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

XIII.
AMBIORIX. WINTER, 54-53 B. C.

THE crops had been poor. Cæsar spread his legions in winter-quarters over a large area, so as more readily to subsist. The camps were three hundred miles apart between extremes. Of this fact the Gauls took advantage. Ambiorix attacked Sabinus at Aduatuca. Instead of fighting it out, Sabinus relied upon Ambiorix's promise of free exit, and sought to march to Cicero's camp, the nearest to his own. But he did this carelessly, was attacked, and entirely cut up. Ambiorix then marched to Cicero's camp and tried the same artifice of promising free exit. Cicero acted the soldier's part and held to his camp. Cæsar heard of these events. He had but seven thousand men whom on the spur of the moment he could concentrate. With these he set out to rescue Cicero. So soon as he reached the vicinity, Ambiorix quitted the siege of Cicero's camp and advanced to meet him. It was nine to one. Cæsar, with admirable ruse, led on Ambiorix, who despised his meagre numbers, to attack him in careless order; and falling suddenly on him, defeated his army and dispersed it. He thus released Cicero from his bad case. Few of Cicero's men had escaped wounds or death. Labienus meanwhile had been attacked by the Treviri, but had won a brilliant victory.

OWING to an exceptionally dry season the corn-crop had not been good in Gaul during the year 54 B. C.; so that Cæsar, as he says, was obliged to disperse his legions to provide them food in winter-quarters during the succeeding winter. Fabius, with one legion, was sent to the Morini, and established himself at modern St. Pol; Q. Cicero, brother of the orator, went with one to the Nervii, between the Scaldis and Sabis, and camped probably at Charleroi; Roscius, with one, was placed among the Esuvii, in southern Normandy, near Séez; Labienus, with one, was among the Remi, near the Treviri, very likely at Lavacherie; Crassus, Plancus and Trebonius, with three legions, occupied Bel-

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