Again, when they had begun to return to that place from which they had advanced, they were surrounded both by those who had retreated and by those who stood next them; but if, on the other hand, they wish to keep their place, neither was an opportunity left for valor, nor could they, being crowded together, escape the weapons cast by so large a body of men. PreviousTable of contentsNext. When the Gallic tribes rebel and destroy part of Caesar's legion, he vows to get revenge on the leader, Ambiorix. These having advanced a little way, when already the rear [of the enemy] was in sight, some horse came to Caesar from Quintus Atrius, to report that the preceding night, a very great storm having arisen, almost all the ships were dashed to pieces and cast upon the shore, because neither the anchors and cables could resist, nor could the sailors and pilots sustain the violence of the storm; and thus great damage was received by that collision of the ships. 30 This discussion having been held on the two sides, when opposition was offered strenuously by Cotta and the principal officers, �Prevail,� said Sabinus, �if so you wish it;� and he said it with a louder voice, that a great portion of the soldiers might hear him; �nor am I the person among you,� he said, �who is most powerfully alarmed by the danger of death; these will be aware of it, and then, if any thing disastrous shall have occurred, they will demand a reckoning at your hands; these, who, if it were permitted by you, united three days hence with the nearest winter-quarters, may encounter the common condition of war with the rest, and not, as if forced away and separated far from the rest, perish either by the sword or by famine.� So far did it operate among those barbarian people, that there were found some to be the first to wage war; and so great a change of inclinations did it produce in all, that, except the Aedui and the Remi, whom Caesar had always held in especial honor, the one people for their long standing and uniform fidelity toward the Roman people, the other for their late service in the Gallic war, there was scarcely a state which was not suspected by us. 11 These things being known [to him], Caesar orders the legions and cavalry to be recalled and to cease from their march; he himself returns to the ships: he sees clearly before him almost the same things which he had heard of from the messengers and by letter, so that, about forty ships being lost, the remainder seemed capable of being repaired with much labor. When the fight was going on most vigorously before the fortifications, Pulfio, one of them, says, �Why do you hesitate, Varenus? 4 Caesar, though he discerned from what motive these things were said, and what circumstances deterred him from his meditated plan, still, in order that he might not be compelled to waste the summer among the Treviri, while all things were prepared for the war with Britain, ordered Indutiomarus to come to him with 200 hostages. He seems finally to do everything possible to make the enemy's ambush a success. Dumnorix, who was to have been in that number, by craft and violence, escapes attending Caesar, but is slain.—VII. Caesar, meanwhile, destroys as many fields and buildings as he can as he marches through the area. Accordingly, the speech of Indutiomarus, which he had delivered in the council, having been made known [to him] by Cingetorix and his allies, he sends messengers to the neighboring states and summons horse from all quarters: he appoints to them a fixed day for assembling. Even Cotta, himself has been smashed in the face by a missile. Most of the inland inhabitants do not sow corn, but live on milk and flesh, and are clad with skins. All these passes having been beset, those who were sent are intercepted. 20 In the mean time, the Trinobantes, almost the most powerful state of those parts, from which the young man, Mandubratius embracing the protection of Caesar had come to the continent of Gaul to [meet] him (whose father, Imanuentius, had possessed the sovereignty in that state, and had been killed by Cassivellaunus; he himself had escaped death by flight), send embassadors to Caesar, and promise that they will surrender themselves to him and perform his commands; they entreat him to protect Mandubratius from the violence of Cassivellaunus, and send to their state some one to preside over it, and possess the government. ], Caesar, when departing from his winter quarters into Italy, as he had been accustomed to do yearly, commands the lieutenants whom he appointed over the legions to take care that during the winter as many ships as possible should be built, and the old repaired. The first load leaves, but there is bad weather on the return trip to Britain and very few of the ships, including the new ones built by Labienus, make the rendezvous. To him Caesar had restored the position of his ancestors, in consideration of his prowess and attachment toward him, because in all his wars he had availed himself of his valuable services. De Bello Gallico and Other Commentaries summary and study guide are … But Caesar forbade his men to pursue them in their flight any great distance; both because he was ignorant of the nature of the ground, and because, as a great part of the day was spent, he wished time to be left for the fortification of the camp. Together they kill several enemy soldiers, then hurry back inside their lines. Besides that happened, which would necessarily be the case, that the soldiers for the most part quitted their ensigns and hurried to seek and carry off from the baggage whatever each thought valuable, and all parts were filled with uproar and lamentation. He, after perusing it, reads it out in an assembly of the soldiers, and fills all with the greatest joy. 1. On their arrival, he asks for the loyalty of Indutiomarus, then takes the precaution of winning the other chiefs of the Treveri over to Cingetorix. He goes into the territories of the Nervii by long marches. This day was by far the most calamitous to our men; it had this result, however, that on that day the largest number of the enemy was wounded and slain, since they had crowded beneath the very rampart, and the hindmost did not afford the foremost a retreat. The third side is toward the north, to which portion of the island no land is opposite; but an angle of that side looks principally toward Germany. They, greatly alarmed by the unexpected affair, though those things were spoken by an enemy, still thought they were not to be disregarded; and they were especially influenced by this consideration, that it was scarcely credible that the obscure and humble state of the Eburones had dared to make war upon the Roman people of their own accord. and any corresponding bookmarks? Ambiorix is elated with his victory and sets out with his cavalry to arouse the Aduatuci and Nervii. 22 While these things are going forward in those places, Cassivellaunus sends messengers into Kent, which, we have observed above, is on the sea, over which districts four several kings reigned, Cingetorix, Carvilius, Taximagulus and Segonax, and commands them to collect all their forces, and unexpectedly assail and storm the naval camp. He instructs them to assemble at the Itian port nearest Britain, about thirty miles away, then takes four legions and 800 horsemen to the Treveri, who had not come to councils or obeyed his commands and who are reportedly stirring unrest among the Germans. The Gaul, as he has been told, ties his message to a spear and throws it into Cicero's camp. It is also here that he records one of the most amazing peculiarities of the natives of Britain: the tribesmen, he marvels, dye themselves a blue color, shave all their body save their head and upper lip, and have wives in common. At daybreak the cavalry of the enemy approaches to the camp and joins battle with our horse. [4.1] The following winter (this was the year in which Cn. Book 8 was written by Aulus Hirtius, after Caesar's death. He then sends his cavalry and foot soldiers out in a sudden charge. But, curiously, the natives do not take nearly the advantage of natural resources that they might. Therefore he selects workmen from the legions, and orders others to be sent for from the continent; he writes to Labienus to build as many ships as he could with those legions which were with him. There he discovers that forty ships, which had been built in the country of the Meldi, having been driven back by a storm, had been unable to maintain their course, and had returned to the same port from which they had set out; he finds the rest ready for sailing, and furnished with every thing. The Romans are in trouble immediately and Sabinus panics. Cicero himself, though he was in very weak health, did not leave himself the night-time for repose, so that he was forced to spare himself by the spontaneous movement and entreaties of the soldiers. 43 On the seventh day of the attack, a very high wind having sprung up, they began to discharge by their slings hot balls made of burned or hardened clay, and heated javelins, upon the huts, which, after the Gallic custom, were thatched with straw. Ten and even twelve have wives common to them, and particularly brothers among brothers, and parents among their children; but if there be any issue by these wives, they are reputed to be the children of those by whom respectively each was first espoused when a virgin. They explain that what they want is Cicero's departure; they cannot abide Roman troops in the area during the winter. From him they received information of the imminent danger of Cicero and the legion. He keeps only 4,000 charioteers and follows the Romans, harassing their foraging parties. They are sure that the unimportant Eburones would not dare make war alone, but Cotta and several tribunes and centurions are also sure that they should not leave without an order from Caesar. Yet, though assailed by so many disadvantages, [and] having received many wounds, they withstood the enemy, and, a great portion of the day being spent, though they fought from day-break till the eighth hour, they did nothing which was unworthy of them. But after that, some of the chief persons of the state, both influenced by their friendship for Cingetorix, and alarmed at the arrival of our army, came to Caesar and began to solicit him privately about their own interests, since they could not provide for the safety of the state; Indutiomarus, dreading lest he should be abandoned by all, sends embassadors to Caesar, to declare that he absented himself from his countrymen, and refrained from coming to him on this account, that he might the more easily keep the state in its allegiance, lest on the departure of all the nobility the commonalty should, in their indiscretion, revolt. His book Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War, often called The Conquest of Gaul), was a propaganda piece (written in 53 BCE) justifying his military and political actions during a nine year campaign in Gaul (and a short jaunt into Britain). All the ships reached Britain nearly at mid-day; nor was there seen a [single] enemy in that place, but, as Caesar afterward found from some prisoners, though large bodies of troops had assembled there, yet being alarmed by the great number of our ships, more than eight hundred of which, including the ships of the preceding year, and those private vessels which each had built for his own convenience, had appeared at one time, they had quitted the coast and concealed themselves among the higher points. Since Caesar did not write the last book of De Bello Gallico, I have omitted that text from my study. Just as his men have sighted the enemy, Quintus Atrius sends word that a storm has damaged many of the ships, and Caesar commands the troops to defer attack. Their parley unsuccessful, the Nervii surround the Roman camp with a rampart nine feet high and a trench fifteen feet wide, a technique they have learned from the Romans. He himself, having advanced by night about twelve miles, espied the forces of the enemy. Already, he boasts, he has killed two legion commanders and has destroyed a large part of the Roman army. Clad in the bloodred cloak he usually wore “as his distinguishing mark of battle,” Caesar led his troops to victories throughout the province, his major triumph being the defeat of the Gallic army led by Caesar permits a few of the chiefs to stay in Gaul, but takes the rest with him as hostages. Cotta, on the other hand, has been suspicious and so remains calm. The column proves too long to manage effectively, so he orders the troops to abandon the equipment and form a square. Labienus, having learned the death of Sabinus and the destruction of the cohorts, as all the forces of the Treviri had come against him, beginning to fear lest, if he made a departure from his winter-quarters, resembling a flight, he should not be able to support the attack of the enemy, particularly since he knew them to be elated by their recent victory, sends back a letter to Caesar, informing him with what great hazard he would lead out his legion from winter-quarters; he relates at large the affairs which had taken place among the Eburones; he informs him that all the infantry and cavalry of the Treviri had encamped at a distance of only three miles from his own camp. 25 There was among the Carnutes a man named Tasgetius, born of very high rank, whose ancestors had held the sovereignty in his state. Finally, some of the Nervii who are growing weary of battle suggest a parley with Cicero and, when agreed to, tell Cicero the same story which Ambiorix has told Sahinus — that all Gaul is under arms and that the Germans are joining them. 5 These matters being settled, Caesar went to port Itius with the legions. But they know they can withstand the enemy from their entrenchment; this they have already demonstrated, and they have enough food and can send for aid, so their courage is bolstered. © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He persuades his slave, by the hope of freedom, and by great rewards, to convey a letter to Caesar. A great amount of cattle was found there, and many of the enemy were taken and slain in their flight.
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