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Orosius, Book 6

      Chapters 1-12 :   73 to 56 B.C.  

Adapted from the translation by I.W. Raymond (1936). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each chapter.   


Book 5

[1] L   All men, whatever their convictions, mode of life, or country, are actuated by a quite natural disposition to follow the dictates of good sense, so that, even if their actions at times do not seem to indicate that the reasoning power of the mind was preferred to the gratification of the flesh, their judgment tells them that it ought to have been. The mind, enlightened by the guidance of reason, rises in the midst of virtues to which it is inclined by an innate predilection, however much it is abased by vices, and perceives the knowledge of God which towers like a citadel. 2 Any man may despise God for a time, but he cannot forever be ignorant of Him. For this reason some people, envisaging God in many things, were driven by an undiscerning reverence to fashion many gods. But the operations of authoritative truth and the arguments of reason itself have very generally led to the abandonment of their position at the present time. 3 Furthermore, their own philosophers also, to say nothing of our saints, exerting their mental powers to the utmost and investigating everything, have discovered one God to be the author of all things, to whom alone all things should be traced. Hence even now the pagans, whom at this time revealed truth convicts of stubbornness rather than of ignorance, grant, when we dispute with them, that they do not follow many gods but worship many subordinate beings under one great god. 4 Although it is true that the manifold ways of reaching a real understanding of God have necessarily brought about a good deal of confusion and a variety of opinion as to His true nature, there is almost universal agreement that God is one. Thus far human investigation has been able to proceed, even if with difficulty. But where reason fails, faith comes to the rescue; 5 for unless we believe, we shall not understand. Listen to the words of God Himself and thus learn the truth that you wish to know concerning Him.

Now this one true God, on whom, as we said, all schools agree even though differing in their interpretations, this God, who changes kingdoms, orders the times, and also punishes sin, has chosen the weak of the world to confound the mighty and has laid the foundation of the Roman Empire by choosing a shepherd of the humblest station. 6 After this empire had prospered for many years under kings and consuls and had gained the mastery of Asia, Africa, and Europe, He conferred all things by His decree upon a single emperor, who was preeminent in power and mercy. 7 Under this emperor, to whom almost all nations rendered respect and due honour with mingled love and fear, the true God, who was worshipped with scrupulous observance of rites by those who did not know Him, opened that great fountainhead of His knowledge. For the purpose of teaching men more quickly through a man, He sent His Son to work miracles that surpassed man's power and to refute the demons, whom some had thought to be gods, in order that those very men who had not believed in Him as a man should believe in His works as of God. 8 He did this also that the glory of the new name and the swift report of the promised salvation might spread abroad quickly and without hindrance in the midst of the state of great tranquillity and universal peace that prevailed and also that His disciples, as they passed through different nations and freely offered the gifts of salvation to all, might have security and liberty to go about and speak as Roman citizens among Roman citizens. 9 I have thought it necessary to mention this because this sixth book extends to the time of Caesar Augustus, to whom these remarks apply.

10 Now some people think that this absolutely clear reasoning is unsound and instead give credit to their own gods, whom, as they believe, they first had the good sense to choose and then won over by their extraordinary devotion so that through them they obtained this extensive and magnificent empire. 11 For these pagans indeed are always boasting that they themselves gained the special favour of the gods by the excellent character of their sacred rites, and that when these rites were abolished or neglected, all the gods went away
  from sanctuary and abandoned altar,
  gods, through whom this Empire had stood firm.   { Vergil, Aeneid, ii.351-2 }

12 Hence, although your holy reverence has already treated many matters most powerfully and truthfully, the situation demands that I add a few considerations. 13 If the Romans gained the favour of the gods by worshipping them and lost it by not worshipping them, then who through worship assured the safety of Romulus himself, the founder of Rome, amid all the evils that assailed him from his very birth? 14 Was it his grandfather, Amulius, who exposed him to die? His father, whose identity was unknown? His mother, Rhea, convicted of fornication? His Alban kinsmen, who persecuted the rising power of Rome even from the very beginning? All Italy, which for four hundred years (as long as it dared) yearned for Rome's destruction? 15 No, they answer. It was the gods themselves, who, knowing that they would be worshipped, protected their future worshippers. The gods, therefore, know the future. 16 If they do know the future, why during all these centuries have they brought this empire to the highest pinnacle of its power just at the time when He willed Himself to be born among men and to be known as a man? For after His advent these gods fell into contempt as worthless and departed with their whole world, even those whom these gods had made mighty. 17 But the answer is given. He crept into this world as one meanly born and entered unregarded. If unregarded and meanly born, whence His universal fame, His undoubted honour, His manifest power? It was by unmistakable signs and miracles that He captured and held fast the minds of men distracted by superstitions. But if a mere man had such power, surely the gods should have wielded still greater power. 18 Inasmuch as He declared that this power was given Him by His Father, has anyone ever been able to attain to the knowledge of that known and unknown God, which knowledge, as I have said, none can apprehend save through Him? No one can do this except the man who, after a thorough self-examination and a humbling of self, has become converted to the wisdom of God, and has exchanged all the reason of a searcher for the faith of a believer.

19 I shall, however, argue the matter briefly as follows. The gods of the pagans are represented as being so powerful that the Roman state was thought to have been exalted by their favour and brought low by their displeasure. Now it is a well-established fact that, at the time when Christ willed to be born and to make Himself known to the nations, the gods were worshipped with the utmost devotion and fervour. 20 Hence, assuming that they were consulting their own interest and that of their worshippers, why were they unable to repress or repel His "superstition," which, as they saw, must leave them scorned and their worshippers utterly forsaken ? However, if the people did not act willingly, the gods should have pardoned instead of abandoning them; if they acted willingly, the gods should have made use of their own foreknowledge and aided them earlier. 21 This is what was done, they answer; we roused nations, we inflamed kings, we established laws, we appointed judges, we made preparations for punishment by torture and crucifixion, we searched the whole world to see if it was possible in any way to wipe the Christian name and religion off the face of the earth. 22 These things went on for a long time until this barbarity, multiplying its kind, made such progress amid tortures and through tortures that it finally seized the imperial throne itself, by which alone it might have been restrained. 23 Then what ensued? The Christian emperors, they say, ordered the sacrifices to cease and the temples to close and thus
  they all went forth from sanctuary and abandoned altar, 
  The gods, through whom this empire had stood firm.   { Vergil, Aeneid, ii.351-2 }

24 Oh, how great, how constant is the light of truth, if weak eyes were not unhappily, alas, closed to its radiance, which so freely offers itself! Now the Christian religion could not in any way be stamped out, although for many generations it was exposed on all sides to the fury of nations, kings, laws, slaughter, crucifixion, and death, but on the contrary, as I have said, it grew in the midst of and because of these things. Yet the worship of idols, which was already somehow failing of its own accord and feeling ashamed of itself, came to an end at the issue of a single most merciful command given without any threat of punishment. 25 Who, then, can doubt that by this demonstration of wisdom those created finally learned those things about their Creator which up to then they had been seeking, however eagerly, through the employment of various forms of reasoning? Though their reasoning was beclouded by other matters, yet they immediately clung fast to their love for Him whom they had cherished even in ignorance. 26 In the same way it is not at all strange that in a large household there will be found some slaves who, having become accustomed to the loose morals of the corrupted, contemptuously abuse the patience of their master. Rightly, therefore, does God reprove the ungrateful, the unbelieving, and also the disobedient with various chastisements. 27 Such, we must agree, has always been the case; but it was especially so at the time when there was as yet no church in all the world which, by the intercessory prayers of her faithful, might have tempered the deserved penalties of the world and the just judgment of God by entreating His mercy. Hence, it is that all the things that men now regard as misfortunes, of whatever kind they may be, were without doubt more severe in times past, as can be shown by the order in which they began.

28 The Mithridatic War or, to be more exact, the disasters of the Mithridatic War, involving as it did many provinces at the same time, was long drawn out, extending over a period of forty years. 29 For the Mithridatic War first blazed forth in the six hundred and sixty-second year of the City, as I have said, at the time when the First Civil War also began. In the consulship of Cicero and Antonius {63 B.C.}, however, to quote the words of the master poet,
  the city was almost consumed by barbaric poison.   { Lucan, i. 337 }

30 Since the records of these days mention thirty years of warfare, one cannot easily explain why some speak of the war as lasting forty years.

[2] L   Mithridates, the king of Pontus and Armenia, now strove to deprive of his kingdom Nicomedes, the king of Bithynia and the friend of the Roman people. When he had been warned by the Senate that if he should attempt to do this the Roman people would be forced to declare war against him, he became angry and at once invaded Cappadocia. He drove out its king, Ariobarzanes, and devastated the whole province with fire and sword. 2 Bithynia next underwent the same destruction. Paphlagonia then suffered the same fate, for her kings, Pylaemenes and Nicomedes, were expelled. Mithridates, coming later to Ephesus, issued a cruel edict ordering that wherever Roman citizens were found throughout the entire province of Asia, they were all to be slaughtered on the same day. 3 And this was done. Words cannot in any way set forth or make clear the number of Roman citizens slaughtered at that time, the mourning that overtook most of the provinces, and the groans of the slain and of the slayers alike when individuals were forced either to betray innocent guests and friends or themselves to risk the punishment intended for their guests.

4 Archelaus, a general of Mithridates, was sent in advance into Achaia with one hundred and twenty thousand infantry and cavalry. Sometimes employing force and at other times accepting surrender, he won control over Athens and all Greece. 5 Sulla, to whose lot the Mithridatic War had fallen after he had completed his consulship {88 B.C.}, long besieged Archelaus at Piraeus, the Athenian port fortified with a sevenfold wall; he later took by storm the very city of Athens. Some time afterward he engaged Archelaus in a pitched battle. It was reported that Archelaus lost one hundred and ten thousand of his army and that barely ten thousand survived the battle.

6 When Mithridates learned of this disaster, he sent seventy thousand of his choicest troops from Asia to reinforce Archelaus. In a second battle fifty thousand of these were slain; and Diogenes, the son of Archelaus, also lost his life. 7 In a third battle the entire force of Archelaus was wiped out. Twenty thousand of his soldiers were driven into a swamp and, though they begged for mercy from Sulla, were killed because his wrath could not be appeased. An equal number were driven into the river and slaughtered, while the wretched remnant was destroyed at random. 8 Furthermore, Mithridates made up his mind to kill the leading men of the most famous cities of Asia and to confiscate their property. When he had already slaughtered one thousand six hundred in this manner, the Ephesians, fearing that they would undergo the same fate, expelled the garrison of Mithridates and barred their gates. The inhabitants of Smyrna, Sardis, Colophon, and Tralles did likewise. 9 Mithridates, now alarmed, concluded through his general Archelaus a treaty of peace with Sulla.

In the meantime Fimbria, a henchman in Marius' crimes and the boldest of them all, killed the consul Flaccus at Nicomedia, where he had gone to join his staff as a legate. 10 As soon as he had taken over the consul's army, Fimbria forced the son of Mithridates to flee from Asia to Miletopolis; he then attacked the quarters of the king, drove him from Pergamum, and following him in his flight to Pitane, laid siege to that city. Fimbria would certainly have captured the king had L. Lucullus placed the safety of the Republic before civil discords and had he been willing to exert full pressure on the besieged king by having the fleet block his escape by sea.

11 Fimbria became enraged at the inhabitants of Ilium, who, in their loyalty to the Sullan faction, had repulsed him, it seemed, by barring their gates. He visited the city with fire and slaughter and utterly destroyed that ancient foster mother of Rome. But Sulla at once rebuilt the city. When this same Fimbria was besieged by the army of Sulla at Thyatira, he was driven by despair to commit suicide in the Temple of Aesculapius. 12 Fannius and Magius fled from the army of Fimbria and joined Mithridates. On their advice the latter made a treaty with Sertorius through the offices of ambassadors whom he had sent to Spain. Sertorius sent M. Marius to him for the purpose of ratifying the treaty. Mithridates kept him at his side and in a short time appointed him general in place of Archelaus, who had betaken himself with his wife and children to Sulla. 13 Marius and Eumachus, who were dispatched by Mithridates as generals against Lucullus, assembled a great army in a short time and engaged in battle with P. Rutilius near Chalcedon; he and the greater part of his army were slain there. 14 By constructing a trench, Lucullus surrounded Mithridates while the latter was besieging the inhabitants of Cyzicus, and forced him to suffer what they had suffered. He also sent one of the soldiers, who was an expert swimmer, as a messenger to the Cyzicenes to bid them be of good cheer. Supported by two inflated bladders, this soldier held a pole in the middle and, propelling himself along by his feet, covered a distance of seven miles. 15 Mithridates, who was suffering from lack of supplies, ordered part of his army to leave for home. But Lucullus overtook and destroyed all of this force. It is said that more than fifteen thousand men were killed at that time.

16 In those days also, not only Fannius, who had joined Mithridates, but also the royal praetor Metrophanes, was defeated by Mamercus. They fled with two thousand cavalry to Mysia and, turning aside from there to Maeonia, came unexpectedly upon the hills and fields of Inarime. 17 In that region not only did the mountains look scorched and the rocks darkened by some kind of soot, but over a space of fifty miles the fields, wretched in appearance because the soil had been burned by fire, were covered with a deep layer of decaying ashes, although there was no sign of either fire or crater. In three places dry chasms, which the Greeks call physae, were visible. 18 The troops, wandering about these places for a long time, were at length delivered from unexpected dangers and secretly came to the king's camp. Deiotarus, the king of the Gallograeci, slew the royal prefects in battle.

19 In the meantime, Mithridates was blockaded at Cyzicus and underwent as long a siege as had those whom he had blockaded. His army was reduced to great hardship and became a prey to disease. He is said to have lost more than three hundred thousand men from hunger and disease during that siege. Mithridates himself and a few companions seized a ship and secretly fled from the camp. 20 Lucullus, an eyewitness of his enemy's disaster, won a novel victory since he himself did not lose a single soldier. Soon afterward he attacked and defeated Marius and put him to flight in a battle in which more than eleven thousand of Marius's troops, according to report, were killed. 21 Lucullus later met this same Marius in a naval encounter and sank or captured thirty-two of the royal ships and also a great many transports. Many of those whom Sulla had proscribed were killed in that battle. 22 On the next day Marius was dragged out from a cave in which he was hiding and paid the penalty that his hostile intentions merited. 23 In the same campaign, Lucullus desolated Apamia; after storming and capturing the heavily fortified city of Prusa, situated at the foot of Mount Olympus, he destroyed it. 24 A storm overtook the fleet of Mithridates as it was sailing in battle array toward Byzantium; eighty beaked ships were lost. When his own ship was shattered and was sinking, he leaped aboard a small boat belonging to a pirate named Seleucus, who went to his aid. Mithridates then managed with great difficulty to reach Sinope and later, Amisus.

[3] L   In the same year at Rome, Catiline was accused of an immoral act which he was alleged to have committed with Fabia, a Vestal Virgin. His friend Catulus, however, exerted influence in his behalf and thus he escaped punishment.

2 Lucullus laid siege to Sinope, intending to take it by storm. The arch-pirate Seleucus and the eunuch Cleochares, who were in command of the defence, abandoned the city after pillaging and burning it. 3 Disturbed by the destruction now being wrought within the city's walls by his wretched enemy, Lucullus took swift measures to extinguish the fire that had been set ablaze. Thus the unfortunate city, alternately exposed to enemies and allies, was ruined by those whose duty it was to defend it and was saved by those who had sought to destroy it. 4 M. Lucullus, who had succeeded Curio in Macedonia, accepted the surrender of the whole nation of the Bessi with whom he had been at war.

5 At that time, Metellus, the praetor of Sicily, discovered that the island had been ruined under the disgraceful praetorship of C. Verres. He also found that she had been torn to pieces by the criminal depredations and slaughters of the arch-pirate Pyrganion, who had secured control of the port of Syracuse after the defeat of the Roman fleet. Metellus quickly crushed this man in a naval and land battle and forced him to leave Sicily.

6 Moreover, Lucullus crossed the Euphrates and Tigris, encountered Mithridates and Tigranes at Tigranocerta, and with a very small force killed a great number of the enemy. Thirty thousand men were reported to have fallen in that battle. 7 Tigranes barely escaped with an escort of one hundred and fifty horsemen. To conceal his identity, he threw away his diadem and tiara. At this juncture envoys from almost the entire East came as suppliants to Lucullus. On the approach of winter, Lucullus retraced his march through Armenia to Mesopotamia and there stormed and captured Nisibis, a city which was then famous in those parts.

[4] L   In these days pirates were scattered over all the seas and were not only intercepting the supply ships but were also laying waste islands and provinces. Their numbers were constantly being swelled by people who, prompted by greed for booty and by the opportunity of committing crime without risk of punishment, were everywhere joining their ranks. After they had long wrought much havoc on land and sea, Cn. Pompey crushed these men so quickly that people were utterly astonished.

2 At the same time Metellus for two years wrought destruction upon the island of Crete, which he eventually brought under his power when its resistance had been broken by long wars. He then substituted the laws of Rome in place of the laws of Minos.

3 Pompey, the successor of Lucullus, later surrounded the camp of the king in Lesser Armenia near Mount Dastarcum. After sallying forth in the night with all his troops, the king decided, as the next move, to repel his pursuer by engaging him in battle. Pompey did his best to overtake them as they fled. Battle was then joined at night. 4 The moon had risen behind the Romans. The royal soldiers, judging the nearness of the Romans by the length of their shadows, hurled their darts in vain. Quite unharmed, the Romans later attacked and easily conquered them. 5 Forty thousand of the royal army were slain or captured, while of the Romans only a thousand were wounded and barely forty killed. 6 The king slipped away amid the din of battle and, aided by the faint light of the night, made good his escape. Abandoned by all of his friends, philosophers, historians, poets, and doctors, alone he led his horse through unfrequented ways, terrified by all the noises of the night. He finally took refuge in a certain stronghold and from there hastened to Armenia.

7 Before following the king between the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Araxes, which rise from one mountain though from different caverns, Pompey founded the city of Nicopolis, where he left the aged people, the camp followers, and the sick who wished to stay. 8 He pardoned Tigranes at the latter's entreaty and three times defeated in battle the army of Orodes, the king of the Albanians, and his prefects. Later he was happy to receive a letter from Orodes and the presents sent by the Albanians as a peace offering. He then fought and routed Artoces, the king of Iberia, and received all Iberia in surrender. 9 After he had pacified and reorganised Armenia, the Colchians, Cappadocia, and Syria, he pushed on from Pontus into Parthia to Ecbatana, the capital of the Parthian kingdom, arriving there on the fifteenth day.

[5] L   While Mithridates was celebrating the sacred rites of Ceres in Bosporus, an earthquake suddenly occurred of so great violence that it caused much damage to both city and country. 2 At the same time Castor, who was the prefect of Mithridates and in command of Phanagorium, seized the citadel. After slaying the king's friends he turned over the four children of Mithridates to the Roman garrison. 3 Mithridates, fired with anger, blazed forth in a series of crimes, murdering a great number of his friends at the time and also his own son Exipodra. He had already committed another parricide by putting (his son) Machares to death. 4 Pharnaces, another son of his, now terrified by the fate of his brothers, won over to his side the army sent to attack him, and soon led it against his father. 5 Mithridates, standing on the top of the wall, long pleaded in vain with his son. When he found him relentless, he is reported to have exclaimed when about to die: "Since Pharnaces orders my death, I beseech you, O gods of my native land, if you do exist, that he himself may also some day hear this utterance from his own children." Straightway he went down to his wives, concubines, and daughters, and gave poison to them all. 6 Mithridates himself was the last to swallow the poison, but because he had taken antidotes over a long period, thus rendering his vital organs immune to the effects of poisonous juices, the poison could not kill him. He ran up and down in a vain attempt to see, as a final measure, whether the deadly drink would not now spread through his veins under the stimulus of vigorous exercise. Finally he summoned a certain Gallic soldier who happened to be running by after the wall had been broken down, and offered his throat to him. 7 Such was the death suffered by Mithridates who, reputed to be one of the most superstitious of all men, left us a clear record of his way of thinking. He was seventy-two years of age at the time of his death and had always surrounded himself with philosophers, skilled in all the arts.

8 "If you exist," he said, "O gods of my native land." Thus he had come to the conclusion after a long period of worship and of search, that those gods, who were usually thought to exist, could not with absolute certainty be proved to exist. A king of rich experience and one old in years did not grasp the fact that there was a true God, to the knowledge of whom one comes only by hearing His Word in faith. He had perceived by the light of his reason that these gods were false, but he yielded to some extent to custom as well as asserting his own convictions. 9 "If you exist, O gods," he said, thereby meaning: "I myself feel that there exists above mankind a power mightier than man himself. Being influenced by the need for prayer, I commend to them my scrupulousness, and I apologise for my own ignorance; for although I invoke a God who exists, actually I find one who does not exist." 10 For this reason, this question must be sorrowfully and anxiously considered: what punishment or what judgment will they deserve who, contrary to the command of a truth that is at present widely diffused and known to all, eagerly follow and worship those gods whose credibility was already open to doubt in those days when people could have known no divinity other than those same gods? 11 Nevertheless, I present the following brief reflection. What were the conditions that existed in those days over the entire East, when for a space of forty years the wretched nations were ground to pieces by great generals who successively ravaged them? Since each city in the midst of this warfare was inevitably endangered, it was therefore destined to inflame a new enemy by the very means through which it had rid itself of the old and to suffer disaster from what had been used as a temporary remedy. 12 Terror-stricken embassies from different provinces then went to one Roman general after another and to Mithridates, who was even harsher than he was reputed to be, bringing different offers to each according as he was temporarily favoured by the fortunes of war, exaggerating the dangers which they were trying to cure. 13 I shall set forth in a few words what Pompey, who indeed was one of the most moderate of the Romans, accomplished after the close of the Mithridatic War throughout most of the regions of the East.

[6] L   Six hundred and eighty-nine years after the founding of the City and during the consulship of M. Tullius Cicero and C. Antonius {63 B.C.}, Pompey, upon receiving news of the death of Mithridates, invaded Coele Syria and Phoenicia. He first subdued the Ituraeans and then the Arabians, also capturing their city, which they call Petra. 2 Next he sent Gabinius with an army against the city of Jerusalem and against the Jews, over whom Aristobulus was reigning in succession to his brother Hyrcanus, who had been driven out. Aristobulus was the first member of the priesthood to become a king. Pompey himself followed closely behind Gabinius and though he was welcomed in the city by the fathers, nevertheless he was driven away by the people from the wall of the Temple; he therefore decided to capture it. 3 The Temple was fortified not only by its natural location but also by a huge wall and a great ditch. After throwing legion after legion into the fray day and night without rest, each legion relieving the preceding one, Pompey barely managed to take the Temple by storm in the third month. Thirteen thousand Jews, according to report, were slain there. The rest of the number submitted to the Romans. 4 Pompey gave orders for the walls of the city to be dismantled and levelled to the ground. Later he had a considerable number of the leading Jews executed, restored Hyrcanus to his priestly office, and had Aristobulus led captive to Rome. Appearing in person before an assembly of the Roman people, Pompey told the story of this war which he had waged against twenty-two kings.

5 In the meantime, there arose the conspiracy of Catiline against his native land. This conspiracy was betrayed in the City during these same days, but in Etruria it was extinguished by a civil war. In Rome the accomplices were put to death. 6 But this story has been made so well known to all by Cicero's deeds and Sallust's description, that it is enough for me to present a much abridged account of it. 7 The Marcelli, father and son, also instigated a rebellion in the country of the Paeligni, but the uprising was betrayed by Vettius. When the conspiracy of Catiline was detected, it was crushed as if its very roots had been cut off; punishment was exacted in two localities, among the Paeligni by Bibulus and among the Bruttii by Cicero.

[7] L   In the six hundred and ninety-third year after the founding of the City and in the consulship of C. Caesar and L. Bibulus {59 B.C.}, the three provinces of Gallia Transalpina, Cisalpina, and Illyricum, with seven legions were awarded by the Lex Vatinia to Caesar for a period of five years. Gallia Comata was later added by the Senate.

2 Suetonius Tranquillus has most fully unfolded this history, the significant portions of which I myself have epitomised.

3 By holding out the hope of successfully invading all the Gallic provinces, a certain Orgetorix, the chief of the Helvetii, stirred up war among his people, the bravest of all the Gallic tribes. The Helvetii won this reputation because they were almost continuously at war with the Germans, who were separated from them by the Rhine. 4 After Orgetorix had been seized and compelled to kill himself, the other nobles could not hold the people in check once their minds had been set on booty. They formed a conspiracy and on the appointed day burned their villages and homes so that no inducement to return would remain. They then began their march. 5 Caesar blocked their passage at the Rhone River and after twice defeating them in great and hard-fought battles forced them to surrender. The whole number of those who had set out in the first place, that is, the number of the Helvetii, Tulingi, Latobrigi, Rauraci, and Boii, counting both sexes, amounted to one hundred and fifty-seven thousand. Of these, forty-seven thousand fell in battle; the rest were sent back to their own lands.

6 In the territories of the Sequani, Caesar later conquered King Ariovistus, who was inciting warfare and bringing with him an incredible number of German troops. This king boasted that with these troops he had recently subjugated all the Gallic peoples, while Caesar's army, terrified by the vast number and courage of the Germans, had long declined the challenge to battle. 7 After his defeat Ariovistus immediately seized a skiff, crossed the Rhine to Germany, and escaped; his two wives and two daughters, however, were captured. In the army of Ariovistus were the Harudes, Marcomanni, Triboci, Vangiones, Nemetes, Sedusii, and Suebi. 8 The battle fought was especially severe on account of the formation adopted by the Germans. They were drawn up in the form of a phalanx protected on all sides with advance columns in close formation and with shields interlocked above their heads in order to shatter the attack of the Roman battle line. 9 But after some Roman soldiers, noted for their nimbleness and daring, had leaped over the overspreading testudo and had torn away the shields one by one as if they were scales, they pierced the exposed shoulders of the enemy who were caught unawares and without adequate covering. In their terror at this new peril threatening their lives, the Germans broke up their awe-inspiring formation and fled. 10 The Romans pursued them over a distance of fifty miles and inflicted upon them a slaughter that never seemed to be satisfied. It is impossible to estimate either the number of the enemy engaged in that battle or the number slain.

11 After these events, the tribe of the Belgae, who constituted a third of the Gauls, broke out in rebellion against Caesar. 12 The distribution of their forces was as follows: The Bellovaci, who enjoyed the reputation of excelling in numbers and courage, had sixty thousand picked troops, while the Suessiones had fifty thousand from twelve towns. 13 The Nervii likewise had fifty thousand soldiers. Their untamed barbarity was a matter of common knowledge, it being everywhere known that never up to that time had they permitted merchants to bring into their territories wine or other articles of luxury, the enjoyment of which might paralyse their courage. 14 The Atrebates and the Ambiani also had ten thousand; the Morini, twenty-five thousand; the Menapii, nine thousand; the Caleti, ten thousand; the Veliocasses and Viromandui each ten thousand; and the Aduatuci, eighteen thousand. The Condrusi, Eburones, Caeroesi, Paemani, who were grouped under the one name of Germans, had forty thousand. 15 Altogether there were reported to have been two hundred and seventy-two thousand picked soldiers. 16 Caesar's army was thrown into confusion and put to flight by an unexpected attack made by these men, who suddenly burst forth from the forest. After suffering severe losses, the Roman army finally rallied under the encouragement of its leader, attacked the victors, and destroyed them almost to the last man.

[8] L   After Caesar had accomplished great deeds in Gaul and had decided to set out for Italy, Galba was dispatched with the twelfth legion against the Veragri and Seduni. 2 Galba took up his quarters for the winter in a village of the Veragri called Octodurus. He assigned to the inhabitants the central part of the town which was separated from the rest by a rapid stream. One day he noticed that they had left during the previous night and were occupying a nearby hill. 3 The Veragri, indeed, holding in contempt the small numbers of the Romans, who had barely half a legion, thought that booty would of its own accord flow into their hands without any effort on their part. They also had invited their neighbours to participate in this carnage and to share in the spoils.

4 Galba was alarmed by the dangers now surrounding him on all sides, but hesitated to choose any definite plan because the advice so far received had been conflicting. The Gauls then suddenly poured down the slope of the mountain and laid siege to the unfinished camp. With rocks and javelins they overwhelmed the defenders stationed at intervals along the rampart. 5 While the camp was being assaulted, all the Romans, acting on the advice of the chief centurion Pacuvius and the tribune Volusenus, burst forth from the gates and suddenly attacked the enemy who were off their guard. The Romans first threw them into confusion and then, after putting them to flight, slaughtered them mercilessly. More than thirty thousand barbarians, according to report, fell at this time.

6 Though Caesar thought that all the Gallic tribes had now been pacified, he was drawn back into a new and exceedingly great war. 7 While P. Crassus, a young man, was wintering with the seventh legion by the Ocean among the Andicavi, the Veneti and other neighbours suddenly formed a conspiracy to wage war, bound the envoys of the Romans in chains, and announced that they would return these envoys to the Romans only when they had received back their own hostages. 8 As allies for that war, they took the Osismi, Lexovii, Namnetes, Ambivariti, Morini, Diablintes, and Menapii, and they summoned assistance even from Britain.

9 Caesar was then informed by Crassus that the tribes which had previously surrendered were in rebellion. Although he knew how difficult it would be to begin war, he nevertheless realised that a matter of such grave importance could not be disregarded, lest other tribes might be tempted to follow their example. 10 Consequently he advanced to engage the enemy in a land battle, but to no avail, since the enemy had withdrawn through marshes flooded by the Ocean into places difficult of approach and were now protected by the shelter their hiding places afforded. Therefore he ordered warships to be built on the Liger River, 11 and floated them down to the Ocean. As soon as the enemy saw them, they speedily made ready two hundred and twenty ships of their own, equipped with every kind of armament. Leaving the harbour these ships took a position opposite the Romans. 12 Brutus was aware that the naval conflict would be waged on very unequal terms, because the ships of the barbarians had been joined with beams of solid oak, and their mighty hulls, having the strength of rock, weakened the force of blows struck by the beaks of the opposing ships. 13 His first move to help himself was to prepare sharply pointed hooks fastened to poles and attached with cords. With these contrivances, when need should arise, they could catch hold of the rigging from a distance and cut it down by withdrawing the shafts and retrieving the hook by pulling in the cord.

14 After these contrivances had been speedily made ready, he gave orders to his men to sever the tackle and sail yards of the enemy ships. When these sail yards had been brought down, many of their ships were rendered as motionless as if they had been captured. 15 Some of the enemy, terrified by this danger, unfurled the sails of their ships where there was any wind at all and attempted to flee, but as the wind soon died, the Romans laughed at them. 16 When all the ships had been set on fire and those Gauls engaged in the battle had been killed, all the rest surrendered. 17 Because of the wrong done his ambassadors, and in order to teach a lesson to a people who were swayed by every new proposal, Caesar imprinted a terrible example upon their memory. He ordered all their chiefs to be tortured and put to death and the rest of the survivors to be sold into slavery.

18 In these same days Titurius Sabinius made a sortie and destroyed with unbelievable slaughter the Aulerci, Eburovices, and Lexovii, who had put their own chiefs to death because the latter were unwilling to recommend a renewal of the war. 19 When Publius Crassus had come to Aquitania, he encountered armed resistance. The Sontiates attacked the Romans with a large detachment of cavalry and strong infantry forces, and threw them into serious disorder for a long time 20 but were themselves ultimately defeated, driven into the town of the Sontiates, and besieged. When they saw that they would be conquered, they handed over their arms and surrendered.

21 Alarmed by this disaster, the Aquitani assembled an army from all sides, summoning assistance even from Hither Spain. They appointed as commanders for that war the same leaders who had served with Sertorius. 22 While they were all making preparations to besiege him, Crassus succeeded in overpowering and destroying them in their own camp. Out of the army of the Aquitani and Cantabri - fifty thousand of the latter had come as auxiliaries - thirty-eight thousand, according to report, lost their lives. 23 Caesar then attacked and reduced almost to the last man the Germans who had crossed the Rhine with huge forces and who at that very time were preparing to bring all Gaul under their control. It is said that they numbered four hundred and forty thousand.

[9] L   After constructing a bridge, Caesar then crossed to the country of the Germans and delivered the Sugambri and Ubii from a siege. His arrival brought terror to the entire country and also to the Suebi, the largest and fiercest tribe, who, according to information given by many people, had a hundred cantons and districts. Caesar then destroyed the bridge and withdrew to Gaul. 2 Thence he came to the territories of the Morini where is to be found the nearest and shortest passage to Britain, to which, after preparing about eighty transports and swift ships, he set sail. In Britain he was first harassed by a bitter conflict and then overtaken by a disastrous storm; in the end he lost the greater part of the fleet, a considerable number of soldiers, and almost all of his cavalry. 3 Returning to Gaul, he sent the legions into winter quarters and ordered six hundred ships to be built of every kind needed. 4 With these ships, at the beginning of spring, he again sailed to Britain. While he himself was proceeding with his army against the enemy, the ships, which were riding at anchor, were overtaken by a storm and either smashed against one another or were dashed to pieces on the sands and destroyed. Forty ships were lost; the rest were refitted with great difficulty.

5 Caesar's cavalry was defeated by the Britons in the first battle, in which the tribune Labienus lost his life. In a second battle, though not without risk to his own men, Caesar defeated and routed the Britons. 6 Thence he advanced to the Thames River which, they say, is fordable only at one place. On the further bank, a vast host of the enemy under the leadership of Cassovellaunus had taken its position and had planted very sharp stakes under the water along almost the entire ford. 7 When the Romans detected and avoided these obstacles, the barbarians, unable to withstand the onset of the legions, hid themselves in the woods, whence they severely harassed the Romans with their frequent sallies. 8 In the meantime, the powerful city of the Trinobantes and their leader Mandubracius surrendered to Caesar, after giving forty hostages. 9 Several other cities followed this example and entered the Roman alliance. Acting according to their advice, Caesar, after a severe struggle, finally captured the stronghold of Cassovellaunus, which was situated between two swamps and fortified by the covering of the wood and well stocked with supplies of all kinds.

[10] L   After his return to Gaul from Britain, Caesar dispatched his legions to winter quarters. He was then beset and harassed on all sides by unexpected uprisings and wars. Ambiorix had formed a conspiracy with the Eburones and Aduatuci. Acting upon the plan suggested by the Treveri, Ambiorix led the legates Cotta and Sabinus into ambush in the territory of the Eburones, and slew them. 2 Elated by his victory, Ambiorix hurriedly persuaded the Aduatuci, Nervii, and many other tribes to take up arms, and marched quickly against Cicero, the legate at that time commanding the legion in winter quarters. 3 The number of the enemy can be deduced from the following incident. They had been taught by Roman prisoners that when they were besieging a camp, they should surround it with a rampart. But not having any farming implements with them, they had to dig up the soil with their swords and carry it away in military cloaks. It took them barely three hours to complete a rampart ten feet high and a ditch that was fifteen feet wide and fifteen miles in circumference. In addition, they erected one hundred and twenty towers of unusual height.

4 Just when the enemy, fighting in wedge formation, were about to break, after a battle lasting seven continuous days and nights, a strong wind began to blow. They then used their slings to fling glowing tiles into the camp and also threw darts which had become red hot and ablaze from the heat of the fire. 5 The breeze quickly swept through the straw thatch and fanned the fires which had already begun to spread. But not even then did the Romans, though overwhelmed on every side, yield to the hardship caused by wounds, long watches, hunger, and fire. 6 Finally news came to Caesar that one legion had been wiped out and that the other was about to be destroyed.

7 When Caesar arrived on the scene with two legions, the enemy abandoned the siege and, uniting their forces, rushed out to engage him. Caesar, purposely concealing himself in a small camp, sent ahead the cavalry and ordered them to feign flight and thus lure the enemy, now contemptuous of him, to cross the intervening valley, which appeared to him to be fraught with danger. 8 When the enemy drew near, he also ordered the gates to be barricaded. Upon noticing this, the Gauls, thinking that they had already won the battle, wheeled about in order to surround the camp with a rampart. From all gates Caesar suddenly let loose his army that was standing ready and after putting the Gauls to flight wrought great disaster upon them. 9 According to report they numbered sixty thousand, of whom only a few escaped through the almost impassable swamps.

10 Indutiomarus, the chief of the Treveri, who had a large number of troops with him, after being assured of the unanimous accord of all Gaul, decided first to destroy the camp of Labienus and the legion which the latter commanded in the belief that this could be accomplished easily. Next he planned, in conjunction with the Eburones and Nervii, to overwhelm Caesar. 11 Labienus practiced all sorts of wiles to make Indutiomarus believe that he was afraid, then made a sudden sally and crushed him while the barbarian, accompanied by his troops who were offering insults, was rather carelessly wandering in front of the fortification. 12 This victory of Labienus checked any further attempts on the part of the Gauls, and Caesar spent the remaining part of the winter in comparative peace. 13 Caesar, however, knew that greater difficulties still lay ahead of him in war, especially since the larger part of his army was lost and the remainder was incapacitated by wounds, and that he was apparently in no condition even to maintain his own position to say nothing of smashing the attack of the Gauls. Therefore he requested the proconsul Pompey to enrol legions for him and to dispatch them to his assistance. Before the end of the winter, three legions arrived at his camp.

14 At the beginning of spring Caesar prepared to attack the enemy, who were still terrified, and to crush them while they were still scattered far and wide in their own territories. He planned to do this before their forces could unite in one body. His first move was to ravage the territory of the Nervii, whose rich country he permitted his army to plunder. 15 Then with three columns he made an attack upon the Menapii, who appeared to be well protected by immense swamps and almost impassable forests. After he had inflicted great slaughter upon them everywhere, he received in surrender the remnant who came to him as suppliants. 16 In another battle, Labienus slew all the troops of the Treveri. He tricked them into battle before the approaching Germans could join them, and speedily captured their city.

17 Caesar, who wished to avenge the death of his legates Sabinus and Cotta, whose legion Ambiorix and the Eburones had destroyed, then learned that they had taken refuge in the Arduenna Forest. 18 This forest was the largest in all Gaul and stretched from the banks of the Rhine and the territories of the Treveri to the lands of the Nervii, extending in length over fifty miles. 19 He calculated that the undertaking would seriously endanger his own men, who were unacquainted with the region. Therefore he sent messengers to all the Gallic tribes and invited each, according to its pleasure, to seek and to plunder the booty hidden in the Arduenna Forest. 20 This was done, and the Gauls, killing one another as their armies fought, avenged the great injuries that they had inflicted on the Romans without the loss of a single Roman soldier. 2 By thus employing a method of conquest which was absolutely free from danger, Caesar returned to Italy in safety.

[11] L   After Caesar had returned to Italy, the Gauls again formed a conspiracy to go to war and many tribes straightway entered into an alliance. Vercingetorix was their leader and on his advice all the Gauls of their own accord immediately set fire to their cities. Biturigo was the first city to be burnt by its own people. 2 The Gauls then made an attack upon Caesar, who had secretly hurried back by forced marches through the province of Narbo. 3 Caesar at this time had invested a town named Caenapum. After this town had been under attack for a long time and the Romans had suffered many disasters, it was finally captured and destroyed by towers that had been brought into action on a rainy day. The rain caused the strings and thongs of the enemy war machines to become slackened. 4 Of the forty thousand men reported to have been in the engagement, barely eighty slipped away in flight and came to the nearest camp of the Gauls.

5 The Arverni and other neighbours - even the Aedui were induced to join them - also fought many battles against Caesar. 6 When the enemy had retired to a certain fortress, the soldiers, wearied from fighting yet still eager for booty, were determined to storm the town, even after Caesar had pleaded in vain with them, pointing out the unfavourable character of the terrain. On this occasion Caesar was hard pressed by the enemy who were making sorties from above and, after losing a large part of his army, was defeated and took flight.

7 While these events were taking place at Alesia, Vercingetorix, who had been chosen king by the unanimous consent of all, persuaded everyone throughout entire Gaul capable of bearing arms to make ready to serve in this war. For this was a war which would result in perpetual liberty, eternal slavery, or death for all. 8 Besides that countless multitude which he had brought together earlier, there were assembled about eight thousand cavalry and two hundred and fifty thousand infantry.

9 The Romans and the Gauls then occupied two hills opposite each other. From these hills they carried on battle by frequent sorties with changing fortunes, until the Romans won a victory, thanks to the splendid courage of the German cavalry whom they had summoned to their aid and who were friends of long standing. 10 On another day Vercingetorix brought together all who had escaped by flight and said that he had in good faith been the prime mover of this war in defence of their freedom, that he had caused the treaty to be broken, and that he now would be ready to await their decision whether all the Gauls should offer themselves to the Romans to be killed or whether they should surrender him alone in behalf of all. 11 The Gauls then brought to the surface the wish which through shame they had concealed for a long time; pretending that they were acting on the advice of their king, they asked pardon for themselves and surrendered Vercingetorix as the sole perpetrator of the great crime.

12 In the opinion of the Gauls themselves, the Bellovaci were braver than any other Gallic tribe. Under the leadership of Correus, these same Bellovaci resumed the war, securing as their allies for this new war the Ambiani, Aulerci, Caleti, Veliocasses, and Atrebates. They occupied a certain stretch of ground that was surrounded and rendered unapproachable by marshes. In the battle that followed they slew a large band of the Remi, who were serving as Roman auxiliaries. 13 They themselves then occupied a favourable position and one well-suited for ambuscades. When the Romans discovered this, they advanced, equipped and drawn up in full battle array, to the place where the ambuscades were set. Battle was joined. The Romans surrounded the Gauls as they were fleeing from the fortified places in which they had been enclosed, and slew them almost to the last man. 14 Correus, disdaining both flight and surrender, forced the Romans, who wished to capture him alive, to kill him on the spot.

15 When Caesar thought that the whole of Gaul was pacified and would not dare to raise any rebellion, he dispatched the legions into winter quarters, but he himself ravaged the territories of Ambiorix, who had stirred up so many wars, and inflicted a horrible slaughter upon the inhabitants. 16 The legate C. Caninius, however, upon arriving in the territory of the Pictones, discovered a war raging there. A vast host of the enemy had surrounded the legion while it was encumbered on the march, and placed it in greatest peril. 17 But the legate Fabius received a letter from Caninius and at once set out for the territory of the Pictones where he was informed by prisoners about the local situation. He took the enemy unawares, overwhelmed them after terrific slaughter, and carried off a great amount of booty. 18 When Caninius had been notified of the legate's arrival, his soldiers suddenly rushed out from every part of the camp and threw themselves upon the enemy. Pressed by Fabius on one side and by Caninius on another, the countless Gallic forces were slaughtered in a great and long-drawn-out battle. 19 Fabius then set out against the Carnutes, for he knew that Domnacus, their ancient leader and the instigator of the whole rebellion, had escaped from that battle and that if he were to join the Armorican peoples, a great rebellion would again be set in motion in Gaul. By a remarkable display of courage and speed, Fabius subdued these tribes while they were dumbfounded by the unprecedented character of his tactics.

20 In the meantime, Drappes and Lucterius, seeing that Caninius and his legions were present in their territories, collected forces from all sides and seized the town of Uxellodunum. 21 This town was situated on the highest peak of a mountain and was bordered on two sides by precipitous slopes and a fair-sized river. It was well supplied with water from an abundant spring situated in the middle of the slope and also had a large supply of grain stored within; from its secure position the city looked with contempt upon the ineffectual manoeuvres of the enemy afar off. 22 Caninius accomplished all that could be done by Roman foresight. He induced both Gallic generals with the greater part of their troops to come down into the plain where he overcame them in a great battle. When one of these generals had been slain, the other took flight with a very small number of men. No one returned to the town. But to capture that town they had to call upon Caesar.

23 When Caesar had learned through messengers how matters stood, he hastened to the place and, viewing the situation from all angles, saw that if he should try to force his way into the town by an assault, his army would become subject to the ridicule of the enemy. One thing alone could assist him, namely, depriving the enemy in any way whatsoever of their supply of water. 24 But Caesar could not accomplish this if the spring which they were using for drinking purposes continued to pour forth its waters from the middle of one of the sloping sides of the mountain. Caesar ordered mantlets to be moved as near as possible to the spring and a tower erected. A great crowd from the town assembled on the spot. Although the Romans fought stubbornly and repeatedly made successful advances, yet many were slain, since the enemy from their position fought without danger to themselves. 25 A rampart was therefore thrown up and a tower sixty feet high constructed, the top of which was on a level with the spring, so that the Romans could hurl missiles from the same level as the enemy without fear that showers of rocks might be thrown down upon them from above.

26 When the townsfolk saw that not only their flocks but even their aged men were dying of thirst, they filled tubs with grease, pitch, and shingle, and then, having set them afire, sent them hurtling down the slope. They themselves swarmed out from the entire town and followed closely after them. 27 When his machines caught fire, Caesar saw that the battle would have serious consequences and would be very dangerous to his men. Therefore he ordered some cohorts to go secretly and swiftly around the town and suddenly to raise a loud shout from every quarter. When this was done, the townsfolk became alarmed, and wanting to run back to defend the town, gave up the attack on the towers as well as the work of demolishing the rampart. 28 But the soldiers, working under the safe protection of the rampart, continued to extend the passages they were digging underground and were able to reduce the volume of water encountered in hidden channels by leading it off in many different channels, thereby destroying the supply.

When their spring had become dry, the townspeople were filled with despair and surrendered. 29 Caesar cut off the hands of all who had borne arms but spared their lives. He did this so that posterity might more clearly see what penalty awaited those who did evil. 30 For an example of punishment strikingly set forth is of great value in restraining audacity, since the wretched condition of those left alive warns those who know what happened and compels those who do not know to inquire.

[12] L   When the Gauls had become exhausted and were completely subdued, Caesar, accompanied by his legions, returned in safety to Italy. He had no great fear of rebellion from the Gauls left behind, since he well knew that very few remained who would have the courage to rebel, or who if they should rebel were at all to be feared. 2 At this point I should like to set forth the condition of a Gaul that had been drained of blood and worn out after those blazing fevers and internal fires had scorched her very vitals. I should like now to envisage how emaciated and pale she was, how dejected and enervated she lay, how she feared even the activities of necessary business lest these bring back another onset of misfortune ! 3 For the Roman army, attacking unexpectedly, fell upon her just as sometimes a plague far stronger than itself besets an extremely healthy body - a plague whose virulence increases the more impatiently the disease is borne. 4 Wretched Gaul panted, when she was forced at the point of the sword to acknowledge an agreement entailing perpetual slavery besides submitting to have hostages torn from her. She panted with thirst, as I have said, for that well-known sweetness of liberty that is so very delightful to all, just as a feverish patient thirsts for a drink of cold water; and the more she realised that she was losing her liberty the more eagerly did she yearn for it. 5 Herein lay the cause of her oft-repeated resistance to restrictive laws; she was seized by an ill-timed and ravening wilfulness to defend her liberty and to regain that freedom which had been wrested from her, and instead of assuaging the pestilence in her system, as it seemed to do, this wilfulness increased it. 6 We see then that the Roman was a more cunning plotter before battle, a more merciless enemy in battle, a more ruthless victor after battle. So far as overcoming the malady was concerned, all conditions, therefore, were growing worse and for that reason no faith in remedies existed any longer. 7 Thus if I could ask this nation what she thinks about the days when she was suffering these ills, she would in my opinion answer and say: "The present fever has left me so feeble and made me so cold that even the present change, which has affected almost all people, has been unable to warm or to stir me; moreover, the Romans have so severely oppressed me that I am unable to rise against the Goths." 8 But not even Rome herself escaped the disasters which she inflicted. The illegal extension of powers by military leaders had been so exercised and the strength of the legions had for a long time been so increased in every part of the world, that whenever these legions came into conflict, their victory resulted in injury to Rome and their defeat endangered her. For the return of victorious Caesar from Gaul was followed by civil wars and preceded by other great evils, the murder of Crassus and the butchery of his army by the Parthians.

following chapters (13-22)


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