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Book II

I.--While Caesar was in winter quarters in Hither Gaul, as we have shown
above, frequent reports were brought to him, and he was also informed by
letters from Labienus, that all the Belgae, who we have said are a third
part of Gaul, were entering into a confederacy against the Roman people,
and giving hostages to one another; that the reasons of the confederacy
were these--first, because they feared that, after all [Celtic] Gaul was
subdued, our army would be led against them; secondly, because they were
instigated by several of the Gauls; some of whom as [on the one hand]
they had been unwilling that the Germans should remain any longer in
Gaul, so [on the other] they were dissatisfied that the army of the
Roman people should pass the winter in it, and settle there; and others
of them, from a natural instability and fickleness of disposition, were
anxious for a revolution; [the Belgae were instigated] by several, also,
because the government in Gaul was generally seized upon by the more
powerful persons and by those who had the means of hiring troops, and
they could less easily effect this object under our dominion.

II.--Alarmed by these tidings and letters, Caesar levied two new legions
in Hither Gaul, and, at the beginning of summer, sent Q. Pedius, his
lieutenant, to conduct them further into Gaul. He himself, as soon as
there began to be plenty of forage, came to the army. He gives a
commission to the Senones and the other Gauls who were neighbours of the
Belgae, to learn what is going on amongst them [_i.e._ the Belgae], and
inform him of these matters. These all uniformly reported that troops
were being raised, and that an army was being collected in one place.
Then, indeed, he thought that he ought not to hesitate about proceeding
towards them, and having provided supplies, moves his camp, and in about
fifteen days arrives at the territories of the Belgae.

III.--As he arrived there unexpectedly and sooner than any one
anticipated, the Remi, who are the nearest of the Belgae to [Celtic]
Gaul, sent to him Iccius and Antebrogius, [two of] the principal persons
of the state, as their ambassadors: to tell hum that they surrendered
themselves and all their possessions to the protection and disposal of
the Roman people: and that they had neither combined with the rest of
the Belgae, nor entered into any confederacy against the Roman people:
and were prepared to give hostages, to obey his commands, to receive him
into their towns, and to aid him with corn and other things; that all
the rest of the Belgae were in arms; and that the Germans, who dwell on
this side the Rhine, had joined themselves to them; and that so great
was the infatuation of them all that they could not restrain even the
Suessiones, their own brethren and kinsmen, who enjoy the same rights,
and the same laws, and who have one government and one magistracy [in
common] with themselves, from uniting with them.

IV.--When Caesar inquired of them what states were in arms, how powerful
they were, and what they could do in war, he received the following
information: that the greater part of the Belgae were sprung from the
Germans, and that having crossed the Rhine at an early period, they had
settled there, on account of the fertility of the country, and had
driven out the Gauls who inhabited those regions; and that they were the
only people who, in the memory of our fathers, when all Gaul was
overrun, had prevented the Teutones and the Cimbri from entering their
territories; the effect of which was that, from the recollection of
those events, they assumed to themselves great authority and haughtiness
in military matters. The Remi said that they had known accurately
everything respecting their number, because, being united to them by
neighbourhood and by alliances, they had learnt what number each state
had in the general council of the Belgae promised for that war. That the
Bellovaci were the most powerful amongst them in valour, influence, and
number of men; that these could muster 100,000 armed men, [and had]
promised 60,000 picked men out of that number, and demanded for
themselves the command of the whole war. That the Suessiones were their
nearest neighbours and possessed a very extensive and fertile country;
that among them, even in our own memory, Divitiacus, the most powerful
man of all Gaul, had been king; who had held the government of a great
part of these regions, as well as of Britain; that their king at present
was Galba; that the direction of the whole war was conferred by the
consent of all upon him, on account of his integrity and prudence; that
they had twelve towns; that they had promised 50,000 armed men; and that
the Nervii, who are reckoned the most warlike among them, and are
situated at a very great distance, [had promised] as many; the
Atrebates, 15,000; the Ambiani, 10,000; the Morini, 25,000; the Menapu,
9000; the Caleti, 10,000; the Velocasses and the Veromandui as many; the
Aduatuci, 19,000; that the Condrusi, the Eburones, the Caeraesi, the
Paemani, who are called by the common name of Germans, [had promised],
they thought, to the number of 40,000.

V.--Caesar, having encouraged the Remi, and addressed them courteously,
ordered the whole senate to assemble before him, and the children of
their chief men to be brought to him as hostages; all which commands
they punctually performed by the day [appointed]. He, addressing himself
to Divitiacus the Aeduan, with great earnestness, points out how much it
concerns the republic and their common security, that the forces of the
enemy should be divided, so that it might not be necessary to engage
with so large a number at one time. [He asserts] that this might be
effected if the Aedui would lead their forces into the territories of
the Bellovaci, and begin to lay waste their country. With these
instructions he dismissed him from his presence. After he perceived that
all the forces of the Belgae, which had been collected in one place,
were approaching towards him, and learnt from the scouts whom he had
sent out, and [also] from the Remi, that they were not then far distant,
he hastened to lead his army over the Aisne, which is on the borders of
the Remi, and there pitched his camp. This position fortified one side
of his camp by the banks of the river, rendered the country which lay in
his rear secure from the enemy, and furthermore ensured that provisions
might without danger be brought to him by the Remi and the rest of the
states. Over that river was a bridge: there he places a guard; and on
the other side of the river he leaves Q. Titurus Sabinus, his
lieutenant, with six cohorts. He orders him to fortify a camp with a
rampart twelve feet in height, and a trench eighteen feet in breadth.

VI.--There was a town of the Remi, by name Bibrax, eight miles distant
from this camp. This the Belgae on their march began to attack with
great vigour. [The assault] was with difficulty sustained for that day.
The Gauls' mode of besieging is the same as that of the Belgae: when
after having drawn a large number of men around the whole of the
fortifications, stones have begun to be cast against the wall on all
sides, and the wall has been stript of its defenders, [then], forming a
testudo, they advance to the gates and undermine the wall: which was
easily effected on this occasion; for while so large a number were
casting stones and darts, no one was able to maintain his position upon
the wall. When night had put an end to the assault, Iccius, who was then
in command of the town, one of the Remi, a man of the highest rank and
influence amongst his people, and one of those who had come to Caesar as
ambassador [to sue] for a peace, sends messengers to him, [to report]
"That, unless assistance were sent to him, he could not hold out any

VII.--Thither immediately after midnight, Caesar, using as guides the
same persons who had come to him as messengers from Iccius, sends some
Numidian and Cretan archers, and some Balearian slingers as a relief to
the townspeople, by whose arrival both a desire to resist together with
the hope of [making good their] defence was infused into the Remi, and,
for the same reason, the hope of gaining the town abandoned the enemy.
Therefore, after staying a short time before the town, and laying waste
the country of the Remi, when all the villages and buildings which they
could approach had been burnt, they hastened with all their forces to
the camp of Caesar, and encamped within less than two miles [of it]; and
their camp, as was indicated by the smoke and fires, extended more than
eight miles in breadth.

VIII.--Caesar at first determined to decline a battle, as well on
account of the great number of the enemy as their distinguished
reputation for valour: daily, however, in cavalry actions, he strove to
ascertain by frequent trials what the enemy could effect by their
prowess and what our men would dare. When he perceived that our men were
not inferior, as the place before the camp was naturally convenient and
suitable for marshalling an army (since the hill where the camp was
pitched, rising gradually from the plain, extended forward in breadth as
far as the space which the marshalled army could occupy, and had steep
declines of its side in either direction, and gently sloping in front
gradually sank to the plain), on either side of that hill he drew a
cross trench of about four hundred paces, and at the extremities of that
trench built forts, and placed there his military engines, lest, after
he had marshalled his army, the enemy, since they were so powerful in
point of number, should be able to surround his men in the flank, while
fighting. After doing this, and leaving in the camp the two legions
which he had last raised, that, if there should be any occasion, they
might be brought as a reserve, he formed the other six legions in order
of battle before the camp. The enemy, likewise, had drawn up their
forces which they had brought out of the camp.

IX.--There was a marsh of no great extent between our army and that of
the enemy. The latter were waiting to see if our men would pass this;
our men, also, were ready in arms to attack them while disordered, if
the first attempt to pass should be made by them. In the meantime battle
was commenced between the two armies by a cavalry action. When neither
army began to pass the marsh, Caesar, upon the skirmishes of the horse
[proving] favourable to our men, led back his forces into the camp. The
enemy immediately hastened from that place to the river Aisne, which it
has been stated was behind our camp. Finding a ford there, they
endeavoured to lead a part of their forces over it; with the design,
that, if they could, they might carry by storm the fort which Q.
Titurius, Caesar's lieutenant, commanded, and might cut off the bridge;
but, if they could not do that, they should lay waste the lands of the
Remi, which were of great use to us in carrying on the war, and might
hinder our men from foraging.

X.--Caesar, being apprised of this by Titurius, leads all his cavalry
and light-armed Numidians, slingers and archers, over the bridge, and
hastens towards them. There was a severe struggle in that place. Our
men, attacking in the river the disordered enemy, slew a great part of
them. By the immense number of their missiles they drove back the rest,
who in a most courageous manner were attempting to pass over their
bodies, and surrounded with their cavalry, and cut to pieces those who
had first crossed the river. The enemy, when they perceived that their
hopes had deceived them both with regard to their taking the town by
storm and also their passing the river, and did not see our men advance
to a more disadvantageous place for the purpose of fighting, and when
provisions began to fail them, having called a council, determined that
it was best for each to return to his country, and resolved to assemble
from all quarters to defend those into whose territories the Romans
should first march an army; that they might contend in their own rather
than in a foreign country, and might enjoy the stores of provisions
which they possessed at home. Together with other causes, this
consideration also led them to that resolution, viz.: that they had
learnt that Divitiacus and the Aedui were approaching the territories of
the Bellovaci. And it was impossible to persuade the latter to stay any
longer, or to deter them from conveying succour to their own people.

XI.--That matter being determined on, marching out of their camp at the
second watch, with great noise and confusion, in no fixed order, nor
under any command, since each sought for himself the foremost place in
the journey, and hastened to reach home, they made their departure
appear very like a flight. Caesar, immediately learning this through his
scouts, [but] fearing an ambuscade, because he had not yet discovered
for what reason they were departing, kept his army and cavalry within
the camp. At daybreak, the intelligence having been confirmed by the
scouts, he sent forward his cavalry to harass their rear; and gave the
command of it to two of his lieutenants, Q. Pedius, and L. Aurunculeius
Cotta. He ordered T. Labienus, another of his lieutenants, to follow
them closely with three legions. These, attacking their rear, and
pursuing them for many miles, slew a great number of them as they were
fleeing; while those in the rear with whom they had come up, halted, and
bravely sustained the attack of our soldiers; the van, because they
appeared to be removed from danger, and were not restrained by any
necessity or command, as soon as the noise was heard, broke their ranks,
and, to a man, rested their safety in flight. Thus without any risk [to
themselves] our men killed as great a number of them as the length of
the day allowed; and at sunset desisted from the pursuit, and betook
themselves into the camp, as they had been commanded.

XII.--On the day following, before the enemy could recover from their
terror and flight, Caesar led his army into the territories of the
Suessiones, which are next to the Remi, and having accomplished a long
march, hastens to the town named Noviodunum. Having attempted to take it
by storm on his march, because he heard that it was destitute of
[sufficient] defenders, he was not able to carry it by assault, on
account of the breadth of the ditch and the height of the wall, though
few were defending it. Therefore, having fortified the camp, he began to
bring up the vineae, and to provide whatever things were necessary for
the storm. In the meantime, the whole body of the Suessiones, after
their flight, came the next night into the town. The vineae having been
quickly brought up against the town, a mound thrown up, and towers
built, the Gauls, amazed by the greatness of the works, such as they had
neither seen nor heard of before, and struck, also, by the despatch of
the Romans, send ambassadors to Caesar respecting a surrender, and
succeed in consequence of the Remi requesting that they [the Suessiones]
might be spared.

XIII.--Caesar, having received as hostages the first men of the state,
and even the two sons of king Galba himself; and all the arms in the
town having been delivered up, admitted the Suessiones to a surrender,
and led his army against the Bellovaci. Who, when they had conveyed
themselves and all their possessions into the town called Bratuspantium,
and Caesar with his army was about five miles distant from that town,
all the old men, going out of the town, began to stretch out their hands
to Caesar, and to intimate by their voice that they would throw
themselves on his protection and power, nor would contend in arms
against the Roman people. In like manner, when he had come up to the
town, and there pitched his camp, the boys and the women from the wall,
with outstretched hands, after their custom, begged peace from the

XIV.--For these Divitiacus pleads (for after the departure of the
Belgae, having dismissed the troops of the Aedui, he had returned to
Caesar). "The Bellovaci had at all times been in the alliance and
friendship of the Aeduan state; that they had revolted from the Aedui
and made war upon the Roman people, being urged thereto by their nobles,
who said that the Aedui, reduced to slavery by Caesar, were suffering
every indignity and insult. That they who had been the leaders of that
plot, because they perceived how great a calamity they had brought upon
the state, had fled into Britain. That not only the Bellovaci, but also
the Aedui, entreated him to use his [accustomed] clemency and lenity
towards them [the Bellovaci]: which if he did, he would increase the
influence of the Aedui among all the Belgae, by whose succour and
resources they had been accustomed to support themselves whenever any
wars occurred."

XV.--Caesar said that on account of his respect for Divitiacus and the
Aeduans, he would receive them into his protection, and would spare
them; but, because the state was of great influence among the Belgae,
and pre-eminent in the number of its population, he demanded 600
hostages. When these were delivered, and all the arms in the town
collected, he went from that place into the territories of the Ambiani,
who, without delay, surrendered themselves and all their possessions.
Upon their territories bordered the Nervii, concerning whose character
and customs when Caesar inquired he received the following information:
--That "there was no access for merchants to them; that they suffered no
wine and other things tending to luxury to be imported; because they
thought that by their use the mind is enervated and the courage
impaired: that they were a savage people and of great bravery: that they
upbraided and condemned the rest of the Belgae who had surrendered
themselves to the Roman people and thrown aside their national courage:
that they openly declared they would neither send ambassadors, nor
accept any condition of peace."

XVI.--After he had made three days' march through their territories, he
discovered from some prisoners, that the river Sambre was not more than
ten miles from his camp: that all the Nervii had stationed themselves on
the other side of that river, and together with the Atrebates and the
Veromandui, their neighbours, were there awaiting the arrival of the
Romans; for they had persuaded both these nations to try the same
fortune of war [as themselves]: that the forces of the Aduatuci were
also expected by them, and were on their march; that they had put their
women, and those who through age appeared useless for war, in a place to
which there was no approach for an army, on account of the marshes.

XVII.--Having learnt these things, he sends forward scouts and
centurions to choose a convenient place for the camp. And as a great
many of the surrounding Belgae and other Gauls, following Caesar,
marched with him; some of these, as was afterwards learnt from the
prisoners, having accurately observed, during those days, the army's
method of marching, went by night to the Nervii, and informed them that
a great number of baggage-trains passed between the several legions, and
that there would be no difficulty, when the first legion had come into
the camp, and the other legions were at a great distance, to attack that
legion while under baggage, which being routed, and the baggage-train
seized, it would come to pass that the other legions would not dare to
stand their ground. It added weight also to the advice of those who
reported that circumstance, that the Nervii, from early times, because
they were weak in cavalry (for not even at this time do they attend to
it, but accomplish by their infantry whatever they can), in order that
they might the more easily obstruct the cavalry of their neighbours if
they came upon them for the purpose of plundering, having cut young
trees, and bent them, by means of their numerous branches [extending] on
to the sides, and the quick-briars and thorns springing up between them,
had made these hedges present a fortification like a wall, through which
it was not only impossible to enter, but even to penetrate with the eye.
Since [therefore] the march of our army would be obstructed by these
things, the Nervii thought that the advice ought not to be neglected by

XVIII.--The nature of the ground which our men had chosen for the camp
was this: A hill, declining evenly from the top, extended to the river
Sambre, which we have mentioned above: from this river there arose a
[second] hill of like ascent, on the other side and opposite to the
former, and open from about 200 paces at the lowest part; but in the
upper part, woody, (so much so) that it was not easy to see through it
into the interior. Within those woods the enemy kept themselves in
concealment; a few troops of horse-soldiers appeared on the open ground,
along the river. The depth of the river was about three feet.

XIX.--Caesar, having sent his cavalry on before, followed close after
them with all his forces; but the plan and order of the march was
different from that which the Belgae had reported to the Nervii. For as
he was approaching the enemy Caesar, according to his custom, led on [as
the van] six legions unencumbered by baggage; behind them he had placed
the baggage-trains of the whole army; then the two legions which had
been last raised closed the rear, and were a guard for the baggage-train.
Our horse, with the slingers and archers, having passed the river,
commenced action with the cavalry of the enemy. While they from
time to time betook themselves into the woods to their companions, and
again made an assault out of the wood upon our men, who did not dare to
follow them in their retreat further than the limit to which the plain
and open parts extended, in the meantime the six legions which had
arrived first, having measured out the work, began to fortify the camp.
When the first part of the baggage-train of our army was seen by those
who lay hid in the woods, which had been agreed on among them as the
time for commencing action, as soon as they had arranged their line of
battle and formed their ranks within the woods, and had encouraged one
another, they rushed out suddenly with all their forces and made an
attack upon our horse. The latter being easily routed and thrown into
confusion, the Nervii ran down to the river with such incredible speed
that they seemed to be in the woods, the river, and close upon us almost
at the same time. And with the same speed they hastened up the hill to
our camp and to those who were employed in the works.

XX.--Caesar had everything to do at one time: the standard to be
displayed, which was the sign when it was necessary to run to arms; the
signal to be given by the trumpet; the soldiers to be called off from
the works; those who had proceeded some distance for the purpose of
seeking materials for the rampart, to be summoned; the order of battle
to be formed; the soldiers to be encouraged; the watchword to be given.
A great part of these arrangements was prevented by the shortness of
time and the sudden approach and charge of the enemy. Under these
difficulties two things proved of advantage; [first] the skill and
experience of the soldiers, because, having been trained by former
engagements, they could suggest to themselves what ought to be done, as
conveniently as receive information from others; and [secondly] that
Caesar had forbidden his several lieutenants to depart from the works
and their respective legions, before the camp was fortified. These, on
account of the near approach and the speed of the enemy, did not then
wait for any command from Caesar, but of themselves executed whatever
appeared proper.

XXI.--Caesar, having given the necessary orders, hastened to and fro
into whatever quarter fortune carried him to animate the troops, and
came to the tenth legion. Having encouraged the soldiers with no further
speech than that "they should keep up the remembrance of their wonted
valour, and not be confused in mind, but valiantly sustain the assault
of the enemy"; as the latter were not farther from them than the
distance to which a dart could be cast, he gave the signal for
commencing battle. And having gone to another quarter for the purpose of
encouraging [the soldiers], he finds them fighting. Such was the
shortness of the time, and so determined was the mind of the enemy on
fighting, that time was wanting not only for affixing the military
insignia, but even for putting on the helmets and drawing off the covers
from the shields. To whatever part any one by chance came from the works
(in which he had been employed), and whatever standards he saw first, at
these he stood, lest in seeking his own company he should lose the time
for fighting.

XXII.--The army having been marshalled, rather as the nature of the
ground and the declivity of the hill and the exigency of the time, than
as the method and order of military matters required; whilst the legions
in the different places were withstanding the enemy, some in one
quarter, some in another, and the view was obstructed by the very thick
hedges intervening, as we have before remarked, neither could proper
reserves be posted, nor could the necessary measures be taken in each
part, nor could all the commands be issued by one person. Therefore, in
such an unfavourable state of affairs, various events of fortune

XXIII.--The soldiers of the ninth and tenth legions, as they had been
stationed on the left part of the army, casting their weapons, speedily
drove the Atrebates (for that division had been opposed to them), who
were breathless with running and fatigue, and worn out with wounds, from
the higher ground into the river; and following them as they were
endeavouring to pass it, slew with their swords a great part of them
while impeded (therein). They themselves did not hesitate to pass the
river; and having advanced to a disadvantageous place, when the battle
was renewed, they [nevertheless] again put to flight the enemy, who had
returned and were opposing them. In like manner, in another quarter two
different legions, the eleventh and the eighth, having routed the
Veromandui, with whom they had engaged, were fighting from the higher
ground upon the very banks of the river. But, almost the whole camp on
the front and on the left side being then exposed, since the twelfth
legion was posted in the right wing, and the seventh at no great
distance from it, all the Nervii, in a very close body, with
Boduognatus, who held the chief command, as their leader, hastened
towards that place; and part of them began to surround the legions on
their unprotected flank, part to make for the highest point of the

XXIV.--At the same time our horsemen, and light-armed infantry, who had
been with those who, as I have related, were routed by the first assault
of the enemy, as they were betaking themselves into the camp, met the
enemy face to face, and again sought flight into another quarter; and
the camp-followers who from the Decuman Gate and from the highest ridge
of the hill had seen our men pass the river as victors, when, after
going out for the purposes of plundering, they looked back and saw the
enemy parading in our camp, committed themselves precipitately to
flight; at the same time there arose the cry and shout of those who came
with the baggage-train; and they (affrighted) were carried some one way,
some another. By all these circumstances the cavalry of the Treviri were
much alarmed (whose reputation for courage is extraordinary among the
Gauls, and who had come to Caesar, being sent by their state as
auxiliaries), and, when they saw our camp filled with a large number of
the enemy, the legions hard pressed and almost held surrounded, the
camp-retainers, horsemen, slingers, and Numidians fleeing on all sides
divided and scattered, they, despairing of our affairs, hastened home,
and related to their state that the Romans were routed and conquered,
[and] that the enemy were in possession of their camp and baggage-train.

XXV.--Caesar proceeded, after encouraging the tenth legion, to the right
wing; where he perceived that his men were hard pressed, and that in
consequence of the standards of the twelfth legion being collected
together in one place, the crowded soldiers were a hindrance to
themselves in the fight; that all the centurions of the fourth cohort
were slain, and the standard-bearer killed, the standard itself lost,
almost all the centurions of the other cohorts either wounded or slain,
and among them the chief centurion of the legion, P. Sextius Baculus, a
very valiant man, who was so exhausted by many and severe wounds, that
he was already unable to support himself; he likewise perceived that the
rest were slackening their efforts, and that some, deserted by those in
the rear, were retiring from the battle and avoiding the weapons; that
the enemy [on the other hand], though advancing from the lower ground,
were not relaxing in front, and were [at the same time] pressing hard on
both flanks; he also perceived that the affair was at a crisis, and that
there was not any reserve which could be brought up; having therefore
snatched a shield from one of the soldiers in the rear (for he himself
had come without a shield), he advanced to the front of the line, and
addressing the centurions by name, and encouraging the rest of the
soldiers, he ordered them to carry forward the standards, and extend the
companies, that they might the more easily use their swords. On his
arrival, as hope was brought to the soldiers and their courage restored,
whilst every one for his own part, in the sight of his general, desired
to exert his utmost energy, the impetuosity of the enemy was a little

XXVI.--Caesar, when he perceived that the seventh legion, which stood
close by him, was also hard pressed by the enemy, directed the tribunes
of the soldiers to effect a junction of the legions gradually, and make
their charge upon the enemy with a double front; which having been done,
since they brought assistance the one to the other, nor feared lest
their rear should be surrounded by the enemy, they began to stand their
ground more boldly, and to fight more courageously. In the meantime, the
soldiers of the two legions which had been in the rear of the army, as a
guard for the baggage-train, upon the battle being reported to them,
quickened their pace, and were seen by the enemy on the top of the hill;
and Titus Labienus, having gained possession of the camp of the enemy,
and observed from the higher ground what was going on in our camp, sent
the tenth legion as a relief to our men, who, when they had learnt from
the flight of the horse and the sutlers in what position the affair was,
and in how great danger the camp and the legion and the commander were
involved, left undone nothing [which tended] to despatch.

XXVI.--By their arrival, so great a change of matters was made, that our
men, even those who had fallen down exhausted with wounds, leant on
their shields, and renewed the fight: then the camp-retainers, though
unarmed, seeing the enemy completely dismayed, attacked [them though]
armed; the horsemen too, that they might by their valour blot out the
disgrace of their flight, thrust themselves before the legionary
soldiers in all parts of the battle. But the enemy, even in the last
hope of safety, displayed such great courage that when the foremost of
them had fallen, the next stood upon them prostrate, and fought from
their bodies; when these were overthrown, and their corpses heaped up
together, those who survived cast their weapons against our men
[thence], as from a mound, and returned our darts which had fallen
between [the armies]; so that it ought not to be concluded, that men of
such great courage had injudiciously dared to pass a very broad river,
ascend very high banks, and come up to a very disadvantageous place;
since their greatness of spirit had rendered these actions easy,
although in themselves very difficult.

XXVIII.--This battle being ended, and the nation and name of the Nervii
being almost reduced to annihilation, their old men, whom together with
the boys and women we have stated to have been collected together in the
fenny places and marshes, on this battle having been reported to them,
since they were convinced that nothing was an obstacle to the
conquerors, and nothing safe to the conquered, sent ambassadors to
Caesar by the consent of all who remained, and surrendered themselves to
him; and in recounting the calamity of their state, said that their
senators were reduced from 600 to three; that from 60,000 men they [were
reduced] to scarcely 500 who could bear arms; whom Caesar, that he might
appear to use compassion towards the wretched and the suppliant, most
carefully spared; and ordered them to enjoy their own territories and
towns, and commanded their neighbours that they should restrain
themselves and their dependants from offering injury or outrage [to

XXIX.--When the Aduatuci, of whom we have written above, were coming
with all their forces to the assistance of the Nervii, upon this battle
being reported to them, they returned home after they were on the march;
deserting all their towns and forts, they conveyed together all their
possessions into one town, eminently fortified by nature. While this
town had on all sides around it very high rocks and precipices, there
was left on one side a gently ascending approach, of not more than 200
feet in width; which place they had fortified with a very lofty double
wall: besides, they had placed stones of great weight and sharpened
stakes upon the walls. They were descended from the Cimbri and Teutones,
who, when they were marching into our province and Italy, having
deposited on this side the river Rhine such of their baggage-trains as
they could not drive or convey with them, left 6000 of their men as a
guard and defence for them. These having, after the destruction of their
countrymen, been harassed for many years by their neighbours, while one
time they waged war offensively, and at another resisted it when waged
against them, concluded a peace with the consent of all, and chose this
place as their settlement.

XXX.--And on the first arrival of our army they made frequent sallies
from the town, and contended with our men in trifling skirmishes:
afterwards, when hemmed in by a rampart of twelve feet [in height], and
fifteen miles in circuit, they kept themselves within the town. When,
vineae having been brought up and a mound raised, they observed that a
tower also was being built at a distance, they at first began to mock
the Romans from their wall, and to taunt them with the following
speeches. "For what purpose was so vast a machine constructed at so
great a distance?" "With what hands," or "with what strength did they,
especially [as they were] men of such very small stature" (for our
shortness of stature, in comparison with the great size of their bodies,
is generally a subject of much contempt to the men of Gaul), "trust to
place against their walls a tower of such great weight."

XXXI.--But when they saw that it was being moved, and was approaching
their walls, startled by the new and unaccustomed sight, they sent
ambassadors to Caesar [to treat] about peace; who spoke in the following
manner: "That they did not believe the Romans waged war without divine
aid, since they were able to move forward machines of such a height with
so great speed, and thus fight from close quarters: that they resigned
themselves and all their possessions to [Caesar's] disposal: that they
begged and earnestly entreated one thing, viz., that if perchance,
agreeably to his clemency and humanity, which they had heard of from
others, he should resolve that the Aduatuci were to be spared, he would
not deprive them of their arms; that all their neighbours were enemies
to them and envied their courage, from whom they could not defend
themselves if their arms were delivered up: that it was better for them,
if they should be reduced to that state, to suffer any fate from the
Roman people, than to be tortured to death by those among whom they had
been accustomed to rule."

XXXII.--To these things Caesar replied, "That he, in accordance with his
custom, rather than owing to their desert, should spare the state, if
they should surrender themselves before the battering-ram should touch
the wall; but that there was no condition of surrender, except upon
their arms being delivered up; that he should do to them that which he
had done in the case of the Nervii, and would command their neighbours
not to offer any injury to those who had surrendered to the Roman
people." The matter being reported to their countrymen, they said that
they would execute his commands. Having cast a very large quantity of
their arms from the wall into the trench which was before the town, so
that the heaps of arms almost equalled the top of the wall and the
rampart, and nevertheless having retained and concealed, as we
afterwards discovered, about a third part in the town, the gates were
opened, and they enjoyed peace for that day.

XXXIII.--Towards evening Caesar ordered the gates to be shut, and the
soldiers to go out of the town, lest the townspeople should receive any
injury from them by night. They [the Aduatuci], by a design before
entered into, as we afterwards understood, because they believed that,
as a surrender had been made, our men would dismiss their guards, or at
least would keep watch less carefully, partly with those arms which they
had retained and concealed, partly with shields made of bark or
interwoven wickers, which they had hastily covered over with skins (as
the shortness of time required) in the third watch, suddenly made a
sally from the town with all their forces [in that direction] in which
the ascent to our fortifications seemed the least difficult. The signal
having been immediately given by fires, as Caesar had previously
commanded, a rush was made thither [_i.e._ by the Roman soldiers] from
the nearest fort; and the battle was fought by the enemy as vigorously
as it ought to be fought by brave men, in the last hope of safety, in a
disadvantageous place, and against those who were throwing their weapons
from a rampart and from towers; since all hope of safety depended on
their courage alone. About 4000 of the men having been slain, the rest
were forced back into the town. The day after, Caesar, after breaking
open the gates, which there was no one then to defend, and sending in
our soldiers, sold the whole spoil of that town. The number of 53,000
persons was reported to him by those who had bought them.

XXXIV.--At the same time he was informed by P. Crassus, whom he had sent
with one legion against the Veneti, the Unelli, the Osismii, the
Curiosolitae, the Sesuvii, the Aulerci, and the Rhedones, which are
maritime states, and touch upon the [Atlantic] ocean, that all these
nations were brought under the dominion and power of the Roman people.

XXXV.--These things being achieved, [and] all Gaul being subdued, so
high an opinion of this war was spread among the barbarians, that
ambassadors were sent to Caesar by those nations who dwelt beyond the
Rhine, to promise that they would give hostages and execute his
commands. Which embassies Caesar, because he was hastening into Italy
and Illyricum, ordered to return to him at the beginning of the
following summer. He himself, having led his legions into winter-quarters
among the Carnutes, the Andes, and the Turones, which states
were close to those regions in which he had waged war, set out for
Italy; and a thanksgiving of fifteen days was decreed for those
achievements, upon receiving Caesar's letter; [an honour] which before
that time had been conferred on none.

Julius Caesar

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