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
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VII.
THE BELGÆ. SPRING OF 57 B. C.

THE redoubtable Belgæ had raised a coalition against Cæsar during the win. ter, and so soon as forage grew he set out with sixty thousand men -- legions and allies -- against them. Arriving opportunely among the Remi, he anticipated their defection, and by politic treatment transformed them into allies who thereafter remained constant. The Belgæ and allies had nearly three hundred thousand men, but as all were not yet assembled, Cæsar was able to attack them in detail. He sent a detachment to invade the land of the Bellovaci, one of the most powerful of the coalition, crossed the Aisne, and camped beyond the then existing bridge in the land of the Remi. He went cautiously to work, showing none of Alexander's self-confident dash, and sought to induce the enemy to assault his intrenched camp. This they declined, and made a clever diversion around Cæsar's left flank, hoping to capture the bridge in his rear and cut him off. But Cæsar caught them while crossing the fords, and in a partial engagement routed them with his light troops alone. Easily disheartened, the coalition dissolved, and the Belgian tribes left, each for its own territory. Cæsar then attacked Noviodunum, but being repulsed, resorted to a siege with success. Having done this, he could deal with the tribes separately.

DURING the succeeding winter of 58-57 B. C., Cæsar , in Cisalpine Gaul, received news from Labienus that the Belgæ were threatening trouble, and had roused their neighbors to resistance in the fear that Roman success should also overwhelm them, so soon as Gaul south of them was subdued. They made a coalition and exchanged hostages to insure mutual action. Thus far, the result of Cæsar's work had been to save Rome from a possible danger; but it had roused the Belgæ, perhaps a more redoubtable enemy than the Helvetii or the Germans. This rising was not altogether regretted by Cæsar. He saw in it the opportunity and excuse for

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