Great Captains of Antiquity

By Richard A. Gabriel | Go to book overview

7

Caesar Augustus

(63 B.C.E.–14 C.E.)

The cold wind drove the rain with such force that it stung the exposed flesh of the legionnaires stumbling their way across the steep and uneven ground of the mountain pass. The soldiers pulled their sodden woolen cloaks around their bodies to ward off the winter chill that hung heavy in the cold night air. They bent their bodies headlong against the powerful gusts that drove the rain against their faces. The sound of the hail beating against the bronze helmets rang in the soldiers’ ears adding to their discomfort as the legion moved over the narrow mountain trail through the cold rocky darkness that was Cantabria in late winter. With dogged Roman determination the legion marched on through the wet and the cold and the night intent on reaching the camp by dawn.

Overhead the clouds raced across the black sky, invisible in its own darkness, making it almost impossible for a man to see the soldier ahead of him. The rain struck the ground in noisy torrents drowning out the metallic noise of a military column on the march. From time to time lightning lit up the sky with daylight brilliance casting erie shadows of armed men against the hillside. And then, as quickly as it arrived, the bright flash of light was gone leaving only a rumble of thunder as evidence of its former presence. Behind the advance guard deeply imbedded in the body of the column rode the commander in his litter cart protected from the downpour by the animal hides that formed the car’s sides and roof. But there was no escape from the winter cold that found its way inside and made its occupant miserable. At another time, perhaps, he would have marched with his men, sharing their misery, permitting them to witness him enduring their common discomfort. But not tonight. He was ill again and had been for several days. He lacked the strength to suffer more than he had to, especially for form’s sake. He leaned against the backrest and parted the curtains with his fingers. The night air carried the rain across his face and refreshed him.

-181-

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Great Captains of Antiquity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Foreword xv
  • 1 - In the Beginning 1
  • 2 - Thutmose III of Egypt 19
  • 3 - Sargon II of Assyria 51
  • 4 - Philip II of Macedon 83
  • 5 - Hannibal 111
  • 6 - Scipio Africanus 147
  • 7 - Caesar Augustus 181
  • 8 - On the Origins of Great Captains 213
  • Notes 223
  • Selected Bibliography 227
  • Index 233
  • About the Author 243
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