Originally composed for propaganda purposes, Julius Caesar’s war diary is one of the earliest examples of a military science manual, detailing arms technology, tactical maneuvers, battlefield politics, espionage, intelligence and even the role played by luck in ground and sea campaigns.
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The Gallic Wars
BOOK I | CAMPAIGNS AGAINST THE HELVETII AND ARIOVISTUS
BOOK II | THE FIRST CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BELGAE
BOOK III | GALBA’S CAMPAIGN IN THE VALAIS – CAMPAIGNS AGAINST THE MARITIME TRIBES AND THE AQUITANI
BOOK IV | THE FATE OF THE USIPETES AND TENCTERI— CAESAR'S FIRST INVASION OF BRITAIN
BOOK V | CAESAR'S SECOND INVASION OF BRITAIN—THE DISASTER AT ADUATUCA—QUINTUS CICERO AT BAY –THE DOOM OF INDUTIOMARUS
BOOK VI | CONTINUED DISTURBANCES IN NORTH-EASTERN GAUL – CAESAR’S SECOND PASSAGE OF THE RHINE – MANNERS AND CUSTOMS, RELIGIONS AND INSTITUTIONS OF THE GAULS AND GERMANS – ILL-OMENED ADUATUCA – EXTERMINATION OF THE EBURONES
BOOK VII | THE REBELLION OF VERCINGETORIX
Further Reading: A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia
The Gallic Wars by Julius Caesar. Translated by Thomas Holmes. First published in 1908. This edition published 2017 by Enhanced Media. All rights reserved.
Gaul, taken as a whole, is divided into three parts, one of which is inhabited by the Belgae, another by the Aquitani, and the third by a people who call themselves Celts and whom we call Gauls. These peoples differ from one another in language, institutions, and laws. The Gauls are separated from the Aquitani by the river Garonne, from the Belgae by the Marne and the Seine. Of all these peoples the bravest are the Belgae; for they are furthest removed from the civilization and refinement of the Province, traders very rarely visit them with the wares which tend to produce moral enervation, and they are nearest to the Germans, who dwell on the further side of the Rhine, and are constantly at war with them. For the same reason the Helvetii also are braver than the other Gauls; they are fighting almost daily with the Germans, either trying to keep them out of their own country or making raids into theirs. That part of the whole country which, as we have said, is occupied by the Gauls, begins at the river Rhone, and is bounded by the Garonne, the Ocean, and the country of the Belgae. It extends, moreover, in the region occupied by the Sequani and the Helvetii, to the Rhine; and its trend is towards the north. The territory of the Belgae, commencing from the most distant frontier of Gaul, extends to the lower Rhine, and has a northerly and easterly aspect. Aquitania extends from the Garonne to the Pyrenees and that part of the Ocean which is off the coast of Spain; and its outlook is towards the north-west.
Pre-eminent among the Helvetii in rank and wealth was Orgetorix. In the consulship of Marcus Messala and Marcus Piso he organized a conspiracy among the nobles in the hope of making himself king, and persuaded the community to undertake a national emigration, as, being the most warlike of all the Gallic peoples, they could easily achieve dominion over the whole of Gaul. He had no difficulty in convincing them, because their country is limited everywhere by natural features, on one side by the Rhine, a broad deep river, which separates the Helvetian territory from the Germans; on another by the lofty range of the Jura, between the Helvetii and the Sequani; on a third by the Lake of Geneva and the Rhone, which separates our Province from the Helvetii. These Hermits restricted their movements and made it comparatively difficult for them to attack their neighbors; and, being a warlike people, they chafed under this restraint. Moreover, considering their numbers and their renown as valiant warriors, they felt that their territories —only two hundred and forty miles long by one hundred and eighty broad—were too small.
Impelled by these motives and swayed by Orgetorix, they determined to emigrate into Gaul: buying up all the draught cattle and wagons that they could obtain, bringing all available lands under cultivation, with the object of securing an abundance of grain for the journey, and establishing relations of peace and amity with the neighboring tribes. They believed that two years would be sufficient to complete these preparations, and passed an enactment fixing their departure for the third year. Orgetorix was chosen as leader, and undertook a mission to the several tribes. In the course of his tour he persuaded a Sequanian named Casticus, whose father, Catamantaloedes, had for many years held sovereignty over the Sequani, and had been honored by the Roman Senate with the title of Friend, to seize the royal power, which his father had held before him, over his own tribe; he also persuaded Dumnorix, an Aeduan, brother of Diviciacus, who at that time held the principal power in his own country, and was very popular with the masses, to make a similar attempt, and gave him his daughter in marriage. He convinced them that it would be quite easy to achieve their purpose, as he was going to seize sovereignty over his own tribe; the Helvetii were undoubtedly the strongest people in the whole of Gaul; and he affirmed that by his wealth and his armed force he would secure them the possession of their thrones. Enthralled by his eloquence, they swore mutual fidelity; and they hoped that, once they had secured their thrones, they would be able, backed by three powerful and stable peoples, to make themselves masters of the whole of Gaul.
The scheme was made known to the Helvetii by informers. In accordance with national Helvetian custom, they insisted that Orgetorix should plead suicide. If he were condemned, his inevitable punishment would be death at the stake. On the day fixed for the pleading he made all his slaves from all parts, numbering ten thousand, come to the trial, and marched thither at the head of all his retainers and debtors, who were very numerous. With their protection he escaped trial. Exasperated at this defiance, the community endeavored to assert their rights by force, and the authorities summoned a posse from the districts, when Orgetorix died; and there is some reason to suspect (so the Helvetii believe) that he died by his own hand.
After his death the Helvetii in no way relaxed their efforts to carry out their intended emigration. As soon as they believed themselves ready for the enterprise, they set fire to all their strongholds, of which there were twelve, their villages, numbering four hundred, and the remaining buildings, which belonged to individuals; and burned the whole of their grain, except what they were going to take with them, that they might have no hope of returning home, and so be more ready to face every danger. Every man was directed to take a supply of flour from his house for three months for his own use. They induced their neighbors, the Rauraci, the Tulingi and the Latobrigi, to join their enterprise, burn their strongholds and villages, and emigrate along with them; at the same time they formed a close alliance with the Boii, who had formerly dwelt on the further bank of the Rhine, and had migrated into Noricum and taken Noreia.
There were only two routes by which it was possible for them to leave their country. One, a march leading through the country of the Sequani, passing between the Jura and the Rhone, was so narrow and difficult that carts could barely pass along it one at a time, while a lofty mountain overhung it, so that a handful of men could easily stop them; the other, leading through our Province, is much easier and more convenient, for the Rhone, which flows between the country of the Helvetii and that of the Allobroges, who had recently been subdued, is, at certain points, fordable. Geneva, the most remote town belonging to the Allobroges, is connected by a bridge with the country of the Helvetii, to which it is quite close. The Helvetii believed that they could either induce the Allobroges to let them pass through their country, as they were not yet apparently well disposed towards the Romans, or could compel them to do so. When everything was ready for their departure, they fixed the 28th of March, in the consulship of Lucius Piso and Aulus Gabinius, for the general muster on the banks of the Rhone.
As soon as Caesar was informed that they were attempting to march through the Province, he promptly quit the capital, pushed on as fast as he could possibly travel into Further Gaul, and made his way to the neighborhood of Geneva. As the entire force in Further Gaul amounted only to one legion, he ordered as many troops as possible to be raised throughout the Province, and directed that the bridge at Geneva should be broken down. The Helvetii, on being informed of his approach, sent an embassy to him, composed of their most illustrious citizens, headed by Nammeius and Verucloetius, to say that they purposed, with his consent, to march through the Province, as there was no other route open to them, but that they would do no harm. Caesar, remembering that Lucius Cassius, when consul, had been slain by the Helvetii, and his army defeated and forced to pass under the yoke, was not disposed to grant their request; and he was of opinion that men of hostile temper were not likely to refrain from outrage and mischief. Still, in order to gain time for his levies to assemble, he told the envoys that he would take some days for consideration: if they had any favor to ask, they might return on the 13th of April.
Meantime, employing the legion which he had with him and the troops which had assembled from the Province, he constructed a rampart sixteen feet high and a trench from the Lake of Helvetii to Geneva, which overflows into the Rhone, to the passage Jura, which separates the territory of the Sequani from the Helvetii—a distance of nineteen miles. When these works were finished he constructed redoubts to enable him to repel the Helvetii, in case they attempted to force a passage. When the appointed day came round, and the envoys returned, he told them that he could not, consistently with the established usage of the Roman People, allow anyone to march through the Province; and he warned them that, if they attempted to use force, he would stop them. The disappointed Helvetii lashed barges together and made a number of rafts, while others forded the Rhone at the shallowest parts, sometimes in the day, but oftener at night, and tried to break through; but, foiled by the entrenchments, the rapid concentration of the troops, and their volleys of missiles, they abandoned their attempt.
There remained only the route through to the Sequani; and it was so narrow that they could not advance if the Sequani objected. Being unable to win their consent by their own efforts, they sent envoys to the Aeduan, Dumnorix, hoping, by his intercession, to gain their object. Dumnorix had great influence with the Sequani from his personal popularity and lavish bribery, and was well disposed towards the Helvetii, having married a daughter of Orgetorix, who belonged to that tribe: moreover, his desire of royal power made him eager for revolution, and he wished to lay as many tribes as possible under obligations to himself. Accordingly he undertook the mission. He induced the Sequani to allow the Helvetii to pass through their territory, and effected an exchange of hostages between the two peoples, the Sequani undertaking not to obstruct the march of the Helvetii, the Helvetii to abstain from mischief and outrage.
Caesar was informed that the Helvetii intended to march through the country of the Sequani and the Aedui into the territories of the Santones, which are not far distant from those boundaries of the Tolosates, which is a state in the Province. If this took place, he saw that it would be attended with great danger to the Province to have warlike men, enemies of the Roman people, bordering upon an open and very fertile tract of country. For these reasons he placed Titus Labienus, one of his generals, in charge of the entrenchments which he had constructed; hastened to Italy by forced marches; raised two legions there; withdrew three from their winter quarters in the neighborhood of Aquileia; and advanced rapidly with all five by the shortest road leading over the Alps into Further Gaul. The Ceutrones, Graioceli, and Caturiges seized the Alpine heights and tried to stop the advance of the army. Beating them off in several combats, he made his way in seven days from Ocelum, the extreme point of the Cisalpine Province, into the territory of the Vocontii in the Further Province: thence he led the army into the country of the Allobroges, and from their country into that of the Segusiani, the first people outside the Province, beyond the Rhone.
The Helvetii had by this time threaded their forces over through the narrow defile and the territories of the Sequani, and had arrived at the territories of the Aedui, and were ravaging their lands. The Aedui, unable to defend themselves or their property against their attacks, sent a deputation to Caesar to ask for help, pleading that they had at all times deserved well of the Roman People, and it was not right that their lands should be ravaged, their children carried off into slavery, and their towns captured almost under the eyes of our army. At the same time the Ambarri, who were connected with the Aedui by friendship and blood, informed Caesar that their lands had been laid waste, and that it was more than they could do to repel the enemy's attacks upon their towns. The Allobroges also, who possessed villages and estates on the further side of the Rhone, fled to Caesar, alleging that they had nothing left except the bare soil. For these reasons Caesar decided that it would be unwise to wait till his allies had lost all that they possessed, and the Helvetii reached the country of the Santoni.
A river called the Saone flows through the territories of the Aedui and Sequani into the Rhone with such incredible slowness, that it cannot be determined by the eye in which direction it flows. This the Helvetii were crossing by rafts and boats joined together. Learning from his patrols that about one-fourth were still on the near side of the river, while three-fourths had passed over, Caesar started from his camp in the third watch, with three legions, and came up with the division which had not yet crossed. Attacking them unexpectedly while their movements were impeded, he destroyed a great many: the rest took to flight and concealed themselves in the neighboring woods. The clan in question was called the Tigurini, the entire Helvetian community being divided into four clans. This clan, acting independently, had emigrated within the memory of our fathers, and made the army of the consul, Lucius Cassius, who was himself killed, pass under the yoke. Thus, either by accident or divine providence, that section of the Helvetian community which had brought a signal disaster upon the Roman People was the first to pay the penalty. In this action Caesar avenged a family wrong as well as the wrongs of his country; for a general named Lucius Piso, the grandfather of his father-in-law, Lucius Piso, had perished in the same battle as Cassius at the hands of the Tigurini.
After fighting this action, Caesar bridged the Saone with the object of pursuing the rest of the Helvetian force, and thereby conveyed his army across. The Helvetii, seeing that he had effected in a single day the passage of the river, which they had accomplished with the greatest difficulty in twenty days, and alarmed by his unexpected advance, sent an embassy to meet him, headed by Divico, who had commanded in the campaign against Cassius. He addressed Caesar in the following terms:—if the Roman People would make peace with the Helvetii, they would go wherever Caesar fixed their abode, and would remain there; but if he persisted in his hostile attitude, he would do well to remember the disaster which had befallen the Roman People in the past and the ancient valour of the Helvetii. Granted that he had surprised one clan at a moment when their countrymen had crossed the river and could not help them, he need not therefore exaggerate his own prowess, or look down upon them. The lesson they had learned from their fathers and their forefathers was to fight like men, and not to rely upon trickery or ambuscade. Let him not, then, suffer the place where they stood to derive its name from a Roman reverse and from the annihilation of an army, or bequeath the remembrance thereof to posterity.
Caesar replied that he had no reason to hesitate, because he well remembered the events which the Helvetian envoys had recounted; and he remembered them with indignation, for the Roman People had not deserved what had befallen them. If they had been conscious of wrong-doing it would have been easy to take precautions; but they had been deceived because they were not conscious of having done anything to justify alarm, and saw no necessity for taking alarm without reason. Even if he were willing to forget an old affront, how could he banish the recollection of fresh outrages,—their attempt to force a passage through the Province in despite of him, and their raids upon the Aedui, the Ambarri, and the Allobroges? The insolence with which they boasted of their victory, their astonishment at his having so long put up with their outrages, pointed to the same conclusion. For it was the wont of the immortal gods sometimes to grant prosperity and long impunity to men whose crimes they were minded to punish in order that a complete reverse of fortune might make them suffer more bitterly. Still, notwithstanding this, if they would give hostages to satisfy him that they intended to fulfil their promises, and if they would recompense the Aedui for the wrongs which they had done to them and likewise the Allobroges, he would make peace with them. Divico replied that, as the Roman People could testify, the Helvetii, following the maxims of their ancestors, were in the habit of receiving hostages, not of giving them. With this rejoinder he withdrew.
Next day the Helvetii quitted their march up the valley campment. Caesar did the same, and sent on ahead all his cavalry, amounting to four thousand, which he had raised from the whole Province, from the Aedui, and from their allies, to see in what direction the enemy were going. Following the rearguard too eagerly, they engaged the Helvetian cavalry on unfavorable ground, and a few of our men fell. Elated at having repulsed such a numerous body of cavalry with five hundred horsemen, the Helvetii more than once halted boldly, their rearguard challenging our men. Caesar would not allow his men to fight, and for the time he thought it enough to prevent the enemy from looting, foraging, and ravaging the country. The two armies marched in close company for about a fortnight, the enemy's rear and our van never being more than five or six miles apart.
Meanwhile Caesar daily called upon the Aedui for the grain which, as he reminded them, they had promised in the name of their Government. Gaul being situated, as the narrative has shown, beneath a northern sky, the climate is cold, and therefore not only was the standing corn unripe, but there was not even a sufficient supply of fodder; while Caesar was unable to use the grain which he had brought up the Saone in barges, because the Helvetii had struck off from that river, and he was unwilling to move away from them. From day to day the Aedui kept him on the expectant, affirming that the grain was being collected—was on the way—was just at hand. When the day on which the men's rations would be due was near, feeling that his patience had been tried too long, he assembled their leading men, of whom he had a large number in camp; amongst others Diviciacus and Liscus, the chief magistrate — the Vergobret, as the Aedui call him—who is elected annually, and possesses the power of life and death over his countrymen. Caesar took them seriously to task for not helping him in this critical conjuncture, when the enemy were near and it was impossible either to buy corn or to get it from the fields, especially as he had undertaken the campaign in compliance with the entreaties of many of their own representatives. But what he complained of more seriously still was that they had played him false.
Then at length Liscus, moved by Caesar's speech, disclosed what he had hitherto kept secret. There were certain individuals, he said, who had great influence with the masses, and unofficially had more power than the magistrates themselves. These men made seditious and violent speeches, and worked upon the fears of the people to prevent them from contributing their due quota of grain. It would be better, they argued, supposing that the Aedui could not for the moment win supremacy over Gaul, to have Gauls for their masters than Romans; and they had no doubt that, if the Romans overpowered the Helvetii, they would deprive the Aedui of their liberty, along with the rest of Gaul. These men kept the enemy informed of our plans, and of all that was going on in camp, and they were beyond his control. What was more, he knew that, in making these revelations to Caesar, which he had only done under pressure, he had acted at great personal risk, and for that reason he had kept silent as long as he could.
Caesar perceived that Liscus's remarks pointed to Dumnorix, the brother of Diviciacus; but, as he did not want these matters to be talked about with a number of people present, he promptly dismissed the assembly, only detaining Liscus. When they were alone, he questioned him about what he had said in the meeting. Liscus spoke unreservedly and boldly. Caesar put the same questions to others separately, and found that what Liscus said was true. The individual referred to was Dumnorix, a man of boundless audacity, extremely popular with the masses from his open-handedness, and an ardent revolutionary. For many years he had farmed at a low rate and monopolized the Aeduan tolls and all the other taxes, as, when he made a bid, no one dared to bid against him. In this way he had increased his fortune and amassed large sums to expend in bribery; he permanently maintained at his own expense a large body of horsemen, whom he kept in attendance upon him; he possessed great influence not only in his own country, but also with the surrounding tribes; and, to strengthen this influence, he had arranged a marriage for his mother with a Biturigian of the highest rank and the greatest authority, while his own wife was a Helvetian, and he had arranged marriages for his sister on the mother's side and his female relations among other tribes. From his connection with the Helvetii, he was a partisan of theirs and well disposed towards them and he also personally detested Caesar and the Romans, because their coming had lessened his power and restored his brother, Diviciacus, to his former influential and honorable position. If anything should befall the Romans, he saw great reason to hope that, by the aid of the Helvetii, he would secure the throne; while, so long as the Roman People were supreme, he despaired not only of making himself king, but even of retaining his existing influence. Caesar also found, in the course of his inquiries, that, in the disastrous cavalry combat a few days before, it was Dumnorix with his troopers (for he commanded the auxiliary cavalry which the Aedui had sent to Caesar) who had set the example of flight, and that, on their flight, the rest of the cavalry had taken alarm.
After learning these circumstances, since to these suspicions the most unequivocal facts were added, viz., that he had led the Helvetii through the territories of the Sequani; that he had provided that hostages should be mutually given; that he had done all these things, not only without any orders of his [Caesar's] and of his own state's, but even without their [the Aedui] knowing anything of it themselves; that he [Dumnorix] was reprimanded by the [chief] magistrate of the Aedui; he [Caesar] considered that there was sufficient reason why he should either punish him himself, or order the state to do so. There was one objection. Caesar had come to know that Diviciacus, Dumnorix's brother, felt the utmost devotion to the Roman People and the utmost goodwill towards himself, and that his loyalty, equity, and good sense were quite exceptional; in fact, he was afraid of offending Diviciacus by punishing his brother. Accordingly, before taking any definite step, he sent for Diviciacus, and, dismissing the ordinary interpreters, conversed with him through the medium of Gaius Valerius Troucillus, a leading Provincial and an intimate friend of his own, whom he trusted absolutely in all matters. Reminding Diviciacus of what had been said about Dumnorix at the meeting, when he was present, and at the same time telling him what everyone had separately said about him when alone with himself, he urgently requested him to consent to his either personally trying Dumnorix and passing judgement upon him, or else calling upon the state to do so, and not to take offence.
Bursting into tears, Diviciacus embraced but accepted Caesar and entreated him not to take severe measures against his brother. Caesar knew, he said, that the story was true, and no one suffered more under his brother's conduct than himself; for at a time when his own influence was paramount with his countrymen and in the rest of Gaul, and his brother, on account of his youth, was powerless, the latter had risen through his support; and the resources and strength which he thus acquired he used not only to weaken his influence, but almost to ruin him. Public opinion as well as fraternal affection had weight with him. If Dumnorix were severely dealt with by Caesar, then, considering his own friendly relations with the latter, no one would believe that he was not responsible; and the result would be that the feeling of the whole country would turn against him. He continued pleading at great length and with tears when Caesar grasped his hand, reassured him, and begged him to say no more, telling him that he valued his friendship so highly that, out of regard for his loyalty and his intercession, he would overlook both political injury and personal grievance. He then called Dumnorix, keeping his brother, by; pointed out what he had to find fault with in his conduct; stated what he knew about him, and the complaints which his own countrymen brought against him; warned him to avoid giving any ground for suspicion in the future; and told him that he would overlook the past for his brother Diviciacus's sake. Nevertheless he placed Dumnorix under surveillance, in order to ascertain what he was doing and who were his associates.
On the same day Caesar was informed by his patrols that the enemy had encamped at the foot of a hill eight miles from his own camp, and accordingly sent a party to reconnoiter the hill and find out what the ascent was like from the rear. They reported that it was quite practicable. In the third watch he explained his plans to Titus Labienus, his second-in-command, and ordered him to ascend to the summit of the hill with two legions, taking the party who had ascertained the route as guides. In the fourth watch he marched in person against the enemy, following the route by which they had advanced and sending on all the cavalry in front. Publius Considius, who was considered a thorough soldier, and had served in the army of Lucius Sulla and afterwards in that of Marcus Crassus, was sent on in advance with patrols.
At daybreak Labienus was in possession of the summit of the hill, while Caesar was not more than a mile and a half from the enemy's camp, and, as he afterwards learned from prisoners, his own approach and that of Labienus were alike unknown, when Considius rode up to him at full gallop, and stated that the hill which he had desired Labienus to occupy was in possession of the enemy, as he could tell from the arms and crests being Gallic. Caesar withdrew his troops to a hill close by, and formed them in line of battle. Labienus, acting on Caesar's order not to engage until he saw his force close to the enemy's camp, so that they might be attacked on all sides at once, kept possession of the hill, waiting for the appearance of our men, and declined an engagement. At length, late in the day, Caesar learned from his patrols that the hill was in the possession of his own troops, that the Helvetii had moved off, and that Considius from panic had reported as a fact actually seen what he had not seen at all. The same day Caesar followed the enemy at the usual interval, and pitched his camp three miles from theirs.
Next day, as the rations of the army would be due in just forty-eight hours, and Caesar was not more than eighteen miles from Bibracte —by far the wealthiest and most important town of the Aedui—he thought it time to secure his supplies, and accordingly struck off from the route followed by the Helvetii and marched rapidly for Bibracte. The move was reported to the enemy by deserters from Lucius Aemilius, who commanded a troop of Gallic cavalry. The Helvetii, believing that the Romans were moving away because they were afraid of them (especially as on the day before, though they had occupied a position of vantage, they had declined an action), or confident of being able to cut them off from supplies, altered their plans, reversed their march, and began to hang upon our rearguard and harass them.
Observing this, Caesar withdrew his troops on to a hill close by and sent his cavalry to stem the enemy's attack. Meanwhile he formed his four veteran legions in three lines half-way up the hill, posting the two which he had recently levied in Cisalpine Gaul and all the auxiliaries above on the ridge, and thus occupying the whole hill; at the same time he ordered the men's packs to be collected and the space which they covered to be entrenched by the troops posted on the high ground. The Helvetii, following with all their wagons, parked their baggage, repulsed our cavalry with their dense array, and, forming a phalanx, moved up against our first line.
Caesar sent first his own charger and then the chargers of all the officers out of sight, in order, by putting all on an equality, to banish the idea of flight; then he harangued his men, and the battle began. The legionaries, throwing their javelins from their commanding position, easily broke the enemy phalanx, and, having destroyed their formation, drew their swords and charged. The Gauls were greatly hampered in action by the fact that in many cases several shields were transfixed and pinned together by the impact of one javelin, and, as the iron bent, they could not pull the javelins out or fight properly with their left arms encumbered, so that many, after repeated jerks, preferred to drop their shields and fight bare. At length, enfeebled by wounds, they began to fall back and retreat towards a hill about a mile off. They had gained the hill and the Romans were following after them, when the Boii and Tulingi, some fifteen thousand strong, who closed the enemy's column and served as the rearguard, marched up, immediately attacked the Romans on their exposed flank, and lapped round them; observing this, the Helvetii who had retreated to the hill began to press forward again and renewed the battle. The Romans effected a change of front and advanced in two divisions, the first and second lines to oppose the enemy when they had beaten and driven off; the third to withstand the new-comers.
Thus two battles went on at once, and the fighting was prolonged and fierce. When the enemy could no longer withstand the onslaughts of the Romans, one division drew back, up the hill, while the other withdrew to their baggage and wagons,—withdrew, not fled, for throughout the whole of this battle, though the fighting lasted from the seventh hour till evening, none could see an enemy in flight. Till far into the night fighting actually went on by the baggage; for the enemy had made a rampart of their wagons, and from their commanding position hurled missiles against our men as they came up, while some got between the wagons and behind the wheels and threw darts and javelins, which wounded our men. After a long struggle our men took possession of the baggage. Orgetorix's daughter and one of his sons were captured on the spot. About one hundred and thirty thousand souls survived the battle and fled without halting throughout the whole of that night. Three days later they reached the country of the Lingones, for our troops remained on the field for three days, out of consideration for their wounded and to bury the dead, and therefore were unable to pursue. Caesar sent dispatches and messages to the Lingones, warning them not to supply the fugitives with corn or otherwise assist them, and threatening that, if they did so, he would treat them as he had treated the Helvetii. After an interval of three days he started with his whole force in pursuit.
The Helvetii, under stress of utter destitution, sent envoys to Caesar to propose surrender. The envoys met him on the march, prostrated themselves before him, and in suppliant terms besought him with tears for peace. He told them that the fugitives must remain where they were and await his arrival; and they promised obedience. When Caesar reached the spot, he required the Helvetii to give hostages and to surrender their arms and the slaves who had deserted to them. While the hostages and deserters were being searched for and the arms collected, night came on, and about six thousand men, belonging to the clan known as the Verbigeni, quitted the Helvetian encampment in the early part of the night and pushed on for the Rhine and the territory of the Germans. Either they were afraid that after surrendering their arms they would be punished, or they hoped to get off scot-free, believing that, as the number which had surrendered was so vast, their flight might escape detection or even remain entirely unnoticed. When Caesar discovered this, he ordered the peoples through whose territories they had gone to hunt them down and bring them back if they wished him to hold them guiltless. When they were brought back he treated them as Aedui enemies; but all the rest, after they had delivered up hostages, arms, and deserters, he admitted to surrender. He ordered the Helvetii, Tulingi, and Latobrigi to return to their own country, whence they had come; and, as all their corn and pulse were gone, and they had not in their own country the means of satisfying their hunger, he directed the Allobroges to supply them with corn, and ordered them to rebuild the towns and villages which they had burned. His chief reason for doing this was that he did not wish the region which the Helvetii had abandoned to remain uninhabited, lest the Germans, who dwelt on the further side of the Rhine, might be induced by the fertility of the land to migrate from their own country into theirs, and establish themselves in proximity to the Province of Gaul, and especially to the Allobroges. The Aedui begged to be allowed to find room for the Boii within their own country, as they were a people of eminent and proved courage; and Caesar granted their request. The Aedui assigned them lands, and afterwards admitted them to the enjoyment of rights and liberties on an equality with their own.
Documents, written in Greek characters, were found in the encampment of the Helvetii and brought to Caesar. They contained a schedule, giving the names of individuals, the, number of emigrants capable of bearing arms, and likewise, under separate heads, the numbers of old men, women, and children. The aggregate amounted to two hundred and sixty-three thousand Helvetii, thirty-six thousand Tulingi, thirteen thousand Latobrigi, twenty-three thousand Rauraci, and thirty-two thousand Boii. The number capable of bearing arms was ninety-two thousand, and the grand total three hundred and sixty-eight thousand. A census was taken, by Caesar's orders, of those who returned home; and the number was found to be one hundred and ten thousand.
Envoys from almost every part of Gaul, the leading men of their respective tribes, convened a camp to congratulate Caesar. They were aware, they said, that, if he had exacted atonement from the Helvetii by the sword for the wrongs they had done in the past to the Roman People, yet his action was just as much to the advantage of Gaul as of the Romans; for, though the Helvetii were perfectly well off, they had quitted their own abode with the intention of attacking the whole of Gaul, usurping dominion, selecting for occupation out of numerous tracts the one which they deemed the most suitable and the most fertile in the whole country, and making the other tribes their tributaries. The envoys begged to be allowed to convene, with Caesar's express sanction, a Pan-Gallic council for a particular day, representing that they had certain favors to ask of him after their substance was unanimously agreed upon. Their request being granted, they fixed a date for the council, and bound themselves mutually by oath not to disclose its proceedings without official sanction.
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