Massilia 2: (2) Lucan reports the following in the epic Pharsalia:
Caesar besieged the city of Massilia with his troops. A sacred grove, which had not been touched since time immemorial, hindered the siege. Therefore Caesar ordered his troops to cut down the trees.
The soldiers, out of religious timidity, refused to lay a hand on the trees consecrated to the gods and were paralyzed. Then Caesar himself took a double axe, split a towering oak and ordered his soldiers to do the same,
saying, “That none of you hesitate any longer to cut down the forest, suppose that I have committed the sin! (3:436-437) The soldiers reluctantly obeyed, but, Lucan writes, Caesar’s anger outweighed the wrath of the gods. (3:439).