The Gallic Wars II

57 BC J.-C.

1. Caesar was in the Gaul and the legions had taken up their winter quarters, as we have said above, when the rumor reached him on several occasions, confirmed by a letter from Labienus, that all the peoples of Belgium, which form, like as we have seen, a third of Gaul conspired against Rome and exchanged hostages. The motives for the plot were as follows: first, they feared that once all the rest of Gaul had been pacified, we would lead our troops against them; then, quite a large number of Gallic solicited them: some, just as they had not wanted the germans lingered in Gaul, resented seeing a Roman army wintering in their country and settling there; the others, because of the mobility and lightness of their minds, dreamed of changing masters; they also received advances from several characters who - power generally found in Gaul in the hands of the powerful and the rich who could buy men - achieved their ends less easily under our domination.

2. These reports and this letter moved Caesar. He raised two new legions in Citerior Gaul, and early in the summer he sent his legate Quintus Pédius to lead them into Later Gaul. Himself joins the army as soon as one starts to be able to make fodder. He instructs the Senones and other Gallic peoples who were neighbors of the Belgians to inquire about what is being done there and to inform him of it. They were all unanimous in reporting to him that troops were being raised, that an army was being concentrated. So he thought he shouldn't hesitate to take the offensive. After stocking up on wheat, he breaks camp and in about a fortnight arrives at the borders of Belgium.

3. We did not expect it, and no one had expected such a rapid march; also the Remes, who are the people of Belgium closest to Gaul, they deputed to Caesar Iccios and Andocumborios, the greatest personages of their nation, in order to tell him that they placed themselves, them and all their goods, under the protection of Rome and under its authority: they did not share the sentiment of the other Belgians, they did not conspire against Rome; they are ready to give hostages, to carry out the orders which they will receive, to open their fortified places, to supply corn and other benefits; they add that the rest of Belgium is in arms, that the Germans established on the left bank of the Rhine have allied themselves with the Belgians, that finally there is such an unleashing of passion among them, and so general, that the Even Suessions, who are their racial brothers, who live under the same laws, who have the same warlord, the same magistrate, they could not prevent them from taking part in the movements.

4. Caesar asked them which were the cities which had taken up arms, what was their importance, their military power; he obtained the following information: most of the Belgians were of Germanic ; they had formerly crossed the Rhine, and having stopped in this region because of its fertility, they had driven out the Gauls who occupied it; it was the only people who, in the time of our fathers, when the Cimbri and the Teutons ravaged all of Gaul, had known how to forbid them access to its territory; the result was that, full of the memory of this exploit, they attributed great importance to themselves and had great pretensions for the things of war. As to their number, the Remes said they were in possession of the most complete information, for, being linked with them by kinship and alliances, they knew the number of men that each city had promised for this war, in the assembly general of the Belgian peoples. The most powerful among them in courage, influence, and numbers were the Bellovaci: they could muster a hundred thousand men; they had promised sixty thousand elite, and demanded the general direction of the war. The Suessions were the neighbors of the Remes; they possessed a very vast territory, and very fertile. They had had for king, even in our time, Diviciacos, the most powerful chief of all Gaul, who, besides a large part of these regions, had also dominated the Brittany ; the current state king Galba. It was to him, because he was just and prudent, that the supreme direction of the war was entrusted, by common accord. He possessed twelve towns, he undertook to supply fifty thousand men. The Nervii promised as much: they are considered the fiercest of the Belgians and are the most distant; the Atrebates would bring fifteen thousand men, the Ambians ten thousand, the Morins twenty-five thousand, the Menapes seven thousand, the Caletes ten thousand, the Veliocasses and the Viromandues as many, the Atuatuques nineteen thousand; the Condruses, the Eburones, the Caeroesi, the Pemanes, who are united under the name of Germans, thought they could provide about forty thousand men.

5. Caesar encouraged the Remi and spoke kindly to them; he invited them to send him all their senators and to hand over to him the children of their chiefs as hostages. These conditions were all met punctually on the said day. He addresses himself, on the other hand, in pressing terms, to Diviciacos the Aedui, letting him know what essential interest there is, for Rome and for the common safety, in preventing the joining of the enemy contingents, in order not to not having to fight such a large army at once. It could be prevented if the Aedui made their troops penetrate into the territory of the Bellovaci and began to devastate their fields. Charged with this mission, he dismisses him. When Caesar saw that the Belgians had made their concentration and were marching against him, when he learned from his scouts and from the Remes that they were not far away, he quickly moved his army north of the Aisne, which is on the borders of the Pais Rémois, and established his camp there. Thanks to this arrangement, Caesar fortified one of the sides of his camp by supporting it against the river, he protected from the enemy what he left behind him, he finally ensured the security of the convoys sent to him by the Remes and the other cities. A bridge crossed this river. He places a post there, and leaves on the left bank his legate Quintus Titurius Sabinus with six cohorts; he had the camp protected by an intrenchment twelve feet high and a ditch eighteen feet.

6. Eight miles from this camp was a city of the Remes called Bibrax. The Belgians delivered a violent assault on him. They resisted it that day only with great difficulty. Gauls and Belgians have the same way of attacking. They begin by spreading in crowds all around the walls and throwing stones everywhere; then, when the rampart is stripped of its defenders, they form the tortoise, set fire to the posts and undermine the wall. This tactic was in this case easy to follow; for the assailants were so numerous throwing stones and darts that no one could remain on the rampart. Night came to interrupt the assault; the Remi Iccios, a man of high birth and in great credit with his people, who then commanded the place, sent to Caesar one of those who had been deputed to him to ask for peace, with the mission of announcing that if they did not come to help him, he won't be able to hold on any longer.

7. In the middle of the night, Caesar, using as guides those who had carried the message of Iccios, sends to the aid of the besieged Numidians, Cretan archers and Balearic slingers; the arrival of these troops, restoring hope to the Remes, communicates to them a new defensive ardor, while it deprives the enemies of the hope of taking the place. So, after a short halt in front of the city, having ravaged the lands of the Remes and burned all the villages and all the buildings they could reach, they proceeded with all their forces towards Caesar's camp, and established themselves at least two thousand paces; their encampment, judging by the smoke and fires, extended over eight miles.

8. Caesar, taking into account the number of the enemies and their great reputation for bravery, decided, to begin with, to postpone the battle; he nevertheless engaged in cavalry battles every day, to test the valor of the enemy and the audacity of ours. He soon saw that our troops were not inferior to those of the adversary. The space which extended in front of the camp was naturally suited to the deployment of a line of battle, because the hill where the camp was placed, slightly dominating the plain, had, facing the enemy, just as much width occupied by our troops once in line, and terminated at each extremity in steep slopes, while in front it formed a slightly accentuated ridge to then drop imperceptibly towards the plain. Caesar had a ditch dug at each end, about four hundred paces long, perpendicular to the line of battle; at the extremities of these ditches he established redoubts and placed machines, to prevent the enemies, once our troops being deployed, from being able, being so numerous, to take us from the flank while we were busy fighting. These arrangements made, he left the two legions of recent formation in the camp, so that they might, if need be, be brought up as reinforcements, and he drew up the six others in line in front of his camp. The enemy, likewise, had brought out and deployed his troops.

9. Between the two armies there was a small marsh. The enemy waited, hoping that ours would attempt to cross it; on their side ours stood ready to take advantage of the enemy's embarrassment, if he attempted the first passage, to rush upon him. During this time, a cavalry combat was taking place between the two lines. None of the adversaries ventured first across the swamp, Caesar, after the cavalry engagement had ended in our favor, led his troops back into camp. The enemies immediately marched without stopping towards the Aisne which, as we have said, flowed behind our camp. There, having found fords, they endeavored to force part of their forces across the river, with the design of capturing, if they could, the post commanded by the legate Quintus Titurius, and cutting the bridge; if they did not succeed, they would devastate the territory of the Remes, from which we drew great resources for this campaign and would prevent us from supplying ourselves.

10. Caesar, informed by Titurius, orders his cavalry, Numidian light infantry, slingers and archers across the bridge, and marches against the enemy. There was a violent fight. They were attacked in the water, which hampered their movements, and a large number were killed; the others, full of audacity, tried to pass over the corpses: a hail of arrows repelled them; those who had already passed, the cavalry surrounded them and they were massacred. When the Belgians understood that they had to give up and take Bibrax and cross the river, when they saw that we refused to advance, to give battle, on unfavorable ground, as finally they too began to run out of food , they held a council and decided that the best thing was to return each one to his own, except to gather from all sides to defend those whose territory would have been first invaded by the Roman army; in this way they would have the advantage of fighting at home and not with others, and they could use the supply resources that their country offered them. What determined them was, besides other motives, the following reason: they had learned that Diviciacos and the Aedui were approaching the country of the Bellovaci, and they could not be persuaded to delay any longer in succoring their own people.

11. The thing settled, they went out of the camp during the second watch in great disorder and tumult, without method or discipline, each wanting to be the first on the way home and eager to get home; so that their departure looked like an escape. Caesar, immediately informed by his observers of what was happening, feared a trap, because he did not yet know the reason for their retreat, and he kept his troops, including the cavalry, in camp. At daybreak, learning from his scouts that it was indeed a retreat, he sent all his cavalry forward to delay the rear guard; he gave him as chiefs the legates Quintus Pédius and Lucius Aurunculéius Cotta. The legate Titus Labienus was ordered to follow with three legions. These troops attacked the last corps and, pursuing them for several miles, killed a great number of fugitives: the rear guard, which we reached first, faced and valiantly sustained the shock of our soldiers; but those who were in front thought themselves out of danger, and were restrained neither by necessity nor by the authority of the chiefs: when they heard the clamors of battle, disorder fell in their ranks, and not all thought more to any other means of salvation than flight. It was thus that, without running any danger, our soldiers massacred as many as the length of the day permitted; at sunset they gave up pursuit and returned to camp as ordered.

12. The next day Caesar, without giving the enemy time to recover from this panic, led his army into the country of the Suessions, which were neighbors of the Remes, and by forced march reached Noviodunum, their capital. He wanted to take the place immediately, because he was told that it was without defenders; but, though these were indeed few in number, the width of the ditch and the height of the walls thwarted his assault. Having established a fortified camp, he brought forward mantlets and began the usual preparations for a siege. However, the whole multitude of the routed Suessions threw themselves into the place the following night. We had pushed the mantlets, raised the earthwork, built the towers, struck by the size of these works, something they had never seen, which they had never even heard of, and by the speed of the execution. , the Gauls send deputies to Caesar to surrender; at the prayer of the Remi, he gives them grace.

13. Caesar received the submission of the Suessions, who gave as hostages the first personages of the city and two sons of King Galba himself, and delivered all the weapons that their city contained then he marched on the Bellovaci. These had assembled, taking with them all they possessed, into the city of Bratuspantium; Caesar and his army were no more than about five thousand paces from this place, when all the elders came out of the city and, stretching out their hands to Caesar, then using the word, made it known that they were surrendering to his discretion and did not undertake to fight against Rome. Caesar advanced under the city walls and encamped there and this time the children and women, from the top of the walls, arms outstretched and hands outstretched in their usual gesture of supplication, begged the Romans for peace.

14. Diviciacos intervened in their favor (after the dissolution of the Belgian army, he had dismissed the Aedui troops and returned to Caesar): "The Bellovaci," he said, "have always been the allies and friends of the Aedui; it was under the impulse of their leaders, who represented to them the Aedui as reduced by Caesar to slavery and bearing on his part all kinds of unworthy treatment and humiliation, that they broke away from the Aedui and declared war in Rome. Those responsible for this decision, understanding the extent of the harm they had done to their homeland, took refuge in Brittany. To the prayers of the Bellovaci, the Aedui added theirs: "May he treat them with the clemency and kindness which are in his nature." If he does so, he will increase the credit of the Aedui with all the Belgian peoples, whose troops and money regularly give them, in case of war, the means to face it. »

15. Caesar replied that, in consideration of Diviciacos and the Aedui, he would accept the submission of the Bellovaci and spare them; as their city enjoyed great influence among the Belgian cities and was the most populous, he asked for six hundred hostages. When they had been delivered to him, and all the arms of the place had been handed over to him, he marched towards the country of the Ambians, who, on his arrival, hastened to make complete submission. Their neighbors were the Nervii. Caesar's investigation of the character and customs of this people provided him with the following information: the merchants had no access to them; they did not allow wine or some other luxury product to be introduced into their homes, believing that this softened their souls and relaxed the springs of their courage; they were rough men and of great warlike valour; they overwhelmed the other Belgians with bloody reproaches for having submitted to Rome and having made litter of the virtue of their ancestors; they assured that, as for them, they would not send deputies and would not accept any proposal for peace.

16. Caesar, after three days of marching through their country, learned by questioning the prisoners that the Sambre was not more than ten miles from his camp; “all the Nervians had taken position on the other side of this river and there they awaited the arrival of the Romans with the Atrebates and the Viromandues, their neighbors, because they had persuaded these two peoples to try with them the chance of war ; they also counted on the army of the Atuatuci, and indeed it was on its way; the women and those who, because of their age, could be of no use for the battle, they had been piled up in a place which marshes made inaccessible to an army. »

17. Armed with this information, Caesar sends forward scouts and centurions to choose a suitable ground for the establishment of a camp. A large number of submissive Belgians and other Gauls had followed Caesar and traveled with him; some of them, as later became known from the prisoners, having studied the manner in which the march of our army had been regulated during those days, went by night to the Nervians and explained to them that the legions were separated l from each other by very large convoys, and that it was very easy, when the first legion had arrived at the site of the camp and the others were still far behind it, to attack it before the soldiers would have put their bags on the ground; once this legion had been put to flight, and the convoy pillaged, the others would not dare stand up to them. Another consideration supported the advice of their informants: the Nervians, having only worthless cavalry (until now, indeed, they are not interested in it, but all their force, they owe it to the infantry), had for a long time had recourse, in order to better oppose the cavalry of their neighbours, in the event that they came to raid their homes, to the following process: they pruned and bent young trees; these grew many branches wide; brambles and thorny bushes grew in the intervals so that these hedges, like walls, afforded them a protection which even the eye could not violate. Our army being embarrassed in its march by these obstacles, the Nervians thought that they ought not to neglect the advice given them.

18. The configuration of the ground which our people had chosen for the camp was as follows. A gently sloping hill descended towards the Sambre, the watercourse mentioned above; opposite, on the other side of the river, a similar slope began, the bottom of which, for about two hundred paces, was open, while the upper part of the hill was lined with wood thick enough to allow the eye to see through it. difficult to penetrate. It was in these woods that the enemy was hidden; on the open ground, along the river, only a few cavalry posts could be seen. The water depth was about three feet.

19. Caesar, preceded by his cavalry, followed her at a short distance with all his troops. But he had regulated his march differently than the Belgians had told the Nervii because, on the approach of the enemy, he had made the arrangements that were usual for him: six legions advanced without baggage, then came the convoys of all the army, lastly two legions, those which had been raised most recently, brought up the rear and protected the convoys. Our cavalry crossed the river, at the same time as the slingers and the archers, and engaged in combat with the enemy horsemen. These, in turn, withdrew into the forest near theirs and, in turn, reappearing, charged ours; and ours dared not pursue them beyond the limit where the open ground ended. During this time, the six legions which had arrived first, having marked out the camp, undertook to fortify it. As soon as the head of our convoys was seen by those who were hiding in the forest - it was the moment they had agreed to engage in combat - as they had formed their front and placed their units inside the forest, thus increasing their confidence by the solidity of their formation, they suddenly dashed all together and rushed upon our horsemen. They had no difficulty in undoing and dispersing them; then, with incredible rapidity, they ran down towards the river, so that almost at the same time they seemed to be in front of the forest, in the river, and already grappling with us. With the same rapidity they climbed the opposite hill, marching on our camp and on those who were working there.

20. Caesar had to do everything at once: he had to raise the standard, which was the signal of the alarm, sound the trumpet, recall the soldiers from work, send for those who had advanced at a certain . distance to look for something to build the embankment, to arrange the troops in battle, to harangue them, to give the signal for the attack. The short time, and the approaching enemy, made many of these measures impossible. In this critical situation, two things helped Caesar: on the one hand, the instruction and training of the soldiers, who, exercised by previous battles, could just as well dictate to themselves what to do as learn it from others. others; on the other hand, the order which he had given to the legates not to leave work and to remain each with his legion, as long as the camp was not completed. Because of the proximity of the enemy and the rapidity of his movement, they did not wait, this time, for Caesar's orders, but took whatever steps they thought fit.

21. Caesar contented himself with giving the essential orders and ran to harangue the troops on the side which chance offered him; he fell on the tenth legion. He was brief, advising only the soldiers to remember their ancient valor, not to allow themselves to be troubled, and to stand firm before the onslaught; then, the enemy being within javelin-shot, he gave the signal for combat. He then went to the other wing to exhort the soldiers there also; he found them already fighting. They were so taken aback, and the offensive ardor of the enemies was such, that time was lacking not only to display the insignia, but even to put on the helmets and to remove the covers from the shields. Everyone, haphazardly from the place where he was leaving the work of the camp, joined the first signs he saw, so as not to lose the time he had to fight in search of his unit.

22. As the troops had ranged themselves according to the nature of the ground and the slope of the hill, by obeying the circumstances rather than the rules of tactics and usual formations, as the legions, without connection between them, each fought separately and that very thick hedges, as we said above, blocked the view, we had no precise data for the use of the reserves, we could not provide for the needs of each part of the front, and unity of command was impossible. Moreover, the chances were too unequal for the fortune of arms not to be so varied.

23. The 9th and 10th Legions, which were on the left wing, threw the javelin; harassed by the race and all out of breath, and finally wounded by our darts, the Atrebates (for it was they who occupied this side of the enemy line), were quickly driven back from the height towards the river, and while they tried to cross it, ours, pursuing them with swords, killed a great number of them. Then they did not hesitate to cross the river themselves, and, progressing on a ground which was not favorable to them, breaking the resistance of the enemies who had reformed, they put them to rout after a new combat. On another part of the front, two legions, the 11th and 8th acting separately, had defeated the Viromandues, who opposed them, had driven them down the slope and were fighting on the very banks of the river. But almost the whole camp, on the left and in the centre, being thus uncovered - on the right wing had taken up position the 12th legion and, not far from it, the 7th - all the Nervians, in very close ranks, under the leadership of Boduognatos, their supreme chief, marched on this point; and while some undertook to turn the legions on their right, others moved towards the top of the camp.

24. At the same time, our horsemen and the light infantry soldiers who had accompanied them, routed, as I said, at the beginning of the enemy attack, returned to the camp to take refuge there and found themselves face to face with the Nervians: they began to flee again in another direction; and the valets who, from the decumane gate, on the top of the hill, had seen ours pass, victorious, the river, and had come out to take booty, when they saw, turning, that the enemies were in the Roman camp, began to flee headlong. At the same time there was a clamor and a great confused noise: it was those who arrived with the luggage, and who, seized with panic, went at random in all directions. All this greatly moved the Trever horsemen, who have a particular reputation for courage among the peoples of Gaul, and whom their city had sent to Caesar as auxiliaries: seeing that a crowd of enemies filled the camp, that the legions were close together Closely and almost enveloped, whom valets, horsemen, slingers, Numidians fled from all sides in the stampede, they believed our situation hopeless and took the road to their country; they brought there the news that the Romans had been defeated and conquered, that the enemy had seized their camp and their baggage.

25. Caesar, after having harangued the 10th legion, had gone towards the right wing: ours were strongly pressed there; the soldiers of the 12th legion, having gathered their standards at the same point, were crowded together and hindered each other in fighting; the 4th cohort had had all its centurions and an ensign-bearer killed, it had lost an ensign; in the other cohorts, almost all the centurions were wounded or killed, and among them the primipile Publius Sextius Baculus, a particularly courageous centurion who, exhausted by numerous and serious wounds, could no longer stand; the rest weakened, and in the last ranks a certain number, feeling abandoned, left the fight and sought to escape the blows; the enemy mounted in front of us relentlessly, while their pressure increased on both flanks; the situation was critical. Seeing this, and as he had no reinforcements, Caesar took his shield from a soldier in the last ranks - for he had not brought his own - and advanced to the front line: there he spoke to the centurions. calling each of them by name and haranguing the rest of the troop; he gave the order to carry the ensigns forward and to loosen the ranks in order to be able more easily to use the sword. His arrival having given hope to the troops and having given them courage, for everyone, in the presence of the general, wished, even if the danger was extreme, to do his best, they succeeded in slowing down the momentum of the army a little. enemy.

26. Caesar, seeing that the 7th legion, which was next to the 12th, was also pressed by the enemy, informed the military tribunes that the two legions should gradually weld together and face the enemies by supporting each other each other. By this manoeuvre, the soldiers lent each other mutual assistance and no longer feared being taken in the rear; resistance was encouraged and became more lively. However, the soldiers of the two legions who, at the rear of the column, formed the guard of the convoys, having known that they were fighting, had taken off and appeared at the top of the hill; on the other hand, Titus Labienus, who had seized the enemy camp and had seen, from this height, what was happening in ours, sent the 10th legion to our assistance. The flight of the cavalry and valets having taught these soldiers what the situation was, and what danger the camp, the legions, and the general were running, they neglected nothing to go quickly.

27. The arrival of the three legions produced such a change in the situation that even those who, exhausted by their wounds, were lying on the ground, began to fight again, leaning on their shields, that the valets, seeing the enemy terrified, threw themselves on him, even without weapons, that the riders finally, to erase the memory of their shameful flight, sought on all the points of the battle field to surpass the legionnaires. But the enemy, even when he had little hope left, showed such courage that, when the first had fallen, those who followed them rose on their bodies to fight, and when they in their turn fell and that the corpses were piling up, the survivors, as from the height of a mound, hurled arrows at our soldiers and sent back the javelins which missed their target: thus, it was not a mad enterprise, for these men of a such courage, it had to be admitted, that having dared to cross a very wide river, to scale a very high bank, to mount an assault on a very strong position, this task, their heroism had made it easy.

28. This battle had almost destroyed the nation and the name of the Nervians; also, when they heard the news, the old men who, as we have said, had been gathered together with the children and the women in a region of lagoons and ponds, judging that nothing could stop the victors nor anything protect the defeated, sent, with the unanimous consent of the survivors, deputies to Caesar: they made complete submission, and, emphasizing the misfortune of their people, declared that from six hundred senators they were reduced to three, from sixty thousand men in a state of bear arms, barely five hundred. Caesar, anxious to show that he was pitiful to the unfortunate and to the supplicants, took great care to spare them: he left them the enjoyment of their lands and their cities, and ordered their neighbors to forbid themselves and to forbid their customers any injustice and damage to them.

29. The Atuatuci, mentioned above, came to the assistance of the Nervians with all their forces: at the news of the fight, they turned back and returned home; abandoning all their towns and all their fortified villages, they united all their possessions in a single place, which its situation made very strong. On all sides around it were very high cliffs from which the view plunged, except at one point which left a gently sloping passage not exceeding two hundred feet wide: a very high double wall defended this entrance, and then they crowned it with heavy stones and pointed beams. This people descended from the Cimbri and the Teutons, who, while marching towards our province and towards Italy, had left on the left bank of the Rhine the animals and the baggage which they could not carry, with six thousand men of the theirs to keep them. These, after the destruction of their people, had been in constant struggle with their neighbours, sometimes attacking them, sometimes repelling their attacks; Finally, peace had been made, and, with everyone's consent, they had chosen this region to settle there.

30. In the first days after our arrival, they made frequent sorties and engaged in small fights with us; then, when we had surrounded them with an intrenchment which was fifteen thousand feet in circumference and which was completed by numerous redoubts, they remained in the place. When they saw that after having pushed the mantlets and raised an earthwork we were building a tower in the distance, they began by mocking from the top of their rampart and by covering us with sarcasm: “Such a great device at such a distance! What arms, what muscles did they have, especially with their tiny size (because in the eyes of all the Gauls, in general, our small size next to their tall stature is an object of contempt) to claim to place a tower on the wall of this weight? »

31. But when they saw that it was moving and approaching the walls, deeply struck by this sight, new and strange to them, they sent deputies to Caesar, who spoke to him more or less in this language: "They could not believe that the Romans were not aided by the gods in the conduct of war, since they were able to move such high machines so quickly”; and they declared that they would hand over their persons and all their goods to them. “They only made a request, a prayer if Caesar, whose clemency and kindness they heard boasted, decided not to annihilate the Atuatuques, that he not deprive them of their arms. Almost all their neighbors hated them, were jealous of their value; if they gave up their arms, they would be defenseless before them. Better, if they were reduced to that, to see the Romans inflict any fate upon them, than to perish in the torments of the hands of these men, among whom they had always reigned supreme. »

32. Caesar replied that "his habits of clemency, rather than their conduct, induced him to preserve their nation, if they surrendered before the rams had touched their wall, but there was no possible capitulation unless the weapons were delivered. He would act as he had done for the Nervians, he would forbid their neighbors to do the least harm to a people subject to Rome”. The deputies reported these conditions to their people, and came to say that they submitted to them. A large quantity of arms was thrown from the top of the wall into the ditch which was in front of the place: they rose in heaps almost to the top of the rampart and our earthwork; and yet, as we afterwards saw, the besieged had concealed about a third of them, which they had kept in the place. They opened their doors, and that day passed peacefully.

33. When evening came, Caesar ordered the gates to be closed and the soldiers to leave the city, to prevent them from committing any violence against the inhabitants during the night. These, who – as we can clearly see – had consulted each other beforehand, because they had believed that once their submission had been made, we would withdraw our posts or at least relax our surveillance, using a on the one hand, weapons which they had retained and hidden, on the other hand shields which they had made with bark or by braiding wicker and which they had immediately seen the urgency , clad in skins, made on the third watch, on the side where the ascent towards our intrenchments was the least difficult, a sudden and massive exit. Promptly, according to the orders that Caesar had given in advance, fires were lit as a signal and people ran from the neighboring posts to the threatened point; the enemies fought with the tenacity that valiant warriors must have shown who were playing their last chance of safety and who had the disadvantage of position against an adversary launching his arrows from the top of an entrenchment and towers, in conditions finally where they could expect nothing but their courage. After about four thousand had been killed, what was left was thrown back into the square. The next day we broke down the doors which no one else defended; our soldiers entered the city, and Caesar had everything sold at auction in one lot. He learned from the buyers that the number of heads was 53,000.

34. At the same time, Publius Crassus, whom Caesar had sent with a legion to the Veneti, the Unelli, the Osisms, the Coriosolites, the Esuvii, the Aulerci, the Redons, seafaring peoples bordering the ocean, informed him that all these peoples had been subject to Rome.

35. These campaigns having procured the pacification of all Gaul, the fame which reached the Barbarians was such that Caesar received from the nations living beyond the Rhine deputies who came to promise the delivery of hostages and obedience. As he was in a hurry to leave for Itale and Illyricum, Caesar told them to return early the following summer. He brought his legions to winter quarters among the Carnutes, the Andes, the Turons and the neighboring peoples of the regions where he had made war, and departed for Italy. Because of these events, following Caesar's report, fifteen days of supplication were decreed, which had not yet happened to anyone.