Home Introduction Persons Geogr. Sources Events Mijn blog(Nederlands)
Religion Subjects Images Queries Links Contact Do not fly Iberia
This is a non-commercial site. Any revenues from Google ads are used to improve the site.

Custom Search
Quote of the day: The more common report is that Remus con
Do not display Latin text
The Gallic War (De Bello Gallico) by Julius Caesar
Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 31: Caesar against Ariovistus. Complaints about Ariovistus.[58 BC]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
When that assembly was dismissed, the same chiefs of states, who had before been to Caesar, returned, and asked that they might be allowed to treat with him privately (in secret) concerning the safety of themselves and of all. That request having been obtained, they all threw themselves in tears at Caesar's feet, [saying] that they no less begged and earnestly desired that what they might say should not be disclosed, than that they might obtain those things which they wished for; inasmuch as they saw, that, if a disclosure was made, they should be put to the greatest tortures. For these Divitiacus the Aeduan spoke and told him: "That there were two parties in the whole of Gaul: that the Aedui stood at the head of one of these, the Arverni of the other. After these had been violently struggling with one another for the superiority for many years, it came to pass that the Germans were called in for hire by the Arverni and the Sequani. That about 15,000 of them [i.e. of the Germans] had at first crossed the Rhine: but after that these wild and savage men had become enamored of the lands and the refinement and the abundance of the Gauls, more were brought over, that there were now as many as 120,000 of them in Gaul: that with these the Aedui and their dependents had repeatedly struggled in arms - that they had been routed, and had sustained a great calamity - had lost all their nobility, all their senate, all their cavalry. And that broken by such engagements and calamities, although they had formerly been very powerful in Gaul, both from their own valor and from the Roman people's hospitality and friendship, they were now compelled to give the chief nobles of their state, as hostages to the Sequani, and to bind their state by an oath, that they would neither demand hostages in return, nor supplicate aid from the Roman people, nor refuse to be forever under their sway and empire. That he was the only one out of all the state of the Aedui, who could not be prevailed upon to take the oath or to give his children as hostages. On that account he had fled from his state and had gone to the senate at Rome to beseech aid, as he alone was bound neither by oath nor hostages. But a worse thing had befallen the victorious Sequani than the vanquished Aedui, for Ariovistus the king of the Germans, had settled in their territories, and had seized upon a third of their land, which was the best in the whole of Gaul, and was now ordering them to depart from another third part, because a few months previously 24,000 men of the Harudes had come to him, for whom room and settlements must be provided. The consequence would be, that in a few years they would all be driven from the territories of Gaul, and all the Germans would cross the Rhine; for neither must the land of Gaul be compared with the land of the Germans, nor must the habit of living of the latter be put on a level with that of the former. Moreover, [as for] Ariovistus, no sooner did he defeat the forces of the Gauls in a battle which took place at Magetobria, than [he began] to lord it haughtily and cruelly demand as hostages the children of all the principal nobles, and wreak on them every kind of cruelty, if every thing was not done at his nod or pleasure; that he was a savage, passionate, and reckless man, and that his commands could no longer be borne. Unless there was some aid in Caesar and the Roman people, the Gauls must all do the same thing that the Helvetii have done, [viz.] emigrate from their country, and seek another dwelling place, other settlements remote from the Germans, and try whatever fortune may fall to their lot. If these things were to be disclosed to Ariovistus, Divitiacus adds] that he doubts not that he would inflict the most severe punishment on all the hostages who are in his possession, [and says] that Caesar could, either by his own influence and by that of his army, or by his late victory, or by name of the Roman people, intimidate him, so as to prevent a greater number of Germans being brought over the Rhine, and could protect all Gaul from the outrages of Ariovistus.

Event: Caesar against Ariovistus

[31] Eo concilio dimisso, idem princeps civitatum qui ante fuerant ad Caesarem reverterunt petieruntque uti sibi secreto in occulto de sua omniumque salute cum eo agere liceret. Ea re impetrata sese omnes flentes Caesari ad pedes proiecerunt: non minus se id contendere et laborare ne ea quae dixissent enuntiarentur quam uti ea quae vellent impetrarent, propterea quod, si enuntiatum esset, summum in cruciatum se venturos viderent. Locutus est pro his Diviciacus Haeduus: Galliae totius factiones esse duas; harum alterius principatum tenere Haeduos, alterius Arvernos. Hi cum tantopere de potentatu inter se multos annos contenderent, factum esse uti ab Arvernis Sequanisque Germani mercede arcesserentur. Horum primo circiter milia XV Rhenum transisse; postea quam agros et cultum et copias Gallorum homines feri ac barbari adamassent, traductos plures; nunc esse in Gallia ad C et XX milium numerum. Cum his Haeduos eorumque clientes semel atque iterum armis contendisse; magnam calamitatem pulsos accepisse, omnem nobilitatem, omnem senatum, omnem equitatum amisisse. Quibus proeliis calamitatibusque fractos, qui et sua virtute et populi Romani hospitio atque amicitia plurimum ante in Gallia potuissent, coactos esse Sequanis obsides dare nobilissimos civitatis et iure iurando civitatem obstringere sese neque obsides repetituros neque auxilium a populo Romano imploraturos neque recusaturos quo minus perpetuo sub illorum dicione atque imperio essent. Unum se esse ex omni civitate Haeduorum qui adduci non potuerit ut iuraret aut liberos suos obsides daret. Ob eam rem se ex civitate profugisse et Romam ad senatum venisse auxilium postulatum, quod solus neque iure iurando neque obsidibus teneretur. Sed peius victoribus Sequanis quam Haeduis victis accidisse, propterea quod Ariovistus, rex Germanorum, in eorum finibus consedisset tertiamque partem agri Sequani, qui esset optimus totius Galliae, occupavisset et nunc de altera parte tertia Sequanos decedere iuberet, propterea quod paucis mensibus ante Harudum milia hominum XXIIII ad eum venissent, quibus locus ac sedes pararentur. Futurum esse paucis annis uti omnes ex Galliae finibus pellerentur atque omnes Germani Rhenum transirent; neque enim conferendum esse Gallicum cum Germanorum agro neque hanc consuetudinem victus cum illa comparandam. Ariovistum autem, ut semel Gallorum copias proelio vicerit, quod proelium factum sit ad Magetobrigam, superbe et crudeliter imperare, obsides nobilissimi cuiusque liberos poscere et in eos omnia exempla cruciatusque edere, si qua res non ad nutum aut ad voluntatem eius facta sit. Hominem esse barbarum, iracundum, temerarium: non posse eius imperia, diutius sustineri. Nisi quid in Caesare populoque Romano sit auxilii, omnibus Gallis idem esse faciendum quod Helvetii fecerint, ut domo emigrent, aliud domicilium, alias sedes, remotas a Germanis, petant fortunamque, quaecumque accidat, experiantur. Haec si enuntiata Ariovisto sint, non dubitare quin de omnibus obsidibus qui apud eum sint gravissimum supplicium sumat. Caesarem vel auctoritate sua atque exercitus vel recenti victoria vel nomine populi Romani deterrere posse ne maior multitudo Germanorum Rhenum traducatur, Galliamque omnem ab Ariovisti iniuria posse defendere.