|Do not fly Iberia
Translated by Wilmer Cave Wright
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I [Note 1] happened to be in winter quarters at my beloved Lutetia -- for that is how the Celts call the capital of the Parisians. It is a small island lying in the river; a wall entirely surrounds it, and wooden bridgeslead to it on both sides. The river seldom rises and falls, but usually is the same depth in the winter as in the summer season, and it provides water which is very clear to the eye and very pleasant for one who wishes to drink. For since the inhabitants live on an island they have to draw their water chiefly from the river. The winter too is rather mild there, perhaps from the warmth of the ocean, which is not more than nine hundred stades distant, and it may be that a slight breeze from the water is wafted so far; for seawater seems to be warmer than fresh. Whether from this or from some other cause obscure to me, the fact is as I say, that those who live in that place have a warmer winter. And a good kind of vine grows thereabouts, and some persons have even managed to make fig-trees grow by covering them in winter with a sort of garment of wheat straw and with things of that sort, such as are used to protect trees from the harm that is done them by the cold wind. As I was saying then, the winter was more severe than usual, and the river kept bringing down blocks like marble. You know, I suppose, the white stone that comes from Phrygia; the blocks of ice were very like it, of great size, and drifted down one after another; in fact it seemed likely that they would make an unbroken path and bridge the stream. The winter then was more inclement than usual, but the room where I slept was not warmed in the way that most houses are heated, I mean by furnaces underground; and that too though it was conveniently arranged for letting in heat from such a fire. But it so happened I suppose, because I was awkward then as now, and displayed inhumanity first of all, as was natural, towards myself. For I wished to accustom myself to bear the cold air without needing this aid. And though the winter weather prevailed and continually increased in severity, even so I did not allow my servants to heat the house, because I was afraid of drawing out the dampness in the walls; but I ordered them to carry in fire that had burned down and to place in the room a very moderate number of hot coals. But the coals, though there were not very many of them, brought out from the walls quantities of steam and this made me fall asleep. And since my head was filled with the fumes, I was almost choked. Then I was carried outside, and since the doctors advised me to throw up the food I had just swallowed, -- and it was little enough, by Zeus, -- I vomited it and at once became easier, so that I had a more comfortable night, and next day could do whatever I pleased.
Note 1: I = Julian