58 BC J.-C.
1. L’ensemble de la Gaul est divisé en trois parties : l’une est habitée par les Belges, l’autre par les Aquitains, la troisième par le peuple qui, dans sa langue, se nomme Celtic, et, dans la nôtre, Gallic. Tous ces peuples diffèrent entre eux par le langage, les coutumes, les lois. Les Gaulois sont séparés des Aquitains par la Garonne, des Belges par la Marne et la Seine. Les plus braves de ces trois peuples sont les Belges, parce qu’ils sont les plus éloignés de la Province romaine et des raffinements de sa civilisation, parce que les marchands y vont très rarement, et, par conséquent, n’y introduisent pas ce qui est propre à amollir les coeurs, enfin parce qu’ils sont les plus voisins des germans qui habitent sur l’autre rive du Rhin, et avec qui ils sont continuellement en guerre. C’est pour la même raison que les Helvètes aussi surpassent en valeur guerrière les autres Gaulois : des combats presque quotidiens les mettent aux prises avec les Germains, soit qu’ils leur interdisent l’accès de leur territoire, soit qu’ils les attaquent chez eux. La partie de la Gaule qu’occupent, comme nous l’avons dit, les Gaulois commence au Rhône, est bornée par la Garonne, l’Océan et la frontière de Belgique ; elle touche aussi au Rhin du côté des Séquanes et des Helvètes ; elle est orientée vers le nord. La Belgique commence où finit la Gaule ; elle va jusqu’au cours inférieur du Rhin ; elle regarde vers le nord et vers l’est. L’Aquitaine s’étend de la Garonne aux Pyrénées et à la partie de l’Océan qui baigne l’Espagne ; elle est tournée vers le nord-ouest.
2. Orgétorix was by far the noblest and richest man among the Helvetians. Under the consulate of Marcus Messala and Marcus Pison, seduced by the desire to be king, he formed a conspiracy of the nobility and persuaded his fellow citizens to leave their country with all their resources: "Nothing was easier, since their value put them above all, than to become the masters of the whole of Gaul ”. He had all the less difficulty in convincing them that the Helvetians, because of the geographical conditions, are locked up on all sides: on one side by the Rhine, whose very wide and very deep course separates Helvetia from Germany. , another by the Jura, a very high chain that stands between the Helvetii and the Sequanes, and the third by Lake Geneva and the Rhone, which separates our province from their territory. This restricted the field of their wandering races and made it difficult for them to bring war to their neighbors: a very painful situation for men who had a passion for war. They estimated, moreover, that the extent of their territory, which was two hundred and forty miles long and one hundred and eighty wide, was not in proportion to their number, nor to their military glory and their reputation for bravery.
3. Under the influence of these reasons, and trained by the authority of Orgétorix, they decided to prepare everything for their departure: to buy beasts of burden and wagons in as many as possible, to sow all the arable land, in order to not to run out of wheat on the road, to ensure solid relations of peace and friendship with neighboring States. For the realization of this plan, two years, they thought, would be enough: a law fixed the departure at the third year. Orgétorix was chosen to carry out the business: he personally took charge of the embassies. During his tour, he persuaded Casticos, son of Catamantaloédis, Sequan, whose father had been king for a long time in his country and had received from the Roman Senate the title of friend, to seize the power which had previously belonged to his dad ; he also persuades the Héduen Dumnorix, brother of Diviciacos, who then occupied the first rank in his country and was particularly loved by the people, to attempt the same enterprise, and he gives him his daughter in marriage. He shows them that it is quite easy to bring these enterprises to a successful conclusion, for the reason that he himself is on the verge of obtaining supreme power in his country: one cannot doubt that all peoples of Gaul the Helvetian people are not the most powerful; he made a point of giving them power by placing his resources and his army at their service. This language appeals to them; the three men bind each other by an oath, and flatter themselves that, having become kings, the power of their three peoples, who are the greatest and the strongest, will enable them to seize the whole of Gaul.
4. A denunciation made the Helvetians aware of this intrigue. According to the custom of the country, Orgétorix had to plead his cause loaded with chains. If he was condemned, the penalty he had to undergo was torment by fire. On the day fixed for his hearing, Orgetorix brought before the tribunal all his family, about ten thousand men, whom he had gathered from all sides, and he also called all his clients and debtors, who were in great number: thanks to their presence, he was able to avoid the obligation to speak. This behavior irritated his fellow citizens: they wanted to obtain satisfaction by force, and the magistrates raised a large number of men in the country; in the meantime, Orgétorix died and it is not without suspecting - this is the opinion of the Helvetians - that he himself put an end to his life.
5. After his death, the Helvetians nonetheless persevered in their plan to leave their country. When they think they are ready for this enterprise, they set fire to all their towns - there were a dozen of them - to their villages - about four hundred - and to the isolated houses; all the wheat which they were not to take away, they deliver it to the flames: thus, by denying themselves the hope of a return, they would be better prepared to brave all the chances that awaited them; each was to take flour for three months. They persuade the Rauraques, Tulinges and Latobices, who were their neighbors, to follow the same course, to burn their towns and their villages and to go with them; finally the Boians, who, first established beyond the Rhine, had just crossed into Norique and laid siege to Noréia, become their allies and join them.
6. There were a total of two routes that allowed them to leave their country. One crossed the territory of the Sequanes: narrow and difficult, it was squeezed between the Jura and the Rhône, and the wagons barely passed one by one; besides, a very high mountain dominated it, so that a comb of men could easily prohibit it. The other route passed through our province: it was much more practicable and easier, because the territory of the Helvetians and that of the Allobroges, newly subjugated, are separated by the course of the Rhône, and this river is fordable in several places. The last city of the Allobroges and the closest to Helvétie is Geneva. A bridge joins it to this country. The Helvetii thought that they would obtain free passage from the Allobroges, because this people did not yet seem to them well disposed towards Rome; in case of refusal, they would compel them by force. Once all the preparations for departure have been completed, the day is set when they must all assemble on the banks of the Rhône. This day was the 5th of April calends, under the consulate of Lucius Pison and Aulus Gabinius.
7. Caesar, at the news that they pretended to be making their way through our province, hastened to leave Rome, won transalpine Gaul by forced marches and arrived in front of Geneva. He ordered to raise as many soldiers as possible throughout the province (there was a legion in all in transalpine Gaul) and had the Geneva bridge cut. When they know of his arrival, the Helvetii send him an embassy made up of the greatest personages of the State, and which was headed by Namméios and Verucloétios; they were to speak to him this language: “The intention of the Helvetii is to pass, without causing any damage, through the province, because they have no other way; they ask him to be so good as to authorize this passage. »Caesar, remembering that the Helvetii had killed the consul L. Cassius, beaten and brought under the yoke his army, thought that he should not consent to it: he considered moreover that men whose dispositions of mind were hostile, if they were allowed to cross the province, could not do so without violence or damage. Nevertheless, wanting to gain time until the concentration of the troops which he had ordered to be raised, he replied to the envoys that he was setting aside some time to reflect: "If they had a desire to express, let them come back to the ideas. April. "
8. In the meantime, he employed the legion he had and the soldiers who had come from the province to build, over a length of nineteen miles, from Lake Geneva, which discharges its waters into the Rhone, to the Jura, which forms the border between the Sequanes and the Helvetii, a wall sixteen feet high and preceded by a ditch. Having completed this work, he distributes posts, establishes redoubts, in order to be able to prevent them better from the passage if they want to attempt it against their will. When the appointed day was reached, and the envoys returned, he declared that the traditions of Roman policy and precedents did not permit him to grant anyone passage through the province; if they wanted to pass by force, they saw him ready to oppose it. The Helvetii, fallen from their hope, tried, either with the help of boats tied together and rafts which they built in large numbers, or by ford, in places where the Rhone had the least depth, to force the passage of the river. river, sometimes by day, more often by night; but they ran up against the defensive works, were repulsed by attacks and fire from our soldiers, and ended by giving up their enterprise.
9. They had only one road left, the one that crossed the territory of the Sequanes; they could not, because of the defiles, enter it without the consent of this people. Unable to persuade him on their own, they send an embassy to the Héduen Dumnorix, so that by his intercession he obtains their passage. Dumnorix, who was popular and generous, had the strongest influence among the Sequans; he was at the same time a friend of the Helvetians, because he had married in their country, having married the daughter of Orgétorix; his desire to rule pushed him to promote political change, and he wanted to attach as many nations as possible by rendering them services. So he takes the matter in hand: he gets the Sequans to let the Helvetians pass through their territory, and leads the two peoples to exchange hostages, the Sequans agreeing not to oppose the passage of the Helvetians. , these guaranteeing that their passage will be carried out without damage or violence.
10. It is reported to Caesar that the Helvetii propose to gain, through the territories of the Sequanes and the Heduans, that of the Santons, which is not far from the city of Tolosates, which is part of the Roman province. He realizes that if things happen like this, it will be a great danger for the province to have, on the border of a country without natural defenses and very rich in wheat, a bellicose people, hostile to the Romans. Also, entrusting his legate Titus Labiénus with the command of the fortified line which he had established, he reached Italy in great stages; there he raises two legions, puts in campaign three others who took up their winter quarters around Aquileia, and with his five legions he heads for later Gaul, taking the shortest route, across the Alps. There, the Centrons, the Graioceles, the Caturiges, who had occupied the dominant positions, try to prevent the passage of his army. Party of Océlum, which is the last city of the citier Gaul, it arrives in seven days, after several victorious combats, at the Voconces, in later Gaul; from there he leads his troops to the Allobroges, and the Allobroges to the Segusiaves. It is the first people that we meet outside the province beyond the Rhône.
11. The Helvetii had already crossed the defiles and crossed the country of the Sequanes; they had reached the Heduans, and were ravaging their lands. The latter, unable to defend themselves or protect their property, sent an embassy to Caesar to ask for his help: our army their fields were devastated, their children taken into slavery, their cities taken by assault. At the same time the Ambros, a people friendly to the Heduans and of the same stock, let Caesar know that their countryside had been devastated, and that they had difficulty in defending their cities from the aggressions of the enemy. Finally, the Allobroges, who had villages and properties on the right bank of the Rhône, sought refuge with Caesar and told him that, except the soil itself, they had nothing left. These facts decide Caesar he will not wait until the Helvetii arrived in Saintonge after having consumed the ruin of our allies.
12. There is a river, the Saône, which will flow into the Rhône, passing through the territories of the Héduens and the Sequanes; its course is incredibly slow, to the point that the eye cannot judge the direction of the current. The Helvetii were crossing it using rafts and assembled boats. When Caesar learned from his scouts that already three quarters of their troops had crossed the river and that only about a quarter of the army remained on the left bank, he left his camp during the third vigil with three legions. and joined those who had not yet passed. They were embarrassed with their luggage and did not expect an attack. Caesar cut most of it to pieces; the rest sought their salvation in flight and hid in the neighboring forests. These men were those of the canton of Tigurins: the whole of the Helvetian people is divided, in fact, into four cantons. These Tigurines, having left their country alone in the time of our fathers, had killed the consul L. Cassius and brought his army under the yoke. Thus, either by chance or by design of the immortal gods, the part of the Helvetian nation which had inflicted a great disaster on the Romans was the first to be punished. On this occasion, Caesar not only avenged his country, but also his family: L. Pison, grandfather of his stepfather L. Pison, and lieutenant of Cassius, had been killed by the Tigurines in the same fight in which Cassius had perished .
13. After having fought this battle, Caesar, in order to be able to pursue the rest of the Helvetian army, makes throw a bridge on the Saône and by this means carries his army on the other bank. His sudden approach surprises the Helvetii, and they are frightened to see that one day was enough for him to cross the river, when they had great difficulty in doing so in twenty. They send him an embassy: the head was Divico, who had commanded the Helvetii in the war against Cassius. He spoke to Caesar this language “If the Roman people made peace with the Helvetii, they would go where Caesar wanted, and settle in the place of his choice; but if he persisted in treating them as enemies, he should not forget that the Romans had formerly experienced some inconvenience, and that a long past consecrated the warlike virtue of the Helvetii. He had suddenly thrown himself on the troops of a canton, while those who had crossed the river could not help their brothers; he should not therefore presume too much of his worth or despise his adversaries. They had learned from their ancestors to prefer to enterprises of cunning and deceit the open struggle in which the bravest triumphs. That he therefore took care of the places where they had stopped might well borrow a new name from a Roman defeat and the destruction of his army, or pass on the memory of it. "
14. Caesar replied in these terms: "He hesitated all the less on the course to be taken as the facts recalled by the Helvetian ambassadors were present in his memory, and he had all the more difficulty in bearing the idea that the Roman people were less responsible for what had happened. If, in fact, he had been conscious of having done some harm, it would not have been difficult for him to take his precautions; but what had deceived him was that he saw nothing in his conduct which gave him cause to fear, and that he did not think that he should fear without cause. And supposing that he consented to publish the old affront, their new insults attempt to force their way through the province to which they were denied access, violence against the Héduens, the Ambarres, the Allobroges, could he forget them? ? As for the insolent pride which their victory inspired in them, and their astonishment at having remained so long unpunished, Caesar's resolution was strengthened. For the immortal gods, in order to make the reverses of fortune felt more severely by the men whose crimes they want to punish, like to grant them moments of luck and a certain period of impunity. This is the situation; however, if they give him hostages who will be a guarantee of the execution of their promises, and if the Heduans receive satisfaction for the wrongs that they and their allies have suffered, if the Allobroges also obtain reparation, he is ready. to make peace. »Divico replied that« the Helvetii had a principle from their ancestors: they received hostages, they did not give any; the Roman people could bear witness to it. With that answer, he left.
15. The next day, the Helvetians broke camp. Caesar does the same, and he sends forward all his cavalry, about four thousand men whom he had raised in the whole of the province and among the Heduans and their allies; she had to realize the direction taken by the enemy. Having pursued with too much ardor the rearguard of the Helvetii, it has an engagement with their cavalry on a ground which it did not choose, and loses some men. This combat aroused the pride of our adversaries, who had with five hundred cavalry repulsed such a numerous cavalry: they began to show themselves more daring, sometimes facing up and harassing us with rearguard combats. Caesar was holding back his soldiers, and for the moment was content to prevent the enemy from stealing, removing fodder and destroying. We marched thus for nearly a fortnight, without there ever being between the enemy's rear-guard and our vanguard more than five or six thousand paces.
16. However, Caesar demanded every day from the Hedui the wheat that they had officially promised him. Because, because of the cold - Gaul, as we said previously, is a northern country - not only were the harvests not ripe, but the fodder was also lacking; as for the wheat which he had had transported by water up the Saône, he could hardly use it, because the Helvetii had strayed from the river and he did not want to lose sight of them. The Heduans differed their delivery from day to day: “We were gathering the grain,” they said, “they were on their way, they were arriving. When Caesar saw that he was amused, and that the day was near when they would have to distribute their monthly ration to the soldiers, he summoned the Heduan chiefs who were in great number in his camp; among them were Diviciaros and Liscos; the latter was the supreme magistrate, whom the Héduens call vergobret; he is appointed for one year, and has the right of life and death over his fellow citizens; Caesar complains keenly that, in the impassibility of buying wheat or obtaining it in the countryside, when the circumstances are so critical, the enemy so close, he finds no help from them, and that, when it was largely to answer their prayers that he went to war; more strongly still he reproaches them for having betrayed his confidence.
17. These words of Caesar decide Liscos to say finally what he had hitherto said to you: "There are a certain number of personages who have a preponderant influence on the people, and who, simple individuals, are more powerful than the magistrates. themselves. These are the ones who, by their criminal excitations, divert the mass of the Heduans from bringing the wheat they owe: they tell them that it is better, if they can no longer claim the first rank in Gaul. , obey the Gauls than the Romans; they declare themselves certain that, if the Romans triumph over the Helvetii, they will steal freedom from the Heduans at the same time as from the rest of Gaul. These are the same characters who instruct the enemy on our plans and what is going on in the army; he is powerless to contain them. Even more: if he waited until he was forced to do so before revealing such a serious situation to Caesar, it is because he realizes the danger he is running; that is why, as long as he could, he remained silent. "
18. Caesar felt that these words of Liscos were aimed at Dumnorix, brother of Diviciaros; but, not wishing that the affair be discussed in the presence of several persons, he promptly dismisses the assembly, and only retains Liscos. Alone, he questions him about what he had said in the council. He speaks with more freedom and daring. Caesar secretly interrogates other characters; he finds that Liscos was telling the truth. “It was Dumnorix: the man was full of daring, his liberality had put him in favor with the people, and he wanted a political upheaval. For many years he had held dear the customs and all the other taxes of the Heduans, because when he bid, no one dared bid against him. This had enabled him to amass, while enriching his house, enough to provide abundantly for his largesse; he regularly maintained, at his expense, a large cavalry which served as his bodyguard, and his influence was not limited to his country, but extended widely to neighboring nations. To develop this influence, he even married his mother, among the Bituriges, to a personage of high nobility and great power; he himself had married a Helvetian; her maternal sister and relatives had been married by her in other cities. He loved and favored the Helvetians because of this union; moreover, he harbored a personal hatred against Caesar and the Romans, because their arrival had diminished his power and restored to his brother Diviciacos the credit and honors of old. A misfortune of the Romans would raise to the highest its hopes of becoming king thanks to the Helvetii; Roman domination would make him lose hope not only of reigning, but even of retaining his credit. Caesar's investigation further informed him that, in the cavalry combat unfavorable to our arms which had taken place a few days before, Dumnorix and his horsemen had been the first to turn bridle (the auxiliary cavalry which the Heduans had supplied to Caesar was, in fact, commissioned by Dumnorix); it was their flight that had caused panic among the rest of the troop.
19. To the suspicions which Master made by this information were added absolute certainties: he had made the Helvetii pass through the country of the Sequanes; he had occupied himself with exchanging hostages between the two peoples; he had acted in all this not only without the order of Caesar or of his fellow citizens, but even without their knowledge; he was denounced by the first magistrate of the Héduens. Caesar thought that this was sufficient motive to punish himself or to invite his city to punish him. To these reasons, only one was opposed: he had been able to appreciate in Diviciacos, brother of the traitor, an entire devotion to the Roman people, a very great attachment to his person, the most remarkable qualities of fidelity, uprightness, moderation; and he was afraid of giving him a cruel blow by sending his brother to death. Also, before trying anything, he calls for Diviciacos, and, setting aside his ordinary interpreters, he has recourse, to speak with him, to Caius Valérius Troucillus, a great personage of Roman Gaul, who was his friend and in whom he had the most complete confidence. He reminds him of what has been said of Dumnorix in his presence, in the council, and informs him of the information he has obtained in private interviews; he urges him not to be offended if he decides himself on the culprit after regular information or if he invites his city to judge him.
20. Diviciacos, all in tears, surrounds Caesar in his arms and begs him not to take too severe measures against his brother. He knew that they had told the truth, and no one suffered more than him: for while he enjoyed in his country and in the rest of Gaul a very great influence and that his brother, because of his young age, possessed none, he had helped him to rise; and the fortune and power thus acquired, he used not only to weaken his credit, but even to prepare for his downfall. Yet he was his brother, and on the other hand public opinion could not leave him indifferent. If Caesar treated him with rigor when he, Diviciacos, occupied such a high place in his friendship, no one would think that it had been against his will: and from then on all the Gauls would become hostile to him. He spoke abundantly and shed tears. Caesar takes his hand, reassures him, asks him to put an end to his entreaties; he declares to her that he esteems his friendship high enough to sacrifice to his desire and his prayers the wrong done to the Romans and the indignation he feels. He summons Dumnorix and, in the presence of his brother, tells him what he reproaches him with; he exposes to him what he knows, and the grievances of his compatriots; he warns him to have to avoid any suspicion for the future; he forgives him the past in favor of his brother Diviciacos; he gives him guards, in order to know what he is doing and with whom he is talking.
21. The same day, having learned from his scouts that the enemy had stopped at the foot of a mountain eight miles from his camp, Caesar sent a reconnaissance to find out what that mountain was and what access its circumference offered. . She was told that she was easily accessible. He orders Titus Labiénus, legate propreteur, to go, during the third watch, to occupy the crest of the mountain with two legions, being guided by those who had recognized the road; he lets him know his plan. For his part, during the fourth watch, he marches towards the enemy, by the same path that the latter had taken, and detaches all his cavalry in advance. She was preceded by scouts under the orders of Publius Considius, who was considered a very experienced soldier and had served in the army of Lucius Sulla, then in that of Marcus Crassus.
22. At daybreak, as Labienus was occupying the top of the mountain, he himself was only fifteen hundred paces from the enemy's camp, and - as he learned later from prisoners - they were not sure. was seen neither of his approach, nor of that of Labienus, Considius runs towards him with slackened bridle: "The mountain, he said, that Labienus had orders to occupy, it is the enemies who hold it: he recognized the Gauls. to their arms and badges. Caesar brings his troops back to a nearby hill and lines them up in line. He had recommended to Labienus not to engage in combat until he had seen his troops near the enemy camp, for he wanted the attack to occur simultaneously from all sides: so the legate, after taking up a position on the mountain, waited he ours and he refrained from attacking. It was not until much earlier in the day that Caesar learned the truth from his scouts: it was his family who occupied the mountain, the Helvetians had raised camp, Considius, lost in fear, told him that he had seen what he was doing. he hadn't seen. That very day Caesar follows the enemies at the usual distance and establishes his camp three thousand paces from theirs.
23. The next day, as two days in all and for everything separated it from the moment when it would be necessary to distribute wheat to the troops, and since on the other hand Bibracte, by far the largest and the richest city of the Héduens, was not not more than eighteen miles away, he thought that it was necessary to take care of the provisioning, and, leaving the Helvetii, he proceeded towards Bibracte. Slaves of Lucius Emilius, decurion of the Gallic cavalry, flee and teach the enemy the thing. Did the Helvetians believe that the Romans broke contact under the influence of terror, a thought all the more natural since the day before, masters of the heights, we had not attacked? or did they force themselves to cut off our food? Still, changing their plans and turning around, they began to follow and harass our rear guard.
24. When he noticed this maneuver, Caesar set to work to bring his troops back to a nearby hill and detached his cavalry to support the shock of the enemy. For his part, he lined up in three rows, halfway up, his four legions of veterans; Above him, on the ridge, he arranged the two legions which he had last raised in Gaul, and all the auxiliary troops; the whole hill was thus covered with soldiers; he ordered that at the same time the bags should be united in a single point and that the troops which occupied the highest position should endeavor to fortify it. The Helvetii, who followed with all their wagons, assembled them at the same point; and the combatants, after having rejected our cavalry by opposing it with a very compact front, formed the phalanx and mounted the attack on our first line.
25. Caesar had his horse removed and put out of sight first, then those of all the officers, so that the danger was equal to all and that no one could hope to flee; then he harangued his troops and began to fight. Our soldiers, throwing the javelin up and down, easily succeeded in breaking the phalanx of the enemies. When it was dislocated, they drew the sword and charged. The Gauls were seriously embarrassed by the fact that often a single javelin shot had pierced and fixed several of their shields together; as the iron had twisted, they could not tear it off, and, not having their left arm free, they were embarrassed to fight: so many, after having shaken their arm for a long time, preferred to drop the shields and fight in the open. Finally, exhausted from their injuries, they began to retreat and fall back towards a mountain which was about a mile away. They occupied it, and ours were advancing to dislodge them when the Boi and Tulinges, who, numbering about fifteen thousand, brought up the rear and protected the last elements of the column, suddenly attacked our right flank and sought to envelop us; Seeing this, the Helvetii who had taken refuge on the height became aggressive again and again engaged in combat. The Romans made a conversion and attacked on two fronts the first and second lines would resist those who had been beaten and forced to retreat, while the third would bear the brunt of the fresh troops.
26. This double battle was long and fierce. When it was no longer possible for them to withstand our assaults, they fell back, some to the height, as they had done for the first time, others to their luggage and their carts. During all this action, which lasted from the seventh hour of the day until evening, no one could see an enemy turning his back. We still fought around the baggage very much before into the night the Barbarians had in fact formed a barricade of wagons and, dominating our own, they overwhelmed them with arrows as they approached; several also threw from below, between the wagons and between the wheels, pikes and javelins which wounded our soldiers. After a long fight, we made ourselves masters of the baggage and of the camp. Orgétorix's daughter and one of her sons were taken prisoner. About one hundred and thirty thousand men escaped, and during that night they marched without stopping; on the fourth day, without ever having stopped for a moment during the night, they arrived at the Lingons; our troops had not been able to follow them, having been detained for three days by caring for the wounded and burying the dead. Caesar sent a letter and messengers to the Lingons inviting them not to provide the Helvetians with any food or aid of any kind; otherwise, he would treat them like them. And he himself, after three days, began to follow them with all his army.
27. The Helvetii, deprived of everything, were reduced to sending deputies to him to discuss their surrender. They met him as he walked; they threw themselves at his feet and, begging, shedding tears, asked him for peace; he ordered the Helvetii to wait without moving their place for his arrival: they obeyed. When Caesar had joined them, he demanded the handing over of hostages, the delivery of arms and that of the slaves who had fled to them. The next day, we search, we collect what must be delivered; however, six thousand men from Pagus Verbigénus, either because they feared being sent to execution once their weapons were delivered, or because they had the hope that their flight, while so many men were making their submission, would go unnoticed at the time, or even remain ignored, left the Helvetian camp in the early hours of the night and set out for the Rhine and Germany.
28. When Caesar heard this, he enjoined the peoples whose territories they had passed through to seek them out and bring them back to him, if they wished to be justified in his eyes; they were brought back and he treated them as enemies; all the others, once they had delivered hostages, arms and deserters, saw their submission accepted. Helvetii, Tulinges and Latobices received the order to return to the country from which they had left; As they had destroyed all their crops, and there was nothing left for them to eat, Caesar ordered the Allobroges to provide them with wheat; to them, he enjoined to rebuild the towns and villages which they had burned down. What especially dictated to him these measures, it was the desire not to leave deserted the country which the Helvetii had abandoned, because the good quality of the grounds made him fear that the Germans who live on the other bank of the Rhine would leave their country. to establish themselves in that of the Helvetii, and thus did not become neighbors of the province and of the Allobroges. As for the Boians, the Heduans asked, because they were known as a people of particular bravery, to settle them in their homes; Caesar consented to it; they gave them land, and subsequently admired them to enjoy the rights and freedoms they themselves enjoyed.
29. On trouva dans le camp des Helvètes des tablettes écrites en caractères greeks ; elles furent apportées à César. Elles contenaient la liste nominative des émigrants en état de porter les armes, et aussi une liste particulière des enfants, des vieillards et des femmes. Le total général était de 263000 Helvètes, 36000 Tulinges, 14000 Latobices, 23000 Rauraques, 32000 Boïens ; ceux qui parmi eux pouvaient porter les armes étaient environ 92000. En tout, c’était une population de 368000 âmes. Ceux qui retournèrent chez eux furent recensés, suivant un ordre de César on trouva le chiffre de 110000.
30. Once the war against the Helvetii was over, deputies from almost all of Gaul, who were the leaders in their city, came to congratulate Caesar. They understood, they said, that if by this war, he had avenged old outrages of the Helvetians to the Roman people, however the events which had just occurred were not less advantageous for the Gallic country than for Rome because the Helvetii , in full prosperity, had only abandoned their homes with the intention of making war on the whole of Gaul, of becoming its masters, of choosing to settle there, among so many regions, the one they deemed most favorable and fertile, and to make other nations pay tribute. They expressed their desire to fix a day for a general assembly of Gaul and to have the permission of Caesar for that: they had certain things to ask him after having reached an agreement between them. Caesar gave his assent; they fixed the day of the meeting, and each one undertook by oath not to reveal to anybody what would be said there, except formal mandate of the assembly.
31. Quand celle-ci se fut séparée, les mêmes chefs de nations qui avaient une première fois parlé à César revinrent le trouver et sollicitèrent la faveur de l’entretenir sans témoins et dans un lieu secret d’une question qui intéressait leur salut et celui du pays tout entier. César y consentit ; alors ils se jetèrent tous à ses pieds en pleurant : « Leur désir, dirent-ils, de ne pas voir ébruiter leurs déclarations était aussi vif et aussi anxieux que celui d’obtenir ce qu’ils voulaient ; car, si leurs paroles étaient connues, ils se savaient voués aux pires supplices. » L’Héduen Diviciacos parla en leur nom : « L’ensemble de la Gaule était divisé en deux factions : l’une avait à sa tête les Héduens, l’autre les Arvernes. Depuis de longues années, ils luttaient âprement pour l’hégémonie, et il s’était produit ceci, que les Arvernes et les Séquanes avaient pris des Germains à leur solde. Un premier groupe d’environ quinze mille hommes avait d’abord passé le Rhin ; puis, ces rudes barbares prenant goût au pays, aux douceurs de sa civilisation, à sa richesse, il en vint un plus grand nombre ; ils étaient à présent aux environs de cent vingt mille. Les Héduens et leurs clients s’étaient plus d’une fois mesurés avec eux ; ils avaient été battus, subissant un grand désastre, où ils avaient perdu toute leur noblesse, tout leur sénat, toute leur cavalerie. Épuisés par ces combats, abattus par le malheur, eux qui auparavant avaient été, grâce à leur courage et aux liens d’hospitalité et d’amitié qui les unissaient aux Romains, si puissants en Gaule, ils avaient été réduits à donner comme otages aux Séquanes leurs premiers citoyens, et à jurer, au nom de la cité, qu’ils ne les redemanderaient pas, qu’ils n’imploreraient pas le secours de Rome, qu’ils ne chercheraient jamais à se soustraire à l’absolue domination des Séquanes. Il était le seul de toute la nation héduenne qui ne se fût pas plié à prêter serment et à livrer ses enfants comme otages. Il avait dû, pour cette raison, s’enfuir de son pays, et il était allé à Rome demander du secours au Sénat, étant le seul qui ne fût lié ni par un serment, ni par des otages. Mais les Séquanes avaient eu plus de malheur dans leur victoire que les Héduens dans leur défaite, car Arioviste, roi des Germains, s’était établi dans leur pays et s’était emparé d’un tiers de leurs terres, qui sont les meilleures de toute la Gaule ; et à présent il leur intimait l’ordre d’en évacuer un autre tiers, pour la raison que peu de mois auparavant vingt-quatre mille Harudes étaient venus le trouver, et qu’il fallait leur faire une place et les établir. Sous peu d’années, tous les Gaulois seraient chassés de Gaule et tous les Germains passeraient le Rhin car le sol de la Gaule et celui de la Germanie n’étaient pas à comparer, non plus que la façon dont on vivait dans l’un et l’autre pays. Et Arioviste, depuis qu’il a remporté une victoire sur les armées gauloises, – la victoire d’Admagétobrige – se conduit en tyran orgueilleux et cruel, exige comme otages les enfants des plus grandes familles et les book, pour faire des exemples, aux pires tortures, si on n’obéit pas au premier signe ou si seulement son désir est contrarié. C’est un homme grossier, irascible, capricieux ; il est impossible de souffrir plus longtemps sa tyrannie. A moins qu’ils ne trouvent une aide auprès de César et du peuple romain, tous les Gaulois seront dans la nécessité de faire ce qu’ont fait les Helvètes, d’émigrer, de chercher d’autres toits, d’autres terres, loin des Germains, de tenter enfin la fortune, quelle qu’elle puisse être. Si ces propos sont rapportés à Arioviste, point de doute il fera subir le plus cruel supplice à tous les otages qui sont entre ses mains. Mais César, par son prestige personnel et celui de son armée, grâce à sa récente victoire, grâce au respect qu’inspire le nom romain, peut empêcher qu’un plus grand nombre de Germains ne franchisse le Rhin, et protéger toute la Gaule contre les violences d’Ariwiste. »
32. When Diviciacos had finished this speech, all present began, with great tears, to implore Caesar's help. He observed that among all of them, the Sequans did nothing of what the others were doing, but sadly kept their heads down and their eyes fixed on the ground. Astonished at this attitude, he asked them the reason for it. No answer: the Sequanes remained silent and still overwhelmed. He insisted several times, and could not get a word from them; it was the Héduen Diviciacos who, speaking again, answered him. “The fate of the Sequanes was particularly pitiful and cruel, that among all of them they did not dare, even in secret, to complain or ask for help, and, in the absence of Arioviste, feared his cruelty as well as others. it was there the other peoples, in fact, had despite everything the resource to flee, while they, who had admitted Ariovistus on their territory and of which all the cities were in his possession, they were doomed to all the atrocities. "
33. When he learned of these facts, Caesar reassured the Gauls and promised them that he would take care of this matter. Arioviste to stop his violence. Having made this speech to them, he dismissed the assembly. Besides what he had just heard, several reasons led him to think that he should be concerned about this situation and intervene; the main thing was that he saw the Heduans, to whom the Senate had so often given the name of brothers, submitted to the Germans, who had become their subjects, and that he knew that Heduan hostages were in the power of Arioviste and the Sequans that When one thought of the omnipotence of Rome seemed to him a great shame both for the Republic and for himself. He also realized that it was dangerous for the Roman people for the Germans to gradually get into the habit of crossing the Rhine and coming in large masses to Gaul; he considered that these violent and uneducated men could not refrain, after having occupied all of Gaul, from passing into the Roman province and, from there, marching on Italy, as the Cimbri and the Teutons had done before them: an enterprise of 'so much easier as the Sequanes were separated from our province only by the Rhône; such eventualities had to be avoided, he thought, as soon as possible. Arioviste, finally, had become so proud, so insolent, that he considered it intolerable.
34. He therefore decided to send him an embassy which would ask him to choose a place for an interview halfway between the two armies: "He wanted to deal with him on affairs of state which were of the greatest interest to them. one and the other. Arioviste replied that "if he had had anything to ask Caesar, he would have gone to find him; if Caesar wanted anything from him, it was up to Caesar to come and see him. He added that he did not dare to surrender without an army in the part of Gaul which was in the power of Caesar, that, on the other hand, the gathering of an army required great provisions and cost much trouble. Besides, he wondered what Caesar, and the Romans in general, had to do in a Gaul which belonged to him, which he had conquered.
35. Quand on lui rapporta cette réponse du chef german, César lui envoya une deuxième ambassade chargée du message suivant : « Il avait reçu de lui et du peuple Romain un grand bienfait, s’étant vu décerner par le Sénat, sous le consulat de César, les titres de roi et d’ami ; puisque sa façon de témoigner à César et à Rome sa reconnaissance, c’était, quand César l’invitait à une entrevue, de mal recevoir cette invitation, et de se refuser à un échange de vues sur les affaires qui leur étaient communes, il lui signifiait les exigences suivantes : en premier lieu, qu’il s’abstînt désormais de faire franchir le Rhin à de nouvelles bandes pour les établir en Gaule ; deuxièmement, qu’il rendît les otages que les Héduens lui avaient donnés, et laissât les Séquanes rendre, avec son consentement exprès, ceux qu’ils détenaient ; il devait enfin cesser de poursuivre de ses violences les Héduens, et ne faire la guerre ni à eux ni à leurs alliés. Si telle était sa conduite, César et le peuple Romain continueraient de lui donner leur faveur et leur amitié ; mais si ses demandes n’étaient pas reçues, César, fort de la décision du Sénat qui sous le consulat de Marcus Messala et de Marcus Pison, avait décrété que tout gouverneur de la province de Gaule devrait, autant que le permettrait le bien de l’ État, protéger les Héduens et les autres amis de Romel, César ne laisserait pas impunis les torts qu’on leur ferait. »
36. Arioviste replied that the laws of war wanted the victors to impose their authority on the vanquished as they saw fit. Thus it was in the traditions of Rome to dictate the law to the vanquished not according to the orders of a third party, but according to his will. Since, for his part, he refrained from prescribing to the Romans the use they should make of their law, it was not fitting that he should be hampered by them in the exercise of his. If the Heduans were his tributaries, it was because they had attempted the fortune of arms, because they had given battle and had had the bottom. Caesar was doing him serious harm by causing, by his arrival, a decrease in his income. He would not return the hostages to the Heduans; he would not do them or their allies an unjust war, but they had to observe the conventions and pay tribute every year; otherwise, the title of brothers of the Roman people would hardly serve them. As for the advice that Caesar was giving him, that he would not let go unpunished the wrongs that would be done to the Heduans, no one had yet measured himself with him except for his misfortune. He could come and attack him whenever he wanted; he would learn that from the Germans who had never been defeated, they were very trained in war, who, in the space of fourteen years, had not slept under a roof, were able to do. "
37. At the same time as this answer was being brought back to Caesar, two embassies arrived, one from the Heduans, the other from the Treveri; the first came to complain that the Harudes, who had recently crossed into Gaul, were ravaging their territory: "No matter how much they gave hostages, that could not have earned them peace from Arioviste"; as for the Trevires, they let it be known that a hundred clans of Suevi had established themselves on the banks of the Rhine, and sought to cross the rivers; they were commanded by Nasua and Cimbérios, two brothers. Caesar, deeply moved by this news, considered that he had to act diligently, to avoid that, the new troop of Suevi having made its junction with the old forces of Arioviste, the resistance is not made more difficult for him. Also, having gathered provisions in all haste, he marched against Ariovistus in great stages.
38. After three days of walking, he was told that Arioviste, with all his strength, was heading towards Besançon, the most important city of the Sequanes, to seize it, and that he was already three days from the borders. of his kingdom. Caesar thought that everything should be done to prevent the place from being taken. Indeed, she possessed in great abundance all that is necessary to make war; moreover, its natural position made it so strong that it offered great facilities for making hostilities last: the Doubs almost surrounds the entire town in a circle that looks like traced with a compass; the space which the river leaves free is not more than sixteen hundred feet, and a high mountain closes it so completely that the river bathes its base on both sides. A wall that goes around this mountain transforms it into a citadel and joins it to the city. Caesar walks towards this square with forced marches day and night; he seizes it and garrison it.
39. While he was stopping for a few days near Besançon to stock up on wheat and other food, the soldiers questioned, natives and merchants chatting: they spoke of the immense size of the Germans, of their incredible military value, of their wonderful training. : "Many times," said the Gauls, "we have measured ourselves against them, and the mere appearance of their faces, the mere glare of their looks were unbearable to us. Such words caused a sudden panic throughout the army, and so great that considerable turmoil took hold of minds and hearts. It began with the military tribunes, the prefects, and those who, having left Rome with Caesar to cultivate his friendship, had little experience of war; under various pretexts of which they made so many compelling reasons for leaving, they asked permission to leave the army; a certain number, however, held back by the feeling of honor and wishing to avoid the suspicion of cowardice, remained in the camp: but they could not compose their faces, nor prevent themselves, at times, from weeping; they hid in their tents to moan each one over their fate or to deplore, in the company of their intimate friends, the danger which threatened them all. All over the camp they were only sealing wills. The words, the fear of these people gradually shook even those who had great military experience, soldiers, centurions, cavalry officers. Those among them who wanted to pass for braver said that they did not fear the enemy, but the defiles that had to be crossed and the immense forests which separated them from Arioviste, or else they pretended to fear that the supplies might not be available. to do in fairly good conditions. Some had gone so far as to let Caesar know that when he gave the order to break camp and advance, the soldiers would not obey and, under the influence of fear, would refuse to walk.
40. Seeing this, Caesar called together the council, and he called together the centurions of all the cohorts; he began by vehemently reproaching them for their claim to know where they were leading them, what they were proposing, and for reasoning about it. “Arioviste had, under his consulate, sought with the greatest eagerness the friendship of the Romans; what reason to think that he would fail so lightly in his duty? For his part, he was convinced that when the Germain knew what Caesar asked and saw how fair his proposals were, he would not refuse to live in harmony with him and with the Roman people. And if, obeying the impulse of insane fury, he declared war, then what did they have to fear? What are the reasons for despairing of their own worth or of the attentive zeal of their leader? We had already known this adversary in the days of our fathers, when Marius won over the Cimbri and the Teutons a victory which was no less glorious for his soldiers than for himself; We had also known it, more recently, in Italy, during the revolt of the slaves, and even they found an increase of force in their military experience and their discipline, qualities which they owed to us. Their example made it possible to judge what one could expect from a firmness of soul, since men whom one had for a moment feared without reason when they were devoid of weapons, had been then beaten while they were well armed and had victories under their belt. Finally these Germans are the same men with whom, on many occasions, the Helvetii have measured themselves, and whom they have almost always triumphed not only on their own territory, but in Germania itself and yet the Helvetians could not stand before our troops. . If certain minds were alarmed by the failure and the rout of the Gauls, it was enough for them to reflect to discover the causes; At a time when the Gauls were tired of the length of the war, Ariovistus, who for long months had confined himself to his camp, in the midst of the swamps, had suddenly attacked them, when they despaired of ever being able to fight and s 'were scattered; his victory was due less to the valor of the Germans than to the skillful tactics of their leader. But a tactic that had been good in fighting barbaric and inexperienced men, Ariovistus himself did not expect our armies to be taken in.
Those who disguised their cowardice by pretending that they were worried about the question of food and the difficulties of the road, these were insolent, because they seemed to have no confidence in their general, or to dictate orders to him. He took care of these questions of wheat, the Sequanes, the Leuques, the Lingons provided some, and the harvests were already ripe in the fields; the road, they would soon judge for themselves. As for what was said, that he would not be obeyed and that the troops would refuse to march, that in no way troubled him: he knew very well that all the leaders under whose orders their army had not obeyed either had suffered failures and had been abandoned by Fortune, or had committed some bad deed the discovery of which had convinced them of dishonesty. But him, his whole life testified to his disinterestedness, and the Helvetian war had clearly shown how lucky he was. So, what he had originally intended to do for a short time, he would do immediately, and he would break camp that night, during the fourth watch, because he wanted to know as soon as possible whether they obeyed the voice of honor and duty, or the advice of fear. If now no one follows him, he will walk all the same, followed only by the tenth legion, of which he was sure, and which would serve as his praetorian cohort. This legion was the one to whom Caesar had shown the most affection, and whose valor inspired him the most confidence.
41. This speech produced a marvelous change in minds; he gave birth to great enthusiasm and the keenest impatience to fight; we first saw the tenth legion, through its tribunes, thank Caesar for the excellent opinion he had of her and confirm to him that she was quite ready to fight. Then the other legions negotiated with their tribunes and the centurions of their first cohort so that they could have them excused by Caesar: “They never thought that they would have to judge the conduct of operations; it was their general's business. Caesar accepted their explanations; Diviciacos, charged with studying the route because it was that of the Gauls in whom Caesar had the most confidence, advised to make a detour of more than fifty miles, which would make it possible to walk in open ground; Caesar left during the fourth watch, as he had said. After seven days of continuous marching, his scouts let him know that Arioviste's troops were twenty-four miles from us.
42. When he learned of Caesar's approach, Ariovistus sent him an embassy: “As for him, he had no objection to the interview previously requested, since Caesar had approached; he felt it was safe to get there. Caesar did not refuse; he believed that Germain was coming to his senses, since he himself offered what he had previously refused when asked; and he very much hoped that, remembering the blessings he had received from him and the Roman people, when he considered his conditions, he would cease to be intractable. The interview was scheduled for the fifth day following. As, in the meantime, envoys often came and went from one to the other, Ariovistus asked that Caesar not bring troops to the interview on foot: lured into an ambush; that everyone should come with horsemen; it would only come on that condition. Caesar, not wishing that a pretext suffice to suppress the meeting, and not daring, on the other hand, to leave it to the Gallic cavalry to watch over his life, judged that the most practical was to to lay off all the Gallic horsemen and to give their mounts to the legionaries of the tenth legion, in whom he had the greatest confidence, in order to have, in case of need, a guard as devoted as possible. So they did; and a soldier of the Tenth Legion remarked pleasantly enough that "Caesar was doing more than he promised: he had promised he would employ them as bodyguards, and he made knights of them." "
43. In a large plain rose a rather high hillock: it was about an equal distance between the camp of Arioviste and that of Caesar. It was there that, according to their convention, the two chiefs came to meet. Caesar ordered his mounted legion to stop two hundred paces from the mound; Arioviste's riders stopped at the same distance. Le Germain demanded that they meet on horseback, and that each one bring with him ten men. When they were at the meeting place, Caesar, to begin with, recalled his benefits and those of the Senate, the title of king that this assembly had given him, that of friend, and the rich gifts that had been lavished on him; then he explained to her that few princes had obtained these distinctions, and that they were usually only granted for eminent services; he, who had neither titles to claim them nor just reasons for soliciting them, he owed them only to the benevolence and liberality of Caesar and of the Senate. He further informed him how ancient and legitimate were the reasons for the friendship which united the Heduans to the Romans, what senatus-consulta had been rendered in their favor on many occasions and on the most honorable terms; how, at all times, the hegemony of the whole of Gaul had belonged to the Heduans, even before they had sought their friendship. It was a tradition of the Romans to want their allies and their friends not only not to suffer any decrease, but also to increase their credit, their esteem, their dignity really, what they had brought with them by becoming friends. of Rome, who could suffer it to be snatched from them? He then formulated the same demands with which he had charged his envoys: not to make war either on the Heduans, or on their allies; to make the hostages; if he could not send any of his Germans home, at least not allow others to cross the Rhine.
44. Ariovistus did not respond much to Caesar's requests, but dwelled at length on his own merits. “If he had crossed the Rhine, it was not spontaneously, but at the instigation of the Gauls; it had taken great hopes, the prospect of rich compensations, for him to abandon his home and his relatives; the lands he occupied in Gaul he held from the Gauls; the hostages had been given to him by them freely; the tribute, he perceived by virtue of the laws of war, it was that which the victors are accustomed to impose on the vanquished. He had not been the aggressor, but it was the Gauls who had attacked him; all the peoples of Gaul had come to assail him and had opposed their armies to his; he had toppled and defeated all these troops in a single fight. If they wanted to try a second experiment, he was ready for a new battle; if they wanted peace, it was unfair to refuse a tribute which until now they had paid voluntarily. The friendship of the Roman people was to be honorable and useful to them, and not disadvantageous; it was in this hope that he had asked for it. If, thanks to the Roman people, their tributaries are exempt from paying and their subjects withdrawn from their laws, they will renounce their friendship as willingly as they have sought it. Did he bring a large number of Germans to Gaul? This is not to attack this country, but to guarantee his own security: the proof is that he only came because he had been asked to do so, and that he did not do so. an offensive war, but a defensive one. He had come to Gaul before the Romans. Never until now has a Roman army crossed the borders of the Province. What did Caesar want with him, to come to his land in this way? This part of Gaul was his province as the other was ours. Just as he should not be allowed to do so if he invaded our territory, so we were committing an injustice by disturbing him in the exercise of his rights. The Hedui, said Caesar, had received the name of brothers: but he was neither barbaric enough nor sufficiently ignorant not to know that the Hedui had not come to the aid of the Romans in the last war against the Allobroges, and that Rome, in her turn, had not helped them in the conflict they had just had with itself and with the Sequanes. He was obliged to suspect that, under the pretext of this friendship, Caesar had an army in Gaul only to throw it against him. If Caesar does not leave this country, if he does not withdraw his troops, he will consider him, not as a friend, but as an enemy. And if he kills him, he will do something agreeable to many of the nobles and political leaders of Rome: they themselves had assured him of this through their agents; the benevolence and friendship of all these characters, he could acquire it at this price. But if Caesar went away and left him the free disposal of Gaul, he would show him his gratitude magnificently, and all the wars he wanted, he would take it upon himself to wage them, without Caesar knowing the fatigue or the dangers.
45. Caesar explained to him at length for what reasons he could not ignore the question: "It was neither in his habits, nor in those of the Roman people, to consent to abandon perfectly devoted allies, and besides he did not think not that Gaul belonged more to Ariovistus than to the Romans. The Arvernes and the Rutenes had been defeated by Q. Fabius Maximus; the Roman people had forgiven them, without reducing their country to a province, without even imposing tribute on them. If it was necessary to have regard to the anteriority of date, the power of the Romans in Gaul was the most legitimate; if the decision of the Senate had to be observed, Gaul had to be free, since it had wanted, conquered by Rome, to keep its laws. "
46. While these talks were taking place, Caesar was told that Arioviste's horsemen were approaching the mound, pushing their horses towards our troop, throwing stones and darts at them. Caesar broke off the interview, rejoined his family and ordered them not to respond to the Germans, even with a single draft. In fact, although he risked nothing in engaging an elite legion against cavalrymen, he nevertheless did not want to expose himself to what might be said, once the enemies were defeated, that he had surprised them for a long time. interview abusing the given word. When we learned in the ranks of the army what arrogance Ariovistus had shown during the interview, claiming to forbid the Romans all of Gaul, how his horsemen had attacked ours and how this incident had broken off the talks, the impatience of our soldiers were increased and they felt a keener desire to fight.
47. The next day, Ariovistus sends an embassy to Caesar: “He wanted to resume the conversation they had started and which had been interrupted; let Caesar fix the day of a new interview, or, if he did not like it, send him one of his legates. Caesar did not think he had any reason to go and talk to him, all the more so since the day before the Germans had not been able to prevent the Germans from throwing darts at our soldiers. To send someone of his own, to throw him into the hands of these barbarian men, was to run a great risk. He thought that the best thing was to send Caïus Valérius Procillus, son of Caïus Valérius Caburus, a young man full of courage and very cultivated, whose father had received from Caïus Valérius Flaccus the Roman city: he was loyal, he spoke the Gallic, whom a long practice had made familiar to Arioviste, finally the Germans had no reason to attack his person; he added Marcus Métius to him, whom hospitality linked to Arioviste. They were instructed to listen to what he said and report it. When Arioviste saw them in front of him, in his camp, he burst out, in front of the whole army: "Why were they coming? To spy, no doubt? They wanted to talk, he stopped them and had them loaded with chains.
48. The same day he went forward and established himself six miles from Caesar's camp, at the foot of a mountain. The next day, he passed in front of Caesar's camp and camped two miles beyond, with the idea of stopping the convoys of wheat and other provisions which the Sequanes and the Heduans would send him. Then, for five days in a row, Caesar brought out his troops in front of the camp and kept them in line, so that, if Ariovistus wished to fight, the opportunity was not lacking. But Arioviste, during all these days, kept his infantry in the camp, delivering, on the other hand, daily cavalry battles. The kind of combat in which the Germans were trained was as follows. There were six thousand cavalrymen, and as many infantrymen, the most agile and bravest of all, each cavalier had chosen one from the whole of the troops, with the concern for his personal safety: for these infantry were their comrades in combat. It was on them that they fell back; they would come online if the situation became critical; they surrounded and protected the one who, seriously injured, had fallen from his horse; whether it was necessary to advance at some distance or make a rapid retreat, they had, thanks to their training, such agility, that by holding on to the manes of the horses they followed them in the course.
49. When Caesar saw that his adversary was keeping himself shut up in his camp, not wishing to be any longer deprived of supplies, he chose, beyond the position which the Germans had occupied, at about six hundred paces from them. , a place suitable for the establishment of a camp and he led his army there, marching in battle order in three ranks. The first two lines were ordered to remain under arms, while the third would fortify the camp. This position was, as has been said, about six hundred paces from the enemy. Arioviste sent there about sixteen thousand lightly equipped men and all his cavalry, with a mission to frighten our people and prevent their work. Caesar nonetheless maintained the measures he had taken: the first two lines were to hold the enemy in check, and the third to complete his work. Once the camp was fortified, he left two legions and part of the auxiliary troops there, and brought the other four legions back to the main camp.
50. The next day, following his usual tactics, Caesar brought out his troops from both camps and ranged his army in line at a certain distance in front of the great, offering combat to the enemy. When he saw that even so the Germans were not advancing, around noon he brought his troops back to their encampments. Arioviste then decided to send part of his forces to storm the small camp. We fought fiercely on both sides until the evening. At sunset, Ariovistus brought his troops back to his camp; losses had been severe on both sides. Caesar asked the prisoners why Ariovistus was not fighting a general battle; he learned that, according to the custom of the Germans, their wives should, by consulting the sort and rendering oracles, say whether or not it was advisable to give battle; however, they said that destinies did not allow the victory of the Germans if they engaged in combat before the new moon.
51. The next day, Caesar, leaving to guard each of the camps the forces which appeared sufficient to him, placed all his auxiliary troops in the sight of the enemy in front of the small camp; as his legionaries were numerically inferior to Ariovist's troops, he wanted to mislead their numbers by employing the auxiliaries in this way. Himself, having dispersed his legions in order of battle in three ranks, he advanced to the enemy camp. Then the Germans, constrained and forced, decided to send their troops out: they established them, ranged by tribes, at equal intervals, Harudes, Marcomans, Triboques, Vangions, Nemetes, Sedusians, Suevi; and, to prevent any hope of flight, they formed a continuous barrier all over the rear of the front with wagons and cars. They brought up their wives there, who, stretching out their open hands and shedding tears, begged those who went into battle not to make them slaves to the Romans.
52. Caesar entrusted the particular command of each legion to each of his legates and to his quaestor, so that the soldiers might have in them witnesses of their individual worth; he himself began the fight from the right wing, because he had observed that the enemy line was less solid on that side. Our soldiers, at the signal given, rushed at the enemy with such vigor, the enemy, on his side, rushed so suddenly and with such a rapid course to meet them, that they did not have before them the space necessary to launch the javelin. Abandoning this weapon, they engaged in a melee with the sword. But the Germans, according to their usual tactics, quickly formed the phalanx and thus received the shock of swords. There were more than one among us to throw themselves on the wall of shields that formed each phalanx, tear them off and strike the enemy from top to bottom. While the left wing of the Germans had been completely sunk, on the right they overwhelmed us with numbers. The young Publius Crassus, who commanded the cavalry, realizing the danger - he was better able to follow the action than those in the fray - sent the third line troops to the aid of those in danger.
53. This measure restores the situation; all the enemies fled, and stopped only at the Rhine, about five miles from the site of the battle. There, a very small number, either, trusting in their vigor, tried to swim across the river, or else discovered boats to which they owed their salvation. This was the case with Arioviste, who found a boat tied to the shore and was able to flee on it; all the others were joined by our cavalry and massacred. Arioviste had two wives: one Sueva, whom he had brought from Germany with him, the other from Noricum, the sister of King Voccion, whom the latter had sent to him and whom he had married in Gaul; both perished in the rout. He had two daughters: one was killed, the other was taken prisoner. Laius Valerus Procillus, whom his guardians took with them in their flight loaded with triple chains, fell into the hands of Caesar himself, who pursued the enemy with his horsemen; this incident gave him no less pleasure than the victory itself, for the one he snatched from the hands of the enemies and thus found again was the most estimable man in the whole province of Gaul, his friend and his host, and Fortune , in sparing him, had wanted nothing to be taken from the joy of such a triumph. Valerius said that on three occasions, before his eyes, the spells had been consulted to decide whether he should be immediately set on fire or reserved for another time; it was to spells that he owed his life. Marcus Metius was also found and brought back to Caesar.
54. When the news of this battle was known on the other side of the Rhine, the Suevi, who had come to the banks of the river, resumed their journey to their country; but the peoples who live near the Rhine, seeing their panic, pursued them and killed a great number of them. Caesar had in a single summer completed two great wars; he led his troops to take up their winter quarters with the Sequans a little before the season demanded it; he entrusted the command of it to Labienus, and set out for the former Gaul in order to hold his assizes there.