Cassius Dio.

Dio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E online

. (page 10 of 30)
Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 10 of 30)
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and accomplish something worthy both of our numbers and our
expenditures. Therefore with this understanding both this war and every
other whatsoever has been entrusted, has been delivered to us. They
acted very sensibly in leaving in our hands the decision as to whom we
should fight against, instead of voting for the war themselves. For they
would not have been able to understand thoroughly the affairs of our
allies, being at such a distance from them, and would not have taken
measures against known and prepared enemies at an equally fitting
moment. So we, to whom is left at once the decision and the execution of
the war, by turning our weapons immediately against foes that are
actually in the field shall not be acting in an unauthorized or unjust
or incautious manner.

[-42-] "But suppose some one of you interrupts me with the following
objection: 'What has Ariovistus done so far out of the way as to become
an enemy of ours in Place of a friend and ally?' Let any such man
consider the fact that one has to defend one's self against those who
are undertaking to do any wrong not only on the basis of what they do,
but also on the basis of what they intend, and has to check their growth
in advance, before suffering some hurt, instead of waiting to have some
real injury inflicted and then taking vengeance. Now how could he better
be proven to be hostile, yes, most hostile toward us than from what he
has done? I sent to him in a friendly way to have him come to me and
deliberate in my company about present conditions, and he neither came
nor promised that he would appear. And yet what did I do that was unfair
or unfitting or arrogant in summoning him as a friend and ally? What
insolence and wantonness rather, has he omitted in refusing to come? Is
it not inevitable that he did this from one of two reasons, either that
he suspected he should suffer some harm or that he felt contempt for me?
Well, if he had any suspicions he convicted himself most clearly of
conspiring against us. For no one that has not endured any injury is
suspicious toward us nor does one become so as a result of an upright
and guileless mind: no, it is those who have prepared to wrong others
that are ready to be suspicious of them because of their own conscience.
If, again, nothing of this sort was at the bottom of his action, but he
merely looked down on us and insulted us with overweening words, what
must we expect him to do when he lays hold of some real project? For
when a man has shown such disdain in matters where he was not going to
gain anything, how has he not been convicted of entire injustice in
intention and in performance?

"Still, he was not satisfied with this, but further bade me come to him,
if I wanted anything of him. [-43-] Do not, I beg of you, regard this
addition as slight. It is really a good indication of his disposition.
That he should have refused to visit me a person speaking in his defence
might refer to shrinking and sickness and fear. But that he should send
a summons to me admits of no excuse, and furthermore proves him to have
acted from no other impulse than a readiness to yield me obedience in no
point and a determination to impose corresponding demands in every case.
With now much insolence and abuse does this very course of his teem! The
proconsul of the Romans summons a man and the latter does not come: then
one of the Allobroges [_sic_] summons the proconsul of the Romans. Do
not think this a small matter and of little moment in that it was I,
Caesar, whom he failed to obey, or because he called me Caesar. It was not
I that summoned him, but the Roman, the proconsul, the rods, the
dignity, the legions: it was not I that was summoned by him, but all of
these. Privately I have no dealings with him, but in common we have all
spoken and acted, received his retort and suffered.

[-44-] "Therefore the more that anybody asserts that he has been
registered among our friends and among our allies, the more he will
prove him to deserve our hatred. Why? Because acts such as not even any
of our admittedly bitterest foes has ever ventured to perform have been
committed by Ariovistus under the titles of friendship and of alliance;
it looks as though he had secured them for the very purpose of having a
chance to wrong us with impunity. On the other hand, our former treaty
with him was not made with the idea of being insulted and plotted
against, nor will it now be we who break the truce. For we sent envoys
to him as to one who was still a friend and ally, but he - well you see
how he has used us. Accordingly just as when he chose to benefit us and
desired to be well treated in return he justly obtained his wishes, so
now, too, when he does the opposite of that in everything, with thorough
justice would he be held in the position of a foe. Do not be surprised
that whereas once upon a time I myself did some little business in his
behalf both in the senate and before the people I now speak in this way.
So far as I am concerned my sentiments are the same now as then: I am
not changing front. And what are they? To honor and reward the good and
faithful, but to dishonor and punish the evil and unfaithful. It is he
that is changing front, in that he makes an unfair and improper use of
the privileges bestowed by us.

[-45-] "As to its being most just, then, for us to fight against him no
one, I think, will have any contention to make. And that he is neither
invincible nor even a difficult adversary you can see from the other
members of his race whom you have often conquered before and have
recently conquered very easily, and you can calculate further from what
we learn about the man himself. For in general he has no native force
that is united and welded together, and at present, since he is
expecting no reverse, he utterly lacks preparation. Again, not one of
his countrymen would readily aid him, not even if he makes most tempting
offers. Who would choose to be his ally and fight against us before
receiving any injury at our hands? Is it not rather likely that all
would co√ґperate with us, instead of with him, - from a desire to
overthrow his principality, which joins theirs, and obtain from us some
share of his territory?

"Even if some should band together, they would not prove at all superior
to us. For, to omit the rest, - our numbers, our age, our experience, our
deeds, - who is there ignorant of the fact that we have armor over all
our body alike, whereas they are for the most part naked, and that we
employ both plan and arrangement, whereas they, unorganized, rush at
everything in a rage. Be sure not to dread their charge nor the
greatness of either their bodies or their shout. For voice never yet
killed any man, and their bodies, having the same hands as we, can
accomplish no more, but will be capable of much greater damage through
being both big and naked. And though their charge is tremendous and
headlong at first, it is easily exhausted and lasts but a short time.
[-46-] To you who have doubtless experienced what I mention and have
conquered men like them I make these suggestions so that you need not
appear to have been influenced by my talk and may really feel a most
steadfast hope of victory as a result of what has already been
accomplished. However, a great many of the very Gauls who are like them
will be our allies, so that even if these nations did have anything
terrible about them, it will belong to us as well as to the others.

"Do you, then, look at matters in this way and instruct the rest. I
might as well tell you that even if some of you do hold opposite views,
I, for my part, fight just as I am and will never abandon the position
to which I was assigned by my country. The tenth legion will be enough
for me. I am sure that they, even if there should be need of going
through fire, would readily go through it naked. The rest of you be off
the quicker the better and cease consuming supplies here to no purpose,
recklessly spending the public money, laying claim to other men's
labors, and appropriating the plunder gathered by others."

[-47-] At the end of this speech of Caesar's not only did no one raise an
objection, even if some thought altogether the opposite, but they all
approved his words, especially those who were suspected by him of
spreading the talk they had heard mentioned. The soldiers they had no
difficulty in persuading to yield obedience: some had of their own free
will previously decided to do so and the rest were led to that course
through emulation of them. He had made an exception of the tenth legion
because for some reason he always felt kindly toward it. This was the
way the government troops were named, according to the arrangement of
the lists; whence those of the present day have similar titles.

When they had been thus united, Caesar, for fear that by delay they might
again become indifferent, no longer remained stationary, but immediately
set out and pressed forward against Ariovistus. By the suddenness of his
approach he so alarmed the latter that he forced him to hold a
conference with him regarding peace. They did not come to terms,
however, since Caesar wished to impose all commands and Ariovistus
refused to obey at all.

War consequently broke forth; and not only were the two chief parties
interested on the alert, but so were also all the allies and enemies of
both sides in that region; for they felt sure that the battle between
them would take place in the shortest possible time and that they
themselves should have to serve in every way those who once conquered.
The barbarians had the superiority in numbers and in size of bodies, but
the Romans in experience and armor. To some extent also Caesar's skill in
planning was found to counterbalance the fiery spirit of the Celts and
their disorderly, headlong charge. As a result, then, of their being
evenly matched, their hopes and consequent zeal were in perfect

[-48-] While they were encamped opposite each other the women on the
barbarian side after divination forbade the men to engage in any battle
before the new moon. For this reason Ariovistus, who already paid great
heed to them whenever they took any such action, did not join in
conflict with his entire force immediately, although the Romans were
challenging him to come out. Instead, he sent out the cavalry together
with the foot soldiers assigned to them and did the other side severe
injury. Scornfully elated by his success he undertook to occupy a
position beyond the line of their trench. Of this he held possession,
while his opponents occupied in turn another. Then, although Caesar kept
his army drawn up outside until afternoon, he would not proceed to
battle, but when his foe toward evening retired he suddenly came after
them and all but captured their palisade. Since his affairs progressed
so well he recked little any longer of the women, and on the following
day when, according to their daily custom the Romans were marshaled, he
led out his forces against them.

[-49-] The Romans, seeing them advancing from their quarters, did not
remain motionless, but made a forward dash which gave their opponents no
chance to get carefully ordered, and by attacking with a charge and
shout intercepted their javelins in which they had especial confidence.
In fact, they got into such close quarters with them that the enemy
could not employ their pikes or long swords. So the latter used their
bodies in shoving oftener than weapons in fighting and struggled to
overturn whoever they encountered and to knock down whoever withstood
them. Many deprived even of the use of the short swords fought with
hands and mouths instead, dragging down their adversaries, biting,
tearing, since they far surpassed them in the size of their bodies. The
Romans, however, did not suffer any great bodily injuries in
consequence: they closed with their foes and by their armor and skill
somehow proved a match. Finally, after carrying on that sort of battle
for a very long time, late in the day they prevailed. For their daggers,
which were smaller than those of the Gauls and had steel blades, proved
very useful to them: moreover, the men themselves, constrained thereto
by the very labor, lasted better than the barbarians because the
endurance of the latter was not of like quality with the vehemence of
their attacks. The Gauls for these reasons were defeated: they were not
routed, merely because they were unable, through confusion and
feebleness, to flee, and not because they lacked the wish. Three hundred
therefore, more or less, gathered in a body, opposed their shields on
all sides of them and standing upright, apart from the press, proved
hard to move by reason of their solidity: so that they neither
accomplished aught nor suffered aught.

[-50-] The Romans, when their warriors neither advanced against them nor
fled but stood quietly in the same spot as if on towers, likewise laid
aside first of all their short spears which could not be used: and as
they could not with their swords fight in close combat nor reach the
others' heads, where alone the latter, fighting with them exposed, were
vulnerable, they threw down their shields and made an attack. Some by a
long run and others from close at hand leaped upon[46] the foes in some
way and struck them. At this many fell immediately, beneath a single
blow, and many did not fall till after they were dead. They were kept
upright even when dead by the closeness of their formation. In this way
most of the infantry perished either there or near the wagons, according
to how far they were pushed out of line toward them, with wives and
children. Ariovistus with fifty horsemen straightway left the country
and started for the Rhine. He was pursued, but not overtaken, and
escaped on a boat ahead of his followers. Of the rest the Romans entered
the river to kill some, and others the chief himself took up and brought



The following is contained in the Thirty-ninth of Dio's Rome.

How Caesar fought the Belgae (chapters 1-5).

How Cicero came back from exile (chapters 6-11).

How Ptolemy, expelled from Egypt, sought refuge in Rome (chapters

How Cato settled matters in Cyprus (chapters 17-23).

How Pompey and Crassus were chosen consuls (chapters 24-37).

How Pompey's Theatre was dedicated (chapters 38, 39).

How Decimus Brutus, Caesar's lieutenant, conquered the Veneti in a
sea-fight (chapters 40-43).

How Publius Crassus, Caesar's lieutenant, fought the Aquitani (chapters

How Caesar after fighting with some of the Celtae crossed the Rhine: and
about the Rhine (chapters 47-49).

How Caesar crossed over into Britain: and about the island (chapters

How Ptolemy was restored to Egypt by Gabinius, and how Gabinius was
brought to trial for it (chapters 55-85).

Duration of time, four years, in which there were the following
magistrates, here enumerated.

P. Cornelius P.F. Lentulus Spinther, C. Caecilius C.F. Metellus Nepos.
(B.C. 57 = a.u. 697.)

Cn. Cornelius P.F. Lentulus Marcellinus, L. Marcius L.F. Philippus.
(B.C. 56 = a.u. 698.)

Cn. Pompeius Cn. F. Magnus (II), M. Licinius P.F. Crassus (II). (B.C.
55 = a.u. 699.)

L. Domitius Cn. F. Ahenobarbus, Appius Claudius Appi F. Pulcher. (B.C.
54 = a.u. 700.)


[B.C. 57 (_a.u._ 697)]

[-1-] Such was the end of these wars. After this, when the winter had
passed in which Cornelius Spinther and Metellus Nepos began their
consulship, a third war burst upon them. The Belgae, dwelling near the
Rhine with many mingled tribes and extending to the ocean opposite
Britain, had been during the previous epoch at peace with the Romans so
far as concerned a part of their nation, while the rest paid no heed to
them: but now, noting Caesar's prosperity and fearing that he might
advance against them, they made a change of front and by common
agreement (except on the part of the Remi) took counsel against the
Romans and conspired, making Galba their head.

Caesar learned this from the Remi and was on his guard against them:
subsequently he encamped at the river Axona, collected his soldiers all
together and exercised them. He did not venture to come into close
quarters with the enemy, though they were overrunning Roman territory,
until they felt contempt for him, thinking him afraid, and undertook to
destroy the bridge and put a stop to the conveyance of grain, which the
allies brought across it. He was made aware beforehand by deserters that
this was to be done, and by night sent against the foe the light-armed
troops and the cavalry. [-2-] So they, unexpectedly assaulting the
barbarians, killed many of them, so that the following night they all
withdrew thence to their own land, especially since the Aeduans were
reported to have invaded it. Caesar perceived what was going on, but
through ignorance of the country did not dare to pursue them
immediately. At daybreak, however, he took the cavalry, bade the
infantry follow behind, and came up with the fugitives. They proceeded
to give battle, for he was thought to have come with his cavalry alone,
and he delayed them until the infantry arrived. In this way he
surrounded them with his whole force, cut down the majority, and made
terms with the survivors. Later he brought into allegiance some of the
peoples without fighting and some by war.

[-3-] The Nervii voluntarily retired before him from their plain
country, - for they were not a match for his forces, - but betook
themselves into the wooded parts of the mountains, and then, when they
saw him settled in camp,[47] they came charging down unexpectedly.
Opposite Caesar himself they soon turned to flight, but got the better of
the major part of his army, capturing the camp without striking a blow.
When Caesar became aware of this, - he had advanced a little way in
pursuit of those he had routed, - he turned back and came upon them
engaged in pillage within the fortification, where he ensnared and
slaughtered them. After accomplishing this he found no difficulty in
subduing the rest of the Nervii.

[-4-] Meanwhile the Aduatuci, near neighbors of theirs, sprung from the
Cimbri and possessing their spirit, started out as if to assist them but
were overpowered before they effected anything, whereupon they withdrew,
and leaving all their other sites established themselves in one fort,
the strongest. Caesar assaulted it but was for many days repulsed, until
he turned to the making of engines. Then for a time they gazed at the
Romans cutting wood and constructing the machines and through their
inexperience laughed at what was taking place. But when the things were
finished and heavy-armed soldiers upon them approached from all sides,
they were panic-stricken because never before had they seen such an
affair; so they sent the heralds for peace, supplied the soldiers with
provisions, and threw some of their weapons from the wall. When,
however, they saw the machines stripped of men again, and noticed the
latter, as after a victory, following their own hearts' desires, they
changed their minds and recovering courage made a sally by night to cut
them down unawares. But Caesar was carefully managing everything every
moment, and when they fell on the outposts from every side they were
beaten back. Not one of the survivors could any longer obtain pardon,
and they were all sold.

[-5-] When these had been subjugated and others, too, some by him and
many by his lieutenants, winter set in and he retired to
winter-quarters. The Romans at home heard of this and were astonished
that he had seized so many nations, whose names they had known but
imperfectly before, and voted a sacrifice of fifteen days for his
deeds, - something that had never before occurred.

During the same period Servius Galba, acting as his lieutenant, had,
while the season lasted and the army remained a unit, brought to terms
the Varagri, dwelling beside Lake Lemannus and beside the Allobroges as
far as the Alps: some he had mastered by force and others by
capitulation, so that he was even preparing to winter where he was.
When, however, the majority of the soldiers had departed, some on
furloughs because they were not far from Italy, and others elsewhere to
their own possessions, the natives took advantage of this fact and
unexpectedly attacked him. Then he was led by despair to a kind of
frenzy and suddenly dashing out of the winter camp astounded those
attacking him by the strangeness of the move and passing through them
gained the heights. On reaching safety he fought them off and later
enslaved them: he did not winter there, however, but transferred his
quarters to the Allobroges.

[-6-] These were the events in Gaul. Pompey meanwhile had brought about
a vote for the recall of Cicero. The man that he had expelled through
the agency of Clodius he now brought back to help him against that very
person. So prone is human nature to change and in such wise do persons
select in turn the very opposite things as likely to cause them benefit
or injury. His helpers among the praetors and tribunes were Titus Annius
Milo and the rest, who brought the proposition before the populace.
Spinther the consul was zealous[48] for Cicero partly as a favor to
Pompey and partly to damage Clodius, by reason of a private enmity which
had led him as judge to condemn the man for incest: Clodius was
supported by various men in public office, by Appius Claudius, his
brother, who was praetor, and by Nepos the consul who hated Cicero for
some reason of his own. [-7-] These parties, accordingly, with the
consuls as leaders made more noise than before, and so did the rest in
the city, championing one side or the other. Many disorderly proceedings
were the result, chiefest of which was that during the very casting of
the vote on the subject Clodius, knowing that the masses would be for
Cicero, took the gladiators that his brother held in readiness for the
funeral games in honor of Marcus his relative, leaped into the
assemblage, wounded many and killed many more. Consequently no decision
was reached and the perpetrator, as the companion of armed champions,
was dreaded in general by all: he then stood for the aedileship, with a
view to escaping the penalty for his violence by being elected. Milo had
indicted him but did not succeed in bringing him to court, for the
quaestors, by whom the allotment of jurors had to be made, had not been
elected, and Nepos forbade the praetor to allow any case before their
allotment. Now it was proper for the aediles to be chosen before the
quaestors, and this proved the principal cause of delay. [-8-] Much
disturbance was created by the contest over this very point, and at last
Milo himself collected some gladiators and others who desired the same
objects as he did and kept continually coming to blows with Clodius, so
that fatal conflicts took place throughout practically the entire city.
Nepos now, inspired with fear by his colleague and by Pompey and by the
other prominent men, changed his attitude, and as the senate decreed, on
motion of Spinther, that Cicero should be restored, and the populace on
the motion of both consuls voted it, Clodius, to be sure, spoke against
it to them, but he had Milo as an opponent so that he could commit no
violence, and Pompey, among others, spoke in favor of the enactment, so
that that party proved much the stronger.

[-9-] Cicero accordingly came home from exile and expressed his
gratitude to both senate and people, - the consuls affording him an
opportunity, - in their respective assemblies. He laid aside his hatred
of Pompey for his banishment, became reconciled with him, and
immediately repaid his kindness. A sore famine had arisen in the city
and the entire populace rushed into the theatre (the kind of theatre
that they were then still using for public gatherings) and from there to
the Capitol where the senators were in session, threatening first to
slay them with their own hands and later to burn them alive, temple and
all. It was then that Cicero persuaded them to elect Pompey as
commissioner of the grain supply and to give him consequently the office
of proconsul for five years both within Italy and without. So he now, as
previously in the case of the pirates, was to hold sway over the entire
world at that time under Roman power.

[-10-] Caesar and Crassus really disliked Cicero, but paid some attention
to him when they perceived that he would return in any case, Caesar even
while absent displaying some good-will toward him; they received,
however, no thanks for their pains. Cicero knew that they had not acted

Online LibraryCassius DioDio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in E → online text (page 10 of 30)