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Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Book I Chapter 64: War with the Germans. Caecina in problems[AD 15]
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The barbarians attempted to break through the outposts and to throw themselves on the engineering parties, which they harassed, pacing round them and continually charging them. There was a confused din from the men at work and the combatants. Everything alike was unfavourable to the Romans the place with its deep swamps, insecure to the foot and slippery as one advanced, limbs burdened with coats of mail, and the impossibility of aiming their javelins amid the water. The Cherusci on the other hand, were familiar with fighting in fens; they had huge frames, and lances long enough to inflict wounds even at a distance. Night at last released the legions, which were now wavering, from a disastrous engagement. The Germans whom success rendered unwearied, without even then taking any rest, turned all the streams which rose from the slopes of the surrounding hills into the lands beneath. The ground being thus flooded and the completed portion of our works submerged, the soldiers' labour was doubled. This was Caecina's fortieth campaign as a subordinate or a commander, and, with such experience of success and peril, he was perfectly fearless. As he thought over future possibilities, he could devise no plan but to keep the enemy within the woods, till the wounded and the more encumbered troops were in advance. For between the hills and the swamps there stretched a plain which would admit of an extended line. The legions had their assigned places, the fifth on the right wing, the twenty-first on the left, the men of the first to lead the van, the twentieth to repel pursuers. |
Event: War with the Germans
Foot:a. part of the body (3379). b. infantry (6534).