vessels rolled over and capsized, or simply sank, there beside the causeway, beneath the weight of too many passengers.
The mayhem caused by this disaster, with all the yelling and cursing and screaming from the seamen and their attackers, caused the eighteen hundred Roman troops at the southern fort to look around in alarm. As it was, they were taking casualties from the heavy Egyptian artillery fire, and now, fearing they would be cut off on the causeway, with Egyptians at both ends, and seeing their ships pulling away, they deserted the unfinished fort and dashed for the last ships, including Caesar’s, calling out for their comrades not to go without them. These soldiers came slithering down the side of the causeway in disarray, and tried to get aboard the last vessels before they departed.
Caesar, who had already seen several frigates go down, and confronted by the sight of heavily equipped soldiers clinging onto the side of his own ship, and feeling it begin to list alarmingly, quickly removed his helmet, armor, and sword belt, and dove into the water, as did his staff around him. The ship soon rolled over on its side and sank like a stone, taking all on board with it. Caesar, being a strong swimmer, swam out to the nearest small boat and was hauled aboard, before being transferred to one of the larger warships anchored some distance away.
Hirtius, Appian, and Suetonius all describe this incident. Suetonius, in his account, wrote that Caesar swam with documents in one hand and dragging his valuable general’s cloak, his paludamentum, with his teeth. Suetonius wrote that the cloak was purple, but it was only in Suetonius’s time, the imperial era, that commanders in chief wore purple cloaks. In Caesar’s day it was still a scarlet cloak. Appian and Dio say that Caesar eventually had to discard the cloak, and that the Egyptians later fished it out of the harbor and displayed it as a trophy, “as if they had captured him himself,” says Dio.
The day ended badly for the Romans. Hirtius says that 400 legionaries died in the harbor and on the causeway—some tried to make a stand, seeing the chaos in the water, only to be overwhelmed and killed by Egyptians who attacked along the causeway from both ends. About 450 sailors also perished. The Roman losses would have been even heavier had Caesar not sent small boats from his fleet to the scene of the disaster beside the causeway, where, under fire from Egyptians all along the causeway, the crews valiantly plucked soldiers and sailors from the water where they were trying to swim for it, and from the hulks of overturned Roman frigates.
It was an unmitigated defeat for Caesar and a badly needed victory for the Egyptians, who retook the causeway, occupied both forts, and unblocked the two archways, then reopened them to navigation. As a result, they could continue to launch attacks on the Great Harbor from the Inner Harbor. It also seems that they reclaimed all of Pharos Island but the lighthouse and freed from captivity the six thousand prisoners being held there by the Romans.
There would have been great celebrations in Egyptian quarters that night. Caesar’s men had been dealt a morale-sapping blow, had been driven into retreat, and had suffered heavy casualties, including almost a thousand dead. The Romans also had lost a number of ships, sunk in the harbor. And Caesar, whose string of successes so far in this conflict had been brought to an abrupt end at the causeway, had himself been made to swim for his life. Here was clear evidence that Caesar could be beaten, so Ganymede would have told his people. Now it was just a matter of capitalizing on this successful recapture of the Hepstadion and Pharos Island, and finishing off the Romans.