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Annals by Tacitus
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book II Chapter 21: War with the Germans. No decision reached.[AD 16]
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The Germans were equally fighting and of the weapons, for their vast host in so confined a space could neither thrust out nor recover their immense lances, or avail themselves of their nimble movements and lithe frames, forced as they were to a close engagement. Our soldiers, on the other hand, with their shields pressed to their breasts, and their hands grasping their sword-hilts, struck at the huge limbs and exposed faces of the barbarians, cutting a passage through the slaughtered enemy, for Arminius was now less active, either from incessant perils, or because he was partially disabled by his recent wound. As for Inguiomerus, who flew hither and thither over the battle-field, it was fortune rather than courage which forsook him. Germanicus, too, that he might be the better known, took his helmet off his head and begged his men to follow up the slaughter, as they wanted not prisoners, and the utter destruction of the nation would be the only conclusion of the war. And now, late in the day, he withdrew one of his legions from the field, to intrench a camp, while the rest till nightfall glutted themselves with the enemy's blood. Our cavalry fought with indecisive success. Nec minor Germanis animus, sed genere pugnae et armorum superabantur, cum ingens multitudo artis locis praelongas hastas non protenderet, non colligeret, neque adsultibus et velocitate corporum uteretur, coacta stabile ad proelium; contra miles, cui scutum pecotri adpressum et insidens capulo manus, latos barbarorum artus, nuda ora foderet viamque strage hostium aperiret, inprompto iam Arminio ob continua pericula, sive illum recens acceptum vulnus tardaverat. quin et Inguiomerum, tota volitantem acie, fortuna magis quam virtus deserebat. et Germanicus quo magis adgnosceretur detraxerat tegimen capitii orabatque insisterent caedibus: nil opus captivis, solam internicionem gentis finem bello fore. iamque sero diei subducit ex acie legionem faciendis castris: ceterae ad noctem cruore hostium satiatae sunt.