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

IX.
THE WORK OF CÆSAR'S LIEUTENANTS. 57-56 B.C.

CÆSAR usually spent his winters in Cisalpine Gaul, to be near events in Italy. During this winter, he sent Galba, one of his legates, to open the road from Italy over the Simplon and down the modern Rhone. At Martigny, Galba had a serious battle with the natives, but defeated them. Crassus, another legate, wintered among the Veneti on the coast, and sent ambassadors to gather corn. These officers were seized by the Veneti and held so as to compel the return of their hostages. On learning of this, Cæsar at once made preparations to avenge the act. He must protect his envoys; and to subdue the Veneti would moreover give him easier access to Britain. In order to cover more ground, Cæsar decided to divide his forces. Labienus went to the Rhine region; Crassus to Aquitania, Sabinus to the coast of modern Normandy. Brutus was put in command of the fleet. After a tedious campaign against the Veneti, they were utterly overthrown by Brutus in a naval battle. Meanwhile Sabinus conducted a successful campaign against the Unelli, and Crassus a brilliant one in Aquitania. The year was finished by a partial campaign against the Morini on the Channel, by Cæsar. The work of the year had mostly been done by Cæsar's lieutenants.

ON leaving for Italy for the winter of B. C. 57-56, Cæsar had sent Servius Galba, with the Twelfth legion and some horse, against the tribes south of the lake of Geneva, the Nantuates, Veragri and Seduni, to open one of the most available roads over the Alps between Cis- and Transalpine Gaul, which ran from Milan via the Simplon or the Great St. Bernard to the Rhone valley. The merchants and settlers, in passing through this valley, had generally experienced a good deal of trouble from the native tribes, who subjected them to heavy imposts, if they did not rob them outright. It was essential for military security that this road should be made free to passage. Galba was given permission to winter

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