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Prevailed on by your continued solicitations, Balbus, I have engaged in
a most difficult task, as my daily refusals appear to plead not my
inability, but indolence, as an excuse. I have compiled a continuation
of the Commentaries of our Caesar's Wars in Gaul, not indeed to be
compared to his writings, which either precede or follow them; and
recently, I have completed what he left imperfect after the transactions
in Alexandria, to the end, not indeed of the civil broils, to which we
see no issue, but of Caesar's life. I wish that those who may read them
could know how unwillingly I undertook to write them, as then I might
the more readily escape the imputation of folly and arrogance, in
presuming to intrude among Caesar's writings. For it is agreed on all
hands, that no composition was ever executed with so great care, that it
is not exceeded in elegance by these Commentaries, which were published
for the use of historians, that they might not want memoirs of such
achievements; and they stand so high in the esteem of all men, that
historians seem rather deprived of than furnished with materials. At
which we have more reason to be surprised than other men; for they can
only appreciate the elegance and correctness with which he finished
them, while we know with what ease and expedition. Caesar possessed not
only an uncommon flow of language and elegance of style, but also a
thorough knowledge of the method of conveying his ideas. But I had not
even the good fortune to share in the Alexandrian or African war; and
though these were partly communicated to me by Caesar himself, in
conversation, yet we listen with a different degree of attention to
those things which strike us with admiration by their novelty, and those
which we design to attest to posterity. But, in truth, whilst I urge
every apology, that I may not be compared to Caesar, I incur the charge
of vanity, by thinking it possible that I can in the judgment of any one
be put in competition with him. Farewell.

I.--Gaul being entirely reduced, when Caesar having waged war
incessantly during the former summer, wished to recruit his soldiers
after so much fatigue, by repose in winter quarters, news was brought
him that several states were simultaneously renewing their hostile
intentions, and forming combinations. For which a probable reason was
assigned: namely, that the Gauls were convinced that they were not able
to resist the Romans with any force they could collect in one place; and
hoped that if several states made war in different places at the same
time, the Roman army would neither have aid, nor time, nor forces, to
prosecute them all: nor ought any single state to decline any
inconveniences that might befall them, provided that by such delay the
rest should be enabled to assert their liberty.

II.--That this notion might not be confirmed among the Gauls, Caesar
left Marcus Antonius, his quaestor, in charge of his quarters, and set
out himself with a guard of horse, the day before the kalends of
January, from the town Bibracte, to the thirteenth legion, which he had
stationed in the country of the Bituriges, not far from the territories
of the Aedui, and joined to it the eleventh legion which was next it.
Leaving two cohorts to guard the baggage, he leads the rest of his army
into the most plentiful part of the country of the Bituriges; who,
possessing an extensive territory and several towns, were not to be
deterred, by a single legion quartered among them, from making warlike
preparation, and forming combinations.

III.-By Caesar's sudden arrival, it happened, as it necessarily must, to
an unprovided and dispersed people, that they were surprised by our
horse, whilst cultivating the fields without any apprehensions, before
they had time to fly to their towns. For the usual sign of an enemy's
invasion, which is generally intimated by the burning of their towns,
was forbidden by Caesar's orders: lest if he advanced far, forage and
corn should become scarce, or the enemy be warned by the fires to make
their escape. Many thousands being taken, as many of the Bituriges as
were able to escape the first coming of the Romans, fled to the
neighbouring states, relying either on private friendship, or public
alliance. In vain; for Caesar, by hasty marches, anticipated them in
every place, nor did he allow any state leisure to consider the safety
of others, in preference to their own. By this activity, he both
retained his friends in their loyalty, and by fear, obliged the wavering
to accept offers of peace. Such offers being made to the Bituriges, when
they perceived that through Caesar's clemency, an avenue was open to his
friendship, and that the neighbouring states had given hostages, without
incurring any punishment, and had been received under his protection,
they did the same.

IV.-Caesar promises his soldiers, as a reward for their labour and
patience, in cheerfully submitting to hardships from the severity of the
winter, the difficulty of the roads, and the intolerable cold, two
hundred sestertii each, and to every centurian two thousand, to be given
instead of plunder; and sending his legions back to quarters, he himself
returned on the fortieth day to Bibracte. Whilst he was dispensing
justice there, the Bituriges send ambassadors to him, to entreat his aid
against the Carnutes, who they complained had made war against them.
Upon this intelligence, though he had not remained more than eighteen
days in winter quarters, he draws the fourteenth and sixth legion out of
quarters on the Saone, where he had posted them as mentioned in a former
Commentary to procure supplies of corn. With these two legions he
marches in pursuit of the Carnutes.

V.--When the news of the approach of our army reached the enemy, the
Carnutes, terrified by the sufferings of other states, deserted their
villages and towns (which were small buildings, raised in a hurry, to
meet the immediate necessity, in which they lived to shelter themselves
against the winter, for, being lately conquered, they had lost several
towns), and dispersed and fled. Caesar, unwilling to expose his soldiers
to the violent storms that break out, especially at that season, took up
his quarters at Genabum, a town of the Carnutes; and lodged his men in
houses, partly belonging to the Gauls, and partly built to shelter the
tents, and hastily covered with thatch. But the horse and auxiliaries he
sends to all parts to which he was told the enemy had marched; and not
without effect, as our men generally returned loaded with booty. The
Carnutes, overpowered by the severity of the winter, and the fear of
danger, and not daring to continue long in any place, as they were
driven from their houses, and not finding sufficient protection in the
woods, from the violence of the storms, after losing a considerable
number of their men, disperse, and take refuge among the neighbouring

VI.--Caesar, being contented, at so severe a season, to disperse the
gathering foes, and prevent any new war from breaking out, and being
convinced, as far as reason could foresee, that no war of consequence
could be set on foot in the summer campaign, stationed Caius Trebonius,
with the two legions which he had with him, in quarters at Genabum: and
being informed by frequent embassies from the Remi, that the Bellovaci
(who exceed all the Gauls and Belgae in military prowess), and the
neighbouring states, headed by Correus, one of the Bellovaci, and
Comius, the Atrebatian, were raising an army, and assembling at a
general rendezvous, designing with their united forces to invade the
territories of the Suessiones, who were put under the patronage of the
Remi: and moreover, considering that not only his honour, but his
interest was concerned, that such of his allies, as deserved well of the
republic, should suffer no calamity; he again draws the eleventh legion
out of quarters and writes besides to Caius Fabius, to march with his
two legions to the country of the Suessiones; and he sends to Trebonius
for one of his two legions. Thus, as far as the convenience of the
quarters, and the management of the war admitted, he laid the burden of
the expedition on the legions by turns, without any intermission to his
own toils.

VII.--As soon as his troops were collected, he marched against the
Bellovaci: and pitching his camp in their territories, detached troops
of horse all round the country, to take prisoners, from whom he might
learn the enemy's plan. The horse, having executed his orders, bring him
back word that but few were found in the houses: and that even these had
not stayed at home to cultivate their lands (for the emigration was
general from all parts), but had been sent back to watch our motions.
Upon Caesar's inquiring from them, where the main body of the Bellovaci
were posted, and what was their design: they made answer, "that all the
Bellovaci, fit for carrying arms, had assembled in one place, and along
with them the Ambiani, Aulerci, Caletes, Velocasses, and Atrebates, and
that they had chosen for their camp an elevated position, surrounded by
a dangerous morass: that they had conveyed all their baggage into the
most remote woods: that several noblemen were united in the management
of the war; but that the people were most inclined to be governed by
Correus, because they knew that he had the strongest aversion to the
name of the Roman people: that a few days before Comius had left the
camp to engage the Germans to their aid whose nation bordered on theirs,
and whose numbers were countless: that the Bellovaci had come to a
resolution, with the consent of all the generals and the earnest desire
of the people, if Caesar should come with only three legions, as was
reported, to give him battle, that they might not be obliged to
encounter his whole army on a future occasion, when they should be in a
more wretched and distressed condition; but if he brought a stronger
force, they intended to remain in the position they had chosen, and by
ambuscade to prevent the Romans from getting forage (which at that
season was both scarce and much scattered), corn, and other

VIII.--When Caesar was convinced of the truth of this account from the
concurring testimony of several persons, and perceived that the plans
which were proposed were full of prudence, and very unlike the rash
resolves of a barbarous people, he considered it incumbent on him to use
every exertion, in order that the enemy might despise his small force
and come to an action. For he had three veteran legions of distinguished
valour, the seventh, eighth, and ninth. The eleventh consisted of chosen
youth of great hopes, who had served eight campaigns, but who, compared
with the others, had not yet acquired any great reputation for
experience and valour. Calling therefore a council, and laying before it
the intelligence which he had received, he encouraged his soldiers. In
order if possible to entice the enemy to an engagement by the appearance
of only three legions, he ranged his army in the following manner: that
the seventh, eighth, and ninth legions should march before all the
baggage; that then the eleventh should bring up the rear of the whole
train of baggage (which however was but small, as is usual on such
expeditions), so that the enemy could not get a sight of a greater
number than they themselves were willing to encounter. By this
disposition he formed his army almost into a square, and brought them
within sight of the enemy sooner than was anticipated.

IX.--When the Gauls, whose bold resolutions had been reported to Caesar,
saw the legions advance with a regular motion, drawn up in battle array;
either from the danger of an engagement, or our sudden approach, or with
the design of watching our movements, they drew up their forces before
the camp, and did not quit the rising ground. Though Caesar wished to
bring them to battle, yet being surprised to see so vast a host of the
enemy, he encamped opposite to them, with a valley between them, deep
rather than extensive. He ordered his camp to be fortified with a
rampart twelve feet high, with breast-works built on it proportioned to
its height; and two trenches, each fifteen feet broad, with
perpendicular sides to be sunk: likewise several turrets, three stories
high, to be raised, with a communication to each other by galleries laid
across and covered over; which should be guarded in front by small
parapets of osiers; that the enemy might be repulsed by two rows of
soldiers. The one of whom, being more secure from danger by their
height, might throw their darts with more daring and to a greater
distance; the other, which was nearer the enemy, being stationed on the
rampart, would be protected by their galleries from darts falling on
their heads. At the entrance he erected gates and turrets of a
considerable height.

X.-Caesar had a double design in this fortification; for he both hoped
that the strength of his works, and his [apparent] fears would raise
confidence in the barbarians; and when there should be occasion to make
a distant excursion to get forage or corn, he saw that his camp would be
secured by the works with a very small force. In the meantime there were
frequent skirmishes across the marsh, a few on both sides sallying out
between the two camps. Sometimes, however, our Gallic or German
auxiliaries crossed the marsh, and furiously pursued the enemy; or on
the other hand the enemy passed it and beat back our men. Moreover there
happened in the course of our daily foraging, what must of necessity
happen, when corn is to be collected by a few scattered men out of
private houses, that our foragers dispersing in an intricate country
were surrounded by the enemy; by which, though we suffered but an
inconsiderable loss of cattle and servants, yet it raised foolish hopes
in the barbarians; but more especially, because Comius, who I said had
gone to get aid from the Germans, returned with some cavalry, and though
the Germans were only 500, yet the barbarians were elated by their

XI.-Caesar, observing that the enemy kept for several days within their
camp, which was well secured by a morass and its natural situation, and
that it could not be assaulted without a dangerous engagement, nor the
place enclosed with lines without an addition to his army, wrote to
Trebonius to send with all despatch for the thirteenth legion which was
in winter-quarters among the Bituriges under Titus Sextius, one of his
lieutenants; and then to come to him by forced marches with the three
legions. He himself sent the cavalry of the Remi, and Lingones, and
other states, from whom he had required a vast number, to guard his
foraging parties, and to support them in case of any sudden attack of
the enemy.

XII.--As this continued for several days, and their vigilance was
relaxed by custom (an effect which is generally produced by time), the
Bellovaci, having made themselves acquainted with the daily stations of
our horse, lie in ambush with a select body of foot in a place covered
with woods; to it they sent their horse the next day, who were first to
decoy our men into the ambuscade, and then when they were surrounded, to
attack them. It was the lot of the Remi to fall into this snare, to whom
that day had been allotted to perform this duty; for, having suddenly
got sight of the enemy's cavalry, and despising their weakness, in
consequence of their superior numbers, they pursued them too eagerly,
and were surrounded on every side by the foot. Being by this means
thrown into disorder they returned with more precipitation than is usual
in cavalry actions, with the loss of Vertiscus, the governor of their
state, and the general of their horse, who, though scarcely able to sit
on horseback through years, neither, in accordance with the custom of
the Gauls, pleaded his age in excuse for not accepting the command, nor
would he suffer them to fight without him. The spirits of the barbarians
were puffed up and inflated at the success of this battle, in killing
the prince and general of the Remi; and our men were taught by this
loss, to examine the country, and post their guards with more caution,
and to be more moderate in pursuing a retreating enemy.

XIII.--In the meantime daily skirmishes take place continually in view
of both camps; these were fought at the ford and pass of the morass. In
one of these contests the Germans, whom Caesar had brought over the
Rhine, to fight intermixed with the horse, having resolutely crossed the
marsh, and slain the few who made resistance, and boldly pursued the
rest, so terrified them, that not only those who were attacked hand to
hand, or wounded at a distance, but even those who were stationed at a
greater distance to support them, fled disgracefully; and being often
beaten from the rising grounds, did not stop till they had retired into
their camp, or some, impelled by fear, had fled farther. Their danger
drew their whole army into such confusion, that it was difficult to
judge whether they were more insolent after a slight advantage, or more
dejected by a trifling calamity.

XIV.--After spending several days in the same camp, the guards of the
Bellovaci, learning that Caius Trebonius was advancing nearer with his
legions, and fearing a siege like that of Alesia, send off by night all
who were disabled by age or infirmity, or unarmed, and along with them
their whole baggage. Whilst they are preparing their disorderly and
confused troop for march (for the Gauls are always attended by a vast
multitude of waggons, even when they have very light baggage), being
overtaken by daylight, they drew their forces out before their camp, to
prevent the Romans attempting a pursuit before the line of their baggage
had advanced to a considerable distance. But Caesar did not think it
prudent to attack them when standing on their defence, with such a steep
hill in their favour, nor keep his legions at such a distance that they
could quit their post without danger: but, perceiving that his camp was
divided from the enemy's by a deep morass, so difficult to cross that he
could not pursue with expedition, and that the hill beyond the morass,
which extended almost to the enemy's camp, was separated from it only by
a small valley, he laid a bridge over the morass and led his army
across, and soon reached the plain on the top of the hill, which was
fortified on either side by a steep ascent. Having there drawn up his
army in order of battle, he marched to the furthest hill, from which he
could, with his engines, shower darts upon the thickest of the enemy.

XV.--The Gauls, confiding in the natural strength of their position,
though they would not decline an engagement if the Romans attempted to
ascend the hill, yet dared not divide their forces into small parties,
lest they should be thrown into disorder by being dispersed, and
therefore remained in order of battle. Caesar, perceiving that they
persisted in their resolution, kept twenty cohorts in battle array, and,
measuring out ground there for a camp, ordered it to be fortified.
Having completed his works, he drew up his legions before the rampart
and stationed the cavalry in certain positions, with their horses
bridled. When the Bellovaci saw the Romans prepared to pursue them, and
that they could not wait the whole night, or continue longer in the same
place without provisions, they formed the following plan to secure a
retreat. They handed to one another the bundles of straw and sticks on
which they sat (for it is the custom of the Gauls to sit when drawn up
in order of battle, as has been asserted in former commentaries), of
which they had great plenty in their camp, and piled them in the front
of their line; and at the close of the day, on a certain signal, set
them all on fire at one and the same time. The continued blaze soon
screened all their forces from the sight of the Romans, which no sooner
happened than the barbarians fled with the greatest precipitation.

XVI.--Though Caesar could not perceive the retreat of the enemy for the
intervention of the fire, yet, suspecting that they had adopted that
method to favour their escape, he made his legions advance, and sent a
party of horse to pursue them; but, apprehensive of an ambuscade, and
that the enemy might remain in the same place and endeavour to draw our
men into a disadvantageous situation, he advances himself but slowly.
The horse, being afraid to venture into the smoke and dense line of
flame, and those who were bold enough to attempt it being scarcely able
to see their horses' heads, gave the enemy free liberty to retreat,
through fear of an ambuscade. Thus, by a flight, full at once of
cowardice and address, they advanced without any loss about ten miles,
and encamped in a very strong position. From which, laying numerous
ambuscades, both of horse and foot, they did considerable damage to the
Roman foragers.

XVII.--After this had happened several times, Caesar discovered, from a
certain prisoner, that Correus, the general of the Bellovaci, had
selected six thousand of his bravest foot and a thousand horse, with
which he designed to lie in ambush in a place to which he suspected the
Romans would send to look for forage, on account of the abundance of
corn and grass. Upon receiving information of their design Caesar drew
out more legions than he usually did, and sent forward his cavalry as
usual, to protect the foragers. With these he intermixed a guard of
light infantry, and himself advanced with the legions as fast as he

XVIII.--The Gauls, placed in ambush, had chosen for the seat of action a
level piece of bound, not more than a mile in extent, enclosed on every
side by a thick wood or a very deep river, as by a toil, and this they
surrounded. Our men, apprised of the enemy's design, marched in good
order to the ground, ready both in heart and hand to give battle, and
willing to hazard any engagement when the legions were at their back. On
their approach, as Correus supposed that he had got an opportunity of
effecting his purpose, he at first shows himself with a small party and
attacks the foremost troops. Our men resolutely stood the charge, and
did not crowd together in one place, as commonly happens from surprise
in engagements between the horse, whose numbers prove injurious to

XIX.--When by the judicious arrangement of our forces only a few of our
men fought by turns, and did not suffer themselves to be surrounded, the
rest of the enemy broke out from the woods whilst Correus was engaged.
The battle was maintained in different parts with great vigour, and
continued for a long time undecided, till at length a body of foot
gradually advanced from the woods in order of battle and forced our
horse to give ground: the light infantry, which were sent before the
legions to the assistance of the cavalry, soon came up, and, mixing with
the horse, fought with great courage. The battle was for some time
doubtful, but, as usually happens, our men, who stood the enemy's first
charge, became superior from this very circumstance that, though
suddenly attacked from an ambuscade, they had sustained no loss. In the
meantime the legions were approaching, and several messengers arrived
with notice to our men and the enemy that the [Roman] general was near
at hand, with his forces in battle array. Upon this intelligence, our
men, confiding in the support of the cohorts, fought most resolutely,
fearing, lest if they should be slow in their operations they should let
the legions participate in the glory of the conquest. The enemy lose
courage and attempt to escape by different ways. In vain; for they were
themselves entangled in that labyrinth in which they thought to entrap
the Romans. Being defeated and put to the rout, and having lost the
greater part of their men, they fled in consternation whither-soever
chance carried them; some sought the woods, others the river, but were
vigorously pursued by our men and put to the sword. Yet, in the
meantime, Correus, unconquered by calamity, could not be prevailed on to
quit the field and take refuge in the woods, or accept our offers of
quarter, but, fighting courageously and wounding several, provoked our
men, elated with victory, to discharge their weapons against him.

XX.--After this transaction, Caesar, having come up immediately after
the battle, and imagining that the enemy, upon receiving the news of so
great a defeat, would be so depressed that they would abandon their
camp, which was not above eight miles distant from the scene of action,
though he saw his passage obstructed by the river, yet he marched his
army over and advanced. But the Bellovaci and the other states, being
informed of the loss they had sustained by a few wounded men who having
escaped by the shelter of the woods, had returned to them after the
defeat, and learning that everything had turned out unfavourable, that
Correus was slain, and the horse and most valiant of their foot cut off,
imagined that the Romans were marching against them, and calling a
council in haste by sound of trumpet, unanimously cry out to send
ambassadors and hostages to Caesar.

XXI.--This proposal having met with general approbation, Comius the
Atrebatian fled to those Germans from whom he had borrowed auxiliaries
for that war. The rest instantly send ambassadors to Caesar; and
requested that he would be contented with that punishment of his enemy,
which if he had possessed the power to inflict on them before the
engagement, when they were yet uninjured, they were persuaded from his
usual clemency and mercy, he never would have inflicted; that the power
of the Bellovaci was crushed by the cavalry action; that many thousands
of their choicest foot had fallen, that scarce a man had escaped to
bring the fatal news. That, however, the Bellovaci had derived from the
battle one advantage, of some importance, considering their loss; that
Correus, the author of the rebellion, and agitator of the people, was
slain: for that whilst he lived, the senate had never equal influence in
the state with the giddy populace.

XXII.--Caesar reminded the ambassadors who made these supplications,
that the Bellovaci had at the same season the year before, in
conjunction with other states of Gaul, undertaken a war, and that they
had persevered the most obstinately of all in their purpose, and were
not brought to a proper way of thinking by the submission of the rest;
that he knew and was aware that the guilt of a crime was easily
transferred to the dead; but that no one person could have such
influence, as to be able by the feeble support of the multitude to raise
a war and carry it on without the consent of the nobles, in opposition
to the senate, and in despite of every virtuous man; however he was
satisfied with the punishment which they had drawn upon themselves.

XXIII.--The night following the ambassadors bring back his answer to
their countrymen, and prepare the hostages. Ambassadors flock in from
the other states, which were waiting for the issue of the [war with the]
Bellovaci: they give hostages, and receive his orders; all except
Comius, whose fears restrained him from entrusting his safety to any
person's honour. For the year before, while Caesar was holding the
assizes in Hither Gaul, Titus Labienus, having discovered that Comius
was tampering with the states, and raising a conspiracy against Caesar,
thought he might punish his infidelity without perfidy; but judging that
he would not come to his camp at his invitation, and unwilling to put
him on his guard by the attempt, he sent Caius Volusenus Quadratus, with
orders to have him put to death under pretence of a conference. To
effect his purpose, he sent with him some chosen centurions. When they
came to the conference, and Volusenus, as had been agreed on, had taken
hold of Comius by the hand, and one of the centurions, as if surprised
at so uncommon an incident, attempted to kill him, he was prevented by
the friends of Comius, but wounded him severely in the head by the first
blow. Swords were drawn on both sides, not so much with a design to
fight as to effect an escape, our men believing that Comius had received
a mortal stroke; and the Gauls, from the treachery which they had seen,
dreading that a deeper design lay concealed. Upon this transaction, it
was said that Comius made a resolution never to come within sight of any

XXIV.--When Caesar, having completely conquered the most warlike
nations, perceived that there was now no state which could make
preparations for war to oppose him, but that some were removing and
fleeing from their country to avoid present subjection, he resolved to
detach his army into different parts of the country. He kept with
himself Marcus Antonius the quaestor, with the eleventh legion; Caius
Fabius was detached with twenty-five cohorts into the remotest part of
Gaul, because it was rumoured that some states had risen in arms, and he
did not think that Caius Caninius Rebilus, who had the charge of that
country, was strong enough to protect it with two legions. He ordered
Titus Labienus to attend himself, and sent the twelfth legion which had
been under him in winter quarters, to Hither Gaul, to protect the Roman
colonies, and prevent any loss by the inroads of barbarians, similar to
that which had happened the year before to the Tergestines, who were cut
off by a sudden depredation and attack. He himself marched to depopulate
the country of Ambiorix, whom he had terrified and forced to fly, but
despaired of being able to reduce under his power; but he thought it
most consistent with his honour to waste his country both of
inhabitants, cattle, and buildings, so that from the abhorrence of his
countrymen, if fortune suffered any to survive, he might be excluded
from a return to his state for the calamities which he had brought on

XXV.--After he had sent either his legions or auxiliaries through every
part of Ambiorix's dominions, and wasted the whole country by sword,
fire, and rapine, and had killed or taken prodigious numbers, he sent
Labienus with two legions against the Treviri, whose state, from its
vicinity to Germany, being engaged in constant war, differed but little
from the Germans, in civilization and savage barbarity; and never
continued in its allegiance, except when awed by the presence of his

XXVI.--In the meantime Caius Caninius, a lieutenant, having received
information by letters and messages from Duracius, who had always
continued in friendship to the Roman people, though a part of his state
had revolted, that a great multitude of the enemy were in arms in the
country of the Pictones, marched to the town Limonum. When he was
approaching it, he was informed by some prisoners, that Duracius was
shut up by several thousand men, under the command of Dumnacus, general
of the Andes, and that Limonum was besieged, but not daring to face the
enemy with his weak legions, he encamped in a strong position: Dumnacus,
having notice of Caninius's approach, turned his whole force against the
legions, and prepared to assault the Roman camp. But after spending
several days in the attempt, and losing a considerable number of men,
without being able to make a breach in any part of the works, he
returned again to the siege of Limonum.

XXVII.--At the same time, Caius Fabius, a lieutenant, brings back many
states to their allegiance, and confirms their submission by taking
hostages; he was then informed by letters from Caninius, of the
proceedings among the Pictones. Upon which he set off to bring
assistance to Duracius. But Dumnacus hearing of the approach of Fabius,
and despairing of safety, if at the same time he should be forced to
withstand the Roman army without, and observe, and be under apprehension
from the town's people, made a precipitate retreat from that place with
all his forces. Nor did he think that he should be sufficiently secure
from danger, unless he led his army across the Loire, which was too deep
a river to pass except by a bridge. Though Fabius had not yet come
within sight of the enemy, nor joined Caninius; yet being informed of
the nature of the country, by persons acquainted with it, he judged it
most likely that the enemy would take that way, which he found they did
take. He therefore marched to that bridge with his army, and ordered his
cavalry to advance no further before the legions, than that they could
return to the same camp at night, without fatiguing their horses. Our
horse pursued according to orders, and fell upon Dumnacus's rear, and
attacking them on their march, while fleeing, dismayed, and laden with
baggage, they slew a great number, and took a rich booty. Having
executed the affair so successfully, they retired to the camp.

XXVIII.--The night following, Fabius sent his horse before him, with
orders to engage the enemy, and delay their march till he himself should
come up. That his orders might be faithfully performed, Quintus Atius
Varus, general of the horse, a man of uncommon spirit and skill,
encouraged his men, and pursuing the enemy, disposed some of his troops
in convenient places, and with the rest gave battle to the enemy. The
enemy's cavalry made a bold stand, the foot relieving each other, and
making a general halt, to assist their horse against ours. The battle
was warmly contested. For our men, despising the enemy whom they had
conquered the day before, and knowing that the legions were following
them, animated both by the disgrace of retreating, and a desire of
concluding the battle expeditiously by their own courage, fought most
valiantly against the foot: and the enemy, imagining that no more forces
would come against them, as they had experienced the day before, thought
they had got a favourable opportunity of destroying our whole cavalry.

XXIX.-After the conflict had continued for some time with great
violence, Dumnacus drew out his army in such a manner, that the foot
should by turns assist the horse. Then the legions, marching in close
order, came suddenly in sight of the enemy. At this sight, the barbarian
horse were so astonished, and the foot so terrified, that breaking
through the line of baggage, they betook themselves to flight with a
loud shout, and in great disorder. But our horse, who a little before
had vigorously engaged them, whilst they made resistance, being elated
with joy at their victory, raising a shout on every side, poured round
them as they ran, and as long as their horses had strength to pursue, or
their arms to give a blow, so long did they continue the slaughter of
the enemy in that battle, and having killed above twelve thousand men in
arms, or such as threw away their arms through fear, they took their
whole train of baggage.

XXX.--After this defeat, when it was ascertained that Drapes, a Senonian
(who in the beginning of the revolt of Gaul, had collected from all
quarters men of desperate fortunes, invited the slaves to liberty,
called in the exiles of the whole kingdom, given an asylum to robbers,
and intercepted the Roman baggage and provisions), was marching to the
province with five thousand men, being all he could collect after the
defeat, and that Luterius a Cadurcian who, as it has been observed in a
former commentary, had designed to make an attack on the Province in the
first revolt of Gaul, had formed a junction with him, Caius Caninius
went in pursuit of them with two legions, lest great disgrace might be
incurred from the fears or injuries done to the Province by the
depredations of a band of desperate men.

XXXI.--Caius Fabius set off with the rest of the army to the Carnutes
and those other states, whose forces he was informed had served as
auxiliaries in that battle, which he fought against Dumnacus. For he had
no doubt that they would be more submissive after their recent
sufferings, but if respite and time were given them, they might be
easily excited by the earnest solicitations of the same Dumnacus. On
this occasion Fabius was extremely fortunate and expeditious in
recovering the states. For the Carnutes, who, though often harassed had
never mentioned peace, submitted and gave hostages: and the other
states, which lie in the remotest parts of Gaul, adjoining the ocean,
and which are called Armoricae, influenced by the example of the
Carnutes, as soon as Fabius arrived with his legions, without delay
comply with his command. Dumnacus, expelled from his own territories,
wandering and skulking about, was forced to seek refuge by himself in
the most remote parts of Gaul.

XXXII.--But Crapes in conjunction with Literius, knowing that Caninius
was at hand with the legions, and that they themselves could not without
certain destruction enter the boundaries of the province, whilst an army
was in pursuit of them, and being no longer at liberty to roam up and
down and pillage, halt in the country of the Cadurci, as Luterius had
once in his prosperity possessed a powerful influence over the
inhabitants, who were his countrymen, and being always the author of new
projects, had considerable authority among the barbarians; with his own
and Drapes' troops he seized Uxellodunum, a town formerly in vassalage
to him and strongly fortified by its natural situation; and prevailed on
the inhabitants to join him.

XXXIII.--After Caninius had rapidly marched to this place, and perceived
that all parts of the town were secured by very craggy rocks, which it
would be difficult for men in arms to climb even if they met with no
resistance; and, moreover, observing that the town's people were
possessed of effects, to a considerable amount, and that if they
attempted to convey them away in a clandestine manner, they could not
escape our horse, nor even our legions; he divided his forces into three
parts, and pitched three camps on very high ground, with the intention
of drawing lines round the town by degrees, as his forces could bear the

XXXIV.--When the townsmen perceived his design, being terrified by the
recollection of the distress at Alesia, they began to dread similar
consequences from a siege; and above all Luterius, who had experienced
that fatal event, cautioned them to make provision of corn; they
therefore resolve by general consent to leave part of their troops
behind, and set out with their light troops to bring in corn. The scheme
having met with approbation, the following night Drapes and Luterius,
leaving two thousand men in the garrison, marched out of the town with
the rest. After a few days' stay in the country of the Cadurci (some of
whom were disposed to assist them with corn, and others were unable to
prevent their taking it) they collected a great store. Sometimes also
attacks were made on our little forts by sallies at night. For this
reason Caninius deferred drawing his works round the whole town, lest he
should be unable to protect them when completed, or by disposing his
garrisons in several places, should make them too weak.

XXXV.--Drapes and Luterius, having laid in a large supply of corn,
occupy a position at about ten miles distance from the town, intending
from it to convey the corn into the town by degrees. They chose each his
respective department. Drapes stayed behind in the camp with part of the
army to protect it; Luterius conveys the train with provisions into the
town. Accordingly, having disposed guards here and there along the road,
about the tenth hour of the night, he set out by narrow paths through
the woods, to fetch the corn into the town. But their noise being heard
by the sentinels of our camp, and the scouts which we had sent out,
having brought an account of what was going on, Caninius instantly with
the ready-armed cohorts from the nearest turrets made an attack on the
convoy at the break of day. They, alarmed at so unexpected an evil, fled
by different ways to their guard: which as soon as our men perceived,
they fell with great fury on the escort, and did not allow a single man
to be taken alive. Luterius escaped thence with a few followers, but did
not return to the camp.

XXXVI.--After this success, Caninius learnt from some prisoners, that a
part of the forces was encamped with Drapes, not more than ten miles
off; which being confirmed by several, supposing that after the defeat
of one general, the rest would be terrified, and might be easily
conquered, he thought it a most fortunate event that none of the enemy
had fled back from the slaughter to the camp, to give Drapes notice of
the calamity which had befallen him. And as he could see no danger in
making the attempt, he sent forward all his cavalry and the German foot,
men of great activity, to the enemy's camp. He divides one legion among
the three camps, and takes the other without baggage along with him.
When he had advanced near the enemy, he was informed by scouts, which he
had sent before him, that the enemy's camp, as is the custom of
barbarians, was pitched low, near the banks of a river, and that the
higher grounds were unoccupied: but that the German horse had made a
sudden attack on them, and had begun the battle. Upon this intelligence,
he marched up with his legion, armed and in order of battle. Then, on a
signal being suddenly given on every side, our men took possession of
the higher grounds. Upon this, the German horse observing the Roman
colours, fought with great vigour. Immediately all the cohorts attack
them on every side; and having either killed or made prisoners of them
all, gained great booty. In that battle, Drapes himself was taken

XXXVII.--Caninius, having accomplished the business so successfully,
without having scarcely a man wounded, returned to besiege the town;
and, having destroyed the enemy without, for fear of whom he had been
prevented from strengthening his redoubts, and surrounding the enemy
with his lines, he orders the work to be completed on every side. The
next day, Caius Fabius came to join him with his forces, and took upon
him the siege of one side.

XXXVIII.--In the meantime, Caesar left Caius Antonius in the country of
the Bellovaci, with fifteen cohorts, that the Belgae might have no
opportunity of forming new plans in future. He himself visits the other
states, demands a great number of hostages, and by his encouraging
language allays the apprehensions of all. When he came to the Carnutes,
in whose state he has in a former commentary mentioned that the war
first broke out; observing, that from a consciousness of their guilt,
they seemed to be in the greatest terror: to relieve the state the
sooner from its fear, he demanded that Guturvatus, the promoter of that
treason, and the instigator of that rebellion, should be delivered up to
punishment. And though the latter did not dare to trust his life even to
his own countrymen, yet such diligent search was made by them all, that
he was soon brought to our camp. Caesar was forced to punish him, by the
clamours of the soldiers, contrary to his natural humanity, for they
alleged that all the dangers and losses incurred in that war, ought to
be imputed to Guturvatus. Accordingly, he was whipped to death, and his
head cut off.

XXXIX.--Here Caesar was informed by numerous letters from Caninius of
what had happened to Drapes and Luterius, and in what conduct the town's
people persisted: and though he despised the smallness of their numbers,
yet he thought their obstinacy deserving a severe punishment, lest Gaul
in general should adopt an idea that she did not want strength but
perseverance to oppose the Romans; and lest the other states, relying on
the advantage of situation, should follow their example and assert their
liberty; especially as he knew that all the Gauls understood that his
command was to continue but one summer longer, and if they could hold
out for that time, that they would have no further danger to apprehend.
He therefore left Quintus Calenus, one of his lieutenants behind him,
with two legions, and instructions to follow him by regular marches. He
hastened as much as he could with all the cavalry to Caninius.

XL.--Having arrived at Uxellodunum, contrary to the general expectation,
and perceiving that the town was surrounded by the works, and that the
enemy had no possible means of retiring from the assault, and being
likewise informed by the deserters that the townsmen had abundance of
corn; he endeavoured to prevent their getting water. A river divided the
valley below, which almost surrounded the steep craggy mountain on which
Uxellodunum was built. The nature of the ground prevented his turning
the current; for it ran so low down at the foot of the mountain, that no
drains could be sunk deep enough to draw it off in any direction. But
the descent to it was so difficult, that if we made opposition, the
besieged could neither come to the river, nor retire up the precipice
without hazard of their lives. Caesar, perceiving the difficulty,
disposed archers and slingers, and in some places, opposite to the
easiest descents, placed engines, and attempted to hinder the townsmen
from getting water at the river, which obliged them afterwards to go all
to one place to procure water.

XLI.--Close under the walls of the town, a copious spring gushed out on
that part, which for the space of nearly three hundred feet, was not
surrounded by the river. Whilst every other person wished that the
besieged could be debarred from this spring, Caesar alone saw that it
could be effected, though not without great danger. Opposite to it he
began to advance the vineae towards the mountain, and to throw up a
mound, with great labour and continual skirmishing. For the townsmen ran
down from the high ground, and fought without any risk, and wounded
several of our men, yet they obstinately pushed on and were not deterred
from moving forward the vineae, and from surmounting by their assiduity
the difficulties of situation. At the same time they work mines, and
move the crates and vineae to the source of the fountain. This was the
only work which they could do without danger or suspicion. A mound sixty
feet high was raised; on it was erected a turret of ten stories, not
with the intention that it should be on a level with the wall (for that
could not be effected by any works), but to rise above the top of the
spring. When our engines began to play from it upon the paths that led
to the fountain, and the townsmen could not go for water without danger,
not only the cattle designed for food and the working cattle, but a
great number of men also died of thirst.

XLII.--Alarmed at this calamity, the townsmen fill barrels with tallow,
pitch, and dried wood; these they set on fire, and roll down on our
works. At the same time, they fight most furiously, to deter the Romans,
by the engagement and danger, from extinguishing the flames. Instantly a
great blaze arose in the works. For whatever they threw down the
precipice, striking against the vine and agger, communicated the fire to
whatever was in the way. Our soldiers on the other hand, though they
were engaged in a perilous sort of encounter, and labouring under the
disadvantages of position, yet supported all with very great presence of
mind. For the action happened in an elevated situation, and in sight of
our army; and a great shout was raised on both sides; therefore every
man faced the weapons of the enemy and the flames in as conspicuous a
manner as he could, that his valour might be the better known and

XLIII.--Caesar, observing that several of his men were wounded, ordered
the cohorts to ascend the mountain on all sides, and, under pretence of
assailing the walls, to raise a shout: at which the besieged being
frightened, and not knowing what was going on in other places, call off
their armed troops from attacking our works, and dispose them on the
walls. Thus our men, without hazarding a battle, gained time partly to
extinguish the works which had caught fire, and partly to cut off the
communication. As the townsmen still continued to make an obstinate
resistance, and even, after losing the greatest part of their forces by
drought, persevered in their resolution: At last the veins of the spring
were cut across by our mines, and turned from their course. By this
their constant spring was suddenly dried up, which reduced them to such
despair that they imagined that it was not done by the art of man, but
the will of the gods; forced, therefore, by necessity, they at length

XLIV.--Caesar, being convinced that his lenity was known to all men, and
being under no fears of being thought to act severely from a natural
cruelty, and perceiving that there would be no end to his troubles if
several states should attempt to rebel in like manner and in different
places, resolved to deter others by inflicting an exemplary punishment
on these. Accordingly he cut off the hands of those who had borne arms
against him. Their lives he spared, that the punishment of their
rebellion might be the more conspicuous. Drapes, who I have said was
taken by Caninius, either through indignation and grief arising from his
captivity, or through fear of severer punishments, abstained from food
for several days, and thus perished. At the same time, Luterius, who, I
have related, had escaped from the battle, having fallen into the hands
of Epasnactus, an Arvernian (for he frequently changed his quarters, and
threw himself on the honour of several persons, as he saw that he dare
not remain long in one place, and was conscious how great an enemy he
deserved to have in Caesar), was by this Epasnactus, the Arvernian, a
sincere friend of the Roman people, delivered without any hesitation, a
prisoner to Caesar.

XLV.--In the meantime, Labienus engages in a successful cavalry action
among the Treviri; and, having killed several of them and of the
Germans, who never refused their aid to any person against the Romans,
he got their chiefs alive into his power, and, amongst them, Surus, an
Aeduan, who was highly renowned both for his valour and birth, and was
the only Aeduan that had continued in arms till that time. Caesar, being
informed of this, and perceiving that he had met with good success in
all parts of Gaul, and reflecting that, in former campaigns, [Celtic]
Gaul had been conquered and subdued; but that he had never gone in
person to Aquitania, but had made a conquest of it, in some degree, by
Marcus Crassus, set out for it with two legions, designing to spend the
latter part of the summer there. This affair he executed with his usual
despatch and good fortune. For all the states of Aquitania sent
ambassadors to him and delivered hostages. These affairs being
concluded, he marched with a guard of cavalry towards Narbo, and drew
off his army into winter quarters by his lieutenants. He posted four
legions in the country of the Belgae, under Marcus Antonius, Caius
Trebonius, Publius Vatinius, and Quintus Tullius, his lieutenants. Two
he detached to the Aedui, knowing them to have a very powerful influence
throughout all Gaul. Two he placed among the Turoni, near the confines
of the Carnutes, to keep in awe the entire tract of country bordering on
the ocean; the other two he placed in the territories of the Lemovices,
at a small distance from the Arverni, that no part of Gaul might be
without an army. Having spent a few days in the province, he quickly ran
through all the business of the assizes, settled all public disputes,
and distributed rewards to the most deserving; for he had a good
opportunity of learning how every person was disposed towards the
republic during the general revolt of Gaul, which he had withstood by
the fidelity and assistance of the Province.

XLVII.--Having finished these affairs, he returned to his legions among
the Belgae and wintered at Nemetocenna: there he got intelligence that
Comius, the Atrebatian had had an engagement with his cavalry. For when
Antonius had gone into winter quarters, and the state of the Atrebates
continued in their allegiance, Comius, who, after that wound which I
before mentioned, was always ready to join his countrymen upon every
commotion, that they might not want a person to advise and head them in
the management of the war, when his state submitted to the Romans,
supported himself and his adherents on plunder by means of his cavalry,
infested the roads, and intercepted several convoys which were bringing
provisions to the Roman quarters.

XLVIII.--Caius Volusenus Quadratus was appointed commander of the horse
under Antonius, to winter with him: Antonius sent him in pursuit of the
enemy's cavalry; now Volusenus added to that valour which was pre-eminent
in him, a great aversion to Comius, on which account he executed
the more willingly the orders which he received. Having, therefore, laid
ambuscades, he had several encounters with his cavalry and came off
successful. At last, when a violent contest ensued, and Volusenus,
through eagerness to intercept Comius, had obstinately pursued him with
a small party; and Comius had, by the rapidity of his flight, drawn
Volusenus to a considerable distance from his troops, he, on a sudden,
appealed to the honour of all about him for assistance not to suffer the
wound, which he had perfidiously received, to go without vengeance; and,
wheeling his horse about, rode unguardedly before the rest up to the
commander. All his horse following his example, made a few of our men
turn their backs and pursued them. Comius, clapping spurs to his horse,
rode up to Volusenus, and, pointing his lance, pierced him in the thigh
with great force. When their commander was wounded, our men no longer
hesitated to make resistance, and, facing about, beat back the enemy.
When this occurred, several of the enemy, repulsed by the great
impetuosity of our men, were wounded, and some were trampled to death in
striving to escape, and some were made prisoners. Their general escaped
this misfortune by the swiftness of his horse. Our commander, being
severely wounded, so much so that he appeared to run the risk of losing
his life, was carried back to the camp. But Comius, having either
gratified his resentment, or, because he had lost the greatest part of
his followers, sent ambassadors to Antonius, and assured him that he
would give hostages as a security that he would go wherever Antonius
should prescribe, and would comply with his orders, and only entreated
that this concession should be made to his fears, that he should not be
obliged to go into the presence of any Roman. As Antonius judged that
his request originated in a just apprehension, he indulged him in it and
accepted his hostages.

* * * * *

Caesar, I know, has made a separate commentary of each year's
transactions, which I have not thought it necessary for me to do,
because the following year, in which Lucius Paulus and Caius Marcellus
were consuls, produced no remarkable occurrences in Gaul. But that no
person may be left in ignorance of the place where Caesar and his army
were at that time, I have thought proper to write a few words in
addition to this commentary.

* * * * *

XLIX.--Caesar, whilst in winter quarters in the country of the Belgae,
made it his only business to keep the states in amity with him, and to
give none either hopes of, or pretext for, a revolt. For nothing was
further from his wishes than to be under the necessity of engaging in
another war at his departure; lest, when he was drawing his army out of
the country, any war should be left unfinished, which the Gauls would
cheerfully undertake, when there was no immediate danger. Therefore, by
treating the states with respect, making rich presents to the leading
men, imposing no new burdens, and making the terms of their subjection
lighter, he easily kept Gaul (already exhausted by so many unsuccessful
battles) in obedience.

L.--When the winter quarters were broken up, he himself, contrary to his
usual practice, proceeded to Italy, by the longest possible stages, in
order to visit the free towns and colonies, that he might recommend to
them the petition of Marcus Antonius, his treasurer, for the priesthood.
For he exerted his interest both cheerfully in favour of a man strongly
attached to him, whom he had sent home before him to attend the
election, and zealously to oppose the faction and power of a few men,
who, by rejecting Marcus Antonius, wished to undermine Caesar's
influence when going out of office. Though Caesar heard on the road,
before he reached Italy, that he was created augur, yet he thought
himself in honour bound to visit the free town and colonies, to return
them thanks for rendering such service to Antonius by their presence in
such great numbers [at the election], and at the same time to recommend
to them himself, and his honour in his suit for the consulate the
ensuing year. For his adversaries arrogantly boasted that Lucius
Lentulus and Caius Marcellus had been appointed consuls, who would strip
Caesar of all honour and dignity: and that the consulate had been
injuriously taken from Sergius Galba, though he had been much superior
in votes and interest, because he was united to Caesar, both by
friendship, and by serving as lieutenant under him.

LI.--Caesar, on his arrival, was received by the principal towns and
colonies with incredible respect and affection; for this was the first
time he came since the war against united Gaul. Nothing was omitted
which could be thought of for the ornament of the gates, roads, and
every place through which Caesar was to pass. All the people with their
children went out to meet him. Sacrifices were offered up in every
quarter. The market places and temples were laid out with
entertainments, as if anticipating the joy of a most splendid triumph.
So great was the magnificence of the richer and zeal of the poorer ranks
of the people.

LII.--When Caesar had gone through all the states of Cisalpine Gaul, he
returned with the greatest haste to the army at Nemetocenna; and having
ordered all his legions to march from winter quarters to the territories
of the Treviri, he went thither and reviewed them. He made Titus
Labienus governor of Cisalpine Gaul, that he might be the more inclined
to support him in his suit for the consulate. He himself made such
journeys, as he thought would conduce to the health of his men by change
of air; and though he was frequently told that Labienus was solicited by
his enemies, and was assured that a scheme was in agitation by the
contrivance of a few, that the senate should interpose their authority
to deprive him of a part of his army; yet he neither gave credit to any
story concerning Labienus, nor could be prevailed upon to do anything in
opposition to the authority of the senate; for he thought that his cause
would be easily gained by the free voice of the senators. For Caius
Curio, one of the tribunes of the people, having undertaken to defend
Caesar's cause and dignity, had often proposed to the senate, "that if
the dread of Caesar's arms rendered any apprehensive, as Pompey's
authority and arms were no less formidable to the forum, both should
resign their command, and disband their armies. That then the city would
be free, and enjoy its due rights." And he not only proposed this, but
of himself called upon the senate to divide on the question. But the
consuls and Pompey's friends interposed to prevent it; and regulating
matters as they desired, they broke up the meeting.

LIII.--This testimony of the unanimous voice of the senate was very
great, and consistent with their former conduct; for the preceding year,
when Marcellus attacked Caesar's dignity, he proposed to the senate,
contrary to the law of Pompey and Crassus, to dispose of Caesar's
province, before the expiration of his command, and when the votes were
called for, and Marcellus, who endeavoured to advance his own dignity,
by raising envy against Caesar, wanted a division, the full senate went
over to the opposite side. The spirit of Caesar's foes was not broken by
this, but it taught them, that they ought to strengthen their interest
by enlarging their connections, so as to force the senate to comply with
whatever they resolved on.

LIV.--After this a decree was passed by the senate, that one legion
should be sent by Pompey, and another by Caesar, to the Parthian war.
But these two legions were evidently drawn from Caesar alone. For the
first legion which Pompey sent to Caesar, he gave Caesar, as if it
belonged to himself, though it was levied in Caesar's province. Caesar,
however, though no one could doubt the design of his enemies, sent the
legion back to Cneius Pompey, and in compliance with the decree of the
senate, ordered the fifteenth, belonging to himself, and which was
quartered in Cisalpine Gaul, to be delivered up. In its room he sent the
thirteenth into Italy, to protect the garrisons from which he had
drafted the fifteenth. He disposed his army in winter quarters, placed
Caius Trebonius, with four legions among the Belgae, and detached Caius
Fabius, with four more, to the Aedui; for he thought that Gaul would be
most secure if the Belgae, a people of the greatest valour, and the
Aedui, who possessed the most powerful influence, were kept in awe by
his armies.

LV.--He himself set out for Italy; where he was informed on his arrival,
that the two legions sent home by him, and which by the senate's decree,
should have been sent to the Parthian war, had been delivered over to
Pompey, by Caius Marcellus the consul, and were retained in Italy.
Although from this transaction it was evident to every one that war was
designed against Caesar, yet he resolved to submit to any thing, as long
as there were hopes left of deciding the dispute in an equitable manner,
rather than have recourse to arms.

Julius Caesar

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