The Named Druid
The Aeduan Druid
We all try to maintain and do what is right or what we think is right. We seek help from others and in that desperate need get taken advantage of. We see what we are trying to maintain and others see a way to gain more themselves from the thing falling from our grip.
Some see oppression others see rebellion and others see a way for peace and a way to make it work but most often we fail at this. Oppression comes then Rebellion it always does as its easy. To maintain peace is work and most would rather not.
Battle Of Magetobriga
In 63 BCE Divitiacus survived the Battle of Magetobriga. This was a bloody battle between some tribes of Gaul. These tribes were
The Suebi a Germanic tribe under their king Ariovistus.
The Aedui were massacred and became a tributary tribe under the Sequani. This leads the Aedui to send diplomates to Rome to seek help and Divitiacus was one of them.
Divitiacus In Rome
After the battle, he traveled to Rome to speak with the Roman senate for military aid. He became a guest of Cicero who spoke greatly of him due to his knowledge of Divination, Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, and named him a Druid.
Caesar spoke highly of him and knew him well, called him a diplomate. After Caesar’s victory of defeating the Helvetii tribe, with Divitiacus. Divitiacus went on to become a prominent member of the Gallic delegation to Caesar and was appointed as their chief spokesman. Divitiacus brought the Gaulish people’s concerns to Caesar about Ariovistus. Ariovistus had taken the Sequani land and taken many of them hostage.
The Gauls request for help marked the next step for Caesar’s conquest. Which in Caeser’s mind, he could be looked at as the savior and not the conqueror of Gaul.
Caesar defeated Ariovistus at the Battle of Vosges in 58 BCE. This lead to Caeser subjugating all of Gaul.
Dumnorix was the chieftain of the Aedui Tribe for a time, He was the younger brother of Divitiacus. The Aedui were allied with Rome but Dumnorix was the leader of the anti-Roman faction. They thought it was better to be dominated by their fellow Gauls than by Romans. Dumnorix was troublesome for Caesar as plotting with plots with Orgetorix and the Helvetii and ruining his brother’s honor. Caeser captured him and spared him from death as fear of creating problems with Diviticus as well as respect for him, but he managed to escape and the Romans killed him. It’s said that he was shouting he was a free man and a citizen of a free state.
A Military Leader
Divitiacus was the Uergobretos which is the chief magistrate of the Aedui. Holding both religious and military responsibilities, he held great power and influence within one of the most powerful tribes of Gaul. He would have been Uergobratos sometime before 52 BCE.
In 58 B.C. Divitiacus accompanied the Roman army during the campaign against the Helvetii. He was thus with Caesar when the Romans discovered that Dumnorix had been plotting against them and had been preventing vital corn supplies from reaching the army
In 57 B.C. Divitiacus led the Aeduan army during Caesar’s campaign against the Belgae. While the Romans attacked the main Belgic army Divitiacus led his troops into the lands of the Bellovaci, former allies of the Aedui who had joined the resistance against the Romans.
He was believed to be about 32 when his nation was defeated by the rival Sequani and the Germans. When he died is unknown but Cicero speaks of him in the past tense in 44 BCE.
This is all that we have of the Only Named Druid in history. We do not know of the fate of Divitiacus.
Did he rise up we do not know?
The Mentions Of Divitiacus
Cisco (De Divinatione 1,41)
“I myself knew one of [the Druids], Divitiacus of the Aedui, your guest and eulogist, who declared that he was acquainted with the system of nature which the Greeks call natural philosophy and he used to predict the future by both augury and inference.
Gallic War by Julius Caesar
This is only the mentions of Divitiacus
From books 1, 2,
Against the Helvetii
Gaul is a whole divided into three parts, one of which is inhabited by the Belgae, another by the Aquitani, and a third by a people called in their own tongue Celtae, in the Latin Galli. All these are different one from another in language, institutions, and laws. The Galli (Gauls) are separated from the Aquitani by the river Garonne, from the Belgae by the Marne and the Seine. Of all these peoples the Belgae are the most courageous because they are farthest removed from the culture and civilization of the Province,1 and least often visited by merchants introducing the commodities that make for effeminacy; and also because they are nearest to the Germans dwelling beyond the Rhine, with whom they are continually at war. For this cause, the Helvetii also excel the rest of the Gauls in valor, because they are struggling in almost daily fights with the Germans, either endeavoring to keep them out of Gallic territory or waging aggressive warfare in German territory. The separate part of the country which, as has been said, is occupied by the Gauls, starts from the river Rhone, and is bounded by the river Garonne, the Ocean, and the territory of the Belgae; moreover, on the side of the Sequani and the Helvetii, it touches on the river Rhine; and its general trend is northward. The Belgae, beginning from the edge of the Gallic territory, reach to the lower part of the river Rhine, bearing towards the north and east. Aquitania, starting from the Garonne, reaches the Pyrenees and to that part of the Ocean which is by Spain: its bearing is between west and north.
Among the Helvetii the noblest man by far and the most wealthy was Orgetorix. In the consulship of Marcus Messalla and Marcus Piso, his desire for the kingship led him to form a conspiracy of the nobility, and he persuaded the community to march out of their territory in full force, urging that as they excelled all in valor it was easy enough to secure the sovereignty of all Gaul. In this, he persuaded them the more easily because the Helvetii are closely confined by the nature of their territory. On one side there is the river Rhine, exceeding broad and deep, which separates the Helvetian territory from the Germans; on another the Jura range, exceeding high, lying between Sequani and the Helvetii; on the third, the Lake of Geneva and the river Rhone, which separates the Roman Province from the Helvetii. In such circumstances, their range of movement was less extensive, and their chances of waging war on their neighbors were less easy; and on this account, they were greatly distressed, for they were men that longed for war. Nay, they could not but consider that the territory they occupied — to an extent of •240 miles long and 180 broad — was all too narrow for their population and for their renown of courage in war.
Swayed by these considerations and stirred by the influence of Orgetorix, they determined to collect what they needed for taking the field, to buy up as large a number as they could of draught-cattle and carts, to sow as much cornº as possible so as to have a sufficient supply thereof on the march, and to establish peace and amity with the nearest communities. For the accomplishment of these objects, they considered that two years were sufficient, and pledged themselves by an ordinance to take the field in the third year. For the accomplishment of these objectives Orgetorix was chosen, and he took upon himself an embassage to the communities. In the course of his travels he persuaded Casticus, of the Sequani, son of Catamantaloedes, who had held for many years the kingship of the Sequani, and had been called by the Senate “the friend of the Roman people,” to seize in his own state the kingship which his father had held before him; and Dumnorix also, of the Aedui, brother of Diviciacus, at that time holding the chieftaincy of the state and a great favorite with the common people, he persuaded to a like endeavor, and gave him his own daughter in marriage. He convinced them that it was easy enough to accomplish such endeavors because he himself (so he said) was about to secure the sovereignty of his own state. There was no doubt, he observed, that the Helvetii were the most powerful tribe in all Gaul, and he gave a pledge that he would win them their kingdoms with his own resources and his own army. Swayed by this speech, they gave a mutual pledge, confirming it by an oath; and they hoped that when they had seized their kingship they would be able, through the efforts of three most powerful and most steadfast tribes, to master the whole of Gaul.
The design was revealed to the Helvetii by informers. In accordance with their custom, they compelled Orgetorix to take his trial in bonds. If he were condemned, the penalty of being burnt alive was the consequence. On the day appointed for his trial, Orgetorix gathered from every quarter to the place of judgment all his retainers, to the number of some ten thousand men, and also assembled there all his clients and debtors, of whom he had a great number, and through their means escaped from taking his trial. The state, being incensed at this, essayed to secure its due rights by force of arms, and the magistrates were bridging together a number of men from the country parts, when Orgetorix died, not without suspicion, as the Helvetii think, of suicide.
After his death, the Helvetii essayed none the less to accomplish their determination to march forth from their borders. When at length they deemed that they were prepared for that purpose, they set fire to all their strongholds in number about twelve; their villages, in number about four hundred, and the rest of their private buildings; they burnt up all their corn save that which they were to carry with them, to the intent that by removing all hope of returning homeward they might prove the readier to undergo any perils; a and they commanded every man to take for himself from home a three months’ provision of victuals. They persuaded their neighbors, the Rauraci, the Tulingi, and the Latobrigi, to adopt the same plan, burn up their strongholds and villages, and march out with them; and they received as partners of their alliance the Boii, who had been dwellers beyond the Rhine, but had crossed over into Noricum and attacked Noreia.
There were two routes, and no more, by which they could leave their homeland. One lay through the territory of the Sequani, betwixt the Jura range and the river Rhone, a narrow route and a difficult, where carts could scarce be drawn up in single file; with an exceeding high mountain overhanging it, so that a very few men might easily check them. The other route, through the Roman Province, was far more easy and convenient, forasmuch as the Rhone flows between the borders of the Helvetii and the Allobroges (who had lately been brought to peace) and is in some places fordable. The last town of the Allobroges, the nearest to the borders of the Helvetii, is Geneva, from which a bridge stretches across to the Helvetii. These supposed that either they would persuade the Allobroges (deeming them not yet well disposed toward the Roman people), or would compel them perforce to suffer a passage through their borders. Having therefore provided all things for their departure, they named a day by which all should assemble upon the bank of the Rhone. The day was the 28th of March, in the consulship of Lucius Piso and Aulus Gabinius.
When Caesar was informed that they were endeavouring to march through the Roman Province, he made speed to leave Rome, and hastening to Further Gaul by as rapid stages as possible, arrived near Geneva. From the whole Province he requisitioned the largest possible number of troops (there was in Further Gaul no more than a single legion), and ordered the bridge at Geneva to be broken down. When the Helvetii learned of his coming, they sent as deputies to him the noblest men of the state. Nammeius and Verucloetius held the chief place in the deputation, with instructions to say that their purpose was to march through the Province without any mischief, because they had no other route; and they asked that they might have leave so to do of his good will. Remembering that the consul Lucius Cassius had been slain,6 and his army routed and sent under the yoke, by the Helvetii, Caesar considered that no concession should be made; nor did he believe that men of unfriendly disposition, if granted an opportunity of marching through the Province, would refrain from outrage and mischief. However, to gain an interval for the assembly of the troops he had levied, he replied to the deputies that he would take a space of time for consideration; if they wished for anything, they were to return on the 13th of April.
In the meanwhile he used the legion which he had with him, and the troops which had concentrated from the Province, to construct a continuous wall, •sixteen feet high, and a trench, from the Lake of Geneva, which flows into the river Rhone, to the Jura range, which separates the territory of the Sequani from the Helvetii, a distance of •nineteen miles. This work completed, he posted separate garrisons, in entrenched forts, in order that he might more easily be able to stop any attempt of the enemy to cross against his wish. When the day which he had appointed with the deputies arrived, and the deputies returned to him, he said that, following the custom and precedent of the Roman people, he could not grant anyone a passage through the Province; and he made it plain that he would stop any attempt to force the same. Disappointed of this hope, the Helvetii attempted, sometimes by day, more often by night, to break through, either by joining boats together and making a number of rafts, or by fording the Rhone where the depth of the stream was least. But they were checked by the line of the entrenchment and, as the troops concentrated rapidly, by missiles, and so abandoned the attempt.
There remained one other line of route, through the borders of the Sequani, by which they could not march, on account of the narrow ways, without the consent of the Sequani. When they could not of their own motion persuade the Sequani, they sent deputies to Dumnorix the Aeduan, in order that they might attain their object through his intercession. Now Dumnorix had very great weight with the Sequani, for he was both popular and open-handed, and he was friendly to the Helvetii, because from that state he had taken the daughter of Orgetorix to wife; and, spurred by the desire of the kingship, he was anxious for a revolution, and eager to have as many states as might be beholden to his own beneficence. Therefore he accepted the business, and prevailed on the Sequani to suffer the Helvetii to pass through their borders, and arranged that they should give hostages each to other — the Sequani, not to prevent the Helvetii from their march; the Helvetii, to pass through without mischief or outrage.
The news was brought back to Caesar that the Helvetii were minded to march through the land of the Sequani and the Aedui into the borders of the Santones, which are not far removed from the borders of the Tolosates, a state in the Province. He perceived that this event would bring great danger upon the Province; for it would have a warlike tribe, unfriendly to the Roman people, as neighbors to a district which was at once unprotected and very rich in corn. For these reasons, he set Titus Labienus, lieutenant-general, in command of the fortification which he had made, and himself hurried by forced marches into Italy. There he enrolled two legions, and brought out of winter quarters three that were wintering about Aquileia; and with these five legions made speed to march by the shortest route to Further Gaul, over the Alps. In that region, the Ceutrones, the Graioceli, and the Caturiges, seizing points on the higher ground, essayed to stop the march of his army. They were repulsed in several actions; and on the seventh day he moved from Ocelum, the last station of Hither Gaul, into the borders of the Vocontii in Further Gaul. Thence he led his army into the borders of the Allobroges, and from thence into the country of the Segusiavi, the first tribe outside the Province, across the Rhone.
By this time the Helvetii, having brought their own forces through the defiles and through the borders of the Sequani, had reached the borders of the Aedui, and were engaged in laying waste their lands. Unable to defend their persons and their property from the invaders, the Aedui sent deputies to Caesar to ask for aid. These pleaded that the Aedui had always deserved too well of the Roman people to merit the devastation of their lands, the removal of their children into slavery, and the capture of their towns, almost in sight of the Roman army. At the same time the Aedui Ambarri, close allies, and kinsmen of the Aedui, informed Caesar that their lands had been laid waste and that they could not easily safeguard their towns from the violence of the p19 enemy. The Allobroges also, who had villages and settlements across the Rhone, fleet to Caesar, affirming that they had nothing left to them save the bare ground. All these events drove Caesar to the decision that he must not wait till the Helvetii, having wasted all the substance of the Roman allies, should penetrate into the land of the Santoni.
There is a river Arar (Saône), which flows through the borders of the Aedui and the Sequani into the Rhone: its sluggishness is beyond belief, for the eye cannot determine in which direction the stream flows. This river the Helvetii proceeded to cross by rafts and boats fastened together. When Caesar’s scouts informed him that three-quarters of the Helvetian forces had actually crossed, and that about a quarter remained on the near side of the river Saône, he left camp in the third watch with three legions and came up to the division of the enemy which had not yet crossed. He attacked them unawares when they were heavily loaded, and put a great number of them to the sword; the remainder betook themselves to flight and hid in the nearest woods. The name of the canton was the Tigurine; for the whole state of Helvetia is divided into four cantons. In the recollection of the last generation this canton had marched out alone from its homeland, and had slain the consul Lucius Cassius and sent his army under the yoke. And so, whether by accident or by the purpose of the immortal gods, the section of the Helvetian state which had brought so signal a calamity upon the Roman people was the first to pay the penalty in full. Therein Caesar avenged private as well as national outrages; for in the same battle with Cassius the Tigurini had slain Lucius Piso, the general, grandfather of Lucius Piso, Caesar’s father-in‑law.
This action over, he caused a bridge to be made over the Saône and sent his army across thereby, in order to pursue the remainder of the Helvetian forces. Alarmed at his sudden approach — for they perceived that the business of crossing the river, which they themselves had accomplished with the greatest difficulty in twenty days, had been despatched by Caesar in a single one — the Helvetii sent deputies to him. The leader of the deputation was Divico, who had been commander of the Helvetii in the campaign against Cassius. He treated with Caesar as follows: If the Roman people would make peace with the Helvetii, they would go whither and abide where Caesar should determine and desire; if on the other hand, he should continue to visit them with war, he was advised to remember the earlier disaster of the Roman people and the ancient valor of the Helvetii. He had attacked one canton unawares when those who had crossed the river could not bear assistance to their fellows, but that event must not induce him to rate his own valor highly or to despise them. The Helvetii had learned from their parents and ancestors to fight their battles with courage, not with cunning nor reliance upon stratagem. Caesar therefore must not allow the place of their conference to derive renown or perpetuate remembrance by a disaster to the Roman people and the destruction of an army.
To these remarks, Caesar replied as follows: As he remembered well the events which the Helvetian deputies had mentioned, he had therefore the less need to hesitate; and his indignation was the more vehement in proportion as the Roman people had not deserved the misfortune. If the Romans had been conscious of some outrage done, it would not have been hard to take precaution; but they had been misled, because they did not understand that they had done anything to cause them apprehension, and they thought that they should not feel apprehension without cause. And even if he were willing to forget an old affront, could he banish the memory of recent outrages — their attempts to march by force against his will through the Province, their ill‑treatment of the Aedui, the Ambarri, the Allobroges? Their insolent boast of their own victory, their surprise that their outrages had gone on so long with impunity, pointed the same way;7 for it was the won’t of the immortal gods to grant temporary prosperity and longer impunity to make men whom they purposed to punish for their crime smart the more severely from a change of fortune. Yet, for all this, he would make peace with the Helvetii, if they would offer him, hostages, to show him that they would perform their promises, and if they would give satisfaction to the Aedui in respect of the outrages inflicted on them and their allies, and likewise to the Allobroges. Divico replied: It was the ancestral practice and the regular custom of the Helvetii to receive, not to offer, hostages; the Roman people were witness thereof. With this reply, he departed.
The next day the Helvetii moved their camp from that spot. Caesar did likewise, sending forward the whole of his cavalry, four thousand in number, which he had raised from the whole of the Province, from the Aedui, and from their allies, to observe in which direction the enemy was marching. The cavalry, following up the rearguard too eagerly, engaged in combat on the unfavourable ground with the cavalry of the Helvetii, and a few of ours fell. Elated by this engagement, because five hundred of their horsemen had routed so large a host of ours, the Helvetii began on occasion to make a bolder stand, and with their rearguard to provoke the Romans to a fight. Caesar kept his troops from fighting, accounting it sufficient for the present to prevent the enemy from plundering, foraging, and devastation. The march continued for about a fortnight with no more interval than •five or six miles a day between the rearguard of the enemy and the vanguard of the Romans.
Meanwhile, Caesar was daily pressing the Aedui for the corn that they had promised as a state. For by reason of cold weather (since Gaul, as has been said above, lies under the northern heaven) not only were the corn-crops in the fields unripe, but there was not even a sufficient supply of forage to be had. At the same time he was less able to use the corn-supply that he had brought up the river Saône in boats, because the Helvetii had diverted their march from the Saône, and he did not wish to lose touch with them. The Aedui put him off day by day, declaring that the corn was being collected, was being brought in, was at hand. He perceived that he was being put off too long and that the day was close upon him whereon it was proper to issue the corn-ration to the troops: accordingly he summoned together the Aeduan chiefs, of whom he had a great number in his camp, among them Diviciacus and Liscus, who had the highest magnify, called Vergobret by the Aedui: the magistrate is elected annually, and holds the power of life and death over his fellow-countrymen. Caesar called them severely to account because they offered no relief in a time of stress, with the enemy close at hand when corn could neither be purchased nor taken from the fields. And just because he had undertaken the war largely in response to their entreaties, he complained the more severely of their desertion.
Then, and not till then, the remarks of Caesar induced Liscus to reveal a fact concealed before. There were, he said, certain persons, of paramount influence with the common folk, and of more power in their private capacity than the actual magistrates. These persons, by seditious and insolent language, were intimidating the population against the collection of corn as required, on the plea that it was better for the Aedui, if they could not now enjoy the primacy of Gaul, to submit to the commands of Gauls rather than of Romans; for they did not doubt that, if the Romans overcame the Helvetii, they meant to deprive the Aedui of liberty, in common with the rest of Gaul. These, again, were the men, who informed the enemy of the Roman plans and all the doings of the camp; nor had he power to restrain them. Nay, more, he perceived with what risk he had acted in informing Caesar, under the sheer force of necessity; and for that reason, he had held his peace as long as he could.
Caesar felt that Dumnorix, the brother of Diviciacus, was indicated in these remarks of Liscus; but as he would not have those matters threshed out in presence of a company, he speedily dismissed the meeting. He kept Liscus back and questioned him separately on his statement in the assembly. Liscus now spoke with greater freedom and boldness. Caesar questioned others privately upon the same matters and found that it was so — that Dumnorix was the man who, unequaled in boldness, and strong in the influence that his generosity gave him over the common folk, desired a revolution. For several years, it was said, he had contracted at a low price for the customs and all the rest of the Aeduan taxes, for the simple reason that when he made a bid none durst bid against him. By this means he had at once increased his own property and acquired ample resources for bribery; he maintained a considerable body of horse permanently at his own charges, and kept them about his person; not only in his own but even in neighboring states his power was extensive. To secure this power he had given his mother in marriage to the noblest and most powerful man among the Bituriges, he had taken himself a wife from the Helvetii, and had married his half-sister and his female relations to men of other states. This connection made him a zealous supporter of the Helvetii; moreover, he hated Caesar and the Romans on his own account, because their arrival had diminished his power and restored his brother Diviciacus to his ancient place of influence and honor. If anything should happen to the Romans, he entertained the most confident hope of securing the kingship by means of the Helvetii: it was the empire of the Roman people which caused him to despair not only of the kingship but even of the influence he now possessed. Caesar discovered also in the course of his questioning, as concerning the unsuccessful cavalry engagement of a few days before, that Dumnorix and his horsemen (he was commander of the body of horse sent by the Aedui to the aid of Caesar) had started the retreat, and that by their retreat the remainder of the horse had been stricken with panic.
All this Caesar learned, and to confirm these suspicions he had indisputable facts. Dumnorix had brought the Helvetii through the borders of the Sequani; he had caused hostages to be given between them; he had done all this not only without orders from his state or from Caesar but even without the knowledge of either; he was now accused by the magistrate of the Aedui. Caesar deemed all this to be cause enough for him either to punish Dumnorix himself or to command the state so to do. To all such procedure, there was one objection, the knowledge that Diviciacus, the brother of Dumnorix, showed the utmost zeal for the Roman people, the utmost goodwill towards himself, in loyalty, injustice, in prudence alike remarkable; for Caesar apprehended that the punishment of Dumnorix might offend the feelings of Diviciacus. Therefore, before attempting anything in the matter, Caesar ordered Diviciacus to be summoned to his quarters, and, having removed the regular interpreters, conversed with him through the mouth of Gaius Valerius Procillus, a leading man in the Province of Gaul and his own intimate friend, in whom he had the utmost confidence upon all matters. Caesar related the remarks which had been uttered in his presence as concerning Dumnorix at the assembly of the Gauls and showed what each person had said severally to him upon the same subject. He asked and urged that without offence to the feelings of Diviciacus he might either hear his case himself and pass judgment upon him or order the state so to do.
With many tears Diviciacus embraced Caesar, and began to beseech him not to pass too severe a judgment upon his brother. “I know,” said he, “that the reports are true, and no one is more pained thereat than I, for at a time when I had very great influence in my own state and in the rest of Gaul, and he very little, by reason of his youth, he owed his rise to me; and now he is using his resources and his strength not only to the diminution of my influence but almost to my destruction. For all that, I feel the force of brotherly love and public opinion. That is to say, if too severe a fate befalls him at your hands, no one, seeing that I hold this place in your friendship, will opine that it has been done without my consent; and this will turn from me the feelings of all Gaul.” While he was making this petition at greater length, and with tears, Caesar took him by the hand and consoled him, bidding him end his entreaty, and showing that his influence with Caesar was so great that he excused the injury to Rome and the vexation felt by himself, in consideration for the goodwill and the entreaties of Diviciacus. Then he summoned Dumnorix to his quarters, and in the presence of his brother he pointed out what he had to blame in him; he set forth what he himself perceived, and the complaints of the state; he warned him to avoid all occasions of suspicion for the future, and said that he excused the past in consideration for his brother Diviciacus. He posted sentinels over Dumnorix, so as to know what he did and with whom he spoke.
On the same day his scouts informed him that the enemy had halted close under a height •eight miles from the Roman camp. A party was sent to reconnoiter the height and to see what kind of ascent a detour might afford: the report was that it was easy. Caesar ordered Titus Labienus, lieutenant-general and chief of the staff, to move in the third watch with two legions and the guides who knew the route, and to climb the topmost ridge of the height; and he showed him his own intention. He himself, starting in the fourth watch, marched speedily against the enemy by the same route which they had taken, sending forward the whole of the horse. Publius Considius, reputed a past master in the art of war, who had seen service in the army of Lucius Sulla and afterward in that of Marcus Crassus, was sent forward with the scouts.
At dawn Labienus was in possession of the summit of the height, and Caesar was no more than •a mile and a half from the enemy’s camp; and, as he learned afterward from prisoners, neither his own approach nor that of Labienus was discovered. At this moment Considius galloped back to him, saying that the mountain he had wished Labienus to seize was in possession of the enemy: he knew it by the Gallic arms and badges. Caesar withdrew his own troops to the nearest hill, and formed line of battle. Labienus had instructions from Caesar not to join battle unless his own troops appeared near the enemy’s camp so that a simultaneous assault might be made upon the enemy from all sides; accordingly, having seized the height, he awaited the main body and refrained from engaging. At length, when the day was far spent, Caesar learned from his scouts that the height was in possession of his own troops and that the Helvetii had shifted their camp, and therefore that Considius in sheer panic had reported to him as seen that which he had not seen. On that day he followed the enemy at the customary interval, and pitched his camp •three miles from theirs.
On the morrow, as no more than two days remained before it was proper to issue the corn-ration to the troops, and as he was no more than •eighteen miles from Bibracte, by far the largest and the best-provided of the Aeduan towns, he considered that he must attend to the corn-supply. He, therefore, turned his line of march away from the Helvetii, and made with all speed for Bibracte. The change was reported to the enemy by some deserters from Lucius Aemilius, a troop leader of the Gallic horse. Now the Helvetii may have supposed that the Romans were moving away from them because of sheer panic, the more so because on the day before they had not joined battle after seizing the higher ground; or they may have believed that the Romans could be cut off from their corn supply. Whichever the reason, they changed their plan, altered their route, and began to pursue and to annoy the Roman rearguard.
As soon as he remarked this, Caesar withdrew his troops to the nearest hill, and sent the horse to check the enemy’s charge. Meanwhile he himself drew up his four legions of veterans in triple line10a half‑way up the hill: but he ordered the two legions which he had last enlisted in Nearer Gaul and all the auxiliary troops to be posted on the top of the ridge, so as to fill the hill-side entirely with men: in the meantime the packs were to be collected in one place, which was to be entrenched by the troops posted in line on the higher ground. The Helvetii followed with all their carts and collected their baggage in one place: the fighting men, in a densely-crowded line, repulsed the Roman horse, then formed mass10b and moved up against our first line.
Caesar first had his own horse and then those of all others sent out of sight, thus to equalize the danger of all and to take away the hope of flight. Then after a speech to encourage his troops he joined the battle. The legionaries, from the upper ground, easily broke the mass-formation of the enemy by a volley of javelins, and, when it was scattered, drew their swords and charged. The Gauls were greatly encumbered for the fight because several of their shields would be pierced and fastened together by a single javelin-cast; and as the iron became bent, they could not pluck it forth, nor fight handily with the left arm encumbered. Therefore many of them preferred, after continued shaking of the arm, to cast off the shield and so to fight bare-bodied. At length, worn out with wounds, they began to retreat, retiring towards a height •about a mile away. They gained the height; and as the Romans followed up, the Boii and Tulingi, who with some fifteen thousand men brought up the rear and formed the rearguard, turned from their march to attack the Romans on the exposed12 flank, and overlapped them. Remarking this, the Helvetii, who had retired to the height, began to press again and to renew the fight. The Romans wheeled and advanced in two divisions, the first and second line to oppose the part of the enemy which had been defeated and driven off, the third to check the fresh assault.
Thus the engagement became twofold, and the fight was fierce and long. When the enemy could no longer hold out against our attacks, one division continued to retire to the height, the other concentrated upon their baggage and carts. There was no rout, for throughout the action, though it lasted from the seventh hour to eventide, no one could have seen the back of an enemy. Even round the baggage the fight was continued far into the night, as the enemy had constructed a rampart of carts, and from the higher ground, they continued to hurl missiles upon our advancing lines, while some of them kept discharging native pikes and darts from underneath the carts and wheels, wounding our men. However, after a long fight, our troops gained possession of the baggage and the camp, where the daughter of Orgetorix and one of his sons were taken prisoners. Some 130,000 persons survived the action, and marched continuously the whole of that night; the march was not interrupted for any part of the night, and three days after they reached the borders of the Lingones; for our own troops had not been able to pursue them, having halted for three days to tend their wounds and to bury the dead. Caesar despatched letters and messages to the Lingones, ordering them not to give assistance by corn and otherwise, and affirming that, if they gave such assistance, he would treat them in the same fashion as the Helvetii. He himself, after the three days’ interval, began to follow them with all his forces.
The Helvetii were compelled by lack of all provision to send deputies to him to treat of surrender. These found him on the march, and, throwing themselves at his feet, in suppliant tones besought peace with tears. He bade them await his arrival in their present station, and they obeyed. Upon arrival there Caesar demanded the surrender of hostages and arms, and of the slaves who had deserted to them. While these were sought out and collected together night intervened; and about six thousand men of the canton called Verbigene — it may be in sheer panic, lest after the surrender of their arms they might be put to the sword; or else they were tempted by the hope of escape, and the thought that in so vast a multitude of prisoners their own flight could be concealed or even unnoticed — left the Helvetian camp at nightfall and hastened to the Rhine and the borders of the Germans.
So soon as Caesar came to know of this he commanded the inhabitants through whose borders they had marched to seek them out and bring them back, if they wished to clear themselves from complicity in his sight. When the runaways were brought back he treated them as enemies; all the remainder, upon delivery of hostages, arms, and deserters, he admitted to surrender. He commanded the Helvetii, Tulingi, and Latobrigi to return to their own borders, whence they had started; and as they had lost all their produce, and had no means at home of sustaining hunger, he required the Allobroges to give them a supply of corn. He also ordered them to restore with their own hands the towns and villages which they had burnt. His chief reason for so doing was that he did not wish the district which the Helvetii had left to be unoccupied, lest the excellence of the farmlands might tempt the Germans who dwell across the Rhine to cross from their own into the Helvetian borders, and so to become neighbors to the Province of Gaul and to the Allobroges. He granted the petition of the Aedui that they might establish the Boii, known to be of remarkable courage, in their own borders. The Aedui gave them farmlands and afterward admitted them to like the measure of privilege and liberty with themselves.
In the camp of the Helvetii were found, and brought to Caesar, records written out in Greek letters, wherein was drawn up a nominal register showing what number of them had gone out from their homeland, who were able to bear arms, and also separately children, old men, and women. On all these counts the total showed 263,000 persons of the Helvetii, 36,000 of the Tulingi, 14,000 of the Latobrigi, 23,000 of the Rauraci, 32,000 of the Boii; of these, there were about 92,000 able to bear arms. The grand total was about 368,000. Of those who returned home, a census was taken in accordance with Caesar’s command, and the number was found to be 110,000.
Chapter 30 -53
Upon the conclusion of the Helvetian campaign deputies from well-nigh the whole of Gaul, the chief men of the various states, assembled in Caesar’s camp to congratulate him. They perceived, they said, that, although Caesar had by the campaign required satisfaction of the Helvetii for past outrages suffered by the Roman people at their hands, the result had been as beneficial to the land of Gaul as to the Roman people; for the Helvetii had left their homes at a time of exceeding prosperity with the express design of making war upon the whole of Gaul and obtaining empire; they purposed from an ample field to select for their abode the spot which they judged to be the most convenient and the most productive in all Gaul and to make the rest of the states tributary. The deputies asked that they might be allowed to announce — and that with Caesar’s consent — a convention of all Gaul for a certain day, for they had certain petitions which, after a general agreement, they wished to ask of him. Permission was given, and they appointed a day for the convention, pledging themselves by an oath that no man should publish its proceedings save the persons authorized by their general consent.
The convention having been held and dissolved, the same chiefs of states as before returned to Caesar with a petition that they might be allowed to discuss with him apart, in private, the question of their own and the general welfare. The petition was granted, and they all threw themselves in tears at Caesar’s feet, declaring that they were as anxious and as much concerned to prevent the publication of their utterances as to obtain their desires; for he saw that publication must expose them to the cruelest vengeance. Diviciacus the Aeduan spoke on their behalf. “In all Gaul,” he said, “there are two parties; in one of them the Aedui have the primacy, in the other the Arverni. For many years there was a vehement struggle between the two for the dominion; then it came about that the Arverni and the Sequani summoned the Germans to their aid for a price. About fifteen thousand of them crossed the Rhine in the first instance; then, when those fierce barbarians had got a liking for the farmlands, the civilization, and the wealth of the Gauls, more were brought over, and at the present time there are about 120,000 of them in Gaul. “With them the Aedui and their dependents have repeatedly fought in battle: defeat has brought great disaster, the loss of all our nobility, our senate, and our knights. It is these battles and disasters that have broken the men who by their own valor, and by the courtesy and the friendship of Rome, were formerly paramount in Gaul, and have obliged them to give as hostages to the Sequani the noblest men of the state, and to bind the state by oath not to require the return of the hostages, not to entreat the assistance of Rome, nor to refuse eternal submission to the sway and sovereignty of the Sequani. I am the one man of all the state of the Aedui upon whom it has not been possible to prevail to take the oath or give his children as hostages. It was for that reason that I fled from the state and came to the Senate at Rome to demand assistance because I was the only man not bound by oath or hostages. But a worse fate has befallen the victorious Sequani than the conquered Aedui: Ariovistus, king of the Germans, has settled within their borders and seized a third part of their territory, the best in all Gaul; and now he orders them to evacuate another third, because a few months since 24,000 of the Harudes joined him, for whom he had to provide a settlement and a home. In a few years all the natives will have been driven from the borders of Gaul, and all the Germans will have crossed the Rhine; for there can be no comparison between the Gallic and the German territory, none between our usual scale of living and theirs. Having once conquered the forces of the Gauls in battle near Magetobriga, Ariovistus is exercising a proud and cruel tyranny, demanding as hostages the children of the greatest nobles, and perpetrating upon them all the direst forms of torture, if anything be not performed at his nod or at his pleasure. He is a passionate, a reckless barbarian: we can endure his tyrannies no longer. Unless some means of assistance is to be found in Caesar and in the Roman people, all the Gauls must needs do just what the Helvetii have done — emigrate, to seek another habitation, other abodes far from the Germans, and risk any fortune that may befall them. If these remarks of mine be reported to Ariovistus, I make no doubt that he will inflict the severest punishment on all the hostages in his keeping. You, Caesar, by your own and your army’s influence, or by your late victory, or by the name of the Roman people, can prevent the crossing of a larger host of Germans over the Rhine, and defend the whole of Gaul from the outrage of Ariovistus.”
When Diviciacus had delivered this speech all who were present began with loud weeping to seek assistance from Caesar. He noticed, however, that of all the company the Sequani alone did not act like the rest, but with head downcast stared sullenly upon the ground. He asked them, wondering, what might be the cause thereof. The Sequani made no reply but continued in the same sullen silence. When repeated questioning could extract not a word from them, Diviciacus the Aeduan made further reply. “The lot of the Sequani,” he said, “is more pitiable, more grievous than that of the rest, inasmuch as they alone dare not even in secret make complaint or entreat assistance, dreading the cruelty of Ariovistus as much in his absence as if he were present before them. The rest, for all their suffering, have still a chance of escape; but the Sequani, who have admitted Ariovistus within their borders, and whose towns are all in his power, must needs endure any and every torture.”
When he had learned this Caesar comforted the Gauls with his words, promising that he would concern himself with this matter: he had, he said, great hope that by his good offices and his authority he would induce Ariovistus to put a stop to his outrages. With this speech he dissolved the convention. And straightway many considerations induced him to suppose that he must take thought and action in the matter. In the first place, he could see that the Aedui, often hailed by the Senate as brethren and kinsmen, were fast bound in slavery and subjection to the Germans, and he was aware that their hostages were with Ariovistus and the Sequani. This, considering the greatness of the Roman empire, he deemed to be an utter disgrace to himself and to the state. Next, he could see that the Germans were becoming gradually accustomed to cross over the Rhine, and that the arrival of a great host of them in Gaul was dangerous for the Roman people. Nor did he suppose that barbarians so fierce would stop short after seizing the whole of Gaul; but rather, like the Cimbri and Teutoni before them, they would break forth into the Province, and push on thence into Italy, especially as there was but the Rhone to separate the Sequani from the Roman Province. All this, he felt, must be faced without a moment’s delay. As for Ariovistus himself, he had assumed such airs, such arrogance, that he seemed insufferable.
He resolved, therefore, to send deputies to Ariovistus to request of him the choice of some half‑way station between them for a parley, as it was his desire to discuss with him matters of state and of the highest importance to each of them. To the deputation Ariovistus made a reply that if he had had need of aught from Caesar, he would have come to him, and if Caesar desired aught of him, he ought to come to him. Moreover, he did not venture without an army to come into those parts of Gaul which Caesar was occupying, and he could not concentrate his army without great exertion in the matter of supply. And he found himself wondering what business either Caesar or the Roman people might have in that Gaul which he had made his own by conquest in war.
When this reply had been brought back to Caesar, he sent deputies again to him with the following message: Forasmuch as, after great kindness of treatment from Caesar himself and from the Roman people (for it was in Caesar’s year of consulship1 that he had been saluted as king and friend by the Senate), he expressed his thanks to Caesar and the Roman people by reluctance to accept the invitation to come to a parley and by thinking it needless to say or learn anything as touching their mutual concerns, Caesar’s demand of him was, first, that he should not bring any further host of men across the Rhine into Gaul; second, that he should restore the hostages he held from the Aedui and grant the Sequani entire freedom to restore to the Aedui with his full consent the hostages they held; further, that he should not annoy the Aedui by outrage nor make war upon them or their allies. If he did as requested, Caesar and the Roman people would maintain a lasting kindness and friendship towards him. If Caesar’s request were not granted, then, forasmuch as in the consulship2 of Marcus Messalla and Marcus Piso the Senate had decided that the governor of the Province of Gaul should protect, as far as he could do so with advantage to the state, the Aedui and the other friends of the Roman people, Caesar would not disregard the outrages suffered by the Aedui.
To this Ariovistus replied as follows: It was the right of war that conquerors dictated as they pleased to the conquered; and the Roman people also were accustomed to dictate to those whom they conquered, not according to the order of a third party, but according to their own choice. If he, for his part, did not ordain how the Roman people should exercise their own right, he ought not to be hindered by the Roman people in the enjoyment of his own right. The Aedui, having risked the fortune of war and having been overcome in a conflict of arms, had been made tributary to himself. Caesar was doing him a serious injury, for his advance was damaging his revenues. He would not restore their hostages to the Aedui, nor would he make war on them nor on their allies without cause, if they stood to their agreement and paid tribute yearly; if not, they would find it of no assistance whatever to be called “Brethren of the Roman people.” As for Caesar’s declaration that he would not disregard outrages suffered by the Aedui, no one had fought with Ariovistus save to his own destruction. He might join issue when he pleased: he would learn what invincible Germans, highly trained in arms, who in a period of fourteen years had never been beneath a roof, could accomplish by their valor.
At the same hour in which this message was brought back to Caesar, deputies arrived from the Aedui and the Treveri. The Aedui came to complain that the Harudes, who had lately been brought over into Gaul, were devastating their borders, and that they themselves had not been able to purchase peace from Ariovistus even by the delivery of hostages. The Treveri reported that one hundred cantons of the Suebi had settled on the banks of the Rhine, and were attempting to cross the river, under the command of two brothers, Nasua and Cimberius. At this Caesar was exceedingly disquieted, and determined that he must make speed, for fear that, if the new company of Suebi joined the old forces of Ariovistus, resistance might be more difficult. Therefore he secured his corn-supply with all possible speed and pushed on with forced marches to meet Ariovistus.
He had advanced a three days’ march when news was brought to him that Ariovistus with all his forces was pushing on to seize Vesontio (Besançon), the largest town of the Sequani, and had already advanced a three days’ march from his own borders. Caesar considered that a great effort on his part was needed to prevent this occurrence. For there was in that town an abundant supply of all things needful for war, and the place was so well fortified by Nature as to afford great facilities for the conduct of a campaign. The river Dubis (Doubs), with a circuit that might have been traced by compasses, surrounds well-nigh the whole town: the remaining space of not more than sixteen hundred feet, where the river breaks off, is closed in by a height of great eminence, so placed that its foundations touch the river-bank on either side. This height is surrounded by a wall to form a citadel and join it with the town. It was to this place that Caesar pushed on with forced marches by night and day, and, seizing the town, posted a garrison in it.
During a few days’ halt near Vesontio for the provision of corn and other supplies, a panic arose from inquiries made by our troops and remarks uttered by Gauls and traders, who affirmed that the Germans were men of a mighty frame and an incredible valor and skill at arms; for they themselves (so they said) at meetings with the Germans had often been unable even to endure their look and the keenness of their eyes. So great was the panic, and p61 so suddenly did it seize upon all the army, that it affected in serious fashion the intelligence and the courage of all ranks. It began first with the tribunes, the contingent-commanders, and the others who had followed Caesar from Rome to court his friendship, without any great experience in warfare. Advancing various reasons which, according to their own statement, obliged them to depart, some sought his permission to leave; some were compelled by very shame to stay, to avoid the suspicion of cowardice. They were unable to disguise their looks, or even at times to restrain their tears; they hid in their tents to complain of their own fate, or to lament in company with their friends the common danger. Everywhere throughout the camp there was signing of wills. By the cowardly utterances of such as these even men who had long experience in the field, soldiers, centurions, and cavalry commanders, were gradually affected. Those of them who desired to be thought less timid would declare that they were not afraid of the enemy, but feared the narrow defiles and the vast forests which lay between themselves and Ariovistus, or a possible failure of proper transport for the corn-supply. Some had even gone so far as to declare to Caesar that when he gave the order for camp to be shifted and standards advanced the soldiers would not obey, and by reason of cowardice would not move forward.
Remarking this, he convened a council of war, and summoned thereto the centurions of all grades. Then indignantly he reprimanded them, first and foremost because they thought it their business to ask or to consider in which direction or with what purpose they were being led. “Ariovistus,” he said, “in my own consulship sought most eagerly the friendship of the Roman people. Why should anyone conclude that he intends so recklessly to depart from his duty? For myself, I am persuaded that, when my demands are made known, and the fairness of my terms understood, Ariovistus will not reject the goodwill of myself or the Roman people. Even if, in a fit of rage and madness, he makes war, what, pray, have you to fear? Why do you despair of your own courage or of my competence? We have made trial of this foe in the time of our fathers, on the occasion when, in the defeat of the Cimbri4 and Teutoni by Gaius Marius, the army was deemed to have deserved no less praise than the commander himself. We have made further trial of late in Italy in the slave revolt,6 and yet the slaves had the practice and training which they had learned from us to give them some measure of support. You may judge from this what profit there is in good courage, for the very men whom you had feared without cause during a long time, when they had no arms, you subsequently subdued, though they had taken up arms and won victories. Finally, these are the selfsame men with whom the Helvetii have had frequent encounters, and they have often subdued them, not only in Helvetian territory but also in Germany; yet the Helvetii have not proved a match for our army. If there be any who are concerned at the defeat and flight of the Gauls, they can discover for the asking that when the Gauls were worn out by the length of the campaign Ariovistus, who had kept himself for many months within his camp in the marshes, without giving a chance of encounter, attacked them suddenly when they had at last dispersed in despair of a battle, and conquered them rather by skill and stratagem than by courage. Even Ariovistus himself does not expect that our own armies can be caught by tactics for which there was a chance against unskilled barbarians. Those persons who ascribe their own cowardice to a pretended anxiety for the corn-supply or to the defiles on the route are guilty of presumption, for they appear either to despair of the commander’s doing his duty or to instruct him in it. These matters are my own concern; corn is being supplied by the Sequani, the Leuci, the Lingones, and the corn-crops in the fields are already ripe; of the route you yourselves will shortly be able to judge. As for the statement that the soldiers will not obey orders nor move forward, I am not in the least concerned by that; in any cases where an army has not obeyed its general, either fortune has failed because of some actual blunder, or else some crime shall be discovered and a charge of avarice has been brought home. My own blamelessness has been clearly seen throughout my life, my good fortune in the Helvetian campaign. Accordingly I intend to execute at once what I might have put off to a more distant day, and to break camp in the fourth watch of this next night, to the intent that I may perceive at once whether honor and duty, or cowardice, prevail in your minds. Even if no one else follows, I shall march with the Tenth Legion alone; I have no doubt of its allegiance, and it will furnish the commander-in‑chief’s escort.” Caesar had shown special favour to this legion, and he placed the greatest reliance in it because of its courage.
By the delivery of this speech the spirit of all ranks was changed in a remarkable fashion; the greatest keenness and eagerness for active service was engendered, and the Tenth Legion was the first to express thanks to Caesar, through its tribunes, for the excellent opinion he had formed of it, and to affirm its complete readiness for active service. Then the remaining legions moved their tribunes and senior centurions to give satisfactory explanation to Caesar that they had felt neither doubt nor panic, and had regarded it as the commander’s business, not their own, to decide the plan of campaign. Their explanation was accepted, and through Diviciacus (the one person in whom Caesar had absolute confidence) a route was found out to lead the army through open country, by a detour of •more than fifty miles. In the fourth watch, as Caesar had said, the march began. On the seventh day of continuous marching the scouts reported that the forces of Ariovistus were •four-and‑twenty miles away from our own.
When he learned of Caesar’s approach Ariovistus sent deputies to him to announce that he was now ready to do what Caesar had before demanded as touching a parley, because he had come nearer, and Ariovistus believed that he could comply without risk. Caesar did not reject the proposal, and he was inclined to think that Ariovistus was at length returning to a proper frame of mind, inasmuch as of his own motion he proffered what he had previously refused on request. Moreover, he began to have a good hope that, in consideration of the signal benefits conferred upon him by Caesar and the Roman people, Ariovistus would abandon his obstinacy when he knew Caesar’s demands. A day — the fifth after that — was appointed for the parley. Meanwhile there was continual sending of deputies to and fro between them; and Ariovistus demanded that Caesar should bring no infantry with him to the p69 parley, as he was afraid Caesar might surround him by treachery; let each party, therefore, come with an escort of horse; otherwise he would not come at all. Caesar did not wish parley to be broken off upon an excuse thus interposed; at the same time he could not venture to entrust his personal safety to Gallic horse. He decided, therefore, that the best plan was to take the horses from Gallic troopers and mount upon them soldiers of the Tenth Legion, in which he had absolute confidence; thus, if there were need of action, he would have an escort of the truest friends he could find. As the order was being carried out, one of the soldiers of the Tenth Legion remarked with some wit that Caesar was doing better than his promise; for he had promised to treat the Tenth Legion as the commander-in‑chief’s escort, and he was making new “cavalry”of them.
There was a large plain, and in it a mound of earth of considerable size. The place was about equally distant from the camps of Caesar and of Ariovistus. Thither, as agreed, they came for the parley. Caesar stationed the legion which he had brought on horseback •two hundred paces from the mound. The horsemen of Ariovistus halted at an equal distance. Ariovistus demanded that they should parley on horseback, and that each should bring with him to the parley ten men besides himself. When they arrived at the spot Caesar began his speech by relating the benefits conferred upon Ariovistus by himself and by the Senate; the Senate had called him king and friend and had sent gifts with a most lavish hand. This privilege, as he pointed out, had fallen to the lot of but few, and was usually granted in consideration of great personal services. Ariovistus, though he had no right to audience of the Senate, and no just cause of claim, had obtained the rewards in question by the favor and generosity of Caesar and of the Senate. He proceeded to show how long-established and how just were the reasons for a close relationship between Rome and the Aedui; the frequency and the distinction of the Senate’s decrees in respect of them; the manner in which, even before they had sought the friendship of Rome, the Aedui had always held the primacy of all Gaul. It was the tradition of the Roman people to desire that its allies and friends should not only lose none of their possessions, but should enjoy increase of influence, dignity, and distinction; on the other hand, who, he asked, could endure that they should be despoiled of what they had brought with them to the friendship of the Roman people? He then made the same demands as those which he had given in his instructions to the deputies — that is to say, Ariovistus must not make war on the Aedui or on their allies; he must restore the hostages; and if he could not send back home any part of the Germans, at any rate he must not suffer any more to cross the Rhine.
To the demands of Caesar Ariovistus replied in brief, but he dilated at length upon his own good qualities. He had crossed the Rhine, he said, not of his own desire, but upon the request and summons of the Gauls; not without great hope of great rewards had he left home and kindred; the settlements he occupied in Gaul were granted by the natives, the hostages had been given with the consent of the natives; the tribute he took was by right of war, as customarily enforced by conquerors upon conquered. He had not made war upon the Gauls, but they upon him; all the states of Gaul had come to attack him and had set up their camp against him; all their forces had been beaten and overcome by him in a single action. If they wished to try the issue again, he was prepared to fight it out again; if they wished to enjoy peace, it was unjust to refuse the payment of tribute which of their own consent they had paid hitherto. The friendship of the Roman people ought to be a distinction and a security to him, not a hindrance; and he had sought it with that hope. If through the agency of the Roman people the tribute were to be remitted and the surrendered persons withdrawn, he would refuse the friendship of the Roman people no less heartily than he had sought it. As for the host of Germans that he was bringing over into Gaul, his object was to protect himself, not to attack Gaul; and the proof thereof was that he had not come except upon request, and that his warfare had been defensive, not offensive. He had come into Gaul before the Roman people. Never heretofore had an army of the Roman people left the borders of the Province of Gaul. What did Caesar mean? Why did he come into his sphere of occupation? This was his province of Gaul, as the other was the Roman. As it was not right to give way to him, if he made an attack on Roman territory, so likewise the Romans were unjust in obstructing him in his own jurisdiction. As for Caesar’s statement that the Aedui were called “brothers,” Ariovistus was not such a barbarian, not so ignorant of affairs as not to know that neither in the last campaign against the Allobroges had the Aedui rendered assistance to the Romans, nor in the disputes of the Aedui with himself and the Sequani had they enjoyed the assistance of the Roman people. He was bound to suspect, in spite of pretended friendship, that Caesar had an army in Gaul for the purpose of crushing him. Unless, therefore, Caesar departed and withdrew his army from this locality, he would regard him, not as a friend, but as an enemy. And if he put Caesar to death, he would gratify many nobles and leaders of the Roman people: this he knew for certain from themselves, by the messengers sent on behalf of all whose favor and friendship he could purchase by Caesar’s death. If, however, Caesar departed and resigned to him the uninterrupted occupation of Gaul, he would recompense him by a great reward, and would, without any exertion or risk on his part, execute any campaigns he might wish to be carried out.
Caesar spoke at length for the purpose of showing why he could not give up the task in hand. His own practice, he said, and the practice of the Roman people did not suffer the abandonment of allies who had deserved so well, nor did he admit that Gaul belonged to Ariovistus rather than to the Roman people. The Arverni and the Ruteni had been subdued in a campaign by Quintus Fabius Maximus: the Roman people had pardoned them and had not formed them into a province nor imposed a tribute. If priority of time was to be the standard, then the sovereignty of the Roman people in Gaul had complete justification; if the decision of the Senate was to be observed, Gaul should be free, for after conquest of the country the Senate had willed that it should continue to observe its own laws.
During the progress of the parley Caesar was informed that the horsemen of Ariovistus were approaching nearer the mound, riding up to our troops, and discharging stones and darts at them. Caesar made an end of speaking, and, withdrawing to his own men, commanded them not to discharge a single dart against the enemy in reply. For, although he could see that a fight between the chosen legion and the horsemen would involve no danger, still he did not think proper, by so beating the enemy, to make possible the report that after pledge given they had been surrounded by him during a parley. As soon as the common soldiers learned how arrogantly at the parley Ariovistus had forbidden all Gaul to the Romans, how his horsemen had attacked our troops, and how this action had broken off the parley, the army was inspired with far greater eagerness and enthusiasm for battle.
Two days afterwards Ariovistus sent deputies to Caesar. He desired, he said, to discuss with him the matters which they had begun to discuss together but had not settled. Let him therefore again appoint a day for a parley, or, if he did not so wish, let him send to him one of his staff. Caesar thought there was no occasion for a parley, the more so as on the previous day the Germans could not be restrained from discharging darts upon our men. He thought it would be very dangerous to send one of his staff to him and so to expose a man to the ferocious Germans. The best plan seemed to be to send to him Gaius Valerius Procillus, son of Gaius Valerius Caburus. He was a young man of exemplary courage and courtesy, and his father had been p79 presented with the citizenship by Gaius Valerius Flaccus. Caesar selected him because of his fidelity and his knowledge of the Gallic tongue (which from long practice Ariovistus could now use freely), and also because the Germans had in his case no reason for outrage; and with him he chose Marcus Mettius, who enjoyed the intimacy of Ariovistus. He gave them instructions that they should ascertain and bring back to him the views of Ariovistus. But when Ariovistus saw them near him in his camp he called aloud in the presence of his army, “Why come you to me? To spy?” When they tried to speak he prevented them and flung them into chains.
On the same day he advanced and pitched his camp under a hill-side •six miles from Caesar’s. The next day he led his forces past the camp of Caesar, and formed camp •two miles beyond him, for the purpose of cutting Caesar off from the corn and supplies that were to be brought up from the borders of the Sequani and the Aedui. For five days in succession Caesar brought his own forces out in front of camp and kept them formed in line of battle, so that if Ariovistus wished to engage he might not lack the chance. On all these days Ariovistus kept his army in camp, but engaged daily in a cavalry encounter. The kind of fighting in which the Germans had trained themselves was as follows. There were six thousand horsemen, and as many footmen, as swift as they were brave, who had been chosen out of the whole force, one by each horseman for his personal protection. With them they worked in encounters; on them the horseman would retire, and they would concentrate speedily if any serious difficulty arose; they would form p81 round any trooper who fell from his horse severely wounded; and if it was necessary to advance farther in some direction or to retire more rapidly, their training made them so speedy that they could support themselves by the manes of the horses and keep up their pace.
When Caesar observed that Ariovistus kept to his camp, to prevent further interruption of supplies he chose a suitable spot for a camp beyond that in which the Germans had pitched and •about six hundred paces distant. Thither he marched in triple-line formation. The first and second line he ordered to keep under arms, the third to entrench a camp. The spot, as has been said, was about six hundred paces away from the enemy. Towards it Ariovistus sent some sixteen thousand light-armed troops with all the horse, as a force to frighten our men and to prevent their entrenching work. None the less Caesar kept to his previous decision, ordering two lines to drive back the enemy, the third to complete the work. When the camp was entrenched he left two legions there and a part of the auxiliaries; the remaining four he brought back to the larger camp.
The next day, in accordance with his practice, Caesar moved out his forces from both camps, and, advancing a little from the larger camp, he formed line to give the enemy a chance of battle. Perceiving that they did not even come forth, he brought his army back to camp about noon. Then at last Ariovistus sent a part of his own forces to attack the lesser camp, and both sides fought in spirited fashion till eventide. At sunset, when many blows had been dealt and taken, Ariovistus led his forces back to camp. By questioning the prisoners why Ariovistus did not fight a decisive action, Caesar found out the reason. It was a custom among the Germans that their matrons should declare by lots and divinations whether it was expedient or not to engage, and the matrons declared that heaven forbade the Germans to win a victory, if they fought an action before the new moon.
On the next day Caesar left what he deemed a sufficient garrison for each camp; in front of the lesser camp, in full view of the enemy, he posted all the allied troops, intending to use them for a demonstration, because the total strength of his legionary troops was none too great in view of the enemy’s numbers. He himself, with triple line deployed, advanced right up to the enemy’s camp. Then at last, compelled by necessity, the Germans led their own forces out of camp and posted them at equal intervals according to their tribes, Harudes, Marcomani, Triboces, Vangiones, Nemetes, Sedusii, Suebi; and their whole line they set about with wagons and carts, to leave no hope in flight. Upon these they set their women, who with tears and outstretched hands entreated the men, as they marched out to fight, not to deliver them into Roman slavery.
Caesar put the lieutenant-generals and the quartermaster-general each in command of a legion, that every man might have their witness of his valor. He himself took station on the right wing, having noticed that the corresponding division of the enemy was the least steady, and joined battle. Our troops attacked the enemy so fiercely when the signal was given, and the enemy dashed forward so suddenly and swiftly, that there was no time to discharge javelins upon them. So javelins were thrown aside, and it was a sword-fight at close quarters. But the Germans, according to their custom, speedily formed mass, and received the sword-attack. Not a few of our soldiers were found brave enough to leap on to the masses of the enemy, tear the shields from their hands, and deal a wound from above. The left wing of the enemy’s line was beaten and put to flight, but their right wing, by sheer weight of numbers, was pressing our line hard. Young Publius Crassus, commanding our cavalry, noticed this, and as he could move more freely than the officers who were occupied in and about the line of battle, he sent the third line in support of our struggling troops.
So the battle was restored, and all the enemy turned and ran: nor did they cease in their flight until they reached the river Rhine, •some five miles from that spot. There a very few, trusting to their strength, set themselves to swim across, or discovered boats and so won safety. Among these was Ariovistus, who found a skiff moored to the bank and escaped therein; all the rest of our cavalry caught and slew. There were two wives of Ariovistus, one of Suebian nationality, whom he had brought with him from home; the other a woman of Noricum, sister to King Voccio, and sent by him to be married to Ariovistus in Gaul. Both wives perished in the rout; of his two daughters one was slain, and the other taken prisoner. Gaius Valerius Procillus, bound with a threefold chain, was being dragged by his keepers in the rout when he chanced to meet Caesar himself pursuing the enemy with the cavalry. And indeed it brought Caesar no less pleasure than the victory itself, to see a most distinguished member of the Province of Gaul, his own close friend and guest, snatched from the hands of the enemy and restored to himself; and to feel that fortune had in no wise lessened, by the loss of his friend, his own great pleasure and satisfaction. Procillus said that in his own presence the lots had been thrice consulted to see whether he should be burnt to death at once or saved for another time: to the favor of the lots he owed his safety. Marcus Mettius also was discovered and brought back to Caesar.
When the news of this battle was carried across the Rhine, the Suebi who had come to the banks of the river began to return homewards; and when the tribes which dwell next to the Rhine perceived their panic, they pursued and slew a great number of them. Two capital campaigns were thus finished in a single summer, and Caesar, therefore, withdrew his army a little earlier than the season required into winter cantonments among the Sequani, leaving Labienus in command thereof, while he himself set off for Hither Gaul to hold the assizes.
Against the Belgae
While Caesar was wintering in Hither Gaul, as has been shown above, frequent rumors were brought to him, and despatches also from Labienus informed him, that all the Belgae (whom I have already described as a third of Gaul) were conspiring against Rome and giving hostages each to other. The causes of their conspiracy, it was said, were as follows. In the first place, they feared that when all Gaul was pacified1 they might themselves be brought face to face with a Roman army; in the second, they were being stirred up by certain of the Gauls, who had either been unwilling that the Germans should stay longer in Gaul, and were now no less distressed that a Roman army should winter and establish itself in Gaul, or who for sheer fickleness and inconstancy was set upon a change of rule; in certain cases, too, the agitation was due to the fact that in Gaul the more powerful chiefs, and such as had the means to hire men, commonly endeavoured to make themselves kings, and this they could not so readily effect under our empire.
These reports and despatches prompted Caesar to enrol two new legions in Hither Gaul, and at the beginning of summer he sent Quintus Pedius, lieutenant-general, to lead them into Inner Gaul. He himself, as soon as there began to be a supply of forage, came to the army. He charged the Senones and the rest of the Gauls who were neighbours of the Belgae to find out what the latter were about and to keep him informed thereof. They all with one consent reported that bands were being collected, and an army assembled in one place. Then accordingly he determined that he must no longer hesitate about moving against them. He secured his cornº-supply, struck his camp, and in about a fortnight reached the borders of the Belgae.
He arrived there unexpectedly, and with more speed than anyone had looked for. The Remi, the Belgic tribe nearest to Gaul, sent as deputies to him Iccius and Andecumborius, the first men of the community, to tell him that they surrendered themselves and all their stuff to the protection and power of Rome; that they had neither taken part with the rest of the Belgae, nor conspired against Rome; and that they were ready to give hostages, to do his commands, to receive him in their towns, and to assist him with corn and everything else. All the rest of the Belgae, they said, were under arms, and the Germans dwelling on the hither side of the Rhine had joined with them; and the infatuation of them all was so great that the Remi had not been able to dissuade even the Suessiones from taking part with them, though these were their own brethren and kinsfolk, observing the same law and ordinances, and sharing one government, one ruler with themselves.
Caesar asked them what states were under arms, what was their size and their war‑strength. He discovered that most of the Belgae were of German origin, and had been brought over the Rhine a long while ago, and had settled in their present abode by reason of the fruitfulness of the soil, having driven out the Gauls who inhabited the district. The Belgae, they said, was the only nation who, when all Gaul was harassed in the last generation, had prevented the Teutoni and Cimbri from entering within their borders; and for this cause, they relied on the remembrance of those events to assume great authority and great airs in military matters. As concerning their numbers, the Remi affirmed that they had exact information in all particulars, because, as they were closely connected by relationship and intermarriage, they had learned how large a contingent each chief had promised for the present campaign in the general council of the Belgae. Among these the Bellovaci had a predominant influence by courage, by authority, by numbers; they could furnish a hundred thousand men-at‑arms, and of that number had promised sixty thousand picked men, demanding for themselves the command of the whole campaign. The Suessiones, the Remi said, were their own immediate neighbours; they occupied lands as extensive as they were productive. Among them, even within living memory, Diviciacus had been king, the most powerful man in the whole of Gaul, who had exercised sovereignty alike over a great part of these districts, and even over Britain. Galba was now king; to him, by reason of his justice and sagacity, the supreme charge of the campaign was delivered by general consent; he had twelve towns, and promised fifty thousand men-at‑arms. An equal number were promised by the Nervii, accounted the fiercest among the Belgae, and dwelling farthest away; fifteen thousand by the Atrebates, ten by the Ambiani, five-and‑twenty by the Morini, seven by the Menapii, ten by the Caleti, as many by the Veliocasses and the Viromandui, nineteen by the Aduatuci. The Condrusi, Eburones, Caeroesi, and Paemani (who are indiscriminately called Germans), had promised, it was thought, some forty thousand men.
Caesar addressed the Remi in a speech of generous encouragement; then he commanded their whole senate to assemble at his headquarters, and the children of their chieftains to be brought thither as hostages. All these commands were punctiliously and punctually performed. He made a powerful and a personal appeal to Diviciacus the Aeduan, showing him how important an advantage it was for the Roman state, and for the welfare of both parties, to keep the contingents of the enemy apart, so as to avoid the necessity of fighting at one time against so large a host. This could be done if the Aedui led their own forces into the borders of the Bellovaci and began to lay waste their lands. With these instructions he dismissed them. So soon as he perceived that all the forces of the Belgae had been concentrated and were coming against him, and learned from the scouts he had sent and from the Remi that they were now not far distant, he made haste to lead his army across the river Axona (Aisne), which is upon the outermost borders of the Remi, and there pitched camp. By so doing, he had the banks of the river to protect one side of the camp, rendered his rear safe from the enemy, and made it possible for supplies to be brought up to him from the Remi and the rest of the states without danger. There was a bridge over the river; he set a guard there, and on the other side of the river he left Quintus Titurius Sabinus, lieutenant‑general, with six cohorts. He ordered him to entrench a camp, with a rampart •twelve feet high and a ditch •eighteen feet broad.
From this camp a town of the Remi called Bibrax was •eight miles distant. The Belgae turned direct from their march to attack this town with great violence. The defence was with difficulty maintained on that day. The Gauls and the Belgae use one method of attack. A host of men is set all round the ramparts, and when a rain of stones from all sides upon the wall has begun, and the wall is stripped of defenders, the attackers form a “tortoise, ” moves up to the gates, and undercut the wall. This was easily done on the present occasion; for when so vast a host hurled stones and missiles, no man might stand firm on the wall. When night made an end of the assault, Iccius of the Remi, pre‑eminent among his tribesmen in rank and favor, who was the officer in charge of the town at this time, and one of those who had come as deputies to Caesar to treat of peace, sent a report to him to the effect that unless a reinforcement was sent up to him he could no longer hold his position.
Using again as guides the men who had come from Iccius to report, Caesar sent off to Bibrax in the middle of the night Numidian and Cretan archers and Balearic slingers, to reinforce the townsfolk. Their arrival brought the Remi not only hope of defence but heart for the counter-attack, and for the same reason dissipated the enemy’s hope of gaining the town. Therefore, halting for a short space near the town, they laid waste the lands of the Remi and set fire to all the hamlets and farm-buildings they could come nigh unto, and then with all their forces sped on to the camp of Caesar and pitched their own •less than two miles from it. Their camp, as smoke and watch-fires showed, extended for more than eight miles in breadth.
At first Caesar determined, because of the vast numbers of the enemy and their excellent reputation for valor, to avoid an engagement. By cavalry combats, however, he sought daily to prove what the valor of the enemy could do and what our men could dare. Then, perceiving that our men were not inferior, he chose a ground before the camp naturally suitable and appropriate for forming line of battle; for the hill where the camp had been pitched, standing up but a little from the plain, offered to the front as broad space as a line deployed could occupy; on either flank it fell away, while in front by a gentle slope it came down gradually to the level of the plain. On either flank of that hill he dug at right angles a protecting trench of •about four hundred paces, and at the ends of the trenches he constructed forts and there posted his artillery, so that, when he had formed line, the enemy might not be able, because of their great superiority of numbers, to surround the Romans fighting on the flanks. This done, he left in camp the two legions he had last enrolled, that they might be brought up in support wherever needed, and he put the remaining six in line of battle before the camp. The enemy likewise had led their forces out of camp and drawn them up.
Between our own and the enemy’s army was a marsh of no great size. The enemy waited to see whether our men would cross it; but our men stood to arms, ready to attack them when in difficulties, should they be the first to attempt the crossing. Meanwhile a cavalry combat was taking place p103 between the two lines. Neither army began to cross the marsh, and the cavalry combat tended to favor our side; so Caesar led his troops back to camp. The enemy hurried immediately from their station to the river Aisne, which, as has been shown, was behind our camp. There they found fords, and endeavoured to throw part of their forces across, intending if they could to storm the fort commanded by the lieutenant-general, Quintus Titurius, and break down the bridge; or, if they found that impossible, to lay waste the lands of the Remi, which were of great service to us for the conduct of the campaign, and so to cut off our supplies.
This was reported by Titurius, and Caesar led all the cavalry and the light-armed Numidians, slingers and archers, across the bridge, and hastened against the enemy. Fierce was the engagement fought there. Our troops attacked the enemy while in difficulties in the river, and slew a great number of them; the remainder, as they endeavoured with the utmost gallantry to cross over the bodies of their comrades, they drove back with a cloud of missiles; the first party, who were already across, the cavalry surrounded and slew. The enemy were now aware that they had been deceived in their hope of storming the town and of crossing the river, and saw that our men did not advance to unfavourable ground for the sake of a battle; moreover, their own corn-supply began to fail. They summoned a council, therefore, and decided that it was best for each man to return home, and to assemble from all quarters to the defence of the tribe into whose territory the Romans should first introduce their army, in order that they might fight in their own rather than in others’ territory, and use native for their corn-supply. To this opinion, they were brought, among the other reasons, by this particular consideration, that they had learned of the approach of Diviciacus and the Aedui to the borders of the Bellovaci. The latter could not be induced to tarry longer, and thereby to fail in bringing assistance to their own tribe.
This, then, being determined, they decamped in the second watch with great uproar and commotion, in no definite order, under no command, each seeking for himself the first place on the road, and hurrying to reach home, so that they made their departure seem like to a flight. Caesar learned this at once through his scouts; and fearing an ambush, because he had not yet perceived the cause of their departure, he kept the army and the cavalry in camp. At break of day, when the information had been confirmed by reconnaissance, he sent forward all the cavalry to delay the rearguard. He appointed the lieutenant-generals Quintus Pedius and Lucius Aurunculeius Cotta to command the cavalry; and ordered the lieutenant-general Titus Labienus to follow in support with three legions. The cavalry attacked the rearguard, and, pursuing for many miles, they struck down a great host of them as they fled; for while the men at the end of the main column, which had been overtaken, stood at bay, bravely sustaining the attack of our troops, the men in front, thinking themselves clear of danger and restrained by no complication or command, broke ranks as soon as they heard the shouting, and all sought safety in flight. Thus without any danger our men slew as great a host of them as daytime allowed, and, ceasing at sunset, retired according to orders into camp.
The next day, or ever the enemy could recover from their panic and rout, Caesar led the army into the borders of the Suessiones, next the Remi, and making a forced march pressed on to the town of Noviodunum. He endeavoured to assault it direct from the march,6 hearing that it was undefended; but, by reason of the breadth of its trench and the height of its wall he was not able to take it by storm, though there were few men to defend it. He entrenched his camp, therefore, and began to move up mantlets and to make ready the appliances needed for assault. Meanwhile all the host of the Suessiones returned from the rout and concentrated next night in the town. When the mantlets were speedily moved up to the town, a ramp cast up, and towers constructed, the Gauls were prevailed on by the size of the siege-works, which they had not seen or heard of before, and by the rapidity of the Romans, to send deputies to Caesar to treat of surrender; and upon the Remi interceding for their salvation, they obtained their request.
The leading men of the state and the two sons of King Galba himself were accepted as hostages, and all arms were delivered up from the town; then Caesar admitted the Suessiones to surrender, and led the army into the territory of the Bellovaci. These had collected themselves and all their stuff in the town of Bratuspantium; and when Caesar with his army was •about five miles from the place, all the older men came out of the town. They began to stretch out their hands to Caesar, and with a loud voice to declare that they would come into his p109 protection and power, and were making no armed effort against Rome. Likewise, when he was come up to the town and was pitching camp, the women and children, with hands outstretched from the wall, after their fashion, besought peace from the Romans.
On their behalf Diviciacus (who, after the departure of the Belgae, had disbanded the forces of the Aedui and returned to Caesar) spake as follows: “The Bellovaci have always enjoyed the protection and friendship of the Aeduan state. They have been incited by their chiefs, who declared that the Aedui have been reduced to slavery by Caesar and are suffering from every form of indignity and insult, both to revolt from the Aedui and to make war on the Roman people. The leaders of the plot, perceiving how great a disaster they have brought on the state, have fled to Britain. Not only the Bellovaci, but the Aedui also on their behalf, beseech you to show your wonted mercy and kindness towards them. By so doing you will enlarge the authority of the Aedui among all the Belgae, for it is by the succours and the resources of Aedui that they have been used to sustain the burden of any wars that may have occurred.”
Caesar replied that for the respect he had towards Diviciacus and the Aedui he would receive them into his protection and save them alive. As their state was possessed of great authority among the Belgae and was largest in population, he demanded six hundred hostages. These were delivered, and all the arms were collected from the town. Then he left the place, and came into the borders of the Ambiani, who surrendered themselves natural their stuff without delay. Their next neighbors were the Nervii, and when Caesar inquired as touching the nature and character of these, he discovered as follows. Traders had no means of access unto them, for they allowed no wine nor any of the other appurtenances of luxury to be imported, because they supposed that their spirit was like to be enfeebled and their courage relaxed thereby. Fierce men they were, of great courage, denouncing and accusing the rest of the Belgae for that they had surrendered to Rome and cast away the courage of their sires. For themselves they affirmed that they would send no deputies and accept no terms of peace.
After a three days’ march through their borders Caesar found out from prisoners that the river Sabis (Sambre) was not more than •ten miles from his camp, and that across the river all the Nervii were in position, awaiting there the coming of the Romans, along with the Atrebates and the Viromandui, their neighbors (for the Nervii had persuaded both of these tribes to try with them the chance of war); further, that they were awaiting forces of the Aduatuci, already on the march, and that the women and all who by reason of age were deemed useless for battle had been collected together in a district to which there was no approach for an army by reason of the marshes.
Upon this information Caesar sent forward scouts and centurions to choose a fit place for the camp. Now a considerable number of the surrendered Belgae and of the other Gauls were in the train of Caesar and marched with him; and certain of these, as was afterwards learned from prisoners, having remarked the usual order of our army’s march during those days, came by night to the Nervii and showed to them that between legion and legion a great quantity of baggage was interposed, and that it was an easy matter, when the first legion had reached camp and the rest was a great space away, to attack it while it was in heavy marching order; if it were driven back, and the baggage plundered, the rest would not dare to withstand. The plan proposed by those who brought the information was further assisted by an ancient practice of the Nervii. Having no strength in cavalry (for even to this day they care naught for that service, but all their power lies in the strength of their infantry), the easier to hamper the cavalry of their neighbors, whenever these made a raid on them, they cut into young saplings and bent them over, and thus by the thick horizontal growth of boughs, and by intertwining with them brambles and thorns, they contrived that these wall-like hedges should serve them as fortifications which not only could not be penetrated, but not even seen through. As the route of our column was hampered by these abatis, the Nervii considered that the proposed plan could be tried.
The character of the ground selected by our officers for the camp was as follows. There was a hill, inclining with uniform slope from its top to the river Sambre above mentioned. From the river-side there rose another hill of like slope, over against and confronting the other, open for •about two hundred paces at its base, wooded in its upper half, so that it could not easily be seen through from without. Within those woods the enemy kept themselves in hiding. On open ground along the river a few cavalry posts were to be seen. The depth of the river was •about three feet.
Caesar had sent on the cavalry, and was following up with all his forces; but the arrangement and order of the column was different from the report given by the Belgae to the Nervii. For, as he was approaching an enemy, Caesar, according to his custom, was moving with six legions in light field order; after them he had placed the baggage of the whole army; then the two legions which had been last enrolled brought up the rear of the whole column and formed the baggage-guard. Our cavalry crossed the river along with the slingers and archers, and engaged the enemy’s horsemen. The latter retired repeatedly upon their comrades in the woods, and, issuing hence, again charged our men; nor did our men dare to follow in pursuit farther than the extent of level open ground. Meanwhile the six legions first to arrive measured out the work, and began to entrench camp. The moment that the first baggage-detachments of our army were seen by the enemy, who were lurking hidden in the woods — the moment agreed upon among them for joining battle — they suddenly dashed forth in full force, having already in the woods ordered their line in regular ranks and encouraged one another for the conflict; and so charged down upon our cavalry. These were easily beaten and thrown into disorder, and with incredible speed the enemy rushed down to the river, so that almost at the same moment they were seen at the edge of the woods, in the river, and then at close quarters. Then with the same speed they hastened up‑hill against our camp and the troops engaged in entrenching it.
Caesar had everything to do at one moment — the flag to raise, as signal of a general call to arms; the trumpet-call to sound; the troops to recall from entrenching; the men to bring in who had gone somewhat farther afield in search of stuff for the ramp; the line to form; the troops to harangue; the signal to give. A great part of these duties was prevented by the shortness of the time and the advance of the enemy. The stress of the moment was relieved by two things: the knowledge and experience of the troops — for their training in previous battles enabled them to appoint for themselves what was proper to be done as readily as others could have shown them — and the fact that Caesar had forbidden the several lieutenant-generals to leave the entrenching and their proper legions until the camp was fortified. These generals, seeing the nearness and the speed of the enemy, waited no more for a command from Caesar, but took on their own account what steps seemed to them proper.
Caesar gave the necessary commands, and then ran down in a chance direction to harangue the troops, and came to the Tenth Legion. His harangue to the troops was no more than a charge to bear in mind their ancient valor, to be free from alarm, and bravely to withstand the onslaught of the enemy; then, as the enemy were no farther off than the range of a missile, he gave the signal to engage. He started off among other things in the other direction to give like harangue, and found them fighting. The time was so short, the temper of the enemy so ready for conflict, that there was no space not only to fit badges in their places, but even to put on helmets and draw covers from shields. In whichever direction each man chanced to come in from the entrenching, whatever standard each first caught sight of, by that he stood, to lose no fighting time in seeking out his proper company.
The army was drawn up rather as the character of the ground, the slope of the hill, and the exigency p119 of the moment required than according to the regular tactical formation. The legions were separated, and each was resisting the enemy in a different quarter; while the view to the front was interrupted, as above shown, by a barrier of very thick fences. Supports, therefore, could not be posted with certainty, nor could it be foreseen what would be needed anywhere, nor could all the commands be controlled by one man. Thus, with affairs in so grievous a difficulty, the issues of the day came likewise in varying sequence.
The troops of the Ninth and the Tenth Legion, who had formed up on the left flank, discharged their pikes, and, as they possessed the higher ground, speedily drove the Atrebates (the section which happened to face them) into the river, breathless as they were with running and weakened with wounds; and, pursuing them with the sword as they endeavoured to cross, they slew a great part of them while in difficulties. They did not hesitate to cross the river themselves, and, advancing with the ground against them, when the enemy turned to resist, renewed the fight and put them to rout. Likewise in another quarter two detached legions, the Eleventh and the Eighth, having broken the Viromandui with whom they had engaged, left the higher ground, and continued the fight on the very banks of the river. But thereby — though on the right wing the Twelfth were stationed, and at no great distance from them the Seventh — almost all the front and the left face of the camp were laid bare; and to this point9 all the Nervii, led by Boduognatus, their commander-in-chief, pressed forward in a dense column, part of which began to envelop the legions on their exposed flank, part to attack the highest ground, where was the camp.
At the same moment our cavalry and the light-armed infantry who had accompanied them, having been beaten back, as I related, by the first onslaught of the enemy, were retiring on to the camp, when they met the enemy face to face and again tried to flee in another direction. The sutlers too, who from the rear gate on the crest of the hill had remarked the passage of the river by our victorious troops, and had gone out to plunder, when they looked back and beheld the enemy moving about in our camp, betook themselves headlong to flight. At the same time there arose a confusion of shouting among the detachments coming up with the baggage-train, and they began to rush terror-stricken in all directions. All these events alarmed certain horsemen of the Treveri, whose reputation for valor among the Gauls is unique. Their state had sent them to Caesar as auxiliaries; but when they saw our camp filled with the host of the enemy, our legions hard pressed and almost surrounded in their grip, the sutlers, horsemen, slingers, Numidians, sundered, scattered, and fleeing in all directions, in despair of our fortunes they made haste for home, and reported to their state that the Romans were repulsed and overcome, and that the enemy had taken possession of their camp and baggage-train.
After haranguing the Tenth Legion Caesar started for the right wing. There he beheld his troops hard driven, and the men of the Twelfth Legion, with their standards collected in one place, so closely packed that they hampered each other for fighting. All the centurions of the fourth cohort had been slain, and the standard-bearer likewise, and the standard was lost; almost all the centurions of the other cohorts were either wounded or killed, among them the chief centurion, Publius Sextius Baculus, bravest of the brave, who was overcome by many grievous wounds, so that he could no longer hold himself upright. The rest of the men were tiring, and some of the rearmost ranks, abandoning the fight, were retiring to avoid the missiles; the enemy was not ceasing to move upwards in front from the lower ground, and was pressing hard on either flank. The condition of affairs, as he saw, was critical indeed, and there was no support that could be sent up. Taking therefore a shield from a soldier of the rearmost ranks, as he himself was come thither without a shield, he went forward into the first line, and, calling on the centurions by name, and cheering on the rank and file, he bade them advance and extend the companies, that they might ply swords more easily. His coming brought hope to the troops and renewed their spirit; each man of his own accord, in sight of the commander-in‑chief, desperate as his own case might be, was fain to do his utmost. So the onslaught of the enemy was checked a little.
Perceiving that the Seventh Legion, which had formed up near at hand, was also harassed by the enemy, Caesar instructed the tribunes to close the legions gradually together, and then, wheeling,10 to advance against the enemy. This was done; and as one soldier supported another, and they did not fear that their rear would be surrounded by the enemy, they began to resist more boldly and to fight more bravely. Meanwhile, the soldiers of the two legions which had acted as baggage-guard at the rear of the column heard news of the action. Pressing on with all speed, they became visible to the enemy on the crest of the hill; and Titus Labienus, having taken possession of the enemy’s camp, and observed from the higher ground what was going forward in our own camp, sent the Tenth Legion to support our troops. When these learned from the flight of cavalry and sutlers the state of affairs, and the grave danger in which the camp, the legions, and the commander-in‑chief were placed, they spared not a tittle of their speed.
Their arrival wrought a great change in the situation. Even such of our troops as had fallen under the stress of wounds propped themselves against their shields and renewed the fight; then the sutlers, seeing the panic of the enemy, met their armed assault even without arms; finally, the cavalry, to obliterate by valor the disgrace of their flight, fought at every point in the effort to surpass the legionaries. The enemy, however, even when their hope of safety was at an end, displayed a prodigious courage. When their front ranks had fallen, the next stood on the prostrate forms and fought from them; when these were cast down, and the corpses were piled up in heaps, the survivors, standing as it were upon a mound, hurled darts on our troops, or caught and returned our pikes. Not without reason, therefore, was it to be concluded that these were men of a great courage, who had dared to cross a very broad river, to climb very high banks, and to press up over most unfavorable ground. These were tasks of the utmost difficulty, but greatness of courage had made them easy.
This engagement brought the name and nation of the Nervii almost to utter destruction. Upon report of the battle, the older men, who, as above mentioned, had been gathered with the women and children in the creeks and marshes, supposed that there was nothing to hinder the victors, nothing to save the vanquished; and so, with the consent of all the survivors, they sent deputies to Caesar and surrendered to him. In relating the disaster which had come upon their state, they declared that from six hundred senators they had been reduced to three, and from sixty thousand to barely five hundred that could bear arms. To show himself merciful towards their pitiful suppliance, Caesar was most careful for their preservation; he bade them keep their own territory and towns, and commanded their neighbors to restrain themselves and their dependents from outrage and injury.
The Aduatuci, of whom I have written above, were coming with all their forces to the assistance of the Nervii, but upon report of this battle they left their march and returned home; and, abandoning all their towns and forts, they gathered all their stuff in one stronghold, which was admirably fortified by Nature. On every side of its circumference it looked down over the steepest rocks, and on one side only was left a gently sloping approach, not more than •two hundred feet in breadth. This place they had fortified with a double wall of great height, and at this time they were setting stones of great weight and sharpened beams upon the wall. The tribe was descended from the Cimbri and Teutoni, who, upon their march into our Province and Italy, set down such of their stock and stuff as they could not drive or carry with them on the near (i.e. west) side of the Rhine, and left six thousand men of their company therewith as guard and garrison. This party, after the destruction of the others, were harassed for many years by their neighbours, and fought sometimes on the offensive, sometimes on the defensive; then by general agreement among them peace was made, and they chose this place to be their habitation.
And now, upon the first arrival of our army, they made frequent sallies from the stronghold, and engaged in petty encounters with our troops. Afterwards, when they had round them a fortified rampart of •fifteen thousand feet in circumference, with forts at close interval, they kept within the town. When our mantlets had been pushed up and a ramp constructed, and they saw a tower set up in the distance, they first of all laughed at us from the wall, and loudly railed upon us for erecting so great an engine at so great a distance. By what handiwork, said they, by what strength could men, especially of so puny a stature (for, as a rule, our stature, short by comparison with their own huge physique, is despised of the Gauls), hope to set so heavy a tower on the wall?
But when they saw that it was moving and approaching the walls, they were alarmed at the novel and extraordinary sight, and sent deputies to Caesar to treat of peace, who spake after this fashion: They supposed that the Romans did not wage war without divine aid, inasmuch as they could move forward at so great a speed engines of so great a height; they therefore submitted themselves and all they had to the power of Rome. In one matter only did they seek indulgence: that if haply of his mercy and kindness, whereof they heard from others, Caesar decided to save the Aduatuci alive, he would not despoil them of their arms. Almost all their p131 neighbors were at enmity with them and envied their courage; and from such, if they delivered up their arms, they could not defend themselves. If they were to be brought into such case, it were better for them to suffer any fortune at the hand of Rome than to be tortured and slain by men among whom they were accustomed to hold mastery.
To this Caesar replied that he would save their state alive rather because it was his custom than for any desert on their part, if they surrendered before the battering‑ram touched the wall; but there could be no terms of surrender save upon delivery of arms. He would do, he said, what he had done in the case of the Nervii, and command the neighbors to do no outrage to the surrendered subjects of Rome. They reported this to their tribesmen, and agreed to perform his commands. A great quantity of arms was cast from the wall into the trench which was before the town, so that the heaps of weapons were well-nigh level with the top of the wall and the height of the ramp; and for all this about a third part, as was afterwards seen, was concealed and kept back in the town. So they threw open their gates, and on that day enjoyed the benefit of peace.
At eventide Caesar ordered the gates to be closed and the troops to leave the town, in order that the townsfolk might suffer no outrage at their hands in the night. In the belief that after the surrender our troops would withdraw their posts or would at least look after them less carefully, the townsfolk, it appeared, had previously formed a plan. Part of them had the weapons which they had kept back and concealed, part had shields made of bark or plaited osiers and hastily (as the shortness of time necessitated) spread over with hides. In the third watch they made a sudden sally from the town in full force, on the side where the ascent to our field-works seemed least steep. Speedily, as Caesar had ordered beforehand, the signal was given by flares, and the detachments from the nearest forts doubled into the point. The enemy fought fiercely, as was to be expected of brave men in desperate case, where all hope of safety lay in valor alone, contending on the unfavourable ground against troops who could hurl missiles at them from rampart and towers. Some four thousand men were slain, and the rest were flung back into the town. On the morrow the gates were broken open, for there was no more defence, and our troops were sent in; then Caesar sold as one lot the booty of the town. The purchasers furnished a return to him of three-and‑fifty thousand persons.
At the same season Publius Crassus, whom he had despatched with one legion against the Veneti, Venelli, Osismi, Curiosolitae, Esubii, Aulerci, and Redones, the maritime states which border upon the Ocean, reported that all those states had been brought into subjection to the power of Rome.
These achievements brought peace throughout Gaul, and so mighty a report of this campaign was carried to the natives that deputies were sent to Caesar from the tribes dwelling across the Rhine, to promise that they would give hostages and do his commands. As Caesar was for hastening to Italy and Illyricum, he bade these deputations return to him at the beginning of the next summer. As soon as the legions had been withdrawn to winter quarters among the Carnutes, the Andes, the Turones, and such states as were near the scenes of the recent campaign, he himself set out for Italy. And for those achievements, upon receipt of Caesar’s despatches, a fifteen days’ thanksgiving was decreed, an honor that had previously fallen to no man.