Complete Works in English and Latin
Translated by W.A. McDevitte and W.S. Bohn
This a parallel presentation of the works of Julius Caesar in Latin and English translation. This includes his Gallic Wars and Civil Wars, plus three shorter works which may have been written by Aulus Hirtius (who is also credited with the 8th book of the Gallic Wars). Beyond its importance as a source document for military and Roman history, Caesar's clean prose style has long made his Gallic Wars the text of choice for second-year Latin. It is also of interest because of his first-hand observations of the Celtic tribes that he was waging war on. For instance, refer to Book 6, which contains a long passage about Gaulish society, the Druids, and his famous description of the original burning man ritual.
THE WARS OF JULIUS CAESAR
1:1All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in our Gauls, the third. All these differ from each other in language, customs and laws. The river Garonne separates the Gauls from the Aquitani; the Marne and the Seine separate them from the Belgae. Of all these, the Belgae are the bravest, because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of [our] Province, and merchants least frequently resort to them, and import those things which tend to effeminate the mind; and they are the nearest to the Germans, who dwell beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually waging war; for which reason the Helvetii also surpass the rest of the Gauls in valor, as they contend with the Germans in almost daily battles, when they either repel them from their own territories, or themselves wage war on their frontiers. One part of these, which it has been said that the Gauls occupy, takes its beginning at the river Rhone; it is bounded by the river Garonne, the ocean, and the territories of the Belgae; it borders, too, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, upon the river Rhine, and stretches toward the north. The Belgae rises from the extreme frontier of Gaul, extend to the lower part of the river Rhine; and look toward the north and the rising sun. Aquitania extends from the river Garonne to the Pyrenaean mountains and to that part of the ocean which is near Spain: it looks between the setting of the sun, and the north star.
Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur. Hi omnes lingua, institutis, legibus inter se differunt. Gallos ab Aquitanis Garumna flumen, a Belgis Matrona et Sequana dividit. Horum omnium fortissimi sunt Belgae, propterea quod a cultu atque humanitate provinciae longissime absunt, minimeque ad eos mercatores saepe commeant atque ea quae ad effeminandos animos pertinent important, proximique sunt Germanis, qui trans Rhenum incolunt, quibuscum continenter bellum gerunt. Qua de causa Helvetii quoque reliquos Gallos virtute praecedunt, quod fere cotidianis proeliis cum Germanis contendunt, cum aut suis finibus eos prohibent aut ipsi in eorum finibus bellum gerunt. Eorum una, pars, quam Gallos obtinere dictum est, initium capit a flumine Rhodano, continetur Garumna flumine, Oceano, finibus Belgarum, attingit etiam ab Sequanis et Helvetiis flumen Rhenum, vergit ad septentriones. Belgae ab extremis Galliae finibus oriuntur, pertinent ad inferiorem partem fluminis Rheni, spectant in septentrionem et orientem solem. Aquitania a Garumna flumine ad Pyrenaeos montes et eam partem Oceani quae est ad Hispaniam pertinet; spectat inter occasum solis et septentriones.
1:2Among the Helvetii, Orgetorix was by far the most distinguished and wealthy. He, when Marcus Messala and Marcus Piso were consuls, incited by lust of sovereignty, formed a conspiracy among the nobility, and persuaded the people to go forth from their territories with all their possessions, [saying] that it would be very easy, since they excelled all in valor, to acquire the supremacy of the whole of Gaul. To this he the more easily persuaded them, because the Helvetii, are confined on every side by the nature of their situation; on one side by the Rhine, a very broad and deep river, which separates the Helvetian territory from the Germans; on a second side by the Jura, a very high mountain, which is [situated] between the Sequani and the Helvetii; on a third by the Lake of Geneva, and by the river Rhone, which separates our Province from the Helvetii. From these circumstances it resulted, that they could range less widely, and could less easily make war upon their neighbors; for which reason men fond of war [as they were] were affected with great regret. They thought, that considering the extent of their population, and their renown for warfare and bravery, they had but narrow limits, although they extended in length 240, and in breadth 180 [Roman] miles.
Apud Helvetios longe nobilissimus fuit et ditissimus Orgetorix. Is M. Messala, [et P.] M. Pisone consulibus regni cupiditate inductus coniurationem nobilitatis fecit et civitati persuasit ut de finibus suis cum omnibus copiis exirent: perfacile esse, cum virtute omnibus praestarent, totius Galliae imperio potiri. Id hoc facilius iis persuasit, quod undique loci natura Helvetii continentur: una ex parte flumine Rheno latissimo atque altissimo, qui agrum Helvetium a Germanis dividit; altera ex parte monte Iura altissimo, qui est inter Sequanos et Helvetios; tertia lacu Lemanno et flumine Rhodano, qui provinciam nostram ab Helvetiis dividit. His rebus fiebat ut et minus late vagarentur et minus facile finitimis bellum inferre possent; qua ex parte homines bellandi cupidi magno dolore adficiebantur. Pro multitudine autem hominum et pro gloria belli atque fortitudinis angustos se fines habere arbitrabantur, qui in longitudinem milia passuum CCXL, in latitudinem CLXXX patebant.
1:3Induced by these considerations, and influenced by the authority of Orgetorix, they determined to provide such things as were necessary for their expedition-to buy up as great a number as possible of beasts of burden and wagons-to make their sowings as large as possible, so that on their march plenty of corn might be in store-and to establish peace and friendship with the neighboring states. They reckoned that a term of two years would be sufficient for them to execute their designs; they fix by decree their departure for the third year. Orgetorix is chosen to complete these arrangements. He took upon himself the office of embassador to the states: on this journey he persuades Casticus, the son of Catamantaledes (one of the Sequani, whose father had possessed the sovereignty among the people for many years, and had been styled "friend" by the senate of the Roman people), to seize upon the sovereignty in his own state, which his father had held before him, and he likewise persuades Dumnorix, an Aeduan, the brother of Divitiacus, who at that time possessed the chief authority in the state, and was exceedingly beloved by the people, to attempt the same, and gives him his daughter in marriage. He proves to them that to accomplish their attempts was a thing very easy to be done, because he himself would obtain the government of his own state; that there was no doubt that the Helvetii were the most powerful of the whole of Gaul; he assures them that he will, with his own forces and his own army, acquire the sovereignty for them. Incited by this speech, they give a pledge and oath to one another, and hope that, when they have seized the sovereignty, they will, by means of the three most powerful and valiant nations, be enabled to obtain possession of the whole of Gaul.
His rebus adducti et auctoritate Orgetorigis permoti constituerunt ea quae ad proficiscendum pertinerent comparare, iumentorum et carrorum quam maximum numerum coemere, sementes quam maximas facere, ut in itinere copia frumenti suppeteret, cum proximis civitatibus pacem et amicitiam confirmare. Ad eas res conficiendas biennium sibi satis esse duxerunt; in tertium annum profectionem lege confirmant. Ad eas res conficiendas Orgetorix deligitur. Is sibi legationem ad civitates suscipit. In eo itinere persuadet Castico, Catamantaloedis filio, Sequano, cuius pater regnum in Sequanis multos annos obtinuerat et a senatu populi Romani amicus appellatus erat, ut regnum in civitate sua occuparet, quod pater ante habuerit; itemque Dumnorigi Haeduo, fratri Diviciaci, qui eo tempore principatum in civitate obtinebat ac maxime plebi acceptus erat, ut idem conaretur persuadet eique filiam suam in matrimonium dat. Perfacile factu esse illis probat conata perficere, propterea quod ipse suae civitatis imperium obtenturus esset: non esse dubium quin totius Galliae plurimum Helvetii possent; se suis copiis suoque exercitu illis regna conciliaturum confirmat. Hac oratione adducti inter se fidem et ius iurandum dant et regno occupato per tres potentissimos ac firmissimos populos totius Galliae sese potiri posse sperant.
1:4When this scheme was disclosed to the Helvetii by informers, they, according to their custom, compelled Orgetorix to plead his cause in chains; it was the law that the penalty of being burned by fire should await him if condemned. On the day appointed for the pleading of his cause, Orgetorix drew together from all quarters to the court, all his vassals to the number of ten thousand persons; and led together to the same place all his dependents and debtor-bondsmen, of whom he had a great number; by means of those he rescued himself from [the necessity of] pleading his cause. While the state, incensed at this act, was endeavoring to assert its right by arms, and the magistrates were mustering a large body of men from the country, Orgetorix died; and there is not wanting a suspicion, as the Helvetii think, of his having committed suicide.
Ea res est Helvetiis per indicium enuntiata. Moribus suis Orgetoricem ex vinculis causam dicere coegerunt; damnatum poenam sequi oportebat, ut igni cremaretur. Die constituta causae dictionis Orgetorix ad iudicium omnem suam familiam, ad hominum milia decem, undique coegit, et omnes clientes obaeratosque suos, quorum magnum numerum habebat, eodem conduxit; per eos ne causam diceret se eripuit. Cum civitas ob eam rem incitata armis ius suum exequi conaretur multitudinemque hominum ex agris magistratus cogerent, Orgetorix mortuus est; neque abest suspicio, ut Helvetii arbitrantur, quin ipse sibi mortem consciverit.
1:5After his death, the Helvetii nevertheless attempt to do that which they had resolved on, namely, to go forth from their territories. When they thought that they were at length prepared for this undertaking, they set fire to all their towns, in number about twelve-to their villages about four hundred-and to the private dwellings that remained; they burn up all the corn, except what they intend to carry with them; that after destroying the hope of a return home, they might be the more ready for undergoing all dangers. They order every one to carry forth from home for himself provisions for three months, ready ground. They persuade the Rauraci, and the Tulingi, and the Latobrigi, their neighbors, to adopt the same plan, and after burning down their towns and villages, to set out with them: and they admit to their party and unite to themselves as confederates the Boii, who had dwelt on the other side of the Rhine, and had crossed over into the Norican territory, and assaulted Noreia.
Post eius mortem nihilo minus Helvetii id quod constituerant facere conantur, ut e finibus suis exeant. Ubi iam se ad eam rem paratos esse arbitrati sunt, oppida sua omnia, numero ad duodecim, vicos ad quadringentos, reliqua privata aedificia incendunt; frumentum omne, praeter quod secum portaturi erant, comburunt, ut domum reditionis spe sublata paratiores ad omnia pericula subeunda essent; trium mensum molita cibaria sibi quemque domo efferre iubent. Persuadent Rauracis et Tulingis et Latobrigis finitimis, uti eodem usi consilio oppidis suis vicisque exustis una cum iis proficiscantur, Boiosque, qui trans Rhenum incoluerant et in agrum Noricum transierant Noreiamque oppugnabant, receptos ad se socios sibi adsciscunt.
1:6There were in all two routes, by which they could go forth from their country one through the Sequani narrow and difficult, between Mount Jura and the river Rhone (by which scarcely one wagon at a time could be led; there was, moreover, a very high mountain overhanging, so that a very few might easily intercept them; the other, through our Province, much easier and freer from obstacles, because the Rhone flows between the boundaries of the Helvetii and those of the Allobroges, who had lately been subdued, and is in some places crossed by a ford. The furthest town of the Allobroges, and the nearest to the territories of the Helvetii, is Geneva. From this town a bridge extends to the Helvetii. They thought that they should either persuade the Allobroges, because they did not seem as yet well-affected toward the Roman people, or compel them by force to allow them to pass through their territories. Having provided every thing for the expedition, they appoint a day, on which they should all meet on the bank of the Rhone. This day was the fifth before the kalends of April [i.e. the 28th of March], in the consulship of Lucius Piso and Aulus Gabinius [B.C. 58.]
Erant omnino itinera duo, quibus itineribus domo exire possent: unum per Sequanos, angustum et difficile, inter montem Iuram et flumen Rhodanum, vix qua singuli carri ducerentur, mons autem altissimus impendebat, ut facile perpauci prohibere possent; alterum per provinciam nostram, multo facilius atque expeditius, propterea quod inter fines Helvetiorum et Allobrogum, qui nuper pacati erant, Rhodanus fluit isque non nullis locis vado transitur. Extremum oppidum Allobrogum est proximumque Helvetiorum finibus Genava. Ex eo oppido pons ad Helvetios pertinet. Allobrogibus sese vel persuasuros, quod nondum bono animo in populum Romanum viderentur, existimabant vel vi coacturos ut per suos fines eos ire paterentur. Omnibus rebus ad profectionem comparatis diem dicunt, qua die ad ripam Rhodani omnes conveniant. Is dies erat a. d. V. Kal. Apr. L. Pisone, A. Gabinio consulibus.
1:7When it was reported to Caesar that they were attempting to make their route through our Province he hastens to set out from the city, and, by as great marches as he can, proceeds to Further Gaul, and arrives at Geneva. He orders the whole Province [to furnish] as great a number of soldiers as possible, as there was in all only one legion in Further Gaul: he orders the bridge at Geneva to be broken down. When the Helvetii are apprized of his arrival they send to him, as embassadors, the most illustrious men of their state (in which embassy Numeius and Verudoctius held the chief place), to say "that it was their intention to march through the Province without doing any harm, because they had" [according to their own representations,] "no other route: that they requested, they might be allowed to do so with his consent." Caesar, inasmuch as he kept in remembrance that Lucius Cassius, the consul, had been slain, and his army routed and made to pass under the yoke by the Helvetii, did not think that [their request] ought to be granted: nor was he of opinion that men of hostile disposition, if an opportunity of marching through the Province were given them, would abstain from outrage and mischief. Yet, in order that a period might intervene, until the soldiers whom he had ordered [to be furnished] should assemble, he replied to the ambassadors, that he would take time to deliberate; if they wanted any thing, they might return on the day before the ides of April [on April 12th].
Caesari cum id nuntiatum esset, eos per provinciam nostram iter facere conari, maturat ab urbe proficisci et quam maximis potest itineribus in Galliam ulteriorem contendit et ad Genavam pervenit. Provinciae toti quam maximum potest militum numerum imperat (erat omnino in Gallia ulteriore legio una), pontem, qui erat ad Genavam, iubet rescindi. Ubi de eius adventu Helvetii certiores facti sunt, legatos ad eum mittunt nobilissimos civitatis, cuius legationis Nammeius et Verucloetius principem locum obtinebant, qui dicerent sibi esse in animo sine ullo maleficio iter per provinciam facere, propterea quod aliud iter haberent nullum: rogare ut eius voluntate id sibi facere liceat. Caesar, quod memoria tenebat L. Cassium consulem occisum exercitumque eius ab Helvetiis pulsum et sub iugum missum, concedendum non putabat; neque homines inimico animo, data facultate per provinciam itineris faciundi, temperaturos ab iniuria et maleficio existimabat. Tamen, ut spatium intercedere posset dum milites quos imperaverat convenirent, legatis respondit diem se ad deliberandum sumpturum: si quid vellent, ad Id. April. reverterentur.
1:8Meanwhile, with the legion which he had with him and the soldiers which had assembled from the Province, he carries along for nineteen [Roman, not quite eighteen English] miles a wall, to the height of sixteen feet, and a trench, from the Lake of Geneva, which flows into the river Rhone, to Mount Jura, which separates the territories of the Sequani from those of the Helvetii. When that work was finished, he distributes garrisons, and closely fortifies redoubts, in order that he may the more easily intercept them, if they should attempt to cross over against his will. When the day which he had appointed with the embassadors came, and they returned to him; he says, that he can not, consistently with the custom and precedent of the Roman people, grant any one a passage through the Province; and he gives them to understand, that, if they should attempt to use violence he would oppose them. The Helvetii, disappointed in this hope, tried if they could force a passage (some by means of a bridge of boats and numerous rafts constructed for the purpose; others, by the fords of the Rhone, where the depth of the river was least, sometimes by day, but more frequently by night), but being kept at bay by the strength of our works, and by the concourse of the soldiers, and by the missiles, they desisted from this attempt.
Interea ea legione quam secum habebat militibusque, qui ex provincia convenerant, a lacu Lemanno, qui in flumen Rhodanum influit, ad montem Iuram, qui fines Sequanorum ab Helvetiis dividit, milia passuum XVIIII murum in altitudinem pedum sedecim fossamque perducit. Eo opere perfecto praesidia disponit, castella communit, quo facilius, si se invito transire conentur, prohibere possit. Ubi ea dies quam constituerat cum legatis venit et legati ad eum reverterunt, negat se more et exemplo populi Romani posse iter ulli per provinciam dare et, si vim facere conentur, prohibiturum ostendit. Helvetii ea spe deiecti navibus iunctis ratibusque compluribus factis, alii vadis Rhodani, qua minima altitudo fluminis erat, non numquam interdiu, saepius noctu si perrumpere possent conati, operis munitione et militum concursu et telis repulsi, hoc conatu destiterunt.
1:9There was left one way, [namely] through the Sequani, by which, on account of its narrowness, they could not pass without the consent of the Sequani. As they could not of themselves prevail on them, they send embassadors to Dumnorix the Aeduan, that through his intercession, they might obtain their request from the Sequani. Dumnorix, by his popularity and liberality, had great influence among the Sequani, and was friendly to the Helvetii, because out of that state he had married the daughter of Orgetorix; and, incited by lust of sovereignty, was anxious for a revolution, and wished to have as many states as possible attached to him by his kindness toward them. He, therefore, undertakes the affair, and prevails upon the Sequani to allow the Helvetii to march through their territories, and arranges that they should give hostages to each other-the Sequani not to obstruct the Helvetii in their march-the Helvetii, to pass without mischief and outrage.
Relinquebatur una per Sequanos via, qua Sequanis invitis propter angustias ire non poterant. His cum sua sponte persuadere non possent, legatos ad Dumnorigem Haeduum mittunt, ut eo deprecatore a Sequanis impetrarent. Dumnorix gratia et largitione apud Sequanos plurimum poterat et Helvetiis erat amicus, quod ex ea civitate Orgetorigis filiam in matrimonium duxerat, et cupiditate regni adductus novis rebus studebat et quam plurimas civitates suo beneficio habere obstrictas volebat. Itaque rem suscipit et a Sequanis impetrat ut per fines suos Helvetios ire patiantur, obsidesque uti inter sese dent perficit: Sequani, ne itinere Helvetios prohibeant, Helvetii, ut sine maleficio et iniuria transeant.
1:10It is again told Caesar, that the Helvetii intended to march through the country of the Sequani and the Aedui into the territories of the Santones, which are not far distant from those boundaries of the Tolosates, which [viz. Tolosa, Toulouse] is a state in the Province. If this took place, he saw that it would be attended with great danger to the Province to have warlike men, enemies of the Roman people, bordering upon an open and very fertile tract of country. For these reasons he appointed Titus Labienus, his lieutenant, to the command of the fortification which he had made. He himself proceeds to Italy by forced marches, and there levies two legions, and leads out from winter-quarters three which were wintering around Aquileia, and with these five legions marches rapidly by the nearest route across the Alps into Further Gaul. Here the Centrones and the Graioceli and the Caturiges, having taken possession of the higher parts, attempt to obstruct the army in their march. After having routed these in several battles, he arrives in the territories of the Vocontii in the Further Province on the seventh day from Ocelum, which is the most remote town of the Hither Province; thence he leads his army into the country of the Allobroges, and from the Allobroges to the Segusiani. These people are the first beyond the Province on the opposite side of the Rhone.
Caesari renuntiatur Helvetiis esse in animo per agrum Sequanorum et Haeduorum iter in Santonum fines facere, qui non longe a Tolosatium finibus absunt, quae civitas est in provincia. Id si fieret, intellegebat magno cum periculo provinciae futurum ut homines bellicosos, populi Romani inimicos, locis patentibus maximeque frumentariis finitimos haberet. Ob eas causas ei munitioni quam fecerat T. Labienum legatum praeficit; ipse in Italiam magnis itineribus contendit duasque ibi legiones conscribit et tres, quae circum Aquileiam hiemabant, ex hibernis educit et, qua proximum iter in ulteriorem Galliam per Alpes erat, cum his quinque legionibus ire contendit. Ibi Ceutrones et Graioceli et Caturiges locis superioribus occupatis itinere exercitum prohibere conantur. Compluribus his proeliis pulsis ab Ocelo, quod est oppidum citerioris provinciae extremum, in fines Vocontiorum ulterioris provinciae die septimo pervenit; inde in Allobrogum fines, ab Allobrogibus in Segusiavos exercitum ducit. Hi sunt extra provinciam trans Rhodanum primi.
1:11The Helvetii had by this time led their forces over through the narrow defile and the territories of the Sequani, and had arrived at the territories of the Aedui, and were ravaging their lands. The Aedui, as they could not defend themselves and their possessions against them, send embassadors to Caesar to ask assistance, [pleading] that they had at all times so well deserved of the Roman people, that their fields ought not to have been laid waste-their children carried off into slavery-their towns stormed, almost within sight of our army. At the same time the Ambarri, the friends and kinsmen of the Aedui, apprize Caesar, that it was not easy for them, now that their fields had been devastated, to ward off the violence of the enemy from their towns: the Allobroges likewise, who had villages and possessions on the other side of the Rhone, betake themselves in flight to Caesar, and assure him that they had nothing remaining, except the soil of their land. Caesar, induced by these circumstances, decides, that he ought not to wait until the Helvetii, after destroying all the property of his allies, should arrive among the Santones.
Helvetii iam per angustias et fines Sequanorum suas copias traduxerant et in Haeduorum fines pervenerant eorumque agros populabantur. Haedui, cum se suaque ab iis defendere non possent, legatos ad Caesarem mittunt rogatum auxilium: ita se omni tempore de populo Romano meritos esse ut paene in conspectu exercitus nostri agri vastari, liberi [eorum] in servitutem abduci, oppida expugnari non debuerint. Eodem tempore quo Haedui Ambarri, necessarii et consanguinei Haeduorum, Caesarem certiorem faciunt sese depopulatis agris non facile ab oppidis vim hostium prohibere. Item Allobroges, qui trans Rhodanum vicos possessionesque habebant, fuga se ad Caesarem recipiunt et demonstrant sibi praeter agri solum nihil esse reliqui. Quibus rebus adductus Caesar non expectandum sibi statuit dum, omnibus, fortunis sociorum consumptis, in Santonos Helvetii pervenirent.
1:12There is a river [called] the Saone, which flows through the territories of the Aedui and Sequani into the Rhone with such incredible slowness, that it can not be determined by the eye in which direction it flows. This the Helvetii were crossing by rafts and boats joined together. When Caesar was informed by spies that the Helvetii had already conveyed three parts of their forces across that river, but that the fourth part was left behind on this side of the Saone, he set out from the camp with three legions during the third watch, and came up with that division which had not yet crossed the river. Attacking them encumbered with baggage, and not expecting him, he cut to pieces a great part of them; the rest betook themselves to flight, and concealed themselves in the nearest woods. That canton [which was cut down] was called the Tigurine; for the whole Helvetian state is divided into four cantons. This single canton having left their country, within the recollection of our fathers, had slain Lucius Cassius the consul, and had made his army pass under the yoke. Thus, whether by chance, or by the design of the immortal gods, that part of the Helvetian state which had brought a signal calamity upon the Roman people, was the first to pay the penalty. In this Caesar avenged not only the public but also his own personal wrongs, because the Tigurini had slain Lucius Piso the lieutenant [of Cassius], the grandfather of Lucius Calpurnius Piso, his [Caesar's] father-in-law, in the same battle as Cassius himself.
Flumen est Arar, quod per fines Haeduorum et Sequanorum in Rhodanum influit, incredibili lenitate, ita ut oculis in utram partem fluat iudicari non possit. Id Helvetii ratibus ac lintribus iunctis transibant. Ubi per exploratores Caesar certior factus est tres iam partes copiarum Helvetios id flumen traduxisse, quartam vero partem citra flumen Ararim reliquam esse, de tertia vigilia cum legionibus tribus e castris profectus ad eam partem pervenit quae nondum flumen transierat. Eos impeditos et inopinantes adgressus magnam partem eorum concidit; reliqui sese fugae mandarunt atque in proximas silvas abdiderunt. Is pagus appellabatur Tigurinus; nam omnis civitas Helvetia in quattuor pagos divisa est. Hic pagus unus, cum domo exisset, patrum nostrorum memoria L. Cassium consulem interfecerat et eius exercitum sub iugum miserat. Ita sive casu sive consilio deorum immortalium quae pars civitatis Helvetiae insignem calamitatem populo Romano intulerat, ea princeps poenam persolvit. Qua in re Caesar non solum publicas, sed etiam privatas iniurias ultus est, quod eius soceri L. Pisonis avum, L. Pisonem legatum, Tigurini eodem proelio quo Cassium interfecerant.
1:13This battle ended, that he might be able to come up with the remaining forces of the Helvetii, he procures a bridge to be made across the Saone, and thus leads his army over. The Helvetii, confused by his sudden arrival, when they found that he had effected in one day, what they, themselves had with the utmost difficulty accomplished in twenty namely, the crossing of the river, send embassadors to him; at the head of which embassy was Divico, who had been commander of the Helvetii, in the war against Cassius. He thus treats with Caesar:--that, "if the Roman people would make peace with the Helvetii they would go to that part and there remain, where Caesar might appoint and desire them to be; but if he should persist in persecuting them with war that he ought to remember both the ancient disgrace of the Roman people and the characteristic valor of the Helvetii. As to his having attacked one canton by surprise, [at a time] when those who had crossed the river could not bring assistance to their friends, that he ought not on that account to ascribe very much to his own valor, or despise them; that they had so learned from their sires and ancestors, as to rely more on valor than on artifice and stratagem. Wherefore let him not bring it to pass that the place, where they were standing, should acquire a name, from the disaster of the Roman people and the destruction of their army or transmit the remembrance [of such an event to posterity]."
Hoc proelio facto, reliquas copias Helvetiorum ut consequi posset, pontem in Arari faciendum curat atque ita exercitum traducit. Helvetii repentino eius adventu commoti cum id quod ipsi diebus XX aegerrime confecerant, ut flumen transirent, illum uno die fecisse intellegerent, legatos ad eum mittunt; cuius legationis Divico princeps fuit, qui bello Cassiano dux Helvetiorum fuerat. Is ita cum Caesare egit: si pacem populus Romanus cum Helvetiis faceret, in eam partem ituros atque ibi futuros Helvetios ubi eos Caesar constituisset atque esse voluisset; sin bello persequi perseveraret, reminisceretur et veteris incommodi populi Romani et pristinae virtutis Helvetiorum. Quod improviso unum pagum adortus esset, cum ii qui flumen transissent suis auxilium ferre non possent, ne ob eam rem aut suae magnopere virtuti tribueret aut ipsos despiceret. Se ita a patribus maioribusque suis didicisse, ut magis virtute contenderent quam dolo aut insidiis niterentur. Quare ne committeret ut is locus ubi constitissent ex calamitate populi Romani et internecione exercitus nomen caperet aut memoriam proderet.
1:14To these words Caesar thus replied:--that "on that very account he felt less hesitation, because he kept in remembrance those circumstances which the Helvetian embassadors had mentioned, and that he felt the more indignant at them, in proportion as they had happened undeservedly to the Roman people: for if they had been conscious of having done any wrong, it would not have been difficult to be on their guard, but for that very reason had they been deceived, because neither were they aware that any offense had been given by them, on account of which they should be afraid, nor did they think that they ought to be afraid without cause. But even if he were willing to forget their former outrage, could he also lay aside the remembrance of the late wrongs, in that they had against his will attempted a route through the Province by force, in that they had molested the Aedui, the Ambarri, and the Allobroges? That as to their so insolently boasting of their victory, and as to their being astonished that they had so long committed their outrages with impunity, [both these things] tended to the same point; for the immortal gods are wont to allow those persons whom they wish to punish for their guilt sometimes a greater prosperity and longer impunity, in order that they may suffer the more severely from a reverse of circumstances. Although these things are so, yet, if hostages were to be given him by them in order that he may be assured these will do what they promise, and provided they will give satisfaction to the Aedui for the outrages which they had committed against them and their allies, and likewise to the Allobroges, he [Caesar] will make peace with them." Divico replied, that "the Helvetii had been so trained by their ancestors, that they were accustomed to receive, not to give hostages; of that fact the Roman people were witness." Having given this reply, he withdrew.
His Caesar ita respondit: eo sibi minus dubitationis dari, quod eas res quas legati Helvetii commemorassent memoria teneret, atque eo gravius ferre quo minus merito populi Romani accidissent; qui si alicuius iniuriae sibi conscius fuisset, non fuisse difficile cavere; sed eo deceptum, quod neque commissum a se intellegeret quare timeret neque sine causa timendum putaret. Quod si veteris contumeliae oblivisci vellet, num etiam recentium iniuriarum, quod eo invito iter per provinciam per vim temptassent, quod Haeduos, quod Ambarros, quod Allobrogas vexassent, memoriam deponere posse? Quod sua victoria tam insolenter gloriarentur quodque tam diu se impune iniurias tulisse admirarentur, eodem pertinere. Consuesse enim deos immortales, quo gravius homines ex commutatione rerum doleant, quos pro scelere eorum ulcisci velint, his secundiores interdum res et diuturniorem impunitatem concedere. Cum ea ita sint, tamen, si obsides ab iis sibi dentur, uti ea quae polliceantur facturos intellegat, et si Haeduis de iniuriis quas ipsis sociisque eorum intulerint, item si Allobrogibus satis faciunt, sese cum iis pacem esse facturum. Divico respondit: ita Helvetios a maioribus suis institutos esse uti obsides accipere, non dare, consuerint; eius rem populum Romanum esse testem. Hoc responso dato discessit.
1:15On the following day they move their camp from that place; Caesar does the same, and sends forward all his cavalry, to the number of four thousand (which he had drawn together from all parts of the Province and from the Aedui and their allies), to observe toward what parts the enemy are directing their march. These, having too eagerly pursued the enemy's rear, come to a battle with the cavalry of the Helvetii in a disadvantageous place, and a few of our men fall. The Helvetii, elated with this battle, because they had with five hundred horse repulsed so large a body of horse, began to face us more boldly, sometimes too from their rear to provoke our men by an attack. Caesar [however] restrained his men from battle, deeming it sufficient for the present to prevent the enemy from rapine, forage, and depredation. They marched for about fifteen days in such a manner that there was not more than five or six miles between the enemy's rear and our van.
Postero die castra ex eo loco movent. Idem facit Caesar equitatumque omnem, ad numerum quattuor milium, quem ex omni provincia et Haeduis atque eorum sociis coactum habebat, praemittit, qui videant quas in partes hostes iter faciant. Qui cupidius novissimum agmen insecuti alieno loco cum equitatu Helvetiorum proelium committunt; et pauci de nostris cadunt. Quo proelio sublati Helvetii, quod quingentis equitibus tantam multitudinem equitum propulerant, audacius subsistere non numquam et novissimo agmine proelio nostros lacessere coeperunt. Caesar suos a proelio continebat, ac satis habebat in praesentia hostem rapinis, pabulationibus populationibusque prohibere. Ita dies circiter XV iter fecerunt uti inter novissimum hostium agmen et nostrum primum non amplius quinis aut senis milibus passuum interesset.
1:16Meanwhile, Caesar kept daily importuning the Aedui for the corn which they had promised in the name of their state; for, in consequence of the coldness (Gaul, being as before said, situated toward the north), not only was the corn in the fields not ripe, but there was not in store a sufficiently large quantity even of fodder: besides he was unable to use the corn which he had conveyed in ships up the river Saone, because the Helvetii, from whom he was unwilling to retire had diverted their march from the Saone. The Aedui kept deferring from day to day, and saying that it was being collected-brought in-on the road." When he saw that he was put off too long, and that the day was close at hand on which he ought to serve out the corn to his soldiers;-having called together their chiefs, of whom he had a great number in his camp, among them Divitiacus and Liscus who was invested with the chief magistracy (whom the Aedui style the Vergobretus, and who is elected annually and has power of life or death over his countrymen), he severely reprimands them, because he is not assisted by them on so urgent an occasion, when the enemy were so close at hand, and when [corn] could neither be bought nor taken from the fields, particularly as, in a great measure urged by their prayers, he had undertaken the war; much more bitterly, therefore does he complain of his being forsaken.
Interim cotidie Caesar Haeduos frumentum, quod essent publice polliciti, flagitare. Nam propter frigora [quod Gallia sub septentrionibus, ut ante dictum est, posita est,] non modo frumenta in agris matura non erant, sed ne pabuli quidem satis magna copia suppetebat; eo autem frumento quod flumine Arari navibus subvexerat propterea uti minus poterat quod iter ab Arari Helvetii averterant, a quibus discedere nolebat. Diem ex die ducere Haedui: conferri, comportari, adesse dicere. Ubi se diutius duci intellexit et diem instare quo die frumentum militibus metiri oporteret, convocatis eorum principibus, quorum magnam copiam in castris habebat, in his Diviciaco et Lisco, qui summo magistratui praeerat, quem 'vergobretum' appellant Haedui, qui creatur annuus et vitae necisque in suos habet potestatem, graviter eos accusat, quod, cum neque emi neque ex agris sumi possit, tam necessario tempore, tam propinquis hostibus ab iis non sublevetur, praesertim cum magna ex parte eorum precibus adductus bellum susceperit; multo etiam gravius quod sit destitutus queritur.
1:17Then at length Liscus, moved by Caesar's speech, discloses what he had hitherto kept secret:--that there are some whose influences with the people is very great, who, though private men, have more power than the magistrates themselves: that these by seditions and violent language are deterring the populace from contributing the corn which they ought to supply; [by telling them] that, if they can not any longer retain the supremacy of Gaul, it were better to submit to the government of Gauls than of Romans, nor ought they to doubt that, if the Romans should overpower the Helvetii, they would wrest their freedom from the Aedui together with the remainder of Gaul. By these very men, [said he], are our plans and whatever is done in the camp, disclosed to the enemy; that they could not be restrained by him: nay more, he was well aware, that though compelled by necessity, he had disclosed the matter to Caesar, at how great a risk he had done it; and for that reason, he had been silent as long as he could."
Tum demum Liscus oratione Caesaris adductus quod antea tacuerat proponit: esse non nullos, quorum auctoritas apud plebem plurimum valeat, qui privatim plus possint quam ipsi magistratus. Hos seditiosa atque improba oratione multitudinem deterrere, ne frumentum conferant quod debeant: praestare, si iam principatum Galliae obtinere non possint, Gallorum quam Romanorum imperia perferre, neque dubitare [debeant] quin, si Helvetios superaverint Romani, una cum reliqua Gallia Haeduis libertatem sint erepturi. Ab isdem nostra consilia quaeque in castris gerantur hostibus enuntiari; hos a se coerceri non posse. Quin etiam, quod necessariam rem coactus Caesari enuntiarit, intellegere sese quanto id cum periculo fecerit, et ob eam causam quam diu potuerit tacuisse.
1:18Caesar perceived that by this speech of Liscus, Dumnorix, the brother of Divitiacus, was indicated; but, as he was unwilling that these matters should be discussed while so many were present, he speedily dismisses: the council, but detains Liscus: he inquires from him when alone, about those things which he had said in the meeting. He [Liscus] speaks more unreservedly and boldly. He [Caesar] makes inquiries on the same points privately of others, and discovered that it is all true; that "Dumnorix is the person, a man of the highest daring, in great favor with the people on account of his liberality, a man eager for a revolution: that for a great many years he has been in the habit of contracting for the customs and all the other taxes of the Aedui at a small cost, because when he bids, no one dares to bid against him. By these means he has both increased his own private property, and amassed great means for giving largesses; that he maintains constantly at his own expense and keeps about his own person a great number of cavalry, and that not only at home, but even among the neighboring states, he has great influence, and for the sake of strengthening this influence has given his mother in marriage among the Bituriges to a man the most noble and most influential there; that he has himself taken a wife from among the Helvetii, and has given his sister by the mother's side and his female relations in marriage into other states; that he favors and wishes well to the Helvetii on account of this connection; and that he hates Caesar and the Romans, on his own account, because by their arrival his power was weakened, and his brother, Divitiacus, restored to his former position of influence and dignity: that, if any thing should happen to the Romans, he entertains the highest hope of gaining the sovereignty by means of the Helvetii, but that under the government of the Roman people he despairs not only of royalty, but even of that influence which he already has." Caesar discovered too, on inquiring into the unsuccessful cavalry engagement which had taken place a few days before, that the commencement of that flight had been made by Dumnorix and his cavalry (for Dumnorix was in command of the cavalry which the Aedui had sent for aid to Caesar); that by their flight the rest of the cavalry were dismayed.
Caesar hac oratione Lisci Dumnorigem, Diviciaci fratrem, designari sentiebat, sed, quod pluribus praesentibus eas res iactari nolebat, celeriter concilium dimittit, Liscum retinet. Quaerit ex solo ea quae in conventu dixerat. Dicit liberius atque audacius. Eadem secreto ab aliis quaerit; reperit esse vera: ipsum esse Dumnorigem, summa audacia, magna apud plebem propter liberalitatem gratia, cupidum rerum novarum. Complures annos portoria reliquaque omnia Haeduorum vectigalia parvo pretio redempta habere, propterea quod illo licente contra liceri audeat nemo. His rebus et suam rem familiarem auxisse et facultates ad largiendum magnas comparasse; magnum numerum equitatus suo sumptu semper alere et circum se habere, neque solum domi, sed etiam apud finitimas civitates largiter posse, atque huius potentiae causa matrem in Biturigibus homini illic nobilissimo ac potentissimo conlocasse; ipsum ex Helvetiis uxorem habere, sororum ex matre et propinquas suas nuptum in alias civitates conlocasse. Favere et cupere Helvetiis propter eam adfinitatem, odisse etiam suo nomine Caesarem et Romanos, quod eorum adventu potentia eius deminuta et Diviciacus frater in antiquum locum gratiae atque honoris sit restitutus. Si quid accidat Romanis, summam in spem per Helvetios regni obtinendi venire; imperio populi Romani non modo de regno, sed etiam de ea quam habeat gratia desperare. Reperiebat etiam in quaerendo Caesar, quod proelium equestre adversum paucis ante diebus esset factum, initium eius fugae factum a Dumnorige atque eius equitibus (nam equitatui, quem auxilio Caesari Haedui miserant, Dumnorix praeerat): eorum fuga reliquum esse equitatum perterritum.
1:19After learning these circumstances, since to these suspicions the most unequivocal facts were added, viz., that he had led the Helvetii through the territories of the Sequani; that he had provided that hostages should be mutually given; that he had done all these things, not only without any orders of his [Caesar's] and of his own state's, but even without their [the Aedui] knowing any thing of it themselves; that he [Dumnorix] was reprimanded: by the [chief] magistrate of the Aedui; he [Caesar] considered that there was sufficient reason, why he should either punish him himself, or order the state to do so. One thing [however] stood in the way of all this-that he had learned by experience his brother Divitiacus's very high regard for the Roman people, his great affection toward him, his distinguished faithfulness, justice, and moderation; for he was afraid lest by the punishment of this man, he should hurt the feelings of Divitiacus. Therefore, before he attempted any thing, he orders Divitiacus to be summoned to him, and, when the ordinary interpreters had been withdrawn, converses with him through Caius Valerius Procillus, chief of the province of Gaul, an intimate friend of his, in whom he reposed the highest confidence in every thing; at the same time he reminds him of what was said about Dumnorix in the council of the Gauls, when he himself was present, and shows what each had said of him privately in his [Caesar's] own presence; he begs and exhorts him, that, without offense to his feelings, he may either himself pass judgment on him [Dumnorix] after trying the case, or else order the [Aeduan] state to do so.
Quibus rebus cognitis, cum ad has suspiciones certissimae res accederent, quod per fines Sequanorum Helvetios traduxisset, quod obsides inter eos dandos curasset, quod ea omnia non modo iniussu suo et civitatis sed etiam inscientibus ipsis fecisset, quod a magistratu Haeduorum accusaretur, satis esse causae arbitrabatur quare in eum aut ipse animadverteret aut civitatem animadvertere iuberet. His omnibus rebus unum repugnabat, quod Diviciaci fratris summum in populum Romanum studium, summum in se voluntatem, egregiam fidem, iustitiam, temperantiam cognoverat; nam ne eius supplicio Diviciaci animum offenderet verebatur. Itaque prius quam quicquam conaretur, Diviciacum ad se vocari iubet et, cotidianis interpretibus remotis, per C. Valerium Troucillum, principem Galliae provinciae, familiarem suum, cui summam omnium rerum fidem habebat, cum eo conloquitur; simul commonefacit quae ipso praesente in concilio [Gallorum] de Dumnorige sint dicta, et ostendit quae separatim quisque de eo apud se dixerit. Petit atque hortatur ut sine eius offensione animi vel ipse de eo causa cognita statuat vel civitatem statuere iubeat.
1:20Divitiacus, embracing Caesar, begins to implore him, with many tears, that "he would not pass any very severe sentence upon his brother; saying, that he knows that those charges are true, and that nobody suffered more pain on that account than he himself did; for when he himself could effect a very great deal by his influence at home and in the rest of Gaul, and he [Dumnorix] very little on account of his youth, the latter had become powerful through his means, which power and strength he used not only to the lessening of his [Divitiacus] popularity, but almost to his ruin; that he, however, was influenced both by fraternal affection and by public opinion. But if any thing very severe from Caesar should befall him [Dumnorix], no one would think that it had been done without his consent, since he himself held such a place in Caesar's friendship: from which circumstance it would arise, that the affections of the whole of Gaul would be estranged from him." As he was with tears begging these things of Caesar in many words, Caesar takes his right hand, and, comforting him, begs him to make an end of entreating, and assures him that his regard for him is so great, that he forgives both the injuries of the republic and his private wrongs, at his desire and prayers. He summons Dumnorix to him; he brings in his brother; he points out what he censures in him; he lays before him what he of himself perceives, and what the state complains of; he warns him for the future to avoid all grounds of suspicion; he says that he pardons the past, for the sake of his brother, Divitiacus. He sets spies over Dumnorix that he may be able to know what he does, and with whom he communicates.
Diviciacus multis cum lacrimis Caesarem complexus obsecrare coepit ne quid gravius in fratrem statueret: scire se illa esse vera, nec quemquam ex eo plus quam se doloris capere, propterea quod, cum ipse gratia plurimum domi atque in reliqua Gallia, ille minimum propter adulescentiam posset, per se crevisset; quibus opibus ac nervis non solum ad minuendam gratiam, sed paene ad perniciem suam uteretur. Sese tamen et amore fraterno et existimatione vulgi commoveri. Quod si quid ei a Caesare gravius accidisset, cum ipse eum locum amicitiae apud eum teneret, neminem existimaturum non sua voluntate factum; qua ex re futurum uti totius Galliae animi a se averterentur. Haec cum pluribus verbis flens a Caesare peteret, Caesar eius dextram prendit; consolatus rogat finem orandi faciat; tanti eius apud se gratiam esse ostendit uti et rei publicae iniuriam et suum dolorem eius voluntati ac precibus condonet. Dumnorigem ad se vocat, fratrem adhibet; quae in eo reprehendat ostendit; quae ipse intellegat, quae civitas queratur proponit; monet ut in reliquum tempus omnes suspiciones vitet; praeterita se Diviciaco fratri condonare dicit. Dumnorigi custodes ponit, ut quae agat, quibuscum loquatur scire possit.
1:21Being on the same day informed by his scouts, that the enemy had encamped at the foot of a mountain eight miles from his own camp; he sent persons to ascertain what the nature of the mountain was, and of what kind the ascent on every side. Word was brought back, that it was easy. During the third watch he orders Titus Labienus, his lieutenant with praetorian powers, to ascend to the highest ridge of the mountain with two legions, and with those as guides who had examined the road; he explains what his plan is. He himself during the fourth watch, hastens to them by the same route by which the enemy had gone, and sends on all the cavalry before him. Publius Considius, who was reputed to be very experienced in military affairs, and had been in the army of Lucius Sulla, and afterward in that of Marcus Crassus, is sent forward with the scouts.
Eodem die ab exploratoribus certior factus hostes sub monte consedisse milia passuum ab ipsius castris octo, qualis esset natura montis et qualis in circuitu ascensus qui cognoscerent misit. Renuntiatum est facilem esse. De tertia vigilia T. Labienum, legatum pro praetore, cum duabus legionibus et iis ducibus qui iter cognoverant summum iugum montis ascendere iubet; quid sui consilii sit ostendit. Ipse de quarta vigilia eodem itinere quo hostes ierant ad eos contendit equitatumque omnem ante se mittit. P. Considius, qui rei militaris peritissimus habebatur et in exercitu L. Sullae et postea in M. Crassi fuerat, cum exploratoribus praemittitur.
1:22At day-break, when the summit of the mountain was in the possession of Titus Labienus, and he himself was not further off than a mile and half from the enemy's camp, nor, as he afterward ascertained from the captives, had either his arrival or that of Labienus been discovered; Considius, with his horse at full gallop, comes up to him says that the mountain which he [Caesar] wished should be seized by Labienus, is in possession of the enemy; that he has discovered this by the Gallic arms and ensigns. Caesar leads off his forces to the next hill: [and] draws them up in battle-order. Labienus, as he had been ordered by Caesar not to come to an engagement unless [Caesar's] own forces were seen near the enemy's camp, that the attack upon the enemy might be made on every side at the same time, was, after having taken possession of the mountain, waiting for our men, and refraining from battle. When, at length, the day was far advanced, Caesar learned through spies, that the mountain was in possession of his own men, and that the Helvetii had moved their camp, and that Considius, struck with fear, had reported to him, as seen, that which he had not seen. On that day he follows the enemy at his usual distance, and pitches his camp three miles from theirs.
Prima luce, cum summus mons a [Lucio] Labieno teneretur, ipse ab hostium castris non longius mille et quingentis passibus abesset neque, ut postea ex captivis comperit, aut ipsius adventus aut Labieni cognitus esset, Considius equo admisso ad eum accurrit, dicit montem, quem a Labieno occupari voluerit, ab hostibus teneri: id se a Gallicis armis atque insignibus cognovisse. Caesar suas copias in proximum collem subducit, aciem instruit. Labienus, ut erat ei praeceptum a Caesare ne proelium committeret, nisi ipsius copiae prope hostium castra visae essent, ut undique uno tempore in hostes impetus fieret, monte occupato nostros expectabat proelioque abstinebat. Multo denique die per exploratores Caesar cognovit et montem a suis teneri et Helvetios castra, movisse et Considium timore perterritum quod non vidisset pro viso sibi renuntiavisse. Eo die quo consuerat intervallo hostes sequitur et milia passuum tria ab eorum castris castra ponit.
1:23The next day (as there remained in all only two day's space [to the time] when he must serve out the corn to his army, and as he was not more than eighteen miles from Bibracte, by far the largest and best-stored town of the Aedui), he thought that he ought to provide for a supply of corn; and diverted his march from the Helvetii, and advanced rapidly to Bibracte. This circumstance is reported to the enemy by some deserters from Lucius Aemilius, a captain, of the Gallic horse. The Helvetii, either because they thought that the Romans, struck with terror, were retreating from them, the more so, as the day before, though they had seized on the higher grounds, they had not joined battle or because they flattered themselves that they might be cut of from the provisions, altering their plan and changing their route, began to pursue, and to annoy our men in the rear.
Postridie eius diei, quod omnino biduum supererat, cum exercitui frumentum metiri oporteret, et quod a Bibracte, oppido Haeduorum longe maximo et copiosissimo, non amplius milibus passuum XVIII aberat, rei frumentariae prospiciendum existimavit; itaque iter ab Helvetiis avertit ac Bibracte ire contendit. Ea res per fugitivos L. Aemilii, decurionis equitum Gallorum, hostibus nuntiatur. Helvetii, seu quod timore perterritos Romanos discedere a se existimarent, eo magis quod pridie superioribus locis occupatis proelium non commisissent, sive eo quod re frumentaria intercludi posse confiderent, commutato consilio atque itinere converso nostros a novissimo agmine insequi ac lacessere coeperunt.
1:24Caesar, when he observes this, draws off his forces to the next hill, and sent the cavalry to sustain the attack of the enemy. He himself, meanwhile, drew up on the middle of the hill a triple line of his four veteran legions in such a manner, that he placed above him on the very summit the two legions, which he had lately levied in Hither Gaul, and all the auxiliaries; and he ordered that the whole mountain should be covered with men, and that meanwhile the baggage should be brought together into one place, and the position be protected by those who were posted in the upper line. The Helvetii having followed with all their wagons, collected their baggage into one place: they themselves, after having repulsed our cavalry and formed a phalanx, advanced up to our front line in very close order.
Postquam id animum advertit, copias suas Caesar in proximum collem subduxit equitatumque, qui sustineret hostium petum, misit. Ipse interim in colle medio triplicem aciem instruxit legionum quattuor veteranarum; in summo iugo duas legiones quas in Gallia citeriore proxime conscripserat et omnia auxilia conlocavit, ita ut supra se totum montem hominibus compleret; impedimenta sarcinasque in unum locum conferri et eum ab iis qui in superiore acie constiterant muniri iussit. Helvetii cum omnibus suis carris secuti impedimenta in unum locum contulerunt; ipsi confertissima acie, reiecto nostro equitatu, phalange facta sub primam nostram aciem successerunt.
1:25Caesar, having removed out of sight first his own horse, then those of all, that he might make the danger of a11 equal, and do away with the hope of flight, after encouraging his men, joined battle. His soldiers hurling their javelins from the higher ground, easily broke the enemy's phalanx. That being dispersed, they made a charge on them with drawn swords. It was a great hinderance to the Gauls in fighting, that, when several of their bucklers had been by one stroke of the (Roman) javelins pierced through and pinned fast together, as the point of the iron had bent itself, they could neither pluck it out, nor, with their left hand entangled, fight with sufficient ease; so that many, after having long tossed their arm about, chose rather to cast away the buckler from their hand, and to fight with their person unprotected. At length, worn out with wounds, they began to give way, and, as there was in the neighborhood a mountain about a mile off, to betake themselves thither. When the mountain had been gained, and our men were advancing up, the Boii and Tulingi, who with about 15,000 men closed the enemy's line of march and served as a guard to their rear, having assailed our men on the exposed flank as they advanced [prepared] to surround them; upon seeing which, the Helvetii who had betaken themselves to the mountain, began to press on again and renew the battle. The Romans having faced about, advanced to the attack in two divisions; the first and second line, to withstand those who had been defeated and driven off the field; the third to receive those who were just arriving.
Caesar primum suo, deinde omnium ex conspectu remotis equis, ut aequato omnium periculo spem fugae tolleret, cohortatus suos proelium commisit. Milites loco superiore pilis missis facile hostium phalangem perfregerunt. Ea disiecta gladiis destrictis in eos impetum fecerunt. Gallis magno ad pugnam erat impedimento quod pluribus eorum scutis uno ictu pilorum transfixis et conligatis, cum ferrum se inflexisset, neque evellere neque sinistra impedita satis commode pugnare poterant, multi ut diu iactato bracchio praeoptarent scutum manu emittere et nudo corpore pugnare. Tandem vulneribus defessi et pedem referre et, quod mons suberit circiter mille passuum spatio, eo se recipere coeperunt. Capto monte et succedentibus nostris, Boi et Tulingi, qui hominum milibus circiter XV agmen hostium claudebant et novissimis praesidio erant, ex itinere nostros ab latere aperto adgressi circumvenire, et id conspicati Helvetii, qui in montem sese receperant, rursus instare et proelium redintegrare coeperunt. Romani conversa signa bipertito intulerunt: prima et secunda acies, ut victis ac submotis resisteret, tertia, ut venientes sustineret.
1:26Thus, was the contest long and vigorously carried on with doubtful success. When they could no longer withstand the attacks of our men, the one division, as they had begun to do, betook themselves to the mountain; the other repaired to their baggage and wagons. For during the whole of this battle, although the fight lasted from the seventh hour [i.e. 12 (noon) 1 P. M.] to eventide, no one could see an enemy with his back turned. The fight was carried on also at the baggage till late in the night, for they had set wagons in the way as a rampart, and from the higher ground kept throwing weapons upon our men, as they came on, and some from between the wagons and the wheels kept darting their lances and javelins from beneath, and wounding our men. After the fight had lasted some time, our men gained possession of their baggage and camp. There the daughter and one of the sons of Orgetorix was taken. After the battle about 130,000 men [of the enemy] remained alive, who marched incessantly during the whole of that night; and after a march discontinued for no part of the night, arrived in the territories of the Lingones on the fourth day, while our men, having stopped for three days, both on account of the wounds of the soldiers and the burial of the slain, had not been able to follow them. Caesar sent letters and messengers to the Lingones [with orders] that they should not assist them with corn or with any thing else; for that if they should assist them, he would regard them in the same light as the Helvetii. After the three days' interval he began to follow them himself with all his forces.
Ita ancipiti proelio diu atque acriter pugnatum est. Diutius cum sustinere nostrorum impetus non possent, alteri se, ut coeperant, in montem receperunt, alteri ad impedimenta et carros suos se contulerunt. Nam hoc toto proelio, cum ab hora septima ad vesperum pugnatum sit, aversum hostem videre nemo potuit. Ad multam noctem etiam ad impedimenta pugnatum est, propterea quod pro vallo carros obiecerunt et e loco superiore in nostros venientes tela coiciebant et non nulli inter carros rotasque mataras ac tragulas subiciebant nostrosque vulnerabant. Diu cum esset pugnatum, impedimentis castrisque nostri potiti sunt. Ibi Orgetorigis filia atque unus e filiis captus est. Ex eo proelio circiter hominum milia CXXX superfuerunt eaque tota nocte continenter ierunt [nullam partem noctis itinere intermisso]; in fines Lingonum die quarto pervenerunt, cum et propter vulnera militum et propter sepulturam occisorum nostri [triduum morati] eos sequi non potuissent. Caesar ad Lingonas litteras nuntiosque misit, ne eos frumento neve alia re iuvarent: qui si iuvissent, se eodem loco quo Helvetios habiturum. Ipse triduo intermisso cum omnibus copiis eos sequi coepit.
1:27The Helvetii, compelled by the want of every thing, sent embassadors to him about a surrender. When these had met him on the way and had thrown themselves at his feet, and speaking in suppliant tone had with tears sued for peace, and [when] he had ordered them to await his arrival, in the place, where they then were, they obeyed his commands. When Caesar arrived at that place, he demanded hostages, their arms, and the slaves who had deserted to them. While those things are being sought for and got together, after a night's interval, about 6000 men of that canton which is called the Verbigene, whether terrified by fear, lest after delivering up their arms, they should suffer punishment, or else induced by the hope of safety, because they supposed that, amid so vast a multitude of those who had surrendered themselves, their flight might either be concealed or entirely overlooked, having at night-fall departed out of the camp of the Helvetii, hastened to the Rhine and the territories of the Germans.
Helvetii omnium rerum inopia adducti legatos de deditione ad eum miserunt. Qui cum eum in itinere convenissent seque ad pedes proiecissent suppliciterque locuti flentes pacem petissent, atque eos in eo loco quo tum essent suum adventum expectare iussisset, paruerunt. Eo postquam Caesar pervenit, obsides, arma, servos qui ad eos perfugissent, poposcit. Dum ea conquiruntur et conferuntur, [nocte intermissa] circiter hominum milia VI eius pagi qui Verbigenus appellatur, sive timore perterriti, ne armis traditis supplicio adficerentur, sive spe salutis inducti, quod in tanta multitudine dediticiorum suam fugam aut occultari aut omnino ignorari posse existimarent, prima nocte e castris Helvetiorum egressi ad Rhenum finesque Germanorum contenderunt.
1:28But when Caesar discovered this, he commanded those through whose territory they had gone, to seek them out and to bring them back again, if they meant to be acquitted before him; and considered them, when brought back, in the light of enemies; he admitted all the rest to a surrender, upon their delivering up the hostages, arms, and deserters. He ordered the Helvetii, the Tulingi, and the Latobrigi, to return to their territories from which they had come, and as there was at home nothing whereby they might support their hunger, all the productions of the earth having been destroyed, he commanded the Allobroges to let them have a plentiful supply of corn; and ordered them to rebuild the towns and villages which they had burned. This he did, chiefly, on this account, because he was unwilling that the country, from which the Helvetii had departed, should be untenanted, lest the Germans, who dwell on the other side of the Rhine, should, on account of the excellence of the lands, cross over from their own territories into those of the Helvetii, and become borderers upon the province of Gaul and the Allobroges. He granted the petition of the Aedui, that they might settle the Boii, in their own (i. e. in the Aeduan) territories, as these were known to be of distinguished valor, to whom they gave lands, and whom they afterward admitted to the same state of rights and freedom as themselves.
Quod ubi Caesar resciit, quorum per fines ierant his uti conquirerent et reducerent, si sibi purgati esse vellent, imperavit; reductos in hostium numero habuit; reliquos omnes obsidibus, armis, perfugis traditis in deditionem accepit. Helvetios, Tulingos, Latobrigos in fines suos, unde erant profecti, reverti iussit, et, quod omnibus frugibus amissis domi nihil erat quo famem tolerarent, Allobrogibus imperavit ut iis frumenti copiam facerent; ipsos oppida vicosque, quos incenderant, restituere iussit. Id ea maxime ratione fecit, quod noluit eum locum unde Helvetii discesserant vacare, ne propter bonitatem agrorum Germani, qui trans Rhenum incolunt, ex suis finibus in Helvetiorum fines transirent et finitimi Galliae provinciae Allobrogibusque essent. Boios petentibus Haeduis, quod egregia virtute erant cogniti, ut in finibus suis conlocarent, concessit; quibus illi agros dederunt quosque postea in parem iuris libertatisque condicionem atque ipsi erant receperunt.
1:29In the camp of the Helvetii, lists were found, drawn up in Greek characters, and were brought to Caesar, in which an estimate had been drawn up, name by name, of the number which had gone forth from their country of those who were able to bear arms; and likewise the boys, the old men, and the women, separately. Of all which items the total was: Of the Helvetii [lit. of the heads of the Helvetii] 263,000; Of the Tulingi 36,000; Of the Latobrigi 14,000; Of the Rauraci 23,000; Of the Boii 32,000. The sum of all amounted to 368,000. Out of these, such as could bear arms, [amounted] to about 92,000. When the census of those who returned home was taken, as Caesar had commanded, the number was found to be 110,000.
In castris Helvetiorum tabulae repertae sunt litteris Graecis confectae et ad Caesarem relatae, quibus in tabulis nominatim ratio confecta erat, qui numerus domo exisset eorum qui arma ferre possent, et item separatim, quot pueri, senes mulieresque. [Quarum omnium rerum] summa erat capitum Helvetiorum milium CCLXIII, Tulingorum milium XXXVI, Latobrigorum XIIII, Rauracorum XXIII, Boiorum XXXII; ex his qui arma ferre possent ad milia nonaginta duo. Summa omnium fuerunt ad milia CCCLXVIII. Eorum qui domum redierunt censu habito, ut Caesar imperaverat, repertus est numerus milium C et X.
1:30When the war with the Helvetii was concluded, embassadors from almost all parts of Gaul, the chiefs of states, assembled to congratulate Caesar, [saying] that they were well aware, that, although he had taken vengeance on the Helvetii in war, for the old wrong done by them to the Roman people, yet that circumstance had happened no less to the benefit of the land of Gaul than of the Roman people, because the Helvetii, while their affairs were most flourishing, had quitted their country with the design of making war upon the whole of Gaul, and seizing the government of it, and selecting, out of a great abundance, that spot for an abode, which they should judge to be the most convenient and most productive of all Gaul, and hold the rest of the states as tributaries. They requested that they might be allowed to proclaim an assembly of the whole of Gaul for a particular day, and to do that with Caesar's permission, [stating] that they had some things which, with the general consent, they wished to ask of him. This request having been granted, they appointed a day for the assembly, and ordained by an oath with each other, that no one should disclose [their deliberations] except those to whom this [office] should be assigned by the general assembly.
Bello Helvetiorum confecto totius fere Galliae legati, principes civitatum, ad Caesarem gratulatum convenerunt: intellegere sese, tametsi pro veteribus Helvetiorum iniuriis populi Romani ab his poenas bello repetisset, tamen eam rem non minus ex usu [terrae] Galliae quam populi Romani accidisse, propterea quod eo consilio florentissimis rebus domos suas Helvetii reliquissent uti toti Galliae bellum inferrent imperioque potirentur, locumque domicilio ex magna copia deligerent quem ex omni Gallia oportunissimum ac fructuosissimum iudicassent, reliquasque civitates stipendiarias haberent. Petierunt uti sibi concilium totius Galliae in diem certam indicere idque Caesaris facere voluntate liceret: sese habere quasdam res quas ex communi consensu ab eo petere vellent. Ea re permissa diem concilio constituerunt et iure iurando ne quis enuntiaret, nisi quibus communi consilio mandatum esset, inter se sanxerunt.
1:31When that assembly was dismissed, the same chiefs of states, who had before been to Caesar, returned, and asked that they might be allowed to treat with him privately (in secret) concerning the safety of themselves and of all. That request having been obtained, they all threw themselves in tears at Caesar's feet, [saying] that they no less begged and earnestly desired that what they might say should not be disclosed, than that they might obtain those things which they wished for; inasmuch as they saw, that, if a disclosure was made, they should be put to the greatest tortures. For these Divitiacus the Aeduan spoke and told him: "That there were two parties in the whole of Gaul: that the Aedui stood at the head of one of these, the Arverni of the other. After these had been violently struggling with one another for the superiority for many years, it came to pass that the Germans were called in for hire by the Arverni and the Sequani. That about 15,000 of them [i.e. of the Germans] had at first crossed the Rhine: but after that these wild and savage men had become enamored of the lands and the refinement and the abundance of the Gauls, more were brought over, that there were now as many as 120,000 of them in Gaul: that with these the Aedui and their dependents had repeatedly struggled in arms--that they had been routed, and had sustained a great calamity--had lost all their nobility, all their senate, all their cavalry. And that broken by such engagements and calamities, although they had formerly been very powerful in Gaul, both from their own valor and from the Roman people's hospitality and friendship, they were now compelled to give the chief nobles of their state, as hostages to the Sequani, and to bind their state by an oath, that they would neither demand hostages in return, nor supplicate aid from the Roman people, nor refuse to be forever under their sway and empire. That he was the only one out of all the state of the Aedui, who could not be prevailed upon to take the oath or to give his children as hostages. On that account he had fled from his state and had gone to the senate at Rome to beseech aid, as he alone was bound neither by oath nor hostages. But a worse thing had befallen the victorious Sequani than the vanquished Aedui, for Ariovistus the king of the Germans, had settled in their territories, and had seized upon a third of their land, which was the best in the whole of Gaul, and was now ordering them to depart from another third part, because a few months previously 24,000 men of the Harudes had come to him, for whom room and settlements must be provided. The consequence would be, that in a few years they would all be driven from the territories of Gaul, and all the Germans would cross the Rhine; for neither must the land of Gaul be compared with the land of the Germans, nor must the habit of living of the latter be put on a level with that of the former. Moreover, [as for] Ariovistus, no sooner did he defeat the forces of the Gauls in a battle which took place at Magetobria, than [he began] to lord it haughtily and cruelly, to demand as hostages the children of all the principal nobles, and wreak on them every kind of cruelty, if every thing was not done at his nod or pleasure; that he was a savage, passionate, and reckless man, and that his commands could no longer be borne. Unless there was some aid in Caesar and the Roman people, the Gauls must all do the same thing that the Helvetii have done, [viz.] emigrate from their country, and seek another dwelling place, other settlements remote from the Germans, and try whatever fortune may fall to their lot. If these things were to be disclosed to Ariovistus, [Divitiacus adds] that he doubts not that he would inflict the most severe punishment on all the hostages who are in his possession, [and says] that Caesar could, either by his own influence and by that of his army, or by his late victory, or by name of the Roman people, intimidate him, so as to prevent a greater number of Germans being brought over the Rhine, and could protect all Gaul from the outrages of Ariovistus.
Eo concilio dimisso, idem princeps civitatum qui ante fuerant ad Caesarem reverterunt petieruntque uti sibi secreto in occulto de sua omniumque salute cum eo agere liceret. Ea re impetrata sese omnes flentes Caesari ad pedes proiecerunt: non minus se id contendere et laborare ne ea quae dixissent enuntiarentur quam uti ea quae vellent impetrarent, propterea quod, si enuntiatum esset, summum in cruciatum se venturos viderent. Locutus est pro his Diviciacus Haeduus: Galliae totius factiones esse duas; harum alterius principatum tenere Haeduos, alterius Arvernos. Hi cum tantopere de potentatu inter se multos annos contenderent, factum esse uti ab Arvernis Sequanisque Germani mercede arcesserentur. Horum primo circiter milia XV Rhenum transisse; postea quam agros et cultum et copias Gallorum homines feri ac barbari adamassent, traductos plures; nunc esse in Gallia ad C et XX milium numerum. Cum his Haeduos eorumque clientes semel atque iterum armis contendisse; magnam calamitatem pulsos accepisse, omnem nobilitatem, omnem senatum, omnem equitatum amisisse. Quibus proeliis calamitatibusque fractos, qui et sua virtute et populi Romani hospitio atque amicitia plurimum ante in Gallia potuissent, coactos esse Sequanis obsides dare nobilissimos civitatis et iure iurando civitatem obstringere sese neque obsides repetituros neque auxilium a populo Romano imploraturos neque recusaturos quo minus perpetuo sub illorum dicione atque imperio essent. Unum se esse ex omni civitate Haeduorum qui adduci non potuerit ut iuraret aut liberos suos obsides daret. Ob eam rem se ex civitate profugisse et Romam ad senatum venisse auxilium postulatum, quod solus neque iure iurando neque obsidibus teneretur. Sed peius victoribus Sequanis quam Haeduis victis accidisse, propterea quod Ariovistus, rex Germanorum, in eorum finibus consedisset tertiamque partem agri Sequani, qui esset optimus totius Galliae, occupavisset et nunc de altera parte tertia Sequanos decedere iuberet, propterea quod paucis mensibus ante Harudum milia hominum XXIIII ad eum venissent, quibus locus ac sedes pararentur. Futurum esse paucis annis uti omnes ex Galliae finibus pellerentur atque omnes Germani Rhenum transirent; neque enim conferendum esse Gallicum cum Germanorum agro neque hanc consuetudinem victus cum illa comparandam. Ariovistum autem, ut semel Gallorum copias proelio vicerit, quod proelium factum sit ad Magetobrigam, superbe et crudeliter imperare, obsides nobilissimi cuiusque liberos poscere et in eos omnia exempla cruciatusque edere, si qua res non ad nutum aut ad voluntatem eius facta sit. Hominem esse barbarum, iracundum, temerarium: non posse eius imperia, diutius sustineri. Nisi quid in Caesare populoque Romano sit auxilii, omnibus Gallis idem esse faciendum quod Helvetii fecerint, ut domo emigrent, aliud domicilium, alias sedes, remotas a Germanis, petant fortunamque, quaecumque accidat, experiantur. Haec si enuntiata Ariovisto sint, non dubitare quin de omnibus obsidibus qui apud eum sint gravissimum supplicium sumat. Caesarem vel auctoritate sua atque exercitus vel recenti victoria vel nomine populi Romani deterrere posse ne maior multitudo Germanorum Rhenum traducatur, Galliamque omnem ab Ariovisti iniuria posse defendere.
1:32When this speech had been delivered by Divitiacus, all who were present began with loud lamentation to entreat assistance of Caesar. Caesar noticed that the Sequani were the only people of all who did none of those things which the others did, but, with their heads bowed down, gazed on the earth in sadness. Wondering what was the reason of this conduct, he inquired of themselves. No reply did the Sequani make, but silently continued in the same sadness. When he had repeatedly inquired of them and could not elicit any answer at all, the same Divitiacus the Aeduan answered, that--"the lot of the Sequani was more wretched and grievous than that of the rest, on this account, because they alone durst not even in secret complain or supplicate aid; and shuddered at the cruelty of Ariovistus [even when] absent, just as if he were present; for, to the rest, despite of every thing there was an opportunity of flight given; but all tortures must be endured by the Sequani, who had admitted Ariovistus within their territories, and whose towns were all in his power."
Hac oratione ab Diviciaco habita omnes qui aderant magno fletu auxilium a Caesare petere coeperunt. Animadvertit Caesar unos ex omnibus Sequanos nihil earum rerum facere quas ceteri facerent sed tristes capite demisso terram intueri. Eius rei quae causa esset miratus ex ipsis quaesiit. Nihil Sequani respondere, sed in eadem tristitia taciti permanere. Cum ab his saepius quaereret neque ullam omnino vocem exprimere posset, idem Diviacus Haeduus respondit: hoc esse miseriorem et graviorem fortunam Sequanorum quam reliquorum, quod soli ne in occulto quidem queri neque auxilium implorare auderent absentisque Ariovisti crudelitatem, velut si cora adesset, horrerent, propterea quod reliquis tamen fugae facultas daretur, Sequanis vero, qui intra fines suos Ariovistum recepissent, quorum oppida omnia in potestate eius essent, omnes cruciatus essent perferendi.
1:33Caesar, on being informed of these things, cheered the minds of the Gauls with his words, and promised that this affair should be an object of his concern, [saying] that he had great hopes that Ariovistus, induced both by his kindness and his power, would put an end to his oppression. After delivering this speech, he dismissed the assembly; and, besides those statements, many circumstances induced him to think that this affair ought to be considered and taken up by him; especially as he saw that the Aedui, styled [as they had been] repeatedly by the senate "brethren" and "kinsmen," were held in the thraldom and dominion of the Germans, and understood that their hostages were with Ariovistus and the Sequani, which in so mighty an empire [as that] of the Roman people he considered very disgraceful to himself and the republic. That, moreover, the Germans should by degrees become accustomed to cross the Rhine, and that a great body of them should come into Gaul, he saw [would be] dangerous to the Roman people, and judged, that wild and savage men would not be likely to restrain themselves, after they had possessed themselves of all Gaul, from going forth into the province and thence marching into Italy (as the Cimbri and Teutones had done before them), particularly as the Rhone [was the sole barrier that] separated the Sequani from our province. Against which events he thought he ought to provide as speedily as possible. Moreover, Ariovistus, for his part, had assumed to himself such pride and arrogance, that he was felt to be quite insufferable.
His rebus cognitis Caesar Gallorum animos verbis confirmavit pollicitusque est sibi eam rem curae futuram; magnam se habere spem et beneficio suo et auctoritate adductum Ariovistum finem iniuriis facturum. Hac oratione habita, concilium dimisit. Et secundum ea multae res eum hortabantur quare sibi eam rem cogitandam et suscipiendam putaret, in primis quod Haeduos, fratres consanguineosque saepe numero a senatu appellatos, in servitute atque in dicione videbat Germanorum teneri eorumque obsides esse apud Ariovistum ac Sequanos intellegebat; quod in tanto imperio populi Romani turpissimum sibi et rei publicae esse arbitrabatur. Paulatim autem Germanos consuescere Rhenum transire et in Galliam magnam eorum multitudinem venire populo Romano periculosum videbat, neque sibi homines feros ac barbaros temperaturos existimabat quin, cum omnem Galliam occupavissent, ut ante Cimbri Teutonique fecissent, in provinciam exirent atque inde in Italiam contenderent [, praesertim cum Sequanos a provincia nostra Rhodanus divideret]; quibus rebus quam maturrime occurrendum putabat. Ipse autem Ariovistus tantos sibi spiritus, tantam arrogantiam sumpserat, ut ferendus non videretur.
1:34He therefore determined to send embassadors to Ariovistus to demand of him to name some intermediate spot for a conference between the two, [saying] that he wished to treat him on state-business and matters of the highest importance to both of them. To this embassy Ariovistus replied, that if he himself had had need of any thing from Caesar, he would have gone to him; and that if Caesar wanted any thing from him he ought to come to him. That, besides, neither dare he go without an army into those parts of Gaul which Caesar had possession of, nor could he, without great expense and trouble, draw his army together to one place; that to him, moreover, it appeared strange, what business either Caesar or the Roman people at all had in his own Gaul, which he had conquered in war.
Quam ob rem placuit ei ut ad Ariovistum legatos mitteret, qui ab eo postularent uti aliquem locum medium utrisque conloquio deligeret: velle sese de re publica et summis utriusque rebus cum eo agere. Ei legationi Ariovistus respondit: si quid ipsi a Caesare opus esset, sese ad eum venturum fuisse; si quid ille se velit, illum ad se venire oportere. Praeterea se neque sine exercitu in eas partes Galliae venire audere quas Caesar possideret, neque exercitum sine magno commeatu atque molimento in unum locum contrahere posse. Sibi autem mirum videri quid in sua Gallia, quam bello vicisset, aut Caesari aut omnino populo Romano negotii esset.
1:35When these answers were reported to Caesar, he sends embassadors to him a second time with this message. "Since, after having been treated with so much kindness by himself and the Roman people (as he had in his consulship been styled 'king and friend' by the senate), he makes this recompense to [Caesar] himself and the Roman people, [viz.] that when invited to a conference he demurs, and does not think that it concerns him to advise and inform himself about an object of mutual interest, these are the things which he requires of him; first, that he do not any more bring over any body of men across the Rhine into Gaul; in the next place, that he restore the hostages, which he has from the Aedui, and grant the Sequani permission to restore to them with his consent those hostages which they have, and that he neither provoke the Aedui by outrage nor make war upon them or their allies; if he would accordingly do this," [Caesar says] that "he himself and the Roman people will entertain a perpetual feeling of favor and friendship toward him; but that if he [Caesar] does not obtain [his desires] that he (forasmuch as in the consulship of Marcus Messala and Marcus Piso the senate had decreed that, whoever should have the administration of the province of Gaul should, as far as he could do so consistently with the interests of the republic, protect the Aedui and the other friends of the Roman people), will not overlook the wrongs of the Aedui."
His responsis ad Caesarem relatis, iterum ad eum Caesar legatos cum his mandatis mittit: quoniam tanto suo populique Romani beneficio adtectus, cum in consulatu suo rex atque amicus a senatu appellatus esset, hanc sibi populoque Romano gratiam referret ut in conloquium venire invitatus gravaretur neque de communi re dicendum sibi et cognoscendum putaret, haec esse quae ab eo postularet: primum ne quam multitudinem hominum amplius trans Rhenum in Galliam traduceret; deinde obsides quos haberet ab Haeduis redderet Sequanisque permitteret ut quos illi haberent voluntate eius reddere illis liceret; neve Haeduos iniuria lacesseret neve his sociisque eorum bellum inferret. Si id ita fecisset, sibi populoque Romano perpetuam gratiam atque amicitiam cum eo futuram; si non impetraret, sese, quoniam M. Messala, M. Pisone consulibus senatus censuisset uti quicumque Galliam provinciam obtineret, quod commodo rei publicae lacere posset, Haeduos ceterosque amicos populi Romani defenderet, se Haeduorum iniurias non neglecturum.
1:36To this Ariovistus replied, that "the right of war was, that they who had conquered should govern those whom they had conquered, in what manner they pleased; that in that way the Roman people were wont to govern the nations which they had conquered, not according to the dictation of any other, but according to their own discretion. If he for his part did not dictate to the Roman people as to the manner in which they were to exercise their right, he ought not to be obstructed by the Roman people in his right; that the Aedui, inasmuch as they had tried the fortune of war and had engaged in arms and been conquered, had become tributaries to him; that Caesar was doing a great injustice, in that by his arrival he was making his revenues less valuable to him; that he should not restore their hostages to the Aedui, but should not make war wrongfully either upon them or their allies, if they abided by that which had been agreed on, and paid their tribute annually: if they did not continue to do that, the Roman people's name of 'brothers' would avail them naught. As to Caesar's threatening him, that he would not overlook the wrongs of the Aedui, [he said] that no one had ever entered into a contest with him [Ariovistus] without utter ruin to himself. That Caesar might enter the lists when he chose; he would feel what the invincible Germans, well-trained [as they were] beyond all others to arms, who for fourteen years had not been beneath a roof, could achieve by their valor."
Ad haec Ariovistus respondit: ius esse belli ut qui vicissent iis quos vicissent quem ad modum vellent imperarent. Item populum Romanum victis non ad alterius praescriptum, sed ad suum arbitrium imperare consuesse. Si ipse populo Romano non praescriberet quem ad modum suo iure uteretur, non oportere se a populo Romano in suo iure impediri. Haeduos sibi, quoniam belli fortunam temptassent et armis congressi ac superati essent, stipendiarios esse factos. Magnam Caesarem iniuriam facere, qui suo adventu vectigalia sibi deteriora faceret. Haeduis se obsides redditurum non esse neque his neque eorum sociis iniuria bellum inlaturum, si in eo manerent quod convenisset stipendiumque quotannis penderent; si id non fecissent, longe iis fraternum nomen populi Romani afuturum. Quod sibi Caesar denuntiaret se Haeduorum iniurias non neglecturum, neminem secum sine sua pernicie contendisse. Cum vellet, congrederetur: intellecturum quid invicti Germani, exercitatissimi in armis, qui inter annos XIIII tectum non subissent, virtute possent.
1:37At the same time that this message was delivered to Caesar, embassadors came from the Aedui and the Treviri; from the Aedui to complain that the Harudes, who had lately been brought over into Gaul, were ravaging their territories; that they had not been able to purchase peace from Ariovistus, even by giving hostages: and from the Treviri, [to state] that a hundred cantons of the Suevi had encamped on the banks of the Rhine, and were attempting to cross it; that the brothers, Nasuas and Cimberius, headed them. Being greatly alarmed at these things, Caesar thought that he ought to use all dispatch, lest, if this new band of Suevi should unite with the old troops of Ariovistus, he [Ariovistus] might be less easily withstood. Having therefore, as quickly as he could, provided a supply of corn, he hastened to Ariovistus by forced marches.
Haec eodem tempore Caesari mandata referebantur et legati ab Haeduis et a Treveris veniebant: Haedui questum quod Harudes, qui nuper in Galliam transportati essent, fines eorum popularentur: sese ne obsidibus quidem datis pacem Ariovisti redimere potuisse; Treveri autem, pagos centum Sueborum ad ripas Rheni consedisse, qui Rhemum transire conarentur; his praeesse Nasuam et Cimberium fratres. Quibus rebus Caesar vehementer commotus maturandum sibi existimavit, ne, si nova manus Sueborum cum veteribus copiis Ariovisti sese coniunxisset, minus facile resisti posset. Itaque re frumentaria quam celerrime potuit comparata magnis itineribus ad Ariovistum contendit.
1:38When he had proceeded three days' journey, word was brought to him that Ariovistus was hastening with all his forces to seize on Vesontio, which is the largest town of the Sequani, and had advanced three days' journey from its territories. Caesar thought that he ought to take the greatest precautions lest this should happen, for there was in that town a most ample supply of every thing which was serviceable for war; and so fortified was it by the nature of the ground, as to afford a great facility for protracting the war, inasmuch as the river Doubs almost surrounds the whole town, as though it were traced round it with a pair of compasses. A mountain of great height shuts in the remaining space, which is not more than 600 feet, where the river leaves a gap, in such a manner that the roots of that mountain extend to the river's bank on either side. A wall thrown around it makes a citadel of this [mountain], and connects it with the town. Hither Caesar hastens by forced marches by night and day, and, after having seized the town, stations a garrison there.
Cum tridui viam processisset, nuntiatum est ei Ariovistum cum suis omnibus copiis ad occupandum Vesontionem, quod est oppidum maximum Sequanorum, contendere [triduique viam a suis finibus processisse]. Id ne accideret, magnopere sibi praecavendum Caesar existimabat. Namque omnium rerum quae ad bellum usui erant summa erat in eo oppido facultas, idque natura loci sic muniebatur ut magnam ad ducendum bellum daret facultatem, propterea quod flumen [alduas] Dubis ut circino circumductum paene totum oppidum cingit, reliquum spatium, quod est non amplius pedum MDC, qua flumen intermittit, mons continet magna altitudine, ita ut radices eius montis ex utraque parte ripae fluminis contingant, hunc murus circumdatus arcem efficit et cum oppido coniungit. Huc Caesar magnis nocturnis diurnisque itineribus contendit occupatoque oppido ibi praesidium conlocat.
1:39While he is tarrying a few days at Vesontio, on account of corn and provisions; from the inquiries of our men and the reports of the Gauls and traders (who asserted that the Germans were men of huge stature, of incredible valor and practice in arms-that oftentimes they, on encountering them, could not bear even their countenance, and the fierceness of their eyes)-so great a panic on a sudden seized the whole army, as to discompose the minds and spirits of all in no slight degree. This first arose from the tribunes of the soldiers, the prefects and the rest, who, having followed Caesar from the city [Rome] from motives of friendship, had no great experience in military affairs. And alleging, some of them one reason, some another, which they said made it necessary for them to depart, they requested that by his consent they might be allowed to withdraw; some, influenced by shame, stayed behind in order that they might avoid the suspicion of cowardice. These could neither compose their countenance, nor even sometimes check their tears: but hidden in their tents, either bewailed their fate, or deplored with their comrades the general danger. Wills were sealed universally throughout the whole camp. By the expressions and cowardice of these men, even those who possessed great experience in the camp, both soldiers and centurions, and those [the decurions] who were in command of the cavalry, were gradually disconcerted. Such of them as wished to be considered less alarmed, said that they did not dread the enemy, but feared the narrowness of the roads and the vastness of the forests which lay between them and Ariovistus, or else that the supplies could not be brought up readily enough. Some even declared to Caesar, that when he gave orders for the camp to be moved and the troops to advance, the soldiers would not be obedient to the command, nor advance in consequence of their fear.
Dum paucos dies ad Vesontionem rei frumentariae commeatusque causa moratur, ex percontatione nostrorum vocibusque Gallorum ac mercatorum, qui ingenti magnitudine corporum Germanos, incredibili virtute atque exercitatione in armis esse praedicabant (saepe numero sese cum his congressos ne vultum quidem atque aciem oculorum dicebant ferre potuisse), tantus subito timor omnem exercitum occupavit ut non mediocriter omnium mentes animosque perturbaret. Hic primum ortus est a tribunis militum, praefectis, reliquisque qui ex urbe amicitiae causa Caesarem secuti non magnum in re militari usum habebant: quorum alius alia causa inlata, quam sibi ad proficiscendum necessariam esse diceret, petebat ut eius voluntate discedere liceret; non nulli pudore adducti, ut timoris suspicionem vitarent, remanebant. Hi neque vultum fingere neque interdum lacrimas tenere poterant: abditi in tabernaculis aut suum fatum querebantur aut cum familiaribus suis commune periculum miserabantur. Vulgo totis castris testamenta obsignabantur. Horum vocibus ac timore paulatim etiam ii qui magnum in castris usum habebant, milites centurionesque quique equitatui praeerant, perturbabantur. Qui se ex his minus timidos existimari volebant, non se hostem vereri, sed angustias itineris et magnitudinem silvarum quae intercederent inter ipsos atque Ariovistum, aut rem frumentariam, ut satis commode supportari posset, timere dicebant. Non nulli etiam Caesari nuntiabant, cum castra moveri ac signa ferri iussisset, non fore dicto audientes milites neque propter timorem signa laturos.
1:40When Caesar observed these things, having called a council, and summoned to it the centurions of all the companies, he severely reprimanded them, "particularly, for supposing that it belonged to them to inquire or conjecture, either in what direction they were marching, or with what object. That Ariovistus, during his [Caesar's] consulship, had most anxiously sought after the friendship of the Roman people; why should any one judge that he would so rashly depart from his duty? He for his part was persuaded, that, when his demands were known and the fairness of the terms considered, he would reject neither his nor the Roman people's favor. But even if, driven on by rage and madness, he should make war upon them, what after all were they afraid of?-or why should they despair either of their own valor or of his zeal? Of that enemy a trial had been made within our fathers' recollection, when, on the defeat of the Cimbri and Teutones by Caius Marius, the army was regarded as having deserved no less praise than their commander himself. It had been made lately, too, in Italy, during the rebellion of the slaves, whom, however, the experience and training which they had received from us, assisted in some respect. From which a judgment might be formed of the advantages which resolution carries with it inasmuch as those whom for some time they had groundlessly dreaded when unarmed, they had afterward vanquished, when well armed and flushed with success. In short, that these were the same men whom the Helvetii, in frequent encounters, not only in their own territories, but also in theirs [the German], have generally vanquished, and yet can not have been a match for our army. If the unsuccessful battle and flight of the Gauls disquieted any, these, if they made inquiries, might discover that, when the Gauls had been tired out by the long duration of the war, Ariovistus, after he had many months kept himself in his camp and in the marshes, and had given no opportunity for an engagement, fell suddenly upon them, by this time despairing of a battle and scattered in all directions, and was victorious more through stratagem and cunning than valor. But though there had been room for such stratagem against savage and unskilled men, not even [Ariovistus] himself expected that thereby our armies could be entrapped. That those who ascribed their fear to a pretense about the [deficiency of] supplies and the narrowness of the roads, acted presumptuously, as they seemed either to distrust their general's discharge of his duty, or to dictate to him. That these things were his concern; that the Sequani, the Leuci, and the Lingones were to furnish the corn; and that it was already ripe in the fields; that as to the road they would soon be able to judge for themselves. As to its being reported that the soldiers would not be obedient to command, or advance, he was not at all disturbed at that; for he knew, that in the case of all those whose army had not been obedient to command, either upon some mismanagement of an affair, fortune had deserted them, or, that upon some crime being discovered, covetousness had been clearly proved [against them]. His integrity had been seen throughout his whole life, his good fortune in the war with the Helvetii. That he would therefore instantly set about what he had intended to put off till a more distant day, and would break up his camp the next night, in the fourth watch, that he might ascertain, as soon as possible, whether a sense of honor and duty, or whether fear had more influence with them. But that, if no one else should follow, yet he would go with only the tenth legion, of which he had no misgivings, and it should be his praetorian cohort." This legion Caesar had both greatly favored, and in it, on account of its valor, placed the greatest confidence.
Haec cum animadvertisset, convocato consilio omniumque ordinum ad id consilium adhibitis centurionibus, vehementer eos incusavit: primum, quod aut quam in partem aut quo consilio ducerentur sibi quaerendum aut cogitandum putarent. Ariovistum se consule cupidissime populi Romani amicitiam adpetisse; cur hunc tam temere quisquam ab officio discessurum iudicaret? Sibi quidem persuaderi cognitis suis poslulatis atque aequitate condicionum perspecta eum neque suam neque populi Romani gratiam repudiaturum. Quod si furore atque amentia impulsum bellum intulisset, quid tandem vererentur? Aut cur de sua virtute aut de ipsius diligentia desperarent? Factum eius hostis periculum patrum nostrorum memoria Cimbris et Teutonis a C. Mario pulsis [cum non minorem laudem exercitus quam ipse imperator meritus videbatur]; factum etiam nuper in Italia servili tumultu, quos tamen aliquid usus ac disciplina, quam a nobis accepissent, sublevarint. Ex quo iudicari posse quantum haberet in se boni constantia, propterea quod quos aliquam diu inermes sine causa timuissent hos postea armatos ac victores superassent. Denique hos esse eosdem Germanos quibuscum saepe numero Helvetii congressi non solum in suis sed etiam in illorum finibus plerumque superarint, qui tamen pares esse nostro exercitui non potuerint. Si quos adversum proelium et fuga Gallorum commoveret, hos, si quaererent, reperire posse diuturnitate belli defatigatis Gallis Ariovistum, cum multos menses castris se ac paludibus tenuisset neque sui potestatem fecisset, desperantes iam de pugna et dispersos subito adortum magis ratione et consilio quam virtute vicisse. Cui rationi contra homines barbaros atque imperitos locus fuisset, hac ne ipsum quidem sperare nostros exercitus capi posse. Qui suum timorem in rei frumentariae simulationem angustiasque itineris conferrent, facere arroganter, cum aut de officio imperatoris desperare aut praescribere viderentur. Haec sibi esse curae; frumentum Sequanos, Leucos, Lingones subministrare, iamque esse in agris frumenta matura; de itinere ipsos brevi tempore iudicaturos. Quod non fore dicto audientes neque signa laturi dicantur, nihil se ea re commoveri: scire enim, quibuscumque exercitus dicto audiens non fuerit, aut male re gesta fortunam defuisse aut aliquo facinore comperto avaritiam esse convictam. Suam innocentiam perpetua vita, felicitatem Helvetiorum bello esse perspectam. Itaque se quod in longiorem diem conlaturus fuisset repraesentaturum et proxima nocte de quarta, vigilia castra moturum, ut quam primum intellegere posset utrum apud eos pudor atque officium an timor plus valeret. Quod si praeterea nemo sequatur, tamen se cum sola decima legione iturum, de qua non dubitet, sibique eam praetoriam cohortem futuram. Huic legioni Caesar et indulserat praecipue et propter virtutem confidebat maxime.
1:41Upon the delivery of this speech, the minds of all were changed in a surprising manner, and the highest ardor and eagerness for prosecuting the war were engendered; and the tenth legion was the first to return thanks to him, through their military tribunes, for his having expressed this most favorable opinion of them; and assured him that they were quite ready to prosecute the war. Then, the other legions endeavored, through their military tribunes and the centurions of the principal companies, to excuse themselves to Caesar, [saying] that they had never either doubted or feared, or supposed that the determination of the conduct of the war was theirs and not their general's. Having accepted their excuse, and having had the road carefully reconnoitered by Divitiacus, because in him of all others he had the greatest faith [he found] that by a circuitous route of more than fifty miles he might lead his army through open parts; he then set out in the fourth watch, as he had said [he would]. On the seventh day, as he did not discontinue his march, he was informed by scouts that the forces of Ariovistus were only four and twenty miles distant from ours.
Hac oratione habita mirum in modum conversae sunt omnium mentes summaque alacritas et cupiditas belli gerendi innata est, princepsque X. legio per tribunos militum ei gratias egit quod de se optimum iudicium fecisset, seque esse ad bellum gerendum paratissimam confirmavit. Deinde reliquae legiones cum tribunis militum et primorum ordinum centurionibus egerunt uti Caesari satis facerent: se neque umquam dubitasse neque timuisse neque de summa belli suum iudicium sed imperatoris esse existimavisse. Eorum satisfactione accepta et itinere exquisito per Diviciacum, quod ex Gallis ei maximam fidem habebat, ut milium amplius quinquaginta circuitu locis apertis exercitum duceret, de quarta vigilia, ut dixerat, profectus est. Septimo die, cum iter non intermitteret, ab exploratoribus certior factus est Ariovisti copias a nostris milia passuum IIII et XX abesse.
1:42Upon being apprized of Caesar's arrival, Ariovistus sends embassadors to him, [saying] that what he had before requested as to a conference, might now, as far as his permission went, take place, since he [Caesar] had approached nearer, and he considered that he might now do it without danger. Caesar did not reject the proposal and began to think that he was now returning to a rational state of mind as he spontaneously proffered that which he had previously refused to him when requesting it; and was in great hopes that, in consideration of his own and the Roman people's great favors toward him, the issue would be that he would desist from his obstinacy upon his demands being made known. The fifth day after that was appointed as the day of conference. Meanwhile, as ambassadors were being often sent to and fro between them, Ariovistus demanded that Caesar should not bring any foot-soldier with him to the conference, [saying] that "he was afraid of being ensnared by him through treachery; that both should come accompanied by cavalry; that he would not come on any other condition." Caesar, as he neither wished that the conference should, by an excuse thrown in the way, be set aside, nor durst trust his life to the cavalry of the Gauls, decided that it would be most expedient to take away from the Gallic cavalry all their horses, and thereon to mount the legionary soldiers of the tenth legion, in which he placed the greatest confidence, in order that he might have a body-guard as trustworthy as possible, should there be any need for action. And when this was done, one of the soldiers of the tenth legion said, not without a touch of humor, "that Caesar did more for them than he had promised; he had promised to have the tenth legion in place of his praetorian cohort; but he now converted them into horse."
Cognito Caesaris adventu Ariovistus legatos ad eum mittit: quod antea de conloquio postulasset, id per se fieri licere, quoniam propius accessisset seque id sine periculo facere posse existimaret. Non respuit condicionem Caesar iamque eum ad sanitatem reverti arbitrabatur, cum id quod antea petenti denegasset ultro polliceretur, magnamque in spem veniebat pro suis tantis populique Romani in eum beneficiis cognitis suis postulatis fore uti pertinacia desisteret. Dies conloquio dictus est ex eo die quintus. Interim saepe cum legati ultro citroque inter eos mitterentur, Ariovistus postulavit ne quem peditem ad conloquium Caesar adduceret: vereri se ne per insidias ab eo circumveniretur; uterque cum equitatu veniret: alia ratione sese non esse venturum. Caesar, quod neque conloquium interposita causa tolli volebat neque salutem suam Gallorum equitatui committere audebat, commodissimum esse statuit omnibus equis Gallis equitibus detractis eo legionarios milites legionis X., cui quam maxime confidebat, imponere, ut praesidium quam amicissimum, si quid opus facto esset, haberet. Quod cum fieret, non inridicule quidam ex militibus X. legionis dixit: plus quam pollicitus esset Caesarem facere; pollicitum se in cohortis praetoriae loco X. legionem habiturum ad equum rescribere.
1:43There was a large plain, and in it a mound of earth of considerable size. This spot was at nearly an equal distance from both camps. Thither, as had been appointed, they came for the conference. Caesar stationed the legion, which he had brought [with him] on horseback, 200 paces from this mound. The cavalry of Ariovistus also took their stand at an equal distance. Ariovistus then demanded that they should confer on horseback, and that, besides themselves, they should bring with them ten men each to the conference. When they were come to the place, Caesar, in the opening of his speech, detailed his own and the senate's favors toward him [Ariovistus], in that he had been styled king, in that [he had been styled] friend, by the senate-in that very considerable presents had been sent him; which circumstance he informed him had both fallen to the lot of few, and had usually been bestowed in consideration of important personal services; that he, although he had neither an introduction, nor a just ground for the request, had obtained these honors through the kindness and munificence of himself [Caesar] and the senate. He informed him too, how old and how just were the grounds of connection that existed between themselves [the Romans] and the Aedui, what decrees of the senate had been passed in their favor, and how frequent and how honorable; how from time immemorial the Aedui had held the supremacy of the whole of Gaul; even [said Caesar] before they had sought our friendship; that it was the custom of the Roman people to desire not only that its allies and friends should lose none of their property, but be advanced in influence, dignity, and honor: who then could endure that what they had brought with them to the friendship of the Roman people should be torn from them?" He then made the same demands which he had commissioned the embassadors to make, that [Ariovistus] should not make war either upon the Aedui or their allies, that he should restore the hostages; that if he could not send back to their country any part of the Germans, he should at all events suffer none of them any more to cross the Rhine.
Planities erat magna et in ea tumulus terrenus satis grandis. Hic locus aequum fere spatium a castris Ariovisti et Caesaris aberat. Eo, ut erat dictum, ad conloquium venerunt. Legionem Caesar, quam equis devexerat, passibus CC ab eo tumulo constituit. Item equites Ariovisti pari intervallo constiterunt. Ariovistus ex equis ut conloquerentur et praeter se denos ad conloquium adducerent postulavit. Ubi eo ventum est, Caesar initio orationis sua senatusque in eum beneficia commemoravit, quod rex appellatus esset a senatu, quod amicus, quod munera amplissime missa; quam rem et paucis contigisse et pro magnis hominum officiis consuesse tribui docebat; illum, cum neque aditum neque causam postulandi iustam haberet, beneficio ac liberalitate sua ac senatus ea praemia consecutum. Docebat etiam quam veteres quamque iustae causae necessitudinis ipsis cum Haeduis intercederent, quae senatus consulta quotiens quamque honorifica in eos facta essent, ut omni tempore totius Galliae principatum Haedui tenuissent, prius etiam quam nostram amicitiam adpetissent. Populi Romani hanc esse consuetudinem, ut socios atque amicos non modo sui nihil deperdere, sed gratia, dignitate, honore auctiores velit esse; quod vero ad amicitiam populi Romani attulissent, id iis eripi quis pati posset? Postulavit deinde eadem quae legatis in mandatis dederat: ne aut Haeduis aut eorum sociis bellum inferret, obsides redderet, si nullam partem Germanorum domum remittere posset, at ne quos amplius Rhenum transire pateretur.
1:44Ariovistus briefly replied to the demands of Caesar; but expatiated largely on his own virtues, "that he had crossed the Rhine not of his own accord, but on being invited and sent for by the Gauls; that he had not left home and kindred without great expectations and great rewards; that he had settlements in Gaul, granted by the Gauls themselves; that the hostages had been given by their good-will; that he took by right of war the tribute which conquerors are accustomed to impose on the conquered; that he had not made war upon the Gauls, but the Gauls upon him; that all the states of Gaul came to attack him, and had encamped against him; that all their forces had been routed and beaten by him in a single battle; that if they chose to make a second trial, he was ready to encounter them again; but if they chose to enjoy peace, it was unfair to refuse the tribute, which of their own free-will they had paid up to that time. That the friendship of the Roman people ought to prove to him an ornament and a safeguard, not a detriment; and that he sought it with that expectation. But if through the Roman people the tribute was to be discontinued, and those who surrendered to be seduced from him, he would renounce the friendship of the Roman people no less heartily than he had sought it. As to his leading over a host of Germans into Gaul, that he was doing this with a view of securing himself, not of assaulting Gaul: that there was evidence of this, in that he did not come without being invited, and in that he did not make war, but merely warded it off. That he had come into Gaul before the Roman people. That never before this time did a Roman army go beyond the frontiers of the province of Gaul. What [said he] does [Caesar] desire?- why come into his [Ariovistus] domains?-that this was his province of Gaul, just as that is ours. As it ought not to be pardoned in him, if he were to make an attack upon our territories; so, likewise, that we were unjust, to obstruct him in his prerogative. As for Caesar's saying that the Aedui had been styled 'brethren' by the senate, he was not so uncivilized nor so ignorant of affairs, as not to know that the Aedui in the very last war with the Allobroges had neither rendered assistance to the Romans, nor received any from the Roman people in the struggles which the Aedui had been maintaining with him and with the Sequani. He must feel suspicious, that Caesar, though feigning friendship as the reason for his keeping an army in Gaul, was keeping it with the view of crushing him. And that unless he depart and withdraw his army from these parts, he shall regard him not as a friend, but as a foe; and that, even if he should put him to death, he should do what would please many of the nobles and leading men of the Roman people; he had assurance of that from themselves through their messengers, and could purchase the favor and the friendship of them all by his [Caesar's] death. But if he would depart and resign to him the free possession of Gaul, he would recompense him with a great reward, and would bring to a close whatever wars he wished to be carried on, without any trouble or risk to him."
Ariovistus ad postulata Caesaris pauca respondit, de suis virtutibus multa praedicavit: transisse Rhenum sese non sua sponte, sed rogatum et arcessitum a Gallis; non sine magna spe magnisque praemiis domum propinquosque reliquisse; sedes habere in Gallia ab ipsis concessas, obsides ipsorum voluntate datos; stipendium capere iure belli, quod victores victis imponere consuerint. Non sese Gallis sed Gallos sibi bellum intulisse: omnes Galliae civitates ad se oppugnandum venisse ac contra se castra habuisse; eas omnes copias a se uno proelio pulsas ac superatas esse. Si iterum experiri velint, se iterum paratum esse decertare; si pace uti velint, iniquum esse de stipendio recusare, quod sua voluntate ad id tempus pependerint. Amicitiam populi Romani sibi ornamento et praesidio, non detrimento esse oportere, atque se hac spe petisse. Si per populum Romanum stipendium remittatur et dediticii subtrahantur, non minus libenter sese recusaturum populi Romani amicitiam quam adpetierit. Quod multitudinem Germanorum in Galliam traducat, id se sui muniendi, non Galliae oppugnandae causa facere; eius rei testimonium esse quod nisi rogatus non venerit et quod bellum non intulerit sed defenderit. Se prius in Galliam venisse quam populum Romanum. Numquam ante hoc tempus exercitum populi Romani Galliae provinciae finibus egressum. Quid sibi vellet? Cur in suas possessiones veniret? Provinciam suam hanc esse Galliam, sicut illam nostram. Ut ipsi concedi non oporteret, si in nostros fines impetum faceret, sic item nos esse iniquos, quod in suo iure se interpellaremus. Quod fratres a senatu Haeduos appellatos diceret, non se tam barbarum neque tam imperitum esse rerum ut non sciret neque bello Allobrogum proximo Haeduos Romanis auxilium tulisse neque ipsos in iis contentionibus quas Haedui secum et cum Sequanis habuissent auxilio populi Romani usos esse. Debere se suspicari simulata Caesarem amicitia, quod exercitum in Gallia habeat, sui opprimendi causa habere. Qui nisi decedat atque exercitum deducat ex his regionibus, sese illum non pro amico sed pro hoste habiturum. Quod si eum interfecerit, multis sese nobilibus principibusque populi Romani gratum esse facturum (id se ab ipsis per eorum nuntios compertum habere), quorum omnium gratiam atque amicitiam eius morte redimere posset. Quod si decessisset et liberam possessionem Galliae sibi tradidisset, magno se illum praemio remuneraturum et quaecumque bella geri vellet sine ullo eius labore et periculo confecturum.
1:45Many things were stated by Caesar to the effect [to show]; "why he could not waive the business, and that neither his nor the Roman people's practice would suffer him to abandon most meritorious allies, nor did he deem that Gaul belonged to Ariovistus rather than to the Roman people; that the Arverni and the Ruteni had been subdued in war by Quintus Fabius Maximus, and that the Roman people had pardoned them and had not reduced them into a province or imposed a tribute upon them. And if the most ancient period was to be regarded-then was the sovereignty of the Roman people in Gaul most just: if the decree of the Senate was to be observed, then ought Gaul to be free, which they [the Romans] had conquered in war, and had permitted to enjoy its own laws."
Multa a Caesare in eam sententiam dicta sunt quare negotio desistere non posset: neque suam neque populi Romani consuetudinem pati ut optime meritos socios desereret, neque se iudicare Galliam potius esse Ariovisti quam populi Romani. Bello superatos esse Arvernos et Rutenos a Q. Fabio Maximo, quibus populus Romanus ignovisset neque in provinciam redegisset neque stipendium posuisset. Quod si antiquissimum quodque tempus spectari oporteret, populi Romani iustissimum esse in Gallia imperium; si iudicium senatus observari oporteret, liberam debere esse Galliam, quam bello victam suis legibus uti voluisset.
1:46While these things are being transacted in the conference it was announced to Caesar that the cavalry of Ariovistus were approaching nearer the mound, and were riding up to our men, and casting stones and weapons at them. Caesar made an end of his speech and betook himself to his men; and commanded them that they should by no means return a weapon upon the enemy. For though he saw that an engagement with the cavalry would be without any danger to his chosen legion, yet he did not think proper to engage, lest, after the enemy were routed, it might be said that they had been insnared by him under the sanction of a conference. When it was spread abroad among the common soldiery with what haughtiness Ariovistus had behaved at the conference, and how he had ordered the Romans to quit Gaul, and how his cavalry had made an attack upon our men, and how this had broken off the conference, a much greater alacrity and eagerness for battle was infused into our army.
Dum haec in conloquio geruntur, Caesari nuntiatum est equites Ariovisti propius tumulum accedere et ad nostros adequitare, lapides telaque in nostros coicere. Caesar loquendi finem fecit seque ad suos recepit suisque imperavit ne quod omnino telum in hostes reicerent. Nam etsi sine ullo periculo legionis delectae cum equitatu proelium fore videbat, tamen committendum non putabat ut, pulsis hostibus, dici posset eos ab se per fidem in conloquio circumventos. Postea quam in vulgus militum elatum est qua arrogantia in conloquio Ariovistus usus omni Gallia Romanis interdixisset, impetumque in nostros eius equites fecissent, eaque res conloquium ut diremisset, multo maior alacritas studiumque pugnandi maius exercitui iniectum est.
1:47Two days after, Ariovistus sends embassadors to Caesar, to state "that he wished to treat with him about those things which had been begun to be treated of between them, but had not been concluded;" [and to beg] that "he would either again appoint a day for a conference; or, if he were not willing to do that, that he would send one of his [officers] as an embassador to him." There did not appear to Caesar any good reason for holding a conference; and the more so as the day before the Germans could not be restrained from casting weapons at our men. He thought he should not without great danger send to him as embassador one of his [Roman] officers, and should expose him to savage men. It seemed [therefore] most proper to send to him C. Valerius Procillus, the son of C. Valerius Caburus, a young man of the highest courage and accomplishments (whose father had been presented with the freedom of the city by C. Valerius Flaccus), both on account of his fidelity and on account of his knowledge of the Gallic language, which Ariovistus, by long practice, now spoke fluently; and because in his case the Germans would have no motive for committing violence; and [as his colleague] M. Mettius, who had shared the hospitality of Ariovistus. He commissioned them to learn what Ariovistus had to say, and to report to him. But when Ariovistus saw them before him in his camp, he cried out in the presence of his army, "Why were they come to him? Was it for the purpose of acting as spies?" He stopped them when attempting to speak, and cast them into chains.
Biduo post Ariovistus ad Caesarem legatos misit: velle se de iis rebus quae inter eos egi coeptae neque perfectae essent agere cum eo: uti aut iterum conloquio diem constitueret aut, si id minus vellet, ex suis legatis aliquem ad se mitteret. Conloquendi Caesari causa visa non est, et eo magis quod pridie eius diei Germani retineri non potuerant quin tela in nostros coicerent. Legatum ex suis sese magno cum periculo ad eum missurum et hominibus feris obiecturum existimabat. Commodissimum visum est C. Valerium Procillum, C. Valerii Caburi filium, summa virtute et humanitate adulescentem, cuius pater a C. Valerio Flacco civitate donatus erat, et propter fidem et propter linguae Gallicae scientiam, qua multa iam Ariovistus longinqua consuetudine utebatur, et quod in eo peccandi Germanis causa non esset, ad eum mittere, et una M. Metium, qui hospitio Ariovisti utebatur. His mandavit quae diceret Ariovistus cognoscerent et ad se referrent. Quos cum apud se in castris Ariovistus conspexisset, exercitu suo praesente conclamavit: quid ad se venirent? an speculandi causa? Conantes dicere prohibuit et in catenas coniecit.
1:48The same day he moved his camp forward and pitched under a hill six miles from Caesar's camp. The day following he led his forces past Caesar's camp, and encamped two miles beyond him; with this design that he might cut off Caesar from the corn and provisions, which might be conveyed to him from the Sequani and the Aedui. For five successive days from that day, Caesar drew out his forces before the camp, and put them in battle order, that, if Ariovistus should be willing to engage in battle, an opportunity might not be wanting to him. Ariovistus all this time kept his army in camp: but engaged daily in cavalry skirmishes. The method of battle in which the Germans had practiced themselves was this. There were 6,000 horse, and as many very active and courageous foot, one of whom each of the horse selected out of the whole army for his own protection. By these [foot] they were constantly accompanied in their engagements; to these the horse retired; these on any emergency rushed forward; if any one, upon receiving a very severe wound, had fallen from his horse, they stood around him: if it was necessary to advance further than usual, or to retreat more rapidly, so great, from practice, was their swiftness, that, supported by the manes of the horses, they could keep pace with their speed.
Eodem die castra promovit et milibus passuum VI a Caesaris castris sub monte consedit. Postridie eius diei praeter castra Caesaris suas copias traduxit et milibus passuum duobus ultra eum castra fecit eo consilio uti frumento commeatuque qui ex Sequanis et Haeduis supportaretur Caesarem intercluderet. Ex eo die dies continuos V Caesar pro castris suas copias produxit et aciem instructam habuit, ut, si vellet Ariovistus proelio contendere, ei potestas non deesset. Ariovistus his omnibus diebus exercitum castris continuit, equestri proelio cotidie contendit. Genus hoc erat pugnae, quo se Germani exercuerant: equitum milia erant VI, totidem numero pedites velocissimi ac fortissimi, quos ex omni copia singuli singulos suae salutis causa delegerant: cum his in proeliis versabantur, ad eos se equites recipiebant; hi, si quid erat durius, concurrebant, si qui graviore vulnere accepto equo deciderat, circumsistebant; si quo erat longius prodeundum aut celerius recipiendum, tanta erat horum exercitatione celeritas ut iubis sublevati equorum cursum adaequarent.
1:49Perceiving that Ariovistus kept himself in camp, Caesar, that he might not any longer be cut off from provisions, chose a convenient position for a camp beyond that place in which the Germans had encamped, at about 600 paces from them, and having drawn up his army in three lines, marched to that place. He ordered the first and second lines to be under arms; the third to fortify the camp. This place was distant from the enemy about 600 paces, as has been stated. Thither Ariovistus sent light troops, about 16,000 men in number, with all his cavalry; which forces were to intimidate our men, and hinder them in their fortification. Caesar nevertheless, as he had before arranged, ordered two lines to drive off the enemy: the third to execute the work. The camp being fortified, he left there two legions and a portion of the auxiliaries; and led back the other four legions into the larger camp.
Ubi eum castris se tenere Caesar intellexit, ne diutius commeatu prohiberetur, ultra eum locum, quo in loco Germani consederant, circiter passus DC ab his, castris idoneum locum delegit acieque triplici instructa ad eum locum venit. Primam et secundam aciem in armis esse, tertiam castra munire iussit. Hic locus ab hoste circiter passus DC, uti dictum est, aberat. Eo circiter hominum XVI milia expedita cum omni equitatu Ariovistus misit, quae copiae nostros terrerent et munitione prohiberent. Nihilo setius Caesar, ut ante constituerat, duas acies hostem propulsare, tertiam opus perficere iussit. Munitis castris duas ibi legiones reliquit et partem auxiliorum, quattuor reliquas legiones in castra maiora reduxit.
1:50The next day, according to his custom, Caesar led out his forces from both camps, and having advanced a little from the larger one, drew up his line of battle, and gave the enemy an opportunity of fighting. When he found that they did not even then come out [from their intrenchments,] he led back his army into camp about noon. Then at last Ariovistus sent part of his forces to attack the lesser camp. The battle was vigorously maintained on both sides till the evening. At sunset, after many wounds had been inflicted and received, Ariovistus led back his forces into camp. When Caesar inquired of his prisoners, wherefore Ariovistus did not come to an engagement, he discovered this to be the reason-that among the Germans it was the custom for their matrons to pronounce from lots and divination, whether it were expedient that the battle should be engaged in or not; that they had said, "that it was not the will of heaven that the Germans should conquer, if they engaged in battle before the new moon."
Proximo die instituto suo Caesar ex castris utrisque copias suas eduxit paulumque a maioribus castris progressus aciem instruxit hostibusque pugnandi potestatem fecit. Ubi ne tum quidem eos prodire intellexit, circiter meridiem exercitum in castra reduxit. Tum demum Ariovistus partem suarum copiarum, quae castra minora oppugnaret, misit. Acriter utrimque usque ad vesperum pugnatum est. Solis occasu suas copias Ariovistus multis et inlatis et acceptis vulneribus in castra reduxit. Cum ex captivis quaereret Caesar quam ob rem Ariovistus proelio non decertaret, hanc reperiebat causam, quod apud Germanos ea consuetudo esset ut matres familiae eorum sortibus et vaticinationibus declararent utrum proelium committi ex usu esset necne; eas ita dicere: non esse fas Germanos superare, si ante novam lunam proelio contendissent.
1:51The day following, Caesar left what seemed sufficient as a guard for both camps; [and then] drew up all the auxiliaries in sight of the enemy, before the lesser camp, because he was not very powerful in the number of legionary soldiers, considering the number of the enemy; that [thereby] he might make use of his auxiliaries for appearance. He himself, having drawn up his army in three lines, advanced to the camp of the enemy. Then at last of necessity the Germans drew their forces out of camp, and disposed them canton by canton, at equal distances, the Harudes, Marcomanni, Tribocci, Vangiones, Nemetes, Sedusii, Suevi; and surrounded their whole army with their chariots and wagons, that no hope might be left in flight. On these they placed their women, who, with disheveled hair and in tears, entreated the soldiers, as they went forward to battle, not to deliver them into slavery to the Romans.
Postridie eius diei Caesar praesidio utrisque castris quod satis esse visum est reliquit, alarios omnes in conspectu hostium pro castris minoribus constituit, quod minus multitudine militum legionariorum pro hostium numero valebat, ut ad speciem alariis uteretur; ipse triplici instructa acie usque ad castra hostium accessit. Tum demum necessario Germani suas copias castris eduxerunt generatimque constituerunt paribus intervallis, Harudes, Marcomanos, Tribocos, Vangiones, Nemetes, Sedusios, Suebos, omnemque aciem suam raedis et carris circumdederunt, ne qua spes in fuga relinqueretur. Eo mulieres imposuerunt, quae ad proelium proficiscentes milites passis manibus flentes implorabant ne se in servitutem Romanis traderent.
1:52Caesar appointed over each legion a lieutenant and a questor, that every one might have them as witnesses of his valor. He himself began the battle at the head of the right wing, because he had observed that part of the enemy to be the least strong. Accordingly our men, upon the signal being given, vigorously made an attack upon the enemy, and the enemy so suddenly and rapidly rushed forward, that there was no time for casting the javelins at them. Throwing aside [therefore] their javelins, they fought with swords hand to hand. But the Germans, according to their custom, rapidly forming a phalanx, sustained the attack of our swords. There were found very many of our soldiers who leaped upon the phalanx, and with their hands tore away the shields, and wounded the enemy from above. Although the army of the enemy was routed on the left wing and put to flight, they [still] pressed heavily on our men from the right wing, by the great number of their troops. On observing which, P. Crassus, a young man, who commanded the cavalry-as he was more disengaged than those who were employed in the fight-sent the third line as a relief to our men who were in distress.
Caesar singulis legionibus singulos legatos et quaestorem praefecit, uti eos testes suae quisque virtutis haberet; ipse a dextro cornu, quod eam partem minime firmam hostium esse animadverterat, proelium commisit. Ita nostri acriter in hostes signo dato impetum fecerunt itaque hostes repente celeriterque procurrerunt, ut spatium pila in hostes coiciendi non daretur. Relictis pilis comminus gladiis pugnatum est. At Germani celeriter ex consuetudine sua phalange facta impetus gladiorum exceperunt. Reperti sunt complures nostri qui in phalanga insilirent et scuta manibus revellerent et desuper vulnerarent. Cum hostium acies a sinistro cornu pulsa atque in fugam coniecta esset, a dextro cornu vehementer multitudine suorum nostram aciem premebant. Id cum animadvertisset P. Crassus adulescens, qui equitatui praeerat, quod expeditior erat quam ii qui inter aciem versabantur, tertiam aciem laborantibus nostris subsidio misit.
1:53Thereupon the engagement was renewed, and all the enemy turned their backs, nor did they cease to flee until they arrived at the river Rhine, about fifty miles from that place. There some few, either relying on their strength, endeavored to swim over, or, finding boats, procured their safety. Among the latter was Ariovistus, who meeting with a small vessel tied to the bank, escaped in it; our horse pursued and slew all the rest of them. Ariovistus had two wives, one a Suevan by nation, whom he brought with him from home; the other a Norican, the sister of king Vocion, whom he had married in Gaul, she having been sent [thither for that purpose] by her brother. Both perished in that flight. Of their two daughters, one was slain, the other captured. C. Valerius Procillus, as he was being dragged by his guards in the fight, bound with a triple chain, fell into the hands of Caesar himself, as he was pursuing the enemy with his cavalry. This circumstance indeed afforded Caesar no less pleasure than the victory itself; because he saw a man of the first rank in the province of Gaul, his intimate acquaintance and friend, rescued from the hand of the enemy, and restored to him, and that fortune had not diminished aught of the joy and exultation [of that day] by his destruction. He [Procillus] said that, in his own presence, the lots had been thrice consulted respecting him, whether he should immediately be put to death by fire, or be reserved for another time: that by the favor of the lots he was uninjured. M. Mettius, also, was found and brought back to him [Caesar.]
Ita proelium restitutum est, atque omnes hostes terga verterunt nec prius fugere destiterunt quam ad flumen Rhenum milia passuum ex eo loco circiter L pervenerunt. Ibi perpauci aut viribus confisi tranare contenderunt aut lintribus inventis sibi salutem reppererunt. In his fuit Ariovistus, qui naviculam deligatam ad ripam nactus ea profugit; reliquos omnes consecuti equites nostri interfecerunt. Duae fuerunt Ariovisti uxores, una Sueba natione, quam domo secum eduxerat, altera Norica, regis Voccionis soror, quam in Gallia duxerat a fratre missam: utraque in ea fuga periit; duae filiae: harum altera occisa, altera capta est. C. Valerius Procillus, cum a custodibus in fuga trinis catenis vinctus traheretur, in ipsum Caesarem hostes equitatu insequentem incidit. Quae quidem res Caesari non minorem quam ipsa victoria voluptatem attulit, quod hominem honestissimum provinciae Galliae, suum familiarem et hospitem, ereptum ex manibus hostium sibi restitutum videbat neque eius calamitate de tanta voluptate et gratulatione quicquam fortuna deminuerat. Is se praesente de se ter sortibus consultum dicebat, utrum igni statim necaretur an in aliud tempus reservaretur: sortium beneficio se esse incolumem. Item M. Metius repertus et ad eum reductus est.
1:54This battle having been reported beyond the Rhine, the Suevi, who had come to the banks of that river, began to return home, when the Ubii, who dwelt nearest to the Rhine, pursuing them, while much alarmed, slew a great number of them. Caesar having concluded two very important wars in one campaign, conducted his army into winter quarters among the Sequani, a little earlier than the season of the year required. He appointed Labienus over the winter-quarters, and set out in person for Hither Gaul to hold the assizes.
Hoc proelio trans Rhenum nuntiato, Suebi, qui ad ripas Rheni venerant, domum reverti coeperunt; quos ubi qui proximi Rhenum incolunt perterritos senserunt, insecuti magnum ex iis numerum occiderunt. Caesar una aestate duobus maximis bellis confectis maturius paulo quam tempus anni postulabat in hiberna in Sequanos exercitum deduxit; hibernis Labienum praeposuit; ipse in citeriorem Galliam ad conventus agendos profectus est.
2:1While Caesar was in winter quarters in Hither Gaul, as we have shown above, frequent reports were brought to him, and he was also informed by letters from Labienus, that all the Belgae, who we have said are a third part of Gaul, were entering into a confederacy against the Roman people, and giving hostages to one another; that the reasons of the confederacy were these-first, because they feared that, after all [Celtic] Gaul was subdued, our army would be led against them; secondly, because they were instigated by several of the Gauls; some of whom as [on the one hand] they had been unwilling that the Germans should remain any longer in Gaul, so [on the other] they were dissatisfied that the army of the Roman people should pass the winter in it, and settle there; and others of them, from a natural instability and fickleness of disposition, were anxious for a revolution; [the Belgae were instigated] by several, also, because the government in Gaul was generally seized upon by the more powerful persons and by those who had the means of hiring troops, and they could less easily effect this object under our dominion.
Cum esset Caesar in citeriore Gallia [in hibernis], ita uti supra demonstravimus, crebri ad eum rumores adferebantur litterisque item Labieni certior fiebat omnes Belgas, quam tertiam esse Galliae partem dixeramus, contra populum Romanum coniurare obsidesque inter se dare. Coniurandi has esse causas: primum quod vererentur ne, omni pacata Gallia, ad eos exercitus noster adduceretur; deinde quod ab non nullis Gallis sollicitarentur, partim qui, ut Germanos diutius in Gallia versari noluerant, ita populi Romani exercitum hiemare atque inveterascere in Gallia moleste ferebant, partim qui mobilitate et levitate animi novis imperiis studebant; ab non nullis etiam quod in Gallia a potentioribus atque iis qui ad conducendos homines facultates habebant vulgo regna occupabantur; qui minus facile eam rem imperio nostro consequi poterant.
2:2Alarmed by these tidings and letters, Caesar levied two new legions in Hither Gaul, and, at the beginning of summer, sent Q. Pedius, his lieutenant, to conduct them further into Gaul. He, himself, as soon as there began to be plenty of forage, came to the army. He gives a commission to the Senones and the other Gauls who were neighbors of the Belgae, to learn what is going on among them [i.e. the Belgae], and inform him of these matters. These all uniformly reported that troops were being raised, and that an army was being collected in one place. Then, indeed, he thought that he ought not to hesitate about proceeding toward them, and having provided supplies, moves his camp, and in about fifteen days arrives at the territories of the Belgae.
His nuntiis litterisque commotus Caesar duas legiones in citeriore Gallia novas conscripsit et inita aestate in ulteriorem Galliam qui deduceret Q. Pedium legatum misit. Ipse, cum primum pabuli copia esse inciperet, ad exercitum venit. Dat negotium Senonibus reliquisque Gallis qui finitimi Belgis erant uti ea quae apud eos gerantur cognoscant seque de his rebus certiorem faciant. Hi constanter omnes nuntiaverunt manus cogi, exercitum in unum locum conduci. Tum vero dubitandum non existimavit quin ad eos proficisceretur. Re frumentaria provisa castra movet diebusque circiter XV ad fines Belgarum pervenit.
2:3As he arrived there unexpectedly and sooner than any one anticipated, the Remi, who are the nearest of the Belgae to [Celtic] Gaul, sent to him Iccius and Antebrogius, [two of] the principal persons of the state, as their embassadors: to tell him that they surrendered themselves and all their possessions to the protection and disposal of the Roman people: and that they had neither combined with the rest of the Belgae, nor entered into any confederacy against the Roman people: and were prepared to give hostages, to obey his commands, to receive him into their towns, and to aid him with corn and other things; that all the rest of the Belgae were in arms; and that the Germans, who dwell on this side of the Rhine, had joined themselves to them; and that so great was the infatuation of them all, that they could not restrain even the Suessiones, their own brethren and kinsmen, who enjoy the same rights, and the, same laws, and who have one government and one magistracy [in common] with themselves, from uniting with them.
Eo cum de improviso celeriusque omnium opinione venisset, Remi, qui proximi Galliae ex Belgis sunt, ad eum legatos Iccium et Andebrogium, primos civitatis, miserunt, qui dicerent se suaque omnia in fidem atque potestatem populi Romani permittere, neque se cum reliquis Belgis consensisse neque contra populum Romanum coniurasse, paratosque esse et obsides dare et imperata facere et oppidis recipere et frumento ceterisque rebus iuvare; reliquos omnes Belgas in armis esse, Germanosque qui cis Rhenum incolant sese cum his coniunxisse, tantumque esse eorum omnium furorem ut ne Suessiones quidem, fratres consanguineosque suos, qui eodem iure et isdem legibus utantur, unum imperium unumque magistratum cum ipsis habeant, deterrere potuerint quin cum iis consentirent.
2:4When Caesar inquired of them what states were in arms, how powerful they were, and what they could do, in war, he received the following information: that the greater part of the Belgae were sprung, from the Germans, and that having crossed the Rhine at an early period, they had settled there, on account of the fertility of the country, and had driven out the Gauls who inhabited those regions; and that they were the only people who, in the memory of our fathers, when all Gaul was overrun, had prevented the Teutones and the Cimbri from entering their territories; the effect of which was, that, from the recollection of those events, they assumed to themselves great authority and haughtiness in military matters. The Remi said, that they had known accurately every thing respecting their number, because being united to them by neighborhood and by alliances, they had learned what number each state had in the general council of the Belgae promised for that war. That the Bellovaci were the most powerful among them in valor, influence, and the number of men; that these could muster 100,000 armed men, [and had] promised 60,000 picked men out of that number, and demanded for themselves the command of the whole war. That the Suessiones were their nearest neighbors and possessed a very extensive and fertile country; that among them, even in our own memory, Divitiacus, the most powerful man of all Gaul, had been king; who had held the government of a great part of these regions, as well as of Britain; that their king at present was Galba; that the direction of the whole war was conferred by the consent of all, upon him, on account of his integrity and prudence; that they had twelve towns; that they had promised 50,000 armed men; and that the Nervii, who are reckoned the most warlike among them, and are situated at a very great distance, [had promised] as many; the Atrebates 15,000; the Ambiani, 10,000; the Morini, 25,000; the Menapii, 9,000; the Caleti, 10,000; the Velocasses and the Veromandui as many; the Aduatuci 19,000; that the Condrusi, the Eburones, the Caeraesi, the Paemani, who are called by the common name of Germans [had promised], they thought, to the number of 40,000.
Cum ab iis quaereret quae civitates quantaeque in armis essent et quid in bello possent, sic reperiebat: plerosque Belgos esse ortos a Germanis Rhenumque antiquitus traductos propter loci fertilitatem ibi consedisse Gallosque qui ea loca incolerent expulisse, solosque esse qui, patrum nostrorum memoria omni Gallia vexata, Teutonos Cimbrosque intra suos fines ingredi prohibuerint; qua ex re fieri uti earum rerum memoria magnam sibi auctoritatem magnosque spiritus in re militari sumerent. De numero eorum omnia se habere explorata Remi dicebant, propterea quod propinquitatibus adfinitatibus quo coniuncti quantam quisque multitudinem in communi Belgarum concilio ad id bellum pollicitus sit cognoverint. Plurimum inter eos Bellovacos et virtute et auctoritate et hominum numero valere: hos posse conficere armata milia centum, pollicitos ex eo numero electa milia LX totiusque belli imperium sibi postulare. Suessiones suos esse finitimos; fines latissimos feracissimosque agros possidere. Apud eos fuisse regem nostra etiam memoria Diviciacum, totius Galliae potentissimum, qui cum magnae partis harum regionum, tum etiam Britanniae imperium obtinuerit; nunc esse regem Galbam: ad hunc propter iustitiam prudentiamque summam totius belli omnium voluntate deferri; oppida habere numero XII, polliceri milia armata L; totidem Nervios, qui maxime feri inter ipsos habeantur longissimeque absint; XV milia Atrebates, Ambianos X milia, Morinos XXV milia, Menapios VII milia, Caletos X milia, Veliocasses et Viromanduos totidem, Atuatucos XVIIII milia; Condrusos, Eburones, Caerosos, Paemanos, qui uno nomine Germani appellantur, arbitrari ad XL milia.
2:5Caesar, having encouraged the Remi, and addressed them courteously, ordered the whole senate to assemble before him, and the children of their chief men to be brought to him as hostages; all which commands they punctually performed by the day [appointed]. He, addressing himself to Divitiacus, the Aeduan, with great earnestness, points out how much it concerns the republic and their common security, that the forces of the enemy should be divided, so that it might not be necessary to engage with so large a number at one time. [He asserts] that this might be affected if the Aedui would lead their forces into the territories of the Bellovaci, and begin to lay waste their country. With these instructions he dismissed him from his presence. After he perceived that all the forces of the Belgae, which had been collected in one place, were approaching toward him, and learned from the scouts whom he had sent out, and [also] from the Remi, that they were then not far distant, he hastened to lead his army over the Aisne, which is on the borders of the Remi, and there pitched his camp. This position fortified one side of his camp by the banks of the river, rendered the country which lay in his rear secure from the enemy, and furthermore insured that provisions might without danger be brought to him by the Remi and the rest of the states. Over that river was a bridge: there he places a guard; and on the other side of the river he leaves Q. Titurius Sabinus, his lieutenant, with six cohorts. He orders him to fortify a camp with a rampart twelve feet in height, and a trench eighteen feet in breadth.
Caesar Remos cohortatus liberaliterque oratione prosecutus omnem senatum ad se convenire principumque liberos obsides ad se adduci iussit. Quae omnia ab his diligenter ad diem facta sunt. Ipse Diviciacum Haeduum magnopere cohortatus docet quanto opere rei publicae communisque salutis intersit manus hostium distineri, ne cum tanta multitudine uno tempore confligendum sit. Id fieri posse, si suas copias Haedui in fines Bellovacorum introduxerint et eorum agros populari coeperint. His datis mandatis eum a se dimittit. Postquam omnes Belgarum copias in unum locum coactas ad se venire vidit neque iam longe abesse ab iis quos miserat exploratoribus et ab Remis cognovit, flumen Axonam, quod est in extremis Remorum finibus, exercitum traducere maturavit atque ibi castra posuit. Quae res et latus unum castrorum ripis fluminis muniebat et post eum quae erant tuta ab hostibus reddebat et commeatus ab Remis reliquisque civitatibus ut sine periculo ad eum portari possent efficiebat. In eo flumine pons erat. Ibi praesidium ponit et in altera parte fluminis Q. Titurium Sabinum legatum cum sex cohortibus relinquit; castra in altitudinem pedum XII vallo fossaque duodeviginti pedum muniri iubet.
2:6There was a town of the Remi, by name Bibrax, eight miles distant from this camp. This the Belgae on their march began to attack with great vigor. [The assault] was with difficulty sustained for that day. The Gauls' mode of besieging is the same as that of the Belgae: when after having drawn a large number of men around the whole of the fortifications, stones have begun to be cast against the wall on all sides, and the wall has been stripped of its defenders, [then], forming a testudo, they advance to the gates and undermine the wall: which was easily effected on this occasion; for while so large a number were casting stones and darts, no one was able to maintain his position upon the wall. When night had put an end to the assault, Iccius, who was then in command of the town, one of the Remi, a man of the highest rank and influence among his people, and one of those who had come to Caesar as embassador [to sue] for peace, sends messengers to him, [to report] "That, unless assistance were sent to him he could not hold out any longer."
Ab his castris oppidum Remorum nomine Bibrax aberat milia passuum VIII. Id ex itinere magno impetu Belgae oppugnare coeperunt. Aegre eo die sustentatum est. Gallorum eadem atque Belgarum oppugnatio est haec: ubi circumiecta multitudine hominum totis moenibus undique in murum lapides iaci coepti sunt murusque defensoribus nudatus est, testudine facta portas succedunt murumque subruunt. Quod tum facile fiebat. Nam cum tanta multitudo lapides ac tela coicerent, in muro consistendi potestas erat nulli. Cum finem oppugnandi nox fecisset, Iccius Remus, summa nobilitate et gratia inter suos, qui tum oppido praeerat, unus ex iis qui legati de pace ad Caesarem venerant, nuntium ad eum mittit, nisi subsidium sibi submittatur, sese diutius sustinere non posse.
2:7Thither, immediately after midnight, Caesar, using as guides the same persons who had come to him as messengers from Iccius, sends some Numidian and Cretan archers, and some Balearian slingers as a relief to the towns-people, by whose arrival both a desire to resist together with the hope of [making good their] defense, was infused into the Remi, and, for the same reason, the hope of gaining the town, abandoned the enemy. Therefore, after staying a short time before the town, and laying waste the country of the Remi, when all the villages and buildings which they could approach had been burned, they hastened with all their forces to the camp of Caesar, and encamped within less than two miles [of it]; and their camp, as was indicated by the smoke and fires, extended more than eight miles in breadth.
Eo de media nocte Caesar isdem ducibus usus qui nuntii ab Iccio venerant, Numidas et Cretas sagittarios et funditores Baleares subsidio oppidanis mittit; quorum adventu et Remis cum spe defensionis studium propugnandi accessit et hostibus eadem de causa spes potiundi oppidi discessit. Itaque paulisper apud oppidum morati agrosque Remorum depopulati, omnibus vicis aedificiisque quo adire potuerant incensis, ad castra Caesaris omnibus copiis contenderunt et a milibus passuum minus duobus castra posuerunt; quae castra, ut fumo atque ignibus significabatur, amplius milibus passuum VIII latitudinem patebant.
2:8Caesar at first determined to decline a battle, as well on account of the great number of the enemy as their distinguished reputation for valor: daily, however, in cavalry actions, he strove to ascertain by frequent trials, what the enemy could effect by their prowess and what our men would dare. When he perceived that our men were not inferior, as the place before the camp was naturally convenient and suitable for marshaling an army (since the hill where the camp was pitched, rising gradually from the plain, extended forward in breadth as far as the space which the marshaled army could occupy, and had steep declines of its side in either direction, and gently sloping in front gradually sank to the plain); on either side of that hill he drew a cross trench of about four hundred paces, and at the extremities of that trench built forts, and placed there his military engines, lest, after he had marshaled his army, the enemy, since they were so powerful in point of number, should be able to surround his men in the flank, while fighting. After doing this, and leaving in the camp the two legions which he had last raised, that, if there should be any occasion, they might be brought as a reserve, he formed the other six legions in order of battle before the camp. The enemy, likewise, had drawn up their forces which they had brought out of the camp.
Caesar primo et propter multitudinem hostium et propter eximiam opinionem virtutis proelio supersedere statuit; cotidie tamen equestribus proeliis quid hostis virtute posset et quid nostri auderent periclitabatur. Ubi nostros non esse inferiores intellexit, loco pro castris ad aciem instruendam natura oportuno atque idoneo, quod is collis ubi castra posita erant paululum ex planitie editus tantum adversus in latitudinem patebat quantum loci acies instructa occupare poterat, atque ex utraque parte lateris deiectus habebat et in fronte leniter fastigatus paulatim ad planitiem redibat, ab utroque latere eius collis transversam fossam obduxit circiter passuum CCCC et ad extremas fossas castella constituit ibique tormenta conlocavit, ne, cum aciem instruxisset, hostes, quod tantum multitudine poterant, ab lateribus pugnantes suos circumvenire possent. Hoc facto, duabus legionibus quas proxime conscripserat in castris relictis ut, si quo opus esset, subsidio duci possent, reliquas VI legiones pro castris in acie constituit. Hostes item suas copias ex castris eductas instruxerunt.
2:9There was a marsh of no great extent between our army and that of the enemy. The latter were waiting to see if our men would pass this; our men, also, were ready in arms to attack them while disordered, if the first attempt to pass should be made by them. In the mean time battle was commenced between the two armies by a cavalry action. When neither army began to pass the marsh, Caesar, upon the skirmishes of the horse [proving] favorable to our men, led back his forces into the camp. The enemy immediately hastened from that place to the river Aisne, which it has been; stated was behind our camp. Finding a ford there, they endeavored to lead a part of their forces over it; with the design, that, if they could, they might carry by storm the fort which Q. Titurius, Caesar's lieutenant, commanded, and might cut off the bridge; but, if they could not do that, they should lay waste the lands of the Remi, which were of great use to us in carrying on the war, and might hinder our men from foraging.
Palus erat non magna inter nostrum atque hostium exercitum. Hanc si nostri transirent hostes expectabant; nostri autem, si ab illis initium transeundi fieret, ut impeditos adgrederentur, parati in armis erant. Interim proelio equestri inter duas acies contendebatur. Ubi neutri transeundi initium faciunt, secundiore equitum proelio nostris Caesar suos in castra reduxit. Hostes protinus ex eo loco ad flumen Axonam contenderunt, quod esse post nostra castra demonstratum est. Ibi vadis repertis partem suarum copiarum traducere conati sunt eo consilio ut, si possent, castellum, cui praeerat Q. Titurius legatus, expugnarent pontemque interscinderent; si minus potuissent, agros Remorum popularentur, qui magno nobis usui ad bellum gerendum erant, commeatuque nostros prohiberent.
2:10Caesar, being apprized of this by Titurius, leads all his cavalry and light-armed Numidians, slingers and archers, over the bridge, and hastens toward them. There was a severe struggle in that place. Our men, attacking in the river the disordered enemy, slew a great part of them. By the immense number of their missiles they drove back the rest, who, in a most courageous manner were attempting to pass over their bodies, and surrounded with their cavalry, and cut to pieces those who had first crossed the river. The enemy, when they perceived that their hopes had deceived them both with regard to their taking the town by storm and also their passing the river, and did not see our men advance to a more disadvantageous place for the purpose of fighting, and when provisions began to fail them, having called a council, determined that it was best for each to return to his country, and resolved to assemble from all quarters to defend those into whose territories the Romans should first march an army; that they might contend in their own rather than in a foreign country, and might enjoy the stores of provision which they possessed at home. Together with other causes, this consideration also led them to that resolution, viz: that they had learned that Divitiacus and the Aedui were approaching the territories of the Bellovaci. And it was impossible to persuade the latter to stay any longer, or to deter them from conveying succor to their own people.
[Caesar] certior factus ab Titurio omnem equitatum et levis armaturae Numidas, funditores sagittariosque pontem traducit atque ad eos contendit. Acriter in eo loco pugnatum est. Hostes impeditos nostri in flumine adgressi magnum eorum numerum occiderunt; per eorum corpora reliquos audacissime transire conantes multitudine telorum reppulerunt primosque, qui transierant, equitatu circumventos interfecerunt. Hostes, ubi et de expugnando oppido et de flumine transeundo spem se fefellisse intellexerunt neque nostros in locum iniquiorum progredi pugnandi causa viderunt atque ipsos res frumentaria deficere coepit, concilio convocato constituerunt optimum esse domum suam quemque reverti, et quorum in fines primum Romani exercitum introduxissent, ad eos defendendos undique convenirent, ut potius in suis quam in alienis finibus decertarent et domesticis copiis rei frumentariae uterentur. Ad eam sententiam cum reliquis causis haec quoque ratio eos deduxit, quod Diviciacum atque Haeduos finibus Bellovacorum adpropinquare cognoverant. His persuaderi ut diutius morarentur neque suis auxilium ferrent non poterat.
2:11That matter being determined on, marching out of their camp at the second watch, with great noise and confusion, in no fixed order, nor under any command, since each sought for himself the foremost place in the journey, and hastened to reach home, they made their departure appear very like a flight. Caesar, immediately learning this through his scouts, [but] fearing an ambuscade, because he had not yet discovered for what reason they were departing, kept his army and cavalry within the camp. At daybreak, the intelligence having been confirmed by the scouts, he sent forward his cavalry to harass their rear; and gave the command of it to two of his lieutenants, Q. Pedius, and L. Aurunculeius Cotta. He ordered T. Labienus, another of his lieutenants, to follow them closely with three legions. These, attacking their rear, and pursuing them for many miles, slew a great number of them as they were fleeing; while those in the rear with whom they had come up, halted, and bravely sustained the attack of our soldiers; the van, because they appeared to be removed from danger, and were not restrained by any necessity or command, as soon as the noise was heard, broke their ranks, and, to a man, rested their safety in flight. Thus without any risk [to themselves] our men killed as great a number of them as the length of the day allowed; and at sunset desisted from the pursuit, and betook themselves into the camp, as they had been commanded.
Ea re constituta, secunda vigilia magno cum, strepitu ac tumultu castris egressi nullo certo ordine neque imperio, cum sibi quisque primum itineris locum peteret et domum pervenire properaret, fecerunt ut consimilis fugae profectio videretur. Hac re statim Caesar per speculatores cognita insidias veritus, quod qua de causa discederent nondum perspexerat, exercitum equitatumque castris continuit. Prima luce, confirmata re ab exploratoribus, omnem equitatum, qui novissimum agmen moraretur, praemisit. His Q. Pedium et L. Aurunculeium Cottam legatos praefecit; T. Labienum legatum cum legionibus tribus subsequi iussit. Hi novissimos adorti et multa milia passuum prosecuti magnam multitudinem eorum fugientium conciderunt, cum ab extremo agmine, ad quos ventum erat, consisterent fortiterque impetum nostrorum militum sustinerent, priores, quod abesse a periculo viderentur neque ulla necessitate neque imperio continerentur, exaudito clamore perturbatis ordinibus omnes in fuga sibi praesidium ponerent. Ita sine ullo periculo tantam eorum multitudinem nostri interfecerunt quantum fuit diei spatium; sub occasum solis sequi destiterunt seque in castra, ut erat imperatum, receperunt.
2:12On the day following, before the enemy could recover from their terror and flight, Caesar led his army into the territories of the Suessiones, which are next to the Remi, and having accomplished a long march, hastens to the town named Noviodunum. Having attempted to take it by storm on his march, because he heard that it was destitute of [sufficient] defenders, he was not able to carry it by assault, on account of the breadth of the ditch and the height of the wall, though few were defending it. Therefore, having fortified the camp, he began to bring up the vineae, and to provide whatever things were necessary for the storm. In the mean time the whole body of the Suessiones, after their flight, came the next night into the town. The vineae having been quickly brought up against the town, a mound thrown up, and towers built, the Gauls, amazed by the greatness of the works, such as they had neither seen nor heard of before, and struck also by the dispatch of the Romans, send embassadors to Caesar respecting a surrender, and succeed in consequence of the Remi requesting that they [the Suessiones] might be spared.
Postridie eius diei Caesar, prius quam se hostes ex terrore ac fuga reciperent, in fines Suessionum, qui proximi Remis erant, exercitum duxit et magno itinere [confecto] ad oppidum Noviodunum contendit. Id ex itinere oppugnare conatus, quod vacuum ab defensoribus esse audiebat, propter latitudinem fossae murique altitudinem paucis defendentibus expugnare non potuit. Castris munitis vineas agere quaeque ad oppugnandum usui erant comparare coepit. Interim omnis ex fuga Suessionum multitudo in oppidum proxima nocte convenit. Celeriter vineis ad oppidum actis, aggere iacto turribusque constitutis, magnitudine operum, quae neque viderant ante Galli neque audierant, et celeritate Romanorum permoti legatos ad Caesarem de deditione mittunt et petentibus Remis ut conservarentur impetrant.
2:13Caesar, having received as hostages the first men of the state, and even the two sons of king Galba himself; and all the arms in the town having been delivered up, admitted the Suessiones to a surrender, and led his army against the Bellovaci. Who, when they had conveyed themselves and all their possessions into the town Galled Bratuspantium, and Caesar with his army was about five miles distant from that town, all the old men, going out of the town, began to stretch out their hands to Caesar, and to intimate by their voice that they would throw themselves on his protection and power, nor would contend in arms against the Roman people. In like manner, when he had come up to the town, and there pitched his camp, the boys and the women from the wall, with outstretched hands, after their custom, begged peace from the Romans.
Caesar, obsidibus acceptis primis civitatis atque ipsius Galbae regis duobus filiis armisque omnibus ex oppido traditis, in deditionem Suessiones accipit exercitumque in Bellovacos ducit. Qui cum se suaque omnia in oppidum Bratuspantium contulissent atque ab eo oppido Caesar cum exercitu circiter milia passuum V abesset, omnes maiores natu ex oppido egressi manus ad Caesarem tendere et voce significare coeperunt sese in eius fidem ac potestatem venire neque contra populum Romanum armis contendere. Item, cum ad oppidum accessisset castraque ibi poneret, pueri mulieresque ex muro passis manibus suo more pacem ab Romanis petierunt.
2:14For these Divitiacus pleads (for after the departure of the Belgae, having dismissed the troops of the Aedui, he had returned to Caesar). "The Bellovaci had at all times been in the alliance and friendship of the Aeduan state; that they had revolted from the Aedui and made war upon the Roman people, being urged thereto by their nobles, who said that the Aedui, reduced to slavery by Caesar, were suffering every indignity and insult. That they who had been the leaders of that plot, because they perceived how great a calamity they had brought upon the state, had fled into Britain. That not only the Bellovaci, but also the Aedui, entreated him to use his [accustomed] clemency and lenity toward them [the Bellovaci]: which if he did, he would increase the influence of the Aedui among all the Belgae, by whose succor and resources they had been accustomed to support themselves whenever any wars occurred."
Pro his Diviciacus (nam post discessum Belgarum dimissis Haeduorum copiis ad eum reverterat) facit verba: Bellovacos omni tempore in fide atque amicitia civitatis Haeduae fuisse; impulsos ab suis principibus, qui dicerent Haeduos a Caesare in servitutem redacto. Omnes indignitates contumeliasque perferre, et ab Haeduis defecisse et populo Romano bellum intulisse. Qui eius consilii principes fuissent, quod intellegerent quantam calamitatem civitati intulissent, in Britanniam profugisse. Petere non solum Bellovacos, sed etiam pro his Haeduos, ut sua clementia ac mansuetudine in eos utatur. Quod si fecerit, Haeduorum auctoritatem apud omnes Belgas amplificaturum, quorum auxiliis atque opibus, si qua bella inciderint, sustentare consuerint.
2:15Caesar said that on account of his respect for Divitiacus and the Aeduans, he would receive them into his protection, and would spare them; but, because the state was of great influence among the Belgae, and pre-eminent in the number of its population, he demanded 600 hostages. When these were delivered, and all the arms in the town collected, he went from that place into the territories of the Ambiani, who, without delay, surrendered themselves and all their possessions. Upon their territories bordered the Nervii, concerning whose character and customs when Caesar inquired he received the following information:--That there was no access for merchants to them; that they suffered no wine and other things tending to luxury to be imported; because, they thought that by their use the mind is enervated and the courage impaired: that they were a savage people and of great bravery: that they upbraided and condemned the rest of the Belgae who had surrendered themselves to the Roman people and thrown aside their national courage: that they openly declared they would neither send embassadors, nor accept any condition of peace."
Caesar honoris Diviciaci atque Haeduorum causa sese eos in fidem recepturum et conservaturum dixit, et quod erat civitas magna inter Belgas auctoritate atque hominum multitudine praestabat, DC obsides poposcit. His traditis omnibusque armis ex oppido conlatis, ab eo loco in fines Ambianorum pervenit; qui se suaque omnia sine mora dediderunt. Eorum fines Nervii attingebant. Quorum de natura moribusque Caesar cum quaereret, sic reperiebat: nullum esse aditum ad eos mercatoribus; nihil pati vini reliquarumque rerum ad luxuriam pertinentium inferri, quod his rebus relanguescere animos eorum et remitti virtutem existimarent; esse homines feros magnaeque virtutis; increpitare atque incusare reliquos Belgas, qui se populo Romano dedidissent patriamque virtutem proiecissent; confirmare sese neque legatos missuros neque ullam condicionem pacis accepturos.
2:16After he had made three days march through their territories, he discovered from some prisoners, that the river Sambre was not more than ten miles from his camp; that all the Nervii had stationed themselves on the other side of that river, and together with the Atrebates and the Veromandui, their neighbors, were there awaiting the arrival of the Romans; for they had persuaded both these nations to try the same fortune of war [as themselves]: that the forces of the Aduatuci were also expected by them, and were on their march; that they had put their women, and those who through age appeared useless for war, in a place to which there was no approach for an army, on account of the marshes.
Cum per eorum fines triduum iter fecisset, inveniebat ex captivis Sabim flumen a castris suis non amplius milibus passuum X abesse; trans id flumen omnes Nervios consedisse adventumque ibi Romanorum expectare una cum Atrebatibus et Viromanduis, finitimis suis (nam his utrisque persuaserant uti eandem belli fortunam experirentur); expectari etiam ab iis Atuatucorum copias atque esse in itinere; mulieres quique per aetatem ad pugnam inutiles viderentur in eum locum coniecisse quo propter paludes exercitui aditus non esset.
2:17Having learned these things, he sends forward scouts and centurions to choose a convenient place for the camp. And as a great many of the surrounding Belgae and other Gauls, following Caesar, marched with him; some of these, as was afterwards learned from the prisoners, having accurately observed, during those days, the army's method of marching, went by night to the Nervii, and informed them that a great number of baggage-trains passed between the several legions, and that there would be no difficulty, when the first legion had come into the camp, and the other legions were at a great distance, to attack that legion while under baggage, which being routed, and the baggage-train seized, it would come to pass that the other legions would not dare to stand their ground. It added weight also to the advice of those who reported that circumstance, that the Nervii, from early times, because they were weak in cavalry, (for not even at this time do they attend to it, but accomplish by their infantry whatever they can,) in order that they might the more easily obstruct the cavalry of their neighbors if they came upon them for the purpose of plundering, having cut young trees, and bent them, by means of their numerous branches [extending] on to the sides, and the quick-briars and thorns springing up between them, had made these hedges present a fortification like a wall, through which it was not only impossible to enter, but even to penetrate with the eye. Since [therefore] the march of our army would be obstructed by these things, the Nervii thought that the advice ought not to be neglected by them.
His rebus cognitis, exploratores centurionesque praemittit qui locum castris idoneum deligant. Cum ex dediticiis Belgis reliquisque Gallis complures Caesarem secuti una iter facerent, quidam ex his, ut postea ex captivis cognitum est, eorum dierum consuetudine itineris nostri exercitus perspecta, nocte ad Nervios pervenerunt atque his demonstrarunt inter singulas legiones impedimentorum magnum numerum intercedere, neque esse quicquam negotii, cum prima legio in castra venisset reliquaeque legiones magnum spatium abessent, hanc sub sarcinis adoriri; qua pulsa impedimentisque direptis, futurum ut reliquae contra consistere non auderent. Adiuvabat etiam eorum consilium qui rem deferebant quod Nervii antiquitus, cum equitatu nihil possent (neque enim ad hoc tempus ei rei student, sed quicquid possunt, pedestribus valent copiis), quo facilius finitimorum equitatum, si praedandi causa ad eos venissent, impedirent, teneris arboribus incisis atque inflexis crebrisque in latitudinem ramis enatis [et] rubis sentibusque interiectis effecerant ut instar muri hae saepes munimentum praeberent, quo non modo non intrari sed ne perspici quidem posset. His rebus cum iter agminis nostri impediretur, non omittendum sibi consilium Nervii existimaverunt.
2:18The nature of the ground which our men had chosen for the camp was this: A hill, declining evenly from the top, extending to the river Sambre, which we have mentioned above: from this river there arose a [second] hill of like ascent, on the other side and opposite to the former, and open for about 200 paces at the lower part; but in the upper part, woody, (so much so) that it was not easy to see through it into the interior. Within these woods the enemy kept themselves in concealment; a few troops of horse-soldiers appeared on the open ground, along the river. The depth of the river was about three feet.
Loci natura erat haec, quem locum nostri castris delegerant. Collis ab summo aequaliter declivis ad flumen Sabim, quod supra nominavimus, vergebat. Ab eo flumine pari acclivitate collis nascebatur adversus huic et contrarius, passus circiter CC infimus apertus, ab superiore parte silvestris, ut non facile introrsus perspici posset. Intra eas silvas hostes in occulto sese continebant; in aperto loco secundum flumen paucae stationes equitum videbantur. Fluminis erat altitudo pedum circiter trium.
2:19Caesar, having sent his cavalry on before, followed close after them with all his forces; but the plan and order of the march was different from that which the Belgae had reported to the Nervii. For as he was approaching the enemy, Caesar, according to his custom, led on [as the van six legions unencumbered by baggage; behind them he had placed the baggage-trains of the whole army; then the two legions which had been last raised closed the rear, and were a guard for the baggage-train. Our horse, with the slingers and archers, having passed the river, commenced action with the cavalry of the enemy. While they from time to time betook themselves into the woods to their companions, and again made an assault out of the wood upon our men, who did not dare to follow them in their retreat further than the limit to which the plain and open parts extended, in the mean time the six legions which had arrived first, having measured out the work, began to fortify the camp. When the first part of the baggage train of our army was seen by those who lay hid in the woods, which had been agreed on among them as the time for commencing action, as soon as they had arranged their line of battle and formed their ranks within the woods, and had encouraged one another, they rushed out suddenly with all their forces and made an attack upon our horse. The latter being easily routed and thrown into confusion, the Nervii ran down to the river with such incredible speed that they seemed to be in the woods, the river, and close upon us almost at the same time. And with the same speed they hastened up the hill to our camp, and to those who were employed in the works.
Caesar equitatu praemisso subsequebatur omnibus copiis; sed ratio ordoque agminis aliter se habebat ac Belgae ad Nervios detulerant. Nam quod hostibus adpropinquabat, consuetudine sua Caesar VI legiones expeditas ducebat; post eas totius exercitus impedimenta conlocarat; inde duae legiones quae proxime conscriptae erant totum agmen claudebant praesidioque impedimentis erant. Equites nostri cum funditoribus sagittariisque flumen transgressi cum hostium equitatu proelium commiserunt. Cum se illi identidem in silvis ad suos reciperent ac rursus ex silva in nostros impetum facerent, neque nostri longius quam quem ad finem porrecta [ac] loca aperta pertinebant cedentes insequi auderent, interim legiones VI quae primae venerant, opere dimenso, castra munire coeperunt. Ubi prima impedimenta nostri exercitus ab iis qui in silvis abditi latebant visa sunt, quod tempus inter eos committendi proelii convenerat, ut intra silvas aciem ordinesque constituerant atque ipsi sese confirmaverant, subito omnibus copiis provolaverunt impetumque in nostros equites fecerunt. His facile pulsis ac proturbatis, incredibili celeritate ad flumen decucurrerunt, ut paene uno tempore et ad silvas et in flumine [et iam in manibus nostris] hostes viderentur. Eadem autem celeritate adverso colle ad nostra castra atque eos qui in opere occupati erant contenderunt.
2:20Caesar had every thing to do at one time: the standard to be displayed, which was the sign when it was necessary to run to arms; the signal to be given by the trumpet; the soldiers to be called off from the works; those who had proceeded some distance for the purpose of seeking materials for the rampart, to be summoned; the order of battle to be formed; the soldiers to be encouraged; the watchword to be given. A great part of these arrangements was prevented by the shortness of time and the sudden approach and charge of the enemy. Under these difficulties two things proved of advantage; [first] the skill and experience of the soldiers, because, having been trained by former engagements, they could suggest to themselves what ought to be done, as conveniently as receive information from others; and [secondly] that Caesar had forbidden his several lieutenants to depart from the works and their respective legions, before the camp was fortified. These, on account of the near approach and the speed of the enemy, did not then wait for any command from Caesar, but of themselves executed whatever appeared proper.
Caesari omnia uno tempore erant agenda: vexillum proponendum, quod erat insigne, cum ad arma concurri oporteret; signum tuba dandum; ab opere revocandi milites; qui paulo longius aggeris petendi causa processerant arcessendi; acies instruenda; milites cohortandi; signum dandum. Quarum rerum magnam partem temporis brevitas et incursus hostium impediebat. His difficultatibus duae res erant subsidio, scientia atque usus militum, quod superioribus proeliis exercitati quid fieri oporteret non minus commode ipsi sibi praescribere quam ab aliis doceri poterant, et quod ab opere singulisque legionibus singulos legatos Caesar discedere nisi munitis castris vetuerat. Hi propter propinquitatem et celeritatem hostium nihil iam Caesaris imperium expectabant, sed per se quae videbantur administrabant.
2:21Caesar, having given the necessary orders, hastened to and fro into whatever quarter fortune carried him, to animate the troops, and came to the tenth legion. Having encouraged the soldiers with no further speech than that "they should keep up the remembrance of their wonted valor, and not be confused in mind, but valiantly sustain the assault of the enemy ;" as the latter were not further from them than the distance to which a dart could be cast, he gave the signal for commencing battle. And having gone to another quarter for the purpose of encouraging [the soldiers], he finds them fighting. Such was the shortness of the time, and so determined was the mind of the enemy on fighting, that time was wanting not only for affixing the military insignia, but even for putting on the helmets and drawing off the covers from the shields. To whatever part any one by chance came from the works (in which he had been employed), and whatever standards he saw first, at these he stood, lest in seeking his own company he should lose the time for fighting.
Caesar, necessariis rebus imperatis, ad cohortandos milites, quam [in] partem fors obtulit, decucurrit et ad legionem decimam devenit. Milites non longiore oratione cohortatus quam uti suae pristinae virtutis memoriam retinerent neu perturbarentur animo hostiumque impetum fortiter sustinerent, quod non longius hostes aberant quam quo telum adigi posset, proelii committendi signum dedit. Atque in alteram item cohortandi causa profectus pugnantibus occurrit. Temporis tanta fuit exiguitas hostiumque tam paratus ad dimicandum animus ut non modo ad insignia accommodanda sed etiam ad galeas induendas scutisque tegimenta detrahenda tempus defuerit. Quam quisque ab opere in partem casu devenit quaeque prima signa conspexit, ad haec constitit, ne in quaerendis suis pugnandi tempus dimitteret.
2:22The army having been marshaled, rather as the nature of the ground and the declivity of the hill and the exigency of the time, than as the method and order of military matters required; while the legions in the different places were withstanding the enemy, some in one quarter, some in another, and the view was obstructed by the very thick hedges intervening, as we have before remarked, neither could proper reserves be posted, nor could the necessary measures be taken in each part, nor could all the commands be issued by one person. Therefore, in such an unfavorable state of affairs, various events of fortune followed.
Instructo exercitu magis ut loci natura [deiectusque collis] et necessitas temporis quam ut rei militaris ratio atque ordo postulabat, cum diversae legiones aliae alia in parte hostibus resisterent saepibusque densissimis, ut ante demonstravimus, interiectis prospectus impediretur, neque certa subsidia conlocari neque quid in quaque parte opus esset provideri neque ab uno omnia imperia administrari poterant. Itaque in tanta rerum iniquitate fortunae quoque eventus varii sequebantur.
2:23The soldiers of the ninth and tenth legions, as they had been stationed on the left part of the army, casting their weapons, speedily drove the Atrebates (for that division had been opposed to them,) who were breathless with running and fatigue, and worn out with wounds, from the higher ground into the river; and following them as they were endeavoring to pass it, slew with their swords a great part of them while impeded (therein). They themselves did not hesitate to pass the river; and having advanced to a disadvantageous place, when the battle was renewed, they [nevertheless] again put to flight the enemy, who had returned and were opposing them. In like manner, in another quarter two different legions, the eleventh and the eighth, having routed the Veromandui, with whom they had engaged, were fighting from the higher ground upon the very banks of the river. But, almost the whole camp on the front and on the left side being then exposed, since the twelfth legion was posted in the right wing, and the seventh at no great distance from it, all the Nervii, in a very close body, with Boduognatus, who held the chief command, as their leader, hastened toward that place; and part of them began to surround the legions on their unprotected flank, part to make for the highest point of the encampment.
Legionis VIIII. et X. milites, ut in sinistra parte aciei constiterant, pilis emissis cursu ac lassitudine exanimatos vulneribusque confectos Atrebates (nam his ea pars obvenerat) celeriter ex loco superiore in flumen compulerunt et transire conantes insecuti gladiis magnam partem eorum impeditam interfecerunt. Ipsi transire flumen non dubitaverunt et in locum iniquum progressi rursus resistentes hostes redintegrato proelio in fugam coniecerunt. Item alia in parte diversae duae legiones, XI. et VIII., profligatis Viromanduis, quibuscum erant congressae, ex loco superiore in ipsis fluminis ripis proeliabantur. At totis fere castris a fronte et a sinistra parte nudatis, cum in dextro cornu legio XII. et non magno ab ea intervallo VII. constitisset, omnes Nervii confertissimo agmine duce Boduognato, qui summam imperii tenebat, ad eum locum contenderunt; quorum pars ab aperto latere legiones circumvenire, pars summum castrorum locum petere coepit.
2:24At the same time our horsemen, and light-armed infantry, who had been with those, who, as I have related, were routed by the first assault of the enemy, as they were betaking themselves into the camp, met the enemy face to face, and again sought flight into another quarter; and the camp-followers who from the Decuman Gate, and from the highest ridge of the hill had seen our men pass the river as victors, when, after going out for the purposes of plundering, they looked back and saw the enemy parading in our camp, committed themselves precipitately to flight; at the same time there arose the cry and shout of those who came with the baggage-train: and they (affrighted), were carried some one way,
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Publication Date: 06-02-2014
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