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: Prayers for either would be impious, vow
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 44: Caesar against Ariovistus. Ariovistus answers.[58 BC]
Next chapter
Return to index
Previous chapter
Ariovistus briefly replied to the demands of Caesar; but expatiated largely on his own virtues, "that he had crossed the Rhine not of his own accord, but on being invited and sent for by the Gauls; that he had not left home and kindred without great expectations and great rewards; that he had settlements in Gauls, granted by the Gauls themselves; that the hostages had been given by their good-will; that he took by right of war the tribute which conquerors are accustomed to impose on the conquered; that he had not made war upon the Gauls, but the Gauls upon him; that all the states of Gaul came to attack him, and had encamped against him; that all their forces had been routed and beaten by him in a single battle; that if they chose to make a second trial, he was ready to encounter them again; but if they chose to enjoy peace, it was unfair to refuse the tribute, which of their own free-will they had paid up to that time. That the friendship of the Roman people ought to prove to him an ornament and a safeguard, not a detriment; and that he sought it with that expectation. But if through the Roman people the tribute was to be discontinued, and those who surrendered to be seduced from him, he would renounce the friendship of the Roman people no less heartily than he had sought it. As to his leading over a host of Germans into Gaul, that he was doing this with a view of securing himself, not of assaulting Gaul: that there was evidence of this, in that he did not come without being invited, and in that he did not make war, but merely warded it off. That he had come into Gaul before the Roman people. That never before this time did a Roman army go beyond the frontiers of the province of Gaul. What [said he] does [Caesar] desire? - why come into his [Ariovistus] domains? - that this was his province of Gaul, just as that is ours. As it ought not to be pardoned in him, if he were to make an attack upon our territories; so, likewise, that we were unjust, to obstruct him in his prerogative. As for Caesar's saying that the Aedui had been styled 'brethren' by the senate, he was not so uncivilized nor so ignorant of affairs, as not to know that the Aedui in the very last war with the Allobroges had neither rendered assistance to the Romans, nor received any from the Roman people in the struggles which the Aedui had been maintaining with him and with the Sequani. He must feel suspicious, that Caesar, though feigning friendship as the reason for his keeping an army in Gaul, was keeping it with the view of crushing him. And that unless he depart and withdraw his army from these parts, he shall regard him not as a friend, but as a foe; and that, even if he should put him to death, he should do what would please many of the nobles and leading men of the Roman people; he had assurance of that from themselves through their messengers, and could purchase the favor and the friendship of them all by his [Caesar's] death. But if he would depart and resign to him the free possession of Gaul, he would recompense him with a great reward, and would bring to a close whatever wars he wished to be carried on, without any trouble or risk to him."

Event: Caesar against Ariovistus

[44] Ariovistus ad postulata Caesaris pauca respondit, de suis virtutibus multa praedicavit: transisse Rhenum sese non sua sponte, sed rogatum et arcessitum a Gallis; non sine magna spe magnisque praemiis domum propinquosque reliquisse; sedes habere in Gallia ab ipsis concessas, obsides ipsorum voluntate datos; stipendium capere iure belli, quod victores victis imponere consuerint. Non sese Gallis sed Gallos sibi bellum intulisse: omnes Galliae civitates ad se oppugnandum venisse ac contra se castra habuisse; eas omnes copias a se uno proelio pulsas ac superatas esse. Si iterum experiri velint, se iterum paratum esse decertare; si pace uti velint, iniquum esse de stipendio recusare, quod sua voluntate ad id tempus pependerint. Amicitiam populi Romani sibi ornamento et praesidio, non detrimento esse oportere, atque se hac spe petisse. Si per populum Romanum stipendium remittatur et dediticii subtrahantur, non minus libenter sese recusaturum populi Romani amicitiam quam adpetierit. Quod multitudinem Germanorum in Galliam traducat, id se sui muniendi, non Galliae oppugnandae causa facere; eius rei testimonium esse quod nisi rogatus non venerit et quod bellum non intulerit sed defenderit. Se prius in Galliam venisse quam populum Romanum. Numquam ante hoc tempus exercitum populi Romani Galliae provinciae finibus egressum. Quid sibi vellet? Cur in suas possessiones veniret? Provinciam suam hanc esse Galliam, sicut illam nostram. Ut ipsi concedi non oporteret, si in nostros fines impetum faceret, sic item nos esse iniquos, quod in suo iure se interpellaremus. Quod fratres a senatu Haeduos appellatos diceret, non se tam barbarum neque tam imperitum esse rerum ut non sciret neque bello Allobrogum proximo Haeduos Romanis auxilium tulisse neque ipsos in iis contentionibus quas Haedui secum et cum Sequanis habuissent auxilio populi Romani usos esse. Debere se suspicari simulata Caesarem amicitia, quod exercitum in Gallia habeat, sui opprimendi causa habere. Qui nisi decedat atque exercitum deducat ex his regionibus, sese illum non pro amico sed pro hoste habiturum. Quod si eum interfecerit, multis sese nobilibus principibusque populi Romani gratum esse facturum (id se ab ipsis per eorum nuntios compertum habere), quorum omnium gratiam atque amicitiam eius morte redimere posset. Quod si decessisset et liberam possessionem Galliae sibi tradidisset, magno se illum praemio remuneraturum et quaecumque bella geri vellet sine ullo eius labore et periculo confecturum.