Caesar, a History of the Art of War among the Romans down to the End of the Roman Empire, with a Detailed Account of the Campaigns of Caius Julius Caesar - Vol. 1

By Theodore Ayrault Dodge | Go to book overview

VI.
CAMPAIGN AGAINST ARIOVISTUS. AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER, 58 B. C.

THE Ædui, Sequani and Arverni now invoked Cæsar's aid against the German Ariovistus, who had crossed the Rhine and taken land and hostages from them. Cæsar saw the danger of permitting German invasions. He sent word to Ariovistus that he must restore the hostages and return across the Rhine. The German retorted, haughtily and with truth, that he was doing no more than Cæsar was and with equal right. Cæsar determined to march against him, and moved to Vesontio. Here arose a dissension among the legions, having its origin in a dread of the Germans and of the Unknown lands they were about to invade. Cæsar suppressed it by his persuasiveness, and the army marched against Ariovistus. A conference with him led to no results. The German then cleverly marched around Cæsar's flank and cut him from his base -- a remarkable manœuvre for a barbarian; but by an equally skillful march Cæsar recovered his communications. Then, learning that Ariovistus was, under advice of his soothsavers, waiting for the new moon before coming to an engagement, he forced battle upon him and signally defeated him. In the two campaigns of this first year, Cæsar had shown much caution, bred probably of inexperience, but he had also shown boldness and skill in abundant measure. The numbers against him had not greatly exceeded his own; and he had not been called on to show the decision of Alexander in Thrace or Hannibal in Iberia.

AFTER the brilliant Helvetian campaign, the Gauls with Cæsar's consent convoked a general assembly of tribes, and the whole of the country sent ambassadors to sue for the victor's good-will. They saw that they now had a Roman consul of a different stamp in their midst. Among the supplicants came embassies from the Ædui, Sequani and Arverni led by the Æduan Divitiacus, who particularly begged Cæsar's assistance against Ariovistus, a king of the Germans

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