Before describing the naval battle itself, Caesar comments on the Massilians’ behaviour:
is conduct recalls that of the Gauls in response to the revolt of Vercingetorix: they wanted to ee but were prevented from doing so by their wives, who with weeping and supplication urged them to ght.1 ese images are extremely powerful and emotional in the Bellum Gallicum and the Bellum Civile alike, but Caesar does not attempt to liken the Gauls of the Bellum Gallicum to the Massilians of the Bellum Civile. In this episode he does not describe specically Gallic but general human behaviour.2 He seems genuinely distressed and
concerned about the Massilians. He even refers to them as ‘intelligent’ (docti) (BC II 12.4). ey were driven by false hopes, albeit for a noble cause, to save their patria, and at the beginning they fought with courage and virtus. Yet this loy purpose resulted in their ruin.