55 BC J.-C.
1. The winter that followed - it was the year of the consulship of Cneus Pompey and Marcus Crassus - the Usipetes, people of Germania, and also the Tenctheri, crossed the Rhine en masse, not far from the sea where it flows. The reason for this passage was that for several years the Suevi had waged a continual and very harsh war against them, and that they could no longer cultivate their fields.
The Suevi are by far the largest and most warlike people in all of Germania. It is said that they form a hundred clans, each of which furnishes a thousand men a year, whom they take to wars outside. The others, those who remained in the country, provided for their food and that of the army; the following year, these in turn took up arms, while those remained in the country. In this way, cultivation of the fields, military instruction and training are also ensured without interruption. Moreover, private property does not exist among them, and one cannot stay more than a year on the same soil to cultivate it. Wheat counts for little in their diet, they live mainly on milk and the flesh of herds, and they are great hunters; this kind of life - their diet, daily exercise, free life, for, from childhood, being bent to no duty, to no discipline, they do nothing but what pleases them - all this strengthens and makes them men of extraordinary size. Add that they have trained themselves, although they live in very cold regions, to wear nothing but skins, the smallness of which leaves a large part of their body exposed, and to bathe in rivers.
2. Ils donnent accès chez eux aux marchands, plus pour avoir à qui vendre leur butin de guerre que par besoin d’importations. Les germans n’importent même pas de chevaux, qui sont la grande passion des Gallic et qu’ils acquièrent à n’importe quel prix ; ils se contentent des chevaux indigènes, qui sont petits et laids, mais qu’ils arrivent à rendre extrêmement résistants grâce à un entraînement quotidien. Dans les combats de cavalerie, on les voit souvent sauter à bas de leur monture et combattre à pied ; les chevaux ont été dressés à rester sur place, et ils ont vite fait de les rejoindre en cas de besoin ; il n’y a pas à leurs yeux de plus honteuse mollesse que de faire usage de selles. Aussi n’hésitent-ils pas à attaquer, si peu nombreux soient-ils, n’importe quel corps de cavalerie dont les chevaux sont sellés. Ils prohibent absolument l’importation du vin, parce qu’ils estiment que cette boisson diminue chez l’homme l’endurance et le courage.
3. They think that the greatest glory of a nation is to have beyond its borders as vast a desert as possible, because it means that a large number of cities could not sustain the power of his weapons. So it is said that on one side of the Suevi frontier there is a solitude of six hundred thousand paces. On the other side, they have for neighbors the Ubians, who formed a considerable and flourishing state, as much as a German state can be; they are a little more civilized than other peoples of the same race, because they touch the Rhine and merchants often come to them, because also, being neighbors of the Gauls, they have shaped themselves according to their customs. The Suevi confronted them on many occasions, but could not, because of the importance and strength of this nation, drive them out of their territory; they subjected them however to a tribute, and lowered them and weakened them very appreciably.
4. This was also the fate of the Usipetes and the Tenctheres, of which we have spoken above; for many years they resisted the attacks of the Suevi, but they were finally driven from their territory, and after having wandered for three years in many regions of Germany, they reached the Rhine; it was the country of the Menapes, who had fields, houses, villages on both banks of the river; but, terrified by the arrival of such a multitude, they abandoned the houses which they had hitherto possessed beyond the river and placed on this side of the Rhine posts which barred the way to the invaders. These, after all sorts of attempts, being unable to cross by main force for lack of ships, nor clandestinely because of the posts of the Menapes, pretended to return to their homes and made three days' march on the way back; then, retracing the whole journey in one night, their cavalry fell unexpectedly on the Menapes who, having learned from their scouts of the departure of the Germans, had fearlessly recrossed the Rhine and regained their villages. They slaughtered them and, seizing their ships, crossed the river before the Menapes on the other bank were informed of anything; they occupied all their dwellings and lived on their provisions for the rest of the winter.
5. Caesar, informed of these events, and fearing the pusillanimity of the Gauls, for they easily change their minds and are almost always seduced by what is new, considered that he should not rely on them for anything. It is, in fact, in the habits of the Gauls to stop travellers, even against their will, and to question them about everything that each of them may know or have heard said; in the cities, the crowd surrounds the merchants and forces them to say what country they come from and what they have learned there. Under the influence of the emotion caused by this news or this gossip, it often happens that they take decisions on the most important matters of which they must immediately repent, for they blindly welcome ill-founded rumors and the majority of their informants invent answers in line with what they want.
6. Caesar, knowing these habits, and not wishing to find himself face to face with a particularly formidable war, leaves for the army earlier than he usually did. When he arrived there, he learned that what he had foreseen had happened: a large number of cities had sent embassies to the Germans and had urged them not to confine themselves to the Rhine; they undertook to supply all their demands. Seduced by these promises, the Germans pushed further, and they had arrived on the territory of Eburones and Condruses, which are the customers of Treveri. Caesar, having summoned the Gallic leaders, thought it best to conceal what he knew after having quieted and reassured them, he ordered them to supply him with cavalry and declared himself resolved on war.
7. After he had made his provisions of wheat and recruited his cavalry, he set out for the region where the Germans were said to be: he received from them deputies who held this language to him: “The Germans do not take the initiative to make war on the Roman people, but, if they are attacked, they do not refuse the fight; for the tradition of the Germans is, whatever the aggressor, to defend oneself and not to implore peace. Here, however, is what they say: they only came against their will, because they were driven from their homes; if the Romans accept their friendship, they can be useful friends to them: let them assign lands to them, or let them keep those they have conquered. They yield it only to the Suevi, to whom even the gods cannot be compared: except them, there is no one on earth whom they are not capable of vanquishing.
8. César fit à ce discours la réponse qu’il jugea convenable ; mais pour sa conclusion, elle fut qu’il n’y avait pas d’amitié possible d’eux à lui, s’ils restaient en Gaul : « D’abord il n’est pas juste qu’un peuple qui n’a pas su défendre son territoire s’empare de celui d’autrui ; d’autre part, il n’y a pas en Gaule de terres vacantes qu’on puisse donner, surtout à une telle multitude, sans nuire à personnel ; mais ils peuvent, s’ils le veulent, s’établir sur le territoire des Ubiens, dont il a auprès de lui des députés qui se plaignent des violences des Suèves et lui demandent du secours ; il leur donnera l’ordre de les accueillir.
9. The German ambassadors said they were going to bring back this reply, and that they would return in three days, when it had been deliberated upon; they asked that in the meantime Caesar should not advance any further. The latter declared himself unable to make such a concession. He knew, in fact, that a large part of their cavalry had been sent by them, a few days before, to the Ambivarites beyond the Meuse to take booty and take corn; he thought that we were waiting for these riders and that was why we were asking for a delay.
10. The Meuse has its source in the Vosges, which are in the territory of the Lingones [and, after having received an arm of the Rhine, which is called the Waal, and formed with it the island of the Bataves, it flows into the ocean, and about eighty thousand paces from the ocean, it empties into the Rhine. As for this river, it takes its source among the Lepontes, inhabitant of the Alps, travels at a rapid pace a long space through the countries of the Nantuates, the Helvetii, the Sequani, the Mediomatrices, the Triboques, the Treveri; at the approach of the ocean, it divides into several arms, forming numerous and immense islands, most of which are inhabited by fierce and barbarous nations, among whom are those men who are said to feed on fish and bird eggs; it throws itself into the ocean by several mouths.
11. Caesar was not more than twelve miles from the enemy when the deputies, observing the time fixed, returned. They met him on the way, and began to beg him not to go any further; their prayers remaining in vain, they tried to obtain that he send the horsemen who were in the vanguard the order not to engage in combat, and that he let them send deputies to the Ubians; if the chiefs of this people and its senate engaged under oath, they declared to accept the proposal which Caesar made; they asked that he grant them three days for these negotiations. Caesar thought that all this was still aimed at the same goal: to gain three days to allow their cavalry, which was absent, to return; nevertheless, he said he would only advance four miles that day, to get water; that they come to him the next day at this place in as large a number as possible, so that he can come to a decision with full knowledge of the facts on their requests. In the meantime, he had his prefects, who preceded him with all the cavalry, told not to attack the enemy, and, if they were attacked, to limit themselves to the defensive, until he was there with them. the army.
12. But the enemies, as soon as they saw our horsemen, who numbered about five thousand, while they themselves had no more than eight hundred – those who had gone to seek wheat beyond de la Meuse having not yet returned - charged ours, who were suspicious of nothing, because the enemy deputies had just left Caesar and had asked for a truce for that very day; they quickly put disorder in our ranks; then, as our horsemen re-formed, they dismounted, according to their custom, and, striking the horses from below, throwing down a very large number of our men, they put the others to flight: the panic was such, and the pursuit so brisk that they only stopped once in sight of our columns. In this fight, seventy-four of our horsemen were killed, and among them a very brave man, the Aquitain Pison, a personage of high birth whose ancestor had been king in his city and had received from our senate the title of 'friend. As he was helping his brother, whom the enemies surrounded, he succeeded in snatching him from danger, but he himself had his horse wounded and was thrown to the ground; as long as he could he resisted with great courage; but, surrounded on all sides, covered with wounds, he fell, and his brother, who was already out of the fray, seeing the drama from afar, threw himself at a gallop on the enemy and was killed.
13. After this combat, Caesar considered that he should no longer give audience to the deputies or accept the proposals of people who had begun hostilities treacherously, in favor of a petition for peace; as for waiting, letting the forces of the enemy increase by the return of their cavalry, he judged that would have been sheer folly; knowing, moreover, the pusillanimity of the Gauls, he understood how much prestige the enemy had already won in their eyes by this single combat: they should not be given time to make up their minds. His thoughts were fixed on all this, and he had communicated to his legates and to his quaestor his resolution not to postpone the battle for a day, when a very favorable circumstance presented itself the next morning, always acting with the same treachery and the same hypocrisy, the Germans came in large numbers, with all the chiefs and all the elders to find Caesar in his camp; they wanted – it was the pretext – to apologize for the fact that the day before they had engaged in combat contrary to convention and their own demands; but at the same time they intended to obtain, if they could, by deceiving us, some truce. Caesar, happy that they came thus to offer themselves, ordered them to be kept; then he ordered all his troops out of the camp; the cavalry, demoralized, he thought, by the last combat, were placed in the rear guard.
14. Having arranged his army in order of battle in three rows, and having traveled rapidly eight miles, he arrived at the camp of the enemies before they could perceive what was going on. Everything conspired to strike the Germans with sudden fear at the promptness of our approach, the absence of their chiefs, and of having no time either to hold a council or to take up their arms; they panic, not knowing whether it is better to go to meet the enemy, or defend the camp, or seek salvation in flight. As the rumor and the confused gathering of men manifested their fear, our soldiers, stimulated by the perfidy of the previous day, burst into the camp. There, those who could arm themselves promptly withstood ours for a while, engaging in combat among the wagons and baggage; but there remained a crowd of children and women (for they had left their homes and had crossed the Rhine with all their relatives) who began to flee in all directions. Caesar sent his cavalry in pursuit.
15. The Germans, hearing a clamor behind them, and seeing that their people were being massacred, threw down their arms, abandoned their standards, and rushed out of the camp; arrived at the confluence of the Meuse and the Rhine, despairing of being able to continue their flight and seeing that a large number of them had been killed, those who remained threw themselves into the river and there, overcome by fear, by fatigue , by the force of the current, they perished. Ours, without having lost a single man and having only a very small number of wounded, after having feared a terrible struggle, for they had had to deal with four hundred and thirty thousand enemies, retired to their camp. Caesar authorized those he had detained to depart; but they, fearing that the Gauls, whose fields they had ravaged, would make them suffer cruel tortures, declared that they wished to remain with him. Caesar granted them freedom.
16. La guerre Germanic achevée, César, pour maintes raisons, décida de franchir le Rhin ; la meilleure était que, voyant avec quelle facilité les Germains se déterminaient à venir en Gaule, il voulut qu’eux aussi eussent à craindre pour leurs biens, quand ils comprendraient qu’une armée romaine pouvait et osait traverser le Rhin. Un autre motif était que ceux des cavaliers Usipètes et Tencthères dont j’ai dit plus haut qu’ils avaient passé la Meuse pour faire du butin et prendre du blé, et qu’ils n’avaient pas participé au combat, s’étaient, après la défaite des leurs, réfugiés au-delà du Rhin chez les Sugambres, et avaient fait alliance avec eux. César ayant fait demander aux Sugambres de lui livrer ces hommes qui avaient porté les armes contre lui et contre les Gaulois, ils répondirent que « la souveraineté du peuple Romain expirait au Rhin ; s’il ne trouvait pas juste que les Germains passassent en Gaule malgré lui, pourquoi prétendrait-il à quelque souveraineté ou autorité au-delà du Rhin ? » D’autre part, les Ubiens, qui seuls parmi les Transrhénans avaient envoyé des députés à César, avaient lié amitié avec lui, lui avaient donné des otages, le priaient très instamment de leur porter secours, parce que les Suèves menaçaient leur existence. « Si les affaires de la république le retenaient, qu’il fît seulement passer le Rhin à son armée ; cela suffirait pour écarter le danger de l’heure présente et pour garantir leur sécurité future le renom et la réputation de cette armée étaient tels, depuis la défaite d’Arioviste et après ce dernier combat, même chez les plus lointaines peuplades de la Germanie, que si on les savait amis de Rome, on les respecterait. » Ils promettaient une grande quantité d’embarcations pour le transport de l’armée.
17. Caesar, for the reasons I have given, had decided to cross the Rhine; but boats seemed to him too unsafe a means, and ill suited to his dignity and that of the Roman people. Also, despite the extreme difficulty of building a bridge, because of the width, speed and depth of the river, he felt that he had to try the business or give up trying to get his troops otherwise. Here is the new method of construction he employed. It coupled, two feet apart, two beams a foot and a half thick, slightly pointed at the bottom and whose length was proportioned to the depth of the river. He lowered them into the river by means of machines and rammed them in, not vertically, like ordinary pilings, but obliquely, inclined in the direction of the current; opposite these beams he placed two others, joined in the same way, at a distance of forty feet downstream and leaning against the direction of the current. On these two pairs were placed beams two feet wide, which were wedged exactly between the coupled piles, and placed on either side two clamps which prevented the pairs from approaching each other at the top; these being thus separated and retained each in opposite direction, the work had so much solidity, and that in virtue of the laws of physics, that the more the violence of the current was great, the more the system was strongly bound. Longitudinal beams were placed on the crosspieces and, on top, slats and hurdles. In addition, oblique stakes were driven downstream which, forming a buttress, supporting the entire structure, resisted the current; others were planted a short distance in front of the bridge it was a defense which was to, in case the Barbarians should launch tree trunks or ships intended to throw it down, attenuate the violence of the shock and preserve the work.
18. Ten days after the materials had begun to be brought in, all the construction was completed and the army crossed the river. Caesar leaves the two heads of the bridge a strong guard and heads for the country of the Sugambres. Meanwhile, he received deputations from a large number of cities; to their request for peace and friendship, he responds with benevolence and orders that hostages be brought to him. But the Sugambres, who had, from the moment when they began to build the bridge, prepared their retreat, on the advice of the Tenctheres and the Usipetes who were with them, had left their country, taking all their goods and had gone into hiding in uninhabited regions covered with forests.
19. Caesar, after staying a few days in their territory, burned all the villages and all the buildings, cut the wheat, and retired to the Ubians; he promised to help them if the Suevi attacked them, and received from them the following information: the Suevi, having learned from their scouts that a bridge was being thrown across the Rhine, had, following a council held according their use, sent to all sides the advice that we abandon the cities, that we deposit in the forests children, women and all that we possessed, and that all the men able to bear arms concentrate on the same point. The place chosen was roughly in the center of the country inhabited by the Suevi, it was there that they had decided to wait for the arrival of the Romans and there that they were to give them the decisive battle. When Caesar learned of this plan, as he had achieved all the objectives he had set himself in crossing the Rhine - to frighten the Germans, punish the Sugambres, free the Ubians from the pressure they were undergoing -, after eighteen full days passed beyond the Rhine, believing that he had achieved a sufficiently glorious and sufficiently useful result, he returned to Gaul and cut the bridge behind him.
20. César n’avait plus devant lui qu’une petite partie de l’été ; bien que dans ces régions – car toute la Gaule est tournée vers le nord – les hivers soient précoces, il voulut néanmoins partir pour la Brittany, parce qu’il se rendait compte que dans presque toutes les guerres que nous avions faites contre les Gaulois, ceux-ci avaient reçu des secours de la Bretagne ; il pensait d’ailleurs que si la saison trop avancée ne lui laissait pas le temps de faire campagne, il lui serait néanmoins fort utile d’avoir seulement abordé dans l’île, et d’avoir vu ce qu’étaient ses habitants, reconnu les lieux, les ports, les points de débarquement : toutes choses qui étaient à peu près ignorées des Gaulois. En effet, à part les marchands, il est rare que personne se risque là-bas, et les marchands eux-mêmes ne connaissent rien en dehors de la côte et des régions qui font face à la Gaule. Aussi eut-il beau faire venir de partout des marchands, il lui était impossible de rien apprendre ni sur l’étendue de l’île, ni sur le caractère et l’importance des peuples qui l’habitent, ni sur leur manière de faire la guerre ou de vivre, ni sur les ports qui étaient capables de recevoir un grand nombre de gros navires.
21. Pour se renseigner là-dessus, avant de tenter l’entreprise, César détache, avec un navire de guerre, Casus Volusénus, qu’il jugeait propre à cette mission. Il lui donne comme instructions de faire une reconnaissance générale et de revenir au plus vite. De son côté, il part avec toutes ses troupes pour le pays des Morins, car c’est de là que le passage en Bretagne est le plus court. Il y rassemble des navires tirés de toutes les contrées voisines et la flotte qu’il avait construite l’été précédent pour la guerre des Vénètes. Cependant son projet s’ébruite et les marchands en portent la nouvelle aux Bretons : maints peuples de l’île lui envoient des députés pour offrir de livrer des otages et de faire soumission à Rome. Il leur donne audience, leur fait des promesses généreuses, les engage à persévérer dans ces sentiments, et les renvoie chez eux accompagnés de Commios, qu’il avait fait roi des Atrébates après sa victoire sur ce peuple ; il appréciait son courage et son intelligence, il le jugeait fidèle, et son autorité était grande dans le pays. Il lui ordonne de visiter le plus de peuples possible, de les engager à se placer sous le protectorat de Rome, et d’annoncer son arrivée prochaine. Volusénus, après avoir reconnu les lieux autant qu’il put le faire sans oser débarquer et courir les risques d’un contact avec les Barbares, rentre au bout de quatre jours et rapporte à César ce qu’il a observé.
22. While Caesar tarried among the Morini to arm his fleet, many of their tribes sent deputies to him to apologize for their past conduct; they had made war upon the Roman people as uncouth men ignorant of our character; they declared themselves ready to carry out Caesar's orders. The latter, finding the situation very happy - because he did not want to leave an enemy behind him, the season was too advanced to make war on them, finally, he considered that the expedition to Brittany came before such minor worries - , sets a high number of hostages to deliver. They bring them to him, and he receives their submission. Having collected and laid down about eighty transport ships, a number which he considered sufficient to transport two legions, he distributed what more warships he had to his quaestor, his legates and his prefects. To these units were added eighteen transports which were eight miles away, prevented by contrary winds from reaching the same port: he assigned them to the cavalry. The rest of the army was entrusted to the legates Quintus Titurius Sabinus and Lucius Aurunculéius Cotta, with the mission of leading it to the Menapes and to the Morin cantons which had not sent deputies. The legate Publius Sulpicius Rufus, with the garrison which was deemed suitable, was appointed to guard the port.
23. When he had taken these measures, taking advantage of favorable weather, he weighed anchor about the third watch; the horsemen were to reach the other port, embark there and follow it. While these proceeded a little too slowly, Caesar, about the fourth hour of the day, reached Britain with his first ships, and there he saw, arrayed on all the hills, the troops of the enemy in arms. The configuration of the place was such, the sea was so narrowly confined between the heights, that from these one could launch projectiles on the shore. Judging such a place quite unsuitable for a landing, Caesar waited at anchor until the ninth hour when the rest of his fleet had arrived. However, having summoned the legates and the tribunes, he explained to them what he had learned from Volusenus and what were his designs; he recommended to them that, in conformity with the requirements of war, and especially of naval warfare where things move quickly and change constantly, all maneuvers should be carried out at the command and at the desired moment. When he had sent them away, he found himself having at the same time a good wind and a propitious tide; he gave the signal, the anchor was weighed, and after having traveled about seven miles, he arrived at an open beach where he could berth his vessels.
24. But the Barbarians, when they had realized our intentions, had sent forward their cavalry and their chariots - a means of combat with which they are familiar - the rest of their troops had followed close behind, and they opposed our landing. What made our enterprise very difficult was that our vessels, because of their size, were forced to stop in full water, and that our soldiers, ignorant of the nature of the place, having their hands embarrassed, bending under the considerable weight of their weapons, had at the same time to jump down from the ships, to struggle not to be overthrown by the waves, and to fight with the enemies, while the latter, remaining on dry ground or advancing only slightly in the water, having the freedom of their limbs, knowing the place marvelously well, threw their arrows with assurance and pushed against us their horses, which were accustomed to the sea. All this disturbed our men, who, moreover, , had no experience of this kind of combat: so they did not have the same bite and the same enthusiasm as usual, when they fought on land.
25. When Caesar saw this, he ordered the long ships, whose appearance was newer to the Barbarians and which maneuvered with more flexibility, to draw away a little from the transports and, making force of oars, go to get into position. line on the enemy's right flank; from there, putting into action slings, bows, ballistae, they were to drive back the enemy. This maneuver was very useful to us. In fact, disturbed by the shape of our ships, by the movement of the oars, by what our engines offered them that was singular, the Barbarians stopped, then retreated slightly. But our soldiers hesitated mainly because of the depth of the water; then the one who carried the eagle of the tenth legion, after having asked the gods that his initiative should be favorable to the legion: "Comrades," he cried in a loud voice, "jump into the sea, if you don't want to hand over your eagle to the enemy, at least I will have done my duty to Rome and to our general. At these words, he sprang from the ship and headed towards the enemy, the eagle in his hands. Then our people, urging each other not to suffer such dishonor, jumped out of the ship together. And when those of the neighboring ships saw them, they followed them and advanced towards the enemy.
26. Both sides fought fiercely. However, as ours could neither keep their ranks, nor gain a solid footing, nor follow their ensigns, and each one leaving his ship lined up under the ensigns he encountered, a great disorder resulted; the enemies, they, who knew all the shallows, as soon as they saw a few isolated ones leaving a ship, taking advantage of their embarrassment, pushed their horses on them and attacked them; they surrounded the small groups in force, while others, on our right, took the whole in flank under a hail of darts. Seeing this, Caesar had the launches of the longships and the reconnaissance boats filled with soldiers, and he sent reinforcements to those he saw in danger. As soon as our soldiers were able to reform on the shore, and as all had joined, they charged the enemy and routed them; but they could not pursue him very far, because the cavalry could not stay in the right direction and reach the island. This was all Caesar's accustomed fortune lacked.
27. The enemies, after their defeat, as soon as they had ceased to flee, hastened to send an embassy to Caesar to ask him for peace: they promised to give hostages and to execute what he would command. At the same time as her, came Commios the Atrebate, of whom I have said above that Caesar had sent him before him to Brittany. As he had just landed and was making known to the Bretons, as Caesar's spokesman, his message, they seized him and loaded him with chains; after the fight, they sent him away, and in asking for peace they threw the responsibility for this outrage on the crowd, begging them to forgive a fault due to ignorance. Caesar, after having reproached them for having made war on him without cause, when they had spontaneously sent deputies to him on the continent to solicit peace, declared that he pardoned their ignorance and asked for hostages; they furnished part of it on the spot; the others, whom they had to bring from quite a distance, would be delivered in a few days. In the meantime, they sent their soldiers back to the fields and the chiefs began to come from all parts to commend to Caesar their interests and those of their cities.
28. Peace being thus assured, four days after we had arrived in Brittany, the eighteen ships above mentioned, which had embarked the cavalry, left the northern port in light winds. They were approaching the island and we could see them from our camp, when suddenly a storm arose of such violence that none of them could hold their way any longer, and some were brought back to their starting point. , while the others were very dangerously drawn towards the south-western extremity of the island; they anchored despite the storm, but threatened with being overwhelmed by the waves, they had to dive out to sea and sink into the night; they eventually reached the mainland.
29. Fate would have it that this same night was full moon, when the tides of the ocean are the highest; and ours didn't know about it. Also the long ships, which Caesar had used to transport his infantry and which he had pulled ashore, found themselves filled with water, while the transport ships, which had been anchored, were badly treated by the storm without there being any means of maneuvering or helping them. A very large number of ships were broken up; the others, having lost cables, anchors and other tackle, were out of order: this situation, as was inevitable, deeply moved the whole army. There were, in fact, no other ships that could bring us back, we had nothing we needed to repair the fleet, finally, everyone thinking that we had to winter in Gaul, we didn't had not stocked up on wheat to spend the winter on this island.
30. When they heard of our embarrassment, the Breton leaders who had come to Caesar after the battle concerted: seeing that the Romans had neither cavalry, nor ships, nor corn, realizing the small number of our forces according to dimensions of our camp, which was all the more restricted as Caesar had taken his legions without baggage, it seemed to them that the best course to take was to revolt, to prevent us from procuring wheat and food, and drag things out until winter: when they had defeated us, or had forbidden us to return, no one, they thought, would dare to cross into Brittany to wage war there. Having thus renewed their coalition, they began to leave the camp little by little and to recall in secret the men whom they had sent back to the fields.
31. Caesar was not yet aware of their plans; but, after what had happened to his fleet, and seeing the Bretons interrupting their deliveries of hostages, he suspected what was about to happen. So he took precautions to ward off any event. Every day he brought wheat from the countryside to the camp; the wood and bronze of the vessels which had suffered the most were used to repair the others, and he brought from the continent what was needed for these works. In this way, the soldiers employing themselves with the greatest ardor, Caesar arrived, with the loss of twelve ships, so that the others were in good condition to navigate.
32. In the meantime, as, according to custom, a legion - it was the seventh - had been sent to the wheat, and without anything hitherto having occurred which could give rise to fear of hostilities, a part of the Bretons remaining in the fields, others even frequenting our camp, the guards who were in front of the gates announced to Caesar that a cloud of dust of an unusual size could be seen on the side where the legion had gone. Caesar - and he was not mistaken - suspected some surprise from the Barbarians, he took with him, to go this way, the cohorts who were at the guard posts, and ordered that two of those who remained take over from them, while the others would arm themselves and follow him without delay. Having advanced some distance from the camp, he saw that his men were pressed by the enemy and defending themselves with difficulty. The legion formed a compact mass on which arrows rained down from all sides. As, indeed, the wheat had been cut everywhere, except in one place, the enemy, suspecting that we would come there, had hidden themselves at night in the woods; then, while our men were scattered, unarmed, and busy reaping, they had suddenly assaulted them, killed some, and disturbed the others who failed to form regularly; at the same time the cavalry and chariots had surrounded them.
33. This is how they fight from these tanks. They begin by running in all directions, drawing the fear inspired by their horses, and the crash of the wheels is generally enough to throw disorder into the ranks; then, having penetrated between the squadrons, they jump down from their tanks and fight on foot. However, the drivers gradually emerge from the melee and place their tanks in such a way that, if the combatants are pressed by numbers, they can easily fall back on them. They thus unite in combat the mobility of the horseman with the solidity of the infantryman; their training and their daily exercises allow them, when their horses are thrown at a gallop on a very steep slope, to hold them back, to be able to quickly take them in hand and turn them; they are also accustomed to run on the tiller, to stand firm on the yoke, and from there to get back into their chariots in an instant.
34. This unexpected tactic disturbed our soldiers, and Caesar came very timely to help them, for on his arrival the enemies stopped, and ours recovered. Having obtained this result, Caesar judged the occasion unfavorable to attack and give battle; he remained where he was, and, after a brief wait, brought his legions back to camp. While these events were unfolding, capturing the attention of all our troops, the Bretons who had remained in the countryside withdrew. There followed for several days an uninterrupted series of bad weather, which kept us in camp and prevented the enemy from attacking. During this interval, the Barbarians sent messengers from all sides, making it known how few we were, explaining what opportunity offered itself to make booty and to conquer independence forever, if the Romans were driven from their camp. This brought about the rapid concentration of large forces of infantry and cavalry, which marched towards our camp.
35. Caesar foresaw that what had happened before would happen: if the enemies were repulsed, the advantage of speed would enable them to escape us; nevertheless, disposing of about thirty cavalry, whom Commios the Atrebate, of whom we have spoken above, had taken with him, he ranged his legions in battle array in front of the camp. The fight began, and almost immediately the enemies yielded to our attack and fled. Our soldiers pursued them as far as they could run and their strength permitted, killed a large number of them, and then returned to the camp after burning all the houses over a wide area.
36. On the same day, deputies came to Caesar from the enemy to ask him for peace. Caesar doubled the number of hostages he had demanded and ordered that they be brought to him on the continent, for he did not wish, the equinox being near, to expose himself to the dangers of winter with ships in bad condition. state. Taking advantage of a favorable wind, he weighed anchor shortly after midnight; his fleet reached the continent intact; but two transport ships could not touch the same ports as the others, and were driven a little lower.
37. These ships disembarked about three hundred soldiers, who proceeded towards the Roman camp; but the Morins, whom Caesar, on leaving for Brittany, had left pacified, yielding to the lure of booty, surrounded them with a number of men at first inconsiderable, and invited them to lay down their arms, if they didn't want to be slaughtered. As the latter, having formed the circle, were defending themselves, they were not long in having around them some six thousand men, running up to shouts. When he heard of this, Caesar sent all the cavalry that was in the camp to the aid of his people. During this time, ours stood up to the attack: for more than four hours, they fought with great courage and killed many opponents while having only a few wounded. When our cavalry appeared, the enemies threw down their arms and fled: a great massacre was made.
38. Caesar, the next day, sent his legate Titus Labienus, with the legions he had brought back from Brittany, to the Morins who had revolted. These, the marshes being dry, could not take refuge there as they had done the previous year; they almost all fell into the hands of Labienus. On the other hand, the legates Quintus Titurius and Lucius Cotta, who had led the legions into the territory of the Menages, after ravaging all their fields, cutting their wheat, burning their houses, had to return to Caesar, because the Menapes had all hidden in very thick forests. Caesar wintered all his legions among the Belgians. There were only two cities in Brittany which sent their hostages there; the others neglected their promises. These campaigns ended, the Senate, following Caesar's report, decreed twenty days of thanksgiving.